26th February 1833

At sea in the South Atlantic
Put to sea & steered for the Falkland Islands: at night it blew heavily with a great sea: the history of this climate is a history of its gales.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
On the 26th we sailed, passed through a most disagreeable swell off Cape San Diego, and ran before a fresh gale towards the Falkland Islands. Towards evening we rounded to for soundings, but the sea was so high and short, that a man* at the jib-boom-end was pitched more than a fathom under water. He held on manfully, both to the boom and the lead-line, and as he rose above the wave, blowing and dripping, hove the lead forward as steadily as ever.† My own feelings at seeing him disappear may be imagined:—it was some time before we sounded again. This heavy though short sea seemed to be caused by the flood tide, coming from the southward, and meeting waves raised by strong north-west winds. The stream of tide set us a mile each hour north-eastward.

At eight the wind and sea were too much for us to run with; therefore, watching an opportunity, we rounded to‡ under close-reefed main-topsail, trysails, and fore-staysail.

* Nicholas White [Quartermaster].
† Two men in the staysail netting were also dipped under water, at a second plunge, from which White escaped.
‡ The barometer was below 29 inches.

No comments: