Saturday 21st March – from noon – fine weather. Moderate and foul wind.
Sunday 22nd – much rain and strong gales during last night. This morning moderate and foul wind, with heavy swell from Westward. Cloudy weather. At 3.30 P.M. moderate and favourable wind, with thick gloomy weather and sleet.
Monday 23rd – fresh and fair wind all last night & to day till 4 P.M. with thick foggy weather. Then the wind changed against us, accompanied with rain, which towards evening lulled the breeze nearly to a calm.
Tuesday 24th – fine pleasant weather. Moderate and foul wind, till towards afternoon, when it became lighter & lighter till at last it fell calm. At 8 P.M. it sprung up light & favourable.
Wednesday 25th – variable weather. Variable winds and calms all light [sic] night & to day.
Thursday 26th – at 2 A.M. very heavy gale from the eastward, which continued till 11 A.M. of to day. While the wind was thus fair, we gained no advantage by not being able to carry sail – and by the time the weather had moderated sufficiently to allow us to do so, the wind became foul. Provoking. Cloudy and pleasant weather.
Friday 27th March – most miserable weather, thick and dark with snow, sleet, or small rain all day. Nearly a calm till 1 P.M., when a light and favourable breeze sprung up.
Saturday 28th – up to noon – constant & heavy rain. Moderate & favourable breeze.
What! Another week, and not in yet! Yes alas it is too true. What tho’ our distance is short, if we have no fair winds? What could we do, with calms & gales, & light & foul winds? Nothing – and I’d defy any vessel, be her build & rigg what it may – to have got along any better than ourselves. We have not had the winds from the same quarter for 24 hours together – often we have had them all round the compass in the same space of time. March which had come in like a lion seems disposed to go out like a lamb – not but that sometimes, when we imagined the lion to be gone, has he returned to growl & grumble – then however he never remained longer than a few hours, & left us again to devour our lamb. And yet what inconsistent mortals are we all. When we were visited by severe gales, we said to each other, that we should be content to be 6 weeks longer on our passage, provided we had moderate weather & light foul winds. Now, now when we have had moderate winds & calms, we again repine that with these we can make little or no progress and forget our former declarations in the annoyance of our present circumstances.
Together with our moderate winds, we have had a very considerable change of weather. We have not had so much rain, fog & sleet in one week as in this – and in my opinions & feelings no kind of weather is so disagreeable on board ship as this. We have not felt so much cold but what I regard as still worse, the feet are constantly damp & consequently cold – and you cannot take sufficient exercise to circulate the blood.
We are now not more than 190 miles from Halifax, and should we be so fortunate to hold the fair wind we have now for two days, we hope to be able by that times to thank God for our safe arrival at our destination.
Saturday 28th March – from noon. As we this week at last succeeded in reaching our port of destination and as I have nothing new to relate respecting so common-place a town as Halifax, I shall in order to fill up my letter, tell you, day by day, what we have been doing, instead of as heretofore, giving you a summary of the weeks wind and weather.
Saturday – from noon – constant drizzling rain with fresh and favourable wind. At 5 P.M. a thick fog came on followed by moderate breezes not quite fair for us. Sounded on the Sable Bank.
Sunday 29th – nearly a calm all last night and to day. Fine forenoon. Thick fog in the afternoon. Light and favourable wind in the evening.
Monday 30th – this morning at 6 saw the lighthouse. Very thick foggy weather all around – & if it had not partially cleared up in time, shewing our near approach to land & the lighthouse in half an hour more we should have struck upon the Sisters, two ugly black looking rocks which uprear their naked bleak heads to an inconsiderable height about [sic – but ‘above’] water, and have met that fate which has befallen so many vessels before us against these same Sisters. As soon however as we descried the anticipated and dreaded danger, we put about and preferred taking our chance in the open sea, to standing on on our present tack, although by doing so we might we might have gained a desirable point. Whilst we were under the lighthouse we fired two guns which were answered from the shore, as we judged from the smoke, which was the only criterion for the wind blowing a gale on shore, no sound or report could reach our ear. We also hoisted our ensign, packet signal & Pendant, in the hope that if those on the signal station could make them out, the good people of Halifax might be advertised of our being at hand, and thus have their minds released from the anxiety under which they doubtless laboured, respecting the Safety of the Packet.
You must know, before you can conceive the extent of our disappointment, that Sambro lighthouse is not more than 20 or 24 miles from the Harbour of Halifax, or in other words they we only [lay] that distance from our Haven of Rest, which we so long buffeted about the sport of winds and waves & exposed to all the perils of the storm & the tempest were all so very very anxious to reach.
Fancy then what must have been our feelings to be compelled to put out again to sea, for fear of running on shore, and to do so even altho’ the wind was fair. But prudence dictated & fear enforced this indispensable measure. The wind blew a gale from the Eastward, and all surrounding objects were shut out from our view by a thick tangible fog, or as our Sailors expressed it, a fog that one might cut with a knife.
As soon as we had reached well off shore, we lay to, and allowed our vessel to drift to Southward & westward.
Tuesday 21st March – the gale continued all day without intermission. We could set no sail but were obliged to let the Old Duke drift, drift away from our port. At night the wind somewhat abated and we were enabled to show some little canvass, and save at least a little of our distance.
Thick misty weather, with occasional showers of slight rain.
Wednesday 1st April – cloudy but fair weather. Land in sight. Fresh and foul wind. Found that owing to a current, we had drifted 60 miles farther off than we had calculated upon.
Thursday 2nd – very fine but cold weather. Very light & foul wind. At 11 A.M. took a pilot on board, which gave us some hopes of soon getting in. At 6 P.M. we were abreast of Sambro lighthouse for the second time, making little way, the wind being so scant. Beating to windward as we were now doing, it is a very tedious & very fatiguing job, especially when your distance is short and you have to make so many tacks. By dint of hard labour, we succeeded in coming to a first anchorage at one or 2 in the morning – not our anchorage in the Harbour, but one 10 or 12 miles off.
Friday 3rd April – at 9 this morning came to our old anchorage in Halifax, to the perfect satisfaction of all and sundry, to whose minds all the hardships & perils, thro’ which they had passed, seemed as nothing, now that they are so comfortably settled. Before we anchored, the Post Master Mr. Howe came on board for the Mail, and from him we learned that the signals we had made off Sambro on Monday had been recognised & our name thereby ascertained – and more over he had written by a vessel which sailed for England next day, to Mr. Gay Packet Agent at Falmouth to inform him we were off the Port with a foul wind. I hope therefore my dear Mother, that you may have seen this notification and be thus relieved from anxiety on our account.
Saturday 4th – variable weather. Of the wind I say nothing for it is now a matter of perfect indifference which way it blows.