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Title: Sailing Alone Around the World
Author: Slocum, Joshua, 1844-1910?
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: The "Spray" from a photograph taken in Australian


By Captain Joshua Slocum






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_.


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.


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.


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.


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--Preparing for the stormy weather of the cape.


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.


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 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 life.


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


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 defensive against a fleet of canoes--A record of
voyages through the strait--A chance cargo of tallow.


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.


The islanders of Juan Fernandez entertained with Yankee doughnuts--The
beauties of Robinson 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 reckoning.


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.


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.


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
shipwreck--Friends on the Australian coast--Perils of a coral sea.


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.


A call for careful navigation--Three hours' steering in twenty-three
days--Arrival at the Keeling Cocos Islands--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 Antichrist--The governor calms the fears of
the people--A lecture--A convent in the hills.


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.


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 Krüger'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.


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.


In the favoring current off Cape St. Roque, Brazil--All at sea
regarding 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


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.



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.


THE "Spray" Frontispiece FROM a photograph taken in Australian waters.









JULY 3, 1898




























































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 province, 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
birthplace mentioned on his certificate be Nova Scotia. I was born in
a cold spot, on coldest North Mountain, 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 inclination 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

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 galley, 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 voyage. Thus I came
"over the bows," and not in through the cabin windows, to the command
of a ship.

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 sailing-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
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

[Illustration: Drawn by W. Taber. The _Northern Light_, Captain Joshua
Slocum, bound for Liverpool, 1885.]

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, neglecting all else. Next in
attractiveness, after seafaring, came ship-building. I longed to be
master in both professions, and in a small way, in time, I
accomplished 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'll 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 already found that I could not
obtain work in the shipyard without first paying fifty dollars to a
society, 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 something 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 neighbors declared had been built in the
year 1. She was affectionately propped up in a field, some distance
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?"_ The day I appeared 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
amazement. "Will it pay?" 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 appeared 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,
declaring 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 daylight 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
construction, in all about a thousand. It was my purpose to make my
vessel stout and strong.

[Illustration: Cross-section of the _Spray_.]

Now, it is a law in Lloyd's that the _Jane_ repaired all out of the
old until she is 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 cooking-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 sufficiently 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'll crawl!" cried a man from Marion, passing
with a basket of clams on his back. "It'll 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."

[Illustration: "'It'll crawl'"]

However, 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 bottom, two of white lead on the
topsides and bulwarks. 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-trip--all 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 cunning 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 whistles 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 seaward, 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 engaging 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 piloted, lay
stranded and broken. This was the _Venetian._ 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, passing 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,_ bounding 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 Gloucester'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 braining 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 couldn'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 careless indifference to say for
me, "Oh, that's nothing"; 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 several 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, fitting 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, top, 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 beach.

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 hooking the
throat-halyards into a strop fitted for the purpose. A whole dory
would be heavy and awkward 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
washing-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 notions 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 chronometer, a good one, had been long in
disuse. It would cost fifteen dollars to clean and rate it. Fifteen
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 summer voyage. "Who'll
pay for that?" 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 altogether. Anyhow, no bill was
sent after me.

The weather was mild on the day of my departure 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
handkerchiefs and caps. Pretty faces peered out of the windows from
the top to the bottom of the building, 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 dangerous! 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
provisions 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 "stradding" 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 hooking 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
being 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, and I
put to sea, first writing up my log from Cape Ann, not omitting a full
account of my adventure with the whale.

[Illustration: "'No dorg nor no cat.'"]

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
afternoon 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 didn'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 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 deacon's mind.

[Illustration: The deacon's dream.]

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 charming. 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 successfully 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 merchant let me have it for a

[Illustration: 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 boisterous Atlantic was
before me, and I sent the topmast down, knowing that the _Spray_ would
be the wholesomer with it on deck. Then I gave the lanyards 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 prevailed. 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 having 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 midnight 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 engulfed.

[Illustration: "'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, apparently 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 startled 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 increasing 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 laughing, 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 affairs 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?" But getting
no reply, I was reminded the more palpably of my condition. My voice
sounded hollow 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'll 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 shy.

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 morning 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 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 sundown he was as far astern as he had been ahead
the evening before.

[Illustration: "He also sent his card."]

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 somewhat 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 haven'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_.

[Illustration: Chart of the _Spray's_ course around the world--April
24, 1895, to July 3, 1898]

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 gamboling all about. The S.S. _Olympia_
passed at 11:30 A.M., long. W. 34 degrees 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 captain 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 believe, was the cause of the disaster to the liner
_Atlantic_, and many more like her. The captain knew too well where he
was. There were no porpoises at all skipping along with the _Olympia_!
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
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.

[Illustration: The island of Pico.]

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 vessel, 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. However, after fouling all the craft in port and
sinking a lighter, she was moored without much damage to herself. This
wonderful pilot expected a "gratification," 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. Islanders 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 capital, 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
couldn'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 simplicity 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 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 him."

[Illustration: Chart of the _Spray's_ Atlantic voyages from Boston to
Gibraltar, thence to the Strait of Magellan, in 1895, and finally
homeward bound from the Cape of Good Hope in 1898.]


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.

I set sail from Horta early on July 24. The southwest 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
mainsail, double-reefed, when a squall of wind down the mountains
struck the sloop with such violence that I thought her mast would go.
However, 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
smuggler. I had some difficulty in making him comprehend 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 increasing 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 prudence, have made
all snug and gone down at once to my cabin. I am 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 myself 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 astonishment. 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 tomorrow." 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; 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--"

[Illustration: The apparition at the wheel.]

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

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 calentura," 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 peevish, 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 careless 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'll smash your
boats!" I called out again and again, as the seas crashed on the cabin
over my head. "You'll 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
everything 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
racehorse. 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 moderating, and by noon the
sun was shining. A meridian 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 gathered 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 overhauled 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 harpoon 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 burton 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 mainsail 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 accomplished fact. One great feature about
ship's cooking 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.

[Illustration: Coming to anchor at Gibraltar.]

Two Italian barks, which had been close alongside 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 steamers.

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 reasonable 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 compliments 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
_Collingwood_, _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'll
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. Construction and repair, there! will you see to the
_Spray_? Say, old man, you must have knocked the devil out of her
coming over alone in twenty-nine days! But we'll make it smooth for
you here!" Not even her Majesty's ship the _Collingwood_ was better
looked after than the _Spray_ at Gibraltar.

[Illustration: The _Spray_ at anchor off Gibraltar.]

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
convenient 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 limited 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? 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 excavation in the world, for military purposes, at all
approaching these of Gibraltar in conception or execution. Viewing the
stupendous works, it became hard to realize that one was within the
Gibraltar of his little old Morse geography.

Before sailing I was invited on a picnic with the governor, the
officers of the garrison, and the commanders 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 Carrington, the
governor, at Line Wall House, which was once the Franciscan convent.
In this interesting 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 Gibraltar 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 Sunday,
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--Preparing for the stormy weather of the

Monday, August 25, the _Spray_ sailed from Gibraltar, 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 hereabouts is the home of pirates; but I
had hardly accomplished this when I perceived a felucca making out of
the nearest port, and finally following 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 Red 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 sweating it up--probably
not more than fifteen minutes; 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 preparing 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
moment though it was, I got the mainsail down and secured 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 outright. 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 forestaysail, 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 prepared. I
do not remember to have been more tired before or since in all my life
than I was at the finish 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 before, 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 two peaks, away in the east
through the clear atmosphere of morning. Soon after the sun rose even
these were obscured by haze, much to my satisfaction.

[Illustration: Chased by pirates.]

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, swinging motion of the sloop over the waves. All
distracting uneasiness and excitement being now over, I was once more
alone with myself in the realization that I was on the mighty sea and
in the hands of the elements. But I was happy, and was becoming 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 _Spray_.

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 abeam 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
northwest 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 bellying 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

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
northeast, 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 sumptuous
breakfast and dinner.

The _Spray_ had now settled down to the tradewinds 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 passing 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 recuperation. 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
wonderfully 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 estimated 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
confused 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 down in torrents day and night. The _Spray_ struggled and
tossed for ten days, making only three hundred miles on her course in
all that time. I didn'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 seeing 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 direction, so that the wolf of the sea, the shark,
pursuing 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.
Nevertheless, 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 repeated before my eyes over and over, I could hardly
perceive the capture of a single sardine, so dexterously 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 rescued on the same day and brought to
Pernambuco, where I then met them.

On September 25, in the latitude of 5 degrees N., longitude 26 degrees
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 Rio,
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 harpoon, when it hauled its black flag down and disappeared.
September 30, at half-past eleven in the morning, the _Spray_ crossed
the equator in longitude 29 degrees 30' W. At noon she was two miles
south of the line. The southeast trade-winds, met, rather light, in
about 4 degrees 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
was 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 _Destroyer_, by the way, carried a
submarine cannon of enormous length.

In the same expedition went the _Nictheroy_, the ship purchased by the
United States government 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 whirligig 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 approach 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 customs, 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 companies
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 Morocco, 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 declined his offer.

The _Spray_, with a number of old shipmasters on board, sailed about
the harbor of Rio the day before 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
contributed 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--Shortening 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 difference. 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
degrees 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 navigation, but it startled me not a
little to find my position by account verified by the ship's
chronometer. On December 5 a barkantine hove in sight, and for several
days the two vessels sailed along the coast together. Right here a
current was experienced setting north, making it necessary to hug the
shore, with which the _Spray_ became rather familiar. 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 managed 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 eagerness, 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 moderately toward the land, the current was carrying me to
sea, and that something would have to be done. Three times I had been
under water, in trying to right the dory, and I was just saying, "Now
I lay me," when I was seized by a determination 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.

[Illustration: "I suddenly remembered that I could not swim."]

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
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, however, 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, muchacho," I said. He
grunted a reply, and eyed me keenly from head to foot. Then bursting
into a volley 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.

[Illustration: A double surprise.]

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 country.

Early in the day a despatch came from the port captain of Montevideo,
commanding the coastguards 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 become the wreck of a steamer
with a thousand emigrants aboard. The same messenger brought word from
the port captain that he would despatch a steam-tug to tow the _Spray_
to Montevideo. The officer 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 adventure 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 Maldonado 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. Currents on this coast are greatly affected by the prevailing
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 vocabulary 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 Uruguayans 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 Montevideo when the agents of
the Royal Mail Steamship 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 attention to the work of
making the sloop tight. Carpenters mended the keel and also the
life-boat (the dory), painting it till I 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 hungry, 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. & O. 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 current
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'll 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
unusual 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 ourselves 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
magnificent docks. Vast fortunes had been spent in remodeling 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, outside 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 improvements 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 neighboring
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.

[Illustration: At the sign of the comet.]

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 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 arrangement 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 blameless of the germs of
disease. This man surely catered 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

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 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 life.

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 sailing 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 morning 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

[Illustration: A great wave off the Patagonian coast]

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 anchored in the lonely places that a
feeling of awe crept over me. At the last anchorage on the monotonous
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

On the 28th of January the _Spray_ was clear of Point Indio, English
Bank, and all the other dangers 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 resolutions 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 dedicate 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_ seaworthiness. It reassured me against rude Cape Horn.

From the time the great wave swept over the _Spray_ until she reached
Cape Virgins nothing occurred 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 appeared like great whales,
and a bank of haze I could have sworn was high land. The kaleidescope
then changed, and on the following day I sailed in a world peopled by

[Illustration: Entrance to the Strait of Magellan.]

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 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 northwest 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 mainsail 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.

[Illustration: The course of the _Spray_ through the Strait of

Sandy Point (Punta Arenas) is a Chilean coaling-station, and boasts
about two thousand inhabitants, of mixed nationality, but mostly
Chileans. What with sheep-farming, gold-mining, and hunting, 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 Patagonian 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 customhouse 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 governor, himself of a jovial turn of
mind, had sent a party of young bloods to foray a Fuegian settlement
and wipe out what they could of it on account 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, however, 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 carpet-tacks on board. Samblich smiled at my
want of experience, and maintained stoutly that I would have use for
them. "You must use them with discretion," he said; "that is to say,
don't step on them yourself." With this remote hint about the use of
the tacks I got on all right, and saw the way to maintain clear decks
at night without the care of watching.

[Illustration: The man who wouldn't ship without another "mon and a

Samblich was greatly interested in my voyage, and after giving me the
tacks he put on board bags of biscuits and a large quantity 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 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.

[Illustration: A Fuegian Girl.]

The port captain finding that I was resolved to go, even alone, since
there was no help for it, set up no further objections, 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 mountain. 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 without sail
on, over on her beam ends; but, like other gales, they cease now and
then, if only for a short time.

February 20 was my birthday, and I found myself 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 ahead.

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.

[Illustration: Looking west from Fortescue Bay, where the _Spray_ was
chased by Indians. (From a photograph.)]

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 undisturbed two days,
with both anchors down in a bed of kelp. Indeed, she might have
remained undisturbed 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 natives being away to other hunting-grounds,
the island 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 didn't want to "yammerschooner"; 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
"yammerschooner" 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 trigger, and must have
aimed pretty straight; however, 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.

[Illustration: A brush with Fuegians]

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 time or place this would have been
a rash thing to do, and it was safe now only from the fact that the
gale which drove me to shelter would keep the Indians from crossing
the strait. Seeing this was the case, I went ashore with gun and ax on
an island, where I could not in any event be surprised, and there
felled trees and split about a cord of fire-wood, which loaded my
small boat several times.

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

The trees on the island, very scattering, were a sort of beech and a
stunted cedar, both of which made good fuel. Even the green limbs of
the beech, which seemed to possess a resinous quality, burned readily
in my great drum-stove. I have described my method of wooding up in
detail, that the reader who has kindly borne with me so far may see
that in this, as in all other particulars of my voyage, I took great
care against all kinds of surprises, whether by animals or by the
elements. In the Strait of Magellan the greatest vigilance was
necessary. In this instance I reasoned that I had all about me the
greatest danger of the whole voyage--the treachery of cunning savages,
for which I must be particularly on the alert.

The _Spray_ sailed from Three Island Cove in the morning after the
gale went down, but was glad to return for shelter from another sudden
gale. Sailing again on the following day, she fetched Borgia 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 indicate 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 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

[Illustration: A bit of friendly assistance. (After a sketch by
Midshipman Miguel Arenas.)]

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 attempting 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 midshipmen 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 solitude.

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 plentiful. 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--Beaching the strait
again by way of Cockburn Channel--Some savages 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_ reared Cape Pillar rapidly, and, nothing
loath, plunged into the Pacific Ocean at once, taking 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 darkness of
night. The wind freshened, and I took in a third reef. The sea was
confused and treacherous. In such a time as this the old fisherman
prayed, "Remember, Lord, my ship is small and thy sea is so wide!" I
saw now only the gleaming 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 impossible 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, 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 running 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.

[Illustration: Cape Pillar.]

When all had been done that I could do for the safety of the vessel, I
got to the fore-scuttle, between 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 harbored the
shadow of a doubt for her safety, it would have been that she might
spring a leak in the garboard 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 darkness. 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? 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. God 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 discovered, 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

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 happened 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 language 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 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.

[Illustration: "They howled like a pack of hounds."]

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 gunboat 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
appearances 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 williwaws; 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
vengeance, 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 staysail-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. 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.

[Illustration: A glimpse of Sandy Point (Punta Arenas) in the Strait
of Magellan.]

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 anchorage, 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, however, 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 flapped 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.


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 defensive against a fleet of canoes--A record of
voyages through the strait--A chance cargo of tallow.

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 Magellan 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 northwestward 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, meeting the _Spray_ long afterward, reported her as wearing 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 vessel, and even for my own life, was in no
wise lessened 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 savages 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 opposite
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. However, 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 Indian 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

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 antennae 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 didn't know itself from a

I made haste the following morning to be under way after a night of
wakefulness on the weird shore. Before weighing anchor, however, I
prepared 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 before 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.

[Illustration: "Yammerschooner"]

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 incidentally
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-ending begging word "yammerschooner," 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 beckoned 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 Spanish 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 uneasily 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 answered 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

"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
understand, and said, "You have lived at Sandy Point, have you not I"
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?" 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 hinder 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 mentioning 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 toward 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 morning 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 delighted 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 another 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

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.

[Illustration: A contrast in lighting--the electric lights of the
_Colombia_ and the canoe fires of the Fortescue Indians.]

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 the steamer, off
and on, through the night for the pleasure alone of seeing her
electric lights, a pleasing 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 following, 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 meeting 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 death-line.

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 Fortescue 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 exposing 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 mountain
was mirrored in the channel ahead, and the _Spray_ sailing along with
her shadow was as two sloops on the sea.

[Illustration: 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"]

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, somehow, to add loneliness to the
place, and when I came upon a spot where a grave was marked I went no
farther. Returning to the head of the cove, I came to a sort of
Calvary, it appeared to 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 embedded 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

[Illustration: Salving wreckage.]

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 sheetrope 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.

Another gale had then sprung up, but the 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 unshipped, 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

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 rigging, 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 instant 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 passing 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 scampered 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.

[Illustration: "The first shot uncovered three Fuegians."]

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
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 supplies 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, Ocean.

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
experienced 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, slighting 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 ground.

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 lockjaw, and I apostrophized the
_Spray_ as an impatient farmer might his horse or his ox. "Didn't you
know," cried I--"didn't you know that you couldn't climb a tree!" But
the poor old _Spray_ had essayed, and successfully too, nearly
everything 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 discoverer, was
within my rights.

Now at last the _Spray_ carried me free of Tierra del Fuego. If by a
close shave only, still she carried 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 penguins; 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 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.
Occasionally 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 literally 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 God. 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 voyage 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

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

[Illustration: The _Spray_ approaching Juan Fernandez, Robinson
Crusoe's Island.]

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,
meaning 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 flattering 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 meaning 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 between 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 Fernandez was then under
the administration of a governor 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 Janeiro 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 experienced
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 doughnuts--The
beauties of Robinson 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 reckoning.

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 steelyards 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 afterward
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 out.

[Illustration: The house of the king.]

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

[Illustration: Robinson Crusoe's cave.]

A large ship which had arrived some time before, 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, inscribed in Arabic capitals:

       IN MEMORY

     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. Weymouth, A. D. 1723,[A]
     aged 47. This tablet is erected near Selkirk's lookout, by
     Commodore Powell and the officers of H. M. S. Topaze, A. D. 1868.

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

The cave in which Selkirk dwelt while on the island is at the head of
the bay now called Robinson Crusoe Bay. It is around a bold headland
west of the present anchorage and landing. Ships have anchored there,
but it affords a very indifferent 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 Robinson Crusoe Bay in a boat, and with some difficulty
landed through the surf near the cave, which I entered. I found it dry
and inhabitable. It is located in a beautiful nook sheltered 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 1/2 degrees. The island is about fourteen 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
belongs, 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 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 _cabra_ 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.

[Illustration: The man who called 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 children, some the
resting-places of seamen from passing 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 necessarily 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 Robinson 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 Marquesas, 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

I sailed with a free wind day after day, marking the position of my
ship on the chart with considerable 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 compass 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 interesting 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 latitude 12 degrees
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 observation agreed
within five miles of that by dead-reckoning.

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 Marquesas 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 considered 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
approximation, after all, to be corrected by one's own judgment 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 something 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 been.

I was _en rapport_ now with my surroundings, and was carried on a vast
stream where I felt the buoyancy of His hand who made all the worlds.
I realized 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
coming 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 difference between local
and standard time is longitude expressed in time--four minutes, we all
know, representing one degree. This, briefly, is the principle 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 moments 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 apparently frightened. He headed quickly for the east; I
kept on going west. Soon another whale passed, evidently a companion,
following in its wake. I saw no more on this part of the voyage, nor
did I wish to.

[Illustration: Meeting with the whale]

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. Nothing is
more dreadful to the mind of a sailor, I think, than a possible
encounter with a hungry shark.

A number of birds were always about; occasionally 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
formerly. 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 instead 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
naive 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

"To hear you ladies sing," I replied.

[Illustration: First exchange of courtesies in Samoa.]

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

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 first:

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. FANNY V. DE G. STEVENSON.

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 gift.

[Illustration: Vailima, the home of Robert Louis Stevenson.]

The novelist's stepson, Mr. Lloyd Osbourne, walked through the Vailima
mansion with me 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 procession, 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. Whatever 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 Gloucester 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 necessities 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 afterward 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 possible 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 virtue.

To the unconventional mind the punctilious etiquette 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 translated, 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 important 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.

[Illustration: The _Spray's_ course from the Strait of Magellan to
Torres Strait.]

[Illustration: The _Spray's_ course from Australia to South Africa.]

The chief of the Tongas and his family at Caini, returning my 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

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, and on going ashore to jump off the stern and swim away; nothing
could have been more delightfully 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, 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
Rhine," which I had never heard before. "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 accomplished 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 exclaimed, "Was ever king
ferried in such state?" Then, suiting his action to the sentiment, he
gave the damsel pieces of silver till the natives watching 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. Young, the father of the
late Queen Margaret, who was Queen of Manua from 1891 to 1895. Her
grandfather was an English sailor who married a princess. Mr. Young is
now the only survivor 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 gentleman 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 message himself, and
seemed greatly pleased to hear so directly from the publishers of the
"Missionary Review," and wished me to make his compliments in return.
His Majesty then excused himself, 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 uniform 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 description of the great cape, and
read it well. He afterward 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, important 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 reported 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

I arrived at Newcastle in the teeth of a gale of wind. It was a stormy
season. The government pilot, Captain Cumming, met me at the harbor
bar, and with the assistance of a steamer carried my vessel 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.

[Illustration: The accident at Sydney.]

Summer was approaching, and the harbor of Sydney was blooming with
yachts. Some of them 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 Australia. 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 barrel, and, too, when I was not fishing for

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 circumnavigators of 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, northeast.
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 same."

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 seeking shelter. The keeper of the light at
that station, 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.

[Illustration: Captain Slocum working the _Spray_ out of the Yarrow
River, 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 collector 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
exhibition, 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
responsibility over to him.

[Illustration: The shark on the deck of the _Spray_.]

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
imaginary 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 enthusiasm, 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
German soap-boiler at Samoa, put me in ample funds.

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, January, 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 favorable winds through Torres
Strait, by way of the Great Barrier Reef, the route I finally decided
on. To sail this course would be taking advantage 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
credulous 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 disposed 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.

[Illustration: On board at St. Kilda. Retracing on the chart the
course of the _Spray_ from Boston.]

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
monsters 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
shipwreck--Friends on the Australian coast--Perils of a coral sea.

February 1,1897, on returning to my vessel 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 contained. 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 Australia.

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
Beaconsfield and the great Tasmania gold-mine, which I visited in
turn. I saw much gray, uninteresting 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 landing-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
daughter. 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 Georgetown, near the mouth of
the river Tamar. This little settlement, I believe, marks the place
where the first footprints were made by whites in Tasmania, though it
never grew to be more than a hamlet.

Considering that I had seen something of the world, and finding people
here interested in adventure, I talked the matter over before my first
audience 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 attendance 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 Devonport, 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 inquire: "What did you live on? What
did you eat?"

[Illustration: The _Spray_ in her port duster at Devonport, Tasmania,
February 22, 1897.]

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 his 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
doctor 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 cured.

The _Spray_ was hauled out on the marine railway at Devonport and
examined carefully top and bottom, but was found absolutely free from
the destructive 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
pleasant 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 Christmas 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 tempestuous 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 shouting 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 saying 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.
Collishaw 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 before.

Having a full set of admiralty sheet-charts of the coast and Barrier
Reef, I felt easy in mind. Captain 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

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 circumnavigators, 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_[B], 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. 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
Murrumbidgee[C] 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.

[B] _Akbar_ was not her registered name, which need not be told

[C] The Murrumbidgee is a small river winding among the mountains of
Australia, and would be the last place in which to look for a whale.

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,
naturally, 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.

[Illustration: "'Is it a-goin' to blow?'"]

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

I thought, "If ever you get back, don't refit," but I said: "Give me
the end of a rope, and I'll 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-sails; for their
mainsail had been blown to ribbons, even the jigger had been blown
away, and her rigging 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'll go back to Newcastle. We missed
Newcastle on the way coming; we didn'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 passing me a rope; of this I
assured them, but they declined even this, in sheer ignorance of a
rational course.

"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'll give you a lead."

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

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

The trifling service proffered by the _Spray_ would have saved their

"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 "Farewell." 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 reported 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 purchase. It was about eighteen days before I 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 _Akbar,_ from Sydney for New Guinea, three hands on
board, lost at Crescent Head; the crew saved.

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 uneventful 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 degrees 12' south.

"What vessel is that?" 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 didn't even ask if the "voyage would pay," but they
threw out this friendly message, "Wishing you a pleasant voyage,"
which at that very moment I was having.

May 19 the _Spray_, passing the Tweed River, 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,

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 sentinel 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, evidently 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 rejoiced, 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 another. 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 hand.

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 charming.


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 watering 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

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 creation," as the "Boomerang" afterward

Mr. Myles, magistrate, harbor-master, land commissioner, gold warden,
etc., was chairman, and introduced 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 lantern, 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 constant 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
tradewinds, 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

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 admiralty 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 Beef
Channel, in all sincerity, was clearer than a highway in a busy city,
and by all odds less dangerous. But to any one contemplating 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.

[Illustration: The _Spray_ leaving Sydney, Australia, in, the new suit
of sails given by Commodore Foy of Australia. (From a photograph.)]

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 navigator had seen, for I
was now on a seaman's consecrated ground. But there seemed a question
in 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, couldn'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 hadn'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 circumnavigator was murdered.
This took my breath, but a bright school-boy coming along relieved my
embarrassment, for, like all boys, seeing that information was wanted,
he volunteered to supply it. Said he: "Captain Cook wasn't murdered
'ere at all, ma'am; 'e was killed in Hafrica: a lion et 'im."

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 Cooktown for scurvy-grass, as I always thought, and "incidentally"
to land mails. On her sick-list was my fevered self; and so I didn'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 something 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;
everybody talked, and they made a roaring success of it. Judge
Chester, the magistrate, was at the head of 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 Cooktown 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 sundown, 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 Channel that the
_Spray_ anchored, except at Port Denison and at Endeavor River. On the
very night following 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 wasn't there; at least, I didn't see it. I
hadn't time to look for it after she struck, and certainly it didn'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
natives 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 islands, 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 wishing 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 considered near
enough. A strong current was pressing 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 directing
me to a berth. This done, he at once came on board to clasp hands. The
_Tarawa_ was a Californian, 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 life.

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
Thursday 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 jubilee.
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 professor'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 features, and their women were, if possible, still more ill

I observed that on the day of the jubilee no foreign 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. Speaking 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. Taking 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_, on which 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 _Soushay_, 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 custom of this strange postal
service for many years. Some of the letters brought back by our boat
were directed to New Bedford, and some to Fairhaven, Massachusetts.

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, exchanged
signals with the keeper of the light. Sailing 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 advantage 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 Australia toward the islands
bent their course over the _Spray_. Smaller birds were seen flying in
the opposite 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

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 degrees 23' S.
  Longitude as per mark on the chart.

There wasn'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, on, as per guess, about equal--let it
  go at that.

  Latitude by observation at noon, 10 degrees 25' S.

For several days now the _Spray_ sailed west on the parallel of 10
degrees 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 longitude. 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 stretch.

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 11th, with all sail set and with the spinnaker 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 proportions 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
_Tawfore_, when he 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 himself 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 Cocos Islands--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 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 keeping 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 southwest. 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 unmistakable
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." Farther on I came among a
great number of birds fishing, 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 didn'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 couldn'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 Thursday 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.[D]

[D] Mr. Andrew J. Leach, reporting, July 21, 1897, through Governor
Kynnersley of Singapore, to Joseph Chamberlain, Colonial Secretary, said
concerning the _Iphegenia's_ visit to the atoll: "As we left the ocean
depths of deepest blue and entered the coral circle, the contrast 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 tinder 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 Ross, the eldest son of Mr. George Ross, came off to
meet us, and soon after, accompanied 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."

The Keeling Cocos Islands, according to Admiral Fitzroy, R. N., lie
between the latitudes of 11 degrees 50' and 12 degrees 12' S., and the
longitudes of 96 degrees 51' and 96 degrees 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, according to the history of coral reefs, will be a
continuous 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 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-Boss, who in 1814 touched in
the ship _Borneo_ on a voyage to India. Captain Boss returned 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 outfit, as if he had come to

On his previous visit, however, Boss 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 kingdom to take possession of it,
women and all. The force of forty women, with only one man to command
them, was not equal to driving eight sturdy sailors back into the sea.[E]

[E] 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.

From this time on Hare had a hard time of it. 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: "Dear 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 indignation, 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.

[Illustration: The _Spray_ ashore for "boot-topping" at the Keeling
Islands. (From a photograph.)]

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 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 answer.

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
_kpeting_ (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 Mohammedan priest, Sama
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 tide.

On the 22d of July arrived H.M.S. _Iphegenia,_ 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 Bosses 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
lawsuit 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 society 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 tridaena shell of Keeling, 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 helplessly to sea, where we should have been
incontinently 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 been
hard to find. It is needless to say that I took no more such chances.
The tridacna were afterward 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.

[Illustration: Captain Slocum drifting out to sea.]

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 heavily 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 considerably 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-ending 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 resting 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 necessity, 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 always 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 observed, 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 appearance there, all alone, far out in the
Indian Ocean, like land adrift. The windward side was uninviting, 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 reefs.

It was a curious thing that at all of the islands some reality was
insisted on as unreal, while improbabilities were clothed as hard
facts; and so it happened 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 coming. 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 herself in. When she heard that I was actually coming 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 Excellency, besides great
hospitality to me, the building 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 Rodriguez. 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, however, 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._" 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 Excellency 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 whatever
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 convenience for filling pure and
wholesome water in any quantity, Governor Roberts having built a
reservoir 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 potatoes 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.

[Illustration: The _Spray_ at Mauritius.]

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
Mauritius, 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 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, forbearing 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_
without 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 discouraging 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
experience 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_."[F] 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 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.

[F] Guinea-hen

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 Governor Roberts of
Rodriguez, and with his friends the Very Reverend Fathers O'Loughlin
and McCarthy. 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 botanist seemed pleased that I had come.
How different things are in different countries! In Boston,
Massachusetts, 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 Reduit 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, mayn't we, and we'll 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.
However, 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'll 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 spinning 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 steward.

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 appointment. 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, mayn'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 deck.

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 earnestly the good
harbor-master of Mauritius said, "I'll find the _Spray_ and I'll 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, Madagascar.

The sloop was now drawing near the limits of the trade-wind, and the
strong breeze that had carried 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_ suffered 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 encountered 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 timepiece 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 prevailed off this coast during the past few
weeks, the _Spray_ must have had a very stormy voyage from Mauritius
to Natal." 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 newspaper. 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 required to sail a
sloop of even the _Spray's_ small tonnage. 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 heard that others made similar
nonsensical remarks, adding that I would work myself to death. But
here is what the Durban paper said:

[Citation: 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 auspicious 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 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.

[Illustration: Captain Joshua Slocum.]

I found that Durban supported two yacht-clubs, both of them full of
enterprise. I met all the members of both clubs, and sailed in the
crack yacht _Florence_ of the Royal Natal, with Captain Spradbrow and
the Right Honorable Harry Escombe, premier of the colony. The yacht's
center-board plowed furrows through the mud-banks, which, according 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 Pretoria,
and had already as good as flayed President Krüger 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 himself. 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
experience. He looked me over carefully, and said, "What an example of
patience!" "Patience is all 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
Krüger prepared 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
experience. 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 God, you must admit
that the world is flat." "If the Word of God stands on a flat world--"
I began. "What!" cried he, losing himself 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 globe.

While I feebly portray the ignorance of these learned men, I have
great admiration for their physical 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 before 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 ourselves 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

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 carried her
clear of the bar, and again she was "off on her alone," as they say in


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 Krüger'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.

The Cape of Good Hope was now the most prominent 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 distance to Table Bay, where I intended to call, was about
eight hundred miles over what might prove a rough sea. The early
Portuguese navigators, endowed 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 mutinied. 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 discovered
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, I 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, "Wishing 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 exchanged
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 different 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 world.

One more gale of wind came down upon the _Spray_ from the west after
she passed Cape Agulhas, 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 generous sun rose over the land and drew a breeze in from the

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

The trip to Kimberley, Johannesburg, and Pretoria was a pleasant one.
At the last-named place I met Mr. Krüger, 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. Krüger 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. Impossible!" 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. Krüger 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
trousers." He also said, "Dynamite is the corner-stone of the South
African Republic." Only unthinking people call President Krüger dull.

[Illustration: Cartoon printed in the Cape Town "Owl" of March 5,
1898, in connection with an item about Captain Slocum's trip to

Soon after my arrival at the cape, Mr. Krüger's friend Colonel
Saunderson,[G] 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 Gill, 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 photography 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. Gill 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 brought me sufficient money for
all my needs in port and for the homeward voyage.

[G] Colonel Saunderson was Mr. Krüger's very best friend, inasmuch as he
advised the president to avast mounting guns.

After visiting Kimberley and Pretoria, and finding the _Spray_ all
right in the docks, I returned to Worcester and Wellington, towns
famous for colleges and seminaries, passed coming in, still traveling
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 "can't."

On the plains of Africa I passed through hundreds of miles of rich but
still barren land, save for scrub-bushes, on which herds of sheep were
browsing. 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 longing 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 vessel 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 I had always left uncovered disappeared, as if the deck on which
they were stowed had been swept by a sea.

[Illustration: Captain Slocum, Sir Alfred Milner (with the tall hat),
and Colonel Saunderson, M. P., on the bow of the _Spray_ at Cape

A pleasant visit from Admiral Sir Harry Rawson of the Royal Navy and
his family brought to an end the _Spray's_ social relations with the
Cape of Good Hope. The admiral, then commanding 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, notwithstanding the wide
difference in our respective commands.

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 mountains out of sight, and the world
changed from a mere 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 wallow on her course.

[Illustration: "Reading day and night."]

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. Moreover, 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 ran every day till April
11, which came almost 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
governor of the island, Sir R. A. Sterndale. His Excellency, 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 Excellency
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_ entertained 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 furniture, 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 Jamestown, 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 repair. 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 the
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-companion, 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 voyage. 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 having 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 ribbons. 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 arrived 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 Ascension, 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 destined 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 benevolence 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. Stevenson, 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 German from that dreadful 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, "Didn't you have a
dog!" with, "I and the dog wouldn'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 destruction;
but the wily rodent, not to be deluded, took the hint and got ashore
the day the thing was completed.

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
Rodriguez; 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 companionway into the sea.

As for the centiped, I was not aware of its presence 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 disturbed 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. Nothing, 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. Simply 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 cannibal, for only the wings of poor Scamp were visible
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 degrees 35' south latitude and 14 degrees 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 before 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 carefully 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
returned. 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 moment
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 wouldn't bolt no faster nor a turtle. If
I didn't tow 'im 'ard we'd 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 inaccessible 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 animals 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 impossible. 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 having gone down, I went on board and made preparations
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

For reasons of scientific interest, I invited in mid-ocean the most
thorough investigation concerning 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
appointment, Lieutenant Eagles, the executive officer, in the morning,
just as I was ready to sail, fumigated 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 certificate to this
effect, besides the official documents from the many consulates,
health offices, and customhouses, 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, comfortably 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 contentment 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 myself, "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
regarding 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

On May 10 there was a great change in the condition 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 oar, and I sat
quietly listening 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 coastline of Brazil, Guiana,
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?" Right 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.

[Illustration: The _Spray_ passed by the _Oregon_.]

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. Perhaps 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 enjoyed 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 me!"

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
northwest, 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 opposite way,
well content with a fair wind himself, which made all the difference in
the world.[H]

[H] 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.

On May 18,1898, is written large in the _Spray's_ log-book: "To-night,
in latitude 7 degrees 13' N., for the first time in nearly three years
I see the north star." The _Spray_ on the day following logged one
hundred 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 Tobago, 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 startled 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.
Finding 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 the island of Tobago, save the one wreck of
Robinson Crusoe's ship in the fiction, and that gave me little
information about reefs. I remembered only that in Crusoe's case he
kept his powder dry. "But there she booms again," I cried, "and how
close the flash is now! Almost aboard was that last breaker! But
you'll 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 transom, 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. Aladdin'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 life 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 off 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 carried 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 morning of the 23d, which made
forty-two days' sailing from the Cape of Good Hope, It was a good run,
and I doffed my cap again to 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, "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 Antilles, 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 anchored. But a negro chap, a sort of
deputy harbormaster, 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 befo'
you gets anyt'ing'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'sn't grow on dis
island." Not doubting the information, I tripped anchor 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 following day his Excellency and Lady Fleming, along
with Captain Burr, R. N., paid me a visit. The court-house was
tendered free to me at Antigua, 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 returned to her for the last time. The United States
consul, Mr. Hunt, before handing the paper to me, wrote on it, as
General 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 degrees
54', and the latitude of the _Spray_ was the same just before noon.
Many think it is excessively hot right under the sun. It is not
necessarily 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 sudden 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 experience would have been missing had the calm of the horse
latitudes been left out. Anyhow, a philosophical 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 seahorse 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 masthead, 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, before it was torn or trailed under the sloop's
bottom. I found by the amount of work done in three minutes' 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? 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 rigging, 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 tornado 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 unmistakable
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 solemnity, 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 more.

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 interesting 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 afternoon; 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 to the place of the very beginning whence I had, as I
have said, renewed my age. So on July 3, with a fair wind, she waltzed
beautifully round the coast and up the Acushnet River 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 continents 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 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.

[Illustration: The Spray in the storm of New York.]

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.


[Illustration: Again tied to the old stake at Fairhaven.]



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.

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.

[Illustration: Plan of the after cabin of the _Spray._]

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 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 forward, 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 finished, 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. Captain 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

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 cutaway.

Smooth-water sailors say, "Where is her overhang?" 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 deceived.

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 greatest 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 amidships 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 bowsprit, 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 necessity, because without it the mainsail might not have
come down when I wished to lower it in a breeze. The amount of helm
required varied according to the amount of wind and its direction.
These points are quickly gathered from practice.

[Illustration: Deck-plan of the _Spray_.]

Briefly I have to say that when close-hauled in a light wind under all
sail she required little or no weather helm. As the wind increased 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.

[Illustration: Sail-Plan of the _Spray_ The solid lines represent the
sail-plan of the _Spray_ on starting for the long voyage. With it she
crossed the Atlantic to Gibraltar, and then crossed again southwest to
Brazil. In South American waters the bowsprit and boom were shortened
and the jigger-sail added to form the yawl-rig with which the rest of
the trip was made, the sail-plan of which is indicated by the dotted
lines The extreme sail forward is a flying jib occasionally used, set
to a bamboo stick fastened to the bowsprit. The manner of setting and
bracing the jigger-mast is not indicated in this drawing, but may be
partly observed in the plans on pages 287 and 289.]

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 best teacher, after experience.
Labor-saving appliances? 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.

[Illustration: 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.]

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 "fiddle-head," or carving, on the
end of the cutwater, belonged to the original _Spray_. The ballast,
concrete cement, was stanchioned down securely. There was no iron or
lead or other weight on the keel.

If I took measurements by rule I did not set them down, and after
sailing even the longest voyage 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. Mathematical 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 gentlemen, a
highly esteemed shipmaster and friend, testified as government expert
in a famous murder 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 similar to
that of the tragedy ship, I should myself testify as did the nautical
experts at the trial.

[Illustration: Body-plan of the _Spray_.]

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 history of the world ever
performed, under similar circumstances, the feat on so long and
continuous a voyage. It was, however, a delightful midsummer 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 intelligence 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 matter 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 over.

I have given in the plans of the _Spray_ the dimensions 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 reasonable
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.

[Illustration: Lines of the _Spray_.]

I may some day see reason to modify the model of the dear old _Spray_,
but out of my limited experience 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 myself 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 Magellan, 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.

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