This excerpt was written by Bodega y Quadra on August 18, 1775, aboard the Sonora. An act of possession is described on Kruzof Island, in what is now southeastern Alaska. This location, at 57' North, was just short of the highest latitude reached by the expedition.
“I saw a harbour that … had a beautiful beach, a river 4 or 5 yards wide, an anchorage of 8 fathoms of water, and sheltered from winds from the 1st, 2nd and 4th quadrants, and protected from those of the 3rd by some Islands that run out, joined one to the other. In this I dropped anchor in 6 fathoms of water, sand and mud bottom, a musket shot distant from land, and from the dwelling of the Indians (which was no more than one house not badly built, and a stockade of logs for its defense) about a cannon shot away.”
“I disembarked on shore with 14 men well armed for the purpose of taking Possession, replenishing water and wood supply and cutting a topmast, all of which I seriously lacked; and in the most protected place in the harbour I made myself a fortification with mortars and some muskets, and leaving this spot well guarded for a place of safety, I proceeded to take Possession on a hill, where the Cross was set up and Possession was taken of these lands with all the requisite formalities set forth in the Orders.
This ceremony being concluded, I went with some of my people to explore the mouth of the river, to see where the water could most conveniently be taken on; in all this time, no Indian had emerged from their stockade.
As soon as I had acquainted myself with the river, harbour and beach, I returned on board with my people, from where it was observed that the Indians took down the cross from the place in which I had set it, and fixed it opposite to their house in the best location that could be desired, and they made various signs to us with their arms that they would keep it there.”