Crossing the Atlantic in 1855 – 4 – The banks of Newfoundland

May 7

brig-sketch.jpgVery cold, snow falling heavily all forenoon.  A large iceberg at a great distance on the horizon and a Newfoundland schooner prosecuting  the seal fishing passed us and about 9 o’clock a French boat passed us, likewise for fishing.  I have plenty of clothes on me but for all that have been shivering all day, every other body apparently in the same condition. 

One of the passengers named Lillian Allan has two children, the oldest a girl of 4 years of age is newly out of the measles.  The other, a boy about 8 months has taken them.  His body is all over with the rash and he is likewise getting teeth right now.  The parents are hardly getting any rest at night just now with the boy and have plenty to attend to during the day.  We have not a great crowd of passengers on this ship but from what I have seen here would advise nobody to attempt a voyage of 5 to 6 weeks to America or anywhere else with a lot of young children as they are terrible care and handful.*

May 8

There was a ship along side of us this morning. Her name was the Non-Such of Liverpool, bound for Quebec.  She is a larger vessel than ours. There was a pretty good wind at the time and we, being so near to her, got a splendid view of her in full sail.   I think there is nothing looks so grand as a ship in full sail at sea, getting up and then down again among the waters.


Screenshot 2017-04-11 14.05.07.pngWe have been sailing for a number of days back on what they call the banks of Newfoundland.  We have not seen land of yet.

One of the passengers, a young lad, went upon deck with a lot of dishes to get them washed in the forenoon.  Got that done and was just at the top of the stairs coming down again when suddenly the ship gave a lurch and thee whole lot are tumbling down to the bottom of the stairs – plates, bowls, cups and saucers etc,. a lot of them broken and of no further use.

The wind has been somewhat unfavourable for the last 24 hours or so and we have changed our course several times of late. I could not but admire the quickness of the sailors when turning the chip about, every man at his place, some orders given and then a final yell from the Captain and then the pulling on the ropes and “halloing” commences and in the course of 2 or 3 minutes sails and ships are turned.

May 9

Snow falling heavily with some mist, very little wind…We have been on the lookout for land all day but have seen none yet.  The Captain says we will see land by 4 o’clock tomorrow morning.

I am still amazed that this lot is blowing around in the cold and snow in the Atlantic with only sail for power and a sextant and maybe a nautical clock to find their bearings.   I am curious how that actually works!

* And we think that traveling for 4 hours with kids in the back of a car with an iPad and earphones is a challenge!



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