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The allowance I issued to-day was an ounce and a half of pork, a teaspoonful of rum, half a pint of cocoanut milk, and an ounce of bread. The rum, though so small in quantity, was of the greatest service. A fishing-line was generally towing from the stern of the boat, but though we saw great numbers of fish, we could never catch one.
In the afternoon we cleaned out the boat, and it employed us till sunset to get everything dry and in order. Hitherto I had issued the allowance by guess, but I now made a pair of scales with two cocoanut shells, and having accidentally some pistol-balls in the boat, twenty-five of which weighed one pound, or sixteen ounces, I adopted one ball as the proportion of weight that each person should receive of bread at the times I served it. I also amused all hands with describing the situation of New Guinea and New Holland, and gave them every information in my power, that, in case any accident happened to me, those who survived might have some idea of what they were about, and be able to find their way to Timor, which at present they knew nothing of more than the name, and some not even that. At night I served a quarter of a pint of water and half an ounce of bread for supper.
Saturday, 9th.—About nine in the evening the clouds began to gather, and we had a prodigious fall of rain, with severe thunder and lightning. By midnight we caught about twenty gallons of water. Being miserably wet and cold, I served to the people a teaspoonful of rum each, to enable them to bear with their distressed situation. The weather continued extremely bad, and the wind increased; we spent a very miserable night, without sleep, except such as could be got in the midst of rain. The day brought no relief but its light. The sea broke over us so much, that two men were constantly bailing; and we had no choice
how to steer, being obliged to keep before the waves, for fear of the boat filling.
The allowance now regularly served to each person was I-25th of a pound of bread, and a quarter of a pint of water, at eight in the morning, at noon, and at sunset. Today I gave about half an ounce of pork for dinner, which, though any moderate person would have considered only as a mouthful, was divided into three or four.
All Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, the wet weather continued, with heavy seas and squalls. As there was no prospect of getting our clothes dried, my plan was to make every one strip, and wring them through the salt water, by which means they received a warmth that, while wet with rain, they could not have. We were constantly shipping seas and bailing, and were very wet and cold during the night. The sight of the islands which we were always passing served only to increase the misery of our situation. We were very little better than starving, with plenty in view; yet to attempt procuring any•relief was attended with so much danger, that prolonging of life, even in the midst of misery, was thought preferable, while there remained hopes of being able to surmount our hardships. For my own part, I consider the general run of cloudy weather to be a blessing of Providence. Hot weather would have caused us to have died with thirst, and probably being so constantly covered with rain or sea protected us from that dreadful calamity.
Saturday, 16th.—The sun breaking out through the clouds gave us hopes of drying our wet clothes; but the sunshine was of short duration. We had strong breezes at south-east by south, and dark gloomy weather, with storms of thunder, lightning, and rain. The night was truly horrible, and not a star to be seen, so that our steerage was uncertain.
Sunday, 17th.–At dawn of day I found every person
complaining, and some of them solicited extra allowance, which I positively refused. Our situation was miserable; always wet, and suffering extreme cold during the night, without the least shelter from the weather. Being constantly obliged to bail, to keep the boat from filling, was perhaps not to be reckoned an evil. as it gave us exercise.
The little rum we had was of great service. When our nights were particularly distressing, I generally served a teaspoonful or two to each person; and it was always joyful tidings when they heard of my intentions.
The night was dark and dismal, the sea constantly breaking over us, and nothing but the wind and waves to direct our steerage. It was my intention, if possible, to make to New Holland, to the southwest of Endeavor Straits, being sensible that it was necessary to preserve such a situation as would make a southerly wind a fair one; that we might range along the reefs till an opening should be found into smooth water, and we the sooner be able to pick up some refreshments.
Monday and Tuesday were terrible days, heavy rain with lightning. We were always bailing. On Wednesday the 20th, at dawn of day, some of my people seemed half dead. Our appearance was horrible, and I could look no way but I caught the eye of some one in distress. Extreme hunger was now too evident; but no one suffered from thirst, nor had we much inclination to drink - that desire, perhaps, being satisfied through the skin. The little sleep we got was in the midst of water, and we constantly awoke with severe cramps and pains in our bones.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday, we were in the same distressed condition, and I began to fear that such another night or two would put an end to us. On Saturday, however, the wind moderated in the evening, and the weather looked much better, which rejoiced all hands, so that they ate their scanty allowance with more satisfaction than for
some time past. The night also was fair; but being always wet with the sea, we suffered much from the cold.
Sunday, 24th.—A fine morning, I had the pleasure to see produce some cheerful countenances; and the first time, for fifteen days past, we experienced comfort from the warmth of the sun. We stripped, and hung our clothes up to dry, which were by this time become so threadbare, that they would not keep out either wet or cold.
This afternoon we had many birds about us which are never seen far from land, such as boobies and noddies. As the sea began to run fair, and we shipped but little water, I took the opportunity to examine into the state of our bread, and found that, according to the present mode of issuing, there was a sufficient quantity remaining for twentynine days' allowance, by which time I hoped we should be able to reach Timor; but as this was very uncertain, and it was possible that, after all, we might be obliged to go to Java, I determined to proportion the allowance so as to make our stock hold out six weeks. I was apprehensive that this would be ill received, and that it would require my utmost resolution to enforce it; for small as the quantity was which I intended to take away for our future good, yet it might appear to my people like robbing them of life; and some, who were less patient than their companions, I expected would very ill brook it. However, on my representing the necessity of guarding against delays that might be occasioned in our voyage by contrary winds or other causes, and promising to enlarge upon the allowance as we got on, they cheerfully agreed to my proposal. It was accordingly settled that every person should receive 1-25th of a pound of bread for breakfast, and the same quantity for dinner; so that, by omitting the proportion for supper, we had forty-three days' allowance.
Monday, 25th.–At noon some noddies came so near to us, that one of them was caught by hand. This bird was
about the size of a small pigeon. I divided it, with its entrails, into eighteen portions and by a well-known method at sea, of "Who shall have this?" 1 it was distributed, with the allowance of bread and water for dinner, and ate up, bones and all, with salt water for sauce. I observed the latitude 13 degrees 32 minutes south; longitude made 35 degrees 19 minutes west, course north 89 degrees west, distance one hundred and eight miles.
In the evening, several boobies flying very near to us,
had the good fortune to catch one of them. This bird is as large as a duck. I directed the bird to be killed for supper, and the blood to be given to three of the people who were most distressed for want of food. The body, with the entrails, beak, and feet, I divided into eighteen shares, and, with an allowance of bread, which I made a merit of granting, we made a good supper, compared with our usual fare.
Sailing on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I. at length became satisfied that we were approaching New Holland. This was actually the case; and after passing the reefs which bound that part of the coast, we found ourselves in smooth water. Two islands lay about four miles to the west by north, and appeared eligible for a resting-place, if for nothing more; but on our approach to the nearest island, it proved to be only a heap of stones, and its size too inconsiderable to shelter the boat. We therefore proceeded to the next, which was close to it, and towards the main. We landed to examine if there were any signs of the natives being near us: we saw some old fireplaces, but nothing to make me apprehend that this would be an unsafe situa
*One person turns his back on the object that is to be divided; another then points separately to the portions, at each of them asking aloud, "Who shall have this?” to which the first answers by naming somebody. This impartial method of division gives every man an equal chance of the best share.