The Winnett Diary Pt2


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13th July, 1882 blowing a gale which increased by mid-day into a hurricane with rain; the spanker sheet, foretopsail, foregallant sheet, main-sheet and foremainsheet blown into ribbons at 1 o’clock – we were hove to, all sail reefed and riding the storm out, drifting leeward, the wind S.W. by S., shipping little water, but rolling about rather freely; causing all our moveables to travel about, more comical than agreeable; had dinner with great difficulty.

14th July – morning dawned cold and miserable; still drifting we look so funny wrapped up to try and keep warm, one would think we were on a walking expedition; `tis colder than December at home.

15th July – fair wind; again going splendidly Lat. 38.12S. Long. 4.13W, birds flying around ship, saw an albatross.

16th July, weather bitter cold, but going apace; no church service now as `tis too cold to stand on deck.

17th July, bitter cold with snow, hail and fog; little ones are perishedlooking, and the ship rolls occasionally causing the poor dears to fall and squall; some tanks of rotten potatoes thrown overboard today.

18th July, sailing first-class, a fine bracing wind; the Captain and sailors look pleased; they enjoy the blowing.

19th July – Lat. 43.49S, Long. 15.51E – going well still; got cheese as a treat from the doctor; several of the women went and asked for beer; said they couldn’t eat cheese without beer; but they didn’t get it for all their begging; some are never satisfied.

20th July – weather cold and wet, sea washing over vessel at 8 p.m. We were all startled by a thundering noise overhead; we though the mast had broken, but on enquiry found that a heavy sea had come and carried away two meat barrels and the cannon which were strapped to the deck; the noise was terrific and during the night the sailors were standing in four feet of water, poor men, they have to endure severe hardships.

21st July – storm raging; no one allowed on deck but sailors as it is not safe for those unaccustomed to sea life.

22nd July – weather clearing; the hatchway open, and we have a little fresh air; we are busy cleaning up for Sunday.

23rd July – weather cold, but fine, storm abated now; glass 33 degrees; the doctor has been round and says he will allow beer to the women tomorrow.

24th July – cold still, but fine; glass 40 degrees.

25th July – bitter cold today `tis freezing; going steadily, 12 knots an hour; passed the Orontes again at 9 p.m.; she had passed us in the storm and the Captain had been trying to overtake her; he has succeeded though the sea was high and rough in Lat. 43.55S Long. 52.48E.

26th July – we have had a trying night; the sails were reefed and the ship lay to, and didn’t it roll delightfully, tins, slippers, bags, small boxes, and everything moveable tottering about under the beds from one side to the other, such searching for lost property next morning was laughable; the sea dashed high over the ship threatening to engulf her every moment; one of the lifeboats was loosed and to make matters worse we had a visit from the rats, they eat a hole in the bedclothes and we felt uncomfortable when we felt them tugging away at the foot of the berth; they are not one bit afraid of us. We got marmalade today to console us for the rolling we got last night.

27th July – day fine, but still a cold wind out, all are keeping tolerably well, at intervals the sea keeps washing over the side making us shiver when we hear it.

28th July – a very snowy day, but not as cold as yesterday, shipping very heavy seas; caught eight rats.

29th July – weather improving; going steadily; one of the sailors caught a large bird called Mollyhawk; it weighed 18 lbs; commencing to snow and hail.

30th July – Lat. 42.5 Long. 75.33E – it is fine today; but the sea does wash over our vessel; every thundering wave threatening to shiver our noble ship; one of the wash-houses and two tubs washed overboard; `tis beginning to snow again and very cold; some of the married folk are having a row; the doctor had to be sent for to put a stop to it. 31st July – weather clearing snow all gone, but the cold is awful; our ship is surrounded with birds, mollyhawks, waterhens, and Cape pigeons, they look so pretty skimming over the water; the men are busy trying to catch them.

1st August – weather a little finer today; getting nearer the sun; birds very plentiful but going too fast to catch them. Opened all sail about 9 p.m. and went along with a steady.