Weeks 1 & 2

The time I have spent in Harbour (after our last voyage to Halifax) which amounted nearly to 7 weeks, has been marked by a longer period of fine weather than has fallen to my lot to witness since I have known Falmouth. In it was heavenly, and I openly recanted the opinion I had so repeatedly expressed that fine weather was always a stranger here. Of course I have had more enjoyment out of doors, than ever I had before, and never more regretted the termination of our holiday, as our days on shore may be termed.

For three or four days previous to our day of sailing, a change came oer the scene, and in place of light breezes and calms the winds blew and the waves rose, just quite the contrary of what could have been wished by us, who had to get all our bedding, cloths &.c on board. For my own part I was obliged to get up early on the morning and in such a cockle of a boat to breast the waves, & face the squalls. I got very well, and comparatively dry on board – stowed away my things in my birth – & in half an hour was on my return to shore when a furious blast arose, with slick drizzling rain, and impelled my little barkie most merrily on the top of the billows without any aid from paddles or oars. I was indeed very glad when I put my feet again on shore in safety as I did not at all feel comfortable while exposed to a heavy sea, & an uncertain wind.

On the afternoon of the same day our commander with four of our ships company left the Packet in the gig, in order to go to S.t Mawes on the opposite side of the Harbour, to which place M.r James belongs & where his friends reside. Very little sail was set (only the mizen on the m.n mast) and every thing went on well, until they reached the cross channel. There the tides setting one way and the wind blowing another, such a tumult was thereby produced, that at once in the twinkling of an eye, the gig was capsized, turning bottom up, and of course all on board were thrown into the water. Those in the boat told me that when she was a being capsized they threw themselves clear, lest they should be struck by the gunwale & rendered insensible, & whilst so, sink to the bottom.

In the midst of the heavy rolling waves which surrounded them it was difficult for our Commander to keep afloat. Besides as the weather was rather chilly, with rain and the water splashing over the sides, all were provided against these in consequence by thick cloathes and sea boots. Hence their difficulties were increased incalculably, when their cloathes became soaked & their boots filled so much that when after being 20 minutes in the water, the Com.r and three of the gigs crew were picked up by the boats of the Pike Schooner, and Nightingale Packet, they were nearly exhausted, and could not have held out for many minutes longer – indeed one of them (Aleck Webb) when picked up was already under water & insensible. I have said three only of the crew were saved, and sorry am I to be obliged to add that poor Charles Richards or Quintrall met a watery grave. He was heavily cloathed, and sunk after remaining 5 minutes on the surface. I am inclined to think, from my knowledge of his character, that he must have taken fright, and losing all presence of mind, have sunk without a possibility of again rising – which he never did, as the boats watched for some time.

The survivors were at once carried on board the Pike, and threatened with the utmost kindness. Hot grog and dry cloathing were instantly furnished, and after four or five hours rest, our men were able to come to Falmouth and our Com.r to proceed to S.t Mawes.

Saturday 18th Oct.r – this is our sailing day, but fortunately, after our late melancholy accident, we are detained, till to-morrow.

Sunday 19th – this morning our gun was fired & our signal hoisted. By 8 a.m. I was on board in time to go out in the Duke from the Inner Harbour, to the Roads.

At 11.15, all being ready, we started in company with the Stanmer[1] The weather was suspicious & every appearance threatened a gale from the SW. We determined however to try, and it was agreed between M.r James and M.r Sutton, that if nothing could be done, to return together. At 3 p.m., after a rain struggle to make head way, we went about, and returned to Falmouth, where we again came to anchor in the Roads, for the first time since I have joined the service. It blew a gale soon afterwards, with as thick mist, which entirely reconciled us to our enforced return.

Monday 20th October – at 6 a.m. the Captain landed with the Mail bags, to receive any additional letters that might have arrived since yesterday. At 9.30 he returned, and at 10 we left with a foul wind but moderate and fine weather.

Tuesday 21st – variable weather, fresh and favourable breeze. Much sea.

Wednesday 22d – cloudy weather. Fresh and favourable breeze.

Thursday 23d – fine weather. Moderate and favourable breeze.

Friday 24th – cloudy weather. Fresh and favourable wind.

Saturday 25th – fine weather during the day. Cloudy with slight showers at night. Fresh and favourable breeze.

1st Hebdomade

Most fortunate have we been at our commencement and this too to our agreeable surprise. With the exception of our first day, the wind has been fresh and favourable, and at the end of this week we might almost fancy our selves in the trades already, for here have we been rolling from side to side with the wind and the sea following after us. We crossed the Bay of Biscay at its outer edges, and I never remember to have seen less of the too celebrated swell any time I have crossed it, than at this.

The weather also has been very fair, so that we cannot complain thereof. We are in expectation of carrying our N Easter to within the strict limits of the Trades, when we may [be] assured of its continuance and of our speedy arrival at Barbadoes.

II Week

Sunday 26th October – fine weather. Fresh and favourable breeze.

Monday 27th – fine weather. Fresh and favourable breeze.

Tuesday 28th – fine weather. Moderate and favourable wind.

Wednesday 29th – light and foul wind during morning and forenoon, with slight rain. In the afternoon fine weather with very light and favourable breeze.

Thursday 30th October – fine weather. Very light and favourable breeze, variable in direction.

Friday 31st – fine weather all day – slight passing showers at night. Moderate and favourable breeze, that is to say we make Southing and a little Westing, all good – whereas our more direct course would be to steer more to the Westward. Slight showers at night.

Saturday 1st November – fine weather. Moderate and favourable breeze, enabling us to go to South.d – Within the boundaries of the Trades but have not found them yet.

II Hebdomade

Our friend the NE carried us only as far as the commencement of the Variables, and these left us to make the best of our way through the Horse latitudes, which lie between 28 and 30 degrees. At this departure we entered the region of Variables, and there we experienced that it was so famed with justice and reason. Then we had the wind very light and from very different quarters – but fortunately of one day. So one way or another, we shoved thro’ the unwelcome space, expecting to meet with our steady friends the Trades. In this hope, up to the end of this week we have been disappointed. Instead of an Easterly wind, we have the WNW – which enables us to go to the Southward, where we may soon reasonably hope to pick up the Absentees, without leave.

The weather hitherto has been delightful – warm, yet not too warm, because the farther South we proceed, we gradually peel off, that is, lay aside sundries articles of warm clothing, now superfluous. We have not had one rainy day. With the exception of a few slight showers, all has been fair and favourable.

Read on …