21st and 22nd March 1771

[At Anchor. Table Bay]
21st. Fine Pleasant Weather. Employ'd getting on board water, overhauling the rigging, and repairing Sails. Sail'd for Batavia a Dutch Ship.

22nd. Mostly Fine pleasant weather.

[Remarks on Dysentery]
Few remarks have hapned since we left Java Head that can be of much use to the Navigator, or any other Person, into whose hand this Journal may fall; such, however, as have occur'd I shall now insert. After our leaving Java head we were 11 days before we got the General South-East Trade wind, in which time we did not advance above 5 degrees to the South and 3 degrees to the West, having all the time Variable light Airs of Wind, interrupted by frequent Calms, the weather all the time hot and sultry, and the Air unwholesome, occasioned most probably by the Vast Vapours brought into these Latitudes by the Easterly Trade wind and Westerly Monsoons, both of which blow at this time of the Year in this Sea. The Easterly winds prevail as far as 12 or 10 degrees South, and the Westerly winds as far as 6 or 8 degrees; between them the winds are Variable, and I believe always more or less unwholesome, but to us it was remarkable from the Fatal Consequences that attended it, for whatever might be the cause of First bringing on the Flux among our people, this unwholesome Air had a Great share in it, and increased it to that degree that a Man was no sooner taken with it than he look'd upon himself as Dead. Such was the Despondency that reigned among the Sick at this time, nor could it be by any Means prevented, when every Man saw that Medicine, however skillfully Administered, had not the least effect. I shall mention what Effect only the immaginary approach of this disorder had upon one man. He had long tended upon the Sick, and injoyed a tolerable good State of Health; one morning, coming upon Deck, he found himself a little griped, and immediately began to stamp with his feet, and exclaim, "I have got the Gripes, I have got the Gripes; I shall die, I shall die!" In this manner he continued until he threw himself into a fit, and was carried off the Deck, in a manner, Dead; however he soon recover'd, and did very well.

We had no sooner got into the South-East Trade wind than we felt its happy Effect, tho' we lost several men after, but they were such as were brought so low and weak that there were hardly a possibility of there recovery; and yet some of them linger'd out in a State of Suspencemonth after, who, in all Probability, would not have lived 24 Hours before this Change hapned. Those that were not so far gone remained in the same state for some time, and at last began to recover; some few, however, were seized with the disorder after we got into the Trade wind, but they had it but slightly, and soon got over it. It is worth remarking, that of all those who had it in its last stage only one man lived, who is now in a fair way of recovering; and I think Mr. Banks was the only one that was cured at the first Attack'd that had it to a great degree, or indeed at all, before we got into the South-East Trade, for it was before that time that his Cure was happily effected.

It is to be wished, for the good of all Seamen, and mankind in general, that some preventative was found out against this disease, and put in practice in Climates where it is common, for it is impossible to Victual and water a Ship in those Climates but what some one article or another, according to different Peoples opinions, must have been the means of bringing on the Flux. We were inclinable to lay it to the water we took in at Princes Island, and the Turtle we got their, on which we lived several days; but there seems to be no reason for this when we consider that all the Ships from Batavia this Year suffer'd by the same disorder as much as we have done, and many of them arrived at this place in a far worse State; and yet not one of the Ships took any water in at Princes Island. The same may be said of the Harcourt Indiaman, Captain Paul, who sail'd from Batavia soon after our arrival, directly for the Coast of Sumatra; we afterwards heard that she, in a very short time, lost by Sickness above 20 men; indeed, this seem to have been a year of General Sickness over most parts of India, the Ships from Bengal and Madrass bring Melancholly Accounts of the Havock made there by the united force of Sickness and famine.

Some few days after we left Java we saw, for 3 or 4 evenings succeeding one another, boobies fly about the ship. Now, as these birds are known to roost every night on land they seem'd to indicate that some Island  as in our neighbourhood; probably it might be the Island Selam, which Islandfind differently laid down in different Charts, both in Name and Situation.

After the Boobies above mentioned left us we saw no more birds till we got nearly abreast of Madagascar, where, in the Latitude of 27 3/4 degrees, we saw an Albatross. After that time we saw more of these birds every day, and in greater numbers, together with several other sorts; one sort about as big as a Duck, of a very Dark brown Colour, with a yellowish bill. The number of these birds increased upon us as we approached the Shore. As soon as we got into Soundings we saw Gannets, which we continued to see as long as we were on the Bank, which stretches off Laguillas 40 Leagues, and Extends along shore to the Eastward from Cape False, according to some charts, 160 Leagues; the Extent of this Bank is not well known, however, it is useful in directing Shipping when to haul in to make the land.

No comments:

Post a Comment