roger dot kiwi dot nz

December 1873

Day 40 – Monday December 1st

On watch from 12 until 3am. Not much wind. Got up at 7am. After breakfast has a general clean-up below – scrubbing etc. The Doctor and Joe Cawthine had a few words. Had up before the Captain – threatened with a month’s imprisonment for gambling. Also had to answer complaints with regards to his mess, he being captain of the same. Mrs. Barlow and Mrs. Hughes up at the same time. A fine morning. Not so much wind. No vessel in sight. Mrs. Harris painted my oil skin coat. Several boobies flying around the vessel. The seaman caught one.

Day 41 – Tuesday December 2nd

One of the first class passengers gave 1/- for the boobie caught last night. At daylight this morning we sighted the rocks of Trinidad in the South Atlantic near the South American coast. At 8:30 passed within two miles of the same. After breakfast we packed away all odd things in a box. Thus we passed the morning. Another small row, between Mrs. L and Mrs. R. No lighthouse on the above rocks. After dinner, had four games of draughts with Robert (2 to 2). Last night John Ede washed his sheets and lost his hat. The evening passed much the same as the others. A concert held forward by the single men for crew.

Day 42 – Wednesday December 3rd

Passed a quiet night. The crew caught another boobie bird. Kept it on deck for some time then let it go. It swam for a while then took wing. After breakfast the boxes were got up on deck. This was a great change of scenery being more like a fair. Opened three boxes. Two were in good order but the last box was mouldy. After dinner more sea birds were seen. After tea spent an hour in the forecastle with William Harris and Robert – then another one aft with W. and R. Coaxing Wheeler to sing a song but without success. At bedtime Walter not very well. Gave him some medicine and put a poultice on.

Day 43 – Thursday December 4th

Passed a quiet night – no wind. Walter a little better this morning. Washing day again among some of the women. Received a growl from Andrews and his wife respecting Johnie and the clean clothes. Nothing but rows in the Dunfillan. No vessel in sight or sea birds either. In the evening a concert was held on the quarter deck. The doctor presided. Went to bed about 10. A fine night, not much wind.

Day 44 – Friday December 5th

Passed a quiet night. The wind a little more in our favour. After dinner two sea birds were seen. About 4pm the sails of a ship were seen on our weather side. Jimmy Lind lost his sheet. The Constable found the same in Morrison’s berth. Fanny found her lost body of frock in Polly Saunders’ bag with other Sunday lost things belonging to other people. On watch until midnight. A fine night.

Day 45 – Saturday December 6th

Passed a quiet night. A fine morning, very warm. Not much wind. No vessel or birds in sight before dinner but Wm. Vann’s (?)hair in the forecastle. Had salt beef and rice for dinner. At 7:30pm a concert was held forward. ??? ??? chairman, when several of the single men and some of the crew sang some good songs. Killed another sheep in the afternoon.

Day 46 – Sunday December 7th

Did not sleep much all night. A pretty good traffic in and out, up and down, at the S. R. . . . Rose about 7:15am. Rained a little, then cleared up. Divine service was held on the quarter deck by the doctor, but no sermon was preached. This morning, rain coming on again. The wind shifted round to the starboard quarter. A little more rain in the afternoon. No service was held in the evening. Had a soda cake for tea. Went to bed about 10pm.

Day 47 – Monday December 8th

A fair wind all night. Slept better, it being a little colder. A fine morning with the breeze in our favour. In the afternoon the baker and L. had some words. In the evening the single girls held a concert among themselves – no-one admitted. In the evening the B and A held a B S. Mr. Wicks gave a pint bottle of stout between myself and Andrews. Walter got a very bad inflammation in the eye.

Day 48 – Tuesday December 9th

This turned out a very funny night. The ship rolling very much – rolling in all directions – tin plates, lumps of meat, stools, cans, boxes etc. flying about. A large trade done in the fruit trade. Nearly all got up at 1am. The women very busy going on deck, called the doctor, also Mr. Wicks up – a fine noise in the stores. Men and women going from one side to the other. A fine breeze in our favour. A bird and a drove of porpoises seen this morning. Walter’s eye still very bad. Tipperary and Harris had a fight.

Day 49 – Wednesday December 10th

A fine breeze all night. Passed a very funny night again – things flying in all directions. The treacle casks in the store-room have turned over – made a fine mess – bottles broken, pickle jars etc. turned over. When in comes Mr. Wicks and swears at the sight. A few birds seen during the day. Walter’s eye a little better. Kept down below all day. During the day repaired the stool. We have now two sick women – Mrs. Griffiths and Mrs. Cawthine. No vessel in sight. Passed a quiet day.

Day 50 – Thursday December 11th

A fair wind all night. The night passed a little quieter. Sarah Ann’s washing day. Walter’s eye a very little better. No ship in sight. Several birds were seen, also a few whales. In the afternoon another sheep was killed. No concert was held this evening. The air very cold. Went to bed early.

Day 51 – Friday December 12th

A fair wind all night. Got up at 8am. After breakfast Mr. Gibson and some of the crew commenced putting the store in order. Found a quantity of drink short. Finished about 5:30pm after which a search was made for brandy in all the bunks. Found an empty bottle but was not quick enough to find the others and a fine set-out this was. Little Wattie’s eye no better. A few birds in sight but no vessel. No concert, but a pipe and drum band marched round the gallery twice.

Day 52 – Saturday December 13th

Rose at 6:15am. A lovely morning. Two lots of sea birds floating on the sea like so many ducks. Several birds also seen flying about. Walter’s eye a little better. Put up a swing to please the children. At dinner time the cook went before the Captain for not cooking the rice. This is the third complaint this week. The doctor inclined for a conversation respecting the store room, but I was not. No vessel in sight. A concert was held forward by the single men.

Day 53 – Sunday December 14th

Wind still in our favour, but too rough for divine service on deck. But in the morning it was held down in the single women’s place and in the afternoon in the single men’s place. A few birds were seen during the day, but no vessel. Had a meat pie for dinner. Went to bed early.

Day 54 – Monday December 15th

On watch last night 12 – 3am. Wind still in our favour. Doing from 10 to 12 knots. A flight of birds followed us all day, picking up the refuse stuff thrown overboard. Mr. O’Keef and Mrs. Pumphrey had some words. In the afternoon, one of the black pigs was killed – weight about 3 to 4 score pounds. Rather rough during the day, inclined for snow. In the evening John Ede had one of his teeth drawn.

Day 55 – Tuesday December 16th

Passed a rather rough night. Fair wind. Ship going 11 knots an hour. A rainy comfortless day. Had a charcoal fire below. Walter’s eye a little better. A few birds still following the ship. No vessel in sight. The steward cut the pig up, which weighed 3 score 14 pounds, being rather lean. John Samuel a shocking bad boy. Put to bed at tea time without any tea.

Day 56 – Wednesday December 17th

A fair wind all night. No rain. This morning the sun shining which is a treat to us all. Walter’s eye somewhat better. John’s throat being bad, the doctor put something to it, after which he fell down and cut his eye against the meat tin very much. The doctor was again called to him. Made two small stools today – one for Walter, the other for Harry. No vessel in sight today, but several different kinds of birds. At 8 o’clock pm, the ship going 7 knots.

Day 57 – Thursday December 18th

A wet morning, not much wind. Going 1pm at rate of five knots an hour. Walter’s eye and John’s throat very bad. A cold cheerless day – very foggy in the afternoon. No vessel in sight, but a few birds during the day.

Day 58 – Friday December 19th

Passed a quiet night. Rose at 8 o’clock. A fine morning. Wind right aft. John and Walter a little better. Made another stool for Mrs. Humphrey. Several birds in sight during the day but no vessel. In the afternoon, spent an hour in the forecastle with Robert, James and Wm. In the morning had the rheumatism in my hips. Wm. gave me a dose for the same. Mr. Sutton made three stools. At 9:30pm the wind on port quarter.

Day 59 – Saturday December 20th

Rose at 8:00am. A wet morning. Wind on our port quarter. Going the rate of 12 knots an hour. Walter and John a little better. Took another dose of Wm’s medicine. A bird or two flying about but no vessel in sight. On the following day . . .

Day 60 – Sunday December 21st

The under steward, on going to my cabin with hot water, spilt some on the face of Kate Black, for which he received 12 stripes and a kicking from the Captain. Passed a rather rough night. A very foggy, cold morning. Ship rolling very much during the night – barrels and different things making a great noise. Wind at midnight blowing nearly a gale. Went along fine. O’Keef and Griffiths had words and a blow. The Captain came up and put a stop to it. Rain during the day. A few birds flying about but no vessel in sight. We were all mustered in the morning but no service was held. Took another dose of Wm’s medicine. John and Walter a little better.

Day 61 – Monday December 22nd

Passed a rough night. Ship hove to for four hours in a gale of wind. At 8:00am, a very large ice-berg on our starboard side, 10,000 tons in weight, about 5 or 6 miles off. A bitter, cold day, ship rolling very much. Sent everybody and everything flying. Children in bed most of the day. No vessel in sight all day but plenty of birds to be seen. Mrs. Barlow was injured by falling down, also Mrs. Howarth’s baby scalded by hot gruel in the face. Emma Jane had tea with us. On getting the water in the can had a roll over for the first time. At four o’clock, a disturbance about the biscuits.

Day 62 – Tuesday December 23rd

Passed another rough night. At 3am, passed another iceberg. Sea very rough. Several birds of different sorts flying about. No ships in sight. Shipped many heavy seas during the day. Our place below like a pond. Distance run 270 miles in the last 24 hours. Weather very cold. In the afternoon the steward killed one of the sheep. Walter and John much better. People and things flying in all directions. James Lind received a ducking from a sea and went to bed.

Day 63 – Wednesday December 24th

Passed another night of rocking. At 11:00am shipped a heavy sea. Place below like a pond. A very cold night. Water barrels broke loose – made a great noise. A few birds in sight but no vessels. A fight between Joe the cook and the under steward about spilling a little water. This has not been much like Christmas Eve. Mr. Gibson, second mate, on fore royal yard looking for some islands. We did not go near enough to be seen. On Christmas Day, Mr. Isaacs, a first class passenger, caught and shot a Cape hen.

Day 64 – Xmas Day, Thursday December 25

Passed a rather rough night. A little disturbance among the crew in the ships’s galley. A fine bright morning. The mother up all night boiling the pudding for Christmas dinner, but these turned out very indifferent. Had P. meat pie for dinner. Made a Christmas tree for the doctor, which pleased the children – in the afternoon very much all kinds of small clothes being on the same. Some birds were seen all day, but no vessel. The sea much quieter. The wind on the port quarter. By the doctor’s permission, Robert, James and William came down to tea, after which a song was sung with the Barlow family. The doctor broke the party up at 9:00pm.

Day 65 – Friday December 26th

Passed a quiet night. Slept well. Rose at 8:00am. Wind on our port quarter. Ship not rolling so much until the evening, when it began again. Very foggy in the morning. More birds flying about but no vessel in sight. Another pig killed for the cabin. Several droves of porpoises seen during the day. The pig that was killed and hung up on the mizzen rigging fell to the deck.

Day 66 – Saturday December 27th

Passed a night of rocking – no sleep all night scarcely. Got up at 8:30am. Ship went well all night. Wind shifted to our starboard quarter. A bitter cold morning. A little sleet fell. More birds in sight, but no vessel. In the night a little snow fell. Wind still in our favour. Ship sailing well. Went to bed at 9:15am.

Day 67 – Sunday December 28th

Ship sailed well all night. Not quite so much rocking. Slept a little better. A fine morning, not quite so cold. Several birds in sight but no vessel. No service held this morning, neither were the passengers mustered. A drove of porpoises round the ship. Henry Jones harpooned one, bent the harpoon and lost the fish. Jerry lost his cap overboard. Divine service held down the married place, but no sermon was preached. Went to bed about 9pm.

Day 68 – Monday December 29th

Had a fair wind all night. Ship sailed well. A fine morning but very cold. Plenty of birds flying about but no vessel in sight. Bought a ticket of Earl, one of the seamen, for a model vessel to be drawn for, also James, Robert and Wm. In the afternoon a little sleet fell. In the evening Mrs. Isaac, a first class passenger, caught a spotted Cape hen.

Day 69 – Tuesday December 30th

Passed a quiet night. Ship sailed well all night. A dull cold morning. Plenty of birds in sight but no vessel. This day passed the same as many others on board the Dunfillan. Walter and Johnnie much better. The doctor lent me the Lyttelton Times newspaper with an account of his last voyage to Canterbury etc.

Day 70 – Wednesday December 31st

Ship sailed well all night 13½ knots. Not quite so cold. Several birds in sight but no vessel. Down in the single men’s compartment from 2 to 6:30pm, the hatches being up and the mates squaring up the forehole. Robert had tea with us below. At 9:45pm the matron reported the smell of fire, which turned out to be the string of a lamp burning. This caused a little alarm with a few.