Item of the Day: Commodore Byron’s An Account of a Voyage Round the World (1778)

 Full Title: An Account of a Voyage round the World, in the Years MDCCLXIV, MDCCLXV, and MDCCLXVI. By the Honourable Commodore Byron, in His Majesty’s Ship the Dolphin.

Found In: An Account of the Voyages Undertaken by the Order of His Present Majesty for Making Discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere, And successively performed by Commodore Byron, Captain Wallis, Captain Carteret, and Captain Cook, in the Dolphin, the Swallow, and the Endeavour: Drawn Up from the Journals which were kept by the several Commanders, and from the Papers of Joseph Banks, Esq; By John Hawkesworth, LL.D. In Three Volumes. Illustrated with Cuts, and a great Variety of Charts and Maps relative to Countries now first discovered, or hitherto but imperfectly known. Vol. I. London: Printed for W. Strahan; and T. Cadell in the Strand, MDCCLXXIII. [1778]

CHAP. I.

The Passage from the Downs to Rio de Janeiro.

(The longitude in this voyage is reckoned from the meridian of London, west to 180 degrees, and east afterwards.)

On the 21st of June 1764, I sailed from the Downs, with his Majesty’s ship the Dolphin, and the Tamar frigate, which I had received orders to take under my command: as I was coming down the river, the Dolphin got a-ground; I therefore put to Plymouth, where she was docked, but did not appear to have received any damage. At this place we changed some of our men, and having paid the people two months wages in advance, I hoisted the broad pendant, and sailed again on the 3d of July; on the 4th we were off the Lizard, and made the best our our way with a fine breeze, but had the mortification to find the Tamar a very heavy sailer. In the night of Friday the 6th, the officer of the first watch saw either a ship on fire, or an extraordinary phenomenon which greatly resembled it, at some distance: it continued to blaze for about half an hour, and then disappeared. In the evening of Thursday, July 12th, we saw the rocks near the island of Madeira, which our people call the Deserters; from desertes, a name which has been given them from their barren and desolate appearance: the next day we stood in for the road of Funchiale, where, about three o’clock in the afternoon, we came to an anchor. In the morning of Saturday the 14th, I waited upon the governor, who received me with great politeness, and saluted me with eleven guns, which I returned from the ship. The next day, he returned my visit at the house of the Consul, upon which I saluted him with eleven guns, which he returned from the fort. I found here his Majesty’s ship the Crown, and the Ferret sloop, who also saluted the broad pendant. Having completed our water, and procured all the refreshment I was able for the companies of both the ships, every man having twenty pounds weight of onions for his sea stock, we weighted anchor on Thursday the 19th, and proceeded on our voyage. On Saturday the 21st, we made the island of Palma, one of the Canaries, and soon after examining our water, we found it would be necessary to touch the whole of our course from the Lizard, we observed that no fish followed the ship, which I judged to be owing to her being sheathed with copper. By the 26th, our water was become foul, and stunk intolerably, but we purified it with a machine, which had been put on board for that purpose: it was a kind of ventilator, by which air forced through the water in a continued stream, as long as it was necessary.

In the morning of the 27th, we made the island of Sal, one of the Cape de Verds, and seeing several turtle upon the water, we hoisted out our jolly boat, and attempted to strike them, but they all went down before our people could come within reach of them. On the morning of the 28th, we were very near the island of Bona Vista, the next day off the Isle of May, and on Monday the 30th, we came to an anchor in Port Praya bay. The rainy season was already set in, which renders this place very unsafe; a large swell that rolls in from the southward, makes a frightful surf upon the shore, and there is reason every hour to expect a tornado, of which, as it is very violent, and blows directly in, the consequences are likely to be fatal; so that after the 15th of August no ship comes hither till the rainy season is over, which happens in November; for this reason I made all possible haste to fill my water and get away. I procured three bullocks for the people, but they were little better than carrion, and the weather was so hot, that the flesh stunk in a few hours after they were killed.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under 1770's, Explorations, Great Britain, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Travel

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s