THE DERWENT DIARY - GLASGOW to SPAIN

 

DIARYINTRO GLASGOWSPAINEQUATOR
GOOD HOPEURALLASYDNEYCAPE HORNLONDON

 

 

Notes on the Voyage.

The ship is bound for Sydney, Australia and elsewhere.

 

Crew List-

Captain - Andrew

1st Mate - Andrew (Jun.)

2nd Mate - Gratton

3rd Mate - Houghton

 

Midshipmen -

Peterson

Kerr

Timothy

Elmhurst

Copland

Gambier

Pocock

Kent

Colbeck

 

Petty Officers -

Carpenter - Mc Donald

Boatswain - Harrison

Apprentices -

Cowen

Brown

Miles

Blewitt

Tommy (Albert Woolfe)

Musson

 

Quartermasters and crew etc. (33)

 

 

Dec 30th           Was tugged out of port by the steam tugs “Gulliver” & “Flying Bat” Coiled up ropes and tidied up the vessel during the morning. Crew came on board at 7a.m. Did not have breakfast until ½ past one. Anchored off Greenock at 2p.m. Captain went ashore by the tug. Washed decks down at 3 p.m. Crew all smuggled some spirits aboard and got roaring drunk in the evening.. One of them, named Cambell got fighting with the cook. They were stopped by the 1st & 2nd mates.

 

Dec. 31st            Rose at 7a.m. Washed down decks and then had breakfast. Weighed anchor and ran down into Deviation Bay to adjust our compasses. Washed down decks and then had dinner. Weighed anchor and brought up off Greenock, Washed down decks and then had tea. Captain came on board after tea by the tug “Flying Bat”. He called the bos’n into his cabin and expelled him for coming on board yesterday and not answering his name at the roll call. He was sent on board the tug. Cowan complained to the captain that his watch had been stolen, and that he was sure the bos’n had got it. Captain A. called the bos’n back off the tug which was lying alongside and enquired into the matter. The watch was found on his person and he was put in irons on the deck so that everyone could see him, for 2 hours; when he was sent on board the tug and taken ashore & delivered up to the police. Turned in at 10p.m. Was on watch from 12 a.m. till 1 a.m.

 

Jan. 1st              Rose at ½ past five a.m. Washed down decks before daybreak. Had breakfast at 8 a.m. Went aloft and attended to the sailing gear. A nasty cold and strong breeze blew the whole time. Took in 20 tons of gunpowder. Had dinner at 1 p.m. Cold dinner because the fires had to be put out on account of shipping gunpowder. Board of Trade boat came alongside to sign the papers and inspect the vessel. Dubbed my sea-boots. Had tea at 5 p.m. Kept watch from 12 a.m. to 1 a.m.

 

Friday Jan 2nd   Sailed from Greenock. Had a splendid breeze to take us along the north coast of Ireland. The Pilot left us when we got off Londonderry. Very cold keeping watch at night time.

 

Jan 3rd Sat.       Most of the fellows turned sick. I felt awfully bad during the afternoon, but was not sick. Has been awfully squally all day and the Atlantic rollers are magnificent and grand. We have been going up mountains and down valleys all the day.

 

Jan 4th Sund.    Very rough weather indeed. Have felt very giddy and had a bad head ache all the day. As I went out of the door of the midshipman’s berth a wave dashed along the deck and carried me into the scuppers where I hit my leg against a spare mast, lashed to the side of the vessel and nearly put it out of joint. I could not put my foot to the ground for a day & a half. The sailors and officers say that they have never sailed in a worse ship for taking water on deck. In the least little swell she ships seas every minute, and in a storm her deck is 2ft in water constantly.

 

Jan 5th               Wind is very contrary to our wants it being a south west wind instead of being north-east We have got off the west coast if Ireland and cannot get any further.

 

Jan 6th              Have not seen the sun or moon ever since we sailed so the captain is rather puzzled as to our position. There is nothing but water and clouds to be seen and there is a rumour that if we do not see the sun in the next 48 hours we shall be on the rocks. It is frightfully stormy and the waves are awful. The ship rolls and takes in water by the tons. Last night 4 sails were blown clean overboard, and two more topsails have gone today. Have begun to get about today.

 

Jan 7th Wed         Captain saw the sun today; only for ½ an hour. Found out that we were dangerously near the Irish coast. He called out the crew and offered to go back to Glasgow, if they wished it, but the general wish was to go on. In the evening the storm was raging most ferociously and I saw one apprentice knocked down by a shipped sea and carried into the lee scuppers where he was nearly drowned, the water being over his head. Then when the ship lurched he was carried with terrific force across the deck and would have been carried into the weather scuppers and perhaps have had his brains dashed out but the chief steward caught at him & rescued him and with the help of the midshipmen’s steward they managed to get him into his berth dripping like a Newfoundland. I was up in the engine room and was forced to get a sailor to escort me aft to my quarters, or I should never have got there without getting drowned. Captain has been vexed and harassed ever since we sailed on account of the weather and has hardly slept for a whole week.

 

Jan 8th Thursday     Still very stormy indeed. Boatswain nearly had his brains dashed out last night by a loose block swinging about. The forecastle has leaked and is full of water and the men are forced to sleep on the lower deck amongst the cargo. Our port lighthouse has smashed and the oil in the lamp room has spilt so that we have run short of oil. We have managed by constant tacking to get to the south of Ireland and there is a rumour that we shall run into Queenstown for repairs.

 

Jan 9th Friday          Our course was altered to north and we had a splendid breeze which carried us up the west coast of Ireland and round the north. When we got to the north east of Ireland the wind suddenly shifted right ahead of us so that it was impossible to go to Belfast as had been arranged in order to repair damages; The Captain called the men aft and asked them whether they would rather stand out to sea and wait for a change in the wind or whether they would rather go down the west coast again and try to beat up to Falmouth. One man replied “I tell you one thing Captain, if you don’t go into port, I for one will not go to Sydney with you”. The Captain replied that it was impossible to go into Belfast, but that he would stand off until the morning, hoping that the wind would shift again, so we put out to sea. About 10p.m. all hands were called to “bout ship” as the wind had changed in our favour.

 

Jan 10th                   After standing in all day towards the coast we passed Rathlin Island and after having passed it we hoisted the signal for a pilot and hugged the shore. Our signal not being answered we pulled it down at dusk, still keeping close to shore. About 5 p.m.. we nearly ran onto some reefs only missing them by about 50 yards. At 6.30 p.m. after heaving down the North east coast of Ireland the Captain signalled for a tug boat to take us into Belfast, by burning blue lights, but they were not answered; and a gale springing we went about and stood out to sea again. During the night our fore-course was blown clean out of the bolt ropes. The wind blew a hurricane all night but calmed down to a steady gale towards morning.

 

An alternative, addendum or erratum is found at the end of the book for Jan 10th:

 

Jan 10th Sat.          About 11p.m. We drifted to within 100 yards of some most dangerous rocks and nothing could have saved the ship from sinking, if it had not been for the captain’s cool self possession and the confidence of the men. There was no lighthouse or any warning of any kind and the night was very dark and stormy, the wind blowing a regular hurricane at the time. The second mate who never says anything to the men without swearing even forgot to swear while we were in danger. The men worked like niggers the whole time and generally they are slovenly and very lazy about their work.

 

Jan 11th Sunday      At 4 a.m. we stood towards the Irish coast again and passing Belfast went down the east coast of Ireland. We had splendid weather all day running before the wind the whole time. During the evening we had one or two squalls but nothing to speak of. We ran down part of the south coast of Ireland in the night.

 

Monday Jan 12th    During the morning we gradually neared Queenstown. About 10.30 p.m. (a.m.?) the pilot came aboard. The sea is very calm. We ran into Queenstown harbour (the 2nd finest in the world) and anchored at 12 o’clock. Bum boat people came aboard during the afternoon and the Captain went ashore. The bum-boats drove a flourishing trade. Among other things that were bought 2 or 3 bottles of whiskey & port & rum were smuggled into our cabin. During the evening we had a jollification; among other health’s that were proposed was “Good luck to the Derwent & finer weather with a better crew”. We all of us got a bit fresh, two only getting completely boozed, by name Pocock & ………

 

The next page has been removed, -- quite tidily, so expect it could be deliberate.. maybe to destroy the evidence!

 

………………..…………We went & played billiards in the afternoon at the Queen’s Hotel and in the evening saw a grand billiard match. We got back by 10 p.m. pretty fresh and frisky.

 

Jan 14th               Wednesday. In the morning the pilots came on board and at 12 o’clock we were tugged out of harbour by the steam tug “Lord Brandon” At 2 p.m. we set sail and the pilot & tug left. We sailed SW x W running right before the wind under our mizzen upper & lower topsails & lower top gallant sail and our fore course upper and lower topsails having a nice breeze.

 

Jan 15                  Thursday. Kept on dead before the wind setting our royals for the first time this voyage. Had a very fair wind indeed. Found three stowaways who had got aboard somehow at Queenstown. About 8 p.m. we got off the bay of Biscay but were too far West to feel any of the lop.

 

Jan 16th Friday.   Have got every stitch of canvas set running before the wind in fine style. Shall be off the North West Coast of Spain by 9 p.m. Have gone at an average of 12 or 13 knots an hour all day. Have had the first shower of rain today. It has always been hail & snow before. It is getting much warmer already, being like spring instead of winter. Porpoises have been swimming around us all day.