Week 6

Sunday 23rd Nov.r – during all last night airs & calms which continued also all day. Tho’ not more than 16 miles off, we lay hour after hour becalmed. At 2 we had a moderate NE which lasted till half past three, then calms and baffling winds. The town is plainly in sight but we in the situation of Tantalus.

Monday 24th – this morning being calm, we were towed in by our boats and came to anchor at 8 A.M. We were employed all day in taking in water. Remained on board myself – fine weather with the exception of one or two heavy showers from the hills. At 9 P.M. up anchor – very little wind.

Basse Terre in Guadeloupe

Tuesday 25th – little wind till towards this morning, when the sea breeze struck in and carried us quickly over to Guadaloupe. We passed the Saints in fine style but no sooner had we come abreast of the first high land in Guadaloupe than our fair wind failed us & we were left to the mercy of light baffling airs & calms, at the same time that we saw the fresh sea breeze blowing not more than a mile from us all around. At 12 I went on shore with the Mail the Commander feeling rather indisposed, and at ½ past one returned.

I think the view of Basse Terre and the surrounding country forms as lovely a picture as I have ever seen, nearly hemmed in by a semicircle of hills, which far retired back, leave a great deal of slope which descends to the Town and is every inch cultivated. All the fields are well defined by hedges and in their various shades compose a splendid picture. The purple tops of the sugar contrast beautifully with the dark green of the coffee plant, while here and there are visible neat whitewashed houses, which remind me very much of the farm houses of England. Several excellent roads are seen to traverse the country for the accommodation of travellers & the easy transportation of the produce of the estates.

The town itself is of considerable length. On the extreme right is an old fort for the protection of Basse Terre, and a little to the left of that, and above the town are two handsome ranges of Barracks, with projecting galleries in front and surrounded by a stone wall.

Underneath these the Town extends, a mass of stone buildings, intermixed with the green foliage of numerous trees. The buildings present a great variety of aspects. They are not so magnificent as those of Martinique, but still superior to similar erections in the English Islands. Several houses of greater extent and pretensions than others are seen here & there, but I know not what they are – public I believe. At the extreme left and a little out of Town is the burying ground, marked out by numerous tombstones. There is only one landing place – very small & very bad.

From the time the Mail was on board until 5 P.M. we were knocking about off Basse Terre, rather losing than gaining ground to another, & the men were much fatigued with hauling round the yards times without number. At 5 the land breeze struck in but light & fitful, enabling us to sail along the coast. When I left the deck at 9 we were not more than a few miles from the Town. Beautiful weather all day.

Wednesday 26th Nov.r – this morning, when I turned out, found we were nearly midway between Guadeloupe & Antigua. At 4 P.M. we came to anchor off S.t Johns. I did not go on shore at all. At 8 the Captain returned with the Mail when we set sail for Montserrat with a light and favourable breeze all day.


Thursday 27th – light winds during the night. At 9 A.M. landed the Mail at Montserrat & left again at 10.30. Tho’ the distance between Montserrat & Nevis is short, we did not succeed in reaching the latter Island to day as we had expected, in consequence of foul wind. Strange to be said, we had it SW & due North instead of NE or ENE the usual wind. Passed round Island, fine weather.

Friday 28th – at 7.30 A.M. I landed the Mail at Nevis, where I had the pleasure of seeing our old passenger M.r Ferrier, who is Post Master here. After waiting an hour I received the Mail & left when we stretched over to S.t Kitts which we reached at Noon. There I landed with Capt.n and returned at 2 oClock – fine weather. Very strong breeze in the afternoon with heavy sea.

Saturday 29th – this morning strong breezes & heavy sea. Nearly [at] the Virgin Islands. Finding we could not weather a rock island at the entrance to Tortola, bore away at once for St. Thomas, which we reached at 1 P.M. & from whence we dispatched our mate, in a small sloop, with the Mail for Tortola.

Read on …