At Fernando Loronho

On February 19 the Paramore anchors off the island of Fernando Loronho (modern day Fernando de Noronha) and remains there until the 23rd when Halley leaves for Pernambuco (Recife), having found no fresh water on the island.

Halley’s description of the island is interesting because it includes two drawings – a profile of the island as seen from the sea, and a plan of the island, which is reproduced below. It isn’t possible to say who made the drawings but the handwriting on the plan is the same as the logbook, so it was perhaps his clerk, Caleb Harmon.

The next day we came to an Anchor under the Lee of the Island, haveing narrowly escaped a Sunk Rock; that lies off the SW point of the Island. I went on Shore to see what the Iseland might afford us, but found nothing but Small Turtle Doves and Land Crabbs in abundance, neither Goats nor hogs nor any people; we saw many green Turtle in the Sea and in Someplaces their Tracks on the Sand, but could Catch none, by reason of the great Suff of the Sea; we searcht the whole Lee Side of the Iseland but found no fresh water; we lookt not on the windward side because we found such a Suff on the Lee side: here we againe scrubb’d our Shipp and gott some Wood and Sett up all our Shrouds and brought our Masts more aft. we found a four Clock Moon to make high Water, and it flows about 6 Foot on a Spring. The Variation observed on Shore was not full 3 degrees East. The Island is but Small, about 7 Miles Long and very Narrow. the Middle thereof is in Latt 3°57′ South, and Longit by reckoning from London 23°.40′ West. The Appearance thereof when the high pico like a Steeple bears SWbW at 5 Leagues distance is thus –

[profile of island – a simple outline drawing]

[plan of island – see below]


Extract from Halley’s first logbook: The plan of the Island Fernando Loronho (© British Library (£), Add MSS 30368 f.4r)