Arrival in Patagonia

  • William Jenkins (19) climbs to the crows nest and is the first to sight Argentina
  • It takes most of the day before they get to anchor in New Bay
  • The next day a landing party sets off and Hugh Hughes (40) wades ashore to be the first to set foot on land. He falls to his knees and kisses the ground
  • The settlers are overcome with mixed emotions, from sheer joy at having arrived safely to utter despondency at seeing what faces them
  • It is the middle of winter and although Patagonia is usually dry, today it is raining, windy and very cold
  • The landscape is flat and desert-like
  • There are 16 huts and a large store-house waiting for them, prepared by the advance party
  • Unfortunately the store-house has collapsed and must be rebuilt using the wood from the roofs of the huts
  • After sheltering in the open huts and the caves for a couple of days most of the women and children return to the relative comfort of the Mimosa
  • The men dismantle the berths from the ship to re-roof the huts
  • One of the children that died on the voyage is buried and another dies on the first day after arrival
  • The well is found to be contaminated with sea-water so the settlers have to fetch fresh water from 3 miles away
  • They start to explore inland, hunting and fishing to survive but wary of the indigenous Teheulche (meaning ‘fierce people’)
  • They were also called Patagones by Spanish explorers, who found large footprints made by the tribes on the Patagonian beaches. These large footprints were actually made by the guanaco leather boots that the Tehuelche used to cover their feet
  • Eventually they make contact with the Tehuelche who help them to hunt and gather
  • The settlers travel 30 miles south to the Chubut valley where they will settle