9 November 1835 to 13 March 1836

Crossing the Pacific Ocean:

Into the Pacific Ocean
Tahiti is Spotted
Arrival at New Zealand
The Beagle in Australia
Exploring Tasmania

1835 November 9
Honden Island was seen in the distance. This is a coral island in the Pacific Ocean.

1835 November 13
The Beagle arrived at the Tairo Islet, around the Faaraka islands.

1835 November 15
Today the Beagle arrived at Tahiti approximately 3,200 miles from the Galapagos Islands. The ship made 150-160 miles a day on the trade winds. The Beagle anchored at Matavai Bay late in the day and a party was sent on shore. They were greeted by inquisitive, laughing natives and by Mr. Wilson, the local missionary. The Beagle stayed at Tahiti for ten days and during this time Darwin went on an inland expedition and was in awe of the glorious tropical vegetation. He was also impressed with the good work the missionaries had done with the Tahitians, whom Darwin had a very high regard for.

1835 November 16
The day was spent traded goods with the natives.

1835 November 18
Darwin went with Sims Covington and a few native guides on an inland expedition. They followed the Tia-Auru Valley, in which the river flows through it to the sea to Point Venus. After a few hours they had entered a very deep ravine where they stopped for the night. A little ways further the river split into three streams. The most southern stream was the way they took, the other two led to some water falls. The party camped for the night at a place just downstream from where two waterfalls occur in succession. There were many banana, wild yam, and other tropical delights for Darwin to examine.

1835 November 19
After a fine breakfast they headed by another route down to the main valley along a series of very steep ridges. They stopped for the night at the same place as the night before. On the coast the Beagle sailed to on Papawa Cove.

1835 November 20
The party got up very early today and made their way back to Matavai by noon. The Beagle had moved on to Papawa Cove, so Darwin and Covington walked there along the coast.

1835 November 21
FitzRoy returned the Beagle to Matavai Bay today. In his narrative, FitzRoy commented at length about the industriousness and civility of the natives.

1835 November 22
At the harbor of Papiete, the capital of the island, FitzRoy, some of the crew and Darwin attended a church service here. About 600 people showed up Afterwards some of the crew members strolled under the shade trees back to Matavai.1835 November 24 FitzRoy, Darwin, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Henry and Hitote (a native) went to Papiete to meet with the Queen at a place called English Chapel. They discussed a debt the Queen owed to Britain (equal to about $2,850 US). A number of years ago the Queen instigated a scheme to monopolize the pearl trade in the Low Islands to the east. Some of her people attacked the British ship HMS Truro, which they robbed. An agreement was made for her to pay back her debt in pearls and shells.

1835 November 25
Today the Beagle sailed to Papeete Harbor. During this time the Queen had walked to the harbor and FitzRoy had boats sent ashore to pick her up. In the evening she dined with FitzRoy. After dinner they had a fireworks display and the crew sang sailor songs which amused the Queen very much.

1835 November 26
The Beagle set out today on the way to New Zealand.

1835 December 3
Saw Whytootacke Island (name may be spelled incorrectly, but this is how Darwin spelled it in his diary). They were simply large heaps of sand and coral in the Pacific Ocean. Some of the natives on the island sent up smoke signals to attract the ship.

1835 December 19
The northern hills of New Zealand were spotted in the evening.

1835 December 21
HMS Beagle arrived at New Zealand in the morning and anchored at a place called Bay of Islands. Strong winds had prevented them from coming into the bay earlier. Darwin was not very impressed with the natives, whom he viewed with suspicion. He was perhaps concern because they practiced cannibalism before the missionaries had arrived. Darwin went with Capt. FitzRoy, and Mr. Baker (a missionary) to Kororadika, the largest village in the area. Darwin described the natives as engaging in much vice, drunkenness, and uncivil acts. They also never bathed and lived in filthy houses. FitzRoy visited Paihia Island, and was disappointed by the natives. The missionaries found them difficult to convert.

1835 December 23
Darwin went to see a village called Waimate, about 15 miles from the Bay of Islands, to visit the missionaries. He traveled upstream in a small boat, passing a nice waterfall along the way. The country was almost entirely covered with ferns. Darwin described rubbing of noses with the natives upon arriving at a tiny village along the way. After a short visit they continued following a stream that was on their right. There were some trees around, but Darwin was not very impressed with the landscape. A chief that accompanied them never stopped talking to Darwin who did not understand a word he was saying. The only native words Darwin knew were Good, Bad and Yes. He was somewhat annoyed with his guest. Darwin finally arrived at Waimate which was a very pleasing English style farming village. Previous cannibalism was noted, but the natives were quickly being Christianized. The next day Darwin returned to the coast.

1835 December 26
Darwin and Mr. Sulivan were taken to Cawa-cawa in a boat by Mr. Bushby, a British resident. After this they walked onwards to the village of Waiomio. A short time later they were forced to walk along the beach and after about four miles they arrived at Waiomio village. Darwin examined some curious limestone rock formations in the area, met with the natives, then had a pleasant trip back to the bay, through the village of Keri-keri, where they arrived late at night.

1835 December 28
FitzRoy went with Mr. Baker, a local missionary, to Waimate village via Waitangi Creek, then by land on horses. The Church Missionary Society ran the village which was composed of about 20 acres of land. The entire place had a very British look to it even though the place only had three houses. Richard Matthews, a crewmember on the Beagle, stayed behind as a missionary.

1835 December 30
Today the Beagle started on the way to Australia. Darwin was very pleased to leave New Zealand!

1836 January 1
The Beagle passed the "Three Kings" islets today.

1836 January 12
HMS Beagle anchored at Sydney Cove, Australia at Port Jackson. Darwin thought of the place as an impressive city. He strolled the town in the evening and was very pleased with everything he saw - the many grand houses, clean streets, and very British-like atmosphere. The population of Sydney was at this time only 23,000 people. FitzRoy thought the people there lacked literary pursuits, as there were very few booksellers in town. He may have been correct, as the city was filled with stolen goods, thievery, convicts and vice.

Darwin's Discovery:

On January 16 Darwin went with a guide and two horses on a 120 mile inland trip to Bathurst, New South Wales. They passed through Paramatta along the way and spent the night at Emu Ferry, 35 miles west of Sydney. Darwin commented on the scant vegetation, and contrasted it with the tropical forests of South America. The next day some native aborigines passed them on the road and Darwin paid them a shilling to display their spear throwing skills.

Along the way Darwin made observations on the local wildlife and was very astonished by the creatures he saw (especially the odd-looking platypus). He surmised there must have been a separate act of creation just for these odd creatures. On his return Darwin visited Phillip Parker King, the commander of the Adventure during the first Beagle surveying voyage, who was now living on his farm just outside of Sydney.

1836 January 18
Early in the morning Darwin walked about 3 miles to Govett's Leap to admire the view. Afterwards he left the Blackheath area and descended via the pass of Mount Victoria. At Hassan's Walls he left the main road and took a detour to Walerawang Farm where he stayed for one day. The place was attended by about 40 convict servants. About 15,000 sheep were being raised here.

1836 January 19
Darwin went with Mr. Archer, the superintendent of the farm, on a Kangaroo hunting trip. They had very poor luck. In the evening Darwin took a stroll along a small stream and saw a few of the Platypus, which Darwin described as an extraordinary animal. In his diary he remarked on the social divide among the different classes of the people. Common people, convicts and servants all focused their lives on one thing - the accumulation of wealth.

1836 January 30
HMS Beagle left Sydney Harbor and sailed for Van Diemen's Land (now called Tasmania).

1836 February 5
In the evening HMS Beagle entered Storm Bay at Hobart Town on the island of Van Diemen's Land. The population of the island was 13,826 people. They anchored at Sullivan's Cove. At this time the entire island was a convict colony, but not as bad off as Sydney. The Beagle stayed here ten days, during which time Darwin went on five inland trips to study the local geology.

1836 February 14
Today Darwin wrote home about his strong urge to board the next ship that was heading directly for England. The next day Darwin strolled about Hobart Town and was quite impressed with the place.

1836 February 17
HMS Beagle set sail for King George's Sound, Australia.

1836 March 6
The Beagle arrived at King George's Sound at the town of Albany, in Prince Royal Harbor, about 250 miles south-east of Perth. They remained there for eight days, and Darwin found the place a most absolute bore, as it was a very dull looking place with no mountains, no rivers and no trees. He went on a few inland excursions, but was not very impressed with the landscape. During the stay here Darwin went with FitzRoy to a place called Bald Head where very curious formations exist of tree casts made of limestone. A few of the crew members also attended an aborigine dance around a bon fire in the evening.

1836 March 13
After being delayed a few days due to poor weather, the Beagle sailed out of King George's Sound.