Week 1

Saturday 23rd November 1833 – no detention having come down, we set sail from Falm.o at 12 oClock precisely in company with the Confiance Steamer, and the Cambden Packet, the former for Lisbon, the latter for the Leeward Islands. The weather was fine but the wind was foul.

Sunday 24th  – miserable rainy weather – gale of foul wind till 4 P.m. when it became more favourable. Very heavy sea.

Monday 25th – gale all night & sea – variable cloudy weather. In the afternoon fair wind and fine weather.

Tuesday 26th – cloudy, but fair weather – rather cold. Fresh and foul wind, gale at night.

Wednesday 27th – change of wind to day, rather more favourable. Little way made on account of high sea. Variable weather. Very unpleasant.

Thursday 28th – cloudy weather. Gale of wind and very heavy sea. Wind in morning from the SW, in the afternoon from the NW.

Friday 29th – fine weather – very heavy sea – fair winds

Saturday 30th – up to noon – Cloudy but fair weather – foul wind.

1st Hebdomadal Period

The day preceding our departure turned so very boisterous that it was expected we should be detained a day or two in consequence since it is not usual for the Packets to start during a gale of foul wind. I was not sorry at the prospect for I had engaged to go to Penryn on the Saturday, and to dine out at an old & esteemed friends on Sunday, thus leaving me ready and willing to set off on the Monday. Under this persuasion I was tolerably at ease & up to the hour when I turned in, there seemed to be no likelihood of a change in the atmosphere. Next morning, upon getting up all my air built fancies disappeared with the circumstance which had caused them – and a change of wind – and that too a moderate one – together with a clear sky, too surely foretold that our period of liberty on shore was expired, and that we must once more submit to confinement and monotony within the narrow crib of a ship for 18 weeks, or more, passing thro’ strange scenes, and enduring the rigours of a tropical season.

One hope still was left, a slender one indeed – but we all know that a drowning man will grasp at a straw – and so and in such manner we clung to the attenuous thread as if it had been the cable of a first rate, capable of keeping us safe at our anchorage in spite of every thing. This was that an order for our detention might possibly arrive on the very morning of our sailing day. You will hear how we fared in this our hope. I was dressing myself – very busily – yet with a feeling of nervous expectation, for the time was at hand, when the Mails would arrive. As the moments wore on, without my hearing anything alarming, I found myself already planning many schemes for spending the day, and the succeeding one, when all at once an ominous sound boomed on my ear, marvellously resembling the report of a gun. I was still unconvinced or rather would not be convinced. I said to myself Noh! Tis a mistake – I won’t trouble myself to go up to the garden to see if our Packet has got up her signal for departure. A little reassured, I continued my occupation, when a second note of preparation, and then a third, following in quick succession, told me but too intelligible loudly that the time for hope was past – & doubt became certainty. Well then, I had nothing to do but to get down my morning repast – collect my little trifles still on shore, & bundle myself, bag and baggage into a shore boat to be conveyed on board.

If I had felt annoyed at being so unceremoniously obliged to beat a retreat, the very ince of my ill humour was not sweetened by what I saw on board. The decks were crammed & lumbered with the luggage of 10 Miners – 4 Cabin passengers – and a husband, wife & four children. All was hubbub and confusion and to my own especial chagrin, the entrance to my castle or cabin was completely blocked up by boxes, hampers, chests and trunks. In such cases ‘tis of no use to grumble or swear – as words break no bones neither would they remove the substantial obstacles in my road in the shape of the abovementioned articles. So I set about it myself and after much personal exertion, partially succeeded in clearing my own territories.

Exactly at noon our anchor was tripped and we sailed majestically from the Harbour with a favourable wind. After we were out the wind was foul for us but we had one comfort that the weather was fine.

Next day and the three succeeding ones we were as miserable and as uncomfortable as our worst enemies could wish. Knocked about like a shuttlecock, at the mercy of a gale of foul wind, which lashed the waves into uncontrollable fury, we could hardly lie or stand, much less walk the decks. To pass from the English to the French, and from the French to the English coast, not progressing, rather retrogressing, was by no means amusing, and by all means dangerous. It was in vain to deplore our hapless condition. The wind blew – the sea rose – and the rains descended till we were quite heartbroken at the prospect of the continuance of such bad weather. If, as I mean we experienced hands found the weather so unpleasant, you may easily fancy that to our numerous passengers the evils we complained of, were aggravated an hundred fold. Those who had been before at sea without having been sick, were sick now – whilst the rest were sick even almost unto death. The state of the weather likewise prevented us from stowing away securely the mass of baggage every where scattered about – the consequence of which was, that, at every lurch the vessel gave, away went boxes, trunks &.c together sometimes with their owners, with a tremendous crash, which was mingled with cries for assistance & the running to & fro of persons with lights – for all below was dark as the grave. I have said the sea was high. Well then not infrequently the top of a huge wave would roll over the gunwale in copious abundance, & lay the deck and even the mess cabin under water. In short talk of hurry scurry as much as you like – of accidents both grave and laughable half a dozen – of wry faces with sick stomachs one half of the company – of sounds both vocal and instrumental, as raised and confused as or the tower of Babel & then you will be able to get up an intimation – a very imperfect one I admit – of a small, crowded, & overloaded vessel in a tempest.

At last we got out of [the] Channel, and felt more at ease, now that we had plenty of sea room. Still the wind was foul with a very heavy swell. It shifted every day from NW to SW and vice versa. We consequently made little way, now on this tack, now on that tack, and by the end of the week, we had no present prospect of weathering Cape Finisterre. One consolation however we had – the air was milder, and we could enjoy a promenade

Saturday 30th Nov.r – cloudy weather but fair – foul winds.

Sunday 1 Dec.r  – weather cloudy but fair – foul wind.

Monday 2nd  – variable and light winds, very variable weather, near Cape Finisterre all day, and weathered it at night.

Tuesday 3rd December – soft drizzly misty weather – light and favourable breeze.

Wednesday 4th – drizzling weather very light and fair wind during the morning – after that nearly a calm. In the afternoon moderate & fresh breezes.

Thursday 5th – wind fair but sometimes very light and variable – fine weather.

Friday 6th – fine w.r variable but favourable breeze.

Saturday 7th – calms alternating with flows of wind. Fine weather.

Read on …