- Category: John McDouall Stuart - Third Expedition
- Written by John McDouall Stuart
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Sunday, 6th November, Lake Eyre. Got up before daybreak to get the first glimpse of the lake, to see if there is any land on the horizon, and, with a powerful telescope, can see none. It has the same appearance as I described last night. I watched it for some time after sunrise, and it still continued the same. After breakfast went to examine the shore: course north, two miles and a half; found it to be caked with salt, with ironstone and lime gravel. When flooded, at about fifty yards from the hard beach, the water will be about three feet deep. I tried to ride to the water, but found it too soft, so I dismounted and tried it on foot. At about a quarter of a mile I came upon a number of small fish, all dried and caked in salt; they seem to have been left on the receding of the waters, or driven on shore by a heavy storm; they were scattered over a surface of twelve yards in breadth all along the shore; very few, especially of the larger ones, were perfect. I succeeded in obtaining three as nearly perfect as possible; one measured eight inches by three, one six inches by two and a half, and another five inches by two. They resemble the bream. I should think this a sufficient proof of the depth of the water. I then proceeded towards the water, but the ground became soft, and the clay was so very tenacious and my feet so heavy, that it was with difficulty I could move them, and so I was obliged to return. The salt is about three inches thick, and underneath it is clay. I would have tried it in some other places, but as my horses were without water (and as I intend to visit this place again), I think it more prudent to search for water for them, and, if I cannot find any, to return to the camp. Started on a south course to examine the country for springs. At six miles found we were running parallel to sand ridges, and no chance of water. Changed to 160 degrees, crossed a number of sand ridges, but no water, except a little rain water that we found in a hole. Proceeded to the camp, and arrived there about sundown.