DIARYINTRO GLASGOWSPAINEQUATOR
GOOD HOPEURALLASYDNEYCAPE HORNLONDON

 

THE DERWENT DIARY  SYDNEY to CAPE HORN

 

Sunday Aug 30th    No service held today on account of the quantity of work to be done in consequence of just starting from port.

 

Monday Aug 31st    Very favourable winds at present though light at times.

 

Tuesday Sept 1st    Have taken a bet of 1/- with Gambier that we shall get to the Horn in 28 days from Sydney & if these breezes hold we are pretty sure to get there in that time.

 

Wed. Sept 2nd      The 2nd mate has turned up ill. In some former time he had the “Yellow Jack” and now he suffers two or three times a year with tremendous sickness in consequence of it. The bos’n has had to take his place on deck

 

Thurs. Sept 3rd    We are nearing New Zealand fast & are at present making a very quick passage.

 

Friday Sept. 4th    The 2nd mate is still laid up. Passed the North of New Zealand during the day and sighted a number of islands off the north coast.

 

Saturday Sept. 5th     The 2nd mate has at last been able to turn out once more & right glad are all hands that are in his watch, for there never could be a finer fellow, a braver man, or a stricter officer

 

Sunday Sept. 6th      A stiff breeze blowing all day & in a favourable quarter: bowling along at a good pace.

 

Monday Extra day as we have just past 180°.

 

Monday Sept 7th     Very squally. Wind getting ahead.

 

Tuesday Sept 8th     Getting very cold. The squalls are very cutting.

 

Wednesday Sept 9th     Wind has got ahead and consequently we are driven out of our course steering N.N.E. when we want to SE x E½ .E.

 

Thursday Sept 10th     The captain (keen old sea dog) began to shorten at 11.30 although there was only a cap full of wind blowing but he saw what was coming before anyone else aboard & about 12.15 it began to blow hard increasing gradually until in an hour’s time it was blowing great guns, but by that time we were under snug canvass, being 3 lower tops’ls, fores’l and storm bys’l. It blew hard all night.

 

Friday Sept 11th     Still under the same canvass & still headreaching on account of the unfavourable wind. A southerly buster came on tonight but it had no effect on us under such little canvass

 

Saturday Sept. 12th    Favourable wind once more so we have set all sail again. If the wind had not changed today the Captain was going to go about and go round the Cape of Good Hope as it was a favourable wind for that direction.

 

Sunday Sept 13th     The wind changed into a favourable direction for the Horn & we set all sail. At 12.15 a.m. a white squall came up suddenly. All hands were called on deck to shorten sail, but we were barely in time to save the ship from going down. The squall struck us & put the ship on her beam ends the lee sail being completely under water & the decks almost perpendicular. At the same the main topm’st stays’l carried away and ½ a second after the crojack tack carried away.

Everyone was expecting to see the fore t’gallant & royal masts to go overboard, but an old sailor (Jack Knowall as we call him) at the risk of his life left the main bits where he was hanging on & crept along under the weather bulwarks & let go the t’gallant halliards. Then at last the (ship) began to right herself. There were 5 men at the wheel & they could only gain 4 spokes on account of the pace she was going which was over 18 knots. It was a narrow squeak for almost all hands as possible. However after she came up we very soon had her under snug canvass viz:- fores’l, fore lower tops’l, main lower tops’l & topmast stays’l.

 

Monday Sept. 14th    A furious gale blew all day but we were right enough under snug canvass.

 

Tuesday Sept 15th   Began to set sail early this morning the gale having diminished considerably.

 

Wed. Sept 16th     A calm came on about midday and lasted all night Lat 48.25 Long 146.12.

 

Thursday Sept 17th     Caught several Cape Pigeons. They are pretty little birds very prettily marked with black & white. Lat 50.12 Long 139.22

 

Friday Sept 18th    Cut the wings off one of my Cape Pigeons.

Lat 52.23 Long 133.2

 

Sat Sept. 19th      It was too rough to wash down the decks; fearful big green seas coming aboard.

Lat 54.14 Long 128.27

 

Sunday Sept. 20th    Very heavy & dirty weather. Worked hard all day. Had to make a lot of nettles for the mainsail, the rovings having carried away.

 

Monday Sept 21st     One of the crew have been very ill with palpitation of the heart ever since we left Sydney. He has been taken worse today than ever.

Lat 57.48 Long 116.21

 

Tuesday Sept 22nd    Fearfully cold day Ice & snow on deck.

Lat 59.17 Long 111.14

 

Wed. Sept 23rd    Saw  an iceberg in the distance. Fearfully cold. Iron burns like live coal if touched with a bare hand. The vicinity of icebergs is the cause of the intense cold.

Lat 59.52 Long 106.5

 

Thursd. Sept 24th     Not so cold today. Saw  a tremendous Sperm whale about 10 yards off the ship. He was a splendid fellow.

 

Friday Sept 25th    Made nettles all day for the rovings of the sails. The sails are all beginning to carry away from the jack-stays in consequence of the constant chaffing caused by the heavy weather that we have experienced.

 

Sat Sept 26th     Had to stand by all day. It was snowing too hard to do any work.

Lat 58.46 Long 77.9

 

Sunday Sept 27th     Very heavy weather again today. We have not had a fine Sunday since we left Sydney, but have had heavy weather every Sunday.

 

Monday Sept 28th    We are fast nearing the Horn.

Lat 59.4 Long 71.3

 

Tuesday Sept 29th    Connor is very bad & not expected to live to the Tropics. For a whole fortnight he has not been able to get into his bunk, but has to sit by the forecastle fire all (night) & all day, sleeping there as best he can.

 

Wed. Sept 30th Head wind has caused us to go about and heave to.

Lat 58.12 Long 69

 

 

Thursday Oct. 1st    Connor managed to get into his bunk today being a little better, & it is my belief he will never get out of it again alive.

Lat 57.59 Long 70.24

 

Friday Oct 2nd     Caught a snowbird & got Upperton (¼Master) to skin one for me. Still hove to, but signs of a favourable wind before morning on the horizon.

Lat 56.52 Long 70 .15

 

Sat. Oct. 3rd      Favourable wind at last. Wind dead aft & spinning along at the rate of 13 knots. Shall be of(f) the Horn tomorrow at this pace.

 

Sunday Oct 4th      Sighted a small island early in the morning called Juan Ruriandviey or some comical name like that. In the evening at 6 p.m. we passed the Horn at about a distance of 12 miles off. We had our royals set the whole time whilst going round, a memorable affair and a very rare one.

Lat 56.11 Long 68.19