Page 520th of April
At daybreak we commenced our walk across the island, each carrying his load; and by the time the sun was high enough for observing, were near the summit, and exactly in its meridian; so we stopped while I took two sets of sights and a round of angles. Soon afterwards we reached the highest point of the Cape, and immediately began our work; I and my coxswain, with the instruments; and Lieut. Kempe with the boat's crew raising a pile of stones over the memorial.
At first the Diego Ramirez Islands were seen, but before I could get the theodolite fixed and adjusted, the horizon became hazy. At noon satisfactory sets of circum-meridional altitudes were obtained with two good sextants. A round of angles, compass bearings for the variation, and good afternoon sights for time completed our success.
The pile made over our memorial was eight feet high, and in it were stones which required the united exertions of all seven men to raise to the top. We drank the health of His Majesty King George the Fourth, and gave three hearty cheers, standing around the Union Jack.
Directly all was finished we travelled towards our boat as fast as possible: but darkness surrounded us before we were more than half-way. Those who had loads which would not be hurt by tumbling about among bushes, travelled on; but, having the chronometer and a sextant to take care of, I waited till one of the men returned with a lantern. All reached the boat before nine o'clock, without losing or injuring any thing; but the cargo of stones, for specimens, which each brought back, delayed our returning progress materially.
At day-light (21st) we launched and stowed our boat, and set out on our return. We reached the ship that afternoon, well laden with fragments of Cape Horn.
Here ends the narrative of Fitz-Roy that confirmed my premonition that it had been he himself who had left the discovered "memorial", as well as my ideas about the effort made by those who had placed the rocks over the site.
The reading of information provided by several later expeditions indicates that at the beginning of this century there no longer existed a monolith on the summit of Cape Horn. We could suppose that whoever took it down didn't have the perseverance of Lieutenant Troncoso and myself, which quality made us continue digging after removing the heavy stones. Possibly, the stone jar was broken by cycles of freezing and thawing in the hardened mud.
Also, the mention made by Fitz-Roy of the erratic readings of the magnetic compasses explains to me why it is so easy to get lost while flying, even with normal conditions of visibility, and trying to follow the preplanned navigation on the map. I have observed this phenomena several times in this area.
I would like to point out that Lieutenant Skyring states in his personal diary that he believed that the "memorial" he left would remain buried in that spot as long as the earth existed. In contrast to Captain Fitz-Roy who implicitly considered that his memorial at Cape Horn would be found in the future.
The Chilean Navy decided that this memorial would be conserved in the Naval Museum at Valparaiso and it was delivered to Admiral José Toribio Merino Castro during his last official visit to the Naval District Beagle in a beautiful coffer of a regional wood named "coihué".
When serving in this beautiful and interesting zone, which still represents an important challenge to navigators; it is necessary to remember that more than one historic treasure such as this one is waiting for an enthusiastic mariner to discover.
1.- Narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty's Ships Adventure and Beagle between the years 1826 and 1836. Describing their examination of the southern shores of South America and the Beagle's circumnavigation of the globe, Henry Collburn, Great Marlborough Street, London, 1839.
2.- A narrative of the voyage of HMS Beagle, from the narrative, reports and letters of Captain Robert Fitz-Roy, R.N. and additional material from the diary and letters of Charles Darwin, selected and edited by David Stanbury (The Folio Society, London, 1977).
3.- The Mariner's Mirror, vol. 68, February 1982 (The International Journal of the Society for Nautical Research, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London).
4.- Uttermost Part of the Earth, Lucas Bridges, 1948 (published in 1987, Century Hutchinson Ltd., London).
5.- Published in Revista de Marina de Chile N° 6/1990.