John Muir


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We sailed landward for hours, the misty shore becoming gradually more earth-like. A flock of white plumaged ships were departing from the calm of Havana harbor, or like us seeking to enter it. No sooner had our little Island Bell flapped her sails in the lee of the Castle than she was boarded by a swarm of daintily dressed officials who were good-naturedly and good-gesturedly making all sorts of inquiries, while our busy Captain, paying little attention to them, was giving orders to his crew. The neck of the harbor is narrow, and it is seldom possible to sail in to appointed anchorage without the aid of a steam-tug. Our Capt. wished to save his money, but after much profitless tacking was compelled to take the proffered aid of steam, when we soon reached our quiet mid-harbor quarters and dropped anchor among ships of every size from every sea. I was still four or five hundred yards from land and could determine no plant except the long-arched leaf banners of the banana and the palm, which were conspicuous on many parts of the Morro hill. As we approached the land I had observed that it was distinctly yellow in some places, and I wondered whether while we were yet some miles distant the color proceeded from the rocks or from close thickets or sheets of flowers. From our harbor home I could now see that the color was plant

Date Original

July 1867


Original journal dimensions: 10 x 16.5 cm.

Resource Identifier



Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist