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The "Spray." 

From a photograph taken in Australian waters. 



Captain Joshua Slocum 

Illustrated by 


(4. 4 . 







Copyright, 1899, 1900, by 






A blue-nose ancestry with Yankee proclivities Youthful 
fondness for the sea Master of the ship Northern Light 

Loss of the Aquidneck Return home from Brazil in 
the canoe Liberdade The gift of a "ship"- The re- 
building of the Spray Conundrums in regard to finance 
and calking The launching of the Spray . . 1 


Failure as a fisherman A voyage around the world pro- 
jected From Boston to Gloucester Fitting out for 
the ocean voyage Half of a dory for a ship's boat 
The run from Gloucester to Nova Scotia A shaking up 
in home waters Among old friends . . . .11 


Good-by to the American coast Off Sable Island in a fog 

In the open sea The man in the moon takes an in- 
terest in the voyage The first fit of loneliness The 
Spray encounters La Vaguisa A bottle of wine from 
the Spaniard A bout of words with the captain of the 
Java The steamship Olympia spoken Arrival at the 
Azores 23 


Squally weather in the Azores High living Delirious 
from cheese and plums The pilot of the Pinta At 
Gibraltar Compliments exchanged with the British 
navy A picnic on the Morocco shore . . . .37 




Sailing from Gibraltar with the assistance of her Majesty's 
tug The Spray' 's course changed from the Suez Canal 
to Cape Horn Chased by a Moorish pirate A com- 
parison with Columbus The Canary Islands The 
Cape Verde Islands Sea life Arrival at Pernambuco 
A bill against the Brazilian government Preparing 
for the stormy weather of the cape 50 


Departure from Rio de Janeiro The Spray ashore on the 
sands of Uruguay A narrow escape from shipwreck 
The boy who found a sloop The Spray floated but 
somewhat damaged Courtesies from the British consul 
at Maldonado A warm greeting at Montevideo An 
excursion to Buenos Aires Shortening the mast and 
bowsprit 65 


Weighing anchor at Buenos Aires An outburst of emo- 
tion at the mouth of the Plate Submerged by a great 
wave A stormy entrance to the strait Captain Sam- 
blich's happy gift of a bag of carpet-tacks Off Cape 
Froward Chased by Indians from Fortescue Bay A 
miss- shot for "Black Pedro" Taking in supplies of 
wood and water at Three Island Cove Animal lif e . 79 


From Cape Pillar into the Pacific Driven by a tempest 
toward Cape Horn Captain Slocum's greatest sea ad- 
venture Reaching the strait again by way of Cock- 
burn Channel Some savages find the carpet-tacks 
Danger from firebrands A series of fierce williwaws 
Again sailing westward 98 


Repairing the Spray's sails Savages and an obstreperous 
anchor A spider- fight An encounter with Black 



Pedro A visit to the steamship Colombia On the de- 
fensive against a fleet of canoes A record of voyages 
through the strait A chance cargo of tallow . . 110 


Running to Port Angosto in a snow-storm A defective 
sheet-rope places the Spray in peril The Spray as a 
target for a Fuegian arrow The island of Alan Erric 
Again in the open Pacific The run to the island of 
Juan Fernandez An absentee king At Robinson 
Crusoe's anchorage 126 


The islanders of Juan Fernandez entertained with Yankee 
doughnuts The beauties of Robinson Crusoe's realm 
The mountain monument to Alexander Selkirk Rob- 
inson Crusoe's cave A stroll with the children of the 
island Westward ho ! with a friendly gale A month's 
free sailing with the Southern Cross and the sun for 
guides Sighting the Marquesas Experience in reck- 
oning 138 


Seventy-two days without a port Whales and birds A 
peep into the Spray's galley Flying-fish for breakfast 
A welcome at Apia A visit from Mrs. Robert Louis 
Stevenson At Vailima Samoan hospitality Ar- 
rested for fast riding An amusing merry-go-round 
Teachers and pupils of Papauta College At the mercy 
of sea-nymphs ......... 150 


Samoan royalty King Malietoa Good-by to friends at 
Vailima Leaving Fiji to the south Arrival at New- 
castle, Australia The yachts of Sydney A ducking 
on the Spray Commodore Foy presents the sloop with 
a new suit of sails On to Melbourne A shark that 
proved to be valuable A change of course The 
" Rain of Blood " In Tasmania . 164 




A testimonial from a lady Cruising round Tasmania 
The skipper delivers his first lecture on the voyage 
Abundant provisions An inspection of the Spray 
for safety at Devonport Again at Sydney North- 
ward bound for Torres Strait An amateur shipwreck 
Fnends on the Australian coast Perils of a coral 
sea 180 


Arrival at Port Denison, Queensland A lecture Rem- 
iniscences of Captain Cook Lecturing for charity at 
Cooktown A happy escape from a coral reef Home 
Island, Sunday Island, Bird Island An American 
pearl-fisherman Jubilee at Thursday Island A new 
ensign for the Spray Booby Island Across the In- 
dian Ocean Christmas Island 194 


A call for careful navigation Three hours' steering in 
twenty-three days Arrival at the Keeling Cocos Is- 
lands A curious chapter of social history A welcome 
from the children of the islands Cleaning and painting 
the Spray on the beach A Mohammedan blessing for a 
pot of jam Keeling as a paradise A risky adventure 
in a small boat Away to Rodriguez Taken for Anti- 
christ The governor calms the fears of the people A 
lecture A convent in the hills 210 


A clean bill of health at Mauritius Sailing the voyage 
over again in the opera-house A newly discovered 
plant named in honor of the Spray's skipper A party 
of young ladies out for a sail A bivouac on deck A 
warm reception at Durban A friendly cross-examina- 
tion by Henry M. Stanley Three wise Boers seek proof 
of the flatness of the earth Leaving South Africa . 226 




Rounding the " Cape of Storms " in olden time A rough 
Christmas The Spray ties up for a three months' rest 
at Cape Town A railway trip to the Transvaal 
President Kruger's odd definition of the Spray's voyage 

His terse sayings Distinguished guests on the Spray 

Cocoanut fiber as a padlock Courtesies from the 
admiral of the Queen's navy Off for St. Helena 
Land in sight 240 


In the isle of Napoleon's exile Two lectures A guest 
in the ghost -room at Plantation House An excursion 
to historic Longwood Coffee in the husk, and a goat 
to shell it The Spray's ill luck with animals A preju- 
dice against small dogs A rat, the Boston spider, and 
the cannibal cricket Ascension Island . . . 252 


In the favoring current off Cape St. Roque, Brazil All 
at sea regarding the Spanish-American war An ex- 
change of signals with the battle-ship Oregon Off Drey- 
fus's prison on Devil's Island Reappearance to the 
Spray of the north star The light on Trinidad A 
charming introduction to Grenada Talks to friendly 
auditors . . . 263 


Clearing for home In the calm belt A sea covered with 
sargasso The jibstay parts in a gale Welcomed by a 
tornado off Fire Island A change of plan Arrival at 
Newport End of a cruise of over forty-six thousand 
miles The Spray again at Fairhaven .... 272 





Her pedigree so far as known The lines of the Spray 
Her self-steering qualities Sail-plan and steering-gear 
An unprecedented feat A final word of cheer to 
would-be navigators 283 



THE "SPRAY" Frontispiece 

From a photograph taken in Australian waters. 



" IT 'LL CRAWL " 9 

"No DORG NOR NO CAT" . 18 





-APRIL 24, 1895, TO JULY 3, 1898 . . . .30 












"MoN AND A DOOG" 87 


























TASMANIA, FEBRUARY 22, 1897 183 

"Is IT A-GOIN' TO BLOW?" 188 







OF THE " SPRAY " AT CAPE TOWN ..... 247 














A blue-nose ancestry with Yankee proclivities Youthful fondness 
for the sea Master of the ship Northern Light Loss of the 
Aquidneck Return home from Brazil in the canoe Liberdade 
The gift of a " ship " The rebuilding of the Spray Conundrums 
in regard to finance and calking The launching of the Spray. 

IN the fair land of Nova Scotia, a maritime prov- 
ince, there is a ridge called North Mountain, 
overlooking the Bay of Fundy on one side and 
the fertile Annapolis valley on the other. On the 
northern slope of the range grows the hardy spruce- 
tree, well adapted for ship-timbers, of which many 
vessels of all classes have been built. The people 
of this coast, hardy, robust, and strong, are disposed 
to compete in the world's commerce, and it is 
nothing against the master mariner if the birth- 
place mentioned on his certificate be Nova Scotia. 
I was born in a cold spot, on coldest North Moun- 


tain, on a cold February 20, though I am a citizen 
of the United States a naturalized Yankee, if it 
may be said that Nova Scotians are not Yankees 
in the truest sense of the word. On both sides my 
family were sailors ; and if any Slocum should be 
found not seafaring, he will show at least an inclina- 
tion to whittle models of boats and contemplate 
voyages. My father was the sort of man who, if 
wrecked on a desolate island, would find his way 
home, if he had a jack-knife and could find a tree. 
He was a good judge of a boat, but the old clay 
farm which some calamity made his was an anchor 
to him. He was not afraid of a capful of wind, and 
he never took a back seat at a camp-meeting or a 
good, old-fashioned revival. 

As for myself, the wonderful sea charmed me 
from the first. At the age of eight I had already 
been afloat along with other boys on the bay, 
with chances greatly in favor of being drowned. 
When a lad I filled the important post of cook on 
a fishing-schooner ; but I was not long in the gal- 
ley, for the crew mutinied at the appearance of my 
first duff, and " chucked me out " before I had a 
chance to shine as a culinary artist. The next step 
toward the goal of happiness found me before the 
mast in a full-rigged ship bound on a foreign voy- 
age. Thus I came " over the bows," and not in 
through the cabin windows, to the command of a 

My best command was that of the magnificent 
ship Northern Light, of which I was part-owner. I 
had a right to be proud of her, for at that time 
in the eighties she was the finest American sail- 


ing-vessel afloat. Afterward I owned and sailed 
the Aquidneck, a little bark which of all man's 
handiwork seemed to me the nearest to perfection 
of beauty, and which in speed, when the wind 
blew, asked no favors of steamers. I had been 
nearly twenty years a shipmaster when I quit her 

Drawn by W. Taker. 

The Northern Light, Captain Joshua Slocum, 
bound for Liverpool, 1885. 

deck on the coast of Brazil, where she was wrecked. 
My home voyage to New York with my family was 
made in the canoe Liberdade, without accident. 

My voyages were all foreign. I sailed as freighter 
and trader principally to China, Australia, and 
Japan, and among the Spice Islands. Mine was 
not the sort of life to make one long to coil up 
one's ropes on land, the customs and ways of which 
I had finally almost forgotten. And so when times 


for freighters got bad, as at last they did, and I 
tried to quit the sea, what was there for an old sailor 
to do ? I was born in the breezes, and I had studied 
the sea as perhaps few men have studied it, neglect- 
ing all else. Next in attractiveness, after seafar- 
ing, came ship-building. I longed to be master in 
both professions, and in a small way, in time, I ac- 
complished my desire. From the decks of stout 
ships in the worst gales I had made calculations as 
to the size and sort of ship safest for all weather 
and all seas. Thus the voyage which I am now to 
narrate was a natural outcome not only of my love 
of adventure, but of my lifelong experience. 

One midwinter day of 1892, in Boston, where I 
had been cast up from old ocean, so to speak, a year 
or two before, I was cogitating whether I should 
apply for a command, and again eat my bread and 
butter on the sea, or go to work at the shipyard, 
when I met an old acquaintance, a whaling-captain, 
who said : " Come to Fairhaven and I '11 give you a 
ship. But," he added, " she wants some repairs." 
The captain's terms, when fully explained, were 
more than satisfactory to me. They included all 
the assistance I would require to fit the craft for 
sea. I was only too glad to accept, for I had al- 
ready found that I could not obtain work in the 
shipyard without first paying fifty dollars to a so- 
ciety, and as for a ship to command there were 
not enough ships to go round. Nearly all our tall 
vessels had been cut down for coal-barges, and were 
being ignominiously towed by the nose from port 
to port, while many worthy captains addressed 
themselves to Sailors' Snug Harbor. 


The next day I landed at Fairhaven, opposite 
New Bedford, and found that my friend had some- 
thing of a joke on me. For seven years the joke 
had been on him. The " ship " proved to be a very 
antiquated sloop called the Spray, which the neigh- 
bors declared had been built in the year 1. She 
was affectionately propped up in a field, some dis- 
tance from salt water, and was covered with canvas. 
The people of Fairhaven, I hardly need say, are 
thrifty and observant. For seven years they had 
asked, "I wonder what Captain Eben Pierce is 
going to do with the old Spray f " The day I ap- 
peared there was a buzz at the gossip exchange : 
at last some one had come and was actually at work 
on the old Spray. "Breaking her up, I s'pose?" 
" No ; going to rebuild her." Great was the amaze- 
ment. " Will it pay 1 " was the question which for 
a year or more I answered by declaring that I 
would make it pay. 

My ax felled a stout oak-tree near by for a keel, 
and Farmer Howard, for a small sum of money, 
hauled in this and enough timbers for the frame 
of the new vessel. I rigged a steam-box and a 
pot for a boiler. The timbers for ribs, being 
straight saplings, were dressed and steamed till 
supple, and then bent over a log, where they 
were secured till set. Something tangible ap- 
peared every day to show for my labor, and the 
neighbors made the work sociable. It was a great 
day in the Spray shipyard when her new stem was 
set up and fastened to the new keel. Whaling- 
captains came from far to survey it. With one voice 
they pronounced it " A 1," and in their opinion " fit 


to smash ice." The oldest captain shook my hand 
warmly when the breast-hooks were put in, declar- 
ing that he could see no reason why the Spray 
should not " cut in bow-head " yet off the coast of 
Greenland. The much-esteemed stem-piece was 
from the butt of the smartest kind of a pasture 
oak. It afterward split a coral patch in two at the 
Keeling Islands, and did not receive a blemish. 
Better timber for a ship than pasture white oak 
never grew. The breast-hooks, as well as all the 
ribs, were of this wood, and were steamed and bent 
into shape as required. It was hard upon March 
when I began work in earnest; the weather was 
cold ; still, there were plenty of inspectors to back 
me with advice. "When a whaling-captain hove 
in sight I just rested on my adz awhile and 
" gammed " with him. 

New Bedford, the home of whaling-captains, is 
connected with Fairhaven by a bridge, and the 
walking is good. They never " worked along up * 
to the shipyard too often for me. It was the 
charming tales about arctic whaling that inspired 
me to put a double set of breast-hooks in the Spray, 
that she might shunt ice. 

The seasons came quickly while I worked. 
Hardly were the ribs of the sloop up before apple- 
trees were in bloom. Then the daisies and the 
cherries came soon after. Close by the place where 
the old Spray had now dissolved rested the ashes 
of John Cook, a revered Pilgrim father. So the 
new Spray rose from hallowed ground. From the 
deck of the new craft I could put out my hand and 
pick cherries that grew over the little grave. The 


planks for the new vessel, which I soon came to put 
on, were of Georgia pine an inch and a half thick. 
The operation of putting them on was tedious, but, 
when on, the calking was easy. The outward edges 
stood slightly open to receive the calking, but the 
inner edges were so close that I could not see day- 
light between them. All the butts were fastened by 
through bolts, with screw- 
nuts tightening them to 
the timbers, so that there 
would be no complaint 
from them. Many bolts 
with screw-nuts were used 
in other parts of the con- 
struction, in all about a 
thousand. It was my pur- 
pose to make my vessel 
stout and strong. 

Now, it is a law in Lloyd's 
that the Jane repaired all 
out of the old until she is 

Cross-section of the Spray. 

entirely new is still the Jane. The Spray changed 
her being so gradually that it was hard to say at 
what point the old died or the new took birth, 
and it was no matter. The bulwarks I built up 
of white-oak stanchions fourteen inches high, 
and covered with seven-eighth-inch white pine. 
These stanchions, mortised through a two-inch 
covering-board, I calked with thin cedar wedges. 
They have remained perfectly tight ever since. 
The deck I made of one-and-a-half -inch by three- 
inch white pine spiked to beams, six by six inches, 
of yellow or Georgia pine, placed three feet apart. 


The deck-inclosures were one over the aperture 
of the main hatch, six feet by six, for a cook- 
ing-galley, and a trunk farther aft, about ten feet 
by twelve, for a cabin. Both of these rose about 
three feet above the deck, and were sunk suf- 
ficiently into the hold to afford head-room. In 
the spaces along the sides of the cabin, under the 
deck, I arranged a berth to sleep in, and shelves 
for small storage, not forgetting a place for the 
medicine-chest. In the midship hold, that is, the 
space between cabin and galley, under the deck, 
was room for provision of water, salt beef, etc., 
ample for many months. 

The hull of my vessel being now put together as 
strongly as wood and iron could make her, and the 
various rooms partitioned off, I set about " calking 
ship." Grave fears were entertained by some that 
at this point I should fail. I myself gave some 
thought to the advisability of a "professional 
calker." The very first blow I struck on the cotton 
with the calking-iron, which I thought was right, 
many others thought wrong. " It '11 crawl ! " cried 
a man from Marion, passing with a basket of clams 
on his back. " It '11 crawl ! " cried another from 
West Island, when he saw me driving cotton 
into the seams. Bruno simply wagged his tail. 
Even Mr. Ben J , a noted authority on whaling- 
ships, whose mind, however, was said to totter, 
asked rather confidently if I did not think "it 
would crawl." " How fast will it crawl ? " cried my 
old captain friend, who had been towed by many 
a lively sperm-whale. "Tell us how fast," cried 
he, "that we may get into port in time." How- 


ever, I drove a thread of oakum on top of the 
cotton, as from the first I had intended to do. 
And Bruno again wagged his tail. The cotton 
never " crawled." When the calking was finished, 
two coats of copper paint were slapped on the bot- 
tom, two of white lead on the topsides and bul- 
warks. The rudder was then shipped and painted, 
and on the following day the Spray was launched. 
As she rode at her ancient, rust- eaten anchor, she 
sat on the water like a swan. 

The Spray's dimensions were, when finished, 
thirty-six feet nine inches long, over all, fourteen 
feet two inches wide, and four feet two inches deep 
in the hold, her tonnage being nine tons net and 
twelve and seventy-one hundredths tons gross. 

Then the mast, a smart New Hampshire spruce, 
was fitted, and likewise all the small appurtenances 
necessary for a short cruise. Sails were bent, and 
away she flew with my friend Captain Pierce and 
me, across Buzzard's Bay on a trial-tripall right. 
The only thing that now worried my friends along 
the beach was, "Will she pay?" The cost of my 
new vessel was $553.62 for materials, and thirteen 
months of my own labor. I was several months 
more than that at Fairhaven, for I got work now 
and then on an occasional whale-ship fitting farther 
down the harbor, and that kept me the overtime. 


Failure as a fisherman A voyage around the world projected 
From Boston to Gloucester Fitting out for the ocean voyage 
Half of a dory for a ship's boat The run from Gloucester to 
Nova Scotia A shaking up in home waters Among old friends. 

I SPENT a season in my new craft fishing on 
the coast, only to find that I had not the cun- 
ning properly to bait a hook. But at last the time 
arrived to weigh anchor and get to sea in earnest. 
I had resolved on a voyage around the world, and 
as the wind on the morning of April 24, 1895, was 
fair, at noon I weighed anchor, set sail, and filled 
away from Boston, where the Spray had been 
moored snugly all winter. The twelve-o'clock whis- 
tles were blowing just as the sloop shot ahead under 
full sail. A short board was made up the harbor 
on the port tack, then coming about she stood sea- 
ward, with her boom well off to port, and swung 
past the ferries with lively heels. A photographer 
on the outer pier at East Boston got a picture of her 
as she swept by, her flag at the peak throwing its 
folds clear. A thrilling pulse beat high in me. My 
step was light on deck in the crisp air. I felt that 
there could be no turning back, and that I was en- 
gaging in an adventure the meaning of which I 
thoroughly understood. I had taken little advice 


from any one, for I had a right to my own opinions 
in matters pertaining to the sea. That the best of 
sailors might do worse than even I alone was borne 
in upon me not a league from Boston docks, where 
a great steamship, fully manned, officered, and pi- 
loted, lay stranded and broken. This was the Ve- 
netian. She was broken completely in two over a 
ledge. So in the first hour of my lone voyage I had 
proof that the Spray could at least do better than 
this full-handed steamship, for I was already farther 
on my voyage than she. " Take warning, Spray, 
and have a care," I uttered aloud to my bark, pass- 
ing fairylike silently down the bay. 

The wind freshened, and the Spray rounded Deer 
Island light at the rate of seven knots. 

Passing it, she squared away direct for Gloucester 
to procure there some fishermen's stores. Waves 
dancing joyously across Massachusetts Bay met 
her coming out of the harbor to dash them into 
myriads of sparkling gems that hung about her at 
every surge. The day was perfect, the sunlight 
clear and strong. Every particle of water thrown 
into the air became a gem, and the Spray, bound- 
ing ahead, snatched necklace after necklace from 
the sea, and as often threw them away. We have 
all seen miniature rainbows about a ship's prow, 
but the Spray flung out a bow of her own that 
day, such as I had never seen before. Her good 
angel had embarked on the voyage; I so read it 
in the sea. 

Bold Nahant was soon abeam, then Marblehead 
was put astern. Other vessels were outward bound, 
but none of them passed the Spray flying along on 


her course. I heard the clanking of the dismal bell 
on Norman's Woe as we went by; and the reef 
where the schooner Hesperus struck I passed close 
aboard. The " bones " of a wreck tossed up lay 
bleaching on the shore abreast. The wind still 
freshening, I settled the throat of the mainsail to 
ease the sloop's helm, for I could hardly hold her 
before it with the whole mainsail set. A schooner 
ahead of me lowered all sail and ran into port 
under bare poles, the wind being fair. As the 
Spray brushed by the stranger, I saw that some of 
his sails were gone, and much broken canvas hung 
in his rigging, from the effects of a squall. 

I made for the cove, a lovely branch of Glou- 
cester's fine harbor, again to look the Spray over 
and again to weigh the voyage, and my feelings, 
and all that. The bay was feather-white as my 
little vessel tore in, smothered in foam. It was my 
first experience of coming into port alone, with a 
craft of any size, and in among shipping. Old 
fishermen ran down to the wharf for which the 
Spray was heading, apparently intent upon brain- 
ing herself there. I hardly know how a calamity 
was averted, but with my heart in my mouth, 
almost, I let go the wheel, stepped quickly forward, 
and downed the jib. The sloop naturally rounded 
in the wind, and just ranging ahead, laid her cheek 
against a mooring-pile at the windward corner 
of the wharf, so quietly, after all, that she would 
not have broken an egg. Very leisurely I passed 
a rope around the post, and she was moored. Then 
a cheer went up from the little crowd on the wharf. 
"You could n't 'a' done it better," cried an old 


skipper, " if you weighed a ton ! " Now, my weight 
was rather less than the fifteenth part of a ton, 
but I said nothing, only putting on a look of care- 
less indifference to say for me, "Oh, that 's no- 
thing " ; for some of the ablest sailors in the world 
were looking at me, and my wish was not to appear 
green, for I had a mind to stay in Gloucester sev- 
eral days. Had I uttered a word it surely would 
have betrayed me, for I was still quite nervous and 
short of breath. 

I remained in Gloucester about two weeks, fit- 
ting out with the various articles for the voyage 
most readily obtained there. The owners of the 
wharf where I lay, and of many fishing-vessels, put 
on board dry cod galore, also a barrel of oil to calm 
the waves. They were old skippers themselves, 
and took a great interest in the voyage. They also 
made the Spray a present of a " fisherman's own " 
lantern, which I found would throw a light a great 
distance round. Indeed, a ship that would run 
another down having such a good light aboard 
would be capable of running into a light-ship. A 
gaff, a pugh, and a dip-net, all of which an old 
fisherman declared I could not sail without, were 
also put aboard. Then, too, from across the cove 
came a case of copper paint, a famous antifouling 
article, which stood me in good stead long after. 
I slapped two coats of this paint on the bottom of 
the Spray while she lay a tide or so on the hard 

For a boat to take along, I made shift to cut a 
castaway dory in two athwartships, boarding up 
the end where it was cut. This half-dory I could 


hoist in and out by the nose easily enough, by hook- 
ing the throat-halyards into a strop fitted for the 
purpose. A whole dory would be heavy and awk- 
ward to handle alone. Manifestly there was not 
room on deck for more than the half of a boat, which, 
after all, was better than no boat at all, and was large 
enough for one man. I perceived, moreover, that 
the newly arranged craft would answer for a wash- 
ing-machine when placed athwartships, and also for 
a bath-tub. Indeed, for the former office my razeed 
dory gained such a reputation on the voyage that 
my washerwoman at Samoa would not take no for 
an answer. She could see with one eye that it was 
a new invention which beat any Yankee notion 
ever brought by missionaries to the islands, and 
she had to have it. 

The want of a chronometer for the voyage was 
all that now worried me. In our newfangled no- 
tions of navigation it is supposed that a mariner 
cannot find his way without one ; and I had myself 
drifted into this way of thinking. My old chro- 
nometer, a good one, had been long in disuse. It 
would cost fifteen dollars to clean and rate it. Fif- 
teen dollars! For sufficient reasons I left that 
timepiece at home, where the Dutchman left his 
anchor. I had the great lantern, and a lady in 
Boston sent me the price of a large two-burner 
cabin lamp, which lighted the cabin at night, and 
by some small contriving served for a stove through 
the day. 

Being thus refitted I was once more ready for sea, 
and on May 7 again made sail. With little room in 
which to turn, the Spray, in gathering headway, 


scratched the paint off an old, fine-weather craft in 
the fairway, being puttied and painted for a sum- 
mer voyage. " Who '11 pay for that 1 " growled the 
painters. " I will," said I. " With the main-sheet," 
echoed the captain of the Bluebird, close by, which 
was his way of saying that I was off. There was 
nothing to pay for above five cents' worth of paint, 
maybe, but such a din was raised between the old 
" hooker " and the Bluebird, which now took up my 
case, that the first cause of it was forgotten alto- 
gether. Anyhow, no bill was sent after me. 

The weather was mild on the day of my depar- 
ture from Gloucester. On the point ahead, as the 
Spray stood out of the cove, was a lively picture, 
for the front of a tall factory was a flutter of hand- 
kerchiefs and caps. Pretty faces peered out of the 
windows from the top to the bottom of the build- 
ing, all smiling bon voyage. Some hailed me to 
know where away and why alone. Why ? When 
I made as if to stand in, a hundred pairs of arms 
reached out, and said come, but the shore was dan- 
gerous ! The sloop worked out of the bay against 
a light southwest wind, and about noon squared 
away off Eastern Point, receiving at the same time 
a hearty salute the last of many kindnesses to 
her at Gloucester. The wind freshened off the 
point, and skipping along smoothly, the Spray was 
soon off Thatcher's Island lights. Thence shaping 
her course east, by compass, to go north of Cashes 
Ledge and the Amen Rocks, I sat and considered 
the matter all over again, and asked myself once 
more whether it were best to sail beyond the ledge 
and rocks at all. I had only said that I would sail 


round the world in the Spray, " dangers of the sea 
excepted," but I must have said it very much in 
earnest. The " charter-party " with myself seemed 
to bind me, and so I sailed on. Toward night I 
hauled the sloop to the wind, and baiting a hook, 
sounded for bottom-fish, in thirty fathoms of 
water, on the edge of Cashes Ledge. With fair 
success I hauled till dark, landing on deck three 
cod and two haddocks, one hake, and, best of all, a 
small halibut, all plump and spry. This, I thought, 
would be the place to take in a good stock of pro- 
visions above what I already had ; so I put out a 
sea-anchor that would hold her head to windward. 
The current being southwest, against the wind, I 
felt quite sure I would find the Spray still on the 
bank or near it in the morning. Then "strad- 
ding " the cable and putting my great lantern in 
the rigging, I lay down, for the first time at sea 
alone, not to sleep, but to doze and to dream. 

I had read somewhere of a fishing- schooner hook- 
ing her anchor into a whale, and being towed a 
long way and at great speed. This was exactly 
what happened to the Spray in my dream! I 
could not shake it off entirely when I awoke and 
found that it was the wind blowing and the 
heavy sea now running that had disturbed my short 
rest. A scud was flying across the moon. A storm 
was brewing; indeed, it was already stormy. I 
reefed the sails, then hauled in my sea-anchor, and 
setting what canvas the sloop could carry, headed 
her away for Monhegan light, which she made before 
daylight on the morning of the 8th. The wind be- 
ing free, I ran on into Round Pond harbor, which 



is a little port east from Pemaquid. Here I rested 
a day, while the wind rattled among the pine-trees 
on shore. But the following day was fine enough, 

" ' No dorg nor no cat. 

and I put to sea, first writing up my log from Cape 
Ann, not omitting a full account of my adventure 
with the whale. 


The Spray, heading east, stretched along the 
coast among many islands and over a tranquil sea. 
At evening of this day, May 10, she came up with 
a considerable island, which I shall always think of 
as the Island of Frogs, for the Spray was charmed 
by a million voices. From the Island of Frogs we 
made for the Island of Birds, called Gannet Island, 
and sometimes Gannet Rock, whereon is a bright, 
intermittent light, which flashed fitfully across the 
Spray's deck as she coasted along under its light 
and shade. Thence shaping a course for Briar's 
Island, I came among vessels the following after- 
noon on the western fishing-grounds, and after 
speaking a fisherman at anchor, who gave me a 
wrong course, the Spray sailed directly over the 
southwest ledge through the worst tide-race in the 
Bay of Fundy, and got into Westport harbor in 
Nova Scotia, where I had spent eight years of my 
life as a lad. 

The fisherman may have said " east-southeast," 
the course I was steering when I hailed him ; but I 
thought he said " east-northeast," and I accordingly 
changed it to that. Before he made up his mind 
to answer me at all, he improved the occasion of 
his own curiosity to know where I was from, and 
if I was alone, and if I did n't have " no dorg nor 
no cat." It was the first time in all my life at sea 
that I had heard a hail for information answered 
by a question. I think the chap belonged to the 
Foreign Islands. There was one thing I was sure 
of, and that was that he did not belong to Briar's 
Island, because he dodged a sea that slopped over 
the rail, and stopping to brush the water from his 



face, lost a fine cod which he was about to ship. 
My islander would not have done that. It is known 
that a Briar Islander, fish or no fish on his hook, 
never flinches from a sea. He just tends to his 
lines and hauls or " saws." Nay, have I not seen 
my old friend Deacon W. D , a good man of the 

The deacon's dream. 

island, while listening to a sermon in the little 
church on the hill, reach out his hand over the 
door of his pew and " jig " imaginary squid in the 
aisle, to the intense delight of the young people, 
who did not realize that to catch good fish one 
must have good bait, the thing most on the dea- 
con's mind. 

I was delighted to reach Westport. Any port at 
all would have been delightful after the terrible 
thrashing I got in the fierce sou'west rip, and to 


find myself among old schoolmates now was charm- 
ing. It was the 13th of the month, and 13 is my 
lucky number a fact registered long before Dr. 
Nansen sailed in search of the north pole with his 
crew of thirteen. Perhaps he had heard of my 
success in taking a most extraordinary ship success- 
fully to Brazil with that number of crew. The very 
stones on Briar's Island I was glad to see again, 
and I knew them all. The little shop round the 
corner, which for thirty-five years I had not seen, 
was the same, except that it looked a deal smaller. 
It wore the same shingles I was sure of it ; for 
did not I know the roof where we boys, night after 
night, hunted for the skin of a black cat, to be 
taken on a dark night, to make a plaster for a poor 
lame man? Lowry the tailor lived there when 
boys were boys. In his day he was fond of the 
gun. He always carried his powder loose in the 
tail pocket of his coat. He usually had in his 
mouth a short dudeen ; but in an evil moment he 
put the dudeen, lighted, in the pocket among the 
powder. Mr. Lowry was an eccentric man. 

At Briar's Island I overhauled the Spray once 
more and tried her seams, but found that even the 
test of the sou'west rip had started nothing. Bad 
weather and much head wind prevailing outside, I 
was in no hurry to round Cape Sable. I made a 
short excursion with some friends to St. Mary's 
Bay, an old cruising-ground, and back to the 
island. Then I sailed, putting into Yarmouth the 
following day on account of fog and head wind. I 
spent some days pleasantly enough in Yarmouth, 
took in some butter for the voyage, also a barrel of 


potatoes, filled six barrels of water, and stowed all 
under deck. At Yarmouth, too, I got my famous 
tin clock, the only timepiece I carried on the whole 
voyage. The price of it was a dollar and a half, 
but on account of the face being smashed the mer- 
chant let me have it for a dollar. 

Captain Slocum's chronometer. 


Good-by to the American coast Off Sable Island in a fog In 
the open sea The man in the moon takes an interest in the 
voyage The first fit of loneliness The Spray encounters La 
Vaguisa A bottle of wine from the Spaniard A bout of words 
with the captain of the Java The steamship Olympia spoken 
Arrival at the Azores. 

I NOW stowed all my goods securely, for the bois- 
terous Atlantic was before me, and I sent the top- 
mast down, knowing that the Spray would be the 
wholesomer with it on deck. Then I gave the lan- 
yards a pull and hitched them afresh, and saw that 
the gammon was secure, also that the boat was 
lashed, for even in summer one may meet with bad 
weather in the crossing. 

In fact, many weeks of bad weather had pre- 
vailed. On July 1, however, after a rude gale, the 
wind came out nor'west and clear, propitious for a 
good run. On the following day, the head sea hav- 
ing gone down, I sailed from Yarmouth, and let go 
my last hold on America. The log of my first day 
on the Atlantic in the Spray reads briefly : " 9 : 30 
A. M. sailed from Yarmouth. 4 : 30 p. M. passed Cape 
Sable ; distance, three cables from the land. The 
sloop making eight knots. Fresh breeze N. W." 
Before the sun went down I was taking my supper 



of strawberries and tea in smooth water under the 
lee of the east-coast land, along which the Spray 
was now leisurely skirting. 

At noon on July 3 Ironbound Island was abeam. 
The Spray was again at her best. A large schooner 
came out of Liverpool, Nova Scotia, this morning, 
steering eastward. The Spray put her hull down 
astern in five hours. At 6 : 45 p. M. I was in close 
under Chebucto Head light, near Halifax harbor. I 
set my flag and squared away, taking my departure 
from George's Island before dark to sail east of 
Sable Island. There are many beacon lights along 
the coast. Sambro, the Rock of Lamentations, 
carries a noble light, which, however, the liner 
Atlantic, on the night of her terrible disaster, did 
not see. I watched light after light sink astern as 
I sailed into the unbounded sea, till Sambro, the 
last of them all, was below the horizon. The Spray 
was then alone, and sailing on, she held her course. 
July 4, at 6 A. M., I put in double reefs, and at 8 : 30 
A. M. turned out all reefs. At 9 : 40 P. M. I raised the 
sheen only of the light on the west end of Sable 
Island, which may also be called the Island of 
Tragedies. The fog, which till this moment had 
held off, now lowered over the sea like a pall. I 
was in a world of fog, shut off from the universe. 
I did not see any more of the light. By the lead, 
which I cast often, I found that a little after mid- 
night I was passing the east point of the island, 
and should soon be clear of dangers of land and 
shoals. The wind was holding free, though it was 
from the foggy point, south-southwest. It is said 
that within a few years Sable Island has been 



reduced from forty miles in length to twenty, and 
that of three lighthouses built on it since 1880, two 
have been washed away and the third will soon be 

" ' Good evening, sir.' " 

On the evening of July 5 the Spray, after having 
steered all day over a lumpy sea, took it into her 
head to go without the helmsman's aid. I had 
been steering southeast by south, but the wind 
hauling forward a bit, she dropped into a smooth 


lane, heading southeast, and making about eight 
knots, her very best work. I crowded on sail to 
cross the track of the liners without loss of time, 
and to reach as soon as possible the friendly Gulf 
Stream. The fog lifting before night, I was 
afforded a look at the sun just as it was touching 
the sea. I watched it go down and out of sight. 
Then I turned my face eastward, and there, appa- 
rently at the very end of the bowsprit, was the 
smiling full moon rising out of the sea. Neptune 
himself coming over the bows could not have star- 
tled me more. "Good evening, sir," I cried; "I 'm 
glad to see you." Many a long talk since then I 
have had with the man in the moon ; he had my 
confidence on the voyage. 

About midnight the fog shut down again denser 
than ever before. One could almost "stand on it." 
It continued so for a number of days, the wind in- 
creasing to a gale. The waves rose high, but I had 
a good ship. Still, in the dismal fog I felt myself 
drifting into loneliness, an insect on a straw in the 
midst of the elements. I lashed the helm, and my 
vessel held her course, and while she sailed I slept. 

During these days a feeling of awe crept over 
me. My memory worked with startling power. The 
ominous, the insignificant, the great, the small, the 
wonderful, the commonplace all appeared before 
my mental vision in magical succession. Pages of 
my history were recalled which had been so long 
forgotten that they seemed to belong to a previous 
existence. I heard all the voices of the past laugh- 
ing, crying, telling what I had heard them tell in 
many corners of the earth. 


The loneliness of my state wore off when the 
gale was high and I found much work to do. 
When fine weather returned, then came the sense 
of solitude, which I could not shake off. I used my 
voice often, at first giving some order about the af- 
fairs of a ship, for I had been told that from disuse 
I should lose my speech. At the meridian altitude 
of the sun I called aloud, " Eight bells," after the 
custom on a ship at sea. Again from my cabin I 
cried to an imaginary man at the helm, "How does 
she head, there?" and again, "Is she on her course I" 
But getting no reply, I was reminded the more 
palpably of my condition. My voice sounded hol- 
low on the empty air, and I dropped the practice. 
However, it was not long before the thought came 
to me that when I was a lad I used to sing ; why 
not try that now, where it would disturb no one ? 
My musical talent had never bred envy in others, 
but out on the Atlantic, to realize what it meant, 
you should have heard me sing. You should have 
seen the porpoises leap when I pitched my voice 
for the waves and the sea and all that was in it. 
Old turtles, with large eyes, poked their heads up 
out of the sea as I sang "Johnny Boker," and 
"We '11 Pay Darby Doyl for his Boots," and the 
like. But the porpoises were, on the whole, vastly 
more appreciative than the turtles; they jumped 
a deal higher. One day when I was humming a 
favorite chant, I think it was "Babylon 's a-Fallin'," 
a porpoise jumped higher than the bowsprit. Had 
the Spray been going a little faster she would have 
scooped him in. The sea-birds sailed around rather 



July 10, eight days at sea, the Spray was twelve 
hundred miles east of Cape Sable. One hundred 
and fifty miles a day for so small a vessel must be 
considered good sailing. It was the greatest run 
the Spray ever made before or since in so few days. 
On the evening of July 14, in better humor than 
ever before, all hands cried, " Sail ho ! " The sail 
was a barkantine, three points on the weather bow, 
hull down. Then came the night. My ship was 
sailing along now without attention to the helm. 
The wind was south ; she was heading east. Her 
sails were trimmed like the sails of the nautilus. 
They drew steadily all night. I went frequently 
on deck, but found all well. A merry breeze kept 

on from the 
south. Early 
in the morn- 
ing of the 
15th the 
Spray was 
close aboard 

the stranger, which proved to 
be La Vaguisa of Vigo, twenty- 
three days from Philadelphia, 
bound for Vigo. A lookout 
from his masthead had spied 
the Spray the evening before. 
The captain, when I came near 
"He also sent his card." enough, threw a line to me and 
sent a bottle of wine across 
slung by the neck, and very good wine it was. He 
also sent his card, which bore the name of Juan 
Gantes. I think he was a good man, as Spaniards 


go. But when I asked him to report me "all well" 
(the Spray passing him in a lively manner), he 
hauled his shoulders much above his head; and 
when his mate, who knew of my expedition, told 
him that I was alone, he crossed himself and made 
for his cabin. I did not see him again. By sun- 
down he was as far astern as he had been ahead 
the evening before. 

There was now less and less monotony. On July 
16 the wind was northwest and clear, the sea 
smooth, and a large bark, hull down, came in sight 
on the lee bow, and at 2:30 P. M. I spoke the 
stranger. She was the bark Java of Glasgow, from 
Peru for Queenstown for orders. Her old captain 
was bearish, but I met a bear once in Alaska that 
looked pleasanter. At least, the bear seemed 
pleased to meet me, but this grizzly old man ! 
Well, I suppose my hail disturbed his siesta, and 
my little sloop passing his great ship had some- 
what the effect on him that a red rag has upon a 
bull. I had the advantage over heavy ships, by 
long odds, in the light winds of this and the two 
previous days. The wind was light ; his ship was 
heavy and foul, making poor headway, while the 
Spray, with a great mainsail bellying even to light 
winds, was just skipping along as nimbly as one 
could wish. "How long has it been calm about 
here ? " roared the captain of the Java, as I came 
within hail of him. " Dunno, cap'n," I shouted 
back as loud as I could bawl. "I have n't been 
here long." At this the mate on the forecastle 
wore a broad grin. "I left Cape Sable fourteen 
days ago," I added. (I was now well across toward 


the Azores.) " Mate," he roared to his chief officer 
"mate, come here and listen to the Yankee's 
yarn. Haul down the flag, mate, haul down the 
flag!" In the best of humor, after all, the Java 
surrendered to the Spray. 

The acute pain of solitude experienced at first 
never returned. I had penetrated a mystery, and, 
by the way, I had sailed through a fog. I had met 
Neptune in his wrath, but he found that I had not 
treated him with contempt, and so he suffered me 
to go on and explore. 

In the log for July 18 there is this entry : " Fine 
weather, wind south-southwest. Porpoises gam- 
boling all about. The S. S. Olympia passed at 
11:30 A.M., long. W. 34 50'." 

" It lacks now three minutes of the half -hour," 
shouted the captain, as he gave me the longitude 
and the time. I admired the businesslike air of the 
Olympia ; but I have the feeling still that the cap- 
tain was just a little too precise in his reckoning. 
That may be all well enough, however, where there 
is plenty of sea-room. But over-confidence, I be- 
lieve, was the cause of the disaster to the liner At- 
lantic, and many more like her. The captain knew 
too well where he was. There were no porpoises 
at all skipping along with the Olympia I Porpoises 
always prefer sailing-ships. The captain was a 
young man, I observed, and had before him, I 
hope, a good record. 

Land ho ! On the morning of July 19 a mystic 
dome like a mountain of silver stood alone in the 
sea ahead. Although the land was completely 
hidden by the white, glistening haze that shone in 


the sun like polished silver, I felt quite sure that it 
was Flores Island. At half -past four p. M. it was 
abeam. The haze in the meantime had disappeared. 
Flores is one hundred and seventy-four miles from 
Fayal, and although it is a high island, it remained 
many years undiscovered after the principal group 
of the islands had been colonized. 

Early on the morning of July 20 I saw Pico 
looming above the clouds on the starboard bow. 
Lower lands burst forth as the sun burned away 

The island of Pico. 

the morning fog, and island after island came into 
view. As I approached nearer, cultivated fields 
appeared, " and oh, how green the corn ! " Only 
those who have seen the Azores from the deck of a 
vessel realize the beauty of the mid-ocean picture. 
At 4:30 P. M. I cast anchor at Fayal, exactly 
eighteen days from Cape Sable. The American 
consul, in a smart boat, came alongside before 
the Spray reached the breakwater, and a young 
naval officer, who feared for the safety of my ves- 
sel, boarded, and offered his services as pilot. The 
youngster, I have no good reason to doubt, could 
have handled a man-of-war, but the Spray was too 
small for the amount of uniform he wore. How- 
ever, after fouling all the craft in port and sinking 
a lighter, she was moored without much damage to 


herself. This wonderful pilot expected a " gratifica- 
tion," I understood, but whether for the reason that 
his government, and not I, would have to pay the 
cost of raising the lighter, or because he did not 
sink the Spray, I could never make out. But I 
forgive him. 

It was the season for fruit when I arrived at the 
Azores, and there was soon more of all kinds of it 
put on board than I knew what to do with. Isl- 
anders are always the kindest people in the world, 
and I met none anywhere kinder than the good 
hearts of this place. The people of the Azores are 
not a very rich community. The burden of taxes 
is heavy, with scant privileges in return, the air 
they breathe being about the only thing that is not 
taxed. The mother-country does not even allow 
them a port of entry for a foreign mail service. A 
packet passing never so close with mails for Horta 
must deliver them first in Lisbon, ostensibly to be 
fumigated, but really for the tariff from the packet. 
My own letters posted at Horta reached the United 
States six days behind my letter from Gibraltar, 
mailed thirteen days later. 

The day after my arrival at Horta was the feast 
of a great saint. Boats loaded with people came 
from other islands to celebrate at Horta, the capi- 
tal, or Jerusalem, of the Azores. The deck of the 
Spray was crowded from morning till night with 
men, women, and children. On the day after the 
feast a kind-hearted native harnessed a team and 
drove me a day over the beautiful roads all about 
Fayal, "because," said he, in broken English, 
"when I was in America and could n't speak a 


word of English, I found it hard till I met some one 
who seemed to have time to listen to my story, and 
I promised my good saint then that if ever a 
stranger came to my country I would try to make 
him happy." Unfortunately, this gentleman brought 
along an interpreter, that I might " learn more of 
the country." The fellow was nearly the death of 
me, talking of ships and voyages, and of the boats 
he had steered, the last thing in the world I wished 
to hear. He had sailed out of New Bedford, so he 
said, for "that Joe Wing they call 'John.'" My 
friend and host found hardly a chance to edge in a 
word. Before we parted my host dined me with 
a cheer that would have gladdened the heart of a 
prince, but he was quite alone in his house. " My 
wife and children all rest there," said he, pointing 
to the churchyard across the way. "I moved to 
this house from far off," he added, " to be near the 
spot, where I pray every morning." 

I remained four days at Fayal, and that was two. 
days more than I had intended to stay. It was the 
kindness of the islanders and their touching sim- 
plicity which detained me. A damsel, as innocent 
as an angel, came alongside one day, and said she 
would embark on the Spray if I would land her at 
Lisbon. She could cook flying-fish, she thought, 
but her forte was dressing bacalhao. Her brother 
Antonio, who served as interpreter, hinted that, 
anyhow, he would like to make the trip. Antonio's 
heart went out to one John Wilson, and he was 
ready to sail for America by way of the two capes 
to meet his friend. " Do you know John Wilson 
of Boston ? " he cried. " I knew a John Wilson," I 

Chart of the Spray's Atlantic voyages from Boston to Gibraltar, 
thence to the Strait of Magellan, in 1895, and finally home- 
ward bound from the Cape of Good Hope in 1898. 


said, " but not of Boston." " He had one daughter 
and one son," said Antonio, by way of identifying 
his friend. If this reaches the right John Wilson, 
I am told to say that "Antonio of Pico remembers 


Squally weather in the Azores High living Delirious from cheese 
and plums The pilot of the Pinta At Gibraltar Compliments 
exchanged with the British navy A picnic on the Morocco 

I SET sail from Horta early on July 24. The south- 
west wind at the time was light, but squalls came 
up with the sun, and I was glad enough to get reefs 
in my sails before I had gone a mile. I had hardly 
set the main sail, double-reefed, when a squall of wind 
down the mountains struck the sloop with such 
violence that I thought her mast would go. How- 
ever, a quick helm brought her to the wind. As it 
was, one of the weather lanyards was carried away 
and the other was stranded. My tin basin, caught 
up by the wind, went flying across a French school- 
ship to leeward. It was more or less squally all 
day, sailing along under high land; but rounding 
close under a bluff, I found an opportunity to mend 
the lanyards broken in the squall. No sooner had 
I lowered my sails when a four-oared boat shot out 
from some gully in the rocks, with a customs officer 
on board, who thought he had come upon a smug- 
gler. I had some difficulty in making him compre- 
hend the true case. However, one of his crew, a 
sailorly chap, who understood how matters were, 
while we palavered jumped on board and rove off 



the new lanyards I had already prepared, and with 
a friendly hand helped me "set up the rigging." 
This incident gave the turn in my favor. My story 
was then clear to all. I have found this the way 
of the world. Let one be without a friend, and see 
what will happen ! 

Passing the island of Pico, after the rigging was 
mended, the Spray stretched across to leeward of 
the island of St. Michael's, which she was up with 
early on the morning of July 26, the wind blowing 
hard. Later in the day she passed the Prince of 
Monaco's fine steam-yacht bound to Fayal, where, 
on a previous voyage, the prince had slipped his 
cables to " escape a reception " which the padres of 
the island wished to give him. Why he so dreaded 
the "ovation" I could not make out. At Horta 
they did not know. Since reaching the islands I 
had lived most luxuriously on fresh bread, butter, 
vegetables, and fruits of all kinds. Plums seemed 
the most plentiful on the Spray, and these I ate 
without stint. I had also a Pico white cheese that 
General Manning, the American consul-general, 
had given me, which I supposed was to be eaten, 
and of this I partook with the plums. Alas ! by 
night-time I was doubled up with cramps. The 
wind, which was already a smart breeze, was in- 
creasing somewhat, with a heavy sky to the sou'- 
west. Reefs had been turned out, and I must turn 
them in again somehow. Between cramps I got 
the mainsail down, hauled out the earings as best I 
could, and tied away point by point, in the double 
reef. There being sea-room, I should, in strict pru- 
dence, have made all snug and gone down at once 


to my cabin. I ana a careful man at sea, but this 
night, in the coming storm, I swayed up my sails, 
which, reefed though they were, were still too much 
in such heavy weather ; and I saw to it that the 
sheets were securely belayed. In a word, I should 
have laid to, but did not. I gave her the double- 
reefed mainsail and whole jib instead, and set her 
on her course. Then I went below, and threw my- 
self upon the cabin floor in great pain. How long 
I lay there I could not tell, for I became delirious. 
When I came to, as I thought, from my swoon, I 
realized that the sloop was plunging into a heavy 
sea, and looking out of the companionway, to my 
amazement I saw a tall man at the helm. His 
rigid hand, grasping the spokes of the wheel, held 
them as in a vise. One may imagine my astonish- 
ment. His rig was that of a foreign sailor, and the 
large red cap he wore was cockbilled over his left 
ear, and all was set off with shaggy black whiskers. 
He would have been taken for a pirate in any part 
of the world. While I gazed upon his threatening 
aspect I forgot the storm, and wondered if he had 
come to cut my throat. This he seemed to divine. 
" Senor," said he, doffing his cap, " I have come to 
do you no harm." And a smile, the faintest in the 
world, but still a smile, played on his face, which 
seemed not unkind when he spoke. " I have come 
to do you no harm. I have sailed free," he said, 
" but was never worse than a contrabandista. I am 
one of Columbus's crew," he continued. " I am the 
pilot of the Pinta come to aid you. Lie quiet, 
senor captain," he added, " and I will guide your 
ship to-night. You have a calentura, but you will 



be all right to-morrow." I thought what a very 
devil he was to carry sail. Again, as if he read my 
mind, he exclaimed : " Yonder is the Pinta ahead ; 

The apparition at the wheel. 

we must overtake her. Give her sail; give her 
sail ! Vale, vale, muy vale ! " Biting off a large quid 
of black twist, he said: "You did wrong, captain, 
to mix cheese with plums. White cheese is never 


safe unless you know whence it comes. Quien sabe, 
it may have been from leche de Capra and becoming 
capricious " 

" Avast, there ! " I cried. " I have no mind for 

I made shift to spread a mattress and lie on that 
instead of the hard floor, my eyes all the while 
fastened on my strange guest, who, remarking 
again that I would have "only pains and calen- 
tura," chuckled as he chanted a wild song : 

High are the waves, fierce, gleaming, 

High is the tempest roar ! 
High the sea-bird screaming ! 

High the Azore ! 

I suppose I was now on the mend, for I was pee- 
vish, and complained : "I detest your jingle. Your 
Azore should be at roost, and would have been 
were it a respectable bird ! " I begged he would tie 
a rope-yarn on the rest of the song, if there was any 
more of it. I was still in agony. Great seas were 
boarding the Spray, but in my fevered brain I 
thought they were boats falling on deck, that care- 
less draymen were throwing from wagons on the 
pier to which I imagined the Spray was now moored, 
and without fenders to breast her off. "You '11 
smash your boats!" I called out again and again, 
as the seas crashed on the cabin over my head. 
" You '11 smash your boats, but you can't hurt the 
Spray. She is strong ! " I cried. 

I found, when my pains and calentura had gone, 
that the deck, now as white as a shark's tooth from 
seas washing over it, had been swept of every- 


thing movable. To my astonishment, I saw now 
at broad day that the Spray was still heading as I 
had left her, and was going like a race-horse. 
Columbus himself could not have held her more 
exactly on her course. The sloop had made ninety 
miles in the night through a rough sea. I felt 
grateful to the old pilot, but I marveled some that 
he had not taken in the jib. The gale was moder- 
ating, and by noon the sun was shining. A merid- 
ian altitude and the distance on the patent log, 
which I always kept towing, told me that she had 
made a true course throughout the twenty-four 
hours. I was getting much better now, but was 
very weak, and did not turn out reefs that day or 
the night following, although the wind fell light ; 
but I just put my wet clothes out in the sun when 
it was shining, and lying down there myself, fell 
asleep. Then who should visit me again but my 
old friend of the night before, this time, of course, 
in a dream. " You did well last night to take my 
advice," said he, " and if you would, I should like 
to be with you often on the voyage, for the love 
of adventure alone." Finishing what he had to 
say, he again doffed his cap and disappeared as 
mysteriously as he came, returning, I suppose, to 
the phantom Pinta. I awoke much refreshed, and 
with the feeling that I had been in the presence of 
a friend and a seaman of vast experience. I gath- 
ered up my clothes, which by this time were dry, 
then, by inspiration, I threw overboard all the 
plums in the vessel. 

July 28 was exceptionally fine. The wind from 
the northwest was light and the air balmy. I over- 


hauled my wardrobe, and bent on a white shirt 
against nearing some coasting-packet with genteel 
folk on board. I also did some washing to get the 
salt out of my clothes. After it all I was hungry, 
so I made a fire and very cautiously stewed a dish 
of pears and set them carefully aside till I had made 
a pot of delicious coffee, for both of which I could 
afford sugar and cream. But the crowning dish of all 
was a fish-hash, and there was enough of it for two. 
I was in good health again, and my appetite was 
simply ravenous. While I was dining I had a large 
onion over the double lamp stewing for a luncheon 
later in the day. High living to-day ! 

In the afternoon the Spray came upon a large 
turtle asleep on the sea. He awoke with my har- 
poon through his neck, if he awoke at all. I had 
much difficulty in landing him on deck, which I 
finally accomplished by hooking the throat-halyards 
to one of his flippers, for he was about as heavy as 
my boat. I saw more turtles, and I rigged a bur- 
ton ready with which to hoist them in ; for I was 
obliged to lower the mainsail whenever the halyards 
were used for such purposes, and it was no small 
matter to hoist the large sail again. But the turtle- 
steak was good. I found no fault with the cook, 
and it was the rule of the voyage that the cook 
found no fault with me. There was never a ship's 
crew so well agreed. The bill of fare that evening 
was turtle-steak, tea and toast, fried potatoes, stewed 
onions; with dessert of stewed pears and cream. 

Sometime in the afternoon I passed a barrel- 
buoy adrift, floating light on the water. It was 
painted red, and rigged with a signal-staff about 


six feet high. A sudden change in the weather 
coming on, I got no more turtle or fish of any sort 
before reaching port. July 31 a gale sprang up 
suddenly from the north, with heavy seas, and I 
shortened sail. The Spray made only fifty-one 
miles on her course that day. August 1 the gale 
continued, with heavy seas. Through the night 
the sloop was reaching, under close-reefed main- 
sail and bobbed jib. At 3 p. M. the jib was washed 
off the bowsprit and blown to rags and ribbons. 
I bent the " jumbo " on a stay at the night-heads. 
As for the jib, let it go ; I saved pieces of it, and, 
after all, I was in want of pot-rags. 

On August 3 the gale broke, and I saw many 
signs of land. Bad weather having made itself 
felt in the galley, I was minded to try my hand at 
a loaf of bread, and so rigging a pot of fire on deck 
by which to bake it, a loaf soon became an accom- 
plished fact. One great feature about ship's cook- 
ing is that one's appetite on the sea is always good 
a fact that I realized when I cooked for the 
crew of fishermen in the before-mentioned boyhood 
days. Dinner being over, I sat for hours reading 
the life of Columbus, and as the day wore on I 
watched the birds all flying in one direction, and 
said, " Land lies there." 

Early the next morning, August 4, I discovered 
Spain. I saw fires on shore, and knew that the 
country was inhabited. The Spray continued on 
her course till well in with the land, which was 
that about Trafalgar. Then keeping away a point, 
she passed through the Strait of Gibraltar, where 
she cast anchor at 3 P. M. of the same day, less 



than twenty-nine days from Cape Sable. At the 
finish of this preliminary trip I found myself in 
excellent health, not overworked or cramped, but 
as well as ever in my life, though I was as thin as 
a reef -point. 

Two Italian barks, which had been close along- 

Coming to anchor at Gibraltar. 

side at daylight, I saw long after I had anchored, 
passing up the African side of the strait. The 
Spray had sailed them both hull down before she 
reached Tarifa. So far as I know, the Spray beat 
everything going across the Atlantic except the 
All was well, but I had forgotten to bring a bill 


of health from Horta, and so when the fierce old 
port doctor came to inspect there was a row. That, 
however, was the very thing needed. If you want 
to get on well with a true Britisher you must first 
have a deuce of a row with him. I knew that well 
enough, and so I fired away, shot for shot, as best 
I could. " Well, yes," the doctor admitted at last, 
" your crew are healthy enough, no doubt, but who 
knows the diseases of your last port ? " a reason- 
able enough remark. " We ought to put you in 
the fort, sir!" he blustered; "but never mind. 
Free pratique, sir ! Shove off, cockswain ! " And 
that was the last I saw of the port doctor. 

But on the following morning a steam-launch, 
much longer than the Spray, came alongside, or 
as much of her as could get alongside, with com- 
pliments from the senior naval officer, Admiral 
Bruce, saying there was a berth for the Spray at 
the arsenal. This was around at the new mole. 
I had anchored at the old mole, among the native 
craft, where it was rough and uncomfortable. Of 
course I was glad to shift, and did so as soon as 
possible, thinking of the great company the Spray 
would be in among battle-ships such as the Colling- 
wood, Balfleur, and Cormorant, which were at that 
time stationed there, and on board all of which I 
was entertained, later, most royally. 

" ' Put it thar ! ' as the Americans say," was the 
salute I got from Admiral Bruce, when I called at 
the admiralty to thank him for his courtesy of 
the berth, and for the use of the steam-launch 
which towed me into dock. "About the berth, 
it is all right if it suits, and we '11 tow you out 



when you are ready to go. But, say, what repairs 
do you want ? Ahoy the Hebe, can you spare your 
sailmaker? The Spray wants a new jib. Con- 
struction and repair, there! will you see to the 
Spray f Say, old man, you must have knocked 
the devil out of her coming over alone in twenty- 

The Spray at anchor off Gibraltar. 

nine days ! But we '11 make it smooth for you 
here ! " Not even her Majesty's ship the C oiling - 
wood was better looked after than the Spray at 

Later in the day came the hail : " Spray ahoy ! 
Mrs. Bruce would like to come on board and 
shake hands with the Spray. Will it be con- 
venient to-day?" "Very!" I joyfully shouted. 


On the following day Sir F. Carrington, at the 
time governor of Gibraltar, with other high officers 
of the garrison, and all the commanders of the 
battle-ships, came on board and signed their names 
in the Spray's log-book. Again there was a hail, 
" Spray ahoy ! " " Hello ! " " Commander Reynolds 's 
compliments. You are invited on board H. M. S. 
Collingwood, 'at home' at 4:30 P.M. Not later 
than 5:30 P. M." I had already hinted at the lim- 
ited amount of my wardrobe, and that I could 
never succeed as a dude. " You are expected, sir, 
in a stovepipe hat and a claw-hammer coat ! " 
" Then I can't come." " Dash it ! come in what 
you have on ; that is what we mean." " Aye, aye, 
sir ! " The Collingwood's cheer was good, and had 
I worn a silk hat as high as the moon I could 
not have had a better time or been made more 
at home. An Englishman, even on his great 
battle-ship, unbends when the stranger passes 
his gangway, and when he says "at home" he 
means it. 

That one should like Gibraltar would go without 
saying. How could one help loving so hospitable 
a place f Vegetables twice a week and milk every 
morning came from the palatial grounds of the 
admiralty. " Spray ahoy ! " would hail the admiral. 
" Spray ahoy ! " " Hello ! " " To-morrow is your 
vegetable day, sir." " Aye, aye, sir ! " 

I rambled much about the old city, and a gunner 
piloted me through the galleries of the rock as far 
as a stranger is permitted to go. There is no ex- 
cavation in the world, for military purposes, at all 
approaching these of Gibraltar in conception or 
execution. Viewing the stupendous works, it be- 


came hard to realize that one was within the Gib- 
raltar of his little old Morse geography. 

Before sailing I was invited on a picnic with the 
governor, the officers of the garrison, and the com- 
manders of the war-ships at the station; and a 
royal affair it was. Torpedo-boat No. 91, going 
twenty-two knots, carried our party to the Morocco 
shore and back. The day was perfect too fine, 
in fact, for comfort on shore, and so no one landed at 
Morocco. No. 91 trembled like an aspen-leaf as she 
raced through the sea at top speed. Sublieutenant 
Boucher, apparently a mere lad, was in command, 
and handled his ship with the skill of an older sailor. 
On the following day I lunched with General Car- 
rington, the governor, at Line Wall House, which 
was once the Franciscan convent. In this interest- 
ing edifice are preserved relics of the fourteen sieges 
which Gibraltar has seen. On the next day I supped 
with the admiral at his residence, the palace, which 
was once the convent of the Mercenaries. At each 
place, and all about, I felt the friendly grasp of a 
manly hand, that lent me vital strength to pass the 
coming long days at sea. I must confess that the 
perfect discipline, order, and cheerfulness at Gib- 
raltar were only a second wonder in the great 
stronghold. The vast amount of business going 
forward caused no more excitement than the quiet 
sailing of a well-appointed ship in a smooth sea. 
No one spoke above his natural voice, save a 
boatswain's mate now and then. The Hon. Horatio 
J. Sprague, the venerable United States consul at 
Gibraltar, honored the Spray with a visit on Sun- 
day, August 24, and was much pleased to find that 
our British cousins had been so kind to her. 


Sailing from Gibraltar with the assistance of her Majesty's tug 
The Spray's course changed from the Suez Canal to Cape Horn 
Chased by a Moorish pirate A comparison with Columbus 
The Canary Islands The Cape Verde Islands Sea life Arrival 
at Pernambuco A bill against the Brazilian government Pre- 
paring for the stormy weather of the cape. 

MONDAY, August 25, the Spray sailed from Gib- 
raltar, well repaid for whatever deviation she 
had made from a direct course to reach the place. 
A tug belonging to her Majesty towed the sloop into 
the steady breeze clear of the mount, where her sails 
caught a volant wind, which carried her once more 
to the Atlantic, where it rose rapidly to a furious 
gale. My plan was, in going down this coast, to 
haul offshore, well clear of the land, which here- 
abouts is the home of pirates; but I had hardly 
accomplished this when I perceived a felucca 
making out of the nearest port, and finally follow- 
ing in the wake of the Spray. Now, my course 
to Gibraltar had been taken with a view to proceed 
up the Mediterranean Sea, through the Suez Canal, 
down the Bed Sea, and east about, instead of a 
western route, which I finally adopted. By officers 
of vast experience in navigating these seas, I was 
influenced to make the change. Longshore pirates 
on both coasts being numerous, I could not afford 


to make light of the advice. But here I was, after 
all, evidently in the midst of pirates and thieves ! 
I changed my course; the felucca did the same, 
both vessels sailing very fast, but the distance 
growing less and less between us. The Spray 
was doing nobly ; she was even more than at her 
best; but, in spite of all I could do, she would 
broach now and then. She was carrying too much 
sail for safety. I must reef or be dismasted and 
lose all, pirate or no pirate. I must reef, even if I 
had to grapple with him for my life. 

I was not long in reefing the mainsail and sweat- 
ing it up probably not more than fifteen min- 
utes; but the felucca had in the meantime so 
shortened the distance between us that I now saw 
the tuft of hair on the heads of the crew, by which, 
it is said, Mohammed will pull the villains up into 
heaven, and they were coming on like the wind. 
From what I could clearly make out now, I felt 
them to be the sons of generations of pirates, and I 
saw by their movements that they were now pre- 
paring to strike a blow. The exultation on their 
faces, however, was changed in an instant to a look 
of fear and rage. Their craft, with too much sail 
on, broached to on the crest - of a great wave. 
This one great sea changed the aspect of affairs 
suddenly as the flash of a gun. Three minutes 
later the same wave overtook the Spray and shook 
her in every timber. At the same moment the 
sheet-strop parted, and away went the main-boom, 
broken short at the rigging. Impulsively I sprang 
to the jib-halyards and down-haul, and instantly 
downed the jib. The head-sail being off, and the 


helm put hard down, the sloop came in the wind 
with a bound. While shivering there, but a mo- 
ment though it was, I got the mainsail down and se- 
cured inboard, broken boom and all. How I got the 
boom in before the sail was torn I hardly know ; 
but not a stitch of it was broken. The mainsail 
being secured, I hoisted away the jib, and, without 
looking round, stepped quickly to the cabin and 
snatched down my loaded rifle and cartridges at 
hand ; for I made mental calculations that the 
pirate would by this time have recovered his course 
and be close aboard, and that when I saw him it 
would be better for me to be looking at him along 
the barrel of a gun. The piece was at my shoulder 
when I peered into the mist, but there was no 
pirate within a mile. The wave and squall that 
carried away my boom dismasted the felucca out- 
right. I perceived his thieving crew, some dozen 
or more of them, struggling to recover their rigging 
from the sea. Allah blacken their faces ! 

I sailed comfortably on under the jib and fore- 
staysail, which I now set. I fished the boom and 
furled the sail snug for the night; then hauled 
the sloop's head two points offshore to allow for 
the set of current and heavy rollers toward the 
land. This gave me the wind three points on the 
starboard quarter and a steady pull in the headsails. 
By the time I had things in this order it was dark, 
and a flying-fish had already fallen on deck. I 
took him below for my supper, but found myself too 
tired to cook, or even to eat a thing already pre- 
pared. I do not remember to have been more tired 
before or since in all my life than I was at the fin- 



ish of that day. Too fatigued to sleep, I rolled about 
with the motion of the vessel till near midnight, 
when I made shift to dress my fish and prepare a 
dish of tea. I fully realized now, if I had not be- 
fore, that the voyage ahead would call for exertions 
ardent and lasting. On August 27 nothing could 
be seen of the Moor, or his country either, except 

Chased by pirates. 

two peaks, away in the east through the clear at- 
mosphere of morning. Soon after the sun rose 
even these were obscured by haze, much to my 

The wind, for a few days following my escape 
from the pirates, blew a steady but moderate gale, 
and the sea, though agitated into long rollers, was 
not uncomfortably rough or dangerous, and while 
sitting in my cabin I could hardly realize that any 


sea was running at all, so easy was the long, swing- 
ing motion of the sloop over the waves. All dis- 
tracting uneasiness and excitement being now over, 
I was once more alone with myself in the realiza- 
tion that I was on the mighty sea and in the hands 
of the elements. But I was happy, and was be- 
coming more and more interested in the voyage. 

Columbus, in the Santa Maria, sailing these seas 
more than four hundred years before, was not so 
happy as I, nor so sure of success in what he had 
undertaken. His first troubles at sea had already 
begun. His crew had managed, by foul play or 
otherwise, to break the ship's rudder while running 
before probably just such a gale as the Spray had 
passed through ; and there was dissension on the 
Santa Maria, something that was unknown on the 

After three days of squalls and shifting winds I 
threw myself down to rest and sleep, while, with 
helm lashed, the sloop sailed steadily on her course. 

September 1, in the early morning, land-clouds 
rising ahead told of the Canary Islands not far 
away. A change in the weather came next day: 
storm-clouds stretched their arms across the sky ; 
from the east, to all appearances, might come a 
fierce harmattan, or from the south might come the 
fierce hurricane. Every point of the compass 
threatened a wild storm. My attention was turned 
to reefing sails, and no time was to be lost over it, 
either, for the sea in a moment was confusion 
itself, and I was glad to head the sloop three points 
or more away from her true course that she might 
ride safely over the waves. I was now scudding 


her for the channel between Africa and the island 
of Fuerteventura, the easternmost of the Canary 
Islands, for which I was on the lookout. At 2 p. M., 
the weather becoming suddenly fine, the island 
stood in view, already abeani to starboard, and 
not more than seven miles off. Fuerteventura 
is twenty-seven hundred feet high, and in fine 
weather is visible many leagues away. 

The wind freshened in the night, and the Spray 
had a fine run through the channel. By daylight, 
September 3, she was twenty- five miles clear of all 
the islands, when a calm ensued, which was the 
precursor of another gale of wind that soon came 
on, bringing with it dust from the African shore. 
It howled dismally while it lasted, and though it 
was not the season of the harmattan, the sea in the 
course of an hour was discolored with a reddish- 
brown dust. The air remained thick with flying 
dust all the afternoon, but the wind, veering north- 
west at night, swept it back to land, and afforded 
the Spray once more a clear sky. Her mast now 
bent under a strong, steady pressure, and her belly- 
ing sail swept the sea as she rolled scuppers under, 
courtesying to the waves. These rolling waves 
thrilled me as they tossed my ship, passing quickly 
under her keel. This was grand sailing. 

September 4, the wind, still fresh, blew from the 
north-northeast, and the sea surged along with the 
sloop. About noon a steamship, a bullock-droger, 
from the river Plate hove in sight, steering north- 
east, and making bad weather of it. I signaled her, 
but got no answer. She was plunging into the 
head sea and rolling in a most astonishing manner, 


and from the way she yawed one might have said 
that a wild steer was at the helm. 

On the morning of September 6 I found three 
flying-fish on deck, and a fourth one down the 
fore-scuttle as close as possible to the frying-pan. 
It was the best haul yet, and afforded me a sump- 
tuous breakfast and dinner. 

The Spray had now settled down to the trade- 
winds and to the business of her voyage. Later 
in the day another droger hove in sight, rolling 
as badly as her predecessor. I threw out no 
flag to this one, but got the worst of it for pass- 
ing under her lee. She was, indeed, a stale one ! 
And the poor cattle, how they bellowed! The 
time was when ships passing one another at sea 
backed their topsails and had a "gam," and on 
parting fired guns; but those good old days have 
gone. People have hardly time nowadays to speak 
even on the broad ocean, where news is news, and 
as for a salute of guns, they cannot afford the 
powder. There are no poetry-enshrined freighters 
on the sea now ; it is a prosy life when we have no 
time to bid one another good morning. 

My ship, running now in the full swing of the 
trades, left me days to myself for rest and recu- 
peration. I employed the time in reading and 
writing, or in whatever I found to do about the 
rigging and the sails to keep them all in order. 
The cooking was always done quickly, and was a 
small matter, as the bill of fare consisted mostly of 
flying-fish, hot biscuits and butter, potatoes, coffee 
and cream dishes readily prepared. 

On September 10 the Spray passed the island of 


St. Antonio, the northwesternmost of the Cape 
Verdes, close aboard. The landfall was wonder- 
fully true, considering that no observations for 
longitude had been made. The wind, northeast, 
as the sloop drew by the island, was very squally, 
but I reefed her sails snug, and steered broad from 
the highland of blustering St. Antonio. Then 
leaving the Cape Verde Islands out of sight astern, 
I found myself once more sailing a lonely sea and 
in a solitude supreme all around. When I slept 
I dreamed that I was alone. This feeling never 
left me ; but, sleeping or waking, I seemed always 
to know the position of the sloop, and I saw my 
vessel moving across the chart, which became a 
picture before me. 

One night while I sat in the cabin under this 
spell, the profound stillness all about was broken 
by human voices alongside ! I sprang instantly 
to the deck, startled beyond my power to tell. 
Passing close under lee, like an apparition, was 
a white bark under full sail. The sailors on board 
of her were hauling on ropes to brace the yards, 
which just cleared the sloop's mast as she swept 
by. No one hailed from the white-winged flier, 
but I heard some one on board say that he saw 
lights on the sloop, and that he made her out 
to be a fisherman. I sat long on the starlit deck 
that night, thinking of ships, and watching the 
constellations on their voyage. 

On the following day, September 13, a large four- 
masted ship passed some distance to windward, 
heading north. 

The sloop was now rapidly drawing toward the 


region of doldrums, and the force of the trade- 
winds was lessening. I could see by the ripples 
that a counter-current had set in. This I esti- 
mated to be about sixteen miles a day. In the 
heart of the counter-stream the rate was more than 
that setting eastward. 

September 14 a lofty three-masted ship, heading 
north, was seen from the masthead. Neither this 
ship nor the one seen yesterday was within signal 
distance, yet it was good even to see them. On 
the following day heavy rain-clouds rose in the 
south, obscuring the sun; this was ominous of 
doldrums. On the 16th the Spray entered this 
gloomy region, to battle with squalls and to be 
harassed by fitful calms ; for this is the state of the 
elements between the northeast and the southeast 
trades, where each wind, struggling in turn for 
mastery, expends its force whirling about in all 
directions. Making this still more trying to one's 
nerve and patience, the sea was tossed into con- 
fused cross-lumps and fretted by eddying currents. 
As if something more were needed to complete a 
sailor's discomfort in this state, the rain poured 
dawn in torrents day and night. The Spray strug- 
gled and tossed for ten days, making only three 
hundred miles on her course in all that time. I 
did n't say anything ! 

On September 23 the fine schooner Nantasket 
of Boston, from Bear River, for the river Plate, 
lumber-laden, and just through the doldrums, came 
up with the Spray, and her captain passing a few 
words, she sailed on. Being much fouled on the 
bottom by shell-fish, she drew along with her fishes 


which had been following the Spray, which was 
less provided with that sort of food. Fishes will 
always follow a foul ship. A barnacle-grown log 
adrift has the same attraction for deep-sea fishes. 
One of this little school of deserters was a dolphin 
that had followed the Spray about a thousand 
miles, and had been content to eat scraps of food 
thrown overboard from my table ; for, having been 
wounded, it could not dart through the sea to prey 
on other fishes. I had become accustomed to see- 
ing the dolphin, which I knew by its scars, and 
missed it whenever it took occasional excursions 
away from the sloop. One day, after it had been 
off. some hours, it returned in company with three 
yellowtails, a sort of cousin to the dolphin. This 
little school kept together, except when in danger 
and when foraging about the sea. Their lives 
were often threatened by hungry sharks that came 
round the vessel, and more than once they had 
narrow escapes. Their mode of escape interested 
me greatly, and I passed hours watching them. 
They would dart away, each in a different direc- 
tion, so that the wolf of the sea, the shark, pursu- 
ing one, would be led away from the others ; then 
after a while they would all return and rendezvous 
under one side or the other of the sloop. Twice 
their pursuers were diverted by a tin pan, which I 
towed astern of the sloop, and which was mistaken 
for a bright fish ; and while turning, in the peculiar 
way that sharks have when about to devour their 
prey, I shot them through the head. 

Their precarious life seemed to concern the 
yellowtails very little, if at all. All living beings, 


without doubt, are afraid of death. Neverthe- 
less, some of the species I saw huddle together as 
though they knew they were created for the larger 
fishes, and wished to give the least possible trouble 
to their captors. I have seen, on the other hand, 
whales swimming in a circle around a school of 
herrings, and with mighty exertion "bunching" 
them together in a whirlpool set in motion by their 
flukes, and when the small fry were all whirled 
nicely together, one or the other of the leviathans, 
lunging through the center with open jaws, take in 
a boat-load or so at a single mouthful. Off the 
Cape of Good Hope I saw schools of sardines or 
other small fish being treated in this way by great 
numbers of cavally-fish. There was not the slightest 
chance of escape for the sardines, while the cavally 
circled round and round, feeding from the edge of 
the mass. It was interesting to note how rapidly 
the small fry disappeared; and though it was re- 
peated before my eyes over and over, I could hardly 
perceive the capture of a single sardine, so dexter- 
ously was it done. 

Along the equatorial limit of the southeast trade- 
winds the air was heavily charged with electricity, 
and there was much thunder and lightning. It was 
hereabout I remembered that, a few years before, 
the American ship Alert was destroyed by lightning. 
Her people, by wonderful good fortune, were res- 
cued on the same day and brought to Pernambuco, 
where I then met them. 

On September 25, in the latitude of 5 N., longi- 
tude 26 30' W., I spoke the ship North Star of 
London. The great ship was out forty-eight days 


from Norfolk, Virginia, and was bound for Eio, 
where we met again about two months later. The 
Spray was now thirty days from Gibraltar. 

The Spray's next companion of the voyage was 
a swordfish, that swam alongside, showing its tall 
fin out of the water, till I made a stir for my har- 
poon, when it hauled its black flag down and dis- 
appeared. September 30, at half -past eleven in the 
morning, the Spray crossed the equator in longitude 
29 30' W. At noon she was two miles south of 
the line. The southeast trade-winds, met, rather 
light, in about 4 N., gave her sails now a stiff full 
sending her handsomely over the sea toward the 
coast of Brazil, where on October 5, just north of 
Olinda Point, without further incident, she made 
the land, casting anchor in Pernambuco harbor 
about noon: forty days from Gibraltar, and all 
well on board. Did I tire of the voyage in all 
that time ? Not a bit of it ! I was never in better 
trim in all my life, and TV as eager for the more 
perilous experience of rounding the Horn. 

It was not at all strange in a life common to 
sailors that, having already crossed the Atlantic 
twice and being now half-way from Boston to the 
Horn, I should find myself still among friends. My 
determination to sail westward from Gibraltar not 
only enabled me to escape the pirates of the Red 
Sea, but, in bringing me to Pernambuco, landed 
me on familiar shores. I had made many voyages 
to this and other ports in Brazil. In 1893 I was 
employed as master to take the famous Ericsson 
ship Destroyer from New York to Brazil to go 
against the rebel Mello and his party. The De- 


stroyer, by the way, carried a submarine cannon of 
enormous length. 

In the same expedition went the Nicfheroy, the 
ship purchased by the United States govern- 
ment during the Spanish war and renamed the 
Buffalo. The Destroyer was in many ways the 
better ship of the two, but the Brazilians in their 
curious war sank her themselves at Bahia. With 
her sank my hope of recovering wages due me ; 
still, I could but try to recover, for to me it meant 
a great deal. But now within two years the whirli- 
gig of time had brought the Mello party into power, 
and although it was the legal government which 
had employed me, the so-called " rebels " felt under 
less obligation to me than I could have wished. 

During these visits to Brazil I had made the 
acquaintance of Dr. Perera, owner and editor of 
" El Commercio Jornal," and soon after the Spray 
was safely moored in Upper Topsail Reach, the 
doctor, who is a very enthusiastic yachtsman, came 
to pay me a visit and to carry me up the waterway 
of the lagoon to his country residence. The ap- 
proach to his mansion by the waterside was guarded 
by his armada, a fleet of boats including a Chinese 
sampan, a Norwegian pram, and a Cape Ann dory, 
the last of which he obtained from the Destroyer. 
The doctor dined me often on good Brazilian fare, 
that I might, as he said, "salle gordo" for the 
voyage; but he found that even on the best I 
fattened slowly. 

Fruits and vegetables and all other provisions 
necessary for the voyage having been taken in, on 
the 23d of October I unmoored and made ready 


for sea. Here I encountered one of the unforgiving 
Mello faction in the person of the collector of cus- 
toms, who charged the Spray tonnage dues when 
she cleared, notwithstanding that she sailed with a 
yacht license and should have been exempt from 
port charges. Our consul reminded the collector 
of this and of the fact without much diplomacy, I 
thought that it was I who brought the Destroyer 
to Brazil. "Oh, yes," said the bland collector; 
" we remember it very well," for it was now in a 
small way his turn. 

Mr. Lungrin, a merchant, to help me out of the 
trifling difficulty, offered to freight the Spray with 
a cargo of gunpowder for Bahia, which would have 
put me in funds; and when the insurance com- 
panies refused to take the risk on cargo shipped on 
a vessel manned by a crew of only one, he offered 
to ship it without insurance, taking all the risk 
himself. This was perhaps paying me a greater 
compliment than I deserved. The reason why I 
did not accept the business was that in so doing I 
found that I should vitiate my yacht license and 
run into more expense for harbor dues around the 
world than the freight would amount to. Instead 
of all this, another old merchant friend came to my 
assistance, advancing the cash direct. 

While at Pernambuco I shortened the boom, 
which had been broken when off the coast of Mo- 
rocco, by removing the broken piece, which took 
about four feet off the inboard end ; I also refitted 
the jaws. On October 24, 1895, a fine day even as 
days go in Brazil, the Spray sailed, having had 
abundant good cheer. Making about one hundred 


miles a day along the coast, I arrived at Rio de 
Janeiro November 5, without any event worth 
mentioning, and about noon cast anchor near 
Villaganon, to await the official port visit. On the 
following day I bestirred myself to meet the highest 
lord of the admiralty and the ministers, to inquire 
concerning the matter of wages due me from the 
beloved Destroyer. The high official I met said: 
"Captain, so far as we are concerned, you may 
have the ship, and if you care to accept her we 
will send an officer to show you where she is." I 
knew well enough where she was at that moment. 
The top of her smoke-stack being awash in Bahia, 
it was more than likely that she rested on the 
bottom there. I thanked the kind officer, but de- 
clined his offer. 

The Spray, with a number of old shipmasters on 
board, sailed about the harbor of Rio the day be- 
fore she put to sea. As I had decided to give the 
Spray a yawl rig for the tempestuous waters of 
Patagonia, I here placed on the stern a semicircular 
brace to support a jigger mast. These old captains 
inspected the Spray's rigging, and each one con- 
tributed something to her outfit. Captain Jones, 
who had acted as my interpreter at Rio, gave her 
an anchor, and one of the steamers gave her a 
cable to match it. She never dragged Jones's 
anchor once on the voyage, and the cable not only 
stood the strain on a lee shore, but when towed off 
Cape Horn helped break combing seas astern that 
threatened to board her. 


Departure from Rio de Janeiro The Spray ashore on the sands 
of Uruguay A narrow escape from shipwreck The boy who 
found a sloop The Spray floated but somewhat damaged 
Courtesies from the British consul at Maldonado A warm 
greeting at Montevideo An excursion to Buenos Aires Short- 
ening the mast and bowsprit. 

ON November 28 the Spray sailed from Rio de 
Janeiro, and first of all ran into a gale of wind, 
which tore up things generally along the coast, doing 
considerable damage to shipping. It was well for 
her, perhaps, that she was clear of the land. Coasting 
along on this part of the voyage, I observed that 
while some of the small vessels I fell in with were 
able to outsail the Spray by day, they fell astern of 
her by night. To the Spray day and night were 
the same ; to the others clearly there was a differ- 
ence. On one of the very fine days experienced 
after leaving Rio, the steamship South Wales spoke 
the Spray and unsolicited gave the longitude by 
chronometer as 48 W., "as near as I can make 
it," the captain said. The Spray, with her tin 
clock, had exactly the same reckoning. I was 
feeling at ease in my primitive method of naviga- 
tion, but it startled me not a little to find my posi- 
tion by account verified by the ship's chronometer. 
On December 5 a barkantine hove in sight, and 

5 65 


for several days the two vessels sailed along the 
coast together. Eight here a current was experi- 
enced setting north, making it necessary to hug 
the shore, with which the Spray became rather fa- 
miliar. Here I confess a weakness : I hugged the 
shore entirely too close. In a word, at daybreak 
on the morning of December 11 the Spray ran hard 
and fast on the beach. This was annoying ; but I 
soon found that the sloop was in no great danger. 
The false appearance of the sand-hills under a 
bright moon had deceived me, and I lamented now 
that I had trusted to appearances at all. The sea, 
though moderately smooth, still carried a swell 
which broke with some force on the shore. I man- 
aged to launch my small dory from the deck, and 
ran out a kedge-anchor and warp ; but it was too 
late to kedge the sloop off, for the tide was falling 
and she had already sewed a foot. Then I went 
about " laying out " the larger anchor, which was 
no easy matter, for my only life-boat, the frail 
dory, when the anchor and cable were in it, was 
swamped at once in the surf, the load being too 
great for her. Then I cut the cable and made two 
loads of it instead of one. The anchor, with forty 
fathoms bent and already buoyed, I now took and 
succeeded in getting through the surf; but my 
dory was leaking fast, and by the time I had rowed 
far enough to drop the anchor she was full to the 
gunwale and sinking. There was not a moment to 
spare, and I saw clearly that if I failed now all 
might be lost. I sprang from the oars to my feet, 
and lifting the anchor above my head, threw it 
clear just as she was turning over. I grasped her 



gunwale and held on as she turned bottom up, for 
I suddenly remembered that I could not swim. 
Then I tried to right her, but with too much eager- 
ness, for she rolled clean over, and left me as before, 
clinging to her gunwale, while my body was still in 
the water. Giving a moment to cool reflection, I 
found that although the wind was blowing mod- 
erately toward the land, the current was carrying 
me to sea, and that something would have to be 
done. Three 
times I had 
been under wa- 
ter, in trying to 
right the dory, 
and I was just 
saying, "Now I 
lay me," when 
I was seized 
bya.determina- , 
tion to try yet 
once more, so that no one of the prophets of 
evil I had left behind me could say, "I told you 
so." Whatever the danger may have been, much 
or little, I can truly say that the moment was the 
most serene of my life. 

After righting the dory for the fourth time, I 
finally succeeded by the utmost care in keeping her 
upright while I hauled myself into her and with 
one of the oars, which I had recovered, paddled to 
the shore, somewhat the worse for wear and pretty 
full of salt water. The position of my vessel, now 
high and dry, gave me anxiety. To get her afloat 
again was all I thought of or cared for. I had little 

'I suddenly remembered that I could not swim." 


difficulty in carrying the second part of my cable 
out and securing it to the first, which I had taken 
the precaution to buoy before I put it into the boat. 
To bring the end back to the sloop was a smaller 
matter still, and I believe I chuckled above my 
sorrows when I found that in all the haphazard 
my judgment or my good genius had faithfully 
stood by me. The cable reached from the anchor 
in deep water to the sloop's windlass by just enough 
to secure a turn and no more. The anchor had 
been dropped at the right distance from the vessel. 
To heave all taut now and wait for the coming tide 
was all I could do. 

I had already done enough work to tire a stouter 
man, and was only too glad to throw myself on the 
sand above the tide and rest; for the sun was 
already up, and pouring a generous warmth over 
the land. While my state could have been worse, 
I was on the wild coast of a foreign country, and 
not entirely secure in my property, as I soon found 
out. I had not been long on the shore when I heard 
the patter, patter of a horse's feet approaching along 
the hard beach, which ceased as it came abreast of 
the sand-ridge where I lay sheltered from the 
wind. Looking up cautiously, I saw mounted on a 
nag probably the most astonished boy on the whole 
coast. He had found a sloop ! " It must be mine," 
he thought, " for am I not the first to see it on the 
beach?" Sure enough, there it was all high and 
dry and painted white. He trotted his horse 
around it, and finding no owner, hitched the nag 
to the sloop's bobstay and hauled as though he 
would take her home; but of course she was too 


heavy for one horse to move. With my skiff, how- 
ever, it was different ; this he hauled some distance, 
and concealed behind a dune in a bunch of tall 
grass. He had made up his mind, I dare say, to 
bring more horses and drag his bigger prize away, 
anyhow, and was starting off for the settlement a 
mile or so away for the reinforcement when I 
discovered myself to him, at which he seemed 
displeased and disappointed. " Buenos dias, mu- 
chacho," I said. He grunted a reply, and eyed me 
keenly from head to foot. Then bursting into a vol- 
ley of questions, more than six Yankees could ask, 
he wanted to know, first, where my ship was from, 
and how many days she had been coming. Then 
he asked what I was doing here ashore so early in 
the morning. " Your questions are easily answered," 
I replied ; " my ship is from the moon, it has taken 
her a month to come, and she is here for a cargo of 
boys." But the intimation of this enterprise, had 
I not been on the alert, might have cost me dearly ; 
for while I spoke this child of the campo coiled his 
lariat ready to throw, and instead of being himself 
carried to the moon, he was apparently thinking 
of towing me home by the neck, astern of his wild 
cayuse, over the fields of Uruguay. 

The exact spot where I was stranded was at the 
Castillo Chicos, about seven miles south of the 
dividing-line of Uruguay and Brazil, and of course 
the natives there speak Spanish. To reconcile my 
early visitor, I told him that I had on my ship 
biscuits, and that I wished to trade them for butter 
and milk. On hearing this a broad grin lighted up 
his face, and showed that he was greatly interested, 


and that even in Uruguay a ship's biscuit will cheer 
the heart of a boy and make him your bosom friend. 
The lad almost flew home, and returned quickly 
with butter, milk, and eggs. I was, after all, in a 
land of plenty. With the boy came others, old and 
young, from neighboring ranches, among them a 
German settler, who was of great assistance to me 
in many ways. 

A coast-guard from Fort Teresa, a few miles 
away, also came, "to protect your property from 
the natives of the plains," he said. I took occasion 
to tell him, however, that if he would look after 
the people of his own village, I would take care of 
those from the plains, pointing, as I spoke, to the 
nondescript "merchant" who had already stolen 
my revolver and several small articles from my 
cabin, which by a bold front I had recovered. The 
chap was not a native Uruguayan. Here, as in 
many other places that I visited, the natives 
themselves were not the ones discreditable to the 

Early in the day a despatch came from the port 
captain of Montevideo, commanding the coast- 
guards to render the Spray every assistance. This, 
however, was not necessary, for a guard was already 
on the alert, and making all the ado that would be- 
come the wreck of a steamer with a thousand emi- 
grants aboard. The same messenger brought word 
from the port captain that he would despatch a 
steam-tug to tow the Spray to Montevideo. The offi- 
cer was as good as his word ; a powerful tug arrived 
on the following day; but, to make a long story 
short, with the help of the German and one soldier 


and one Italian, called "Angel of Milan," I had 
already floated the sloop and was sailing for port 
with the boom off before a fair wind. The adven- 
ture cost the Spray no small amount of pounding 
on the hard sand; she lost her shoe and part of 
her false keel, and received other damage, which, 
however, was readily mended afterward in dock. 

On the following day I anchored at Maldonado. 
The British consul, his daughter, and another 
young lady came on board, bringing with them a 
basket of fresh eggs, strawberries, bottles of milk, 
and a great loaf of sweet bread. This was a good 
landfall, and better cheer than I had found at Mal- 
donado once upon a time when I entered the port 
with a stricken crew in my bark, the Aquidneck. 

In the waters of Maldonado Bay a variety of 
fishes abound, and fur-seals in their season haul 
out on the island abreast the bay to breed. Cur- 
rents on this coast are greatly affected by the pre- 
vailing winds, and a tidal wave higher than that 
ordinarily produced by the moon is sent up the 
whole shore of Uruguay before a southwest gale, 
or lowered by a northeaster, as may happen. One 
of these waves having just receded before the 
northeast wind which brought the Spray in left 
the tide now at low ebb, with oyster-rocks laid 
bare for some distance along the shore. Other 
shellfish of good flavor were also plentiful, though 
small in size. I gathered a mess of oysters and 
mussels here, while a native with hook and line, 
and with mussels for bait, fished from a point of 
detached rocks for bream, landing several good- 
sized ones. 


The fisherman's nephew, a lad about seven years 
old, deserves mention as the tallest blasphemer, 
for a short boy, that I met on the voyage. He 
called his old uncle all the vile names under the 
sun for not helping him across the gully. While 
he swore roundly in all the moods and tenses of 
the Spanish language, his uncle fished on, now and 
then congratulating his hopeful nephew on his 
accomplishment. At the end of his rich vocabu- 
lary the urchin sauntered off into the fields, and 
shortly returned with a bunch of flowers, and with 
all smiles handed them to me with the innocence 
of an angel. I remembered having seen the same 
flower on the banks of the river farther up, some 
years before. I asked the young pirate why he 
had brought them to me. Said he, " I don't know ; 
I only wished to do so." Whatever the influence 
was that put so amiable a wish in this wild pampa 
boy, it must be far-reaching, thought I, and potent, 
seas over. 

Shortly after, the Spray sailed for Montevideo, 
where she arrived on the following day and was 
greeted by steam-whistles till I felt embarrassed 
and wished that I had arrived unobserved. The 
voyage so far alone may have seemed to the Uru- 
guayans a feat worthy of some recognition; but 
there was so much of it yet ahead, and of such an 
arduous nature, that any demonstration at this 
point seemed, somehow, like boasting prematurely. 

The Spray had barely come to anchor at Monte- 
video when the agents of the Royal Mail Steam- 
ship Company, Messrs. Humphreys & Co., sent 
word that they would dock and repair her free of 


expense and give me twenty pounds sterling, 
which they did to the letter, and more besides. 
The calkers at Montevideo paid very careful atten- 
tion to the work of making the sloop tight. Car- 
penters mended the keel and also the life-boat (the 
dory), painting it till 1 hardly knew it from a 

Christmas of 1895 found the Spray refitted even 
to a wonderful makeshift stove which was contrived 
from a large iron drum of some sort punched full 
of holes to give it a draft ; the pipe reached straight 
up through the top of the forecastle. Now, this was 
not a stove by mere courtesy. It was always hun- 
gry, even for green wood ; and in cold, wet days off 
the coast of Tierra del Fuego it stood me in good 
stead. Its one door swung on copper hinges, which 
one of the yard apprentices, with laudable pride, 
polished till the whole thing blushed like the brass 
binnacle of a P. & 0. steamer. 

The Spray was now ready for sea. Instead of 
proceeding at once on her voyage, however, she 
made an excursion up the river, sailing December 
29. An old friend of mine, Captain Howard of 
Cape Cod and of River Plate fame, took the trip in 
her to Buenos Aires, where she arrived early on 
the following day, with a gale of wind and a cur- 
rent so much in her favor that she outdid herself. 
I was glad to have a sailor of Howard's experience 
on board to witness her performance of sailing 
with no living being at the helm. Howard sat 
near the binnacle and watched the compass while 
the sloop held her course so steadily that one 
would have declared that the card was nailed fast. 


Not a quarter of a point did she deviate from her 
course. My old friend had owned and sailed a 
pilot-sloop on the river for many years, but this 
feat took the wind out of his sails at last, and he 
cried, " I '11 be stranded on Chico Bank if ever I 
saw the like of it ! " Perhaps he had never given 
his sloop a chance to show what she could do. 
The point I make for the Spray here, above all 
other points, is that she sailed in shoal water and 
in a strong current, with other difficult and un- 
usual conditions. Captain Howard took all this 
into account. 

In all the years away from his native home 
Howard had not forgotten the art of making fish 
chowders ; and to prove this he brought along some 
fine rockfish and prepared a mess fit for kings. 
When the savory chowder was done, chocking 
the pot securely between two boxes on the cabin 
floor, so that it could not roll over, we helped our- 
selves and swapped yarns over it while the Spray 
made her own way through the darkness on the 
river. Howard told me stories about the Fuegian 
cannibals as she reeled along, and I told him about 
the pilot of the Pinta steering my vessel through 
the storm off the coast of the Azores, and that I 
looked for him at the helm in a gale such as this. 
I do not charge Howard with superstition, we 
are none of us superstitious, but when I spoke 
about his returning to Montevideo on the Spray he 
shook his head and took a steam-packet instead. 

I had not been in Buenos Aires for a number of 
years. The place where I had once landed from 
packets, in a cart, was now built up with magnifi- 


cent docks. Vast fortunes had been spent in re- 
modeling the harbor; London bankers could tell you 
that. The port captain, after assigning the Spray 
a safe berth, with his compliments, sent me word 
to call on him for anything I might want while in 
port, and I felt quite sure that his friendship was 
sincere. The sloop was well cared for at Buenos 
Aires ; her dockage and tonnage dues were all free, 
and the yachting fraternity of the city welcomed 
her with a good will. In town I found things not 
so greatly changed as about the docks, and I soon 
felt myself more at-home. 

From Montevideo I had forwarded a letter from 
Sir Edward Hairby to the owner of the " Standard," 
Mr. Mulhall, and in reply to it was assured of a 
warm welcome to the warmest heart, I think, out- 
side of Ireland. Mr. Mulhall, with a prancing 
team, came down to the docks as soon as the 
Spray was berthed, and would have me go to his 
house at once, where a room was waiting. And 
it was New Year's day, 1896. The course of the 
Spray had been followed in the columns of the 
" Standard." 

Mr. Mulhall kindly drove me to see many im- 
provements about the city, and we went in search 
of some of the old landmarks. The man who sold 
" lemonade " on the plaza when first I visited this 
wonderful city I found selling lemonade still at 
two cents a glass; he had made a fortune by it. 
His stock in trade was a wash-tub and a neighbor- 
ing hydrant, a moderate supply of brown sugar, 
and about six lemons that floated on the sweetened 
water. The water from time to time was renewed 



from the friendly pump, but the lemon " went on 
forever," and all at two cents a glass. 

But we looked in vain for the man who once sold 
whisky and coffins in Buenos Aires ; the march of 
civilization had crushed him memory only clung 
to his name. Enterprising man that he was, I fain 

At the sign of the comet. 

would have looked him up. I remember the tiers 
of whisky-barrels, ranged on end, on one side of 
the store, while on the other side, and divided by 
a thin partition, were the coffins in the same order, 
of all sizes and in great numbers. The unique ar- 
rangement seemed in order, for as a cask was 
emptied a coffin might be filled. Besides cheap 
whisky and many other liquors, he sold "cider," 
which he manufactured from damaged Malaga 


raisins. Within the scope of his enterprise was 
also the sale of mineral waters, not entirely blame- 
less of the germs of disease. This man surely ca- 
tered to all the tastes, wants, and conditions of 
his customers. 

Farther along in the city, however, survived the 
good man who wrote on the side of his store, where 
thoughtful men might read and learn: "This 
wicked world will be destroyed by a comet ! The 
owner of this store is therefore bound to sell out 
at any price and avoid the catastrophe." My friend 
Mr. Mulhall drove me round to view the fearful 
comet with streaming tail pictured large on the 
trembling merchant's walls. 

I unshipped the sloop's mast at Buenos Aires 
and shortened it by seven feet. I reduced the 
length of the bowsprit by about five feet, and even 
then I found it reaching far enough from home; 
and more than once, when on the end of it reefing 
the jib, I regretted that I had not shortened it 
another foot. 


Weighing anchor at Buenos Aires An outburst of emotion at the 
mouth of the Plate Submerged by a great wave A stormy 
entrance to the strait Captain Samblich's happy gift of a bag 
of carpet-tacks Off Cape Fro ward Chased by Indians from 
Fortescue Bay A miss-shot for "Black Pedro" Taking in 
supplies of wood and water at Three Island Cove Animal lire. 

ON January 26, 1896, the Spray, being refitted 
and well provisioned in every way, sailed from 
Buenos Aires. There was little wind at the start ; 
the surface of the great river was like a silver disk, 
and I was glad of a tow from a harbor tug to clear 
the port entrance. But a gale came up soon after, 
and caused an ugly sea, and instead of being all 
silver, as before, the river was now all mud. The 
Plate is a treacherous place for storms. One sail- 
ing there should always be on the alert for squalls. 
I cast anchor before dark in the best lee I could find 
near the land, but was tossed miserably all night, 
heartsore of choppy seas. On the following morn- 
ing I got the sloop under way, and with reefed 'sails 
worked her down the river against a head wind. 
Standing in that night to the place where pilot 
Howard joined me for the up-river sail, I took a 
departure, shaping my course to clear Point Indio 
on the one hand, and the English Bank on the 



I had not for many years been south of these 
regions. I will not say that I expected all fine 
sailing on the course for Cape Horn direct, but 
while I worked at the sails and rigging I thought 
only of onward and forward. It was when I an- 
chored in the lonely places that a feeling of awe 
crept over me. At the last anchorage on the mo- 
notonous and muddy river, weak as it may seem, 
I gave way to my feelings. I resolved then that I 
would anchor no more north of the Strait of Ma- 

On the 28th of January the Spray was clear of 
Point Indio, English Bank, and all the other dan- 
gers of the River Plate. With a fair wind she 
then bore away for the Strait of Magellan, under 
all sail, pressing farther and farther toward the 
wonderland of the South, till I forgot the blessings 
of our milder North. 

My ship passed in safety Bahia Blanca, also the 
Gulf of St. Matias and the mighty Gulf of St. 
George. Hoping that she might go clear of the 
destructive tide-races, the dread of big craft or 
little along this coast, I gave all the capes a berth 
of about fifty miles, for these dangers extend many 
miles from the land. But where the sloop avoided 
one danger she encountered another. For, one 
day, well off the Patagonian coast, while the sloop 
was reaching under short sail, a tremendous wave, 
the culmination, it seemed, of many waves, rolled 
down upon her in a storm, roaring as it came. I 
had only a moment to get all sail down and myself 
up on the peak halliards, out of danger, when I 
saw the mighty crest towering masthead-high above 


me. The mountain of water submerged my vessel. 
She shook in every timber and reeled under the 
weight of the sea, but rose quickly out of it, and 
rode grandly over the rollers that followed. It 
may have been a minute that from my hold in the 
rigging I could see no part of the Spray's hulL 
Perhaps it was even less time than that, but it 
seemed a long while, for under great excitement 
one lives fast, and in a few seconds one may think 
a great deal of one's past life. Not only did the 
past, with electric speed, flash before me, but I had 
time while in my hazardous position for resolu- 
tions for the future that would take a long time to 
fulfil. The first one was, I remember, that if the 
Spray came through this danger I would dedi- 
cate my best energies to building a larger ship on 
her lines, which I hope yet to do. Other promises, 
less easily kept, I should have made under protest. 
However, the incident, which filled me with fear, 
was only one more test of the Spray's seaworthi- 
ness. It reassured me against rude Cape Horn. 

From the time the great wave swept over the 
Spray until she reached Cape Virgins nothing oc- 
curred to move a pulse and set blood in motion. 
On the contrary, the weather became fine and the 
sea smooth and life tranquil. The phenomenon of 
mirage frequently occurred. An albatross sitting 
on the water one day loomed up like a large ship ; 
two fur-seals asleep on the surface of the sea ap- 
peared like great whales, and a bank of haze I 
could have sworn was high land. The kaleido- 
scope then changed, and on the following day I 
sailed in a world peopled by dwarfs. 



On February 11 the Spray rounded Cape Virgins 
and entered the Strait of Magellan. The scene 
was again real and gloomy ; the wind, northeast, 
and blowing a gale, sent feather- white spume along 
the coast ; such a sea ran as would swamp an ill- 
appointed ship. As the sloop neared the entrance 

Entrance to the Strait of Magellan. 

to the strait I observed that two great tide-races 
made ahead, one very close to the point of the land 
and one farther offshore. Between the two, in a 
sort of channel, through combers, went the Spray 
with close-reefed sails. But a rolling sea followed 
her a long way in, and a fierce current swept 
around the cape against her ; but this she stemmed, 
and was soon chirruping under the lee of Cape 
Virgins and running every minute into smoother 
water. However, long trailing kelp from sunken 
rocks waved forebodingly under her keel, and the 
wreck of a great steamship smashed on the beach 
abreast gave a gloomy aspect to the scene. 

I was not to be let off easy. The Virgins would 
collect tribute even from the Spray passing their 
promontory. Fitful rain-squalls from the north- 
west followed the northeast gale. I reefed the 


sloop's sails, and sitting in the cabin to rest my 
eyes, I was so strongly impressed with what in all 
nature I might expect that as I dozed the very air 
I breathed seemed to warn me of danger. My 
senses heard " Spray ahoy ! " shouted in warning. 
I sprang to the deck, wondering who could be 
there that knew the Spray so well as to call out her 
name passing in the dark; for it was now the 
blackest of nights all around, except away in 
the southwest, where the old familiar white arch, 
the terror of Cape Horn, rapidly pushed up by 
a southwest gale. I had only a moment to douse 
sail and lash all solid when it struck like a shot 
from a cannon, and for the first half-hour it was 
something to be remembered by way of a gale. 
For thirty hours it kept on blowing hard. The 
sloop could carry no more than a three-reefed main- 
sail and forestaysail ; with these she held on stoutly 
and was not blown out of the strait. In the height 
of the squalls in this gale she doused all sail, and 
this occurred often enough. 

After this gale followed only a smart breeze, and 
the Spray, passing through the narrows without 
mishap, cast anchor at Sandy Point on February 
14, 1896. 

Sandy Point (Punta Arenas) is a Chilean coal- 
ing-station, and boasts about two thousand inhabi- 
tants, of mixed nationality, but mostly Chileans. 
What with sheep-farming, gold-mining, and hunt- 
ing, the settlers in this dreary land seemed not the 
worst off in the world. But the natives, Patagonian 
and Fuegian, on the other hand, were as squalid 
as contact with unscrupulous traders could make 


them. A large percentage of the business there 
was traffic in "fire- water." If there was a law 
against selling the poisonous stuff to the natives, 
it was not enforced. Fine specimens of the Pata- 
gonian race, looking smart in the morning when 
they came into town, had repented before night of 
ever having seen a white man, so beastly drunk 
were they, to say nothing about the peltry of which 
they had been robbed. 

The port at that time was free, but a custom- 
house was in course of construction, and when it 
is finished, port and tariff dues are to be collected. 
A soldier police guarded the place, and a sort of 
vigilante force besides took down its guns now 
and then; but as a general thing, to my mind, 
whenever an execution was made they killed the 
wrong man. Just previous to my arrival the gov- 
ernor, himself of a jovial turn of mind, had sent a 
party of young bloods to foray a Fuegian settle- 
ment and wipe out what they could of it on ac- 
count of the recent massacre of a schooner's crew 
somewhere else. Altogether the place was quite 
newsy and supported two papers dailies, I think. 
The port captain, a Chilean naval officer, advised 
me to ship hands to fight Indians in the strait 
farther west, and spoke of my stopping until a 
gunboat should be going through, which would 
give me a tow. After canvassing the place, how- 
ever, I found only one man willing to embark, and 
he on condition that I should ship another " mon 
and a doog." But as no one else was willing to 
come along, and as I drew the line at dogs, I said 
no more about the matter, but simply loaded my 



guns. At this point in my dilemma Captain Pedro 
Samblich, a good Austrian of large experience, 
coming along, gave me a bag of carpet-tacks, worth 
more than all the fighting men and dogs of Tierra 
del Fuego. I protested that I had no use for car- 
pet-tacks on board. Sam- 
blich smiled at my want 
of experience, and main- 
tained stoutly that I would 
have use for them. " You 
must use them with dis- 
cretion," he said; "that is 
to say, don't step on them 
yourself." With this re- 
mote hint about the use of 
the tacks I got on all right, 
and saw the way to main- 
tain clear decks at night 
without the care of watch- 

Samblich was greatly in- 
terested in my voyage, and 
after giving me the tacks 
he put on board bags of 
biscuits and a large quan- 
tity of smoked venison. 
He declared that my bread, 
which was ordinary sea- 
biscuits and easily broken, 
was not nutritious as his, which was so hard that I 
could break it only with a stout blow from a maul. 
Then he gave me, from his own sloop, a compass 
which was certainly better than mine, and offered to 

The man who would n't ship 

without another " mon 

and a doog." 



unbend her mainsail for me if I would accept it. 
Last of all, this large-hearted man brought out a 
bottle of Fuegian gold-dust from a place where it 
had been cached and begged me to help myself 
from it, for use farther along on the voyage. But 
I felt sure of success without 
this draft on a friend, and I 
was right. Samblich's tacks, 
as it turned out, were of more 
value than gold. 

The port captain finding 
that I was resolved to go, even 
alone, since there was no help 
for it, set up no further objec- 
tions, but advised me, in case 
the savages tried to surround 
me with their canoes, to shoot 
straight, and begin to do it in 
time, but to avoid killing them 
if possible, which I heartily 
agreed to do. With these 
simple injunctions the officer 
gave me my port clearance free 
of charge, and I sailed on the 
same day, February 19, 1896. It was not without 
thoughts of strange and stirring adventure beyond 
all I had yet encountered that I now sailed into the 
country and very core of the savage Fuegians. 

A fair wind from Sandy Point brought me on 
the first day to St. Nicholas Bay, where, so I was 
told, I might expect to meet savages ; but seeing 
no signs of life, I came to anchor in eight fathoms 
of water, where I lay all night under a high moun- 

A Fuegian Girl. 


tain. Here I had my first experience with the 
terrific squalls, called williwaws, which extended 
from this point on through the strait to the 
Pacific. They were compressed gales of wind that 
Boreas handed down over the hills in chunks. A 
full-blown williwaw will throw a ship, even with- 
out sail on, over on her beam ends ; but, like other 
gales, they cease now and then, if only for a short 

February 20 was my birthday, and I found my- 
self alone, with hardly so much as a bird in sight, 
off. Cape Froward, the southernmost point of the 
continent of America. By daylight in the morning 
I was getting my ship under way for the bout 

The sloop held the wind fair while she ran 
thirty miles farther on her course, which brought 
her to Fortescue Bay, and at once among the 
natives' signal-fires, which blazed up now on all 
sides. Clouds flew over the mountain from the 
west all day ; at night my good east wind failed, 
and in its stead a gale from the west soon came on. 
I gained anchorage at twelve o'clock that night, 
under the lee of a little island, and then prepared 
myself a cup of coffee, of which I was sorely in 
need; for, to tell the truth, hard beating in the 
heavy squalls and against the current had told on 
my strength. Finding that the anchor held, I 
drank my beverage, and named the place Coffee 
Island. It lies to the south of Charles Island, with 
only a narrow channel between. 

By daylight the next morning the Spray was 
again under way, beating hard ; but she came to 





in a cove in Charles Island, two and a half miles 
along on her course. Here she remained undis- 
turbed two days, with both anchors down in a bed 
of kelp. Indeed, she might have remained undis- 
turbed indefinitely had not the wind moderated ; 
for during these two days it blew so hard that no 
boat could venture out on the strait, and the na- 
tives being away to other hunting-grounds, the isl- 
and anchorage was safe. But at the end of the 
fierce wind-storm fair weather came; then I got 
my anchors, and again sailed out upon the strait. 

Canoes manned by savages from Fortescue now 
came in pursuit. The wind falling light, they 
gained on me rapidly till coming within hail, when 
they ceased paddling, and a bow-legged savage 
stood up and called to me, " Yammerschooner ! 
yammerschooner !" which is their begging term. 
I said, " No ! " Now, I was not for letting on 
that I was alone, and so I stepped into the 
cabin, and, passing through the hold, came out at 
the fore-scuttle, changing my clothes as I went 
along. That made two men. Then the piece of 
bowsprit which I had sawed off. at Buenos Aires, 
and which I had still on board, I arranged forward 
on the lookout, dressed as a seaman, attaching a 
line by which I could pull it into motion. That 
made three of us, and we did n't want to "yam- 
merschooner"; but for all that the savages came 
on faster than before. I saw that besides four at 
the paddles in the canoe nearest to me, there were 
others in the bottom, and that they were shifting 
hands often. At eighty yards I fired a shot across 
the bows of the nearest canoe, at which they all 


stopped, but only for a moment. Seeing that they 
persisted in coming nearer, I fired the second shot 
so close to the chap who wanted to "yammer- 
schooner " that he changed his mind quickly enough 
and bellowed with fear, "Bueno jo via Isla," and 
sitting down in his canoe, he rubbed his starboard 
cat-head for some time. I was thinking of the 
good port captain's advice when I pulled the trig- 
ger, and must have aimed pretty straight; how- 
ever, a miss was as good as a mile for Mr. " Black 
Pedro," as he it was, and no other, a leader in 
several bloody massacres. He made for the island 
now, and the others followed him. I knew by his 
Spanish lingo and by his full beard that he was 
the villain I have named, a renegade mongrel, and 
the worst murderer in Tierra del Fuego. The 
authorities had been in search of him for two years. 
The Fuegians are not bearded. 

So much for the first day among the savages. I 
came to anchor at midnight in Three Island Cove, 
about twenty miles along from Fortescue Bay. I 
saw on the opposite side of the strait signal-fires, 
and heard the barking of dogs, but where I lay it 
was quite deserted by natives. I have always 
taken it as a sign that where I found birds sitting 
about, or seals on the rocks, I should not find 
savage Indians. Seals are never plentiful in these 
waters, but in Three Island Cove I saw one on the 
rocks, and other signs of the absence of savage men. 

On the next day the wind was again blowing a 
gale, and although she was in the lee of the land, 
the sloop dragged her anchors, so that I had to get 
her under way and beat farther into the cove, where 


I came to in a landlocked pool. At another tim 
or place this would have been a rash thing to d< 
and it was safe now only from the fact that the gal 
which drove me to shelter would keep the Indian 
from crossing the strait. Seeing this was the case 
I went ashore with gun and ax on an island, wher 
I could not in any event be surprised, and ther 
felled trees and split about a cord of fire-wooc 
which loaded my small boat several times. 

While I carried the wood, though I was morall 
sure there were no savages near, I never once wen 
to or from the skiff without my gun. While I ha 
that and a clear field of over eighty yards about m< 
I felt safe. 

The trees on the island, very scattering, wer 
a sort of beech and a stunted cedar, both of whic 
made good fuel. Even the green limbs of th 
beech, which seemed to possess a resinous qua 
ity, burned readily in my great drum-stove, 
have described my method of wooding up in detai 
that the reader who has kindly borne with me 
far may see that in this, as in all other particular 
of my voyage, I took great care against all kind 
of surprises, whether by animals or by the element 
In the Strait of Magellan the greatest vigilance wa 
necessary. In this instance I reasoned that I ha 
all about me the greatest danger of the who] 
voyage the treachery of cunning savages, fo 
which I must be particularly on the alert. 

The Spray sailed from Three Island Cove in th 
morning after the gale went down, but was glad t 
return for shelter from another sudden gale. Sai 
ing again on the following day, she fetched Borgi 



Bay, a few miles on her course, where vessels had 
anchored from time to time and had nailed boards 
on the trees ashore with name and date of harboring 
carved or painted. Nothing else could I see to in- 
dicate that civilized man had ever been there. I 
had taken a survey of the gloomy place with my 
spy-glass, and was getting my boat out to land and 

A bit of friendly assistance. 
(After a sketch by Midshipman Miguel Arenas.) 

take notes, when the Chilean gunboat Huemel came 
in, and officers, coming on board, advised me to 
leave the place at once, a thing that required little 
eloquence to persuade me to do. I accepted the 
captain's kind offer of a tow to the next anchorage, 
at the place called Notch Cove, eight miles farther 
along, where I should be clear of the worst of the 

We made anchorage at the cove about dark 
that night, while the wind came down in fierce 
williwaws from the mountains. An instance of 
Magellan weather was afforded when the Huemel, a 
well-appointed gunboat of great power, after at- 
tempting on the following day to proceed on her 
voyage, was obliged by sheer force of the wind to 


return and take up anchorage again and remain till 
the gale abated ; and lucky she was to get back ! 

Meeting this vessel was a little godsend. She 
was commanded and officered by high-class sailors 
and educated gentlemen. An entertainment that 
was gotten up on her, impromptu, at the Notch 
would be hard to beat anywhere. One of her mid- 
shipmen sang popular songs in French, German, and 
Spanish, and one (so he said) in Russian. If the 
audience did not know the lingo of one song from 
another, it was no drawback to the merriment. 

I was left alone the next day, for then the Huemel 
put out on her voyage the gale having abated. 
I spent a day taking in wood and water; by the 
end of that time the weather was fine. Then I 
sailed from the desolate place. 

There is little more to be said concerning the 
Spray's first passage through the strait that would 
differ from what I have already recorded. She 
anchored and weighed many times, and beat many 
days against the current, with now and then a 
"slant" for a few miles, till finally she gained 
anchorage and shelter for the night at Port Tamar, 
with Cape Pillar in sight to the west. Here I felt 
the throb of the great ocean that lay before me. I 
knew now that I had put a world behind me, and 
that I was opening out another world ahead. I 
had passed the haunts of savages. Great piles of 
granite mountains of bleak and lifeless aspect were 
now astern ; on some of them not even a speck of 
moss had ever grown. There was an unfinished 
newness all about the land. On the hill back of 
Port Tamar a small beacon had been thrown up, 


showing that some man had been there. But how 
could one tell but that he had died of loneliness and 
grief? In a bleak land is not the place to enjoy 

Throughout the whole of the strait west of Cape 
Froward I saw no animals except dogs owned by 
savages. These I saw often enough, and heard 
them yelping night and day. Birds were not plen- 
tiful. The scream of a wild fowl, which I took for 
a loon, sometimes startled me with its piercing cry. 
The steamboat duck, so called because it propels 
itself over the sea with its wings, and resembles a 
miniature side-wheel steamer in its motion, was 
sometimes seen scurrying on out of danger. It 
never flies, but, hitting the water instead of the 
air with its wings, it moves faster than a rowboat 
or a canoe. The few fur-seals I saw were very shy; 
and of fishes I saw next to none at all. I did not catch 
one; indeed, I seldom or never put a hook over 
during the whole voyage. Here in the strait I found 
great abundance of mussels of an excellent quality. 
I fared sumptuously on them. There was a sort of 
swan, smaller than a Muscovy duck, which might 
have been brought down with the gun, but in the 
loneliness of life about the dreary country I found 
myself in no mood to make one life less, except 
in self-defense. 


From Cape Pillar into the Pacific Driven by a tempest toward 
Cape Horn Captain Slocum's greatest sea adventure Beach- 
ing the strait again by way of Cockburn Channel Some sav- 
ages find the carpet-tacks Danger from firebrands A series 
of fierce williwaws Again sailing westward. 

IT was the 3d of March when the Spray sailed 
from Port Tamar direct for Cape Pillar, with the 
wind from the northeast, which I fervently hoped 
might hold till she cleared the land ; but there was 
no such good luck in store. It soon began to rain 
and thicken in the northwest, boding no good. The 
Spray neared Cape Pillar rapidly, and, nothing 
loath, plunged into the Pacific Ocean at once, tak- 
ing her first bath of it in the gathering storm. 
There was no turning back even had I wished to 
do so, for the land was now shut out by the dark- 
ness of night. The wind freshened, and I took 
in a third reef. The sea was confused and treach- 
erous. In such a time as this the old fisherman 
prayed, "Bemember, Lord, my ship is small and 
thy sea is so wide ! " I saw now only the gleam- 
ing crests of the waves. They showed white teeth 
while the sloop balanced over them. " Everything 
for an offing," I cried, and to this end I carried on 
all the sail she would bear. She ran all night with 
a free sheet, but on the morning of March 4 the 



wind shifted to southwest, then back suddenly to 
northwest, and blew with terrific force. The Spray, 
stripped of her sails, then bore off under bare poles. 
No ship in the world could have stood up against 
so violent a gale. Knowing that this storm might 
continue for many days, and that it would be im- 
possible to work back to the westward along the 
coast outside of Tierra del Fuego, there seemed 
nothing to do but to keep on and go east about, 

Cape Pillar. 

after all. Anyhow, for my present safety the only 
course lay in keeping her before the wind. And so 
she drove southeast, as though about to round the 
Horn, while the waves rose and fell and bellowed 
their never-ending story of the sea ; but the Hand 
that held these held also the Spray. She was run- 
ning now with a reefed forestaysail, the sheets flat 
amidship. I paid out two long ropes to steady 
her course and to break combing seas astern, and I 
lashed the helm amidship. In this trim she ran 
before it, shipping never a sea. Even while the 
storm raged at its worst, my ship was wholesome 


and noble. My mind as to her seaworthiness was 
put at ease for aye. 

When all had been done that I could do for the 
safety of the vessel, I got to the fore-scuttle, be- 
tween seas, and prepared a pot of coffee over a wood 
fire, and made a good Irish stew. Then, as before 
and afterward on the Spray, I insisted on warm 
meals. In the tide-race off Cape Pillar, however, 
where the sea was marvelously high, uneven, and 
crooked, my appetite was slim, and for a time I 
postponed cooking. (Confidentially, I was seasick!) 

The first day of the storm gave the Spray her 
actual test in the worst sea that Cape Horn or its 
wild regions could afford, and in no part of the 
world could a rougher sea be found than at this 
particular point, namely, off Cape Pillar, the grim 
sentinel of the Horn. 

Farther offshore, while the sea was majestic, there 
was less apprehension of danger. There the Spray 
rode, now like a bird on the crest of a wave, 
and now like a waif deep down in the hollow 
between seas; and so she drove on. Whole days 
passed, counted as other days, but with always a 
thrill yes, of delight. 

On the fourth day of the gale, rapidly nearing 
the pitch of Cape Horn, I inspected my chart and 
pricked off the course and distance to Port Stanley, 
in the Falkland Islands, where I might find my 
way and refit, when I saw through a rift in the 
clouds a high mountain, about seven leagues away 
on the port beam. The fierce edge of the gale by this 
time had blown off, and I had already bent a square- 
sail on the boom in place of the mainsail, which 


was torn to rags. I hauled in the trailing ropes, 
hoisted this awkward sail reefed, the forestaysail 
being already set, and under this sail brought her 
at once on the wind heading for the land, which 
appeared as an island in the sea. So it turned out 
to be, though not the one I had supposed. 

I was exultant over the prospect of once more 
entering the Strait of Magellan and beating through 
again into the Pacific, for it was more than rough 
on the outside coast of Tierra del Fuego. It was 
indeed a mountainous sea. When the sloop was in 
the fiercest squalls, with only the reefed forestaysail 
set, even that small sail shook her from keelson to 
truck when it shivered by the leech. Had I har- 
bored the shadow of a doubt for her safety, it would 
have been that she might spring a leak in the gar- 
board at the heel of the mast ; but she never called 
me once to the pump. Under pressure of the 
smallest sail I could set she made for the land like 
a race-horse, and steering her over the crests of the 
waves so that she might not trip was nice work. 
I stood at the helm now and made the most of it. 

Night closed in before the sloop reached the 
land, leaving her feeling the way in pitchy dark- 
ness. I saw breakers ahead before long. At this I 
wore ship and stood offshore, but was immediately 
startled by the tremendous roaring of breakers 
again ahead and on the lee bow. This puzzled me, 
for there should have been no broken water where 
I supposed myself to be. I kept off a good bit, 
then wore round, but finding broken water also 
there, threw her head again offshore. In this way, 
among dangers, I spent the rest of the night. Hail 


and sleet in the fierce squalls cut my flesh till the 
blood trickled over my face ; but what of that? It 
was daylight, and the sloop was in the midst of the 
Milky Way of the sea, which is northwest of Cape 
Horn, and it was the white breakers of a huge sea 
over sunken rocks which had threatened to engulf 
her through the night. It was Fury Island I had 
sighted and steered for, and what a panorama was 
before me now and all around! It was not the 
time to complain of a broken skin. What could I 
do but fill away among the breakers and find a 
channel between them, now that it was day I Since 
she had escaped the rocks through the night, surely 
she would find her way by daylight. This was the 
greatest sea adventure of my life. Grod knows how 
my vessel escaped. 

The sloop at last reached inside of small islands 
that sheltered her in smooth water. Then I climbed 
the mast to survey the wild scene astern. The 
great naturalist Darwin looked over this seascape 
from the deck of the Beagle, and wrote in his journal, 
"Any landsman seeing the Milky Way would have 
nightmare for a week." He might have added, "or 
seaman" as well. 

The Spray's good luck followed fast. I discov- 
ered, as she sailed along through a labyrinth of 
islands, that she was in the Cockburn Channel, 
which leads into the Strait of Magellan at a point 
opposite Cape Froward, and that she was already 
passing Thieves' Bay, suggestively named. And 
at night, March 8, behold, she was at anchor in a 
snug cove at the Turn ! Every heart-beat on the 
Spray now counted thanks. 


Here I pondered on the events of the last few 
days, and, strangely enough, instead of feeling 
rested from sitting or lying down, I now began to 
feel jaded and worn; but a hot meal of venison 
stew soon put me right, so that I could sleep. As 
drowsiness came on I sprinkled the deck with 
tacks, and then I turned in, bearing in mind the 
advice of my old friend Samblich that I was not 
to step on them myself. I saw to it that not a 
few of them stood "business end" up; for when 
the Spray passed Thieves' Bay two canoes had put 
out and followed in her wake, and there was no 
disguising the fact any longer that I was alone. 

Now, it is well known that one cannot step on a 
tack without saying something about it. A pretty 
good Christian will whistle when he steps on the 
"commercial end" of a carpet-tack; a savage will 
howl and claw the air, and that was just what hap- 
pened that night about twelve o'clock, while I was 
asleep in the cabin, where the savages thought they 
" had me," sloop and all, but changed their minds 
when they stepped on deck, for then they thought 
that I or somebody else had them. I had no need 
of a dog ; they howled like a pack of hounds. I 
had hardly use for a gun. They jumped pell-mell, 
some into their canoes and some into the sea, to 
cool off, I suppose, and there was a deal of free lan- 
guage over it as they went. I fired several guns 
when I came on deck, to let the rascals know that 
I was home, and then I turned in again, feeling sure 
I should not be disturbed any more by people who 
left in so great a hurry. 

The Fuegians, being cruel, are naturally cowards ; 



they regard a rifle with superstitious fear. The 
only real danger one could see that might come 
from their quarter would be from allowing them to 
surround one within bow-shot, or to anchor within 

" They howled like a pack of hounds." 

range where they might lie in ambush. As for 
their coming on deck at night, even had I not put 
tacks about, I could have cleared them off by 
shots from the cabin and hold. I always kept a 
quantity of ammunition within reach in the hold 
and in the cabin and in the forepeak, so that 


retreating to any of these places I could "hold the 
fort " simply by shooting up through the deck. 

Perhaps the greatest danger to be apprehended 
was from the use of fire. Every canoe carries fire ; 
nothing is thought of that, for it is their custom 
to communicate by smoke-signals. The harmless 
brand that lies smoldering in the bottom of one of 
their canoes might be ablaze in one's cabin if he 
were not on the alert. The port captain of Sandy 
Point warned me particularly of this danger. Only 
a short time before they had fired a Chilean gun- 
boat by throwing brands in through the stern 
windows of the cabin. The Spray had no openings 
in the cabin or deck, except two scuttles, and these 
were guarded by fastenings which could not be 
undone without waking me if I were asleep. 

On the morning of the 9th, after a refreshing 
rest and a warm breakfast, and after I had swept 
the deck of tacks, I got out what spare canvas 
there was on board, and began to sew the pieces 
together in the shape of a peak for my square- 
mainsail, the tarpaulin. The day to all appearances 
promised fine weather and light winds, but appear- 
ances in Tierra del Fuego do not always count. 
While I was wondering why no trees grew on the 
slope abreast of the anchorage, half minded to lay 
by the sail-making and land with my gun for some 
game and to inspect a white boulder on the beach, 
near the brook, a williwaw came down with such 
terrific force as to carry the Spray, with two 
anchors down, like a feather out of the cove and 
away into deep water. No wonder trees did not 
grow on the side of that hill! Great Boreas! a 


tree would need to be all roots to hold on against 
such a furious wind. 

From the cove to the nearest land to leeward was 
a long drift, however, and I had ample time to 
weigh both anchors before the sloop came near any 
danger, and so no harm came of it. I saw no more 
savages that day or the next ; they probably had 
some sign by which they knew of the coming willi- 
waws; at least, they were wise in not being afloat 
even on the second day, for I had no sooner gotten 
to work at sail-making again, after the anchor was 
down, than the wind, as on the day before, picked 
the. sloop up and flung her seaward with a ven- 
geance, anchor and all, as before. This fierce wind, 
usual to the Magellan country, continued on through 
the day, and swept the sloop by several miles of 
steep bluffs and precipices overhanging a bold 
shore of wild and uninviting appearance. I was 
not sorry to get away from it, though in doing so 
it was no Elysian shore to which I shaped my 
course. I kept on sailing in hope, since I had no 
choice but to go on, heading across for St. Nicholas 
Bay, where I had cast anchor February 19. It was 
now the 10th of March ! Upon reaching the bay 
the second time I had circumnavigated the wildest 
part of desolate Tierra del Fuego. But the Spray 
had not yet arrived at St. Nicholas, and by the 
merest accident her bones were saved from resting 
there when she did arrive. The parting of a stay- 
sail-sheet in a williwaw, when the sea was turbulent 
and she was plunging into the storm, brought me 
forward to see instantly a dark cliff ahead and 
breakers so close under the bows that I felt surely 



lost, and in my thoughts cried, " Is the hand of fate 
against me, after all, leading me in the end to this 
dark spot?" I sprang aft again, unheeding the 
flapping sail, and threw the wheel over, expecting, 
as the sloop came down into the hollow of a wave, 
to feel her timbers smash under me on the rocks. 

A glimpse of Sandy Point (Punta Arenas) in the Strait of Magellan. 

But at the touch of her helm she swung clear of the 
danger, and in the next moment she was in the lee 
of the land. 

It was the small island in the middle of the bay 
for which the sloop had been steering, and which 
she made with such unerring aim as nearly to run 
it down. Farther along in the bay was the anchor- 
age, which I managed to reach, but before I could 


get the anchor down another squall caught the 
sloop and whirled her round like a top and carried 
her away, altogether to leeward of the bay. Still 
farther to leeward was a great headland, and I bore 
off for that. This was retracing my course toward 
Sandy Point, for the gale was from the southwest. 

I had the sloop soon under good control, how- 
ever, and in a short time rounded to under the lee 
of a mountain, where the sea was as smooth as a 
mill-pond, and the sails napped and hung limp 
while she carried her way close in. Here I thought 
I would anchor and rest till morning, the depth 
being eight fathoms very close to the shore. But 
it was interesting to see, as I let go the anchor, 
that it did not reach the bottom before another 
williwaw struck down from this mountain and 
carried the sloop off faster than I could pay out 
cable. Therefore, instead of resting, I had to " man 
the windlass " and heave up the anchor with fifty 
fathoms of cable hanging up and down in deep 
water. This was in that part of the strait called 
Famine Reach. Dismal Famine Reach ! On the 
sloop's crab-windlass I worked the rest of the night, 
thinking how much easier it was for me when I 
could say, " Do that thing or the other," than now 
doing all myself. But I hove away and sang the 
old chants that I sang when I was a sailor. Within 
the last few days I had passed through much and 
was now thankful that my state was no worse. 

It was daybreak when the anchor was at the 
hawse. By this time the wind had gone down, and 
cat's-paws took the place of williwaws, while the 
sloop drifted slowly toward Sandy Point. She 


came within sight of ships at anchor in the roads, 
and I was more than half minded to put in for new 
sails, but the wind coming out from the northeast, 
which was fair for the other direction, I turned 
the prow of the Spray westward once more for the 
Pacific, to traverse a second time the second half of 
my first course through the strait. 


Kepairing the Spray's sails Savages and an obstreperous anchor 
A spider-fight An encounter with Black Pedro A visit to the 
steamship Colombia On the defensive against a fleet of canoes 
A record of voyages through the strait A chance cargo of 

I WAS determined to rely on my own small 
resources to repair the damages of the great 
gale which drove me southward toward the 
Horn, after I had passed from the Strait of Ma- 
gellan out into the Pacific. So when I had got 
back into the strait, by way of Cockburn Channel, 
I did not proceed eastward for help at the Sandy 
Point settlement, but turning again into the north- 
westward reach of the strait, set to work with my 
palm and needle at every opportunity, when at 
anchor and when sailing. It was slow work ; but 
little by little the squaresail on the boom expanded 
to the dimensions of a serviceable mainsail with a 
peak to it and a leech besides. If it was not the 
best-setting sail afloat, it was at least very strongly 
made and would stand a hard blow. A ship, meet- 
ing the Spray long afterward, reported her as wear- 
ing a mainsail of some improved design and patent 
reefer, but that was not the case. 

The Spray for a few days after the storm enjoyed 

fine weather, and made fair time through the strait 



for the distance of twenty miles, which, in these 
days of many adversities, I called a long run. The 
weather, I say, was fine for a few days ; but it 
brought little rest. Care for the safety of my ves- 
sel, and even for my own life, was in no wise les- 
sened by the absence of heavy weather. Indeed, 
the peril was even greater, inasmuch as the savages 
on comparatively fine days ventured forth on their 
marauding excursions, and in boisterous weather 
disappeared from sight, their wretched canoes 
being frail and undeserving the name of craft at all. 
This being so, I now enjoyed gales of wind as never 
before, and the Spray was never long without them 
during her struggles about Cape Horn. I became 
in a measure inured to the life, and began to think 
that one more trip through the strait, if perchance 
the sloop should be blown off again, would make 
me the aggressor, and put the Fuegians entirely on 
the defensive. This feeling was forcibly borne in 
on me at Snug Bay, where I anchored at gray 
morning after passing Cape Froward, to find, when 
broad day appeared, that two canoes which I had 
eluded by sailing all night were now entering the 
same bay stealthily under the shadow of the high 
headland. They were well manned, and the sav- 
ages were well armed with spears and bows. At 
a shot from my rifle across the bows, both turned 
aside into a small creek out of range. In danger 
now of being flanked by the savages in the bush 
close aboard, I was obliged to hoist the sails, which 
I had barely lowered, and make across to the op- 
posite side of the strait, a distance of six miles. 
But now I was put to my wit's end as to how I 


should weigh anchor, for through an accident to 
the windlass right here I could not budge it. How- 
ever, I set all sail and filled away, first hauling 
short by hand. The sloop carried her anchor away, 
as though it was meant to be always towed in this 
way underfoot, and with it she towed a ton or more 
of kelp from a reef in the bay, the wind blowing a 
wholesale breeze. 

Meanwhile I worked till blood started from my 
fingers, and with one eye over my shoulder for 
savages, I watched at the same time, and sent a 
bullet whistling whenever I saw a limb or a twig 
move; for I kept a gun always at hand, and an In- 
dian appearing then within range would have been 
taken as a declaration of war. As it was, however, 
my own blood was all that was spilt and from the 
trifling accident of sometimes breaking the flesh 
against a cleat or a pin which came in the way 
when I was in haste. Sea-cuts in my hands from 
pulling on hard, wet ropes were sometimes painful 
and often bled freely; but these healed when I 
finally got away from the strait into fine weather. 

After clearing Snug Bay I hauled the sloop to 
the wind, repaired the windlass, and hove the 
anchor to the hawse, catted it, and then stretched 
across to a port of refuge under a high mountain 
about six miles away, and came to in nine fathoms 
close under the face of a perpendicular cliff. Here 
my own voice answered back, and I named the 
place " Echo Mountain." Seeing dead trees farther 
along where the shore was broken, I made a landing 
for fuel, taking, besides my ax, a rifle, which on 
these days I never left far from hand ; but I saw 


no living thing here, except a small spider, which 
had nested in a dry log that I boated to the sloop. 
The conduct of this insect interested me now more 
than anything else around the wild place. In my 
cabin it met, oddly enough, a spider of its own 
size and species that had come all the way from 
Boston a very civil little chap, too, but mighty 
spry. Well, the Fuegian threw up its antenna for 
a fight ; but my little Bostonian downed it at once, 
then broke its legs, and pulled them off, one by one, 
so dexterously that in less than three minutes from 
the time the battle began the Fuegian spider did n't 
know itself from a fly. 

I made haste the following morning to be under 
way after a night of wakefulness on the weird 
shore. Before weighing anchor, however, I pre- 
pared a cup of warm coffee over a smart wood fire 
in my great Montevideo stove. In the same fire 
was cremated the Fuegian spider, slain the day be- 
fore by the little warrior from Boston, which a 
Scots lady at Cape Town long after named " Bruce " 
upon hearing of its prowess at Echo Mountain. 
The Spray now reached away for Coffee Island, 
which I sighted on my birthday, February 20, 1896. 

There she encountered another gale, that brought 
her in the lee of great Charles Island for shelter. 
On a bluff point on Charles were signal-fires, and 
a tribe of savages, mustered here since my first 
trip through the strait, manned their canoes to 
put off for the sloop. It was not prudent to come 
to, the anchorage being within bow-shot of the 
shore, which was thickly wooded ; but I made signs 
that one canoe might come alongside, while the 


sloop ranged about under sail in the lee of the 
land. The others I motioned to keep off, and in- 
cidentally laid a smart Martini-Henry rifle in sight, 
close at hand, on the top of the cabin. In the 
canoe that came alongside, crying their never-end- 
ing begging word " yamrnerschooner," were two 
squaws and one Indian, the hardest specimens of 
humanity I had ever seen in any of my travels. 
" Yammerschooner " was their plaint when they 
pushed off from the shore, and " yammerschooner " 
it was when they got alongside. The squaws beck- 
oned for food, while the Indian, a black-visaged 
savage, stood sulkily as if he took no interest at all 
in the matter, but on my turning my back for some 
biscuits and jerked beef for the squaws, the " buck " 
sprang on deck and confronted me, saying in Span- 
ish jargon that we had met before. I thought I 
recognized the tone of his " yammerschooner," and 
his full beard identified him as the Black Pedro 
whom, it was true, I had met before. " Where are 
the rest of the crew ? " he asked, as he looked un- 
easily around, expecting hands, maybe, to come 
out of the fore-scuttle and deal him his just deserts 
for many murders. " About three weeks ago," 
said he, "when you passed up here, I saw three 
men on board. Where are the other two ? " I an- 
swered him briefly that the same crew was still on 
board. " But," said he, "I see you are doing all 
the work," and with a leer he added, as he glanced 
at the mainsail, "hombre valiente." I explained 
that I did all the work in the day, while the rest 
of the crew slept, so that they would be fresh to 
watch for Indians at night. I was interested in 


the subtle cunning of this savage, knowing him, as 
I did, better perhaps than he was aware. Even 
had I not been advised before I sailed from Sandy 
Point, I should have measured him for an arch- 
villain now. Moreover, one of the squaws, with 
that spark of kindliness which is somehow found 
in the breast of even the lowest savage, warned me 
by a sign to be on my guard, or Black Pedro would 
do me harm. There was no need of the warning, 
however, for I was on my guard from the first, and 
at that moment held a smart revolver in my hand 
ready for instant service. 

" When you sailed through here before," he said, 
" you fired a shot at me," adding with some warmth 
that it was " muy malo." I affected not to under- 
stand, and said, " You have lived at Sandy Point, 
have you not ? " He answered frankly, " Yes," and 
appeared delighted to meet one who had come from 
the dear old place. " At the mission ? " I queried. 
" Why, yes," he replied, stepping forward as if to 
embrace an old friend. I motioned him back, for 
I did not share his flattering humor. " And you 
know Captain Pedro Samblich f " continued I. 
" Yes," said the villain, who had killed a kinsman 
of Samblich " yes, indeed ; he is a great friend 
of mine." " I know it," said I. Samblich had told 
me to shoot him on sight. Pointing to my rifle on 
the cabin, he wanted to know how many times it 
fired. " Cuantos ? " said he. When I explained to 
him that that gun kept right on shooting, his jaw 
fell, and he spoke of getting away. I did not hin- 
der him from going. I gave the squaws biscuits 
and beef, and one of them gave me several lumps 


of tallow in exchange, and I think it worth men- 
tioning that she did not offer me the smallest 
pieces, but with some extra trouble handed me the 
largest of all the pieces in the canoe. No Christian 
could have done more. Before pushing off from 
the sloop the cunning savage asked for matches, 
and made as if to reach with the end of his spear 
the box I was about to give him ; but I held it to- 
ward him on the muzzle of my rifle, the one that 
" kept on shooting." The chap picked the box off 
the gun gingerly enough, to be sure, but he jumped 
when I said, "Quedao [Look out]," at which the 
squaws laughed and seemed not at all displeased. 
Perhaps the wretch had clubbed them that morn- 
ing for not gathering mussels enough for his 
breakfast. There was a good understanding 
among us all. 

From Charles Island the Spray crossed over to 
Fortescue Bay, where she anchored and spent a 
comfortable night under the lee of high land, while 
the wind howled outside. The bay was deserted 
now. They were Fortescue Indians whom I had 
seen at the island, and I felt quite sure they could 
not follow the Spray in the present hard blow. Not 
to neglect a precaution, however, I sprinkled tacks 
on deck before I turned in. 

On the following day the loneliness of the place 
was broken by the appearance of a great steamship, 
making for the anchorage with a lofty bearing. 
She was no Diego craft. I knew the sheer, the 
model, and the poise. I threw out my flag, and 
directly saw the Stars and Stripes flung to the 
breeze from the great ship. 


The wind had then abated, and toward night 
the savages made their appearance from the island, 
going direct to the steamer to " yammerschooner." 
Then they came to the Spray to beg more, or to 
steal all, declaring that they got nothing from the 
steamer. Black Pedro here came alongside again. 
My own brother could not have been more de- 
lighted to see me, and he begged me to lend him my 
rifle to shoot a guanaco for me in the morning. 
I assured the fellow that if I remained there an- 
other day I would lend him the gun, but I had no 
mind to remain. I gave him a cooper's draw-knife 
and some other small implements which would be 
of service in canoe-making, and bade him be off. 

Under the cover of darkness that night I went 
to the steamer, which I found to be the Colombia, 
Captain Henderson, from New York, bound for San 
Francisco. I carried all my guns along with me, in 
case it should be necessary to fight my way back. 
In the chief mate of the Colombia, Mr. Hannibal, I 
found an old friend, and he referred affectionately 
to days in Manila when we were there together, he 
in the Southern Cross and I in the Northern Light, 
both ships as beautiful as their names. 

The Colombia had an abundance of fresh stores 
on board. The captain gave his steward some 
order, and I remember that the guileless young 
man asked me if I could manage, besides other 
things, a few cans of milk and a cheese. When I 
offered my Montevideo gold for the supplies, the 
captain roared like a lion and told me to put my 
money up. It was a glorious outfit of provisions 
of all kinds that I got. 



Returning to the Spray, where I found all secure, 
I prepared for an early start in the morning. It 
was agreed that the steamer should blow her 
whistle for me if first on the move. I watched 

A contrast in lighting the electric lights of the Colombia 
and the canoe fires of the Fortescue Indians. 

the steamer, off and on, through the night for the 
pleasure alone of seeing her electric lights, a pleas- 
ing sight in contrast to the ordinary Fuegian 
canoe with a brand of fire in it. The sloop was 
the first under way, but the Colombia, soon fol- 
lowing, passed, and saluted as she went by. Had 
the captain given me his steamer, his company 


would have been no worse off than they were two 
or three months later. I read afterward, in a late 
California paper, "The Colombia will be a total 
loss." On her second trip to Panama she was 
wrecked on the rocks of the California coast. 

The Spray was then beating against wind and 
current, as usual in the strait. At this point the 
tides from the Atlantic and the Pacific meet, and 
in the strait, as on the outside coast, their meet- 
ing makes a commotion of whirlpools and combers 
that in a gale of wind is dangerous to canoes and 
other frail craft. 

A few miles farther along was a large steamer 
ashore, bottom up. Passing this place, the sloop 
ran into a streak of light wind, and then a most 
remarkable condition for strait weather it fell 
entirely calm. Signal-fires sprang up at once on 
all sides, and then more than twenty canoes hove 
in sight, all heading for the Spray. As they came 
within hail, their savage crews cried, "Amigo 
yammerschooner," " Anclas aqui," " Bueno puerto 
aqui," and like scraps of Spanish mixed with their 
own jargon. I had no thought of anchoring in 
their "good port." I hoisted the sloop's flag and 
fired a gun, all of which they might construe as a 
friendly salute or an invitation to come on. They 
drew up in a semicircle, but kept outside of eighty 
yards, which in self-defense would have been the 

In their mosquito fleet was a ship's boat stolen 
probably from a murdered crew. Six savages 
paddled this rather awkwardly with the blades of 
oars which had been broken off. Two of the 


savages standing erect wore sea-boots, and this 
sustained the suspicion that they had fallen upon 
some luckless ship's crew, and also added a hint 
that they had already visited the Spray's deck, and 
would now, if they could, try her again. Their 
sea-boots, I have no doubt, would have protected 
their feet and rendered carpet-tacks harmless. 
Paddling clumsily, they passed down the strait 
at a distance of a hundred yards from the sloop, 
in an offhand manner and as if bound to Fortes- 
cue Bay. This I judged to be a piece of strategy, 
and so kept a sharp lookout over a small island 
which soon came in range between them and 
the sloop, completely hiding them from view, 
and toward which the Spray was now drifting 
helplessly with the tide, and with every prospect of 
going on the rocks, for there was no anchorage, at 
least, none that my cables would reach. And, sure 
enough, I soon saw a movement in the grass just 
on top of the island, which is called Bonet Island 
and is one hundred and thirty-six feet high. I 
fired several shots over the place, but saw no other 
sign of the savages. It was they that had moved 
the grass, for as the sloop swept past the island, 
the rebound of the tide carrying her clear, there on 
the other side was the boat, surely enough ex- 
posing their cunning and treachery. A stiff breeze, 
coming up suddenly, now scattered the canoes 
while it extricated the sloop from a dangerous 
position, albeit the wind, though friendly, was still 

The Spray, flogging against current and wind, 
made Borgia Bay on the following afternoon, and 



cast anchor there for the second time. I would 
now, if I could, describe the moonlit scene on the 
strait at midnight after I had cleared the savages 

and Bonet Island. 
A heavy cloud-bank 
that had swept across 
the sky then cleared 
away, and the night 
became suddenly as 
light as day, or nearly 
so. A high moun- 
tain was mirrored in 
the channel ahead, 
and the Spray sail- 
ing along with 
her shadow was as 
two sloops on the 

The sloop being 
moored, I threw out 
my skiff, and with ax 
and gun landed at 
the head of the cove, 
and filled a barrel of 
water from a stream. 
Then, as before, there 

was no sign of Indians at the place. Finding it 
quite deserted, I rambled about near the beach for 
an hour or more. The fine weather seemed, some- 
how, to add loneliness to the place, and when I 
came upon a spot where a grave was marked I 
went no farther. Eeturning to the head of the 
cove, I came to a sort of Calvary, it appeared to 

Records of passages through the 
strait at the head of Borgia Bay. 

NOTE. On a small bush nearer the water there was a 
board bearing several other inscriptions, to which 
were added the words "Sloop Spray, March, 1896." 


me, where navigators, carrying their cross, had 
each set one up as a beacon to others coming 
after. They had anchored here and gone on, all 
except the one under the little mound. One of 
the simple marks, curiously enough, had been left 
there by the steamship Colimbia, sister ship to the 
Colombia, my neighbor of that morning. 

I read the names of many other vessels ; some of 
them I copied in my journal, others were illegible. 
Many of the crosses had decayed and fallen, and 
many a hand that put them there I had known, 
many a hand now still. The air of depression was 
about the place, and I hurried back to the sloop to 
forget myself again in the voyage. 

Early the next morning I stood out from Borgia 
Bay, and off Cape Quod, where the wind fell light, 
I moored the sloop by kelp in twenty fathoms of 
water, and held her there a few hours against a 
three-knot current. That night I anchored in 
Langara Cove, a few miles farther along, where on 
the following day I discovered wreckage and goods 
washed up from the sea. I worked all day now, 
salving and boating off a cargo to the sloop. The 
bulk of the goods was tallow in casks and in lumps 
from which the casks had broken away; and em- 
bedded in the seaweed was a barrel of wine, which 
I also towed alongside. I hoisted them all in with 
the throat-halyards, which I took to the windlass. 
The weight of some of the casks was a little over 
eight hundred pounds. 

There were no Indians about Langara ; evidently 
there had not been any since the great gale which 
had washed the wreckage on shore. Probably it 


was the same gale that drove the Spray off Cape 
Horn, from March 3 to 8. Hundreds of tons of 
kelp had been torn from beds in deep water and 
rolled up into ridges on the beach. A specimen 
stalk which I found entire, roots, leaves, and all, 
measured one hundred and thirty-one feet in 
length. At this place I filled a barrel of water at 
night, and on the following day sailed with a fair 
wind at last. 

I had not sailed far, however, when I came 
abreast of more tallow in a small cove, where I 
anchored, and boated off as before. It rained and 
snowed hard all that day, and it was no light work 
carrying tallow in my arms over the boulders on 
the beach. But I worked on till the Spray was 
loaded with a full cargo. I was happy then in the 
prospect of doing a good business farther along on 
the voyage, for the habits of an old trader would 
come to the surface. I sailed from the cove about 
noon, greased from top to toe, while my vessel was 
tallowed from keelson to truck. My cabin, as well 
as the hold and deck, was stowed full of tallow, 
and all were thoroughly smeared. 


Running to Port Angosto in a snow-storm A defective sheet- 
rope places the Spray in peril The Spray as a target for a Fue- 
gian arrow The island of Alan Erric Again in the open 
Pacific The run to the island of Juan Fernandez An ab- 
sentee king At Kobinson Crusoe's anchorage. 

ANOTHER gale had then sprung up, but the 
JI\. wind was still fair, and I had only twenty-six 
miles to run for Port Angosto, a dreary enough 
place, where, however, I would find a safe harbor in 
which to refit and stow cargo. I carried on sail to 
make the harbor before dark, and she fairly flew 
along, all covered with snow, which fell thick 
and fast, till she looked like a white winter bird. 
Between the storm-bursts I saw the headland of 
my port, and was steering for it when a flaw of 
wind caught the mainsail by the lee, jibed it over, 
and dear ! dear ! how nearly was this the cause of 
disaster; for the sheet parted and the boom un- 
shipped, and it was then close upon night. I 
worked till the perspiration poured from my body 
to get things adjusted and in working order before 
dark, and, above all, to get it done before the sloop 
drove to leeward of the port of refuge. Even then 
I did not get the boom shipped in its saddle. I 
was at the entrance of the harbor before I could 



get this done, and it was time to haul her to or lose 
the port; but in that condition, like a bird with 
a broken wing, she made the haven. The accident 
which so jeopardized my vessel and cargo came 
of a defective sheet-rope, one made from sisal, a 
treacherous fiber which has caused a deal of strong 
language among sailors. 

I did not run the Spray into the inner harbor of 
Port Angosto, but came to inside a bed of kelp 
under a steep bluff on the port hand going in. It 
was an exceedingly snug nook, and to make doubly 
sure of holding on here against all williwaws I 
moored her with two anchors and secured her, 
besides, by cables to trees. However, no wind 
ever reached there except back flaws from the 
mountains on the opposite side of the harbor. 
There, as elsewhere in that region, the country was 
made up of mountains. This was the place where 
I was to refit and whence I was to sail direct, once 
more, for Cape Pillar and the Pacific. 

I remained at Port Angosto some days, busily 
employed about the sloop. I stowed the tallow 
from the deck to the hold, arranged my cabin in 
better order, and took in a good supply of wood 
and water. I also mended the sloop's sails and rig- 
ging, and fitted a jigger, which changed the rig to 
a yawl, though I called the boat a sloop just the 
same, the jigger being merely a temporary affair. 

I never forgot, even at the busiest time of my 
work there, to have my rifle by me ready for in- 
stant use; for I was of necessity within range of 
savages, and I had seen Fuegian canoes at this 
place when I anchored in the port, farther down 


the reach, on the first trip through the strait. I 
think it was on the second day, while I was busily 
employed about decks, that I heard the swish of 
something through the air close by my ear, and 
heard a "zip "-like sound in the water, but saw 
nothing. Presently, however, I suspected that it 
was an arrow of some sort, for just then one pass- 
ing not far from me struck the mainmast, where it 
stuck fast, vibrating from the shock a Fuegian 
autograph. A savage was somewhere near, there 
could be no doubt about that. I did not know but 
he might be shooting at me, with a view to getting 
my sloop and her cargo ; and so I threw up my old 
Martini-Henry, the rifle that kept on shooting, and 
the first shot uncovered three Fuegians, who scam- 
pered from a clump of bushes where they had been 
concealed, and made over the hills. I fired away a 
good many cartridges, aiming under their feet to 
encourage their climbing. My dear old gun woke 
up the hills, and at every report all three of the 
savages jumped as if shot; but they kept on, and 
put Fuego real estate between themselves and the 
Spray as fast as their legs could carry them. I 
took care then, more than ever before, that all my 
firearms should be in order and that a supply of 
ammunition should always be ready at hand. But 
the savages did not return, and although I put 
tacks on deck every night, I never discovered that 
any more visitors came, and I had only to sweep 
the deck of tacks carefully every morning after. 

As the days went by, the season became more 
favorable for a chance to clear the strait with a 
fair wind, and so I made up my mind after six 


" The first shot uncovered three Fuegians." 

attempts, being driven back each time, to be in 
no further haste to sail. The bad weather on my 
last return to Port Angosto for shelter brought the 
Chilean gunboat Condor and the Argentine cruiser 


Azopardo into port. As soon as the latter came to 
anchor, Captain Mascarella, the commander, sent a 
boat to the Spray with the message that he would 
take me in tow for Sandy Point if I would give up 
the voyage and return the thing farthest from 
my mind. The officers of the Azopardo told me 
that, coming up the strait after the Spray on her 
first passage through, they saw Black Pedro and 
learned that he had visited me. The Azopardo, 
being a foreign man-of-war, had no right to arrest 
the Fuegian outlaw, but her captain blamed me for 
not shooting the rascal when he came to my sloop. 

I procured some cordage and other small sup- 
plies from these vessels, and the officers of each of 
them mustered a supply of warm flannels, of which 
I was most in need. With these additions to my 
outfit, and with the vessel in good trim, though 
somewhat deeply laden, I was well prepared for 
another bout with the Southern, misnamed Pacific, 

In the first week in April southeast winds, such 
as appear about Cape Horn in the fall and winter 
seasons, bringing better weather than that experi- 
enced in the summer, began to disturb the upper 
clouds ; a little more patience, and the time would 
come for sailing with a fair wind. 

At Port Angosto I met Professor Dusen of the 
Swedish scientific expedition to South America 
and the Pacific Islands. The professor was camped 
by the side of a brook at the head of the harbor, 
where there were many varieties of moss, in which 
he was interested, and where the water was, as his 
Argentine cook said, "muy rico." The professor 


had three well-armed Argentines along in his camp 
to fight savages. They seemed disgusted when I 
filled water at a small stream near the vessel, slight- 
ing their advice to go farther up to the greater 
brook, where it was " muy rico." But they were all 
fine fellows, though it was a wonder that they did 
not all die of rheumatic pains from living on wet 

Of all the little haps and mishaps to the Spray at 
Port Angosto, of the many attempts to put to sea, 
and of each return for shelter, it is not my purpose 
to speak. Of hindrances there were many to keep 
her back, but on the thirteenth day of April, and for 
the seventh and last time, she weighed anchor from 
that port. Difficulties, however, multiplied all 
about in so strange a manner that had I been given 
to superstitious fears I should not have persisted 
in sailing on a thirteenth day, notwithstanding 
that a fair wind blew in the offing. Many of the 
incidents were ludicrous. When I found myself, 
for instance, disentangling the sloop's mast from 
the branches of a tree after she had drifted three 
times around a small island, against my will, it 
seemed more than one's nerves could bear, and I 
had to speak about it, so I thought, or die of lock- 
jaw, and I apostrophized the Spray as an impatient 
farmer might his horse or his ox. " Did n't you 
know," cried I " did n't you know that you 
could n't climb a tree ? " But the poor old Spray 
had essayed, and successfully too, nearly every- 
thing else in the Strait of Magellan, and my heart 
softened toward her when I thought of what she 
had gone through. Moreover, she had discovered 


an island. On the charts this one that she had 
sailed around was traced as a point of land. I 
named it Alan Erric Island, after a worthy literary 
friend whom I had met in strange by-places, and I 
put up a sign, " Keep off the grass," which, as dis- 
coverer, was within my rights. 

Now at last the Spray carried me free of Tierra 
del Fuego. If by a close shave only, still she car- 
ried me clear, though her boom actually hit the 
beacon rocks to leeward as she lugged on sail to 
clear the point. The thing was done on the 13th 
of April, 1896. But a close shave and a narrow 
escape were nothing new to the Spray. 

The waves doffed their white caps beautifully to 
her in the strait that day before the southeast 
wind, the first true winter breeze of the season 
from that quarter, and here she was out on the 
first of it, with every prospect of clearing Cape 
Pillar before it should shift. So it turned out; 
the wind blew hard, as it always blows about Cape 
Horn, but she had cleared the great tide-race off 
Cape Pillar and the Evangelistas, the outermost 
rocks of all, before the change came. I remained 
at the helm, humoring my vessel in the cross seas, 
for it was rough, and I did not dare to let her take 
a straight course. It was necessary to change her 
course in the combing seas, to meet them with 
what skill I could when they rolled up ahead, and 
to keep off when they came up abeam. 

On the following morning, April 14, only the 
tops of the highest mountains were in sight, and 
the Spray, making good headway on a northwest 
course, soon sank these out of sight. " Hurrah for 


the Spray ! " I shouted to seals, sea-gulls, and pen- 
guins ; for there were no other living creatures 
about, and she had weathered all the dangers of 
Cape Horn. Moreover, she had on her voyage 
round the Horn salved a cargo of which she had 
not jettisoned a pound. And why should not one 
rejoice also in the main chance coming so of itself I 

I shook out a reef, and set the whole jib, for, 
having sea-room, I could square away two points. 
This brought the sea more on her quarter, and she 
was the wholesomer under a press of sail. Occa- 
sionally an old southwest sea, rolling up, combed 
athwart her, but did no harm. The wind freshened 
as the sun rose half-mast or more, and the air, a bit 
chilly in the morning, softened later in the day ; 
but I gave little thought to such things as these. 

One wave, in the evening, larger than others that 
had threatened all day, one such as sailors call 
" fine- weather seas," broke over the sloop fore 
and aft. It washed over me at the helm, the last 
that swept over the Spray off Cape Horn. It 
seemed to wash away old regrets. All my troubles 
were now astern ; summer was ahead ; all the world 
was again before me. The wind was even liter- 
ally fair. My " trick " at the wheel was now up, 
and it was 5 p. M. I had stood at the helm since 
eleven o'clock the morning before, or thirty hours. 

Then was the time to uncover my head, for I 
sailed alone with Grod. The vast ocean was again 
around me, and the horizon was unbroken by land. 
A few days later the Spray was under full sail, and 
I saw her for the first time with a jigger spread. 
This was indeed a small incident, but it was the 


incident following a triumph. The wind was still 
southwest, but it had moderated, and roaring seas 
had turned to gossiping waves that rippled and 
pattered against her sides as she rolled among 
them, delighted with their story. Rapid changes 
went on, those days, in things all about while she 
headed for the tropics. New species of birds came 
around; albatrosses fell back and became scarcer 
and scarcer ; lighter gulls came in their stead, and 
pecked for crumbs in the sloop's wake. 

On the tenth day from Cape Pillar a shark came 
along, the first of its kind on this part of the voy- 
age to get into trouble. I harpooned him and took 
out his ugly jaws. I had not till then felt inclined 
to take the life of any animal, but when John 
Shark hove in sight my sympathy flew to the 
winds. It is a fact that in Magellan I let pass 
many ducks that would have made a good stew, 
for I had no mind in the lonesome strait to take 
the life of any living thing. 

From Cape Pillar I steered for Juan Fernandez, 
and on the 26th of April, fifteen days out, made 
that historic island right ahead. 

The blue hills of Juan Fernandez, high among 
the clouds, could be seen about thirty miles off. 
A thousand emotions thrilled me when I saw the 
island, and I bowed my head to the deck. We 
may mock the Oriental salaam, but for my part I 
could find no other way of expressing myself. 

The wind being light through the day, the Spray 
did not reach the island till night. With what wind 
there was to fill her sails she stood close in to shore 
on the northeast side, where it fell calm and remained 



so all night. I saw the twinkling of a small light 
farther along in a cove, and fired a gun, but got no 
answer, and soon the light disappeared altogether. 
I heard the sea booming against the cliffs all 
night, and realized that the ocean swell was still 

The Spray approaching 
Juan Fernandez, Rob- 
inson Crusoe's Island. 

great, although from the deck 
of my little ship it was appa- 
rently small. From the cry of 
animals in the hills, which 
sounded fainter and fainter 
through the night, I judged 
that a light current was drift- 
ing the sloop from the land, 
though she seemed all night 
dangerously near the shore, for, the land being -very 
high, appearances were deceptive. 

Soon after daylight I saw a boat putting out 
toward me. As it pulled near, it so happened that 
I picked up my gun, which was on the deck, mean- 
ing only to put it below ; but the people in the 
boat, seeing the piece in my hands, quickly turned 
and pulled back for shore, which was about four 
miles distant. There were six rowers in her, and I 
observed that they pulled with oars in oar-locks, 


after the manner of trained seamen, and so I knew 
they belonged to a civilized race ; but their opinion 
of me must have been anything but nattering 
when they mistook my purpose with the gun and 
pulled away with all their might. I made them 
understand by signs, but not without difficulty, 
that I did not intend to shoot, that I was simply 
putting the piece in the cabin, and that I wished 
them to return. When they understood my mean- 
ing they came back and were soon on board. 

One of the party, whom the rest called " king," 
spoke English; the others spoke Spanish. They 
had all heard of the voyage of the Spray through 
the papers of Valparaiso, and were hungry for 
news concerning it. They told me of a war be- 
tween Chile and the Argentine, which I had not 
heard of when I was there. I had just visited both 
countries, and I told them that according to the 
latest reports, while I was in Chile, their own 
island was sunk. (This same report that Juan 
Fernandez had sunk was current in Australia 
when I arrived there three months later.) 

I had already prepared a pot of coffee and a 
plate of doughnuts, which, after some words of 
civility, the islanders stood up to and discussed 
with a will, after which they took the Spray in 
tow of their boat and made toward the island 
with her at the rate of a good three knots. The 
man they called king took the helm, and with 
whirling it up and down he so rattled the Spray 
that I thought she would never carry herself 
straight again. The others pulled away lustily 
with their oars. The king, I soon learned, was 


king only by courtesy. Having lived longer on 
the island than any other man in the world, 
thirty years, he was so dubbed. Juan Fernan- 
dez was then under the administration of a gover- 
nor of Swedish nobility, so I was told. I was also 
told that his daughter could ride the wildest goat 
on the island. The governor, at the time of my 
visit, was away at Valparaiso with his family, to 
place his children at school. The king had been 
away once for a year or two, and in Rio de Ja- 
neiro had married a Brazilian woman who followed 
his fortunes to the far-off island. He was himself 
a Portuguese and a native of the Azores. He had 
sailed in New Bedford whale-ships and had steered 
a boat. All this I learned, and more too, before we 
reached the anchorage. The sea-breeze, coming in 
before long, filled the Spray's sails, and the ex- 
perienced Portuguese mariner piloted her to a safe 
berth in the bay, where she was moored to a buoy 
abreast the settlement. 


The islanders at Juan Fernandez entertained with Yankee dough- 
nuts The beauties of Eobinson Crusoe's realm The mountain 
monument to Alexander Selkirk Robinson Crusoe's cave A 
stroll with the children of the island Westward ho! with a 
friendly gale A month's free sailing with the Southern Cross 
and the sun for guides Sighting the Marquesas Experience in 

THE Spray being secured, the islanders returned 
to the coffee and doughnuts, and I was more 
than flattered when they did not slight my buns, as 
the professor had done in the Strait of Magellan. 
Between buns and doughnuts there was little 
difference except in name. Both had been fried 
in tallow, which was the strong point in both, for 
there was nothing on the island fatter than a goat, 
and a goat is but a lean beast, to make the best of 
it. So with a view to business I hooked my steel- 
yards to the boom at once, ready to weigh out 
tallow, there being no customs officer to say, " Why 
do you do so ? " and before the sun went down the 
islanders had learned the art of making buns and 
doughnuts. I did not charge a high price for what 
I sold, but the ancient and curious coins I got in 
payment, some of them from the wreck of a galleon 
sunk in the bay no one knows when, I sold after- 
ward to antiquarians for more than face-value. 
In this way I made a reasonable profit. I brought 



away money of all denominations from the island, 
and nearly all there was, so far as I could find 

Juan Fernandez, as a place of call, is a lovely 
spot. The hills are well wooded, the valleys fer- 

The house of the king. 

tile, and pouring down through many ravines are 
streams of pure water. There are no serpents on 
the island, and no wild beasts other than pigs and 
goats, of which I saw a number, with possibly a 
dog or two. The people lived without the use of 
rum or beer of any sort. There was not a police 
officer or a lawyer among them. The domestic 
economy of the island was simplicity itself. The 
fashions of Paris did not affect the inhabitants ; 
each dressed according to his own taste. Although 
there was no doctor, the people were all healthy, 



and the children were all beautiful. There were 
about forty-five souls on the island all told. The 
adults were mostly from the mainland of South 

Kobinson Crusoe's cave. 

America. One lady there, from Chile, who made a 
flying-jib for the Spray, taking her pay in tallow, 
would be called a belle at Newport. Blessed island 
of Juan Fernandez ! Why Alexander Selkirk ever 
left you was more than I could make out. 

A large ship which had arrived some time be- 
fore, on fire, had been stranded at the head of the 
bay, and as the sea smashed her to pieces on the 
rocks, after the fire was drowned, the islanders 
picked up the timbers and utilized them in the 


construction of houses, which naturally presented 
a ship-like appearance. The house of the king of 
Juan Fernandez, Manuel Carroza by name, besides 
resembling the ark, wore a polished brass knocker 
on its only door, which was painted green. In 
front of this gorgeous entrance was a flag-mast all 
ataunto, and near it a smart whale-boat painted 
red and blue, the delight of the king's old age. 

I of course made a pilgrimage to the old lookout 
place at the top of the mountain, where Selkirk 
spent many days peering into the distance for 
the ship which came at last. From a tablet fixed 
into the face of the rock I copied these words, in- 
scribed in Arabic capitals : 




A native of Largo, in the county of Fife, Scotland, who lived 
on this island in complete solitude for four years and four 
months. He was landed from the Cinque Ports galley, 96 tons, 
18 guns, A. D. 1704, and was taken off in the Duke, privateer, 
12th February, 1709. He died Lieutenant of H. M. S. Wey- 
mouth, A. D. 1723, l aged 47. This tablet is erected near Sel- 
kirk's lookout, by Commodore Powell and the officers ot 
H. M. S. Topaze, A. D. 1868. 

The cave in which Selkirk dwelt while on the 
island is at the head of the bay now called Robin- 

!Mr. J. Cuthbert Hadden, in the "Century Magazine" for July, 1899, 
shows that the tablet is in error as to the year of Selkirk's death. It 
should be 1721. 


son Crusoe Bay. It is around a bold headland 
west of the present anchorage and landing. Ships 
have anchored there, but it affords a very indiffer- 
ent berth. Both of these anchorages are exposed 
to north winds, which, however, do not reach home 
with much violence. The holding-ground being 
good in the first-named bay to the eastward, the 
anchorage there may be considered safe, although 
the undertow at times makes it wild riding. 

I visited Eobinson Crusoe Bay in a boat, and 
with some difficulty landed through the surf near 
the cave, which I entered. I found it dry and in- 
habitable. It is located in a beautiful nook shel- 
tered by high mountains from all the severe storms 
that sweep over the island, which are not many; 
for it lies near the limits of the trade-wind regions, 
being in latitude 35 S. The island is about four- 
teen miles in length, east and west, and eight miles 
in width; its height is over three thousand feet. 
Its distance from Chile, to which country it be- 
longs, is about three hundred and forty miles. 

Juan Fernandez was once a convict station. A 
number of caves in which the prisoners were kept, 
damp, unwholesome dens, are no longer in use, and 
no more prisoners are sent to the island. 

The pleasantest day I spent on the island, if not 
the pleasantest on my whole voyage, was my last 
day on shore, but by no means because it was the 
last, when the children of the little community, 
one and all, went out with me to gather wild fruits 
for the voyage. We found quinces, peaches, and 
figs, and the children gathered a basket of each. 
It takes very little to please children, and these 



The man who called a cabra a goat. 

little ones, never hearing a word in their lives 
except Spanish, made the hills ring with mirth 
at the sound of words in English. They asked 
me the names of all manner of things on the island. 
We came to a wild fig-tree loaded with fruit, of 
which I gave them the English name. " Figgies, 
figgies ! " they cried, while they picked till their 
baskets were full. But when I told them that the 


cobra they pointed out was only a goat, they 
screamed with laughter, and rolled on the grass in 
wild delight to think that a man had come to their 
island who would call a cabra a goat. 

The first child born on Juan Fernandez, I was 
told, had become a beautiful woman and was now 
a mother. Manuel Carroza and the good soul who 
followed him here from Brazil had laid away their 
only child, a girl, at the age of seven, in the little 
churchyard on the point. In the same half-acre 
were other mounds among the rough lava rocks, 
some marking the burial-place of native-born chil- 
dren, some the resting-places of seamen from pass- 
ing ships, landed here to end days of sickness and 
get into a sailors' heaven. 

The greatest drawback I saw in the island was 
the want of a school. A class there would neces- 
sarily be small, but to some kind soul who loved 
teaching and quietude life on Juan Fernandez 
would, for a limited time, be one of delight. 

On the morning of May 5, 1896, I sailed from 
Juan Fernandez, having feasted on many things, 
but on nothing sweeter than the adventure itself 
of a visit to the home and to the very cave of Eob- 
inson Crusoe. From the island the Spray bore away 
to the north, passing the island of St. Felix before 
she gained the trade-winds, which seemed slow in 
reaching their limits. 

If the trades were tardy, however, when they did 
come they came with a bang, and made up for lost 
time ; and the Spray, under reefs, sometimes one, 
sometimes two, flew before a gale for a great many 
days, with a bone in her mouth, toward the Mar- 


quesas, in the west, which she made on the forty- 
third day out, and still kept on sailing. My time 
was all taken up those days not by standing at 
the helm ; no man, I think, could stand or sit and 
steer a vessel round the world : I did better than 
that; for I sat and read my books, mended my 
clothes, or cooked my meals and ate them in peace. 
I had already found that it was not good to be 
alone, and so I made companionship with what 
there was around me, sometimes with the universe 
and sometimes with my own insignificant self ; but 
my books were always my friends, let fail all else. 
Nothing could be easier or more restful than my 
voyage in the trade-winds. 

I sailed with a free wind day after day, marking 
the position of my ship on the chart with consid- 
erable precision ; but this was done by intuition, I 
think, more than by slavish calculations. For one 
whole month my vessel held her course true ; I had 
not, the while, so much as a light in the binnacle. 
The Southern Cross I saw every night abeam. The 
sun every morning came up astern ; every evening 
it went down ahead. I wished for no other com- 
pass to guide me, for these were true. If I doubted 
my reckoning after a long time at sea I verified it 
by reading the clock aloft made by the Great 
Architect, and it was right. 

There was no denying that the comical side of the 
strange life appeared. I awoke, sometimes, to find 
the sun already shining into my cabin. I heard 
water rushing by, with only a thin plank between 
me and the depths, and I said, "How is this?" But 
it was all right ; it was my ship on her course, sailing 



as no other ship had ever sailed before in the world. 
The rushing water along her side told me that she 
was sailing at full speed. I knew that no human 
hand was at the helm ; I knew that all was well with 
"the hands" forward, and that there was no 
mutiny on board. 

The phenomena of ocean meteorology were inter- 
esting studies even here in the trade-winds. I 
observed that about every seven days the wind 
freshened and drew several points farther than 
usual from the direction of the pole ; that is, it went 
round from east-southeast to south-southeast, while 
at the same time a heavy swell rolled up from the 
southwest. All this indicated that gales were 
going on in the anti-trades. The wind then hauled 
day after day as it moderated, till it stood again at 
the normal point, east-southeast. This is more or 
less the constant state of the winter trades in lati- 
tude 12 S., where I " ran down the longitude " for 
weeks. The sun, we all know, is the creator of the 
trade-winds and of the wind system over all the 
earth. But ocean meteorology is, I think, the most 
fascinating of all. From Juan Fernandez to the 
Marquesas I experienced six changes of these great 
palpitations of sea-winds and of the sea itself, the 
effect of far-off gales. To know the laws that 
govern the winds, and to know that you know 
them, will give you an easy mind on your voyage 
round the world; otherwise you may tremble at 
the appearance of every cloud. What is true of 
this in the trade-winds is much more so in the 
variables, where changes run more to extremes. 

To cross the Pacific Ocean, even under the most 


favorable circumstances, brings you for many days 
close to nature, and you realize the vastness of the 
sea. Slowly but surely the mark of my little ship's 
course on the track-chart reached out on the ocean 
and across it, while at her utmost speed she marked 
with her keel still slowly the sea that carried her. 
On the forty-third day from land, a long time to 
be at sea alone, the sky being beautifully clear 
and the moon being " in distance " with the sun, I 
threw up my sextant for sights. I found from the 
result of three observations, after long wrestling 
with lunar tables, that her longitude by observa- 
tion agreed within five miles of that by dead- 

This was wonderful ; both, however, might be in 
error, but somehow I felt confident that both were 
nearly true, and that in a few hours more I should 
see land ; and so it happened, for then I made the 
island of Nukahiva, the southernmost of the Mar- 
quesas group, clear-cut and lofty. The verified 
longitude when abreast was somewhere between 
the two reckonings ; this was extraordinary. All 
navigators will tell you that from one day to 
another a ship may lose or gain more than five 
miles in her sailing-account, and again, in the 
matter of lunars, even expert lunarians are con- 
sidered as doing clever work when they average 
within eight miles of the truth. 

I hope I am making it clear that I do not lay 
claim to cleverness or to slavish calculations in 
my reckonings. I think I have already stated that 
I kept my longitude, at least, mostly by intuition. 
A rotator log always towed astern, but so much 


has to be allowed for currents and for drift, which 
the log never shows, that it is only an approxima- 
tion, after all, to be corrected by one's own judg- 
ment from data of a thousand voyages ; and even 
then the master of the ship, if he be wise, cries out 
for the lead and the lookout. 

Unique was my experience in nautical astronomy 
from the deck of the Spray so much so that I 
feel justified in briefly telling it here. The first set 
of sights, just spoken of, put her many hundred 
miles west of my reckoning by account. I knew 
that this could not be correct. In about an hour's 
time I took another set of observations with the 
utmost care; the mean result of these was about 
the same as that of the first set. I asked myself 
why, with my boasted self-dependence, I had not 
done at least better than this. Then I went in 
search of a discrepancy in the tables, and I found 
it. In the tables I found that the column of figures 
from which I had got an important logarithm was 
in error. It was a matter I could prove beyond a 
doubt, and it made the difference as already stated. 
The tables being corrected, I sailed on with self- 
reliance unshaken, and with my tin clock fast 
asleep. The result of these observations naturally 
tickled my vanity, for I knew that it was some- 
thing to stand on a great ship's deck and with two 
assistants take lunar observations approximately 
near the truth. As one of the poorest of American 
sailors, I was proud of the little achievement alone 
on the sloop, even by chance though it may have 

I was en rapport now with my surroundings, and 


was carried on a vast stream where I felt the buoy- 
ancy of His hand who made all the worlds. I real- 
ized the mathematical truth of their motions, so 
well known that astronomers compile tables of their 
positions through the years and the days, and the 
minutes of a day, with such precision that one com- 
ing along over the sea even five years later may, 
by their aid, find the standard time of any given 
meridian on the earth. 

To find local time is a simpler matter. The dif- 
ference between local and standard time is longi- 
tude expressed in time four minutes, we all know, 
representing one degree. This, briefly, is the prin- 
ciple on which longitude is found independent of 
chronometers. The work of the lunarian, though 
seldom practised in these days of chronometers, 
is beautifully edifying, and there is nothing in the 
realm of navigation that lifts one's heart up more 
in adoration. 


Seventy-two days without a port Whales and birds A peep into 
the Spray's galley Flying-fish for breakfast A welcome at 
Apia A visit from Mrs. Robert Louis Stevenson At Vailima 
Samoan hospitality Arrested for fast riding An amusing 
merry-go-round Teachers and pupils of Papauta College At 
the mercy of sea-nymphs. 

TO be alone forty-three days would seem a long 
time, but in reality, even here, winged mo- 
ments flew lightly by, and instead of my hauling 
in for Nukahiva, which I could have made as well as 
not, I kept on for Samoa, where I wished to make 
my next landing. This occupied twenty-nine days 
more, making seventy-two days in all. I was not 
distressed in any way during that time. There 
was no end of companionship ; the very coral reefs 
kept me company, or gave me no time to feel 
lonely, which is the same thing, and there were 
many of them now in my course to Samoa. 

First among the incidents of the voyage from 
Juan Fernandez to Samoa (which were not many) 
was a narrow escape from collision with a great 
whale that was absent-mindedly plowing the ocean 
at night while I was below. The noise from his 
startled "snort and the commotion he made in the 
sea, as he turned to clear my vessel, brought me on 
deck in time to catch a wetting from the water he 




threw up with his flukes. The monster was appa- 
rently frightened. He headed quickly for the east ; 
I kept on going west. Soon another whale passed, 
evidently a companion, following in its wake. I 

Meeting with the whale. 

saw no more on this part of the voyage, nor did I 
wish to. 

Hungry sharks came about the vessel often 
when she neared islands or coral reefs. I own to a 
satisfaction in shooting them as one would a tiger. 
Sharks, after all, are the tigers of the sea. No- 
thing is more dreadful to the mind of a sailor, I 
think, than a possible encounter with a hungry 

A number of birds were always about; occa- 
sionally one poised on the mast to look the Spray 
over, wondering, perhaps, at her odd wings, for 
she now wore her Fuego mainsail, which, like 


Joseph's coat, was made of many pieces. Ships 
are less common on the Southern seas than for- 
merly. I saw not one in the many days crossing 
the Pacific. 

My diet on these long passages usually consisted 
of potatoes and salt cod and biscuits, which I made 
two or three times a week. I had always plenty of 
coffee, tea, sugar, and flour. I carried usually a 
good supply of potatoes, but before reaching Samoa 
I had a mishap which left me destitute of this 
highly prized sailors' luxury. Through meeting at 
Juan Fernandez the Yankee Portuguese named 
Manuel Carroza, who nearly traded me out of my 
boots, I ran out of potatoes in mid-ocean, and was 
wretched thereafter. I prided myself on being 
something of a trader; but this Portuguese from 
the Azores by way of New Bedford, who gave me 
new potatoes for the older ones I had got from the 
Colombia, a bushel or more of the best, left me no 
ground for boasting. He wanted mine, he said, " for 
changee the seed." When I got to sea I found that 
his tubers were rank and unedible, and full of fine 
yellow streaks of repulsive appearance. I tied the 
sack up and returned to the few left of my old stock, 
thinking that maybe when I got right hungry the 
island potatoes would improve in flavor. Three 
weeks later I opened the bag again, and out flew 
millions of winged insects ! Manuel's potatoes had 
all turned to moths. I tied them up quickly and 
threw all into the sea. 

Manuel had a large crop of potatoes on hand, 
and as a hint to whalemen, who are always eager 
to buy vegetables, he wished me to report whales 


off the island of Juan Fernandez, which I have 
already done, and big ones at that, but they were 
a long way off. 

Taking things by and large, as sailors say, I got 
on fairly well in the matter of provisions even on 
the long voyage across the Pacific. I found always 
some small stores to help the fare of luxuries ; 
what I lacked of fresh meat was made up in fresh 
fish, at least while in the trade-winds, where flying- 
fish crossing on the wing at night would hit the 
sails and fall on deck, sometimes two or three of 
them, sometimes a dozen. Every morning except 
when the moon was large I got a bountiful supply 
by merely picking them up from the lee scuppers. 
All tinned meats went begging. 

On the 16th of July, after considerable care and 
some skill and hard work, the Spray cast anchor at 
Apia, in the kingdom of Samoa, about noon. My 
vessel being moored, I spread an awning, and in- 
stead of going at once on shore I sat under it till 
late in the evening, listening with delight to the 
musical voices of the Samoan men and women. 

A canoe coming down the harbor, with three 
young women in it, rested her paddles abreast the 
sloop. One of the fair crew, hailing with the na'ive 
salutation, "Talofa lee" ("Love to you, chief), 
asked : 

" Schoon come Melike ? " 

" Love to you," I answered, and said, " Yes." 

" You man come 'lone ? " 

Again I answered, "Yes." 

" I don't believe that. You had other mans, and 
you eat 'em." 



At this sally the others laughed. "What for 
you come long way ? " they asked. 

" To hear you ladies sing," I replied. 

" Oh, talof a lee ! " they all cried, and sang on. 
Their voices filled the air with music that rolled 

First exchange of courtesies in Samoa. 

across to the grove of tall palms on the other side 
of the harbor and back. Soon after this six young 
men came down in the United States consul- 
general's boat, singing in parts and beating time 
with their oars. In my interview with them I 
came off better than with the damsels in the canoe. 
They bore an invitation from General Churchill for 
me to come and dine at the consulate. There was 


a lady's hand in things about the consulate at 
Samoa. Mrs. Churchill picked the crew for the 
general's boat, and saw to it that they wore a 
smart uniform and that they could sing the Samoan 
boatsong, which in the first week Mrs. Churchill 
herself could sing like a native girl. 

Next morning bright and early Mrs. Robert 
Louis Stevenson came to the Spray and invited 
me to Vailima the following day. I was of course 
thrilled when I found myself, after so many days 
of adventure, face to face with this bright woman, 
so lately the companion of the author who had 
delighted me on the voyage. The kindly eyes, that 
looked me through and through, sparkled when we 
compared notes of adventure. I marveled at some 
of her experiences and escapes. She told me that, 
along with her husband, she had voyaged in all 
manner of rickety craft among the islands of the 
Pacific, reflectively adding, "Our tastes were 

Following the subject of voyages, she gave me 
the four beautiful volumes of sailing directories for 
the Mediterranean, writing on the fly-leaf of the 

To CAPTAIN SLOCUM. These volumes have been read and 
re-read many times by my husband, and I am very sure that he 
would be pleased that they should be passed on to the sort of 
seafaring man that he liked above all others. 


Mrs. Stevenson also gave me a great directory of 
the Indian Ocean. It was not without a feeling of 
reverential awe that I received the books so nearly 



direct from the hand of Tusitala, " who sleeps in 
the forest." Aolele, the Spray will cherish your 

The novelist's stepson, Mr. Lloyd Osbourne, 
walked through the Vailima mansion with me 

Vailima, the home of Robert Louis Stevenson. 

and bade me write my letters at the old desk. I 
thought it would be presumptuous to do that; it 
was sufficient for me to enter the hall on the floor 
of which the " Writer of Tales," according to the 
Samoan custom, was wont to sit. 

Coming through the main street of Apia one 
day, with my hosts, all bound for the Spray, Mrs. 
Stevenson on horseback, I walking by her side, 
and Mr. and Mrs. Osbourne close in our wake on 
bicycles, at a sudden turn in the road we found 
ourselves mixed with a remarkable native proces- 
sion, with a somewhat primitive band of music, in 
front of us, while behind was a festival or a funeral, 
we could not tell which. Several of the stoutest 
men carried bales and bundles on poles. Some 


were evidently bales of tapa-cloth. The burden of 
one set of poles, heavier than the rest, however, 
was not so easily made out. My curiosity was 
whetted to know whether it was a roast pig or 
something of a gruesome nature, and I inquired 
about it. "I don't know," said Mrs. Stevenson, 
"whether this is a wedding or a funeral. What- 
ever it is, though, captain, our place seems to be at 
the head of it." 

The Spray being in the stream, we boarded her 
from the beach abreast, in the little razeed Glou- 
cester dory, which had been painted a smart green. 
Our combined weight loaded it gunwale to the 
water, and I was obliged to steer with great care 
to avoid swamping. The adventure pleased Mrs. 
Stevenson greatly, and as we paddled along she 
sang, " They went to sea in a pea-green boat." I 
could understand her saying of her husband and 
herself, " Our tastes were similar." 

As I sailed farther from the center of civilization 
I heard less and less of what would and what 
would not pay. Mrs. Stevenson, in speaking of 
my voyage, did not once ask me what I would 
make out of it. When I came to a Samoan village, 
the chief did not ask the price of gin, or say, " How 
much will you pay for roast pig ? " but, " Dollar, 
dollar," said he ; " white man know only dollar." 

" Never mind dollar. The tapo has prepared ava ; 
let us drink and rejoice." The tapo is the virgin 
hostess of the village ; in this instance it was Taloa, 
daughter of the chief. " Our taro is good ; let us 
eat. On the tree there is fruit. Let the day go 
by ; why should we mourn over that ? There are 


millions of days coming. The breadfruit is yellow 
in the sun, and from the cloth-tree is Taloa's gown. 
Our house, which is good, cost but the labor of 
building it, and there is no lock on the door." 

While the days go thus in these Southern islands 
we at the North are struggling for the bare necessi- 
ties of life. 

For food the islanders have only to put out their 
hand and take what nature has provided for them ; 
if they plant a banana -tree, their only care after- 
ward is to see that too many trees do not grow. 
They have great reason to love their country and 
to fear the white man's yoke, for once harnessed to 
the plow, their life would no longer be a poem. 

The chief of the village of Caini, who was a tall 
and dignified Tonga man, could be approached 
only through an interpreter and talking man. It 
was perfectly natural for him to inquire the 
object of my visit, and I was sincere when I told 
him that my reason for casting anchor in Samoa 
was to see their fine men, and fine women, too. 
After a considerable pause the chief said : " The 
captain has come a long way to see so little ; but," 
he added, " the tapo must sit nearer the captain." 
"Yack," said Taloa, who had so nearly learned 
to say yes in English, and suiting the action to 
the word, she hitched a peg nearer, all hands 
sitting in a circle upon mats. I was no less 
taken with the chiefs eloquence than delighted 
with the simplicity of all he said. About him 
there was nothing pompous; he might have been 
taken for a great scholar or statesman, the least 
assuming of the men I met on the voyage. As for 


Taloa, a sort of Queen of the May, and the other 
tapo girls, well, it is wise to learn as soon as possi- 
ble the manners and customs of these hospitable 
people, and meanwhile not to mistake for over- 
familiarity that which is intended as honor to a 
guest. I was fortunate in my travels in the islands, 
and saw nothing to shake one's faith in native 

To the unconventional mind the punctilious eti- 
quette of Samoa is perhaps a little painful. For 
instance, I found that in partaking of ava, the 
social bowl, I was supposed to toss a little of the 
beverage over my shoulder, or pretend to do so, 
and say, " Let the gods drink," and then drink it 
all myself; and the dish, invariably a cocoanut- 
shell, being empty, I might not pass it politely as 
we would do, but politely throw it twirling across 
the mats at the tapo. 

My most grievous mistake while at the islands 
was made on a nag, which, inspired by a bit of 
good road, must needs break into a smart trot 
through a village. I was instantly hailed by the 
chief's deputy, who in an angry voice brought 
me to a halt. Perceiving that I was in trouble, 
I made signs for pardon, the safest thing to do, 
though I did not know what offense I had 
committed. My interpreter coming up, however, 
put me right, but not until a long palaver 
had ensued. The deputy's hail, liberally trans- 
lated, was: "Ahoy, there, on the frantic steed! 
Know you not that it is against the law to ride 
thus through the village of our fathers ! " I made 
what apologies I could, and offered to dismount 


and, like my servant, lead my nag by the bridle. 
This, the interpreter told me, would also be a 
grievous wrong, and so I again begged for pardon. 
I was summoned to appear before a chief ; but my 
interpreter, being a wit as well as a bit of a rogue, 
explained that I was myself something of a chief, 
and should not be detained, being on a most im- 
portant mission. In my own behalf I could only 
say that I was a stranger, but, pleading all this, I 
knew I still deserved to be roasted, at which the 
chief showed a fine row of teeth and seemed 
pleased, but allowed me to pass on. 

The chief of the Tongas and his family at Caini, 
returning m^f visit, brought presents of tapa-cloth 
and fruits. Taloa, the princess, brought a bottle 
of cocoanut-oil for my hair, which another man 
might have regarded as coming late. 

It was impossible to entertain on the Spray after 
the royal manner in which I had been received by 
the chief. His fare had included all that the land 
could afford, fruits, fowl, fishes, and flesh, a hog 
having been roasted whole. I set before them 
boiled salt pork and salt beef, with which I was 
well supplied, and in the evening took them all to 
a new amusement in the town, a rocking-horse 
merry-go-round, which they called a "kee-kee," 
meaning theater; and in a spirit of justice they 
pulled off the horses' tails, for the proprietors of 
the show, two hard-fisted countrymen of mine, I 
grieve to say, unceremoniously hustled them off 
for a new set, almost at the first spin. I was not a 
little proud of my Tonga friends ; the chief, finest 
of them all, carried a portentous club. As for the 



theater, through the greed of the proprietors it was 
becoming unpopular, and the representatives of 
the three great powers, in want of laws which they 
could enforce, adopted a vigorous foreign policy, 
taxing it twenty-five per cent, on the gate-money. 
This was considered a great stroke of legislative 
reform ! 

It was the fashion of the native visitors to the 
Spray to come over the bows, where they could 
reach the head-gear and climb aboard with ease r 
and on going ashore to jump off the stern and 
swim away; nothing could have been more de- 
lightfully simple. The modest natives wore lava- 
lava bathing-dresses, a native cloth from the bark 
of the mulberry-tree, and they did no harm to the 
Spray. In summer-land Samoa their coming and 
going was only a merry every-day scene. 

One day the head teachers of Papauta College, 
Miss Schultze and Miss Moore, came on board with 
their ninety-seven young women students. They 
were all dressed in white, and each wore a red rose r 
and of course came in boats or canoes in the cold- 
climate style. A merrier bevy of girls it would be 
difficult to find. As soon as they got on deck, by 
request of one of the teachers, they sang "The 
Watch on the Ehine," which I had never heard be- 
fore. " And now," said they all, " let 's up anchor 
and away." But I had no inclination to sail from 
Samoa so soon. On leaving the Spray these ac- 
complished young women each seized a palm- 
branch or paddle, or whatever else would serve the 
purpose, and literally paddled her own canoe. 
Each could have swum as readily, and would 


have done so, I dare say, had it not been for 
the holiday muslin. 

It was not uncommon at Apia to see a young 
woman swimming alongside a small canoe with a 
passenger for the Spray. Mr. Trood, an old Eton 
boy, came in this manner to see me, and he ex- 
claimed, "Was ever king ferried in such state?" 
Then, suiting his action to the sentiment, he gave 
the damsel pieces of silver till the natives watch- 
ing on shore yelled with envy. My own canoe, a 
small dugout, one day when it had rolled over with 
me, was seized by a party of fair bathers, and 
before I could get my breath, almost, was towed 
around and around the Spray, while I sat in the 
bottom of it, wondering what they would do next. 
But in this case there were six of them, three on a 
side, and I could not help myself. One of the 
sprites, I remember, was a young English lady, 
who made more sport of it than any of the others. 


Samoan royalty King Malietoa Good-by to friends at Vailima 
Leaving Fiji to the south Arrival at Newcastle, Australia 
The yachts of Sydney A ducking on the Spray Commodore 
Foy presents the sloop with a new suit of sails On to Melbourne 
A shark that proved to be valuable A change of course 
The "Rain of Blood" In Tasmania. 

AT Apia I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. A. 
.jLJL Young, the father of the late Queen Margaret, 
who was Queen of Manua from 1891 to 1895. Her 
grandfather was an English sailor who mar- 
ried a princess. Mr. Young is now the only sur- 
vivor of the family, two of his children, the last of 
them all, having been lost in an island trader which 
a few months before had sailed, never to return. 
Mr. Young was a Christian gentleman, and his 
daughter Margaret was accomplished in graces 
that would become any lady. It was with pain 
that I saw in the newspapers a sensational account 
of her life and death, taken evidently from a paper 
in the supposed interest of a benevolent society, 
but without foundation in fact. And the startling 
head-lines saying, "Queen Margaret of Manua is 
dead," could hardly be called news in 1898, the 
queen having then been dead three years. 

While hobnobbing, as it were, with royalty, I 
called on the king himself, the late Malietoa. King 



Malietoa was a great ruler ; he never got less than 
forty-five dollars a month for the job, as he told 
me himself, and this amount had lately been raised, 
so that he could live on the fat of the land and not 
any longer be called " Tin-of-salmon Malietoa" by 
graceless beach-combers. 

As my interpreter and I entered the front door 
of the palace, the king's brother, who was viceroy, 
sneaked in through a taro-patch by the back way, 
and sat cowering by the door while I told my story 
to the king. Mr. W of New York, a gentle- 
man interested in missionary work, had charged 
me, when I sailed, to give his remembrance to the 
king of the Cannibal Islands, other islands of 
course being meant ; but the good King Malietoa, 
notwithstanding that his people have not eaten a 
missionary in a hundred years, received the mes- 
sage himself, and seemed greatly pleased to hear 
so directly from the publishers of the " Missionary 
Review," and wished me to make his compli- 
ments in return. His Majesty then excused him- 
self, while I talked with his daughter, the beautiful 
Faamu-Sami (a name signifying " To make the sea 
burn "), and soon reappeared in the full-dress uni- 
form of the German commander-in-chief, Emperor 
William himself; for, stupidly enough, I had not 
sent my credentials ahead that the king might be 
in full regalia to receive me. Calling a few days 
later to say good-by to Faamu-Sami, I saw King 
Malietoa for the last time. 

Of the landmarks in the pleasant town of Apia, 
my memory rests first on the little school just back 
of the London Missionary Society coffee-house and 


reading-rooms, where Mrs. Bell taught English to 
about a hundred native children, boys and girls. 
Brighter children you will not find anywhere. 

"Now, children," said Mrs. Bell, when I called 
one day, "let us show the captain that we know 
something about the Cape Horn he passed in the 
Spray? at which a lad of nine or ten years stepped 
nimbly forward and read Basil Hall's fine descrip- 
tion of the great cape, and read it well. He after- 
ward copied the essay for me in a clear hand. 

Calling to say good-by to my friends at Vailima, 
I met Mrs. Stevenson in her Panama hat, and 
went over the estate with her. Men were at work 
clearing the land, and to one of them she gave an 
order to cut a couple of bamboo-trees for the 
Spray from a clump she had planted four years 
before, and which had grown to the height of sixty 
feet. I used them for spare spars, and the butt of 
one made a serviceable jib-boom on the homeward 
voyage. I had then only to take ava with the 
family and be ready for sea. This ceremony, im- 
portant among Samoans, was conducted after the 
native fashion. A Triton horn was sounded to 
let us know when the beverage was ready, and in 
response we all clapped hands. The bout being in 
honor of the Spray, it was my turn first, after the 
custom of the country, to spill a little over my 
shoulder; but having forgotten the Samoan for 
" Let the gods drink," I repeated the equivalent in 
Russian and Chinook, as I remembered a word in 
each, whereupon Mr. Osbourne pronounced me a 
confirmed Samoan. Then I said " Tofah ! " to my 
good friends of Samoa, and all wishing the Spray 


bon voyage, she stood out of the harbor August 20, 
1896, and continued on her course. A sense of 
loneliness seized upon me as the islands faded 
astern, and as a remedy for it I crowded on sail 
for lovely Australia, which was not a strange land 
to me ; but for long days in my dreams Vailima 
stood before the prow. 

The Spray had barely cleared the islands when a 
sudden burst of the trades brought her down to 
close reefs, and she reeled off one hundred and 
eighty-four miles the first day, of which I counted 
forty miles of current in her favor. Finding a 
rough sea, I swung her off free and sailed north 
of the Horn Islands, also north of Fiji instead of 
south, as I had intended, and coasted down the west 
side of the archipelago. Thence I sailed direct for 
New South Wales, passing south of New Caledonia, 
and arrived at Newcastle after a passage of forty- 
two days, mostly of storms and gales. 

One particularly severe gale encountered near 
New Caledonia foundered the American clipper- 
ship Patrician farther south. Again, nearer the 
coast of Australia, when, however, I was not aware 
that the gale was extraordinary, a French mail- 
steamer from New Caledonia for Sydney, blown 
considerably out of her course, on her arrival re- 
ported it an awful storm, and to inquiring friends 
said : " Oh, my ! we don't know what has become 
of the little sloop Spray. We saw her in the thick 
.of the storm." The Spray was all right, lying to 
like a duck. She was under a goose's wing mainsail, 
and had had a dry deck while the passengers on 
the steamer, I heard later, were up to their knees 


in water in the saloon. When their ship arrived at 
Sydney they gave the captain a purse of gold for 
his skill and seamanship in bringing them safe into 
port. The captain of the Spray got nothing of this 
sort. In this gale I made the land about Seal 
Rocks, where the steamship Catherton, with many 
lives, was lost a short time before. I was many 
hours off the rocks, beating back and forth, but 
weathered them at last. 

I arrived at Newcastle in the teeth of a gale of 
wind. It was a stormy season. The government 
pilot, Captain Gumming, met me at the harbor bar, 
and with the assistance of a steamer carried my ves- 
sel to a safe berth. Many visitors came on board, 
the first being the United States consul, Mr. Brown. 
Nothing was too good for the Spray here. All 
government dues were remitted, and after I had 
rested a few days a port pilot with a tug carried 
her to sea again, and she made along the coast 
toward the harbor of Sydney, where she arrived on 
the following day, October 10, 1896. 

I came to in a snug cove near Manly for the 
night, the Sydney harbor police-boat giving me a 
pluck into anchorage while they gathered data 
from an old scrap-book of mine, which seemed to 
interest them. Nothing escapes the vigilance of 
the New South Wales police; their reputation is 
known the world over. They made a shrewd guess 
that I could give them some useful information, 
and they were the first to meet me. Some one said 
they came to arrest me, and well, let it go at that. 

Summer was approaching, and the harbor of 
Sydney was blooming with yachts. Some of them 



The accident at Sydney. 

came down to the weather-beaten Spray and sailed 
round her at Shelcote, where she took a berth for a 
few days. At Sydney I was at once among friends. 


The Spray remained at the various watering-places 
in the great port for several weeks, and was visited 
by many agreeable people, frequently by officers of 
H. M. S. Orlando and their friends. Captain Fisher, 
the commander, with a party of young ladies from 
the city and gentlemen belonging to his ship, came 
one day to pay me a visit in the midst of a deluge 
of rain. I never saw it rain harder even in Aus- 
tralia. But they were out for fun, and rain could 
not dampen their feelings, however hard it poured. 
But, as ill luck would have it, a young gentleman 
of another party on board, in the full uniform 
of a very great yacht club, with brass buttons 
enough to sink him, stepping quickly to get out of 
the wet, tumbled holus-bolus, head and heels, into 
a barrel of water I had been coopering, and being 
a short man, was soon out of sight, and nearly 
drowned before he was rescued. It was the nearest 
to a casualty on the Spray in her whole course, so 
far as I know. The young man having come on 
board with compliments made the mishap most 
embarrassing. It had been decided by his club 
that the Spray could not be officially recognized, 
for the reason that she brought no letters from 
yacht-clubs in America, and so I say it seemed all 
the more embarrassing and strange that I should 
have caught at least one of the members, in a bar- 
rel, and, too, when I was not fishing for yachtsmen. 
The typical Sydney boat is a handy sloop of 
great beam and enormous sail-carrying power; but 
a capsize is not uncommon, for they carry sail like 
vikings. In Sydney I saw all manner of craft, 
from the smart steam-launch and sailing-cutter to 


the smaller sloop and canoe pleasuring on the bay. 
Everybody owned a boat. If a boy in Australia 
has not the means to buy him a boat he builds one, 
and it is usually one not to be ashamed of. The 
Spray shed her Joseph's coat, the Fuego mainsail, 
in Sydney, and wearing a new suit, the handsome 
present of Commodore Foy, she was flagship of the 
Johnstone's Bay Flying Squadron when the cir- 
cumnavigators of t Sydney harbor sailed in their 
annual regatta. They " recognized " the Spray as 
belonging to " a club of her own," and with more 
Australian sentiment than fastidiousness gave her 
credit for her record. 

Time flew fast those days in Australia, and it 
was December 6, 1896, when the Spray sailed from 
Sydney. My intention was now to sail around 
Cape Leeuwin direct for Mauritius on my way 
home, and so I coasted along toward Bass Strait in 
that direction. 

There was little to report on this part of the 
voyage, except changeable winds, " busters," and 
rough seas. The 12th of December, however, was 
an exceptional day, with a fine coast wind, north- 
east. The Spray early in the morning passed 
Twofold Bay and later Cape Bundooro in a smooth 
sea with land close aboard. The lighthouse on the 
cape dipped a flag to the Spray's flag, and children 
on the balconies of a cottage near the shore waved 
handkerchiefs as she passed by. There were only 
a few people all told on the shore, but the scene 
was a happy one. I saw festoons of evergreen in 
token of Christmas, near at hand. I saluted the 
merrymakers, wishing them a " Merry Christmas," 


and could hear them say, "I wish you the 

From Cape Bundooro I passed by Cliff Island in 
Bass Strait, and exchanged signals with the light- 
keepers while the Spray worked up under the 
island. The wind howled that day while the sea 
broke over their rocky home. 

A few days later, December 17, the Spray came 
in close under Wilson's Promontory, again seek- 
ing shelter. The keeper of the light at that sta- 
tion, Mr. J. Clark, came on board and gave me 
directions for Waterloo Bay, about three miles to 
leeward, for which I bore up at once, finding good 
anchorage there in a sandy cove protected from all 
westerly and northerly winds. 

Anchored here was the ketch Secret, a fisherman, 
and the Mary of Sydney, a steam ferry-boat fitted 
for whaling. The captain of the Mary was a genius, 
and an Australian genius at that, and smart. His 
crew, from a sawmill up the coast, had not one of 
them seen a live whale when they shipped; but 
they were boatmen after an Australian's own heart, 
and the captain had told them that to kill a whale 
was no more than to kill a rabbit. They believed 
him, and that settled it. As luck would have it, 
the very first one they saw on their cruise, although 
an ugly humpback, was a dead whale in no time, 
Captain Young, the master of the Mary, killing 
the monster at a single thrust of a harpoon. It 
was taken in tow for Sydney, where they put it on 
exhibition. Nothing but whales interested the 
crew of the gallant Mary, and they spent most of 
their time here gathering fuel along shore for a 



cruise on the grounds off Tasmania. Whenever the 
word " whale " was mentioned in the hearing of 
these men their eyes glistened with excitement. 

Captain Slocum working the Spray out of the Yarrow Eiver, 
a part of Melbourne harbor. 

We spent three days in the quiet cove, listening 
to the wind outside. Meanwhile Captain Young 
and I explored the shores, visited abandoned 
miners' pits, and prospected for gold ourselves. 

Our vessels, parting company the morning they 
sailed, stood away like sea-birds each on its own 
course. The wind for a few days was moderate, 


and, with unusual luck of fine weather, the Spray 
made Melbourne Heads on the 22d of December, 
and, taken in tow by the steam-tug Racer, was 
brought into port. 

Christmas day was spent at a berth in the river 
Yarrow, but I lost little time in shifting to St. Kilda, 
where I spent nearly a month. 

The Spray paid no port charges in Australia or 
anywhere else on the voyage, except at Pernambuco, 
till she poked her nose into the custom-house at 
Melbourne, where she was charged tonnage dues ; in 
this instance, sixpence a ton on the gross. The col- 
lector exacted six shillings and sixpence, taking off 
nothing for the fraction under thirteen tons, her 
exact gross being 12.70 tons. I squared the matter 
by charging people sixpence each for coming on 
board, and when this business got dull I caught a 
shark and charged them sixpence each to look at 
that. The shark was twelve feet six inches in 
length, and carried a progeny of twenty-six, not 
one of them less than two feet in length. A slit 
of a knife let them out in a canoe full of water, 
which, changed constantly, kept them alive one 
whole day. In less than an hour from the time I 
heard of the ugly brute it was on deck and on exhi- 
bition, with rather more than the amount of the 
Spray's tonnage dues already collected. Then I 
hired a good Irishman, Tom Howard by name, 
who knew all about sharks, both on the land and 
in the sea, and could talk about them, to answer 
questions and lecture. When I found that I could 
not keep abreast of the questions I turned the re- 
sponsibility over to him. 


Returning from the bank, where I had been to 
deposit money early in the day, I found Howard 
in the midst of a very excited crowd, telling imagi- 
nary habits of the fish. It was a good show ; the 
people wished to see it, and it was my wish that 
they should ; but owing to his over-stimulated en- 
thusiasm, I was obliged to let Howard resign. The 
income from the show and the proceeds of the 
tallow I had gathered in the Strait of Magellan, 
the last of which I had disposed of to a Ger- 
man soap-boiler at Samoa, put me in ample 

January 24, 1897, found the Spray again in tow 
of the tug Racer, leaving Hobson's Bay after a 
pleasant time in Melbourne and St. Kilda, which 
had been protracted by a succession of southwest 
winds that seemed never-ending. 

In the summer months, that is, December, Jan- 
uary, February, and sometimes March, east winds 
are prevalent through Bass Strait and round 
Cape Leeuwin ; but owing to a vast amount of ice 
drifting up from the Antarctic, this was all changed 
now and emphasized with much bad weather, 
so much so that I considered it impracticable to 
pursue the course farther. Therefore, instead of 
thrashing round cold and stormy Cape Leeuwin, I 
decided to spend a pleasanter and more profitable 
time in Tasmania, waiting for the season for favor- 
able winds through Torres Strait, by way of the 
Great Barrier Eeef, the route I finally decided 
on. To sail this course would be taking advan- 
tage of anticyclones, which never fail, and besides 
it would give me the chance to put foot on the 


shores of Tasmania, round which I had sailed 
years before. 

I should mention that while I was at Melbourne 
there occurred one of those extraordinary storms 
sometimes called "rain of blood," the first of the 
kind in many years about Australia. The " blood " 
came from a fine brick-dust matter afloat in the 
air from the deserts. A rain-storm setting in 
brought down this dust simply as mud ; it fell in 
such quantities that a bucketful was collected from 
the sloop's awnings, which were spread at the 
time. When the wind blew hard and I was obliged 
to furl awnings, her sails, unprotected on the booms, 
got mud-stained from clue to earing. 

The phenomena of dust-storms, well understood 
by scientists, are not uncommon on the coast of 
Africa. Reaching some distance out over the sea, 
they frequently cover the track of ships, as in the 
case of the one through which the Spray passed in 
the earlier part of her voyage. Sailors no longer 
regard them with superstitious fear, but our credu- 
lous brothers on the land cry out " Rain of blood ! " 
at the first splash of the awful mud. 

The rip off Port Phillip Heads, a wild place, was 
rough when the Spray entered Hobson's Bay from 
the sea, and was rougher when she stood out. But, 
with sea-room and under sail, she made good 
weather immediately after passing it. It was only 
a few hours' sail to Tasmania across the strait, the 
wind being fair and blowing hard. I carried the 
St. Kilda shark along, stuffed with hay, and dis- 
posed of it to Professor Porter, the curator of the 
Victoria Museum of Launceston, which is at the 



head of the Tamar. For many a long day to come 
may be seen there the shark of St. Kilda. Alas ! 
the good but mistaken people of St. Kilda, when 
the illustrated journals with pictures of my shark 
reached their news-stands, flew into a passion, and 
swept all papers containing mention of fish into 
the fire ; for St. Kilda was a watering-place and 
the idea of a shark there ! But my show went on. 

The Spray was berthed on the beach at a small 
jetty at Launceston while the tide driven in by the 
gale that brought her up the river was unusually 
high ; and she lay there hard and fast, with not 
enough water around her at any time after to wet 
one's feet till she was ready to sail ; then, to float 
her, the ground was dug from under her keel. 

In this snug place I left her in charge of three 
children, while I made journeys among the hills 
and rested my bones, for the coming voyage, on 
the moss-covered rocks at the gorge hard by, and 
among the ferns I found wherever I went. My 
vessel was well taken care of. I never returned 
without finding that the decks had been washed 
and that one of the children, my nearest neighbor's 
little girl from across the road, was at the gangway 
attending to visitors, while the others, a brother 
and sister, sold marine curios such as were in the 
cargo, on " ship's account." They were a bright, 
cheerful crew, and people came a long way to hear 
them tell the story of the voyage, and of the mon- 
sters of the deep " the captain had slain." I had 
only to keep myself away to be a hero of the first 
water; and it suited me very well to do so and 
to rusticate in the forests and among the streams. 


A testimonial from a lady Cruising round Tasmania The skipper 
delivers his first lecture on the voyage Abundant provisions 
An inspection of the Spray for safety at Devonport Again at 
Sydney Northward bound for Torres Strait An amateur ship- 
wreck Friends on the Australian coast Perils of a coral sea. 

T71EBRUARY 1, 1897, on returning to my vessel 
J_ I found waiting for me the letter of sympathy 
which I subjoin : 

A lady sends Mr. Slocum the inclosed five-pound note 
as a token of her appreciation of his bravery in crossing 
the wide seas on so small a boat, and all alone, without 
human sympathy to help when danger threatened. All 
success to you. 

To this day I do not know who wrote it or to 
whom I am indebted for the generous gift it con- 
tained. I could not refuse a thing so kindly meant, 
but promised myself to pass it on with interest at 
the first opportunity, and this I did before leaving 

The season of fair weather around the north of 
Australia being yet a long way off, I sailed to other 
ports in Tasmania, where it is fine the year round, 
the first of these being Beauty Point, near which 
are Beacon sfield and the great Tasmania gold-mine, 
which I visited in turn. I saw much gray, unin- 



teresting rock being hoisted out of the mine there, 
and hundreds of stamps crushing it into powder. 
People told me there was gold in it, and I believed 
what they said. 

I remember Beauty Point for its shady forest 
and for the road among the tall gum-trees. While 
there the governor of New South Wales, Lord 
Hampden, and his family came in on a steam-yacht, 
sight-seeing. The Spray, anchored near the land- 
ing-pier, threw her bunting out, of course, and 
probably a more insignificant craft bearing the 
Stars and Stripes was never seen in those waters. 
However, the governor's party seemed to know 
why it floated there, and all about the Spray, and 
when I heard his Excellency say, "Introduce me 
to the captain," or " Introduce the captain to me," 
whichever it was, I found myself at once in the 
presence of a gentleman and a friend, and one 
greatly interested in my voyage. If any one of 
the party was more interested than the governor 
himself, it was the Honorable Margaret, his daugh- 
ter. On leaving, Lord and Lady Hampden promised 
to rendezvous with me on board the Spray at the 
Paris Exposition in 1900. " If we live," they said, 
and I added, for my part, "Dangers of the seas 

From Beauty Point the Spray visited George- 
town, near the mouth of the river Tamar. This 
little settlement, I believe, marks the place where 
the first footprints were made by whites in Tas- 
mania, though it never grew to be more than a 

Considering that I had seen something of the 


world, and finding people here interested in adven- 
ture, I talked the matter over before my first audi- 
ence in a little hall by the country road. A piano 
having been brought in from a neighbor's, I was 
helped out by the severe thumping it got, and by a 
"Tommy Atkins" song from a strolling comedian. 
People came from a great distance, and the atten- 
dance all told netted the house about three pounds 
sterling. The owner of the hall, a kind lady from 
Scotland, would take no rent, and so my lecture 
from the start was a success. 

From this snug little place I made sail for Dev- 
onport, a thriving place on the river Mersey, a few 
hours' sail westward along the coast, and fast 
becoming the most important port in Tasmania. 
Large steamers enter there now and carry away 
great cargoes of farm produce, but the Spray was 
the first vessel to bring the Stars and Stripes to the 
port, the harbor-master, Captain Murray, told me, 
and so it is written in the port records. For the 
great distinction the Spray enjoyed many civilities 
while she rode comfortably at anchor in her port- 
duster awning that covered her from stem to stern. 

From the magistrate's house, " Malunnah," on the 
point, she was saluted by the Jack both on coming 
in and on going out, and dear Mrs. Aikenhead, the 
mistress of Malunnah, supplied the Spray with jams 
and jellies of all sorts, by the case, prepared from 
the fruits of her own rich garden enough to last 
all the way home and to spare. Mrs. Wood, farther 
up the harbor, put up bottles of raspberry wine for 
me. At this point, more than ever before, I was in 
the land of good cheer. Mrs. Powell sent on board 



chutney prepared " as we prepare it in India." Fish 
and game were plentiful here, and the voice of the 
gobbler was heard, and from Pardo, farther up the 
country, came an enormous cheese ; and yet people 

The Spray in her port duster at Devonport, Tasmania, 
February 22, 1897. 

inquire : " What did you live on f What did you 

I was haunted by the beauty of the landscape all 
about, of the natural ferneries then disappearing, 
and of the domed forest-trees on the slopes, and 
was fortunate in meeting a gentleman intent on 


preserving in art the beauties of Ms country. He 
presented me with many reproductions from his 
collection of pictures, also many originals, to show 
to my friends. 

By another gentleman I was charged to tell the 
glories of Tasmania in every land and on every 
occasion. This was Dr. McCall, M. L. C. The doc- 
tor gave me useful hints on lecturing. It was not 
without misgivings, however, that I filled away on 
this new course, and I am free to say that it is only 
by the kindness of sympathetic audiences that my 
oratorical bark was held on even keel. Soon 
after my first talk the kind doctor came to me 
with words of approval. As in many other of 
my enterprises, I had gone about it at once and 
without second thought. "Man, man," said he, 
" great nervousness is only a sign of brain, and the 
more brain a man has the longer it takes him to 
get over the affliction ; but," he added reflectively, 
" you will get over it." However, in my own behalf 
I think it only fair to say that I am not yet entirely 

The Spray was hauled out on the marine railway 
at Devonport and examined carefully top and bot- 
tom, but was found absolutely free from the destruc- 
tive teredo, and sound in all respects. To protect 
her further against the ravage of these insects the 
bottom was coated once more with copper paint, 
for she would have to sail through the Coral and 
Arafura seas before refitting again. Everything 
was done to fit her for all the known dangers. But 
it was not without regret that I looked forward to 
the day of sailing from a country of so many pleas- 


ant associations. If there was a moment in my 
voyage when I could have given it up, it was there 
and then ; but no vacancies for a better post being 
open, I weighed anchor April 16, 1897, and again 
put to sea. 

The season of summer was then over; winter 
was rolling up from the south, with fair winds for 
the north. A foretaste of winter wind sent the 
Spray flying round Cape Howe and as far as Cape 
Bundooro farther along, which she passed on the 
following day, retracing her course northward. 
This was a fine run, and boded good for the long 
voyage home from the antipodes. My old Christ- 
mas friends on Bundooro seemed to be up and 
moving when I came the second time by their cape, 
and we exchanged signals again, while the sloop 
sailed along as before in a smooth sea and close to 
the shore. 

The weather was fine, with clear sky the rest of 
the passage to Port Jackson (Sydney), where the 
Spray arrived April 22, 1897, and anchored in 
Watson's Bay, near the heads, in eight fathoms of 
water. The harbor from the heads to Parramatta, 
up the river, was more than ever alive with boats 
and yachts of every class. It was, indeed, a scene 
of animation, hardly equaled in any other part of 
the world. 

A few days later the bay was flecked with tem- 
pestuous waves, and none but stout ships carried 
sail. I was in a neighboring hotel then, nursing a 
neuralgia which I had picked up alongshore, and 
had only that moment got a glance of just the 
stern of a large, unmanageable steamship passing 


the range of my window as she forged in by the 
point, when the bell-boy burst into my room shout- 
ing that the Spray had " gone bung." I tumbled 
out quickly, to learn that "bung" meant that a 
large steamship had run into her, and that it was 
the one of which I saw the stern, the other end of her 
having hit the Spray. It turned out, however, that 
no damage was done beyond the loss of an anchor 
and chain, which from the shock of the collision 
had parted at the hawse. I had nothing at all to 
complain of, though, in the end, for the captain, 
after he clubbed his ship, took the Spray in tow 
up the harbor, clear of all dangers, and sent her 
back again, in charge of an officer and three men, 
to her anchorage in the bay, with a polite note say- 
ing he would repair any damages done. But what 
yawing about she made of it when she came with 
a stranger at the helm ! Her old friend the pilot 
of the Pinta would not have been guilty of such 
lubberly work. But to my great delight they got 
her into a berth, and the neuralgia left me then, or 
was forgotten. The captain of the steamer, like a 
true seaman, kept his word, and his agent, Mr. Col- 
lishaw handed me on the very next day the price 
of the lost anchor and chain, with something over 
for anxiety of mind. I remember that he offered 
me twelve pounds at once ; but my lucky number 
being thirteen, we made the amount thirteen 
pounds, which squared all accounts. 

I sailed again, May 9, before a strong southwest 
wind, which sent the Spray gallantly on as far as 
Port Stevens, where it fell calm and then came up 
ahead ; but the weather was fine, and so remained 


for many days, which was a great change from the 
state of the weather experienced here some months 

Having a full set of admiralty sheet-charts of the 
coast and Barrier Reef, I felt easy in mind. Cap- 
tain Fisher, R. N., who had steamed through the 
Barrier passages in H. M. S. Orlando, advised me 
from the first to take this route, and I did not 
regret coming back to it now. 

The wind, for a few days after passing Port 
Stevens, Seal Rocks, and Cape Hawk, was light and 
dead ahead ; but these points are photographed on 
my memory from the trial of beating round them 
some months before when bound the other way. 
But now, with a good stock of books on board, I 
fell to reading day and night, leaving this pleasant 
occupation merely to trim sails or tack, or to lie 
down and rest, while the Spray nibbled at the miles. 
I tried to compare my state with that of old cir- 
cumnavigators, who sailed exactly over the route 
which I took from Cape Verde Islands or farther 
back to this point and beyond, but there was no 
comparison so far as I had got. Their hardships 
and romantic escapes those of them who escaped 
death and worse sufferings did not enter into my 
experience, sailing all alone around the world. For 
me is left to tell only of pleasant experiences, till 
finally my adventures are prosy and tame. 

I had just finished reading some of the most 
interesting of the old voyages in woe-begone ships, 
and was already near Port Macquarie, on my own 
cruise, when I made out, May 13, a modern dandy 
craft in distress, anchored on the coast. Standing 



in for her, I found that she was the cutter-yacht 
Akbar, 1 which had sailed from Watson's Bay about 


three days ahead of the Spray, and that she had 
run at once into trouble. No wonder she did so. 

1 Akbar was not her registered name, which need not be told. 


It was a case of babes in the wood or butterflies 
at sea. Her owner, on his maiden voyage, was all 
duck trousers; the captain, distinguished for the 
enormous yachtsman's cap he wore, was a Mur- 
rumbidgee 1 whaler before he took command of the 
Akbar ; and the navigating officer, poor fellow, was 
almost as deaf as a post, and nearly as stiff and 
immovable as a post in the ground. These three 
jolly tars comprised the crew. None of them 
knew more about the sea or about a vessel than a 
newly born babe knows about another world. 
They were bound for New Guinea, so they said; 
perhaps it was as well that three tenderfeet so 
tender as those never reached that destination. 

The owner, whom I had met before he sailed, 
wanted to race the poor old Spray to Thursday 
Island en route. I declined the challenge, natu- 
rally, on the ground of the unfairness of three 
young yachtsmen in a clipper against an old sailor 
all alone in a craft of coarse build ; besides that, I 
would not on any account race in the Coral Sea. 

"Spray ahoy!" they all hailed now. "What's 
the weather goin' t' be ? Is it a-goiii' to blow ! And 
don't you think we 'd better go back t' r-r-refit ? " 

I thought, "If ever you get back, don't refit," 
but I said : " Give me the end of a rope, and I '11 
tow you into yon port farther along ; and on your 
lives," I urged, " do not go back round Cape Hawk, 
for it 's winter to the south of it." 

They purposed making for Newcastle under jury- 

1 The Murrumbidgee is a small river winding among the moun- 
tains of Australia, and would be the last place in which to look for 
a whale. 


sails ; for their mainsail had been blown to ribbons, 
even the jigger had been blown away, and her rig- 
ging flew at loose ends. The Akbar, in a word, 
was a wreck. 

" Up anchor," I shouted, " up anchor, and let me 
tow you into Port Macquarie, twelve miles north 
of this." 

"No," cried the owner; "we '11 go back to New- 
castle. We missed Newcastle on the way coming ; 
we did n't see the light, and it was not thick, 
either." This he shouted very loud, ostensibly 
for my hearing, but closer even than necessary, I 
thought, to the ear of the navigating officer. Again 
I tried to persuade them to be towed into the port 
of refuge so near at hand. It would have cost them 
only the trouble of weighing their anchor and pass- 
ing me a rope ; of this I assured them, but they 
declined even this, in sheer ignorance of a rational 

" What is your depth of water ? " I asked. 

" Don't know ; we lost our lead. All the chain 
is out. We sounded with the anchor." 

" Send your dinghy over, and I '11 give you a lead." 

" We 've lost our dinghy, too," they cried. 

"God is good, else you would have lost your- 
selves," and "Farewell" was all I could say. 

The trifling service proffered by the Spray would 
have saved their vessel. 

" Report us," they cried, as I stood on " report 
us with sails blown away, and that we don't care 
a dash and are not afraid." 

"Then there is no hope for you," and again 


I promised I would report them, and did so at 
the first opportunity, and out of humane reasons I 
do so again. On the following day I spoke the 
steamship Sherman, bound down the coast, and re- 
ported the yacht in distress and that it would be 
an act of humanity to tow her somewhere away 
from her exposed position on an open coast. That 
she did not get a tow from the steamer was from 
no lack of funds to pay the bill ; for the owner, 
lately heir to a few hundred pounds, had the money 
with him. The proposed voyage to New Guinea 
was to look that island over with a view to its pur- 
chase. It was about eighteen days before,! heard 
of the Akbar again, which was on the 31st of May, 
when I reached Cooktown, on the Endeavor River, 
where I found this news : 

May 31, the yacht AJcbar, from Syduey for New Guinea, 
three hands on board, lost at Crescent Head ; the crew 

So it took them several days to lose the yacht, 
after all. 

After speaking the distressed Akbar and the 
Sherman, the voyage for many days was unevent- 
ful save in the pleasant incident on May 16 of a 
chat by signal with the people on South Solitary 
Island, a dreary stone heap in the ocean just off 
the coast of New South Wales, in latitude 30 12' 

" What vessel is that I " they asked, as the sloop 
came abreast of their island. For answer I tried 
them with the Stars and Stripes at the peak. 
Down came their signals at once, and up went the 


British ensign instead, which they dipped heartily. 
I understood from this that they made out my 
vessel and knew all about her, for they asked 
no more questions. They did n't even ask if the 
"voyage would pay," but they threw out this 
friendly message, "Wishing you a pleasant voy- 
age," which at that very moment I was having. 

May 19 the Spray, passing the Tweed Eiver, 
was signaled from Danger Point, where those on 
shore seemed most anxious about the state of my 
health, for they asked if " all hands " were well, to 
which I could say, " Yes." 

On the following day the Spray rounded Great 
Sandy Cape, and, what is a notable event in every 
voyage, picked up the trade-winds, and these winds 
followed her now for many thousands of miles, 
never ceasing to blow from a moderate gale to a 
mild summer breeze, except at rare intervals. 

From the pitch of the cape was a noble light seen 
twenty-seven miles ; passing from this to Lady 
Elliott Light, which stands on an island as a senti- 
nel at the gateway of the Barrier Reef, the Spray 
was at once in the fairway leading north. Poets 
have sung of beacon-light and of pharos, but did 
ever poet behold a great light flash up before his 
path on a dark night in the midst of a coral sea ? 
If so, he knew the meaning of his song. 

The Spray had sailed for hours in suspense, evi- 
dently stemming a current. Almost mad with 
doubt, I grasped the helm to throw her head off 
shore, when blazing out of the sea was the light 
ahead. " Excalibur ! " cried " all hands," and re- 
joiced, and sailed on. The Spray was now in a 


protected sea and smooth water, the first she had 
dipped her keel into since leaving Gibraltar, and a 
change it was from the heaving of the misnamed 
" Pacific " Ocean. 

The Pacific is perhaps, upon the whole, no more 
boisterous than other oceans, though I feel quite 
safe in saying that it is not more pacific except in 
name. It is often wild enough in one part or an- 
other. I once knew a writer who, after saying 
beautiful things about the sea, passed through a 
Pacific hurricane, and he became a changed man. 
But where, after all, would be the poetry of the sea 
were there no wild waves ? At last here was the 
Spray in the midst of a sea of coral. The sea itself 
might be called smooth indeed, but coral rocks are 
always rough, sharp, and dangerous. I trusted now 
to the mercies of the Maker of all reefs, keeping a 
good lookout at the same time for perils on every 

Lo! the Barrier Reef and the waters of many 
colors studded all about with enchanted islands ! 
I behold among them after all many safe harbors, 
else my vision is astray. On the 24th of May, the 
sloop, having made one hundred and ten miles a 
day from Danger Point, now entered Whitsunday 
Pass, and that night sailed through among the 
islands. When the sun rose next morning I looked 
back and regretted having gone by while it was 
dark, for the scenery far astern was varied and 



Arrival at Port Denison, Queensland A lecture Reminiscences 
of Captain Cook Lecturing for charity at Cooktown A happy 
escape from a coral reef Home Island, Sunday Island, Bird 
Island An American pearl-fisherman Jubilee at Thursday 
Island A new ensign for the Spray Booby Island Across the 
Indian Ocean Christmas Island. 

ON the morning of the 26th Gloucester Island 
was close aboard, and the Spray anchored in 
the evening at Port Denison, where rests, on a hill, 
the sweet little town of Bowen, the future water- 
ing place and health-resort of Queensland. The 
country all about here had a healthful appearance. 

The harbor was easy of approach, spacious and 
safe, and afforded excellent holding-ground. It 
was quiet in Bowen when the Spray arrived, and 
the good people with an hour to throw away on 
the second evening of her arrival came down to the 
School of Arts to talk about the voyage, it being 
the latest event. It was duly advertised in the two 
little papers, " Boomerang " and " Nully Nully," in 
the one the day before the affair came off, and 
in the other the day after, which was all the same 
to the editor, and, for that matter, it was the 
same to me. 

Besides this, circulars were distributed with a 
flourish, and the "best bellman" in Australia was 



employed. But I could have keelhauled the wretch, 
bell and all, when he came to the door of the little 
hotel where my prospective audience and I were 
dining, and with his clattering bell and fiendish 
yell made noises that would awake the dead, all 
over the voyage of the Spray from "Boston to 
Bowen, the two Hubs in the cart-wheels of crea- 
tion," as the " Boomerang " afterward said. 

Mr. Myles, magistrate, harbor-master, land com- 
missioner, gold warden, etc., was chairman, and in- 
troduced me, for what reason I never knew, except 
to embarrass me with a sense of vain ostentation 
and embitter my life, for Heaven knows I had met 
every person in town the first hour ashore. I knew 
them all by name now, and they all knew me. 
However, Mr. Myles was a good talker. Indeed, I 
tried to induce him to go on and tell the story 
while I showed the pictures, but this he refused to 
do. I may explain that it was a talk illustrated by 
stereopticon. The views were good, but the lan- 
tern, a thirty-shilling affair, was wretched, and had 
only an oil-lamp in it. 

I sailed early the next morning before the papers 
came out, thinking it best to do so. They each 
appeared with a favorable column, however, of 
what they called a lecture, so I learned afterward, 
and they had a kind word for the bellman besides. 

From Port Denison the sloop ran before the con- 
stant trade-wind, and made no stop at all, night or 
day, till she reached Cooktown, on the Endeavor 
River, where she arrived Monday, May 31, 1897, 
before a furious blast of wind encountered that 
day fifty miles down the coast. On this parallel of 


latitude is the high ridge and backbone of the trade-^ 
winds, which about Cooktown amount often to a 
hard gale. 

I had been charged to navigate the route with 
extra care, and to feel my way over the ground. 
The skilled officer of the royal navy who advised 
me to take the Barrier Reef passage wrote me that 
H. M. S. Orlando steamed nights as well as days 
through it, but that I, under sail, would jeopardize 
my vessel on coral reefs if I undertook to do so. 

Confidentially, it would have been no easy matter 
finding anchorage every night. The hard work, 
too, of getting the sloop under way every morning 
was finished, I had hoped, when she cleared the 
Strait of Magellan. Besides that, the best of ad- 
miralty charts made it possible to keep on sailing 
night and day. Indeed, with a fair wind, and in 
the clear weather of that season, the way through 
the Barrier Reef Channel, in all sincerity, was 
clearer than a highway in a busy city, and by all 
odds less dangerous. But to any one contemplat- 
ing the voyage I would say, beware of reefs day 
or night, or, remaining on the land, be wary still. 

"The Spray came flying into port like a bird," 
said the longshore daily papers of Cooktown the 
morning after she arrived ; " and it seemed strange," 
they added, " that only one man could be seen on 
board working the craft." The Spray was doing 
her best, to be sure, for it was near night, and she 
was in haste to find a perch before dark. 

Tacking inside of all the craft in port, I moored 
her at sunset nearly abreast the Captain Cook 
monument, and next morning went ashore to 



feast my eyes on the very stones the great naviga- 
tor had seen, for I was now on a seaman's conse- 
crated ground. But there seemed a question in 

The Spray leaving Sydney, Australia, in the new suit of sails given 
by Commodore Foy of Australia. 
(From a photograph.) 

Cooktown's mind as to the exact spot where his 
ship, the Endeavor, hove down for repairs on her 
memorable voyage around the world. Some said it 
was not at all at the place where the monument 


now stood. A discussion of the subject was going 
on one morning where I happened to be, and a 
young lady present, turning to me as one of some 
authority in nautical matters, very flatteringly 
asked my opinion. Well, I could see no reason why 
Captain Cook, if he made up his mind to repair his 
ship inland, could n't have dredged out a channel 
to the place where the monument now stood, if he 
had a dredging-machine with him, and afterward 
fill it up again; for Captain Cook could do 'most 
anything, and nobody ever said that he had n't a 
dredger along. The young lady seemed to lean to 
my way of thinking, and following up the story of 
the historical voyage, asked if I had visited the 
point farther down the harbor where the great cir- 
cumnavigator was murdered. This took my breath, 
but a bright school-boy coming along relieved my 
embarrassment, for, like all boys, seeing that infor- 
mation was wanted, he volunteered to supply it. 
Said he : " Captain Cook was n't murdered 'ere at 
all, ma'am ; 'e was killed in Hafrica : a lion et 'im. w 
Here I was reminded of distressful days gone 
by. I think it was in 1866 that the old steamship 
Soushay, from Batavia for Sydney, put in at Cook- 
town for scurvy-grass, as I always thought, and 
" incidentally " to land mails. On her sick-list was 
my fevered self ; and so I did n't see the place till 
I came back on the Spray thirty-one years later. 
And now I saw coming into port the physical 
wrecks of miners from New Guinea, destitute and 
dying. Many had died on the way and had been 
buried at sea. He would have been a hardened 


wretch who could look on and not try to do some- 
thing for them. 

The sympathy of all went out to these sufferers, 
but the little town was already straitened from a 
long run on its benevolence. I thought of the 
matter, of the lady's gift to me at Tasmania, which 
I had promised myself I would keep only as a loan, 
but found now, to my embarrassment, that I had 
invested the money. However, the good Cooktown 
people wished to hear a story of the sea, and how 
the crew of the Spray fared when illness got aboard 
of her. Accordingly the little Presbyterian church 
on the hill was opened for a conversation ; every- 
body talked, and they made a roaring success of it. 
Judge Chester, the magistrate, was at the head cf 
the gam, and so it was bound to succeed. He it 
was who annexed the island of New Guinea to 
Great Britain. "While I was about it," said he, 
" I annexed the blooming lot of it." There was a 
ring in the statement pleasant to the ear of an old 
voyager. However, the Germans made such a row 
over the judge's mainsail haul that they got a share 
in the venture. 

Well, I was now indebted to the miners of Cook- 
town for the great privilege of adding a mite to a 
worthy cause, and to Judge Chester all the town 
was indebted for a general good time. The matter 
standing so, I sailed on June 6, 1897, heading away 
for the north as before. 

Arrived at a very inviting anchorage about sun- 
down, the 7th, I came to, for the night, abreast the 
Claremont light-ship. This was the only time 


throughout the passage of the Barrier Reef Chan- 
nel that the Spray anchored, except at Port Denison 
and at Endeavor River. On the very night follow- 
ing this, however (the 8th), I regretted keenly, for 
an instant, that I had not anchored before dark, as 
I might have done easily under the lee of a coral 
reef. It happened in this way. The Spray had 
just passed M Reef light-ship, and left the light 
dipping astern, when, going at full speed, with 
sheets off, she hit the M Reef itself on the north 
end, where I expected to see a beacon. 

She swung off quickly on her heel, however, and 
with one more bound on a swell cut across the shoal 
point so quickly that I hardly knew how it was 
done. The beacon was n't there ; at least, I did n't 
see it. I had n't time to look for it after she struck, 
and certainly it did n't much matter then whether 
I saw it or not. 

But this gave her a fine departure for Cape 
Greenville, the next point ahead. I saw the ugly 
boulders under the sloop's keel as she flashed over 
them, and I made a mental note of it that the letter 
M, for which the reef was named, was the thirteenth 
one in our alphabet, and that thirteen, as noted 
years before, was still my lucky number. The na- 
tives of Cape Greenville are notoriously bad, and I 
was advised to give them the go-by. Accordingly, 
from M Reef I steered outside of the adjacent is- 
lands, to be on the safe side. Skipping along now, 
the Spray passed Home Island, off the pitch of the 
cape, soon after midnight, and squared away on a 
westerly course. A short time later she fell in with 
a steamer bound south, groping her way in the 


dark and making the night dismal with her own 
black smoke. 

From Home Island I made for Sunday Island, 
and bringing that abeam, shortened sail, not wish- 
ing to make Bird Island, farther along, before 
daylight, the wind being still fresh and the islands 
being low, with dangers about them. Wednesday, 
June 9, 1897, at daylight, Bird Island was dead 
ahead, distant two and a half miles, which I con- 
sidered near enough. A strong current was press- 
ing the sloop forward. I did not shorten sail too 
soon in the night ! The first and only Australian 
canoe seen on the voyage was encountered here 
standing from the mainland, with a rag of sail set, 
bound for this island. 

A long, slim fish that leaped on board in the 
night was found on deck this morning. I had 
it for breakfast. The spry chap was no larger 
around than a herring, which it resembled in 
every respect, except that it was three times as 
long; but that was so much the better, for I am 
rather fond of fresh herring, anyway. A great 
number of fisher-birds were about this day, which 
was one of the pleasantest on God's earth. The 
Spray, dancing over the waves, entered Albany 
Pass as the sun drew low in the west over the 
hills of Australia. 

At 7:30 P.M. the Spray, now through the pass, 
came to anchor in a cove in the mainland, near a 
pearl-fisherman, called the Tarawa, which was at 
anchor, her captain from the deck of his vessel di- 
recting me to a berth. This done, he at once came 
on board to clasp hands. The Tarawa was a Cali- 


fornian, and Captain Jones, her master, was an 

On the following morning Captain Jones brought 
on board two pairs of exquisite pearl shells, the 
most perfect ones I ever saw. They were probably 
the best he had, for Jones was the heart-yarn of a 
sailor. He assured me that if I would remain a 
few hours longer some friends from Somerset, near 
by, would pay us all a visit, and one of the crew, 
sorting shells on deck, "guessed" they would. 
The mate " guessed " so, too. The friends came, as 
even the second mate and cook had "guessed" they 
would. They were Mr. Jardine, stockman, famous 
throughout the land, and his family. Mrs. Jardine 
was the niece of King Malietoa, and cousin to the 
beautiful Faamu-Sami (" To make the sea burn "), 
who visited the Spray at Apia. Mr. Jardine was 
himself a fine specimen of a Scotsman. With his 
little family about him, he was content to live in 
this remote place, accumulating the comforts of 

The fact of the Tarawa having been built in 
America accounted for the crew, boy Jim and all, 
being such good guessers. Strangely enough, 
though, Captain Jones himself, the only American 
aboard, was never heard to guess at all. 

After a pleasant chat and good-by to the people 
of the Tarawa, and to Mr. and Mrs. Jardine, I 
again weighed anchor and stood across for Thurs- 
day Island, now in plain view, mid-channel in 
Torres Strait, where I arrived shortly after noon. 
Here the Spray remained over until June 24. Being 
the only American representative in port, this tarry 


was imperative, for on the 22d was the Queen's 
diamond j ubilee. The two days over were, as sailors 
say, for " coming up." 

Meanwhile I spent pleasant days about the island. 
Mr. Douglas, resident magistrate, invited me on a 
cruise in his steamer one day among the islands in 
Torres Strait. This being a scientific expedition 
in charge of Professor Mason Bailey, botanist, we 
rambled over Friday and Saturday islands, where 
I got a glimpse of botany. Miss Bailey, the pro- 
fessor's daughter, accompanied the expedition, and 
told me of many indigenous plants with long names. 

The 22d was the great day on Thursday Island, 
for then we had not only the jubilee, but a jubilee 
with a grand corroboree in it, Mr. Douglas having 
brought some four hundred native warriors and 
their wives and children across from the mainland 
to give the celebration the true native touch, for 
when they do a thing on Thursday Island they do 
it with a roar. ' The corroboree was, at any rate, a 
howling success. It took place at night, and the 
performers, painted in fantastic colors, danced or 
leaped about before a blazing fire. Some were 
rigged and painted like birds and beasts, in which 
the emu and kangaroo were well represented. One 
fellow leaped like a frog. Some had the human 
skeleton painted on their bodies, while they jumped 
about threateningly, spear in hand, ready to strike 
down some imaginary enemy. The kangaroo 
hopped and danced with natural ease and grace, 
making a fine figure. All kept time to music, vocal 
and instrumental, the instruments (save the mark !) 
being bits of wood, which they beat one against 


the other, and saucer-like bones, held in the palm 
of the hands, which they knocked together, making 
a dull sound. It was a show at once amusing, 
spectacular, and hideous. 

The warrior aborigines that I saw in Queensland 
were for the most part lithe and fairly well built, 
but they were stamped always with repulsive fea- 
tures, and their women were, if possible, still more 
ill favored. 

I observed that on the day of the jubilee no for- 
eign flag was waving in the public grounds except 
the Stars and Stripes, which along with the Union 
Jack guarded the gateway, and floated in many 
places, from the tiniest to the standard size. Speak- 
ing to Mr. Douglas, I ventured a remark on this 
compliment to my country. "Oh," said he, "this 
is a family affair, and we do not consider the Stars 
and Stripes a foreign flag." The Spray of course 
flew her best bunting, and hoisted the Jack as well 
as her own noble flag as high as she could. 

On June 24 the Spray, well fitted in every way, 
sailed for the long voyage ahead, down the Indian 
Ocean. Mr. Douglas gave her a flag as she was 
leaving his island. The Spray had now passed 
nearly all the dangers of the Coral Sea and Torres 
Strait, which, indeed, were not a few ; and all ahead 
from this point was plain sailing and a straight 
course. The trade-wind was still blowing fresh, 
and could be safely counted on now down to the 
coast of Madagascar, if not beyond that, for it was 
still early in the season. 

I had no wish to arrive off the Cape of Good 
Hope before midsummer, and it was now early 


winter. I had been off that cape once in July, 
which was, of course, midwinter there. The stout 
ship I then commanded encountered only fierce 
hurricanes, and she bore them ill. I wished for no 
winter gales now. It was not that I feared them 
more, being in the Spray instead of a large ship, 
but that I preferred fine weather in any case. It is 
true that one may encounter heavy gales off the 
Cape of Good Hope at any season of the year, but 
in the summer they are less frequent and do not 
continue so long. And so with time enough before 
me to admit of a run ashore on the islands en route, 
I shaped the course now for Keeling Cocos, atoll 
islands, distant twenty-seven hundred miles. Tak- 
ing a departure from Booby Island, which the sloop 
passed early in the day, I decided to sight Timor 
on the way, an island of high mountains. 

Booby Island I had seen before, but only once, 
however, and that was when in the steamship 
Soushay, onw hich I was " hove-down " in a fever. 
When she steamed along this way I was well enough 
to crawl on deck to look at Booby Island. Had I 
died for it, I would have seen that island. In those 
days passing ships landed stores in a cave on the 
island for shipwrecked and distressed wayfarers. 
Captain Airy of the SousJiay, a good man, sent a 
boat to the cave with his contribution to the general 
store. The stores were landed in safety, and the 
boat, returning, brought back from the improvised 
post-office there a dozen or more letters, most of 
them left by whalemen, with the request that the 
first homeward-bound ship would carry them along 
and see to their mailing, which had been the cus- 


torn of tMs strange postal service for many years. 
Some of the letters brought back by our boat were 
directed to New Bedford, and some to Fairhaven, 

There is a light to-day on Booby Island, and 
regular packet communication with the rest of the 
world, and the beautiful uncertainty of the fate of 
letters left there is a thing of the past. I made no 
call at the little island, but standing close in, ex- 
changed signals with the keeper of the light. Sail- 
ing on, the sloop was at once in the Arafura Sea, 
where for days she sailed in water milky white and 
green and purple. It was my good fortune to enter 
the sea on the last quarter of the moon, the advan- 
tage being that in the dark nights I witnessed the 
phosphorescent light effect at night in its greatest 
splendor. The sea, where the sloop disturbed it, 
seemed all ablaze, so that by its light I could see 
the smallest articles on deck, and her wake was a 
path of fire. 

On the 25th of June the sloop was already clear 
of all the shoals and dangers, and was sailing on a 
smooth sea as steadily as before, but with speed 
somewhat slackened. I got out the flying-jib made 
at Juan Fernandez, and set it as a spinnaker from 
the stoutest bamboo that Mrs. Stevenson had given 
me at Samoa. The spinnaker pulled like a sodger, 
and the bamboo holding its own, the Spray mended 
her pace. 

Several pigeons flying across to-day from Aus- 
tralia toward the islands bent their course over the 
Spray. Smaller birds were seen flying in the op- 
posite direction. In the part of the Arafura that I 


came to first, where it was shallow, sea-snakes 
writhed about on the surface and tumbled over 
and over in the waves. As the sloop sailed farther 
on, where the sea became deep, they disappeared. 
In the ocean, where the water is blue, not one was 
ever seen. 

In the days of serene weather there was not much 
to do but to read and take rest on the Spray, to 
make up as much as possible for the rough time 
off Cape Horn, which was not yet forgotten, and 
to forestall the Cape of Good Hope by a store of 
ease. My sea journal was now much the same 
from day to day something like this of June 26 
and 27, for example : 

June 26, in the morning, it is a "bit squally ; later in. 
the day blowing a steady breeze. 

On the log at noon is 130 miles 

Subtract correction for slip 10 " 

120 " 
Add for current . ... 10 " 

130 " 

Latitude by observation at noon, 10 23' S. 
Longitude as per mark on the chart. 

There was n't much brain-work in that log, I 'm 
sure. June 27 makes a better showing, when all 
is told : 

First of all, to-day, was. a flying-fish on deck ; fried it 
in butter. 

133 miles on the log. 

For slip, off, and for current r on, as per guess, about 
equal let it go at that. 

Latitude by observation at noon, 10 25' S. 


For several days now the Spray sailed west on 
the parallel of 10 25' S., as true as a hair. If she 
deviated at all from that, through the day or night, 
and this may have happened, she was back, 
strangely enough, at noon, at the same latitude. 
But the greatest science was in reckoning the longi- 
tude. My tin clock and only timepiece had by this 
time lost its minute-hand, but after I boiled her she 
told the hours, and that was near enough on a long 

On the 2d of July the great island of Timor was 
in view away to the nor'ard. On the following day 
I saw Dana Island, not far off, and a breeze came 
up from the land at night, fragrant of the spices or 
what not of the coast. 

On the llth, with all sail set and with the spin- 
naker still abroad, Christmas Island, about noon, 
came into view one point on the starboard bow. 
Before night it was abeam and distant two and a 
half miles. The surface of the island appeared 
evenly rounded from the sea to a considerable 
height in the center. In outline it was as smooth 
as a fish, and a long ocean swell, rolling up, broke 
against the sides, where it lay like a monster asleep, 
motionless on the sea. It seemed to have the pro- 
portions of a whale, and as the sloop sailed along 
its side to the part where the head would be, 
there was a nostril, even, which was a blow-hole 
through a ledge of rock where every wave that 
dashed threw up a shaft of water, lifelike and real. 

It had been a long time since I last saw this 
island; but I remember my temporary admiration 
for the captain of the ship I was then in, the 


Tanjore, when lie sang out one morning from the 
quarter-deck, well aft, " Go aloft there, one of ye, 
with a pair of eyes, and see Christmas Island." 
Sure enough, there the island was in sight from 

the royal-yard. Captain M had thus made a 

great hit, and he never got over it. The chief 
mate, terror of us ordinaries in the ship, walking 
never to windward of the captain, now took him- 
self very humbly to leeward altogether. When we 
arrived at Hong-Kong there was a letter in the 
ship's mail for me. I was in the boat with the 
captain some hours while he had it. But do you 
suppose he could hand a letter to a seaman ? No, 
indeed ; not even to an ordinary seaman. When 
we got to the ship he gave it to the first mate ; the 
first mate gave it to the second mate, and he laid 
it, michingly, on the capstan-head, where I could 
get it! 


A call for careful navigation Three hours' steering in twenty- 
three days Arrival at the Keeling Coeos Islands A curious 
chapter of social history A welcome from the children of the 
islands Cleaning and painting the Spray on the beach A Mo- 
hammedan blessing for a pot of jam Keeling as a paradise A 
risky adventure in a small boat Away to Rodriguez Taken 
for Antichrist The governor calms the fears of the people A 
lecture A convent in the hills. 

TO the Keeling Cocos Islands was now only five 
hundred and fifty miles ; but even in this short 
run it was necessary to be extremely careful in keep- 
ing a true course else I would miss the atoll. 

On the 12th, some hundred miles southwest of 
Christmas Island, I saw anti-trade clouds flying up 
from the southwest very high over the regular 
winds, which weakened now for a few days, while a 
swell heavier than usual set in also from the south- 
west. A winter gale was going on in the direction 
of the Cape of Good Hope. Accordingly, I steered 
higher to windward, allowing twenty miles a day 
while this went on, for change of current ; and it 
was not too much, for on that course I made the 
Keeling Islands right ahead. The first unmistak- 
able sign of the land was a visit one morning from 
a white tern that fluttered very knowingly about 
the vessel, and then took itself off westward with a 
businesslike air in its wing. The tern is called by 




the islanders the "pilot of Keeling Cocos." Far- 
ther on I came among a great number of birds fish- 
ing, and fighting over whatever they caught. My 
reckoning was up, and springing aloft, I saw from 
half-way up the mast cocoanut-trees standing out 
of the water ahead. I expected to see this ; still, it 
thrilled me as an electric shock might have done. 
I slid down the mast, trembling under the strangest 
sensations ; and not able to resist the impulse, I sat 
on deck and gave way to my emotions. To folks in 
a parlor on shore this may seem weak indeed, but 
I am telling the story of a voyage alone. 

I did n't touch the helm, for with the current and 
heave of the sea the sloop found herself at the end 
of the run absolutely in the fairway of the channel. 
You could n't have beaten it in the navy ! Then I 
trimmed her sails by the wind, took the helm, and 
flogged her up the couple of miles or so abreast 
the harbor landing, where I cast anchor at 3:30 
P. M., July 17, 1897, twenty-three days from Thurs- 
day Island. The distance run was twenty-seven 
hundred miles as the crow flies. This would have 
been a fair Atlantic voyage. It was a delightful 
sail ! During those twenty-three days I had not 
spent altogether more than three hours at the 
helm, including the time occupied in beating into 
Keeling harbor. I just lashed the helm and let her 
go ; whether the wind was abeam or dead aft, it 
was all the same : she always sailed on her course. 
No part of the voyage up to this point, taking it by 
and large, had been so finished as this. 1 

1 Mr. Andrew J. Leach, reporting, July 21, 1897, through Governor 
Kynnersley of Singapore, to Joseph Chamberlain, Colonial Secretary, 


The Keeling Cocos Islands, according to Admiral 
Fitzroy, E. N., lie between the latitudes of 11 50' 
and 12 12' S., and the longitudes of 96 51' and 
96 58' E. They were discovered in 1608-9 by 
Captain William Keeling, then in the service of 
the East India Company. The southern group 
consists of seven or eight islands and islets on the 
atoll, which is the skeleton of what some day, ac- 
cording to the history of coral reefs, will be a con- 
tinuous island. North Keeling has no harbor, is 
seldom visited, and is of no importance. The 
South Keelings are a strange little world, with 
a romantic history all their own. They have been 
visited occasionally by the floating spar of some 
hurricane-swept ship, or by a tree that has drifted 
all the way from Australia, or by an ill-starred 

said concerning the Iphegenia's visit to the atoll : " As we left the 
ocean depths of deepest blue and entered the coraj circle, the con- 
trast was most remarkable. The brilliant colors of the waters, 
transparent to a depth of over thirty feet, now purple, now of the 
bluest sky-blue, and now green, with the white crests of the waves 
flashing under a brilliant sun, the encircling . . . palm-clad 
islands, the gaps between which were to the south undiscernible, 
the white sand shores and the whiter gaps where breakers appeared, 
and, lastly, the lagoon itself, seven or eight miles across from north 
to south, and five to six from east to west, presented a sight never to 
be forgotten. After some little delay, Mr. Sidney Eoss, the eldest 
son of Mr. George Eoss, came off to meet us, and soon after, accom- 
panied by the doctor and another officer, we went ashore. 

" On reaching the landing-stage, we found, hauled up for cleaning, 
etc., the Spray of Boston, a yawl of 12.70 tons gross, the property of 
Captain Joshua Slocum. He arrived at the island on the 17th of July, 
twenty-three days out from Thursday Island. This extraordinary 
solitary traveler left Boston some two years ago single-handed, 
crossed to Gibraltar, sailed down to Cape Horn, passed through the 
Strait of Magellan to the Society Islands, thence to Australia, and 
through the Torres Strait to Thursday Island." 


ship cast away, and finally by man. Even a rock 
once drifted to Keeling, held fast among the roots 
of a tree. 

After the discovery of the islands by Captain 
Keeling, their first notable visitor was Captain 
John Clunis-Eoss, who in 1814 touched in the ship 
Borneo on a voyage to India. Captain Eoss re- 
turned two years later with his wife and family 
and his mother-in-law, Mrs. Dymoke, and eight 
sailor-artisans, to take possession of the islands, 
but found there already one Alexander Hare, who 
meanwhile had marked the little atoll as a sort of 
Eden for a seraglio of Malay women which he 
moved over from the coast of Africa. It was 
Boss's own brother, oddly enough, who freighted 
Hare and his crowd of women to the islands, not 
knowing of Captain John's plans to occupy the 
little world. And so Hare was there with his out- 
fit, as if he had come to stay. 

On his previous visit, however, Ross had nailed 
the English Jack to a mast on Horsburg Island, 
one of the group. After two years shreds of it 
still fluttered in the wind, and his sailors, nothing 
loath, began at once the invasion of the new king- 
dom to take possession of it, women and all. The 
force of forty women, with only one man to com- 
mand them, was not equal to driving eight sturdy 
sailors back into the sea. 1 

From this time on Hare had a hard time of it. 

1 In the accounts given in Findlay's " Sailing Directory" of some 
of the events there is a chronological discrepancy. I follow the 
accounts gathered from the old captain's grandsons and from records 
on the spot. 


He and Ross did not get on well as neighbors. The 
islands were too small and too near for characters 
so widely different. Hare had " oceans of money," 
and might have lived well in London ; but he had 
been governor of a wild colony in Borneo, and 
could not confine himself to the tame life that 
prosy civilization affords. And so he hung on to 
the atoll with his forty women, retreating little by 
little before Ross and his sturdy crew, till at last 
he found himself and his harem on the little island 
known to this day as Prison Island, where, like 
Bluebeard, he confined his wives in a castle. The 
channel between the islands was narrow, the water 
was not deep, and the eight Scotch sailors wore 
long boots. Hare was now dismayed. He tried 
to compromise with rum and other luxuries, but 
these things only made matters worse. On the day 
following the first St. Andrew's celebration on the 
island, Hare, consumed with rage, and no longer 
on speaking terms with the captain, dashed off a 
note to him, saying : " DEAK Ross : I thought when 
I sent rum and roast pig to your sailors that they 
would stay away from my flower-garden." In 
reply to which the captain, burning with indigna- 
tion, shouted from the center of the island, where 
he stood, "Ahoy, there, on Prison Island! You 
Hare, don't you know that rum and roast pig are not 
a sailor's heaven ? " Hare said afterward that one 
might have heard the captain's roar across to Java. 
The lawless establishment was soon broken up 
by the women deserting Prison Island and putting 
themselves under Ross's protection. Hare then 
went to Batavia, where he met his death. 



My first impression upon landing was that the 
crime of infanticide had not reached the islands of 
Keeling Cocos. "The children have all come to 

The Spray ashore for "boot-topping" at the Keeling Islands. 
(From a photograph.) 

welcome you," explained Mr. Ross, as they mustered 
at the jetty by hundreds, of all ages and sizes. The 
people of this country were all rather shy, but, young 
or old, they never passed one or saw one passing 


their door without a salutation. In their musical 
voices they would say, "Are you walking?" (" Jalan, 
jalan?") "Will you come along?" one would 

For a long time after I arrived the children 
regarded the " one-man ship " with suspicion and 
fear. A native man had been blown away to sea 
many years before, and they hinted to one another 
that he might have been changed from black to 
white, and returned in the sloop. For some time 
every movement I made was closely watched. 
They were particularly interested in what I ate. 
One day, after I had been " boot- topping " the sloop 
with a composition of coal-tar and other stuff, and 
while I was taking my dinner, with the luxury of 
blackberry jam, I heard a commotion, and then a 
yell and a stampede, as the children ran away 
yelling: "The captain is eating coal-tar! The 
captain is eating coal-tar ! " But they soon found 
out that this same " coal-tar " was very good to eat, 
and that I had brought a quantity of it. One day 
when I was spreading a sea-biscuit thick with it for 
a wide-awake youngster, I heard them whisper, 
" Chut-chut ! " meaning that a shark had bitten my 
hand, which they observed was lame. Thenceforth 
they regarded me as a hero, and I had not fingers 
enough for the little bright-eyed tots that wanted* 
to cling to them and follow me about. Before this, 
when I held out my hand and said, " Come ! " they 
would shy off for the nearest house, and say, 
"Dingin" ("It >s cold"), or "Ujan" ("It 's going 
to rain"). But it was now accepted that I was 
not the returned spirit of the lost black, and I 


had plenty of friends about the island, rain or 

One day after this, when I tried to haul the sloop 
and found her fast in the sand, the children all 
clapped their hands and cried that a Jcpeting (crab) 
was holding her by the keel ; and little Ophelia, ten 
or twelve years of age, wrote in the Spray's log-book: 

A hundred men with might and main 

On the windlass hove, yeo ho ! 
The cable only came in twain ; 

The ship she would not go ; 
For, child, to tell the strangest thing, 
The keel was held by a great kpeting. 

This being so or not, it was decided that the Mo- 
hammedan priest, Sanaa the Emim, for a pot of 
jam, should ask Mohammed to bless the voyage 
and make the crab let go the sloop's keel, which it 
did, if it had hold, and she floated on the very next 

On the 22d of July arrived H. M. S. IpJiegenia, 
with Mr. Justice Andrew J. Leech and court officers 
on board, on a circuit of inspection among the 
Straits Settlements, of which Keeling Cocos was a 
dependency, to hear complaints and try cases by 
law, if any there were to try. They found the Spray 
hauled ashore and tied to a cocoanut-tree. But at 
the Keeling Islands there had not been a grievance 
to complain of since the day that Hare migrated, 
for the Kosses have always treated the islanders as 
their own family. 

If there is a paradise on this earth it is Keeling. 
There was not a case for a lawyer, but something 


had to be done, for here were two ships in port, a 
great man-of-war and the Spray. Instead of a law- 
suit a dance was got up, and all the officers who 
could leave their ship came ashore. Everybody on 
the island came, old and young, and the governor's 
great hall was filled with people. All that could 
get on their feet danced, while the babies lay in 
heaps in the corners of the room, content to look 
on. My little friend Ophelia danced with the judge. 
For music two fiddles screeched over and over 
again the good old tune, " We won't go home till 
morning." And we did not. 

The women at the Keelings do not do all the 
drudgery, as in many places visited on the voyage. 
It would cheer the heart of a Fuegian woman to 
see the Keeling lord of creation up a cocoanut-tree. 
Besides cleverly climbing the trees, the men of 
Keeling build exquisitely modeled canoes. By far 
the best workmanship in boat-building I saw on 
the voyage was here. Many finished mechanics 
dwelt under the palms at Keeling, and the hum of 
the band-saw and the ring of the anvil were heard 
from morning till night. The first Scotch settlers 
left there the strength of Northern blood and the 
inheritance of steady habits. No benevolent so- 
ciety has ever done so much for any islanders as 
the noble Captain Ross, and his sons, who have 
followed his example of industry and thrift. 

Admiral Fitzroy of the Beagle, who visited here, 
where many things are reversed, spoke of " these 
singular though small islands, where crabs eat 
cocoanuts, fish eat coral, dogs catch fish, men ride 
on turtles, and shells are dangerous man-traps," 


adding that the greater part of the sea-fowl roost 
on branches, and many rats make their nests in 
the tops of palm-trees. 

My vessel being refitted, I decided to load her 
with the famous mammoth tridacna shell of Keel- 
ing, found in the bayou near by. And right here, 
within sight of the village, I came near losing " the 
crew of the Spray " not from putting my foot in 
a man-trap shell, however, but from carelessly 
neglecting to look after the details of a trip across 
the harbor in a boat. I had sailed over oceans ; I 
have since completed a course over them all, and 
sailed round the whole world without so nearly 
meeting a fatality as on that trip across a lagoon, 
where I trusted all to some one else, and he, weak 
mortal that he was, perhaps trusted all to me. 
However that may be, I found myself with a 
thoughtless African negro in a rickety bateau that 
was fitted with a rotten sail, and this blew away in 
mid-channel in a squall, that sent us drifting help- 
lessly to sea, where we should have been incon- 
tinently lost. With the whole ocean before us to 
leeward, I was dismayed to see, while we drifted, 
that there was not a paddle or an oar in the boat ! 
There was an anchor, to be sure, but not enough 
rope to tie a cat, and we were already in deep 
water. By great good fortune, however, there was 
a pole. Plying this as a paddle with the utmost 
energy, and by the merest accidental flaw in the 
wind to favor us, the trap of a boat was worked 
into shoal water, where we could touch bottom and 
push her ashore. With Africa, the nearest coast 
to leeward, three thousand miles away, with not so 



much as a drop of water in the boat, and a lean 
and hungry negro well, cast the lot as one might, 
the crew of the Spray in a little while would have 

Captain Sloeum drifting out to sea. 

been hard to find. It is needless to say that I took 
no more such chances. The tridacna were after- 
ward procured in a safe boat, thirty of them taking 


the place of three tons of cement ballast, which I 
threw overboard to make room and give buoyancy. 

On August 22, the kpeting, or whatever else it 
was that held the sloop in the islands, let go its 
hold, and she swung out to sea under all sail, 
heading again for home. Mounting one or two 
heavy rollers on the fringe of the atoll, she cleared 
the flashing reefs. Long before dark Keeling Cocos, 
with its thousand souls, as sinless in their lives as 
perhaps it is possible for frail mortals to be, was 
left out of sight, astern. Out of sight, I say, except 
in my strongest affection. 

The sea was rugged, and the Spray washed hea- 
vily when hauled on the wind, which course I took 
for the island of Rodriguez, and which brought the 
sea abeam. The true course for the island was 
west by south, one quarter south, and the distance 
was nineteen hundred miles ; but I steered consid- 
erably to the windward of that to allow for the 
heave of the sea and other leeward effects. My 
sloop on this course ran under reefed sails for 
days together. I naturally tired of the never-end- 
ing motion of the sea, and, above all, of the wetting 
I got whenever I showed myself on deck. Under 
these heavy weather conditions the Spray seemed 
to lag behind on her course ; at least, I attributed 
to these conditions a discrepancy in the log, which 
by the fifteenth day out from Keeling amounted to 
one hundred and fifty miles between the rotator 
and the mental calculations I had kept of what 
she should have gone, and so I kept an eye lifting 
for land. I could see about sundown this day a 
bunch of clouds that stood in one spot, right ahead, 


while the other clouds floated on ; this was a sign 
of something. By midnight, as the sloop sailed on, 
a black object appeared where I had seen the rest- 
ing clouds. It was still a long way off, but there 
could be no mistaking this : it was the high island 
of Rodriguez. I hauled in the patent log, which I 
was now towing more from habit than from neces- 
sity, for I had learned the Spray and her ways long 
before this. If one thing was clearer than another in 
her voyage, it was that she could be trusted to come 
out right and in safety, though at the same time I al- 
ways stood ready to give her the benefit of even the 
least doubt. The officers who are over-sure, and 
" know it all like a book," are the ones, I have ob- 
served, who wreck the most ships and lose the most 
lives. The cause of the discrepancy in the log was 
one often met with, namely, coming in contact with 
some large fish ; two out of the four blades of the 
rotator were crushed or bent, the work probably of 
a shark. Being sure of the sloop's position, I lay 
down to rest and to think, and I felt better for it. 
By daylight the island was abeam, about three 
miles away. It wore a hard, weather-beaten ap- 
pearance there, all alone, far out in the Indian Ocean, 
like land adrift. The windward side was uninvit- 
ing, but there was a good port to leeward, and I 
hauled in now close on the wind for that. A pilot 
came out to take me into the inner harbor, which 
was reached through a narrow channel among coral 

It was a curious thing that at all of the islands 
some reality was insisted on as unreal, while improb- 
abilities were clothed as hard facts ; and so it hap- 


pened here that the good abbe", a few days before, 
had been telling his people about the coming of 
Antichrist, and when they saw the Spray sail into 
the harbor, all feather-white before a gale of wind, 
and run all standing upon the beach, and with only 
one man aboard, they cried, " May the Lord help 
us, it is he, and he has come in a boat ! " which I 
say would have been the most improbable way of 
his coining. Nevertheless, the news went flying 
through the place. The governor of the island, 
Mr. Roberts, came down immediately to see what 
it was all about, for the little town was in a great 
commotion. One elderly woman, when she heard 
of my advent, made for her house and locked her- 
self in. When she heard that I was actually com- 
ing up the street she barricaded her doors, and did 
not come out while I was on the island, a period 
of eight days. Governor Roberts and his family 
did not share the fears of their people, but came on 
board at the jetty, where the sloop was berthed, 
and their example induced others to come also. 
The governor's young boys took charge of the 
Spray's dinghy at once, and my visit cost his Ex- 
cellency, besides great hospitality to me, the build- 
ing of a boat for them like the one belonging to 
the Spray. 

My first day at this Land of Promise was to me 
like a fairy-tale. For many days I had studied the 
charts and counted the time of my arrival at this 
spot, as one might his entrance to the Islands of 
the Blessed, looking upon it as the terminus of the 
last long run, made irksome by the want of many 
things with which, from this time on, I could keep 


well supplied. And behold, here was the sloop, 
arrived, and made securely fast to a pier in Rodri- 
guez. On the first evening ashore, in the land of 
napkins and cut glass, I saw before me still the 
ghosts of hempen towels and of mugs with handles 
knocked off. Instead of tossing on the sea, how- 
ever, as I might have been, here was I in a bright 
hall, surrounded by sparkling wit, and dining with 
the governor of the island ! " Aladdin," I cried, 
"where is your lamp? My fisherman's lantern, 
which I got at Gloucester, has shown me better 
things than your smoky old burner ever revealed." 
The second day in port was spent in receiving 
visitors. Mrs. Roberts and her children came first 
to "shake hands," they said, "with the Spray. 11 
No one was now afraid to come on board except 
the poor old woman, who still maintained that the 
Spray had Antichrist in the hold, if, indeed, he had 
not already gone ashore. The governor entertained 
that evening, and kindly invited the " destroyer of 
the world" to speak for himself. This he did, 
elaborating most effusively on the dangers of the 
sea (which, after the manner of many of our frailest 
mortals, he would have had smooth had he made 
it) ; also by contrivances of light and darkness he 
exhibited on the wall pictures of the places and 
countries visited on the voyage (nothing like the 
countries, however, that he would have made), and 
of the people seen, savage and other, frequently 
groaning, " Wicked world ! Wicked world ! " When 
this was finished his Excellency the governor, 
speaking words of thankfulness, distributed pieces 
of gold. 


On the following day I accompanied his Excel- 
lency and family on a visit to San Gabriel, which 
was up the country among the hills. The good 
abbe of San Gabriel entertained us all royally at 
the convent, and we remained his guests until the 
following day. As I was leaving his place, the 
abbe said, " Captain, I embrace you, and of what- 
ever religion you may be, my wish is that you 
succeed in making your voyage, and that our 
Saviour the Christ be always with you!" To 
this good man's words I could only say, " My dear 
abbe, had all religionists been so liberal there would 
have been less bloodshed in the world." 

At Rodriguez one may now find every conve- 
nience for filling pure and wholesome water in any 
quantity, Governor Roberts having built a reser- 
voir in the hills, above the village, and laid pipes 
to the jetty, where, at the time of my visit, there 
were five and a half feet at high tide. In former 
years well-water was used, and more or less sickness 
occurred from it. Beef may be had in any quantity 
on the island, and at a moderate price. Sweet po- 
tatoes were plentiful and cheap ; the large sack of 
them that I bought there for about four shillings 
kept unusually well. I simply stored them in the 
sloop's dry hold. Of fruits, pomegranates were 
most plentiful ; for two shillings I obtained a large 
sack of them, as many as a donkey could pack 
from the orchard, which, by the way, was planted 
by nature herself. 



A clean bill of health at Mauritius Sailing the voyage over again 
in the opera-house A newly discovered plant named in honor 
of the Spray's skipper A party of young ladies out for a sail 
A bivouac on deck A warm reception at Durban A friendly 
cross-examination by Henry M. Stanley Three wise Boers seek 
proof of the flatness of the earth Leaving South Africa. 

ON the 16th of September, after eight restful 
days at Rodriguez, the mid-ocean land of 
plenty, I set sail, and on the 19th arrived at Mau- 
ritius, anchoring at quarantine about noon. The 
sloop was towed in later on the same day by the 
doctor's launch, after he was satisfied that I had 
mustered all the crew for inspection. Of this he 
seemed in doubt until he examined the papers, 
which called for a crew of one all told from port 
to port, throughout the voyage. Then finding that 
I had been well enough to come thus far alone, he 
gave me pratique without further ado. There was 
still another official visit for the Spray to pass 
farther in the harbor. The governor of Rodriguez, 
who had most kindly given me, besides a regular 
mail, private letters of introduction to friends, told 
me I should meet, first of all, Mr. Jenkins of the 
postal service, a good man. " How do you do, Mr. 
Jenkins?" cried I, as his boat swung alongside. 
"You don't know me," he said. "Why not?" I 



The Spray at Mauritius. 

replied. "From where is the sloop?" "From 
around the world," I again replied, very solemnly. 
"And alone?" "Yes; why not?" "And you 
know me?" "Three thousand years ago," cried 
I, "when you and I had a warmer job than we 
have now " (even this was hot). " You were then 
Jenkinson, but if you have changed your name 
I don't blame you for that." Mr. Jenkins, for- 


bearing soul, entered into the spirit of the jest, 
which served the Spray a good turn, for on the 
strength of this tale it got out that if any one 
should go on board after dark the devil would get 
him at once. And so I could leave the Spray with- 
out the fear of her being robbed at night. The 
cabin, to be sure, was broken into, but it was done 
in daylight, and the thieves got no more than a 
box of smoked herrings before " Tom " Ledson, one 
of the port officials, caught them red-handed, as it 
were, and sent them to jail. This was discourag- 
ing to pilferers, for they feared Ledson more than 
they feared Satan himself. Even Mamode Hajee 
Ayoob, who was the day- watchman on board, till 
an empty box fell over in the cabin and frightened 
him out of his wits, could not be hired to watch 
nights, or even till the sun went down. " Sahib," 
he cried, " there is no need of it," and what he said 
was perfectly true. 

At Mauritius, where I drew a long breath, the 
Spray rested her wings, it being the season of fine 
weather. The hardships of the voyage, if there had 
been any, were now computed by officers of experi- 
ence as nine tenths finished, and yet somehow I 
could not forget that the United States was still a 
long way off. 

The kind people of Mauritius, to make me richer 
and happier, rigged up the opera-house, which they 
had named the " Ship Pantai." l All decks and no 
bottom was this ship, but she was as stiff as a 
church. They gave me free use of it while I talked 
over the Spray's adventures. His Honor the mayor 

1 Guinea-hen. 


introduced me to his Excellency the governor from 
the poop-deck of the Pantai. In this way I was 
also introduced again to our good consul, General 
John P. Campbell, who had already introduced me 
to his Excellency. I was becoming well acquainted, 
and was in for it now to sail the voyage over again. 
How I got through the story I hardly know. It 
was a hot night, and I could have choked the tailor 
who made the coat I wore for this occasion. The 
kind governor saw that I had done my part trying 
to rig like a man ashore, and he invited me to 
Government House at Reduit, where I found myself 
among friends. 

It was winter still off stormy Cape of Good Hope, 
but the storms might whistle there. I determined 
to see it out in milder Mauritius, visiting Rose Hill, 
Curipepe, and other places on the island. I spent 
a day with the elder Mr. Roberts, father of Gov- 
ernor Roberts of Rodriguez, and with his friends 
the Very Reverend Fathers O'Loughlin and McCar- 
thy. Returning to the Spray by way of the great 
flower conservatory near Moka, the proprietor, 
having only that morning discovered a new and 
hardy plant, to my great honor named it " Slocum," 
which he said Latinized it at once, saving him some 
trouble on the twist of a word ; and the good bota- 
nist seemed pleased that I had come. How different 
things are in different countries! In Boston, Massa- 
chusetts, at that time, a gentleman, so I was told, 
paid thirty thousand dollars to have a flower named 
after his wife, and it was not a big flower either, 
while " Slocum," which came without the asking, 
was bigger than a mangel-wurzel ! 


I was royally entertained at Moka, as well as at 
Beduit and other places once by seven young 
ladies, to whom I spoke of my inability to return 
their hospitality except in my own poor way of 
taking them on a sail in the sloop. "The very 
thing ! The very thing ! " they all cried. " Then 
please name the time," I said, as meek as Moses. 
"To-morrow!" they all cried. "And, aunty, we 
may go, may n't we, and we '11 be real good for a 
whole week afterward, aunty! Say yes, aunty 
dear!" All this after saying "To-morrow"; for 
girls in Mauritius are, after all, the same as our 
girls in America; and their dear aunt said "Me, 
too " about the same as any really good aunt might 
say in my own country. 

I was then in a quandary, it having recurred to 
me that on the very "to-morrow" I was to dine 
with the harbor-master, Captain Wilson. How- 
ever, I said to myself, "The Spray will run out 
quickly into rough seas; these young ladies will 
have mal de mer and a good time, and I '11 get in 
early enough to be at the dinner, after all." But 
not a bit of it. We sailed almost out of sight of 
Mauritius, and they just stood up and laughed at 
seas tumbling aboard, while I was at the helm 
making the worst weather of it I could, and spin- 
ning yarns to the aunt about sea-serpents and 
whales. But she, dear lady, when I had finished 
with stories of monsters, only hinted at a basket 
of provisions they had brought along, enough to 
last a week, for I had told them about my wretched 

The more the Spray tried to make these young 


ladies seasick, the more they all clapped their hands 
and said, " How lovely it is ! " and " How beautifully 
she skims over the sea ! " and " How beautiful our 
island appears from the distance ! " and they still 
cried, " Go on ! " We were fifteen miles or more 
at sea before they ceased the eager cry, " Go on ! " 
Then the sloop swung round, I still hoping to be 
back to Port Louis in time to keep my appoint- 
ment. The Spray reached the island quickly, and 
flew along the coast fast enough; but I made a 
mistake in steering along the coast on the way 
home, for as we came abreast of Tombo Bay it 
enchanted my crew. " Oh, let 's anchor here ! " 
they cried. To this no sailor in the world would 
have said nay. The sloop came to anchor, ten 
minutes later, as they wished, and a young man on 
the cliff abreast, waving his hat, cried, " Vive la 
Spray /" My passengers said, "Aunty, may n't 
we have a swim in the surf along the shore?" 
Just then the harbor-master's launch hove in sight ? 
coming out to meet us ; but it was too late to get 
the sloop into Port Louis that night. The launch 
was in time, however, to land my fair crew for a 
swim ; but they were determined not to desert the 
ship. Meanwhile I prepared a roof for the night 
on deck with the sails, and a Bengali man-servant 
arranged the evening meal. That night the Spray 
rode in Tombo Bay with her precious freight. 
Next morning bright and early, even before the 
stars were gone, I awoke to hear praying on 

The port officers' launch reappeared later in the 
morning, this time with Captain Wilson himself on 


board, to try his luck in getting the Spray into port, 
for he had heard of our predicament. It was worth 
something to hear a friend tell afterward how ear- 
nestly the good harbor-master of Mauritius said, 
" I '11 find the Spray and I '11 get her into port." A 
merry crew he discovered on her. They could hoist 
sails like old tars, and could trim them, too. They 
could tell all about the ship's "hoods," and one 
should have seen them clap a bonnet on the jib. 
Like the deepest of deep-water sailors, they could 
heave the lead, and as I hope to see Mauritius 
again ! any of them could have put the sloop in 
stays. No ship ever had a fairer crew. 

The voyage was the event of Port Louis ; such a 
thing as young ladies sailing 'about the harbor, 
even, was almost unheard of before. 

While at Mauritius the Spray was tendered the 
use of the military dock free of charge, and was 
thoroughly refitted by the port authorities. My 
sincere gratitude is also due other friends for 
many things needful for the voyage put on board, 
including bags of sugar from some of the famous 
old plantations. 

The favorable season now set in, and thus well 
equipped, on the 26th of October, the Spray put to 
sea. As I sailed before a light wind the island 
receded slowly, and on the following day I could 
still see the Puce Mountain near Moka. The 
Spray arrived next day off Galets, Reunion, and a 
pilot came out and spoke her. I handed him a 
Mauritius paper and continued on my voyage ; for 
rollers were running heavily at the time, and it was 
not practicable to make a landing. From Reunion 


I shaped a course direct for Cape St. Mary, Mada- 

The sloop was now drawing near the limits of 
the trade- wind, and the strong breeze that had car- 
ried her with free sheets the many thousands of 
miles from Sandy Cape, Australia, fell lighter each 
day until October 30, when it was altogether calm, 
and a motionless sea held her in a hushed world. 
I furled the sails at evening, sat down on deck, and 
enjoyed the vast stillness of the night. 

October 31 a light east-northeast breeze sprang 
up, and the sloop passed Cape St. Mary about noon. 
On the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th of November, in the 
Mozambique Channel, she experienced a hard gale 
of wind from the southwest. Here the Spray suf- 
fered as much as she did anywhere, except off Cape 
Horn. The thunder and lightning preceding this 
gale were very heavy. From this point until the 
sloop arrived off the coast of Africa, she encoun- 
tered a succession of gales of wind, which drove 
her about in many directions, but on the 17th of 
November she arrived at Port Natal. 

This delightful place is the commercial center of 
the " Garden Colony," Durban itself, the city, being 
the continuation of a garden. The signalman from 
the bluff station reported the Spray fifteen miles off. 
The wind was freshening, and when she was within 
eight miles he said : " The Spray is shortening sail ; 
the mainsail was reefed and set in ten minutes. 
One man is doing all the work." 

This item of news was printed three minutes 
later in a Durban morning journal, which was 
handed to me when I arrived in port. I could not 


verify the time it had taken to reef the sail, for, as 
I have already said, the minute-hand of my time- 
piece was gone. I only knew that I reefed as 
quickly as I could. 

The same paper, commenting on the voyage, said: 
" Judging from the stormy weather which has pre- 
vailed off this coast during the past few weeks, the 
Spray must have had a very stormy voyage from 
Mauritius to Natal. 7 ' Doubtless the weather would 
have been called stormy by sailors in any ship, but 
it caused the Spray no more inconvenience than the 
delay natural to head winds generally. 

The question of how I sailed the sloop alone, often 
asked, is best answered, perhaps, by a Durban news- 
paper. I would shrink from repeating the editor's 
words but for the reason that undue estimates have 
been made of the amount of skill and energy re- 
quired to sail a sloop of even the Spray's small ton- 
nage. I heard a man who called himself a sailor 
say that " it would require three men to do what it 
was claimed " that I did alone, and what I found 
perfectly easy to do over and over again; and I 
have hearjd that others made similar nonsensical 
remarks, adding that I would work myself to death. 
But here is what the Durban paper said : 

As briefly noted yesterday, the Spray, with a crew of 
one man, arrived at this port yesterday afternoon on her 
cruise round the world. The Spray made quite an auspi- 
cious entrance to Natal. Her commander sailed his craft 
right up the channel past the main wharf, and dropped 
his anchor near the old Forerunner in the creek, before 
any one had a chance to get on board. The Spray was 
naturally an object of great curiosity to the Point people, 



and her arrival was witnessed by a large crowd. The 
skilful manner in which Captain Slocum steered his craft 
about the vessels which were occupying the waterway was 
a treat to witness. 

The Spray was not sailing in among greenhorns 
when she came to Natal. When she arrived off the 
port the pilot-ship, a fine, able steam-tug, came out 

Captain Joshua Slocum. 

to meet her, and led the way in across the bar, for 
it was blowing a smart gale and was too rough for 
the sloop to be towed with safety. The trick of 
going in I learned by watching the steamer; it 
was simply to keep on the windward side of the 
channel and take the combers end on. 

I found that Durban supported two yacht-clubs, 
both of them full of enterprise. I met all the mem- 
bers of both clubs, and sailed in the crack yacht 
Florence of the Royal Natal, with Captain Sprad- 
brow and the Eight Honorable Harry Escombe, 
premier of the colony. The yacht's center-board 


plowed furrows through the mud-banks, which, ac- 
cording to Mr. Escombe, Spradbrow afterward 
planted with potatoes. The Florence, however, won 
races while she tilled the skipper's land. After our 
sail on the Florence Mr. Escombe offered to sail the 
Spray round the Cape of Good Hope for me, and 
hinted at his famous cribbage-board to while away 
the hours. Spradbrow, in retort, warned me of it. 
Said he, " You would be played out of the sloop 
before you could round the cape." By others it 
was not thought probable that the premier of Natal 
would play cribbage off the Cape of Good Hope to 
win even the Spray. 

It was a matter of no small pride to me in South 
Africa to find that American humor was never at 
a discount, and one of the best American stories I 
ever heard was told by the premier. At Hotel 
Royal one day, dining with Colonel Saunderson, 
M. P., his son, and Lieutenant Tipping, I met Mr. 
Stanley. The great explorer was just from Pre- 
toria, and had already as good as flayed President 
Kriiger with his trenchant pen. But that did not 
signify, for everybody has a whack at Oom Paul, 
and no one in the world seems to stand the joke 
better than he, not even the Sultan of Turkey him- 
self. The colonel introduced me to the explorer, 
and I hauled close to the wind, to go slow, for Mr. 
Stanley was a nautical man once himself, on the 
Nyanza, I think, and of course my desire was to 
appear in the best light before a man of his expe- 
rience. He looked me over carefully, and said, 
"What an example of patience!" "Patience is 
ail that is required," I ventured to reply. He then 


asked if my vessel had water-tight compartments. 
I explained that she was all water-tight and all 
compartment. " What if she should strike a rock? " 
he asked. " Compartments would not save her if 
she should hit the rocks lying along her course," said 
I; adding, "she must be kept away from the rocks." 
After a considerable pause Mr. Stanley asked, 
" What if a swordfish should pierce her hull with 
its sword?" Of course I had thought of that as 
one of the dangers of the sea, and also of the chance 
of being struck by lightning. In the case of the 
swordfish, I ventured to say that "the first thing 
would be to secure the sword." The colonel invited 
me to dine with the party on the following day, 
that we might go further into this matter, and so I 
had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Stanley a second 
time, but got no more hints in navigation from the 
famous explorer. 

It sounds odd to hear scholars and statesmen say 
the world is flat ; but it is a fact that three Boers 
favored by the opinion of President Kriiger pre- 
pared a work to support that contention. While 
I was at Durban they came from Pretoria to obtain 
data from me, and they seemed annoyed when I 
told them that they could not prove it by my ex- 
perience. With the advice to call up some ghost 
of the dark ages for research, I went ashore, and 
left these three wise men poring over the Spray's 
track on a chart of the world, which, however, 
proved nothing to them, for it was on Mercator's 
projection, and behold, it was " flat." The next 
morning I met one of the party in a clergyman's 
garb, carrying a large Bible, not different from the 


one I had read. He tackled me, saying, "If you 
respect the Word of GTod, you must admit that the 
world is flat." " If the Word of God stands on a flat 
world " I began. "What!" cried he, losing him- 
self in a passion, and making as if he would run 
me through with an assagai. "What!" he shouted 
in astonishment and rage, while I jumped aside to 
dodge the imaginary weapon. Had this good but 
misguided fanatic been armed with a real weapon, 
the crew of the Spray would have died a martyr 
there and then. The next day, seeing him across 
the street, I bowed and made curves with my 
hands. He responded with a level, swimming 
movement of his hands, meaning "the world is 
flat." A pamphlet by these Transvaal geographers, 
made up of arguments from sources high and low 
to prove their theory, was mailed to me before I 
sailed from Africa on my last stretch around the 

While I feebly portray the ignorance of these 
learned men, I have great admiration for their phy- 
sical manhood. Much that I saw first and last of 
the Transvaal and the Boers was admirable. It is 
well known that they are the hardest of fighters, 
and as generous to the fallen as they are brave be- 
fore the foe. Real stubborn bigotry with them is 
only found among old fogies, and will die a natural 
death, and that, too, perhaps long before we our- 
selves are entirely free from bigotry. Education 
in the Transvaal is by no means neglected, English 
as well as Dutch being taught to all that can afford 
both ; but the tariff duty on English school-books 
is heavy, and from necessity the poorer people 


stick to the Transvaal Dutch and their flat world, 
just as in Samoa and other islands a mistaken 
policy has kept the natives down to Kanaka. 

I visited many public schools at Durban, and 
had the pleasure of meeting many bright children. 

But all fine things must end, and December 14, 
1897, the "crew" of the Spray, after having a fine 
time in Natal, swung the sloop's dinghy in on deck, 
and sailed with a morning land-wind, which car- 
ried her clear of the bar, and again she was " off on 
her alone," as they say in Australia. 


Bounding the " Cape of Storms" in olden time A rough Christmas 
The Spray ties up for a three months' rest at Cape Town A 
railway trip to the Transvaal President Kriiger's odd definition 
of the Spray's voyage His terse sayings Distinguished guests 
on the Spray Cocoanut fiber as a padlock Courtesies from 
the admiral of the Queen's navy Off for St. Helena Land 
in sight. 

r I THE Cape of Good Hope was now the most prom- 
JL inent point to pass. From Table Bay I could 
count on the aid of brisk trades, and then the 
Spray would soon be at home. On the first day out 
from Durban it fell calm, and I sat thinking about 
these things and the end of the voyage. The dis- 
tance to Table Bay, where I intended to call, was 
about eight hundred miles over what might prove 
a rough sea. The early Portuguese navigators, en- 
dowed with patience, were more than sixty-nine 
years struggling to round this cape before they 
got as far as Algoa Bay, and there the crew muti- 
nied. They landed on a small island, now called 
Santa Cruz, where they devoutly set up the cross, 
and swore they would cut the captain's throat if 
he attempted to sail farther. Beyond this they 
thought was the edge of the world, which they too 
believed was flat ; and fearing that their ship 
would sail over the brink of it, they compelled 
Captain Diaz, their commander, to retrace his 



course, all being only too glad to get home. A 
year later, we are told, Vasco da Gama sailed 
successfully round the "Cape of Storms," as the 
Cape of Good Hope was then called, and discov- 
ered Natal on Christmas or Natal day; hence the 
name. From this point the way to India was easy. 

Gales of wind sweeping round the cape even 
now were frequent enough, one occurring, on an 
average, every thirty-six hours ; but one gale was 
much the same as another, with no more serious 
result than to blow the Spray along on her course 
when it was fair, or to blow her back somewhat 
when it was ahead. On Christmas, 1897, 1 came to 
the pitch of the cape. On this day the Spray was 
trying to stand on her head, and she gave me every 
reason to believe that she would accomplish the 
feat before night. She began very early in the 
morning to pitch and toss about in a most unusual 
manner, and I have to record that, while I was at 
the end of the bowsprit reefing the jib, she ducked 
me under water three times for a Christmas box. I 
got wet and did not like it a bit : never in any other 
sea was I put under more than once in the same 
short space of time, say three minutes. A large 
English steamer passing ran up the signal, " Wish- 
ing you a Merry Christmas." I think the captain 
was a humorist; his own ship was throwing her 
propeller out of water. 

Two days later, the Spray, having recovered the 
distance lost in the gale, passed Cape Agulhas in 
company with the steamship Scotsman, now with a 
fair wind. The keeper of the light on Agulhas ex- 
changed signals with the Spray as she passed, and 



afterward wrote me at New York congratulations 
on the completion of the voyage. He seemed to 
think the incident of two ships of so widely differ- 
ent types passing his cape together worthy of a 
place on canvas, and he went about having the 
picture made. So I gathered from his letter. At 
lonely stations like this hearts grow responsive 
and sympathetic, and even poetic. This feeling 
was shown toward the Spray along many a rugged 
coast, and reading many a kind signal thrown 
out to her gave one a grateful feeling for all the 

One more gale of wind came down upon the 
Spray from the west after she passed Cape Agu- 
Ihas, but that one she dodged by getting into 
Simons Bay. When it moderated she beat around 
the Cape of Good Hope, where they say the Flying 
Dutchman is still sailing. The voyage then seemed 
as good as finished ; from this time on I knew that 
all, or nearly all, would be plain sailing. 

Here I crossed the dividing-line of weather. To 
the north it was clear and settled, while south it 
was humid and squally, with, often enough, as I 
have said, a treacherous gale. From the recent 
hard weather the Spray ran into a calm under 
Table Mountain, where she lay quietly till the gen- 
erous sun rose over the land and drew a breeze in 
from the sea. 

The steam- tug Alert, then out looking for ships, 
came to the Spray off the Lion's Rump, and in lieu 
of a larger ship towed her into port. The sea being 
smooth, she came to anchor in the bay off the city 
of Cape Town, where she remained a day, simply 


to rest clear of the bustle of commerce. The good 
harbor-master sent his steam-launch to bring the 
sloop to a berth in dock at once, but I preferred to 
remain for one day alone, in the quiet of a smooth 
sea, enjoying the retrospect of the passage of the 
two great capes. On the following morning the 
Spray sailed into the Alfred Dry-docks, where she 
remained for about three months in the care of the 
port authorities, while I traveled the country over 
from Simons Town to Pretoria, being accorded by 
the colonial government a free railroad pass over 
all the land. 

The trip to Kimberley, Johannesburg, and Pre- 
toria was a pleasant one. At the last-named place 
I met Mr. Krliger, the Transvaal president. His 
Excellency received me cordially enough ; but my 
friend Judge Beyers, the gentleman who presented 
me, by mentioning that I was on a voyage around 
the world, unwittingly gave great offense to the 
venerable statesman, which we both regretted 
deeply. Mr. Kriiger corrected the judge rather 
sharply, reminding him that the world is flat. " You 
don't mean round the world," said the president; 
" it is impossible ! You mean in the world. Im- 
possible ! " he said, " impossible ! " and not another 
word did he utter either to the judge or to me. The 
judge looked at me and I looked at the judge, who 
should have known his ground, so to speak, and 
Mr. Kriiger glowered at us both. My friend the 
judge seemed embarrassed, but I was delighted; 
the incident pleased me more than anything else 
that could have happened. It was a nugget of 
information quarried out of Oom Paul, some of 


whose sayings are famous. Of the English he 
said, " They took first my coat and then my trou- 
sers." He also said, "Dynamite is the corner-stone 
of the South African Eepublic." Only unthinking 
people call President Kriiger dull. 

Soon after my arrival at the cape, Mr. Kriiger's 
friend Colonel Saunderson, 1 who had arrived from 
Durban some time before, invited me to Newlands 
Vineyard, where I met many agreeable people. 
His Excellency Sir Alfred Milner, the governor, 
found time to come aboard with a party. The 
governor, after making a survey of the deck, 
found a seat on a box in my cabin ; Lady Muriel 
sat on a keg, and Lady Saunderson sat by the 
skipper at the wheel, while the colonel, with his 
kodak, away in the dinghy, took snap shots of the 
sloop and her distinguished visitors. Dr. David 
Grill, astronomer royal, who was of the party, 
invited me the next day to the famous Cape 
Observatory. An hour with Dr. Gill was an hour 
among the stars. His discoveries in stellar pho- 
tography are well known. He showed me the great 
astronomical clock of the observatory, and I 
showed him the tin clock on the Spray, and we 
went over the subject of standard time at sea, and 
how it was found from the deck of the little sloop 
without the aid of a clock of any kind. Later it 
was advertised that Dr. Grill would preside at a 
talk about the voyage of the Spray : that alone 
secured for me a full house. The hall was packed, 
and many were not able to get in. This success 

i Colonel Saunderson was Mr. Kriiger's very best friend, inasmuch as he 
advised the president to avast mounting guns. 


brought me sufficient money for all my needs in 
port and for the homeward voyage. 

After visiting Kimberley and Pretoria, and find- 
ing the Spray all right in the docks, I returned to 
Worcester and Wellington, towns famous for col- 
leges and seminaries, passed coming in, still travel- 
ing as the guest of the colony. The ladies of 
all these institutions of learning wished to know 
how one might sail round the world alone, which 
I thought augured of sailing-mistresses in the 
future instead of sailing-masters. It will come 
to that yet if we men-folk keep on saying we 

On the plains of Africa I passed through hun- 
dreds of miles of rich but still barren land, save for 
scrub-bushes, on which herds of sheep were brows- 
ing. The bushes grew about the length of a sheep 
apart, and they, I thought, were rather long of 
body ; but there was still room for all. My long- 
ing for a foothold on land seized upon me here, 
where so much of it lay waste; but instead of 
remaining to plant forests and reclaim vegetation, 
I returned again to the Spray at the Alfred Docks, 
where I found her waiting for me, with everything 
in order, exactly as I had left her. 

I have often been asked how it was that my ves- 
sel and all appurtenances were not stolen in the 
various ports where I left her for days together 
without a watchman in charge. This is just how it 
was : The Spray seldom fell among thieves. At the 
Keeling Islands, at Rodriguez, and at many such 
places, a wisp of cocoanut fiber in the door-latch, 
to indicate that the owner was away, secured the 



goods against even a longing glance. But when I 
came to a great island nearer home, stout locks 
were needed ; the first night in port things which 

Captain Slocum, Sir Alfred Milner (with the tall hat), and Colonel 
Saunderson, M. P., on the bow of the Spray at Cape Town. 

I had always left uncovered disappeared, as if the 
deck on which they were stowed had been swept 
by a sea. 

A pleasant visit from Admiral Sir Harry Raw- 


son of the Royal Navy and his family brought 
to an end the Spray's social relations with the 
Cape of G-ood Hope. The admiral, then com- 
manding the South African Squadron, and now in 
command of the great Channel fleet, evinced the 
greatest interest in the diminutive Spray and her 
behavior off Cape Horn, where he was not an entire 
stranger. I have to admit that I was delighted 
with the trend of Admiral Rawson's questions, and 
that I profited by some of his suggestions, not- 
withstanding the wide difference in our respective 

On March 26, 1898, the Spray sailed from South 
Africa, the land of distances and pure air, where 
she had spent a pleasant and profitable time. The 
steam-tug Tigre towed her to sea from her wonted 
berth at the Alfred Docks, giving her a good offing. 
The light morning breeze, which scantily filled her 
sails when the tug let go the tow-line, soon died 
away altogether, and left her riding over a heavy 
swell, in full view of Table Mountain and the high 
peaks of the Cape of Good Hope. For a while 
the grand scenery served to relieve the monotony. 
One of the old circumnavigators (Sir Francis Drake, 
I think), when he first saw this magnificent pile, 
sang, " 'T is the fairest thing and the grandest cape 
I 've seen in the whole circumference of the earth." 

The view was certainly fine, but one has no wish 
to linger long to look in a calm at anything, and 
I was glad to note, finally, the short heaving sea, 
precursor of the wind which followed on the second 
day. Seals playing about the Spray all day, before 
the breeze came, looked with large eyes when, at 



evening, she sat no longer like a lazy bird with 
folded wings. They parted company now, and the 
Spray soon sailed the highest peaks of the moun- 
tains out of sight, and the world changed from a mere 

"Reading day and night." 

panoramic view to the light of a homeward-bound 
voyage. Porpoises and dolphins, and such other 
fishes as did not mind making a hundred and fifty 
miles a day, were her companions now for several 


days. The wind was from the southeast ; this suited 
the Spray well, and she ran along steadily at her best 
speed, while I dipped into the new books given me 
at the cape, reading day and night. March 30 was 
for me a fast-day in honor of them. I read on, 
oblivious of hunger or wind or sea, thinking that 
all was going well, when suddenly a comber rolled 
over the stern and slopped saucily into the cabin, 
wetting the very book I was reading. Evidently it 
was time to put, in a reef, that she might not wal- 
low on her course. 

March 31 the fresh southeast wind had come to 
stay. The Spray was running under a single- 
reefed mainsail, a whole jib, and a flying-jib 
besides, set on the Vailima bamboo, while I was 
reading Stevenson's delightful "Inland Voyage." 
The sloop was again doing her work smoothly, 
hardly rolling at all, but just leaping along among 
the white horses, a thousand gamboling porpoises 
keeping her company on all sides. She was again 
among her old friends the flying-fish, interesting 
denizens of the sea. Shooting out of the waves 
like arrows, and with outstretched wings, they 
sailed on the wind in graceful curves ; then falling 
till again they touched the crest of the waves to wet 
their delicate wings and renew the flight. They 
made merry the livelong day. One of the joyful 
sights on the ocean of a bright day is the continual 
flight of these interesting fish. 

One could not be lonely in a sea like this. More- 
over, the reading of delightful adventures enhanced 
the scene. I was now in the Spray and on the 
Oise in the Arethusa at one and the same time. 


And so the Spray reeled off the miles, showing a 
good run every day till April 11, which came al- 
most before I knew it. Very early that morning I 
was awakened by that rare bird, the booby, with 
its harsh quack, which I recognized at once as 
a call to go on deck; it was as much as to say, 
" Skipper, there 's land in sight." I tumbled out 
quickly, and sure enough, away ahead in the dim 
twilight, about twenty miles off, was St. Helena. 

My first impulse was to call out, "Oh, what a 
speck in the sea!" It is in reality nine miles in 
length and two thousand eight hundred and 
twenty-three feet in height. I reached for a bottle 
of port-wine out of the locker, and took a long pull 
from it to the health of my invisible helmsman 
the pilot of the Pinta. 


In the isle of Napoleon's exile Two lectures A guest in the ghost- 
room at Plantation House An excursion to historic Longwood 
Coffee in the husk, and a goat to shell it The Spray's ill luck 
with animals A prejudice against small dogs A rat, the Boston 
spider, and the cannibal cricket Ascension Island. 

IT was about noon when the Spray came to anchor 
off Jamestown, and " all hands " at once went 
ashore to pay respects to his Excellency the gov- 
ernor of the island, Sir R. A. Sterndale. His Ex- 
cellency, when I landed, remarked that it was not 
often, nowadays, that a circumnavigator came his 
way, and he cordially welcomed me, and arranged 
that I should tell about the voyage, first at Garden 
Hall to the people of Jamestown, and then at 
Plantation House the governor's residence, which 
is in the hills a mile or two back to his Excel- 
lency and the officers of the garrison and their 
friends. Mr. Poole, our worthy consul, introduced 
me at the castle, and in the course of his remarks 
asserted that the sea-serpent was a Yankee. 

Most royally was the crew of the Spray enter- 
tained by the governor. I remained at Plantation 
House a couple of days, and one of the rooms in 
the mansion, called the " west room," being haunted, 
the butler, by command of his Excellency, put me 



up in that like a prince. Indeed, to make sure 
that no mistake had been made, his Excellency 
came later to see that I was in the right room, and 
to tell me all about the ghosts he had seen or heard 
of. He had discovered all but one, and wishing 
me pleasant dreams, he hoped I might have the 
honor of a visit from the unknown one of the west 
room. For the rest of the chilly night I kept the 
candle burning, and often looked from under the 
blankets, thinking that maybe I should meet the 
great Napoleon face to face ; but I saw only furni- 
ture, and the horseshoe that was nailed over the 
door opposite my bed. 

St. Helena has been an island of tragedies 
tragedies that have been lost sight of in wailing 
over the Corsican. On the second day of my visit 
the governor took me by carriage-road through the 
turns over the island. At one point of our journey 
the road, in winding around spurs and ravines, 
formed a perfect W within the distance of a few 
rods. The roads, though tortuous and steep, were 
fairly good, and I was struck with the amount of 
labor it must have cost to build them. The air on 
the heights was cool and bracing. It is said that, 
since hanging for trivial offenses went out of 
fashion, no one has died there, except from falling 
over the cliffs in old age, or from being crushed by 
stones rolling on them from the steep mountains ! 
Witches at one time were persistent at St. Helena, 
as with us in America in the days of Cotton Mather. 
At the present day crime is rare in the island. 
While I was there, Governor Sterndale, in token 
of the fact that not one criminal case had come to 


court within the year, was presented with a pair 
of white gloves by the officers of justice. 

Returning from the governor's house to James- 
town, I drove with Mr. Clark, a countryman of 
mine, to " Longwood," the home of Napoleon. M. 
Morilleau, French consular agent in charge, keeps 
the place respectable and the buildings in good re- 
pair. His family at Longwood, consisting of wife 
and grown daughters, are natives of courtly and 
refined manners, and spend here days, months, and 
years of contentment, though they have never seen 
the world beyond the horizon of St. Helena. 

On the 20th of April the Spray was again ready 
for sea. Before going on board I took luncheon 
with the governor and his family at th castle. 
Lady Sterndale had sent a large fruit-cake, early 
in the morning, from Plantation House, to be taken 
along on the voyage. It was a great high-decker, 
and I ate sparingly of it, as I thought, but it did 
not keep as I had hoped it would. I ate the last 
of it along with my first cup of coffee at Antigua, 
West Indies, which, after all, was quite a record. 
The one my own sister made me at the little island 
in the Bay of Fundy, at the first of the voyage, 
kept about the same length of time, namely, forty- 
two days. 

After luncheon a royal mail was made up for 
Ascension, the island next on my way. Then Mr. 
Poole and his daughter paid the Spray a farewell 
visit, bringing me a basket of fruit. It was late in 
the evening before the anchor was up, and I bore 
off for the west, loath to leave my new friends. 
But fresh winds filled the sloop's sails once more, 


and I watched the beacon-light at Plantation House, 
the governor's parting signal for the Spray, till 
the island faded in the darkness astern and became 
one with the night, and by midnight the light itself 
had disappeared below the horizon. 

When morning came there was no land in sight, 
but the day went on the same as days before, save 
for one small incident. Governor Sterndale had 
given me a bag of coffee in the husk, and Clark, 
the American, in an evil moment, had put a goat 
on board, " to butt the sack and hustle the coffee- 
beans out of the pods." He urged that the animal, 
besides being useful, would be as companionable 
as a dog. I soon found that my sailing-com- 
panion, this sort of dog with horns, had to be tied 
up entirely. The mistake I made was that I did 
not chain him to the mast instead of tying him 
with grass ropes less securely, and this I learned 
to my cost. Except for the first day, before the 
beast got his sea-legs on, I had no peace of mind. 
After that, actuated by a spirit born, maybe, of his 
pasturage, this incarnation of evil threatened to 
devour everything from flying-jib to stern-davits. 
He was the worst pirate I met on the whole voy- 
age. He began depredations by eating my chart 
of the West Indies, in the cabin, one day, while I 
was about my work for'ard, thinking that the 
critter was securely tied on deck by the pumps. 
Alas! there was not a rope in the sloop proof 
against that goat's awful teeth ! 

It was clear from the very first that I was hav- 
ing no luck with animals on board. There was 
the tree-crab from the Keeling Islands. No sooner 


had it got a claw through its prison-box than my 
sea- jacket, hanging within reach, was torn to rib- 
bons. Encouraged by this success, it smashed the 
box open and escaped into my cabin, tearing up 
things generally, and finally threatening my life in 
the dark. I had hoped to bring the creature home 
alive, but this did not prove feasible. Next the 
goat devoured my straw hat, and so when I ar- 
rived in port I had nothing to wear ashore on my 
head. This last unkind stroke decided his fate. 
On the 27th of April the Spray arrived at Ascen- 
sion, which is garrisoned by a man-of-war crew, 
and the boatswain of the island came on board. 
As he stepped out of his boat the mutinous goat 
climbed into it, and defied boatswain and crew. I 
hired them to land the wretch at once, which they 
were only too willing to do, and there he fell into 
the hands of a most excellent Scotchman, with the 
chances that he would never get away. I was des- 
tined to sail once more into the depths of solitude, 
but these experiences had no bad effect upon me ; 
on the contrary, a spirit of charity and even be- 
nevolence grew stronger in my nature through the 
meditations of these supreme hours on the sea. 

In the loneliness of the dreary country about 
Cape Horn I found myself in no mood to make one 
life .less in the world, except in self-defense, and as 
I sailed this trait of the hermit character grew till 
the mention of killing food-animals was revolting 
to me. However well I may have enjoyed a chicken 
stew afterward at Samoa, a new self rebelled at the 
thought suggested there of carrying chickens to be 
slain for my table on the voyage, and Mrs. Steven- 


son, hearing my protest, agreed with me that to kill 
the companions of my voyage and eat them would 
be indeed next to murder and cannibalism. 

As to pet animals, there was no room for a noble 
large dog on the Spray on so long a voyage, and a 
small cur was for many years associated in my 
mind with hydrophobia. I witnessed once the 
death of a sterling young derm an from that dread- 
ful disease, and about the same time heard of the 
death, also by hydrophobia, of the young gentleman 
who had just written a line of insurance in his 
company's books for me. I have seen the whole 
crew of a ship scamper up the rigging to avoid a 
dog racing about the decks in a fit. It would 
never do, I thought, for the crew of the Spray to 
take a canine risk, and with these just prejudices 
indelibly stamped on my mind, I have, I am afraid, 
answered impatiently too often the query, " Did n't 
you have a dog ? " with, " I and the dog would n't 
have been very long in the same boat, in any sense." 
A cat would have been a harmless animal, I dare 
say, but there was nothing for puss to do on board, 
and she is an unsociable animal at best. True, a 
rat got into my vessel at the Keeling Cocos 
Islands, and another at Rodriguez, along with a 
centiped stowed away in the hold ; but one of them 
I drove out of the ship, and the other I caught. 
This is how it was : for the first one with infinite 
pains I made a trap, looking to its capture and de- 
struction ; but the wily rodent, not to be deluded, 
took the hint and got ashore the day the thing was 

It is, according to tradition, a most reassuring 



sign to find rats coming to a ship, and I had a 
mind to abide the knowing one of Eodriguez ; but 
a breach of discipline decided the matter against 
him. While I slept one night, my ship sailing on, 
he undertook to walk over me, beginning at the 
crown of my head, concerning which I am always 
sensitive. I sleep lightly. Before his impertinence 
had got him even to my nose I cried " Rat ! " had 
him by the tail, and threw him out of the compan- 
ionway into the sea. 

As for the centiped, I was not aware of its pres- 
ence till the wretched insect, all feet and venom, 
beginning, like the rat, at my head, wakened me by 
a sharp bite on the scalp. This also was more 
than I could tolerate. After a few applications of 
kerosene the poisonous bite, painful at first, gave 
me no further inconvenience. 

From this on for a time no living thing dis- 
turbed my solitude ; no insect even was present in 
my vessel, except the spider and his wife, from 
Boston, now with a family of young spiders. No- 
thing, I say, till sailing down the last stretch of the 
Indian Ocean, where mosquitos came by hundreds 
from rain-water poured out of the heavens. Sim- 
ply a barrel of rain-water stood on deck five days, 
I think, in the sun, then music began. I knew the 
sound at once; it was the same as heard from 
Alaska to New Orleans. 

Again at Cape Town, while dining out one day, 
I was taken with the song of a cricket, and Mr. 
Branscombe, my host, volunteered to capture a 
pair of them for me. They were sent on board 
next day in a box labeled, " Pluto and Scamp." 


Stowing them away in the binnacle in their own 
snug box, I left them there without food till I got 
to sea a few days. I had never heard of a cricket 
eating anything. It seems that Pluto was a can- 
nibal, for only the wings of poor Scamp were visi- 
ble when I opened the lid, and they lay broken on 
the floor of the prison-box. Even with Pluto it 
had gone hard, for he lay on his back stark and 
stiff, never to chirrup again. 

Ascension Island, where the goat was marooned, 
is called the Stone Frigate, R. N., and is rated 
" tender " to the South African Squadron. It lies 
in 7 55' south latitude and 14 25' west longitude, 
being in the very heart of the southeast trade- 
winds and about eight hundred and forty miles 
from the coast of Liberia. It is a mass of volcanic 
matter, thrown up from the bed of the ocean to the 
height of two thousand eight hundred and eighteen 
feet at the highest point above sea-level. It is a 
strategic point, and belonged to Great Britain be- 
fore it got cold. In the limited but rich soil at the 
top of the island, among the clouds, vegetation has 
taken root, and a little scientific farming is carried 
on under the supervision of a gentleman from 
Canada. Also a few cattle and sheep are pastured 
there for the garrison mess. Water storage is 
made on a large scale. In a word, this heap of 
cinders and lava rock is stored and fortified, and 
would stand a siege. 

Very soon after the Spray arrived I received a note 
from Captain Blaxland, the commander of the island, 
conveying his thanks for the royal mail brought 
from St. Helena, and inviting me to luncheon with 


him and his wife and sister at headquarters, not 
far away. It is hardly necessary to say that I 
availed myself of the captain's hospitality at once. 
A carriage was waiting at the jetty when I landed, 
and a sailor, with a broad grin, led the horse care- 
fully up the hill to the captain's house, as if I were 
a lord of the admiralty, and a governor besides; 
and he led it as carefully down again when I re- 
turned. On the following day I visited the summit 
among the clouds, the same team being provided, 
and the same old sailor leading the horse. There 
was probably not a man on the island at that mo- 
ment better able to walk than I. The sailor knew 
that. I finally suggested that we change places. 
"Let me take the bridle," I said, "and keep the 
horse from bolting." "Great Stone Frigate!" he 
exclaimed, as he burst into a laugh, "this 'ere 'oss 
would n't bolt no faster nor a turtle. If I did n't 
tow 'im 'ard we M never get into port." I walked 
most of the way over the steep grades, whereupon 
my guide, every inch a sailor, became my friend. 
Arriving at the summit of the island, I met Mr. 
Schank, the farmer from Canada, and his sister, 
living very cozily in a house among the rocks, as 
snug as conies, and as safe. He showed me over 
the farm, taking me through a tunnel which led 
from one field to the other, divided by an inacces- 
sible spur of mountain. Mr. Schank said that he 
had lost many cows and bullocks, as well as sheep, 
from breakneck over the steep cliffs and precipices. 
One cow, he said, would sometimes hook another 
right over a precipice to destruction, and go on 
feeding unconcernedly. It seemed that the ani- 


inals on the island farm, like mankind in the wide 
world, found it all too small. 

On the 26th of April, while I was ashore, rollers 
came in which rendered launching a boat impossi- 
ble. However, the sloop being securely moored to 
a buoy in deep water outside of all breakers, she 
was safe, while I, in the best of quarters, listened 
to well-told stories among the officers of the Stone 
Frigate. On the evening of the 29th, the sea hav- 
ing gone down, I went on board and made prepara- 
tions to start again on my voyage early next day, 
the boatswain of the island and his crew giving me 
a hearty handshake as I embarked at the jetty. 

For reasons of scientific interest, I invited in 
mid-ocean the most thorough investigation con- 
cerning the crew-list of the Spray. Very few had 
challenged it, and perhaps few ever will do so 
henceforth ; but for the benefit of the few that may, 
I wished to clench beyond doubt the fact that it 
was not at all necessary in the expedition of a 
sloop around the world to have more than one man 
for the crew, all told, and that the Spray sailed 
with only one person on board. And so, by ap- 
pointment-, Lieutenant Eagles, the executive officer, 
in the morning, just as I was ready to sail, fumi- 
gated the sloop, rendering it impossible for a person 
to live concealed below, and proving that only one 
person was on board when she arrived. A certifi- 
cate to this effect, besides the official documents 
from the many consulates, health offices, and custom- 
houses, will seem to many superfluous; but this 
story of the voyage may find its way into hands 
unfamiliar with the business of these offices and of 


their ways of seeing that a vessel's papers, and, 
above all, her bills of health, are in order. 

The lieutenant's certificate being made out, the 
Spray, nothing loath, now filled away clear of 
the sea-beaten rocks, and the trade-winds, com- 
fortably cool and bracing, sent her flying along 
on her course. On May 8, 1898, she crossed the 
track, homeward bound, that she had made October 
2, 1895, on the voyage out. She passed Fernando 
de Noronha at night, going some miles south of it, 
and so I did not see the island. I felt a content- 
ment in knowing that the Spray had encircled the 
globe, and even as an adventure alone I was in no 
way discouraged as to its utility, and said to my- 
self, " Let what will happen, the voyage is now on 
record." A period was made. 


In the favoring current off Cape St. Roque, Brazil All at sea re- 
garding the Spanish-American war An exchange of signals 
with the battle-ship Oregon Off Dreyfus's prison on Devil's 
Island Reappearance to the Spray of the north star The light 
on Trinidad A charming introduction to Grenada Talks to 
friendly auditors. 

ON May 10 there was a great change in the con- 
dition of the sea ; there could be no doubt of 
my longitude now, if any had before existed in my 
mind. Strange and long-forgotten current ripples 
pattered against the sloop's sides in grateful music; 
the tune arrested the ear, and I sat quietly listen- 
ing to it while the Spray kept on her course. By 
these current ripples I was assured that she was 
now off St. Roque and had struck the current which 
sweeps around that cape. The trade-winds, we old 
sailors say, produce this current, which, in its course 
from this point forward, is governed by the coast- 
line of Brazil, Gruiana, Venezuela, and, as some 
would say, by the Monroe Doctrine. 

The trades had been blowing fresh for some time, 
and the current, now at its height, amounted to 
forty miles a day. This, added to the sloop's run 
by the log, made the handsome day's work of one 
hundred and eighty miles on several consecutive 
days. I saw nothing of the coast of Brazil, though 



I was not many leagues off and was always in the 
Brazil current. 

I did not know that war with Spain had been 
declared, and that I might be liable, right there, to 
meet the enemy and be captured. Many had told 
me at Cape Town that, in their opinion, war was 
inevitable, and they said : " The Spaniard will get 
you ! The Spaniard will get you ! " To all this I 
could only say that, even so, he would not get 
much. Even in the fever-heat over the disaster 
to the Maine I did not think there would be war ; 
but I am no politician. Indeed, I had hardly 
given the matter a serious thought when, on the 
14th of May, just north of the equator, and near 
the longitude of the river Amazon, I saw first a 
mast, with the Stars and Stripes floating from it, 
rising astern as if poked up out of the sea, and then 
rapidly appearing on the horizon, like a citadel, the 
Oregon! As she came near I saw that the great 
ship was flying the signals "C B T," which read, 
" Are there any men-of-war about ? " Eight under 
these flags, and larger than the Spray's mainsail, 
so it appeared, was the yellowest Spanish flag I 
ever saw. It gave me nightmare some time after 
when I reflected on it in my dreams. 

I did not make out the Oregon's signals till she 
passed ahead, where I could read them better, for 
she was two miles away, and I had no binoculars. 
When I had read her flags I hoisted the signal "No," 
for I had not seen any Spanish men-of-war ; I had 
not been looking for any. My final signal, "Let 
us keep together for mutual protection," Captain 
Clark did not seem to regard as necessary. Per- 


haps my small flags were not made out ; anyhow, 
the Oregon steamed on with a rush, looking for 
Spanish men-of-war, as I learned afterward. The 
Oregon's great flag was dipped beautifully three 
times to the Spray's lowered flag as she passed on. 
Both had crossed the line only a few hours before. 
I pondered long that night over the probability of 
a war risk now coming upon the Spray after she 
had cleared all, or nearly all, the dangers of the sea, 
but finally a strong hope mastered my fears. 

On the 17th of May, the Spray, coming out of a 
storm at daylight, made Devil's Island, two points 
on the lee bow, not far off. The wind was still 
blowing a stiff breeze on shore. I could clearly see 
the dark-gray buildings on the island as the sloop 
brought it abeam. No flag or sign of life was seen 
on the dreary place. 

Later in the day a French bark on the port tack, 
making for Cayenne, hove in sight, close-hauled 
on the wind. She was falling to leeward fast. 
The Spray was also closed-hauled, and was lugging 
on sail to secure an offing on the starboard tack, a 
heavy swell in the night having thrown her too 
near the shore, and now I considered the matter of 
supplicating a change of wind. I had already en- 
joyed my share of favoring breezes over the great 
oceans, and I asked myself if it would be right to 
have the wind turned now all into my sails while 
the Frenchman was bound the other way. A head 
current, which he stemmed, together with a scant 
wind, was bad enough for him. And so I could 
only say, in my heart, " Lord, let matters stand as 
they are, but do not help the Frenchman any more 


just now, for what would suit him well would ruin 

I remembered that when a lad I heard a captain 
often say in meeting that in answer to a prayer of 
his own the wind changed from southeast to north- 
west, entirely to his satisfaction. He was a good 
man, but did this glorify the Architect the Ruler 
of the winds and the waves ? Moreover, it was not 
a trade-wind, as I remember it, that changed for 
him, but one of the variables which will change 
when you ask it, if you ask long enough. Again, 
this man's brother maybe was not bound the op- 
posite way, well content with a fair wind himself, 
which made all the difference in the world. 1 

On May 18, 1898, is written large in the Spray's 
log-book : " To-night, in latitude 7 13' N., for the 
first time in nearly three years I see the north star." 

The Spray on the day following logged one hun- 
dred and forty-seven miles. To this I add thirty- 
five miles for current sweeping her onward. On 
the 20th of May, about sunset, the island of To- 
bago, off the Orinoco, came into view, bearing west 
by north, distant twenty-two miles. The Spray 
was drawing rapidly toward her home destination. 
Later at night, while running free along the coast 
of Tobago, the wind still blowing fresh, I was star- 
tled by the sudden flash of breakers on the port 
bow and not far off. I luffed instantly offshore, 
and then tacked, heading in for the island. Find- 

i The Bishop of Melbourne (commend me to his teachings) refused to set 
aside a day of prayer for rain, recommending his people to husband water 
when the rainy season was on. In like manner, a navigator husbands the 
wind, keeping a weather-gage where practicable. 


ing myself, shortly after, close in with the land, I 
tacked again offshore, but without much altering 
the bearings of the danger. Sail whichever way I 
would, it seemed clear that if the sloop weathered 
the rocks at all it would be a close shave, and I 
watched with anxiety, while beating against the 
current, always losing ground. So the matter stood 
hour after hour, while I watched the flashes of light 
thrown up as regularly as the beats of the long 
ocean swells, and always they seemed just a little 
nearer. It was evidently a coral reef, of this I 
had not the slightest doubt, and a bad reef at 
that. Worse still, there might be other reefs ahead 
forming a bight into which the current would 
sweep me, and where I should be hemmed in and 
finally wrecked. I had not sailed these waters since 
a lad, and lamented the day I had allowed on 
board the goat that ate my chart. I taxed my 
memory of sea lore, of wrecks on sunken reefs, and 
of pirates harbored among coral reefs where other 
ships might not come, but nothing that I could 
think of applied to tjie island of Tobago, save the 
one wreck of Eobinson Crusoe's ship in the fiction, 
and that gave me little information about reefs. 
I remembered only tha f in Crusoe's case he kept 
his powder dry. " B^jthere she booms again," I 
cried, " and how close the flash is now ! Almost 
aboard was that last breaker ! But you '11 go by, 
Spray, old girl ! 'T is abeam now ! One surge 
more ! and oh, one more like that will clear your 
ribs and keel ! " And I slapped her on the tran- 
som, proud of her last noble effort to leap clear 
of the danger, when a wave greater than the rest 


threw her higher than before, and, behold, from 
the crest of it was revealed at once all there was of 
the reef. I fell back in a coil of rope, speechless 
and amazed, not distressed, but rejoiced. Alad- 
din's lamp ! My fisherman's own lantern ! It was 
the great revolving light on the island of Trinidad, 
thirty miles away, throwing flashes over the waves, 
which had deceived me ! The orb of the light was 
now dipping on the horizon, and how glorious was 
the sight of it! But, dear Father Neptune, as I 
live, after a long Iif6 at sea, and much among 
corals, I would have made a solemn declaration to 
that reef ! Through all the rest of the night I saw 
imaginary reefs, and not knowing what moment 
the sloop might fetch up on a real one, I tacked oft 
and on till daylight, as nearly as possible in the 
same track, all for the want of a chart. I could 
have nailed the St. Helena goat's pelt to the deck. 

My course was now for Grenada, to which I car- 
ried letters from Mauritius. About midnight of 
the 22d of May I arrived at the island, and cast 
anchor in the roads off the town of St. George, 
entering the inner harbor at daylight on the morn- 
ing of the 23d, which made forty-two days' sailing 
from the Cape of Good Hone. It was a good run, 
and I doffed my cap again i the pilot of the Pinta. 

Lady Bruce, in a note to the Spray at Port Louis, 
said Grenada was a lovely island, and she wished 
the sloop might call there on the voyage home. 
When the Spray arrived, I found that she had 
been fully expected. " How so ? " I asked. " Oh, 
we heard that you were at Mauritius," they said, 
<6 and from Mauritius, after meeting Sir Charles 


Bruce, our old governor, we knew you would come to 
Grenada." This was a charming introduction, and it 
brought me in contact with people worth knowing. 
The Spray sailed from Grenada on the 28th of 
May, and coasted along under the lee of the An- 
tilles, arriving at the island of Dominica on the 
30th, where, for the want of knowing better, I cast 
anchor at the quarantine ground; for I was still 
without a chart of the islands, not having been able 
to get one even at Grenada. Here I not only met 
with further disappointment in the matter, but was 
threatened with a fine for the mistake I made in 
the anchorage. There were no ships either at the 
quarantine or at the commercial roads, and I could 
not see that it made much difference where I an- 
chored. But a negro chap, a sort of deputy harbor- 
master, coming along, thought it did, and he 
ordered me to shift to the other anchorage, which, 
in truth, I had already investigated and did not 
like, because of the heavier roll there from the sea. 
And so instead of springing to the sails at once to 
shift, I said I would leave outright as soon as I 
could procure a chart, which I begged he would 
send and get for me. " But I say you mus' move 
bef o' you gets anything 't all," he insisted, and raising 
his voice so that all the people alongshore could hear 
him, he added, "An' jes now!" Then he flew into 
a towering passion when they on shore snickered 
to see the crew of the Spray sitting calmly by 
the bulwark instead of hoisting sail. "I tell you 
dis am quarantine," he shouted, very much louder 
than before. " That 's all right, general," I replied ; 
"I want to be quarantined anyhow." "That 's 


right, boss," some one on the beach cried, "that's 
right ; you get quarantined," while others shouted 
to the deputy to " make de white trash move 'long 
out o' dat." They were about equally divided on 
the island for and against me. The man who had 
made so much fuss over the matter gave it up 
when he found that I wished to be quarantined, 
and sent for an all-important half- white, who soon 
came alongside, starched from clue to earing. He 
stood in the boat as straight up and down as a 
fathom of pump-water a marvel of importance. 
"Charts!" cried I, as soon as his shirt-collar 
appeared over the sloop's rail; "have you any 
charts ? " " No, sah," he replied with much-stiffened 
dignity ; " no, sah ; cha'ts do's n't grow on dis isl- 
and." Not doubting the information, I tripped an- 
chor immediately, as I had intended to do from the 
first, and made all sail for St. John, Antigua, where 
I arrived on the 1st of June, having sailed with 
great caution in midchannel all the way. 

The Spray, always in good company, now fell in 
with the port officers' steam-launch at the harbor 
entrance, having on board Sir Francis Fleming, 
governor of the Leeward Islands, who, to the 
delight of " all hands," gave the officer in charge 
instructions to tow my ship into port. On the fol- 
lowing day his Excellency and La,dy Fleming, 
along with Captain Burr, R. N., paid me a visit. 
The court-house was tendered free to me at An- 
tigua, as was done also at Grenada, and at each 
place a highly intelligent audience filled the hall 
to listen to a talk about the seas the Spray had 
crossed, and the countries she had visited. 


Clearing for home In the calm belt A sea covered with sargasso 
The jibstay parts in a gale Welcomed by a tornado off Fire 
Island A change of plan Arrival at Newport End of a cruise 
of over forty-six thousand miles The Spray again at Fairhaven. 

ON the 4th of June, 1898, the Spray cleared from 
the United States consulate, and her license to 
sail single-handed, even round the world, was re- 
turned to her for the last time. The United States 
consul, Mr. Hunt, before handing the paper to me, 
wrote on it, as G-eneral Roberts had done at Cape 
Town, a short commentary on the voyage. The 
document, by regular course, is now lodged in 
the Treasury Department at Washington, D. C. 

On June 5, 1898, the Spray sailed for a home 
port, heading first direct for Cape Hatteras. On 
the 8th of June she passed under the sun from 
south to north ; the sun's declination on that day 
was 22 54', and the latitude of the Spray was the 
same just before noon. Many think it is exces- 
sively hot right under the sun. It is not neces- 
sarily so. As a matter of fact the thermometer 
stands at a bearable point whenever there is a 
breeze and a ripple on the sea, even exactly under 
the sun. It is often hotter in cities and on sandy 
shores in higher latitudes. 



The Spray was booming joyously along for home 
now, making her usual good time, when of a sud- 
den she struck the horse latitudes, and her sail 
flapped limp in a calm. I had almost forgotten 
this calm belt, or had come to regard it as a myth. 
I now found it real, however, and difficult to cross. 
This was as it should have been, for, after all of 
the dangers of the sea, the dust-storm on the coast 
of Africa, the "rain of blood" in Australia, and 
the war risk when nearing home, a natural expe- 
rience would have been missing had the calm of 
the horse latitudes been left out. Anyhow, a philo- 
sophical turn of thought now was not amiss, else 
one's patience would have given out almost at the 
harbor entrance. The term of her probation was 
eight days. Evening after evening during this 
time I read by the light of a candle on deck. There 
was no wind at all, and the sea became smooth and 
monotonous. For three days I saw a full-rigged 
ship on the horizon, also becalmed. 

Sargasso, scattered over the sea in bunches, or 
trailed curiously along down the wind in narrow 
lanes, now gathered together in great fields, strange 
sea-animals, little and big, swimming in and out, 
the most curious among them being a tiny sea- 
horse which I captured and brought home preserved 
in a bottle. But on the 18th of June a gale began 
to blow from the southwest, and the sargasso was 
dispersed again in windrows and lanes. 

On this day there was soon wind enough and to 
spare. The same might have been said of the sea 
The Spray was in the midst of the turbulent Gulf 
Stream itself. She was jumping like a porpoise 



over the uneasy waves. As if to make up for lost 
time, she seemed to touch only the high places. 
Under a sudden shock and strain her rigging began 
to give out. First the main-sheet strap was carried 
away, and then the peak halyard-block broke from 
the gaff. It was time to reef and refit, and so when 
" all hands " came on deck I went about doing that. 
The 19th of June was fine, but on the morning 
of the 20th another gale was blowing, accompanied 
by cross-seas that tumbled about and shook things 
up with great confusion. Just as I was thinking 
about taking in sail the jibstay broke at the mast- 
head, and fell, jib and all, into the sea. It gave me 
the strangest sensation to see the bellying sail fall, 
and where it had been suddenly to see only space. 
However, I was at the bows, with presence of mind 
to gather it in on the first wave that rolled up, be- 
fore it was torn or trailed under the sloop's bottom. 
I found by the amount of work done in three min- 
utes' or less time that I had by no means grown 
stiff-jointed on the voyage; anyhow, scurvy had 
not set in, and being now within a few degrees 
of home, I might complete the voyage, I thought, 
without the aid of a doctor. Yes, my health was 
still good, and I could skip about the decks in a 
lively manner, but could I climb I The great King 
Neptune tested me severely at this time, for the 
stay being gone, the mast itself switched about like 
a reed, and was not easy to climb ; but a gun-tackle 
purchase was got up, and the stay set taut from 
the masthead, for I had spare blocks and rope on 
board with which to rig it, and the jib, with a reef 
in it, was soon pulling again like a " sodger " for 


home. Had the Spray's mast not been well 
stepped, however, it would have been "John 
Walker" when the stay broke. Good work in 
the building of my vessel stood me always in 
good stead. 

On the 23d of June I was at last tired, tired, tired 
of baffling squalls and fretful cobble-seas. I had not 
seen a vessel for days and days, where I had expected 
the company of at least a schooner now and then. 
As to the whistling of the wind through the rig- 
ging, and the slopping of the sea against the sloop's 
sides, that was well enough in its way, and we 
could not have got on without it, the Spray and I ; 
but there was so much of it now, and it lasted so 
long ! At noon of that day a winterish storm was 
upon us from the nor'west. In the Gulf Stream, 
thus late in June, hailstones were pelting the Spray, 
and lightning was pouring down from the clouds, 
not in flashes alone, but in almost continuous 
streams. By slants, however, day and night I 
worked the sloop in toward the coast, where, on the 
25th of June, off Fire Island, she fell into the tor- 
nado which, an hour earlier, had swept over New 
York city with lightning that wrecked buildings 
and sent trees flying about in splinters ; even ships 
at docks had parted their moorings and smashed 
into other ships, doing great damage. It was the 
climax storm of the voyage, but I saw the unmis- 
takable character of it in time to have all snug 
aboard and receive it under bare poles. Even so, 
the sloop shivered when it struck her, and she 
heeled over unwillingly on her beam ends; but 
rounding to, with a sea-anchor ahead, she righted 


and faced out the storm. In the midst of the gale 
I could do no more than look on, for what is a man 
in a storm like this ? I had seen one electric storm 
on the voyage, off the coast of Madagascar, but it 
was unlike this one. Here the lightning kept on 
longer, and thunderbolts fell in the sea all about. 
Up to this time I was bound for New York ; but 
when all was over I rose, made sail, and hove the 
sloop round from starboard to port tack, to make 
for a quiet harbor to think the matter over ; and 
so, under short sail, she reached in for the coast of 
Long Island, while I sat thinking and watching 
the lights of coasting-vessels which now began to 
appear in sight. Reflections of the voyage so 
nearly finished stole in upon me now ; many tunes 
I had hummed again and again came back once 
more. I found myself repeating fragments of a 
hymn often sung by a dear Christian woman of 
Fairhaven when I was rebuilding the Spray. I was 
to hear once more and only once, in profound so- 
lemnity, the metaphorical hymn : 

By waves and wind I 'm tossed and driven. 
And again : 

But still my little ship outbraves 

The blust'ring winds and stormy waves. 

After this storm I saw the pilot of the Pinta no 

The experiences of the voyage of the Spray, 
reaching over three years, had been to me like 
reading a book, and one that was more and more 


interesting as I turned the pages, till I had come 
now to the last page of all, and the one more inter- 
esting than any of the rest. 

When daylight came I saw that the sea had 
changed color from dark green to light. I threw 
the lead and got soundings in thirteen fathoms. I 
made the land soon after, some miles east of Fire 
Island, and sailing thence before a pleasant breeze 
along the coast, made for Newport. The weather 
after the furious gale was remarkably fine. The 
Spray rounded Montauk Point early in the after- 
noon ; Point Judith was abeam at dark ; she fetched 
in at Beavertail next. Sailing on, she had one 
more danger to pass Newport harbor was mined. 
The Spray hugged the rocks along where neither 
friend nor foe could come if drawing much water, 
and where she would not disturb the guard-ship in 
the channel. It was close work, but it was safe 
enough so long as she hugged the rocks close, and 
not the mines. Flitting by a low point abreast of 
the guard-ship, the dear old Dexter, which I knew 
well, some one on board of her sang out, " There 
goes a craft ! " I threw up a light at once and 
heard the hail, " Spray, ahoy ! " It was the voice 
of a friend, and I knew that a friend would not fire 
on the Spray. I eased off the main-sheet now, and 
the Spray swung off for the beacon-lights of the 
inner harbor. At last she reached port in safety, 
and there at 1 A. M. on June 27, 1898, cast anchor, 
after the cruise of more than forty-six thousand 
miles round the world, during an absence of three 
years and two months, with two days over for 
coming up. 


Was the crew well ! Was I not ? I had profited 
in many ways by the voyage. I had even gained 
flesh, and actually weighed a pound more than 
when I sailed from Boston. As for aging, why, the 
dial of my life was turned back till my friends all 
said, " Slocum is young again." And so I was, at 
least ten years younger than the day I felled the 
first tree for the construction of the Spray. 

My ship was also in better condition than when 
she sailed from Boston on her long voyage. She 
was still as sound as a nut, and as tight as the 
best ship afloat. She did not leak a drop not 
one drop ! The pump, which had been little used 
before reaching Australia, had not been rigged 
since that at all. 

The first name on the Spray's visitors' book in 
the home port was written by the one who always 
said, " The Spray will come back." The Spray was 
not quite satisfied till I sailed her around to her 
birthplace, Fairhaven, Massachusetts, farther along. 
I had myself a desire to return tp the place of the 
very beginning whence I had, as I have said, re- 
newed my age. So on July 3, with a fair wind, she 
waltzed beautifully round the coast and up the 
Acushnet Eiver to Fairhaven, where I secured her 
to the cedar spile driven in the bank to hold her 
when she was launched. I could bring her no 
nearer home. 

If the Spray discovered no continents on her 
voyage, it may be that there were no more con- 
tinents to be discovered; she did not seek new 
worlds, or sail to powwow about the dangers of 
the seas. The sea has been much maligned. To 

The Spray in the storm off Now York. 


find one's way to lands already discovered is a 
good thing, and the Spray made the discovery that 
even the worst sea is not so terrible to a well- 
appointed ship. No king, no country, no treasury 
at all, was taxed for the voyage of the Spray, and 
she accomplished all that she undertook to do. 

To succeed, however, in anything at all, one 
should go understandingly about his work and be 
prepared for every emergency. I see, as I look 
back over my own small achievement, a kit of not 
too elaborate carpenters' tools, a tin clock, and 
some carpet-tacks, not a great many, to facilitate 
the enterprise as already mentioned in the story. 
But above all to be taken into account were some 
years of schooling, where I studied with diligence 
Neptune's laws, and these laws I tried to obey 
when I sailed overseas ; it was worth the while. 

And now, without having wearied my friends, I 
hope, with detailed scientific accounts, theories, or 
deductions, I will only say that I have endeavored 
to tell just the story of the adventure itself. This, 
in my own poor way, having been done, I now 
moor ship, weather-bitt cables, and leave the sloop 
Spray, for the present, safe in port. 


Again tied to the old stake at Fail-haven. 



Her pedigree so far as known The Lines of the Spray Her 
self-steering qualities Sail-plan and steering-gear An un- 
precedented feat A final word of cheer to would-be navigators 

FROM a feeling of diffidence toward sailors of 
great experience, I refrained, in the preceding 
chapters as prepared for serial publication in the 
" Century Magazine," from entering fully into the 
details of the Spray's build, and of the primitive 
methods employed to sail her. Having had no 
yachting experience at all, I had no means of 
knowing that the trim vessels seen in our harbors 
and near the land could not all do as much, or even 
more, than the Spray, sailing, for example, on a 
course with the helm lashed. 

I was aware that no other vessel had sailed in 
this manner around the globe, but would have been 
loath to say that another could not do it, or that 
many men had not sailed vessels of a certain rig in 
that manner as far as they wished to go. I was 
greatly amused, therefore, by the flat assertions of 
an expert that it could not be done. 

The Spray, as I sailed her, was entirely a new 
boat, built over from a sloop which bore the same 
name, and which, tradition said, had first served as 




an oysterman, about a hundred years ago, on the 
coast of Delaware. There was no record in the 
custom-house of where she was built. She was once 
owned at Noank, Connecticut, afterward in New 
Bedford and when Captain Eben Pierce presented 







STEPS I 1 , 

1 ! ', 

Plan of the after cabin of the Spray. 

her to me, at the end of her natural life, she stood, as 
I have already described, propped up in a field at 
Fairhaven. Her lines were supposed to be those 
of a North Sea fisherman. In rebuilding timber 
by timber and plank by plank, I added to her free- 


board twelve inches amidships, eighteen inches for- 
ward, and fourteen inches aft, thereby increasing 
her sheer, and making her, as I thought, a better 
deep-water ship. I will not repeat the history of 
the rebuilding of the Spray, which I have detailed 
in my first chapter, except to say that, when fin- 
ished, her dimensions were thirty-six feet nine 
inches over all, fourteen feet two inches wide, and 
four feet two inches deep in the hold, her tonnage 
being nine tons net, and twelve and seventy one- 
hundredths tons gross. 

I gladly produce the lines of the Spray, with such 
hints as my really limited fore-and-aft sailing will 
allow, my seafaring life having been spent mostly 
in barks and ships. No pains have been spared to 
give them accurately. The Spray was taken from 
New York to Bridgeport, Connecticut, and, under 
the supervision of the Park City Yacht Club, was 
hauled out of water and very carefully measured 
in every way to secure a satisfactory result. Cap- 
tain Robins produced the model. Our young 
yachtsmen, pleasuring in the "lilies of the sea," 
very naturally will not think favorably of my craft. 
They have a right to their opinion, while I stick to 
mine. They will take exceptions to her short ends, 
the advantage of these being most apparent in a 
heavy sea. 

Some things about the Spray's deck might be 
fashioned differently without materially affecting 
the vessel. I know of no good reason why for 
a party-boat a cabin trunk might not be built 
amidships instead of far aft, like the one on her, 
which leaves a very narrow space between the 


wheel and the line of the companionway. Some 
even say that I might have improved the shape 
of her stern. I do not know about that. The 
water leaves her run sharp after bearing her to 
the last inch, and no suction is formed by undue 

Smooth-water sailors say, "Where is her over- 
hang I " They never crossed the Gulf Stream in 
a nor'easter, and they do not know what is best 
in all weathers. For your life, build no fantail 
overhang on a craft going offshore. As a sailor 
judges his prospective ship by a "blow of the 
eye" when he takes interest enough to look her 
over at all, so I judged the Spray, and I was not 

In a sloop-rig the Spray made that part of her 
voyage reaching from Boston through the Strait of 
Magellan, during which she experienced the great- 
est variety of weather conditions. The yawl-rig 
then adopted was an improvement only in that it 
reduced the size of a rather heavy mainsail and 
slightly improved her steering qualities on the 
wind. When the wind was aft the jigger was not 
in use; invariably it was then furled. With her 
boom broad off and with the wind two points on 
the quarter the Spray sailed her truest course. It 
never took long to find the amount of helm, or 
angle of rudder, required to hold her on her course, 
and when that was found I lashed the wheel with 
it at that angle. The mainsail then drove her, 
and the main-jib, with its sheet boused flat amid- 
ships or a little to one side or the other, added 
greatly to the steadying power. Then if the wind 
was even strong or squally I would sometimes set 



a flying-jib also, 
on a pole rigged 
out on the bow- 
sprit, with the 
sheets hauled flat 
amidships, which 
was a safe thing to 
do, even in a gale 
of wind. A stout 
downhaul on the 
gaff was a neces- 
sity, because with- 
out it the mainsail 
might not have 
come down when I 
> wished to lower it 
g in a breeze. The 
g amount of helm 
required varied 
j> according to the 
amount of wind 
and its direction. 
These points are 
quickly gathered 
from practice. 

Briefly I have 
to say that when 
close-hauled in a 
light wind under 
all sail she re- 
quired little or 
no weather helm. 
As the wind in- 
creased I would go 



on deck, if below, and turn the wheel up a spoke 
more or less, relash it, or, as sailors say, put it in a 
becket, and then leave it as before. 

To answer the questions that might be asked to 
meet every contingency would be a pleasure, but 
it would overburden my book. I can only say 
here that much comes to one in practice, and 
that, with such as love sailing, mother- wit is the 

Steering-gear of the Spray. 

The dotted lines are the ropes used to lash the wheel. In practice the loose ends were belayed, one 
over the other, around the top spokes of the wheel 

best teacher, after experience. Labor-saving appli- 
ances ? There were none. The sails were hoisted 
by hand ; the halyards were rove through ordinary 
ships' blocks with common patent rollers. Of 
course the sheets were all belayed aft. 

The windlass used was in the shape of a winch, 
or crab, I think it is called. I had three anchors, 



weighing forty pounds, one hundred pounds, and 
one hundred and eighty pounds respectively. The 
windlass and the forty-pound anchor, and the " fid- 
dle-head," or carving, on the end of the cutwater, 
belonged to the original Spray. The ballast, con- 
crete cement, was stanchioned down securely. 
There was no iron or lead or other weight on the 

If I took measurements by rule I did not set 
them down, and after sailing even the longest voy- 
age in her I could not tell offhand the length of her 
mast, boom, or gaff. I did not know the center of 
effort in her sails, except as it hit me in practice at 
sea, nor did I care a rope yarn about it. Mathe- 
matical calculations, however, are all right in a 
good boat, and the Spray could have stood them. 
She was easily balanced and easily kept in trim. 

Some of the oldest and ablest shipmasters have 
asked how it was possible for her to hold a true 
course before the wind, which was just what the 
Spray did for weeks together. One of these gen- 
tlemen, a highly esteemed shipmaster and friend, 
testified as government expert in a famous mur- 
der trial in Boston, not long since, that a ship 
would not hold her course long enough for the 
steersman to leave the helm to cut the captain's 
throat. Ordinarily it would be so. One might say 
that with a square-rigged ship it would always be 
so. But the Spray, at the moment of the tragedy in 
question, was sailing around the globe with no one 
at the helm, except at intervals more or less rare. 
However, I may say here that this would have had 
no bearing on the murder case in Boston. In all 



probability Justice laid her hand on the true rogue. 
In other words, in the case of a model and rig simi- 
lar to that of the tragedy ship, I should myself 
testify as did the nautical experts at the trial. 

But see the run the Spray made from Thursday 
Island to the Keeling Cocos Islands, twenty-seven 
hundred miles distant, in twenty-three days, with 
no one at the helm in that time, save for about 
one hour, from land to land. No other ship in the 

Body-plan of the Spray. 

history of the world ever performed, under similar 
circumstances, the feat on so long and continuous 
a voyage. It was, however, a delightful midsum- 
mer sail. No one can know the pleasure of sailing- 
free over the great oceans save those who have had 
the experience. It is not necessary, in order to 
realize the utmost enjoyment of going around the 
globe, to sail alone, yet for once and the first time 
there was a great deal of fun in it. My friend the 


government expert, and saltest of salt sea-captains, 
standing only yesterday on the deck of the Spray, 
was convinced of her famous qualities, and he 
spoke enthusiastically of selling his farm on Cape 
Cod and putting to sea again. 

To young men contemplating a voyage I would 
say go. The tales of rough usage are for the most 
part exaggerations, as also are the stories of sea 
danger. I had a fair schooling in the so-called 
" hard ships " on the hard Western Ocean, and in 
the years there I do not remember having once 
been " called out of my name." Such recollections 
have endeared the sea to me. I owe it further to the 
officers of all the ships I ever sailed in as boy and 
man to say that not one ever lifted so much as a 
finger to me. I did not live among angels, but 
among men who could be roused. My wish was, 
though, to please the officers of my ship wherever I 
was, and so I got on. Dangers there are, to be 
sure, on the sea as well as on the land, but the in- 
telligence and skill God gives to man reduce these to 
a minimum. And here comes in again the skilfully 
modeled ship worthy to sail the seas. 

To face the elements is, to be sure, no light mat- 
ter when the sea is in its grandest mood. You 
must then know the sea, and know that you know 
it, and not forget that it was made to be sailed 

I have given in the plans of the Spray the di- 
mensions of such a ship as I should call seaworthy 
in all conditions of weather and on all seas. It is 
only right to say, though, that to insure a reasona- 
ble measure of success, experience should sail with 


the ship. But in order to be a successful navigator 
or sailor it is not necessary to hang a tar-bucket 
about one's neck. On the other hand, much 
thought concerning the brass buttons one should 
wear adds nothing to the safety of the ship. 

I may some day see reason to modify the model 
of the dear old Spray, but out of my limited expe- 
rience I strongly recommend her wholesome lines 
over those of pleasure-fliers for safety. Practice in 
a craft such as the Spray will teach young sailors 
and fit them for the more important vessels. I my- 
self learned more seamanship, I think, on the Spray 
than on any other ship I ever sailed, and as for 
patience, the greatest of all the virtues, even while 
sailing through the reaches of the Strait of Magel- 
lan, between the bluff mainland and dismal FuegO, 
where through intricate sailing I was obliged to 
steer, I learned to sit by the wheel, content to make 
ten miles a day beating against the tide, and when 
a month at that was all lost, I could find some old 
tune to hum while I worked the route all over 
again, beating as before. Nor did thirty hours at 
the wheel, in storm, overtax my human endurance, 
and to clap a hand to an oar and pull into or out of 
port in a calm was no strange experience for the 
crew of the Spray. The days passed happily with 
me wherever my ship sailed. 

BIN im SECT. JAN 15 1975 



Slocum, Joshua 

Sailing alone around, the 
3628 world Pan .American ed.