Page images


On the 27th of December it blew a severe storm of wind from the eastward, in the course of which we suffered greatly. One sea broke away the spare yards and spars out of the starboard mainchains; another broke into the ship and stove all the boats. Several casks of beer that had been lashed on deck broke loose, and were washed overboard; and it was not without great risk and difficulty that we were able to secure the boats from being washed away entirely. A great quantity of our bread was also damaged and rendered useless, for the sea had stove in our stern, and filled the cabin with water.

On the 5th of January, 1788, we saw the island of Teneriffe about twelve leagues distant, and next day, being Sunday, came to an anchor in the road of Santa Cruz. There we took in the necessary supplies, and, having finished our business, sailed on the 10th.

I now divided the people into three watches, and gave the charge of the third watch to Mr. Fletcher Christian, one of the mates. I have always considered this a desirable regulation when circumstances will admit of it, and I am persuaded that unbroken rest not only contributes much towards the health of the ship's company, but enables them more readily to exert themselves in cases of sudden emergency.

As I wished to proceed to Otaheite without stopping, I reduced the allowance of bread to two-thirds,

and caused the water for drinking to be filtered through drip-stones, bought at Teneriffe for that purpose. I now acquainted the ship's company of the object of the voyage, and gave assurances of certain promotion to every one whose endeavours should merit it.

On Tuesday the 26th of February, being in South latitude 29° 38', and 44° 44′ West longitude, we bent new sails, and made other necessary preparations for encountering the weather that was to be expected in a high latitude. Our distance from the coast of Brazil was about 100 leagues.

On the forenoon of Sunday the 2d of March, after seeing that every person was clean, divine service was performed, according to my usual custom on this day I gave to Mr. Fletcher Christian, whom I had before directed to take charge of the third watch, a written order to act as lieutenant.

[ocr errors]

The change of temperature soon began to be sensibly felt, and, that the people might not suffer from their own negligence, I supplied them with thicker <clothing, as better suited to the climate. A great number of whales of an immense size, with two spoutholes on the back of the head, were seen on the 11th.

On a complaint made to me by the Master, I found it necessary to punish Matthew Quintal, one of the seamen, with two dozen of lashes, for insolence and mutinous behaviour, which was the first time that there was any occasion for punishment on board,

We were off Cape St. Diego, the Eastern part of the Terre de Fuego, and, the wind being unfavourable, I thought it more advisable to go round to the eastward of Staten-land than to attempt passing

through Straits le Maire. We passed New Year's Harbour and Cape St. John, and on Monday the 31st were in latitude 60° 1' South. But the wind became variable, and we had bad weather.

Storms, attended with a great sea, prevailed until the 12th of April. The ship began to leak, and required pumping every hour, which was no more than we had reason to expect from such a continuance of gales of wind and high seas. The decks also became so leaky that it was necessary to allot the great cabin, of which I made little use except in fine weather, to those people who had not births to hang their hammocks in, and by this means the space between decks was less crowded.

With all this bad weather, we had the additional mortification to find, at the end of every day, that we were losing ground; for, notwithstanding our utmost exertions, and keeping on the most advantageous tacks, we did little better than drift before the wind. On Tuesday the 22d of April, we had eight down on the sick list, and the rest of the people, though in good health, were greatly fatigued; but I saw, with much concern, that it was impossible to make a passage this way to the Society Islands, for we had now been thirty days in a tempestuous ocean. Thus the season was too far advanced for us to expect better weather to enable us to double Cape Horn; and, from these and other considerations, I ordered the helm to be put a-weather, and bore away for the Cape of Good Hope, to the great joy of every one on board.

We came to an anchor on Friday the 23d of May, in Simon's Bay, at the Cape, after a tolerable run.

The ship required complete caulking, for she had become so leaky, that we were obliged to pump hourly in our passage from Cape Horn. The sails and rigging also required repair, and, on examining the provisions, a considerable quantity was found damaged.

Having remained thirty-eight days at this place, and my people having received all the advantage that could be derived from refreshments of every kind that could be met with, we sailed on the 1st of July.

A gale of wind blew on the 20th, with a high sea; it increased after noon with such violence, that the ship was driven almost forecastle under before we could get the sails clewed up. The lower yards were lowered, and the top-gallant-mast got down upon deck, which relieved her much. We lay to all night, and in the morning bore away under a reefed foresail. The sea still running high, in the afternoon it became very unsafe to stand on; we therefore lay to all night, without any accident, excepting that a man at the steerage was thrown over the wheel and much bruised. Towards noon the violence of the storm abated, and we again bore away under the reefed foresail.

In a few days we passed the Island of St Paul, where there is good fresh water, as I was informed by a Dutch captain, and also a hot spring, which boils fish as completely as if done by a fire. Approaching to Van Dieman's land, we had much bad weather, with snow and hail, but nothing was seen to indicate our vicinity, on the 13th of August, except a seal, which appeared at the distance of twenty

« PreviousContinue »