In the eye of a storm
1833AD 13th January, Cape Hope. HMS Beagle is 'sorely tried' by a giant wave.
During the Christmas period of 1832 H.M.S. Beagle been in St. Francis Bay hunting game for the upcoming Christmas dinner. She then spent the next few weeks out at sea waiting out a series of violent storms. on the 13th January 1833 Captain FitzRoy tried to enter the Beagle Channel. HMS Beagle was the caught up in a force 11 gale with waves up to 60 feet high. At 1.45pm three great waves approached, the first checked her way, the second threw her off the wind, and the third took her abeam and turned her over so far that all the lee bulwarks were under water. Captain Robert Fitzroy RN wrote in his diary “…three huge rollers approached, whose size and steepness at once told me that our sea-boat, good as she was, would be sorely tried”.
Fortunately she rolled back up again and the expedition was able to continue and Captain FitzRoy took HMS Beagle to Nassau Bay and anchored at Windhon Bay, keeping the ship safe from the elements. Had HMS Beagle not rolled back the 22-year-old Charles Darwin would not have been completed his scientific work and the history of science would have been profoundly altered.
This scene is based on the painting by John Chancellor.