A wet sheet and a flowing sea, 
    A wind that follows fast 
    And fills the white and rustling sail 
    And bends the gallant mast.

Tuesday, July 25th. - There was not much wind during the night, and Palma was consequently still visible when I came on deck at daybreak. We had a light fair wind in the morning, accompanied by a heavy swell, which caused us to roll so much that I found it very difficult to do anything. Several shoals of flying fish skimmed past us along the surface of the water, occasionally rising to a considerable height above it. Their beautiful wings, glittering in the bright sunlight, looked like delicate silver filigree-work. In the night one flew on board, only to be preserved in spirits by Dr. Potter.

Saturday, July 29th. - For the last three days we have been going on quietly with fair, warm weather, but a nice fresh breeze sprang up to-day. At midday the sun was so exactly vertical over our heads, that it was literally possible to stand under the shadow of one's own hatbrim, and be sheltered all round. Our navigators experienced considerable difficulty in taking their noon-tide observations, as the sun appeared to dodge about in every direction.

About two o'clock we made the high land of St. Antonio, one of the Cape de Verde Islands, and, soon afterwards, the lower land of St Vincent. Some doubt existing as to the prevalence of fever at the latter place, Tom decided not to stop there, for fear of having to undergo quarantine at Rio de Janeiro. We therefore shortened sail, and passed slowly between the islands to the anchorage beyond the Bird Rock. This is a very small island, of perfectly conical form, covered with thousands of sea-fowl, who live here undisturbed by any other inhabitants. The town of Porto Grande, with its rows of white houses on the sea-shore, at the base of the rocky crags, looked clean and comfortable in the evening light. During the day, however, it must be a hot and glaring place, for there are no trees to afford shade, nor, indeed, any kind of vegetation. The water, too, is bad, and all supplies for passing steamers are brought from the other islands, at very uncertain intervals. It is still a great coaling-station, though not so much used as it was formerly, before the opening of the Suez Canal. The ships come out with coal, and go away in ballast (there is nothing else to be had here), procured from a point near the town, to Rio or elsewhere, where they pick up their homeward cargo of fruit, &c.

The absence of twilight in these latitudes, both at dawn and sunset, is certainly very remarkable. This morning, at four o'clock, the stars were shining brightly; ten minutes later the day had commenced to break; and at half-past four the sun had risen above the horizon, and was gilding the surrounding mountain tops.

Sunday, July 30th. - About 10 a.m. we were off Tarafal Bay - a most hopeless-looking place for supplies. High rocky mountains, sandy slopes, and black volcanic beach, composed a scene of arid desolation, in the midst of which was situated one small white house, with four windows and a thatched roof, surrounded by a little green patch of sugar-canes and cocoa-nut palms.

But the result proved the sageness of the advice contained in the old proverb, not to trust to appearances only; for, whilst we were at breakfast, Mr. Martinez, the son of the owner of the one whitewashed cottage to be seen, came on board. To our surprise, he spoke English extremely well, and promised us all sorts of supplies, if we could wait until three o'clock in the afternoon. Having agreed to do this, we shortly afterwards went ashore in his boat, with a crew of more than half-naked negroes, and a hot row of about three miles brought us to the shore, where, after some little difficulty, we succeeded in effecting a landing. Our feet immediately sank into the hot black sand, composed entirely of volcanic deposits and small pieces, or rather grains, of amber, through which we had a fatiguing walk until we reached some palm-trees, shading a little pool of water. Here we left some of the men, with instructions to fill the breakers they had brought with them, while we walked on along the beach, past the remains of an English schooner that caught fire not far from this island, and was run ashore by her captain, thirty years ago. Her iron anchor, chain, and wheel still remained, together with two queer little iron cannon, which I should have much liked to carry off as a memorial of our visit. We then turned up a narrow shadeless path, bordered by stone walls, leading away from the sea, past a sugar-mill and a ruin. A few almond, castor-oil, and fig trees were growing amongst the sugar-canes, and as we mounted the hill we could see some thirty round straw huts, like beehives, on the sandy slopes beside the little stream. An abrupt turn in the mountains, amid which, at a distance of three leagues, this tiny river takes its rise, hides it from the sea, so that the narrow valley which it fertilises looks like a small oasis in the desert of rocks and sand.

Mr. Martinez's house, where we sat for some time, and beneath the windows of which the one stream of the island runs, was comparatively cool. Outside, the negro washerwomen were busy washing clothes in large turtle-shell tubs, assisted, or hindered, by the 'washerwoman-bird,' a kind of white crane, who appeared quite tame, playing about just like a kitten, pecking at the clothes or the women's feet, and then running away and hiding behind a tree. The stream was full of water-cresses, while the burnt-up little garden contained an abundance of beautiful flowers. There were scarlet and yellow mimosas, of many kinds, combining every shade of exquisite green velvety foliage, alpinias, with pink, waxy flowers and crimson and gold centres, oleanders, begonias, hibiscus, allamandas, and arum and other lilies.

Mr. Bingham sketched, I took some photographs, Dr. Potter and the children caught butterflies, and the rest of our party wandered about. Every five minutes a negro arrived with a portion of our supplies. One brought a sheep, another a milch-goat for baby, while the rest contributed, severally, a couple of cocoa-nuts, a papaya, three mangoes, a few water-cresses, a sack of sweet potatoes, a bottle of milk, three or four quinces, a bunch of bananas, a little honey, half-a-dozen cabbages, some veal and pork, and so on; until it appeared as if every little garden on either side of the three leagues of stream must have yielded up its entire produce, and we had accumulated sacks full of cocoa-nuts and potatoes, hundreds of eggs, and dozens of chickens and ducks. It was very amusing to see the things arrive. They were brought in by people varying in colour from dark yellow to the blackest ebony, and ranging in size from fine stalwart men, over six feet in height, to tiny little blackies of about three feet six, with curly hair, snowy teeth, and mischievous, beady eyes. The arrival of the provision boat and the transfer of its miscellaneous cargo to the 'Sunbeam' was quite an amusing sight. The pretty black goat and the sheep bleated, the fowls cackled, and the ducks quacked, while the negroes chatted and laughed as they handed and hauled on board fish of all shapes and sizes, bunches of bananas, piles of cocoa-nuts, sacks of potatoes, and many other things, finishing up with a tiny black boy, about three years old, whom I think they would rather have liked to leave behind with us, if we would only have taken him. The fish proved excellent, though some of them really seemed almost too pretty to eat. A brilliant gold fish, weighing about three pounds, and something like a grey mullet in flavour, was perhaps the best. The prices were very curious. Chickens a shilling each, ducks five shillings, goats thirty shillings, and sheep ten shillings. Vegetables, fruit, and flowers were extremely cheap; but the charge for water, fetched from the spring in our own breakers by our own crew, with but little assistance from four or five negroes, was 3_l. 18_s. However, as ours is the only yacht, with one exception, that has ever visited this island, there was nothing for it except to pay the bill without demur.

I never in my life felt so warm as I did to-day on shore, though the inhabitants say it will not be really hot for two months yet; I never before saw cocoa-nut palms growing; and I never tasted a mango until this morning; so I have experienced three new sensations in one day.

The night was fearfully close, muggy, and thundery, the temperature in the cabins being 89 deg., in spite of open sky-lights and port-holes. Generally speaking, it has not hitherto been as hot as we expected, especially on board the yacht itself. On deck there is almost always a nice breeze, but below it is certainly warm.

Tuesday, August 1st. - Yesterday we were still under sail, but to-day it has been necessary to steam, for the wind has fallen too light. There was a heavy roll from the south, and the weather continued hot and oppressive. In the cabins the thermometer stood at 89 deg. during the whole of the night, in spite of all our efforts to improve the temperature. We therefore put three of the children in the deck-house to sleep, opening the doors and windows; and some of the rest of our party slept on deck in hammocks. In anticipation of the heavy equatorial rains, which Captain Lecky had predicted might commence to-day, we had had the awnings put up; a fortunate piece of foresight, for, before midnight, the rain came down in torrents.

Wednesday, August 2nd. - At daybreak the sky was covered with heavy black clouds, and the atmosphere was as hot and muggy as ever. We had a great deal of rain during the day, and took advantage of the opportunity to fill every available tub, bucket, and basin, to say nothing of the awnings. It came down in such sheets that mackintoshes were comparatively useless, and we had soon filled our seventeen breakers, the cistern, and the boats, from which we had removed the covers, with very good, though somewhat dirty, washing water.

Friday, August 4th. - We were only 289 miles off Sierra Leone in the morning, and at noon therefore Tom decided to put about. Having done so, we found that we went along much more easily and quite as fast on the other tack. We maintained a good rate of speed on our new course, which was now nearly due west, passing a large barque with every stitch of canvas set, hand over hand.

We are still in the Guinea current, and the temperature of the water is 82 deg., even in the early morning; but the heat of the sun does not seem to have much effect upon it, as it does not vary to any great extent during the day.

In the evening we saw the Southern Cross for the first time, and were much disappointed in its appearance. The fourth star is of smaller magnitude than the others, and the whole group is only for a very short time in a really upright position, inclining almost always either to one side or the other, as it rises and sets.

Tuesday, August 8th. - We crossed the line at daylight.

This event caused much fun and excitement, both in cabin and forecastle. The conventional hair was put across the field of the telescope for the unsophisticated 'really to see the line,' and many firmly believed they did see it, and discussed its appearance at some length. Jim Allen, one of our tallest sailors, and coxswain of the gig, dressed in blue, with long oakum wig and beard, gilt paper crown, and trident and fish impaled in one hand, was seated on a gun-carriage, and made a capital Father Neptune. Our somewhat portly engineer, Mr. Rowbotham, with fur-trimmed dressing gown and cap, and bent form, leaning on a stick, his face partially concealed by a long grey beard, and a large band-box of pills on one arm, made an equally good doctor to his Marine Majesty, while the part of Mrs. Trident was ably filled by one of the youngest sailors, dressed in some of the maids' clothes; but the accompanying pictures will give a better idea than any description of mine.

Soon afterwards we saw an enormous shoal of grampuses, large black fish, about 25 feet in length, something between a dolphin and a whale, with the very ugliest jaws, or rather snouts, imaginable. They are of a predatory and ferocious disposition, attacking not only sharks, dolphins, and porpoises, but even whales, more than twice their own size. We also passed through enormous quantities of flying-fish, no doubt driven to the surface by dolphins and bonitos. They were much larger and stronger in the wing than any we have hitherto seen.

Lulu's puppies, born yesterday, have been respectively named Butterfly (who survived her birth only an hour), Poseidon, Aphrodite, Amphitrite, and Thetis - names suggested by their birth-place on the ocean close to his Marine Majesty's supposed equatorial palace.

At noon we were 250 miles off St. Paul's Rocks.

Thursday, August 10th. - A very hot, showery day. Saw two large ships in the distance. In the morning we were almost becalmed for a time, but the breeze returned during the afternoon, and we were able to proceed on our course. I think this has been the most lovely of the many exquisite days we have enjoyed since we left England. It commenced with a magnificent sunrise, and ended with an equally gorgeous sunset, only to be succeeded by a beautiful moonlight night, so clear and bright that we could see to read ordinary print on deck.

Saturday, August 12th. - At noon we were 300 miles off Bahia, a place we have made up our minds not to visit, as it would lengthen our voyage considerably, and there is not much to see there. We have therefore decided to proceed direct to Rio, where we are looking forward to arrive on Wednesday or Thursday next.

The night was showery, with a good deal of wind and sea.

Sunday, August 13th. - Sailing in the tropics is really very delightful! When going to the westward, there is almost always, at this season of the year, a favourable breeze, and the weather is generally either quite fair or moderately so.

    Whispered to it, westward, westward, 
    And with speed it darted forward.

We had service at 11.15 a.m., and again at 5.30 p.m. The choir has considerably improved; one of our new men plays the violin very well, and frequently accompanies the children and the nurse in their songs. On a clear calm night, beneath a tropical sky, when the members of this little group assemble on deck, and, by the light of a lantern, sing some of their simple songs, the effect produced is both melodious and picturesque.

The wind dropped at about 10 p.m., and we had an unpleasant amount of roll during the night, sails flapping, spars creaking, and booms swinging as if they would pull the masts out of the vessel.

Monday, August 14th. - This morning we saw a small schooner ahead, and thinking from her manoeuvres that she wished to speak us, we made our number and ran towards her. We soon found out, however, that she was a whaler, in chase of two large grampuses. She had two men on the look-out in the cross-trees, in a sort of iron cage; and though she was of much smaller tonnage than the 'Sunbeam,' she carried five big boats, one of which, full of men, was ready to be lowered into the water, the instant they had approached sufficiently near to the whale or grampus. These seas used formerly to abound with whalers, but they are now much less numerous, the seasons having been bad of late.

To-night the stars were especially brilliant, and we spent some hours in trying to make out their names. Vega, our polar star for some time to come, shone conspicuously bright, and the Southern Cross could be seen to great advantage.

Wednesday, August 16th. - We had a fine fair breeze all day, and at 5 p.m. there was a cry from the mast-head of 'Land ahead!' Great excitement immediately prevailed on board, and Tom and Captain Brown rushed, for about the twelfth time, to the foretop to see if the report was true. They were soon able to announce that Cape Frio was visible on the port bow, about thirty-five miles distant. After even a fortnight at sea, an indescribable sensation is produced by this cry, and by the subsequent sight of the land itself. When we came up on deck this evening, after dinner, we all gazed on the lighthouse on the still distant shore as if we had never beheld such a thing in our lives before. The colour and temperature of the water had perceptibly changed, the former from a beautiful, clear, dark ultramarine to a muddy green; innumerable small birds, moths, locusts, and grasshoppers came on board; and, having given special orders that we were to be called early the next morning, we went to bed in the fond hope that we should be able to enter Rio harbour at daybreak.

Thursday, August 17th. - 'L'homme propose; Dieu dispose.' Steam was up at midnight, but by that time it was blowing half a gale of wind from the south-west, with such a steep short sea that the screw was scarcely ever properly immersed, but went racing round and round in the air with tremendous velocity, as we pitched and rolled about. Our progress was therefore at the rate of something rather under a mile an hour, and at daybreak, instead of entering the harbour of Rio, as we had hoped to do, we found ourselves close to Cape Frio.

About 8 a.m. matters mended, the wind moderating and changing its direction slightly; so that, under steam and sail, we were soon going along the coast at the rate of four or five miles an hour. The surf was breaking with a loud roar upon the white sandy beach, while the spray was carried by the force of the wind far inland, over the strip of flat fertile-looking country, lying between the sea and a chain of low sugarloaf-shaped mountains, parallel with the shore, and only a short distance off.

Our course lay between the mainland and the islands of Maya and Payo, where the groves of bananas and other trees looked very miserable in the wind. The tall isolated palm-trees, whose elastic stems bowed readily before the fury of the blast, looked, as they were twisted and whirled hither and thither, like umbrellas turned inside out. Passing the false Sugarloaf mountain, as it is called, we next opened out the true one, the Gavia, and the chain of mountains beyond, the outlines of which bear an extraordinary resemblance to the figure of a man lying on his back, the profile of the face being very like that of the late Duke of Wellington. As the sun sank in gorgeous splendour behind these hills, I think I never saw a grander or more beautiful sight; though the sky was so red and stormy-looking that our hopes of a fine day to-morrow were but faint.

Before entering the harbour, a bar had to be crossed, which is a dangerous operation all the world over. The skylights and hatches were fastened down, and those of our party who did not like being shut up below took their places on the bridge, where, for the first time since we left England, it felt really quite cold. As we advanced, the beautiful harbour, with its long rows of glittering gas-lights, extending for miles on either side of the bay, and illuminating the city and suburbs, gradually became visible. On our left lay the two islands, Rodonda and Raza, on the latter of which is situated a lighthouse. The wind was blowing off the land when we reached the bar, so that, after all our preparations, there was hardly any sea to encounter, and the moment we were over, the water on the other side was perfectly smooth. A gun and a blue light from Fort Santa Cruz, answered immediately by a similar signal from Fort Santa Lucia, announced our arrival, and we shortly afterwards dropped our anchor in the quarantine ground of Rio close to Botafogo Bay, in the noble harbour of Nictheroy.

After dinner it rained heavily, and continued to do so during the whole night.