21st Dec 1831

(Drakes Island)
The morning was very calm and the sun shone red through the mist: every thing gave us hopes of a steady NE wind, and a prosperous voyage. But here we are yet to remain alternately praying to and abusing the SW gales. From weighing to again letting down our anchor everything was unfortunate.

We started at 11 oclock with a light breeze from NW and whilst tacking round Drakes Island, our ill luck first commenced. It was spring tide and at the time lowest ebb; this was forgotten, and we steered right upon a rock that lies off the corner. There was very little wind or swell on the sea so that, although the vessel stuck fast for about half an hour, she was not injured. Every maeneuvre was tried to get her off; the one that succeeded best was making every person on board run to different parts of the deck, by this means giving to the vessel a swinging motion. At last we got clear and sailed out of harbour not a jot the worse from our little accident. When we were on the open sea I soon became sick: at 4 oclock I went down to the Captains cabin and there slept till 8 oclock, after that I retreated to my hammock and enjoyed a most comfortable sleep till morning.

As soon as it was light Stokes and myself looked at a pocket compass, which we agreed was bewitched, for it pointed to NE instead of to where we were sailing W by S. Our doubts were cleared up by Wickham putting his head in and telling us we should be in Plymouth Sound in the course of an hour. During the middle watch the wind began to change its direction and at 4 oclock, when we were only 11 miles from the Lizard, it blew a gale from SW. Upon this the Captain wared the ship and we returned to our old home at the rate of eleven knots an hour.

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