DIARYINTRO GLASGOWSPAINEQUATOR
GOOD HOPEURALLASYDNEYCAPE HORNLONDON

 

THE DERWENT DIARY - EQUATOR to CAPE OF GOOD HOPE

  

Sunday 15th               Beautiful day but very calm. At 7 p.m. when I was at the wheel a sudden and very severe squall came upon us. It rained in sheets and blew great guns. In fact it was as much as I could do to hold the wheel. It lasted about an hour.

 

 Monday 16th              The gale last night carried us down at a pace of 16 knots an hour and left us becalmed on the line exactly the whole day.

 

 Tuesday Feb 17th       The south-east trades have at last begun to blow and we are going along at a moderate rate of 8 knots an hour.

 

 Wed. Feb 18th           Captain served out tobacco to every man. Tautened all the rigging.

 

 Thursday Feb 19th    Caught another shark a little bigger than the last one.

 

 Friday 20th                  Sighted a vessel right astern of us with hardly any sail on her. As soon as she sighted us she clapped on every bit of canvas in order to overhaul us. She is coming up with us fast.

 

 Saturday Feb 21st     The vessel; gained on us tremendously. At 3 p.m. she began signalling to us, by which we found out that she was the “Knight of the Garter” from Liverpool with a cargo of salt At first she came close up in our wake as if she was going to run us down, but she suddenly luffed up to windward passing us on our port side (not 10 yards from us) and taking all the wind out of our sails. She then spoke to us , telling us that she had a cargo of salt bound for False Point near Calcutta. She gradually drew ahead of us as she was going much faster than us.

 

 Sunday 22nd             The “Knight of the Garter” has gone out of sight. It is very hot today. We are about 12 ½ degrees south of the line.

 

 Sunday 22nd             Had Divine Service at ½ past ten. “Chips” who always starts the hymns (Moody’s & Sankeys by the bye) made a muddle of the 1st by missing the 2nd & 3rd verses, all because a midshipman named Pocock (alias Lunatic) kept bursting out laughing at him. The consequence was there was a dead stop all of a sudden & a regular confusion, the end of which was that everyone sat down.

 

 Monday Feb 23rd      Tarred down the rigging and overhauled all the lofty gear.

 

 Tuesday Feb 24th     Same as Monday.

 

 Wednesday Feb 25th    Passed a homeward bound Italian barque. Captain signalled to her to report us at home “all well” that we were bound to Sydney. “Thanks much obliged”. Then we dipped the ensign and parted. She could not stop to take letters as she wished to avail herself of the favourable wind then blowing. We had no time to signal as she was nearly out of range of the flags, going along at a rate of about 10 knots an hour.

 

Thursday Feb 26th      Saw two whalers bound for St. Helena with a cargo of whale flesh.

Friday Feb 27th Nothing happened of any importance except that we are out of the tropics, being 24 degrees south of the line.

 

Saturday Feb 28th     Have had a splendid run going at an average of 10 knots an hour. Latitude = 26° 44´.

 

Sunday 1st March     Had Divine Service as usual with a sermon for a change. Beautiful day & fair wind

 

Monday 2nd              Becalmed and very hot in fact one of the hottest days we have had. Latitude 30° 30´, Longitude 23° 42´ West.

 

 Tuesday 3rd              Still becalmed, but cloudy sky denoting rough weather. Only made 27 miles south since yesterday. Latitude 30° 30´, Longitude 22° 15´ West.

 

Wednesday 4th March     Fine during the morning but fair breeze Increased wind during the afternoon. By 7 p.m. we were running at 13½ knots an hour. Came on squally during the evening with a tremendous sea running. Waves as big as mountains. Decks constantly under water. Oilskins & sea-boots wanted once more. At ½ past 9 we had to shorten sail taking in our royals and furling the crossjack & cleaving up the main & foresails. Whilst brailing up the spanker the 1st mate was unfastening the foot rope when the iron block attached thereto swung round bashing his forehead in and crushing his hands almost to a jelly. He fell down insensible and had to be carried below where his wounds were dressed. It is a fearfully rough night, the decks being almost perpendicular.

 

Thursday March 5th     Favourable account of the 1st mate, progressing favourably. Very squally day indeed, but running well on our course at 16 knots an hour.

 

Friday March 6th          Very rough weather. Captain called me down into his cabin to do some writing for him, making out a Ship’s Book.

 

Saturday March 7th     Still doing writing (alias acting “Captains Secretary). Finished my work by 3 p.m. Went to the helm until 4 p.m. a grander sight I never saw. The sea was simply terrific grand & majestic. Very strong breeze and fair.

 

Sunday March 8th        No divine service today, it being too rough and too many seas aboard. Tonight some mischievous fellow forr’ard cut the canvas down from the sheep pen, which prevented the seas from swamping the pen & drowning the sheep. He also opened the pig’s pen and turned out all the pigs. About 11p.m. one pig was found in the lee scuppers in 4 ft of water and very nearly drowned. Mussell (an apprentice) dragged him out and put him in the pen where after the 1st mate forced some brandy down it’s throat and a hot brown meal mash it gradually recovered. All the other pigs were driven in all more or less off their legs. The matter was thoroughly investigated but the result was not satisfactory, the culprit not being found out.

 

Monday March 9th Fine day and not such rough weather. One sheep died from the effects of the salt water and another one is very ill.

 

Tuesday March 10th    Our 1st porker was killed today. Longitude1.8 Latitude 39.17 We are gradually nearing the cape though we shall pass it a good bit south.

 

Wed. March 11th           Wind is very changeable. Fine weather.

 

Thursday March 12th  Nothing worth mentioning.

 

Friday March 13th        Very cold indeed. Albatrosses & Molly-hawks flying around.

 

Saturday March 14th   Very near the cape. If we have a fair wind we shall round it tomorrow.

 

Sunday March 15th       Round the Cape of Good Hope at 2.45 a.m. Extremely cold weather.

The thermometer is below freezing point by 10 degrees.