From the Journal of Adelbert von Chamisso

"The water of the harbor of San Francisco was phosphorescent...with tiny luminous dots...appearing also in the surf along the shore."
"On the 30th our friends from the Presidio dined with us at noon on the Rurik…on All Saints' Day we weighed anchor…we saw them arrive at the fort as we sailed past. They hoisted a Spanish flag…then saluted us by firing (a gun) seven times and we returned the salutation, shot for shot."
"The year was already old and the country, which in the spring months blooms like a flower garden, presented now to the botanist only a dry arid field. All night great fires burned at the back of the harbor; the natives are in the habit of burning the grass to further its growth."
"An oak with acuminate leaves is the commonest and strongest tree. With jaggedly bent branches, their closely compacted twigs thickly covered with usnea, like other growth they are bent inland, and the leafy surfaces that the sea breeze touch seem to be smoothed by the gardener's shears."
"The hills on the southern side are of serpentine…Drifting sand is present to a considerable height above the stone in some places, and in places a new sandstone has been produced."

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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