Friday 14 October 1836

[, on board the wrote. | Read source notes.]

Octr 14th The morning of the 12th opened  brightly, but about 11 o’clk it blew so heavily that we were  placed under double-reefed topsails, & the wind increasing the Capt ordered the Carpenter to put in the dead lights at our windows. The wind still increased till 2 o’clk the next morning when it blew – to use the Capts words “a very severe gale”. The sea broke over the ship, with a shock like that of thunder, & when I went on deck about midnight I found the Capt anxious as to the safety of the ship – not so much from the effect of the gale, as from the violence of the sea, which was, to use a hackneyed phrase “running mountains high”. Towards morning the wind abated, & yesterday the good ship “Africaine” was again persueing her course without having sustained any injury beyond the loss of main-top sail, which was torn into shreds. Capt Duff informs me that he never saw the sea higher, or had so severe a gale. This morning we passed the singular little Island of St Paul’s. It had been the Capts intention to stay here for a few hours to procure fish, but the wind was blowing so favourably that the prosecution of the voyage was too tempting for delay. The island is about 2 miles in diameter, uninhabited & surrounded by shoals of rock-cod and other fish; it is moreover celebrated for its springs of boiling water, of which there are several, & some within a few yards of the basin which affords the best fishing. Eggs can be taken here in great numbers, being deposited by flocks of sea fowl, which frequent the Island. Its rise above the sea is considerably less than that of Madeira, but we did not sail near enough to enable me to form any precise idea of the nature of the cliffs. The diminutive size of this Island, and its great distance from any continent have operated as the cause of its present desolate state. It is surprising however that some misanthrope has not chosen it as his abode. Tristan Da Cunha has its “Corporal Glass”, Pitcairn Island its “Adams”, but St Paul’s is yet open to a hermit.

Share this page:

Comments or Questions:

No comments yet.