DIARYINTRO GLASGOWSPAINEQUATOR
GOOD HOPEURALLASYDNEYCAPE HORNLONDON

 

THE DERWENT DIARY - CAPE HORN to LONDON

 

Monday Oct 5th     Saw a tremendous lot of whales all round the ship.

 

Tuesday Oct 6th     Sighted Staten Island at 6.10 a.m. Still running due East to keep clear to the south’ard of the Falkland Islands.

 

Wed Oct 7th           At last we are beginning a little bit to the nor’ard.

 

Thursday Oct 8th    Already we have begun to feel a difference in the climate. Mother Carey’s chickens too have begun to come round the ship again. The sea here is like a mill pond compared to the fearful great rollers of the Southern Ocean round about Cape Horn.

 

Friday Oct 9th       A still calm came on and lasted all day. Very cloudy. I prophesy a gale most likely a Pampiero.

Lat 52.37 Long 58.12

 

Sat Oct 10th         It began to blow in the morning a heavy gale commonly known as a Pampiero, but we were too far to eastward to feel the worst of it. However it was quite heavy enough to make us shorten sail. It was almost over by 8 p.m. so we began to set sail again. A heavy snowstorm came on board about 9.15 p.m.

 

Sunday Oct 11th      We had a fine morning so we set pretty nearly every stitch of canvass. At 4 p.m. just as it was starboard watch below. A fearfully heavy squall struck us and before we could let go any halliards we were on our beam ends. An immediate rush was made for the royal & t’gallant halliards & at last she came up again but not before our mariziyen lower t’gallant yard had carried away and & smashed clean in two, in spit of it being made of iron-steel. Our crogh tack block was smashed, the hook part of it being bent out of straight as if it had been put in the fire and beaten out by sledgehammer; our main royal lifts were carried away & several sails were blown to billows. Of course the order was at once given for “all hands shorten sail” & at last we got the ship under control. The skipper says it was just the sort of squall that so many vessels are lost in. About ¼ of an hour after the squall had passed over a snow squall came on; so thick was the snow that it was impossible to see across the ship: it reminded one of the squall in which H.M.S. Euridyce went down.

 

Monday Oct 12th      The squalls last night were the forerunner of a hurricane which came on at daybreak and lasted all day. The mate says that why we have had such rough weather yesterday and today was because Jupiter was so near the moon.

 

Connor was taken insensible at 5.25 p.m.& died at 7.10 p.m. He was immediately sewn up in canvas & carried aft into one of the saloon cabins in readiness to be buried in the morning. He died a fearful death, swearing and cursing & using the most foul language up to the time he became insensible.

 

Tuesday Oct 13th       At eight bells the ensign was hoisted half mast high & the bell began to toll. Connor’s body was brought up onto the poop on a shutter. The burial service was read before all hands by the Captain, & the body was hove overboard. The men believe that he was a Jonah in the ship, for it is a most remarkable thing that as soon as he died the hurricane died away, & that as soon as his body was hove overboard the sun came out and shone brightly for the 1st time for a week

 

Wednesday Oct 14th       It was a splendidly fine morning. In the afternoon the wind gradually increased & as it increased we shortened sail, so that when it blew heavy we were under snug storm canvass having our fore’s’l, main & fore lower tops’ls, fore topm’st stays’l & our storm trys’l set.

 

Thursday Oct 15th     The gale died away this afternoon, but left an awfully heavy sea running; great green seas came aboard of her every 2 minutes Lat 43.21 Long 36.15

 

Friday Oct 16th       The sea has completely gone down and we have got a steady breeze with splendid bright weather.

 

Saturday Oct 17th     The breeze has gone ahead a couple of points & has driven us 2 pts out of our course.

 

Sunday Oct 18th     The breeze is still gone ahead & we are now steering E when we want to go N.E x N ½ N. However, we are still having splendid warm weather, (not too warm but just warm enough) & plenty of sunshine.

Lat 39.22S Long 32.31

 

Monday Oct 19th     We are just about to catch the N.E. trade winds. Several black fish have been about the ship all day.

 

 

No Entries are made in the Diary for this period

 

 

Dec 6th     We have arrived off the Bay of Biscay It has been a dead calm all day. The sky has (been) perfectly black and heavy-looking this afternoon. At 10 - 20 p.m. we had no steerage way at all. In consequence of this the 2nd mate (whose watch it was on deck) woke the skipper up, and when he came on deck he gave orders to furl every sail except the 3 lower tops’ls and to set the storm trys’l. Up to this time we had had every sail set in order to catch the least catspaw. It seemed (to the uninitiated) a very curious order to furl all sail, when there was not even a cats-paw blowing. But the captain was right as usual for at 11-45 a storm commenced and was very heavy.

 

Dec 7th     The wind increased to a hurricane. About 8 a.m. we saw a vessel to leeward carrying a spread of canvass. The Captain remarked that if they did not shorten sail at once the storm would very soon shorten it for them. We very soon lost sight of her as it came on very thick. We hove to at 9.15 a.m.

 

Dec 8th     The hurricane increased so much as to force us to take in our 3 lower topsails, and set the storm fore-topmast staysails. We then got a couple of tackles aft and locked the wheel as the quartermaster could not control it owing to the heavy seas. At 9.30 p.m. a P&O mail steamer passed us outward bound. We were still hove to, the wind being dead ahead of us at N.E x E. The watch at night time had to remain on the poop the whole time as it was not to be on the deck owing to the heavy seas aboard of her every minute.

 

Dec 9th     The wind having shifted E.S.E. and the wind having gone down a little wwe wore ship and set our 3 lower & upper topsails, mainsail & fores’l and began to beat up for the Channel.

 

Dec 11th     We began to feel the choppy sea peculiar to the English Channel. At 11.25 we sight the 3 Gaskets light on the French Coast.

 

Dec 12th    We have got well into the Channel, but owing to the fog the Captain could not take the bearings at noon, so we had (to) use the deep sea line for the 1st time and very cold work it was too, handling the wet line.

 

Dec 13th      At 12.30a.m. we passed a steamer and signalled to her for latitude and longitude, which she gave us. The Captain said he thought we were much nearer the French coast. At 9.20 a.m. we saw the Beachy Head lights. At9.35 a.m. we saw the lights of a steamer on our port quarter making straight for us. She came unpleasantly close to us, so the second mate ( W. Gratton) called the skipper up, who sung out to port their helmor they would run us down. A reply came from her “Ay Ay Sir”, and round she swung right alongside of us. She proved to be a tug who wanted to tow us up the channel and the river to our docks. The Captain closed with the master of the tug and she sent her tow pole aboard of us and away we went.

 

Dec. 14th     We have arrived off Dungeness where we signalled the arrival of “Devitt & More’s fine clipper ship The Derwent with our official number. At 3.45p.m. we took a Trinity House pilot aboard. We unbent our Royals and t’galla’nt stay’s’ls. At 8.30a very thick fog came on which gave the Pilot so much anxiety, that after heaving the lead in the main-chains he gave orders to heave to for the night; so we brought up near the Goodwin Sands, and had had the pleasure of hearing the steam fog-horn on the Goodwins blowing like a bull all night. We lighted the engine fire in readiness to heave the anchor, when the fog cleared. The midshipmen had to take their turns at anchor watch once more and the apprentices had to keep the for’ard bell ringing every two minutes so as to prevent the possibility of a collision. The steam tug cast off and laid in shore all night.

 

Dec 15th      The steam tug picked us up in the morning, the fog having lifted considerably. At 8.35 a.m. we came in view of the Thames and rounded the Nore lightship. We unbent our fore-course, mainsail and croj’ack, and the to’gallant and topmast stays’ls, and our spanker leaving only our t’gall’nts’ls and tops’ls set. At 6.20 p.m. we got off Greenwich, and the fog having come on thick again we brought up. At 9.30 the Trinity House pilot left us and the mud pilot came aboard in his place. It was quite a treat to see the gas lamps alight ashore once more. At 11.30 p.m. I was on anchor watch with the 3rd mate and the Captain had turned in. All at once I noticed a steam tug appearing through the fog and half drifting and half straight towards us; and before the 3rd mate could sing out to her sh struck on the starb’d quarter just where the Captain was sleeping. He rushed on deck and sung out to know whose tug it was and what was the name of her, but the men aboard of her refused to give her name until the Captain ordered a light to be directed on to her. She proved to be one of Watson’s tugs and the men were all half asleep and had not a good lookout. She smashed one of our plates close to the Captain’s berth.

 

Dec 16th      Once more the fog having lifted we weighed anchor bound for Blackwall Docks; this time escorted by two tugs; one ahead and the other on our starboard beam At 9 a.m. the midshipmen received orders to knock-off work , have a wash and don our best uniforms in readiness to receive our friends at the docks. So we got out of ll the work of warping & mooring our vessel. A good many of the midshipmen had their friends waiting for them The Custom House officers came aboard the vessel fore & aft before we were allowed to go along side. In company with 2 or 3 middies, left Blackwall for Fenchurch Street about 11 a.m. and having made the best of my way to Liverpool Street, I arrived in my native town once more just in time for the first meal I had tasted since leaving the “lovely shore” of Australia.

 

Having taken my readers round the world and back again to Dear Old England, I beg that they will excuse any inaccuracy in the writing Grammar and Punctuation of this my diary, and also that they will recollect how much more difficult it is to write in a heaving and rolling ship, than a steady table at HOME

 

Farewell, Adieu, Farewell