Saturday 27 August 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Several nautili having passed close to the shipwithin the last two or three days which could have been pulled up almost with a bucket, I contrived a bag net of about 3 feet diameter to be hung from one of the boats on the ship’s side, and weighted so as to sink in the water about half  its circle. Having got this finished, this morning we succeeded in catching four beautiful fish about three inches long and two broad of the Medusa species, the lower part is surrounded with numerous tentaclae which, with part of the body, are of a light blue colour, the middle part in which the mouth is situated being of a reddish brown. The top part has a delicate transparent membrane about an inch in height which being above the water when the fish is swimming, catches the air, and so assists it in progression. I found it impossible to preserve this fish; in spirits the colour changed to a bright red, and another specimen discharged its colour in salt water almost immediately after death. We have not yet taken a nautilus, but they are still seen sailing about us. They are of the pink kind and some of them very large.–  A few boobies havebeen flying about the ship today, and one was shot by a steerage passenger but unfortunately it fell a little ahead of us. The nearest land to us is Ascension, and as this is 600 miles off, these birds must have had rather a long flight. — The weather remains favorable; the wind is strong & blowing from the desired quarter.The latitude today is 10°23′ & by reference to the ship’s log it appears that we have made as much progress during the last four days as we did during the whole antecedent part of August. The demands upon our gallant Captain’s patience not being now so great as they were when about £15 a day (estimated expenses of the ship) were going out of his pocket without any progress in the voyage being made, the austerity he then assumed has softened down and he is nearly himself again. In fact, the Captain’s visage is a pretty good barometer; nothing seems to annoy him but a calm or an adverse wind; with the wrangling or complaints of the passengers he manages to dispose readily enough.

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