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The small island of Roqueta or Grifo is so placed that we may enter the port of Acapulco by two passes, of which the straitest called Boca Chica forms a channel from west to east containing between the point of Pilar and that of Grifo only 240 metres* in breadth. The second pass or the Boca Grande comprised between the Island de la Roqueta and the Punta de la Bruxa has an opening of a mile and a half. In the interior of the creek, we every where meet with from twenty-four to thirty-three fathoms of water. They distinguish vulgarly the port properly so called, and the great creek called Bahia, where the sea is strongly felt from the south west on account of the breadth of the Boca Grande. This port comprehends the most western part of la Bahia between Playa Grande and L'Ensenada de Santa Lucia. Vessels find there close by the land an excellent anchorage in from six to ten fathoms water. We anchored there with the frigate Orue, in the month of March 1803, thirty-three days after our departure from Guayaquil. . .
On examining the narrow isthmus which separates the port of Acapulco from the Bay de la Langosta de la Abra de San Nicolas, one would almost say that nature wished to form in this place a third pass similar to those
of the Boca Grande and the Boca Chica. This isthmus which is at most 400 metres* in breadth is very interesting in a geological point of view. We climbed up naked rocks of a strange form; they were scarcely 60 metres of elevationt and appeared to be torn by the prolonged action of earthquakes which are frequent on that coast. It is observed at Acapulco that the shakes take three different directions, sometimes coming from the west by the isthmus of which we are speaking, sometimes from the north west as if they were from the volcano de Colima, and sometimes coming from the south. The earthquakes which are felt in the direction of the south are attributed to submarine volcanoes; for they see here, what I often observed at night in the Callao of Lima, that the sea becomes suddenly agitated in a most alarming manner in calm and serene weather when not a breath of wind is blowing.
The Bay of Acapulco contains in its vast extent but one shallow which is not 40 metres in depth), and which has the name of St. Anne, because it was found out in 1781, by the unexpected loss of the ship Santa Ana belonging to the trade of Lima. Las Baxas, which are
* 1312 feet. Trans.
stones that we skimmed at our entry through the Boca Grande, the Farallon del Obispo, and the small island of San Lorenzo near the Punta de Icacos are not in the least dangerous, because they are visible shelves. These masses of . rock which we approach without fear of touching, may be considered as fragments of the old coast. South east from the Punta de la Bruxa is the small port of the Marqués. It forms a bay of a mile in breadth, and is at its entry from 18 to 20 fathoms, and in the interior from eight to ten fathoms in depth. This bay is not frequented on account of its proximity to the port of Acapulco. It is a wild and solitary place, in which, however, we should soon see a populous city, if it were situated on the eastern coast of New Spain.
The landing of the ports of Realesco, Sonzonate, Acapulco, and San Blas is very dangerous in winter, that is to say, during the rainy season, which lasts on all the western coast of America*
* With the exception of Guayaquil, where the rains last from the month of December till April and May. It pours down in torrents at Guayaquil, while a great drought prevails not only at Panama but also to the north of Cape St. Francis at Atacamez. I shall have occasion to treat in another place of these contrasts in the seasons between the Cordilleras and the coasts, and frequently the different points of the same coast. It is sufficient to state in this place that in general it is not true that under the tropics the rainy and dry seasons succeed each other every where, agreeably to the laws observed in the West India Islands.
between the island of Chiloe and California from May till December. The beginning and end of winter are most to be dreaded. Great hurricanes are experienced* in the month of June and September, and we then find on the coasts of Acapulco and San Blas as rough and angry a sea as we find in winter near the island of Chiloe and the coast of Gallicia, and the Asturias. The great ocean only merits the denomination of Pacific between the parallels of Coquimbo and Cape Corientes, that is between 30° south latitude and 5° north latitude. In this region a constant serenity prevails..Gentle winds from the south south west and south east blow there during the whole year, and the seasons have almost no perceptible influence on them. Between 5° north latitude and Berings Straits, there prevails in the eastern part of the great ocean in winter, that is to say, from the month of May till the month of October, south south westt, and even south south east winds which go all by the general names of bendavales; and in summer, that is to say, from the month of November till the end of April the brisas or north and north east winds continue to blow. The bendavales are stormy, and accompanied with thick clouds, which 'near the land, espe
cially in August, September, and October, burst in heavy rains of twenty or twenty-five days continuance. These rains destroy the fruits of the earth while the south west wind tears up the largest trees. I saw near Acapulco a bombax. ceiba-tree the trunk of which was more than seven metres in circumference* blown down by the bendavales. The brisas are mild and frequently interrupted by dead calms, and they blow during a beautiful and serene sky as is generally the case with all the winds which have the same denomination as the hemisphere in which they prevail.
Near Acapulco, and the fact is very important to the pilots who frequent these latitudes, the north monsoons constantly incline to the north west. The north east windt which we find out at sea and in more southern latitudes, is very rare, and the true west wind is dreaded from its extreme violence. It is probable that the breadth of the continent, and the ascending current that is formed on a land strongly heated, occasion these movements of
at sea and north eacantly inci lati.
* 23 feet. Trans. † The land wind (terral) which blows during the night and till eight or nine o'clock in the morning, at Sonzonate, Rialexo, and Acapulco, is however, east and north east ; and it is by means of this trifling wind that vessels ascend in summer, if they have the misfortune of approaching land past from Acapulco.