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The first British navigator to cruise the Humboldt Coast in 200 years was George Vancouver. He was on a "grand exploring voyage round the world." In April 1792 Vancouver, having sailed eastward from the Sandwich Islands, touched the California coast south of Cape Mendocino. He then ran up the coast, holding a course about two leagues offshore. The Britisher observed that

the shores became strait and compact, not affording the smallest shelter; and although rising gradually from the water's edge to a moderate height only, yet the distant interior country was composed of mountains of great elevations; before which were presented a great variety of hills and dales, agreeably interspersed with woodlands and clear spots [Bald Hills], as if in a state of cultivation; but we could discern neither houses, huts, smokes, nor other signs of its being inhabited.

The coast was observed as far north as Rocky Point, probably Trinidad Head. [17]

In November, Vancouver again navigated the Humboldt Coast as he returned from Nootka Sound. No stops were made until the 14th, when Discovery entered San Francisco Bay and anchored off Yerba Buena. Following the arrival of Chatham, Vancouver proceeded to Monterey with his little fleet, where he remained for 50 days. On January 15, 1793, the British sailed for the Sandwich Islands. [18]

After refitting his ships, Vancouver again touched the shores of Alta California, or New Albion as he preferred to call it, in the spring of 1793. He again approached the continent near the "promontories of Cape Mendocino." The weather was foggy, and the explorers were unable to study the coast until they reached the latitude of Puerto de la Trinidad. Entering the bay, the ships anchored for three days, while fuel and water were taken aboard. Simultaneously, a chart of the harbor was prepared, and a patrol climbed the headland and found the cross erected by the Heceta Bodega Expedition, 23 years before.

Vancouver put to sea on May 5, "without the least regret at quitting a station that I considered as a very unprotected and unsafe roadstead for shipping." [19]

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Last Updated: 15-Jan-2004