History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications
Captain B.C. Combe
|Basil Charles Combe (1871 - 1926) served for many years on
British cableships, eventually commanding CS's Dacia and Restorer. He
retired in 1923.
During the early part of his career (which began in 1886) he sent letters home which were transcribed into a journal. He joined the S.S. Silvertown, under the command of Capt. A.S. Thomson, as 3rd officer on April 20th 1892, and his description of this voyage forms the last section of his first journal, which ends on August 2nd 1893 when the Silvertown returned to the Royal Victoria Docks and paid off the crew.
This extract from Combe's journal is published here by kind permission of Roger Barclay, Captain Combe's grandson, who also transcribed the text from the handwritten original.
Third Officer Combe's Silvertown Journal - 1892/3
April 20th. Joined the S.S. Silvertown as
3rd. officer, in the Thames laying off the I. R. G-P Tel Wks [faint in Combe's hand, written above]
(19th.) Got down the Silvertown at 10 this morning and got leave off from 2 to 5 to go up to Town about uniform, glasses etc. We are to sail for Pernambuco on the 26th. and go across to St. Louis. We have 5 officers for the ship besides the Electrician Engineers etc.11 in all and I am to be 3rd. of the ships officers. 170 hands all told, on board - The amount of Cable in now weighs 5000 tons, and she will not be finished loading until Monday. As I am told off for the night duty I shall now go off for a little snooze.
26th. Ship left the Silvertown works, loaded with cable for the South American Cable Expedition. Total length of cable being aboard 2200 n (nautical) miles.
April 27th. 1892. Anchored off Greenhithe to adjust compasses. Large dinner given on board to the committee etc.
29th. Left Greenhithe for Teneriffe. /Canary Islands./
May 6th. At sea off Teneriffe. We have a chance of sending a letter ashore so I know you will be glad to know how I am getting on. This is quite a pleasure trip compared to my last. I have now no hard work to do, but plenty of hard work and lots of writing. Our Navigating Officer has not turned out smart enough to please the Captain so he has given me the work to do instead, which is a good promotion for me. I do not know whether I shall be able to hold the position as it is rather beyond me, but I will have a good try and do my best to keep it. We have regular Man of War discipline here and everything and every one very nice indeed. Very different to sailing ships. We have plenty of fun when we are off duty, fencing, boxing, dancing and all sorts of things. You see there are plenty of us, then there is music in the evenings though I am not always there for it. We expect to get into Santa Cruz on Sunday morning to take in coal - from there we go to Dakar and then take soundings between St. Louis and Pernambuco.
8th. Arrived at and left Teneriffe, proceeded to Dakar. /Senegal/.
12th. Arrived at Dakar, Left Mr. Crouch. /Electrician/
14th. Left Dakar for St. Louis. /Senegal/ Sounding en route.
15th. Arrived at St. Louis.
[Dates seem to be slightly confused]
We went into Dakar and left again in 24 hours on the 12th. I had no time to write then as I was ashore with the Captain all morning with my five "babies" (the Chronometers) finding the rates etc. and we were till 3 p.m. working out the results. Now I am Navigating Officer I have the entire charge of these and no one else is allowed to touch them. I have to wind them up every day and find out how much each gains or loses per day. When we left Dakar we steered for a buoy which is off St. Louis and picked him up at 10 a.m. We are now splicing on a new piece of Cable which is connected with the shore and we shall then carry it on further out to sea, about 100 miles and buoy it again and leave it till we bring the Cable from Pernambuco, then we shall splice the two ends together. It is very hot out here as the Sun is right over our heads just now. One of my duties is to "shoot" the Sun, moon or stars every hour from 7 a.m. till 9 p.m. I am getting into the way of it now, but it seemed an awful lot at first. The Captain told me the other day I was doing very well and he could not expect an old head on young shoulders all at once. I should hardly have believed the amount of work that has to be done in laying a Cable. All the hands we carry are barely enough, they are at it night and day, but of course this
5th. to 16th. Picked up Cable buoy off St. Louis, spliced on Cable on buoy to Cable on board and extended the shore end. Let go Cable. Buoyed it in 1000 fathoms of water, 60 miles out at sea. Proceeded to Dakar.
17th. Arrived at and left Dakar for the Island of Fernando de Noronha off Brazil sounding en route.
26th. Arrived at Fernando de Noronha
27th. Left Fernando de Noronha direct for Pernambuco. /Brazil/
29th. Arrived at Pernambuco.
30th. Pernambuco - We arrived here yesterday afternoon - we arrived here yesterday afternoon. Fernando de Noronha which I mentioned in my last letter is an Island and a Convict Station, there are about 2000 convicts here. It was last Friday we anchored off there and the Captain and I were ashore all day adjusting the Chronometers, and we had rather a good time. When we left the ship at 8 a.m. we rowed to the landing place in the life boat as there is a big surf: when we were about 100 yards from the beach we let go the anchor and about 10 convicts came running
June 3rd. Left Pernambuco for Bahia. /Brazil/
6th. Arrived at Bahia. Commercial Coaling Ship Bahia - This is the place we made for in the poor old "Earl of Aberdeen" in 1886, when the coals caught fire. Well we have been taking no end of soundings and when we were out the last time we had good fun with the sharks. We were in about 30 fathoms of water, on a shallow spot, where all around it was 500 or 600 fathoms and we stopped there sounding it all over: as soon as we stopped, one shark after another popped up until the water was full of them. We put four hooks over the stern with about five pounds of meat on each: the
June 17th. Mr. M.H. Gray left the Ship for Rio de Janeiro.
18th. Left Bahia to take soundings North, Maceio, Agostinho (sp. ?) etc.
28th. Returned to Bahia to await orders. Went for a picnic up the river to the Island of Taporica.
July 3rd. Received news from Rio de Janeiro that Mr. Gray was very ill.
15th. Left Bahia for Rio de Janeiro. /Brazil/
19th. Arrived at Rio de Janeiro. Finding that Mr. Gray was very ill, left Mr. J. Lumsden, Cable Engineer, there to look after him.
20th. Left Rio de Janeiro for Pernambuco.
26th. Arrived at Pernambuco.
26th. Pernambuco still you see - well we have been cruising about doing very little, waiting for Mr. Gray to return, he has gone to Rio to try and settle matters. The Brazilians say they will not have the shore end of the Cable laid within 40 miles of Pernambuco. One morning we got leave form the Captain to take one of our boats up the river at the end of the bay and go for a picnic up Country. We started at 6 a.m. and went about 30 miles up the river so as to get quite clear of the towns and the fever: and then we landed to lunch on an island: there were about 20 of altogether and you would have laughed to see us: we did not know how to make enough of being once more on land, most of them had not been ashore since we left home. We clambered up the
29th. Landed the shore end of the Cable for the Pernambuco and Fernando section and buoyed the end. Landed all cable stores, huts etc.
30th. Went to a dance on shore given for the Ship.
31st. Left Pernambuco for Fernando - sounding en route.
August 2nd. Arrived at Fernando de Noronha.
5th. Sounding around the Island.
6th. Sounding around the Island.
7th. Landed the shore end of the Cable
for the Pernambuco and Fernando section and buoyed the end.
9th. Arrived at Pernambuco, Mr. R.K. Gray joined the Ship, left Mr. Morland /Electrician/ at Pernambuco.
11th. Left Pernambuco, picked up Cable buoy, spliced on Cable and proceeded to Fernando laying Cable.
August 14th. 1892. Arrived at Cable buoy off Fernando - Noronha, spliced on Cable and completed the Pernambuco Fernando de Noronha section.
15th. Left Fernando de Noronha for Pernambuco.
17th. Arrived at Pernambuco. Mr. R.K. Gray left the ship. Left Pernambuco for Bahia.
17th. Pernambuco again!!! We have been in and out, the Cable hands engaged in their work and I in mine. Whilst we were laying Cable between Pernambuco and Fernando I was up from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. during which time I had to take seven positions either by Sun, Moon or Stars, sometimes the Sun and Moon together and sometimes by the Sun and Stars together. The latter you will hardly think possible, but we used to get the Sun and one of the planets between 9 & 10 o'clock every morning. I shall be awfully glad when we get this long section laid between Fernando and St. Louis - Now, at it again!! There goes the whistle and there goes windlass heaving up the anchor, so it is time for me to end this and up I must go on the bridge with sextant, Chart and glasses taking angles and bearings and sights. I think by the time I get home I shall be able to navigate a Man of War with the amount of drilling I get.
20th. Arrived at Bahia, gave a concert aboard, took in coal again.
24th. Left Bahia for Pernambuco.
27th. Arrived at Pernambuco. Gave another concert on board.
August 28th. 1892 Left Pernambuco for Fernando de Noronha.
29th. Arrived at Fernando. The Silvertown Cavalry went ashore and had a days ride over the Island.
30th. Sounded around the Island and laid the shore end of the Cable for the Fernando de Noronha and St. Louis section.
31st. Left Fernando picked up Cable buoy, spliced Cable on shore end and proceeded to St. Louis laying Cable.
Sept. 10th. Arrived off Cable buoy off St. Louis, finding Mark buoy to have gone, picked up on buoy rope, rope broke, so had to buoy the end we had on board and grapple for the shore end Cable from St. Louis. Grappling one day.
11th. Picked up Cable in 1000 fathoms of water, spliced it onto other end and let go final splice, completing the Fernando de Noronha and St. Louis section. Proceeded to St. Louis.
12th. Arrived off St. Louis and left for Tenerife.
16th. Arrived off Tenerife. /Canary Islands/ Left Mess'rs Jones, Knight & Barrett (Electricians) at Tenerife.
18th. Left Tenerife for London.
27th. Arrived off Gravesend, Cable staff
all leaving ship here. Ship proceeded up the river to the Victoria Docks.
Dec. 1892 After spending a fortnight at home I rejoined the ship - Ship went into drydock, then went into the river to load Cable for the expedition.
Jan. 18th. 1893 Ship left the Silvertown Works loaded with Cable having on board 2600 n. miles of Cable. Arrived off Greenhithe in the afternoon, let to anchor and adjusted our compasses. A big dinner given on board to the committee etc.
22nd. Left Greenhithe for Tenerife.
24th. Engines broke down so put into St. Helens Bay, I. of W. to repair them. Left again the next morning and proceeded to Tenerife.
Feb. 1st. Arrived at Tenerife /Canary Islands/ stayed there for four hours, then left and proceeded to St. Vincent /Cape Verd Islands/
5th. Arrived at St. Vincent, took on a little coal, then proceeded to the Island of Fernando de Noronha.
11th. Arrived off Fernando de Noronha, lowered a boat, Mr. Gray and Mr. Lumsden went ashore for an hour, when they returned we set on again and proceeded down South for the Straits of Magellan.
17th. Passed Cape Frio. Encountered a gale of wind. Ship labouring heavily shipping quantities of water, steering gear, boats and deck work, the port surf boat swept overboard.
22nd. Passed Cape Corrientes.
27th. Passed Cape Virgins the eastern entrance to the Straits of Magellan about 6 a.m. steamed up to Possession Bay and let go anchor.
28th. Left Possession Bay and proceeded as far as
February 28th. 1893 continued
Sandy Point, when we let go anchor. Had a concert aboard amongst ourselves and crew. We entered these Straits /Magellan/ yesterday morning early and gave got as far as Sandy Point before dark, when we were obliged to anchor as it is impossible to ge through the Straits at dark: the Channel is so narrow and there are many hidden rocks not marked on the Charts. In some places the Channel is not half a mile broad and there are neither lights nor lighthouses, and as the Straits are 365 miles long you have to keep a constant watch. Very few vessels besides the Men of War venture to go through as they are so dangerous. Yesterday as we entered we came upon a Steamer, a total wreck with a broken back, apparently having only been on the rocks a few weeks, and we are told that the Savages got hold of them and smashed them up. The people on the Tierra del Fuego side are nothing more than Cannibals, so we keep clear of that side if we do attempt to land. We encountered a heavy gale on the way down here and lost nearly all out deck gear, boats, spars, ladders etc. and we have been quite afraid some passing steamer might pick them up and report we were lost. I shall be very glad when we get out of this as it is am anxious time for me with such ticklish navigation.
I have a great deal more responsibility this trip and just now I am hardly able to sleep when I am off watch.
Mar.1st. Left Sandy Point at daylight and steamed through the Straits all day, arriving at Glacier Bay about 6 p.m. We lowered a boat and took and took the Ships name board ashore. Blew a gale of wind all night.
2nd. Hove up at daylight and set on full speed. Passed Cape Pillar the Western entrance to the Straits about 8 o'clock that evening, encountering another heavy gale from the S.W. Ship making very bad weather of it.
8th. Arrived at Coronel /Chili /. Took in a quantity of Coal. Myself and about eight of the Cable staff went on shore to have a run in the Country, we went by the Arauca Railway line to a town called Lota, then on to a village called Conelorve and all over the Pampas, returning on board in the evening. I fell of the train, played a Cricket match, gave a large concert on board for the people on shore.
10th. Coronel - This is a very interesting place and there are many more English than I expected. As soon as we arrived they challenged us to a cricket match which we accepted yesterday, but got a terrible beating so we are going to play them football on our way home. I enjoyed the day on shore very much: after Cricket we had horses lent us for the rest of the day so we all went up Country. They have lovely horses here and you can buy one of the best for 3 pounds. We have been very
12th. Left Coronel for Valparaiso / Chili /
13th. Arrived at Valparaiso, stopping there a day.
14th. Left Valparaiso for Callao.
20th. Arrived at Callao. /Chili /
23rd. Left Callao to take soundings off Chorrillas.
24th. Laid the Chorrillas and St. Elena shore end of cable and buoyed the end out of sea, then returned to Callao for Coal.
26th. Left Callao for Santa Elena, sounding en route.
31st. Arrived at Santa Elena. / Equador /
April 1st. Laid the Santa Elena and San Juan del Sur shore end of Cable buoying the end, returned to Santa Elena.
2nd. Laid the Santa Elena and Chorrillas shore end of cable and proceeded to Chorrillas laying Cable.
7th. Arrived off the Cable buoy at Chorrillas picked him up and spliced on Cable, completing the Chorrillas and St. Elena section then we proceeded into Callao for coal.
12th. Left Callao direct for Santa Elena.
April 16th. 1893 Arrived at Santa Elena
17th. Left Santa Elena for San Juan del Sur. /Nicaragua / sounding en route.
23rd. Arrived at San Juan del Sur. /Nicaragua / All the Ladies and Gentlemen came down from the Country to see the ship, almost 100 of them came off to the ship, we gave them some music on board.
24th. Large fire broke out in the Town. The Governor sent off to us for assistance. The Silvertown Fire Brigade went ashore and put it out. Landed the San Juan del Sur and Salina Cruz shore end of Cable, buoying it out at sea, returning to San Juan del Sur again that evening.
26th. Left San Juan del Sur for Salina Cruz /Mexico / sounding en route.
30th. Arrived at Salina Cruz. Gale of wind blowing.
May 1st. Trying to land the Salina Cruz and San Juan del Sur shore end of Cable, Lumsden and Armes drowned in the surf boat, capsized, Sad Fatality.
2nd. Shore end of Cable successfully landed, proceeded laying Cable to San Juan del Sur.
3rd. (Reference to tragedy on May 1st.
surf boats so she could let go her anchor and fire the line ashore as it was impossible for any boat to go through the surf then: the steam launch had to keep the cutters well out of the surf while the went further in. One surf boat that had the rocket in was manned with four strong Lowestoft men. Mr. Lumsden the Cable Engineer who was in charge, was just going to fire the rocket when a tremendous swell came along and before they could do anything in the boat caught her stem on tearing the anchor off the ground and turning the boat right over. It was dreadful to see all this, as we could from the ship, the boat floating upside down and two or three men's heads in the very middle of the surf: then another sea came and split the boat completely in halves: then we saw the shore party run into the surf and pick out two of the men and the steam launch let go the cutters after anchoring them safe and went straight to the place: she picked up one more man. But Mr. Lumsden and the other poor fellow were never seen again. The sailor was a married man and we collected 350 pounds later on to be sent home to Lowestoft to his family. Poor Mr. Lumsden was to be married on our return home. This of course
cast a gloom on the ship for some days; we offered a large reward for their bodies, but they were never washed ashore. Next day we attempted to land the Cable end again and managed it successfully and left as soon as we accomplished it.
7th. Arrived off Cable buoy at San Juan del Sur, picked it up, spliced Cable together, completing the Salina Cruz and San Juan del Sur section of Cable. Sounding all night off San Juan de Sur and proceeded to anchorage in the morning.
8th. Laid at anchor in harbour transferring cable in the ship from forward to aft.
Tuesday May 9th. Ship laying at anchor in the harbour of San Juan del Sur. /Nicaragua/ having a day to spare on board we all went on shore for a run. We were told that the best thing to do was to procure horses and take a ride to a little town called Rivas, about 18 miles in the interior. Ten of us went off at once to find the horses, but we were not able to get a single one owing to the Revolutionists wanting them for military purposes. There being a Revolution in the Country at the time. Nevertheless we determined to go somewhere or other so we engaged two bullock carts with four bullocks in each cart and had dried hides and mats put in the bottom of the carts to make a softer seat. We heard just before we started that the Rebel Army was expected to come from Rivas by foot, so signalled off
thought of looking what was underneath, but next morning we found out, for the rain had turned the earth which had been sprinkled at the bottom of the carts to make a sort of mattress for us to sit on, into slush and there we were lying on our backs in it. The road then began to have a very marshy look and the bullocks began to sink into this mud right up to their haunches at times whilst the wheels sank down to their axles. Notwithstanding all this the carts travelled in a most wonderful way and were well adapted to the track, at times one wheel would be on a bank whilst the other was far below it, we wedged each other off with out boots, but for all that we lost our grip once and three out of the five of us were thrown into the bush. On we jolted till at last we saw in the distance a light and were not long in getting up to it, we roused the people up and asked for something to eat, it was then midnight. They offered us fowls, but refused to catch or cook them and as we were beastly hungry we were not beyond catching them, some of us went out with lamps to find them whilst the others got up a good old bonfire. I went out to catch what I could in the dark, I saw something by a tree which looked like a fowl so I took up a stone, threw it and struck a beastly wild pig, and it was that pig
that we took with us from San Juan del Sur was moaning and groaning all the while and I quite think he thought he was going to die. On we went for another hour till we came to a steep hill and at the bottom of this we could see a few lights here and there, we were told they were at the entrance of the town, so we all sat up and began to have a little more hope of getting out of the bush alive. We sent one of the natives on ahead to tell then at the hotel to have some supper for us by the time we got there. The way the carts came down the hill was marvellous, we all got out before they got half way down as we were expecting to see them capsize every minute. Nine of us went ahead walking, we had to leave one of our fellows names Jones as he had taken off his boots in the cart and they had been thrown out somehow, so he had lost them and was barefooted. The Cable Clerk also stayed behind as he was nearly dead. We arrived in the town at last, there was not a soul to be seen only a lot of wild dogs which we shot when they got too near, we had our guide with us and he piloted us to a house he called the Grand Hotel. We expected a nice reception on our arrival, but were greatly mistaken. We knocked at the door very gently but got no answer, knocked a little louder the next time, but still no answer. We then knocked at the window,
but got no answer. So we started to call out as we knew the landlord spoke English, we could not get an answer at all, we waited a while to see if anyone was going to open the door, but no, so being tired of waiting we took up stones, threw them at the windows which unfortunately broke, at last we got an answer in good old English - "Don't make such a d.d row". We knew then we were all right, the door was opened and in we walked, we asked if the supper was ready, the native knew nothing about the supper, we asked to see the Landlord, but were told that we could not as he had the fever, we asked for the Landlady, but found that she had been drinking, not wisely, but too well and was laying on the floor in his room. After a lot of parlay we got a bottle of brandy which did not go far between the eleven of us, when that was done we went to turn in, there were two bedrooms of sorts with six hammocks in each, so we each had a hammock and tumbled into these all standing, just as we were in our wet things, and needless to say we were soon asleep. It was just four in the morning when we arrived at the Hotel. We were awaked at 7 a.m. and had a cup of black coffee each. When we woke up we did not know who was who, it was a ludicrous sight for every one was caked with mud and dirt from head to foot and some were all red
from the dye off they had held over them in the cart to keep the rain off and the dye had soaked through on to them. We took off all our clothes and had a jolly good wash, putting all our clothes in a large barrel of water. We then sent a native boy out to buy shirts, coats, trousers and hats at $1.00 each. We got back into our hammocks and waited for the clothes, when they came we put them on, the difficulty was that the coats and trousers were built to fit the slender Nicaraguans and fitted like tights on the larger built of us fellows, consequently no sooner did we but them on than they were burst up and down. Jones had to wear a pair of wooden shaped shoes as he had lost his. We left the Hotel intending to take the train to St. Jago, but bad luck followed us through, the only train had gone so had to walk it, being three miles away. When we arrived there we looked a thorough set of Scoundrels, no one had a coat on his back as they had all burst off us. The Thermometer was 95 degrees F in the shade and the heat in the sun was almost unbearable. After refreshing ourselves at St. Jago we decided to go on to the Lake of Nicaragua, that being another two miles. At last we arrived at the lake which was a magnificent sight, the great mountains of Ornetepe rises sheer up from the middle of the Lake and
down the street one after the other, war-hooping and yelling "Viva Nicaragua" etc. Even when the army had started more stragglers could be seen rushing along with their rifles in the air and their bait tins flying all about them. They were gone for about an hour when we heard more blowing of trumpets and found that they were returning again, evidently having forgotten their toothbrushes and a change of linen. We waited about the town till 4 o'clock and then the carts turned up. The drivers told us the bullocks got loose and strayed into the mountains. We all got into the carts again and started back for the Coast, we had two hours jolting about which was quite enough for some of us, so we got out and started walking thinking we knew the way, we left Jones and the Cable clerk in the carts to look after the guns etc., we walked on in front of the carts and soon lost sight of them, we were all right till it became dark and then we wished we were in the carts again as we soon lost our way, we shouted, cooed, and made a frightful row, but got no answer, we were afraid to fire our revolvers because we thought that the rebels were laying in wait for the troops along the bush and might take us for them and fire on us, we tramped along for an hour before we saw any traces of footpath or road, then we came upon a telegraph pole and having noticed that wires ran along the road we
12th. Landed the San Juan del Sur and Santa Elena shore end of Cable and proceeded to Santa Elena laying Cable.
18th. Arrived off Santa Elena / Equador / spliced up Cable to shore end and completed the San Juan del Sur and Santa Elena section.
21st. Left Santa Elena for Callao.
24th. Arrived at Callao, took in Coal.
25th. Went on shore up country to Lima, spent the day there and went to the theatre in the evening.
26th. Ten of us left the ship at 5 a.m. for the shore with intention of going up the mountains. We took a steward with us and enough provisions for two days. Took train at Lima for the mountains. The Aura Railway Company. Had breakfast in the train, at 1 p.m. we arrived at Matacana Station, that being 7788 feet above sea level, we had dinner at the hotel. Matacana is a very pretty place indeed and
30th. Left Callao for Coronel, laying out spare Cable at sea, buoyed it at each end.
June 7th. arrived at Coronel
8th. Had a grand football match, but were beaten.
June 9th. 1893 Six of us went for a ride through the bush, Jones lost his horse.
13th. Left Coronel for the Straits of Magellan, en route for England.
19th. Passed Cape Pillar, and the western entrance of the Straits, blowing a gale of wind all day. Anchored off Port Tamar, ship broke her anchor, so dodged about the Straits amongst the rocks all night it blowing, snowing and hailing hard, frightful night.
20th. At daylight we proceeded through the Straits for Borja Bay where we arrived at 7 pm.
21st. Left at daylight for Sandy Point where we arrived at about 8 pm.
22nd. Sandy Point So far back on our homeward way. We arrived here last night about 8 o'clock and were very pleased to get a batch of letters, papers etc. from home. We arrived off Cape Pillar last Monday morning. Cape Pillar is the Western entrance to the Straits and we managed to get up to Port Tamar that night, but before we got to the anchorage the dark overtook us so we had to keep outside in 25 fathoms with a rocky bottom: we hung on there till about 10 p.m. when it came on to blow a hurricane with fierce hail & snow squalls. I was on watch when in the middle of all this the wind suddenly shifted from N.W. to S.W. catching the ships head on the other bow and tearing her anchor. I suddenly felt her dragging her anchor and then found that we were off the
bank and in 200 fathoms of water. I called up the Captain and all hands and set the engines full speed ahead. The Captain came up at once on the bridge and it was cold up there I can tell you, hailing and snowing and pitch dark. We knew there were some rocks half a mile astern of where we had laid so we kept her going ahead and set a course for mid channel forcing her on as fast as possible, but we could see nothing and when after two hours it cleared off a bit we could see the land on the other side looming up as large as life, we still kept on the same course full speed as we found even so we could only just keep our position, we did not even make a bit of head way and even at times lost ground. We went on like this till 2 a.m. when it fell calm quite suddenly and the stars came out: such a contrast I have never seen before, I could hardly believe my eyes. We then found ourselves astern of where we had anchored and a great deal too near the rocks to be pleasant. However we could feel happy now and proceeded to haul up the anchor which had run out 95 fathoms if chain and when we got it up there was only half and that was just twisted up like a lump of lead - at daylight we set on again down channel as far as Borja Bay,
a snug little bay and good anchorage so we all had a jolly good sleep that night. From here we go at 10 a.m. and after anchoring one night in Gregory Bay we shape our course for home.
23rd. Left Gregory Bay and proceeded out of the Straits of Magellan, passing Cape Virgins at 6 p.m.
29th. Steaming past the River Plate.
July 4th. Passed Cape Frio. / Brazil /
10th. Called at the Island of Fernando de Noronha.
July 10th. 1893 continued
signalled to shore with lamps, all well, and left for St. Vincent.
18th. Arrived at and left St. Vincent. / Cape Verde Islands /
19th. Steaming for Santa Cruz
22nd. Arrived at Santa Cruz de Tenerife. /Canary Islands /
23rd. Left Santa Cruz for London.
31st. Past Beachy Head at midnight.
August 1st. Ship arrived at Gravesend,
all Cable staff going ashore.
2nd. Crew paid off at the Tidal Basin Shipping Office.
Copyright © 2003 Roger Barclay
Last revised: 30 May 2003
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