DIARYINTRO GLASGOWSPAINEQUATOR
GOOD HOPEURALLASYDNEYCAPE HORNLONDON

 

THE DERWENT DIARY - GOOD HOPE to SYDNEY

 

Monday March 16th      Albatrosses & Molly-hawks are flying around together with Cape Hens and Mother Cary’s Chickens.

 

Tuesday March 17th      Stormy Petrels have appeared on the scene. Albatrosses measuring a good 15 inches from tip to tip of their wings are flying around.

 

Wed March 18th            A frigate bird paid us a visit today. It is a perfectly black bird very much like a Molly-hawk but bigger.

 

Thurs March 19th S       Saw  a whale for the first time. It is a large fish (or rather animal). The 1st thing I saw  was a very high fountain of water springing up from the sea about 10 ft high. Then appeared a huge black mass and lay perfectly motionless. Soon appeared its tail (or flukes) on high and with a flourish, which made a noise like a gun going off and caused the water to heave up & down, it disappeared.

 

Friday March 20th         At 7 p.m. the wind not being at all favourable the order was given to get the braces all clear for going about at 8 p.m., but at 7.45 p.m. the wind having hauled off about 2 points in our favour we did not go about to the great satisfaction of everyone

 

Saturday March 21st  Captain has turned me into his secretary writing out a manifest of all the cargo.

 

Sunday March 22nd    Had divine service in the saloon as it was too cold out on deck and too much water aboard. Longitude 53.43 E Latitude 43 S

 

Monday March 23rd    We are beginning to clean up all the bright & brass work in readiness for going into harbour although we do not expect to go in for at least a fortnight. Am still doing writing for the skipper. Long 59.34 E 43.44 S Lat

 

Tuesday March 24th   Have made a splendid run during last night and today. Ran at an average rate, all night, of 13 knots an hour and that was without our royals and staysails Long 64.22 Lat 41.3

 

Wed March 25th          Still very cold. Long 68.4 Lat 44.49.

 

Thursday March 26th      Painting and varnishing is being done, and the vessel begins to look quite a different vessel. Have made no Latitude south today but have gone a few miles north Long 74.2 Lat 44.18

 

Friday March 27th      Pretty nearly a dead calm the wind veered about to pretty nearly every point in the compass. Long 76.31 Lat 44.23

 

Sat. March 28th          At 7 p.m. we prepared to go about, but the wind shifted two points and so we still kept on our course. Long 79.58 Lat 45.4

 

Sunday March 29th   Had Divine Service in the saloon, but no sermon. Long 84.17 Lat 45.48

 

Monday March 30th    It was calm enough to fish today over the stern, so Peterson got a line and began fishing for mollyhawks and Cape hens that were flying around and he succeeded in hooking a Cape hen which was rash enough to swallow the bit of pork that lay in the water ready to be consumed. After taking the bones out of the wings for pipe stems and the webbed feet to make tobacco pouches and cutting the beak and head off we chucked the body overboard, as the body of the sea birds about here are not fit to eat, because they have a fishy taste about them Long 88.33 Lat 46.5

 

Tuesday March 31st   Took the head and beak of the Cape hen to Gustaveson (a quartermaster) to cure for me but he found that the head was too much injured when they killed it, so he cut the head off and preserved the beak.

 

Wednesday April 1st    April Fools’ day. Very wet and drizzly day Long 97.41 Lat 46.12.

 

Thursday April 2nd   Had a school of sperm whales around the vessel for the best part the day. They were just like torpedo boats; they come up to the top of the water and slide (not swim) through a wave and disappear again, they don’t seem to swim at all but to slide through the water without using a fin at all. They are snub nosed too.

 

Friday April 3rd        Being Good Friday the whole ships crew  had a holiday & extra good food including fresh meat & plum duff & soup were served out to every man in the vessel. The men were so superstitious that they would not eat their food, but saved it till Saturday, as they believed that it is unlucky to feast on Good Friday Long 106.20 Lat 46.15.

 

Saturday April 4th   A porker was killed today in order to give the men a feast of fresh roast pork on Sunday. Long 112.33 Lat 46.6

 

Sunday April 5th      We rounded Cape Secruvin though too far south to see land. We have got a splendid breeze today, and yet the water is quite calm, because of the shore on our port side. Though it is so far off it influences the water for a distance of about 650 miles. Long 118.28 Lat 46.5

 

Monday April 6th      Fair breeze. Made a pretty good run

 

Tuesday April 7th     Very wet day, but a pretty good breeze.

 

Wednesday April 8th Wind has veered round ahead and so we have not made much Longitude today.

 

Thursday April 9th     Captain is heading up towards Tasmania.

 

Friday April 10th        Sighted Rurick Island off the south coat of Tasmania.

 

Saturday April 11th    Rounded Tasmania in fine style going the whole day at an average rate of 10 degrees. Great excitement prevailed when we sighted the South East cape of Tasmania, cheer upon cheer resounding from the deck. The fore & main rigging was swarmed with human beings feasting on the sight of land once more after nearly 3 months of nothing but sea and sky.

 

Sunday April 12th     The Captain did not know what to make of the weather. The barometers sunk at a fearful rate, it was as sultry and hot as in the tropics, not a breath of wind, and the sails hanging listlessly down. The sky to the south was as black as night. The Captain walked up and down the poop and would not leave the deck even to get his breakfast. The vessel having no steerage way went completely round the compass and had got her head Southwest by south ½ south when suddenly a breeze sprang up right ahead and we were taken aback without a moments notice. We immediately went about as quick as possible to prevent the masts going by the board.

 

Monday April 13th      Ran up the east coast of Tasmania and got off the mouth of the Bass Straits

 

Tuesday April 14th    Got off Cape Howe today but was too far to the eastward to see land.

 

Wednesday April 15th   The wind being ahead we had to go about and although there was hardly a breath of wind we (steering a course of south west) came in sight of Cape Howe at 4 p.m. At 7p.m. we went about again and steered North by West ½ West. The breeze began to freshen at 10 p.m. and the course was altered to North.

 

Thursday April 16th    Made a splendid run up the coast, close in, having sighted land at daybreak. At 6 p.m. we were abreast of Woolangong and only had 40 miles more to run to Sydney Heads and as the Captain didn’t want to get there till the next morning (as no vessel to go into harbour after sunset) we began shortening sail, but as fast as we shortened sail so the wind rose until at 8 p.m. we were running 10 knots an hour and only 3 lower topsails and fore topmast staysail set. At 8.10 p.m. we sighted the electric lighthouse of Sydney Heads. Cheer upon cheer rose from the decks at the sight of our destination. At 10 p.m. we were abreast of the heads and so we had to heave to until the morning. The wind blew a southerly buster.

 

Friday April 17th       At 6 a.m. we steered straight for the Heads. A little tug came out to take us in named Irresistible. When she came alongside the sea was frightfully heavy and we were rolling fearfully. Once or twice she seemed as though she were coming over our taffrail . We could have got her on our poop as easy as possible she was so small. She was just like a little toy by the side of us. We smashed the line twice which was fastened to her tow rope to bring it aboard. She towed us inside the Heads then (the weather being very squally) she could not manage us at all and we were just drifting on, the breakers to leeward so she signalled 4 other tugs to help her keep us off, and they managed between them to get us along to our anchorage in Pinchgut Bay, where we anchored to unload our gunpowder before going up to the wharf.