CHAPTER 19. THE CALAMITY OF WRECK REEF.
By the 25th August the cutter had been prepared for her long voyage, and on the following day she was launched and appropriately named the Hope. It was a Friday morning, and some of the sailors had a superstitious dread of sailing on a day supposed to be unlucky. But the weather was fine and the wind light. Flinders laughed at those who talked of luck. With Captain Park of the Cato as his assistant officer, and a double set of rowers, fourteen persons in all, he set out at once. He carried three weeks' provisions. "All hands gave them 3 chears, which was returned by the boat's crew," says Seaman Smith. At the moment when the Hope rowed away a sailor sprang to the flagstaff whence the signal of distress had been flying since the morning when help from the Bridgewater had been hoped for, and hauled down the blue ensign, which was at once rehoisted with the union in the upper canton. "This symbolic expression of contempt for the Bridgewater and of confidence in the success of our voyage, I did not see without lively emotion," Flinders relates.
Leaving the Hope to continue her brave course, we may learn from Smith how the 80 men remaining on the reef occupied themselves:
"From this time our hands are imployd, some about our new boat, whose keel is laid down 32 feet; others imployd in getting anything servisible from the wreck. Our gunns and carriadges we got from the wreck and placed them in a half moon form, close to our flag staf, our ensign being dayly hoisted union downward. Our boats sometimes is imployd in going to an island about ten miles distant; and sometimes caught turtle and fish. This island was in general sand. Except on the highest parts, it produced sea spinage; very plentifully stockd with birds and egs. In this manner the hands are imployd and the month of October is set in. Still no acct. of our Captn's success. Our boat likewise ready for launching, the rigging also fitted over her masthead, and had the appearance of a rakish schooner. On the 4th of Octr. we launchd her and gave her name of the Hope.* (* Smith was in error. The boat built at the reef was named the Resource. The Hope, as stated above, was the cutter in which Flinders sailed from the reef to Sydney. See A Voyage to Terra Australis 2 315 and 329.) On the 7th we loaded her with wood in order to take it over to the island before mentiond to make charcoal for our smith to make the ironwork for the next boat, which we intend to build directly. She accordingly saild."
A letter by John Franklin to his father* gives an entertaining account of the wreck and of some other points pertaining to our subject (* Manuscript, Mitchell Library.):
"Providential Bank, August 26th, 1803,
"Latitude 22 degrees 12 minutes, longitude 155 degrees 13 minutes (nearly) east.