When the Beagle sailed out of Devonport on 27 December 1831, Charles Darwin was twenty-two and setting off on the voyage of a lifetime. His journal shows a naturalist making patient observations concerning geology and natural history, as well as people, places and events. Volcanoes in the Galapagos, the Gossamer spider of Patagonia, the Australasian coral reefs and the brilliance of the firefly - all are to be found in these extraordinary writings. The insights made on the five-year voyage were to set in motion the intellectual currents that led to the most controversial book of the Victorian age: The Origin of Species. This volume reprints Charles Darwin's journal in a shortened form. It contains an introduction on the background to Darwin's work, as well as notes, maps, appendices and an essay on scientific geology and the Bible by Robert FitzRoy, Darwin's friend and captain of the Beagle.