Skip to main content

Sail to Caribbean

Journal of a Voyage to St Domingo, Mexico & Havanna

Sailed Sat.y 24th April – Returned Sun.y 12th Sept.r 1830

It being usual to detain the Mexican packet from the Saturday her appointed time to the Monday following, all of us had fully expected that we would be no exception to that general practice. For my own part so sanguine had I been in my hopes, that I had actually accepted of an invitation to dine with M.r Pearce at Penryn on Sunday. You may then readily imagine our disappointment, when no order for a detention arrived, and we were compelled the most reluctantly to prepare immediately for proceeding to sea. What added much to our vexation was, that the weather which for nearly 4 weeks had been uninterruptedly bad became fine, and filled us with regret at being unable to take advantage on shore of this long-looked for glimpse of a clear sky.

Owing to the high wind and badness of the roads [?] the Mail on the morning of Saturday 24th April 1830 did not arrive till an hour and a half beyond the usual time. In consequence of this, it was 1 P.M.  ere we had received our Mail & proceeded to sea. As I have said, the weather was fine, and the wind, which many days together had been foul, this day changed in our favour, and we would have made considerable progress, but for the tide which set against us.

Sunday 25th April - wind unfavourable – Weather fine.

Monday 26th - wind more favourable – weather variable

Tuesday 27 - winds nearly favourable but variable weather cloudy in forenoon but fine in the afternoon.

Wednesday 28th April – wind and weather variable.

Thursday 29th – cloudy weather – wind nearly favourable.

Friday 30th – wind favourable – Squally weather.

Saturday 1 May – wind variable – squally w.r in the forenoon but very fine in the afternoon.

Sunday 2nd – foul wind – Weather generally fine sometimes squally.

Monday 3rd – in the morning squally with slight showers – day beautiful – wind foul.

Tuesday 4th – very squally unsettled weather – wind foul and very fresh.

Wednesday 5th – very squally and unsettled weather with frequent showers – wind foul & fresh.

Thursday 6th – weather very squally & showery – wind foul till 3 P.M. when it changed into the NW & was consequently fair for us.

Friday 7th – weather squally with much rain. Wind fresh and favourable.

Saturday 8th – cloudy but pleasant weather – fresh and favourable breeze.

Sunday 9th - in the morning weather hazy with rain - in the afternoon cloudy but pleasant - light variable but favourable breezes all day. At 9 A.M. came in sight of Porto Santo and in the afternoon, of Madeira, both at a considerable distance.

Monday 10th - fine weather and favourable breeze from the NE, In sight of Madeira this morning.

Tuesday 11th - fine weather and same favourable breeze.

Wednesday 12th – cloudy but pleasant weather – fresh & favourable breeze.

Thursday 13 – very cloudy weather with slight showers – fresh and favourable breeze.

Friday 14th May – wind favourable – Weather very cloudy with rain in the morning – in the afternoon fine.

Saturday 15th – very fine weather – light but favourable breezes.

Sunday 16th – beautiful weather – light favourable wind.

Monday 17th – beautiful weather – light favourable winds but variable.

Tuesday 18th – d.o W.r – and winds.

Wednesday 19th - d.o W.r – and winds.

Thursday 20th – weather squally with heavy showers of rain – winds extremely variable but favourable – much sea weed.

Friday 21st – weather cloudy in the morning – very fine in the afternoon – wind light but favourable.

Saturday 22nd – very fine W.r – wind favourable.

Sunday 23rd – most beautiful weather – wind steady and favourable.

Monday 24th – fresh and favourable breeze – fine weather.

Tuesday 25th – fine weather – cloudy and rainy at night – fresh & favourable breeze.

Wednesday 26th – pleasant weather – wind favourable – much seaweed.

Thursday 27th – fine weather and favourable wind.

Friday 28th – in the morning weather sultry and hazy, in the afternoon beautiful. Wind moderate & favourable.

Saturday 29th May - weather squally with occasional showers of rain - Wind fair.

Sunday 30th - early this morning we came in sight of Deseada the first of the West India Islands discovered by Colombus. It appeared to be a pretty large island and of moderate elevation - but owing to the great haziness of the weather, we could make out nothing more. From the same cause too we could merely decry the islands of Guadeloupe, Antigua & Monserrat. The former is the largest of these, and on the north side which we saw first, the lands seemed to be very low, while that on the West rose to a considerable height. Monserrat is rather a small island, - it is nearly double the size of Deseada. Whilst we were passing these islands the wind was right aft, and the weather very pleasant.

Monday 31st - hazy and changeable weather, with occasional heat - wind extremely variable, sometimes lulled into a calm and at other times roaring in squalls.

Flying Fish, Bonitos and Boobies

Tuesday 1st June - in the morning heavy squalls, but during the rest of the day fine weather, Wind moderate and favourable. Saw large numbers of Bonitos, flying fish & birds (chiefly noddies & boobies). The scene was interesting and curious. We could easily trace the progress of a large shoal of the flying fish, from the constant ripple produced in the water by the Bonitos, who were eagerly bent upon the satisfying of their own voracious maws and the destruction of the poor flyers. Every time they caught one, they leapt out of the water almost perpendicularly or oblique, as if to gulp down the delicious morsel. If the flying fish succeeded in escaping from their merciless pursuers by using the power God had given them, of rising into the air - their hard case was not mended - their threatened danger was not eluded - and the sight we saw of afforded an ample illustration of the old wise saw ‘out of the frying pan into the fire.’ For upwards of 30 or 40 large birds kept perpetually hovering over the tracks of the shoals and no sooner did the ‘pisces volehautes’ in obedience to the instincts which self preservation enjoined them, emerge from the sea, than the noddies & boobies &c. pounced at once upon them in that fate which they had hoped to have escaped.

Wednesday 2nd June - hazy and cloudy weather - wind fresh and favourable.

Thursday 3rd - hazy weather and very hot. Saw the island of Domingo at times. Wind moderate and favourable.