CHAPTER XVIII. HONOLULU TO YOKOHAMA.
Saturday, January 13th. - The engineers made up their minds that we were in the trade winds again yesterday, and that we should not want the engines for some days. They therefore did not hurry on with the repairs as they should have done. This morning there was a calm, and when Tom ordered steam to be got up at once, the reply was, 'Please, sir, the engine won't be ready till night.' This was annoying; but they worked extra hard all day, and by 4 p.m. steam was raised. At six a nice little breeze sprang up, which freshened during the evening, and at midnight orders were given to stop steaming.
We had another bad night of it - a head wind, the sea washing over the decks, everything shut up, and the thermometer standing at 90 deg..
Sunday, January 14th. - I was on deck at 4 a.m. The Southern Cross, the Great Bear, and the North Star, were shining with a brilliancy that eclipsed all the other stars.
During the day the wind freshened to a squally gale. Sometimes we were going ten, sometimes thirteen, and sometimes fifteen knots through the water, knocking about a good deal all the while. Service was an impossibility; cooking and eating, indeed, were matters of difficulty. It rained heavily, and the seas came over the deck continually.
Many of the sailors and servants were ill. I was hopelessly so. Nothing annoys me more than to find that, after having sailed tens and tens of thousands of miles, I cannot cure myself of sea-sickness. I can stand a good deal more rolling than I once could; but still, many are the days when nothing but the firmest determination not to think about it, but to find something to do, and to do it with all my might, keeps me on my feet at all. Fewer, happily, are the days when struggling is of no avail, when I am utterly and hopelessly incapacitated, ignominiously and literally laid flat on my back, and when no effort of will can enable me to do what I most wish to accomplish. If only some physician could invent a sovereign remedy for sea-sickness, he would deserve well of his country, and of mankind in general.
Monday, January 15th. - I woke once or twice in the night, and felt exactly as if I were being pulled backwards through the water by my hair. We were rushing and tearing along at such a pace, against a head sea, that it almost took one's breath away. But at noon we were rewarded for all discomfort by finding that we had run 298 sea, or 343 land miles, in 24 hours, and that between 8.14 yesterday and 8.15 to-day we had made 302 knots, or 347 land miles - nearly 350 miles in the 24 hours - under very snug canvas, and through a heavy sea. The wind still continued fair and fresh, but the sea was much quieter, and we all felt comparatively comfortable. More sails were set during the afternoon. Some albatrosses and long-tailed tropic birds were seen hovering about us. The moon begins to give a good light now, and we found it very pleasant on deck this evening.
Wednesday, January 17th. - It was a fine warm morning, and we got the children on deck for the first time for ten days.
Thursday, January 18th. - Between breakfast and lunch we sailed over the spot where Tarquin Island is marked on the chart, and, between lunch and dinner, over a nameless reef, also marked on the chart. A good look-out had been kept at the masthead and in the bows, but not a trace could be seen of either of these objects in any direction. The weather kept clear and bright, and the sea was much calmer.
During the last five days we have covered 1,221 sea miles.
Monday, January 22nd. - At daylight Asuncion Island was still visible. It is of volcanic origin, and is in the form of a perfect sugar-loaf, 2,600 feet high, rising out of the sea, exactly as I had expected the Peak of Teneriffe to appear. I should like to have landed on the islands Agrigan or Tinian, so as to see the interesting remains left by the ancient inhabitants. Some people say that they resemble Aztec remains; others, that they are like those of the more modern Peruvians. All authorities, however, seem to agree that they are like those on Easter Island, the south-east extremity of Polynesia, this being the north-west.
We were close-hauled all day; the wind was strong, and the sea rough and disagreeable.
Tuesday, January 23rd. - Still close-hauled, and still a heavy swell. I felt very ill, and could scarcely move my head for neuralgia. The galley boiler burst to-day, so we are now dependent on the one in the forecastle. During the night we passed the Euphrosyne rock. It looks like a ship in full sail, and abounds with turtle, fish, and sea-elephants.
Wednesday, January 24th. - Very much colder, though we are only just outside the tropics. The wind was rather freer, and we had a beautiful moonlight night.
Friday, January 26th. - During the night the breeze freshened, and in the morning increased to a gale. Steam was therefore let off. It has been a miserable day; so cold, wet, and rough, that it was impossible to do anything, or to sit anywhere, except on the floor.