Taking the average rate of going within the limits of the Trades, we may be considered as having [gone] very well this week – and should we continue to tell off the same number of miles every day for 16 days we may reckon upon being at anchor at Port Royal at the end of that time.
You will be rather astonished when I say that the weather has been too fine and that I regret exceedingly that we have not had several heavy showers of rain. How is it possible, you will ask, that any one should wish for rainy in preference to dry weather. I am sure none but farmers and Doctors would ever desire any other. I shall explain the [reason] very shortly and I hope satisfactorily. On shore you enjoy a considerable temperature and have access to as such water as you like – & yet have plenty to spare. But alack, as for us poor mortals, we are now under a broiling sun – we occasionally eat salt beef or salt fish – and yet we have so many hands on board that our Skipper has judged it expedient to put us on short allowance of water. Consider our burning thirst arising from the heat, and its aggravation an hundred fold from salted provisions and you will readily conceive how precious must be the rain drops from the heavens – since they will serve to allay our raging drowth. Of all the evils which I have yet encountered, thirst is the most intolerable – and I venture to assert that no man ever knew the inappreciable value of pure cold water who has never wanted a drop to cool his parched mouth. The Nectar of the Heathen Deities was nothing to this. The practise of D.r Jangrado of giving (not hot but cold) water, would have superseded every other, had it been possible to have adopted it. To wish yourself in fresh water was not to be thought of for a moment. A contrary opinion was rank heresy or a misprision of treason against the sovereign qualities of that beverage.
The same allowance is issued out to all without exception from Captain to Cook. Half a gallon a day is all we can get – but then when we have had our soup – our fowls boiled – our taties – & our tea, very very little will remain to be drank in its native state. The consequence, we are like persons afflicted with the dropsy, the more we drank, the more desire to drink. Wine and spirits we may have in abundance but who would think of such to quench our thirst – as if perchance, you are tempted by your uncontrollable anxiety for fluids, to imbibe freely of these, the rash act will soon be repented of in added thirst – dry mouth – and a pretty little touch of fever. That such a state of thing may not last much longer is the most anxious hope of all on board – none of whom will for the future, I dare say, ever venture to disparage the value or virtues of Adams wine.
You are not to imagine that because we have been put on short allowance of water, that we have lost our spirits in consequence. Oh no. We still laugh & joke – and endeavour to amuse ourselves in various ways. The principal amusement this week, has been firing at a mark, suspended at the fore yard arm with pistols & fowling pieces. There was a good deal of skill shewn – and indeed I have found that most of the Miners, who have ever gone out with us have been in general good shots – many of them excellent.
Saturday 21st December – moderate and favourable breezes. Fine weather.
Sunday 22nd – fine weather all day with very light and favourable breeze, rain at night followed by a calm.
Monday 23rd – fine weather all day – very light and variable breeze. Heavy showers at night with calm.
Tuesday 24th December – fine weather – light and baffling winds. Christmas Eve.
Wednesday 25th – fine weather – moderate but rather unfavourable breeze all day – foul at night.
Thursday 26th – calms and foul winds all day. Fine weather. Total Eclipse of the Moon, very distinctly seen.
Friday 27th – light and favourable breeze – fine weather.
Saturday 28th – moderate and favourable breeze – very fine weather.