The western sea was all aflame, 
    The day was well nigh done! 
    Almost upon the western wave 
    Rested the broad bright sun.

Tuesday, October 31st. - Throughout the night a flat calm prevailed. The morning was wet and foggy, or we might still have seen Valparaiso, and perhaps have had a peep at Aconcagua. There was a light contrary wind from the N.W. throughout the day. In the afternoon we saw two whales blowing in the distance.

Wednesday, November 1st. - An almost calm day, with a few light showers, and fitful but unfavourable breezes. Some thirty or forty little birds, which the sailors called Mother Carey's chickens, but which were smaller and more graceful than any I have seen of that name, followed closely in our wake. I was never tired of watching the dainty way in which they just touched the tips of the waves with their feet, and then started off afresh, like a little maiden skipping and hopping along, from sheer exuberance of spirit.

Thursday, November 2nd. - A bright sunny morning, with a heavy swell and light contrary wind, but the sea became more tranquil towards the evening. The sunset was superb, and the afterglow, as is often the case in these latitudes, lighted up sky and sea with an indescribable beauty, which attained its greatest magnificence about five minutes after the sun had disappeared, reminding one of the glorious sunsets of the African deserts, so often described by travellers.

Friday, November 3rd. - Still a blue sky, bright sunshine, smooth sea, and light head-wind. The crew have all turned tailors, and are making themselves new suits from some dungaree we bought at Valparaiso, the clothes we expected for them not having met us there.

Saturday, November 4th. - As fine as ever. This is certainly sailing luxuriously, if not swiftly. We have now settled down into our regular sea-ways, and have plenty to do on board; so the delay does not much signify. Still, our time is limited, and we all hope to fall in with the trades shortly to carry us to Tahiti or some of the South Sea islands. We caught half-a-dozen of the little petrels, for stuffing, by floating lines of black cotton astern, in which they became entangled.

To-night's sunset was more superb than ever. Each moment produced a new and ever increasingly grand effect. I mean to try and take an instantaneous photograph of one. It would not, of course, reproduce all the marvellous shades of colouring, but it would perhaps give some idea of the forms of the masses of cloud, which are finer than any I ever saw before. This ocean seems to give one, in a strange way, a sense of solemn vastness, which was not produced to the same extent by the Atlantic. Whether this results from our knowledge of its size, or whether it is only fancy, I cannot say, but it is an impression which we all share.

Sunday, November 5th. - Fine, and considerably hotter, though not unpleasantly so. We had the Litany at eleven, and evening prayers and a sermon at four o'clock. Not a single ship has passed within sight since we left Valparaiso, and the only living creatures we have seen are some albatrosses, a few white boobies, a cape-hen, the little petrels already mentioned, a shoal of porpoises, and two whales.

Monday, November 6th. - Passed, at 3 a.m. to-day, a large barque, steering south, and at 8 a.m. a full-rigged ship, steering the same course. We held - as we do with every ship we pass - a short conversation with her through the means of the mercantile code of signals. (This habit of exchanging signals afterwards proved to have been a most useful practice, for when the report that the 'Sunbeam' had gone down with all hands was widely circulated through England, I might almost say the world, - for we found the report had preceded us by telegram to almost all the later ports we touched at, - the anxiety of our friends was relieved many days sooner than it would otherwise have been by the fact of our having spoken the German steamer 'Sakhara,' in the Magellan Straits, Oct. 13, four days after we were supposed to have gone to the bottom.) The weather continues fine, and we have the same light baffling winds. We hoped, when we started, to average at least 200 miles a day, but now we have been a week at sea, and have only made good a little more than 700 miles altogether, though we have sailed over 800 miles through the water. It is, however, wonderful, in the opinion of the navigators, that we have made even as much progress as this, considering the very adverse circumstances under which the voyage has so far been performed, and we must endeavour to console ourselves with the reflection that the sailing qualities of the yacht have undergone another severe test in a satisfactory manner. How the provisions and water will last out, and what time we shall leave ourselves to see anything of Japan, are questions which, nevertheless, occasionally present themselves to our minds. Independently of such considerations, nothing could be more luxurious and delightful than our present mode of existence. With perfect weather, plenty of books to read and writing to do, no possibility of interruptions, one can map out one's day and dispose of one's time exactly as one pleases, until the half-past six o'clock dressing-bell - which always seems to come long before it is wanted - recalls one to the duties and necessities of life.

Wednesday, November 8th. - A grey cloudy morning and a flat calm. At twelve o'clock, to the great joy of everybody on board, Tom decided to get up steam, as we have now been becalmed quite twenty-four hours, and have made but little progress in the right direction for some days. The alacrity with which the order to stow sails and raise the funnel was obeyed - every one lending a hand - and the delight expressed on every countenance, must have assured him of at least the popularity of his decision.

Whilst we were waiting for steam to be got up, Tom took Muriel and me for a row in the 'Flash,' his own particular little boat, with about four inches of freeboard. The possibility of doing this will give you a better idea of the tranquillity of this vast ocean than any description I can write. At the same time, when we wanted to get into the boat, we found there was a considerable roll on, and that it was no easy matter without the aid of a gangway or ladder. We rowed a little way from the yacht, and, considering how quiet it had seemed to us when on board, it was wonderful to observe how she rolled in the trough of the sea, without sails to steady her or motive power to guide her. The Lota coals, though black and dirty beyond description, burn up very quickly, and in about an hour we were steaming merrily along, the Arabian horseshoe on our bowsprit's end being now pointed direct for the island of Tahiti, instead of for wherever the wind chose to blow us.

Thursday, November 9th. - A flat calm at 6 a.m.; a very light fair wind at 9 a.m. In spite of my remonstrances, Tom determined, at half-past nine, to cease steaming and try sailing again. About twelve o'clock a puff came that sent us along at the rate of 10-1/2 knots for a short time; but it soon dropped, and during the rest of the afternoon and evening, our average speed was only three or four knots an hour. This is very poor work for the trades, but I don't believe we are really in them yet, in spite of the wind charts. It is possible that they may vary in different years; besides which it is now the height of summer, with the sun south of the line, which would naturally make them lighter.

Saturday, November 11th. - At last we seem to be feeling the influence of the trades, as the wind continues to blow from the same direction, though it varies much in force. Sometimes we are going along at the rate of 11-3/4 knots, sometimes barely five. In the afternoon we had the usual Saturday singing practice.

Sunday, November 12th. - Another lovely day. We had the Litany and hymns at eleven, evening service and sermon at four.

Just before morning church some one turned on the water in the nursery bath, and forgot to turn it off again, so that when we came aft from the saloon we had the pleasure of finding everything in the children's cabins afloat, and that a good deal of water had got down into the hold. It was rather annoying at the time, but, I dare say, like many other present troubles, it was a good thing in the end. It obliged us, at any rate, to have all the stores brought up on deck, and led to our taking an inventory of our resources sooner than we should otherwise have done. I am sorry to say we found that, owing to the departure of our head steward and the illness of his successor, they have not been husbanded as carefully as they should have been, especially those provided for use forward. Sailors are more like children than grown-up men, and require as much looking after. While there is water in the tanks, for instance, they will use it in the most extravagant manner, without thought for the morrow; and they are quite as reckless with their other stores.

I find, however, that one of the drawbacks to taking a very close personal interest in the housekeeping arrangements on board is the too intimate acquaintance one makes with the various individuals composing the live stock, the result being that the private particular history of every chicken, duck, turkey, and joint of mutton is apt to be remembered with a damaging effect to appetite.

In the afternoon two boobies, the first birds we have seen for some days, paid us a visit. I suppose we are too far out to see anything more of our pretty little friends, the petrels.

Monday, November 13th. - We had a regular turn-out and re-arrangement of our stores to-day, and discovered that the waste and mismanagement have been greater even than we at first supposed. Fortunately, we found some spare tins of provisions stowed away under the nursery floor and forgotten, and which will now come in very opportunely. But I fear that, even as it is, we may be seriously inconvenienced before getting to the end of our voyage. Of the six sheep, sixty chickens, thirty ducks, and four dozen pigeons, brought on board alive at Valparaiso, we have comparatively few left, and not a great deal to give those few to eat; so we must depend mainly on our potted meats and vegetables, which happen to be excellent. We often wonder how the earlier navigators got on, when there were no such things as tinned provisions, and when the facilities for carrying water were of the poorest description, while they were often months and months at sea, without an opportunity of replenishing their stores, and with no steam-power to fall back upon in case they were becalmed. Still more wonderful, in my opinion, is the successful manner in which the Spaniards managed to convey their hordes in tiny vessels, together with a sufficient quantity of forage for them, to the New World, where, according to all accounts, they generally arrived in good condition, fit to go to work or to war immediately.

The wind increased in the evening and blew dead aft. In the middle of the night the mizen-halyards broke, and blocks and all came down with a tremendous crash, which caused both Tom and me to rush up on deck. About an hour and a half's work put everything straight again, however, though it looked a sad mess at first. We had been remarking at dinner how lucky we had been, with all this rolling about in calms and running before the wind, not to have had anything carried away or any of the ropes chafed. Personally, I think the accident is not to be regretted, for now all the fore and aft canvas is stowed, and we are running under square canvas alone, which is much steadier work, though we still roll considerably.

Tuesday, November 14th. - Fine, with a strong fair wind. I have been laid up for a few days with a touch of my old enemy, Syrian fever, but am gradually recovering, and enjoy very much lying on deck and reading.

Our victualling arrangements have now been satisfactorily settled, and everybody has been put on an allowance of water, our supply of which will last the whole ship's company of forty persons for five weeks, leaving one tank still in reserve in case of accidents. As we expect to reach our destination in about three weeks from the present time, we have therefore, I hope, an ample supply for all our requirements.

Wednesday, November 15th. - Pleasant as we have found life at sea in the South Pacific hitherto, it is, I fear, monotonous to read about, and I dare say you will find it difficult to realise how quickly the days fly past, and how sorry we are when each one comes to an end. I am afraid they are among those things which do not repeat themselves. At any rate, they afford a golden opportunity for reading, such as we are not likely to have again often, if ever, in our busy lives; and Tom and I are endeavouring to make the best use of it by getting through as many of the seven hundred volumes we brought with us as possible. The weather favours us in our endeavours to be industrious; for, while it is sufficiently warm to indispose one for a very severe course of study, it has never been so hot as to compel us to lie down and do nothing but gasp for breath - which is what we were warned to expect. There is indeed one slight drawback to the perfect enjoyment of our present state of existence, and that is the incessant motion of the vessel. When she rolls as quickly as she has done to-day, it is difficult to settle down steadily to any occupation, and at last one cannot help feeling aggravated at the persistent manner in which everything, including one's self, refuses to be still for a single instant.

Thursday, November 16th. - To-day it is really warm - not to say hot - with a bright cloudless sky, which renders an awning acceptable. We saw some 'bo's'n' birds for the first time, and more shoals of flying-fish. I wish a few of the latter would come on board; they would be an agreeable addition to our breakfast-table.

The rolling still continues, the wind being dead aft, and nothing but our square canvas being set. The effect is rather wearisome, and one longs to be able to say 'Catch hold of her head and keep her still, if only for five minutes' peace and quietness!' Cooking is difficult, and even eating is a hazardous occupation; and at our evening game of cards we have to pocket our counters and markers and hold on as best we can.

Friday, November 17th. - At 8 a.m. the course was altered, our fore-and-aft canvas was set again, and we were once more gliding along swiftly and smoothly through the water, to the great relief of every one on board. The day was lovely, and though it was warm, a pleasant breeze throughout the ship prevented our feeling uncomfortably hot.

Saturday, November 18th. - The days are so much alike that it is difficult to find anything special to say about them. They fly so quickly that I was surprised to be reminded by the usual singing-practice this afternoon that another week had gone by.

The two green paroquets, 'Coco' and 'Meta,' given to me by Mr. Fisher at Rosario, have turned out dear little pets, with the most amusing ways. They are terrible thieves, especially of sugar, pencils, pens, and paper, and being nearly always at liberty, they follow me about just like dogs, and coax and caress me with great affection. They do not care much for any one else, though they are civil to all and good-tempered even to the children, who, I am afraid, rather bore them with their attempts at petting. The other foreign birds, of which I have a large collection, are doing well, and I begin to hope I shall get them home safely after all. We had at one time about twenty parrots, belonging to the men, on board, all running about on deck forward, with their wings clipped, but about half of them have been lost overboard. The dogs keep their health and spirits wonderfully. Felise is quite young again, and she and Lulu have great games, tearing up and down and around the decks as hard as they can go.

Sunday, November 19th. - I am convalescent at last, and appeared at breakfast this morning for the first time for ten days.

The wind was very variable throughout the day. Between 6 and 7 a.m. we were going twelve knots; between 7 and 8 only three; but as we never stop, we manage to make up a fair average on the whole.

At eleven o'clock we had the Communion Service and two hymns. At midday the week's work was made up, with the following result. Our position was in lat. 15 deg. 38' S., long. 117 deg. 52' W.; we were 3,057 miles from Valparaiso, - 1,335 of which had been accomplished since last Sunday, - and 1,818 miles from Tahiti.

To-day we were not far from Easter Island, the southernmost island of Polynesia. Here as in the Ladrones, far away in the north-west quarter of the Pacific, most curious inscriptions are sometimes found carved in stone. Annexed is a photograph taken from one I saw at a later stage of the voyage.

The sails had been flapping, more or less, all day, and at the change of the dog-watches, at six o'clock, Tom ordered the men aft to stow the mizen. This they had scarcely begun to do when a light breeze sprang up, and in a few minutes increased to a strong one, before which we bowled along at the rate of nine knots. These sudden changes are of constant occurrence, and, coming as they do without the slightest warning, are quite inexplicable. If only we had our old square sails, and our bigger yards and topmast, we should have saved a good deal of time already; for one or two knots an hour extra amount to from 25 to 50 miles a day, and in a month's run the difference would not be far short of 1,500 miles. But we heard so much from people in England, who had visited these parts, of squalls and hurricanes, that Tom did not like to run the risk of being over-sparred, especially with a wife and children as passengers.

Monday, November 20th. - The fore-and-aft sails were taken in, as they were doing no good and the square canvas was drawing. This allowed the mizen-awning to be spread, making a pleasant place to sit in and a capital playground for the children, who scamper about all day long, and do not appear to feel the heat a bit.

Tuesday, November 21st. - Certainly a very hot day. We made steady progress under the same canvas as yesterday.

Wednesday, November 22nd. - Between 2 and 3 a.m. a nice breeze sprang up, and between 3 and 4.30 a.m. all the fore-and-aft sails were again set. It was deliciously cool on deck at that time; but the sun rose fierce and hot, and more or less killed the breeze as the day wore on.

Thursday, November 23rd. - Twenty-four days out. We had hoped to reach Tahiti to-day, and Tom begins to regret that he did not steam some distance out from Valparaiso, so as to pick up the trades sooner. Still it is satisfactory to know how well the 'Sunbeam' can and does sail against light contrary winds, and to have an opportunity of developing some of her good points, of which we were previously hardly aware. How she manages to slip along as she does, four or five knots an hour, with not sufficient wind to blow a candle out, is a marvel to every one on board. More than once, when the hand-log has shown that we were going five knots, I have carried a naked light from one end of the deck to the other without its being extinguished.

The sunrise was magnificent, and a splendid albatross, the largest we have yet seen, was at the same time visible in mid-air, floating against the rose-coloured clouds. He looked so grand, and calm, and majestic, that one could almost fancy him the bird of Jove himself, descending direct from the sun. Where do these birds rest? How far and how fast do they really fly? are questions for the naturalist. We have seen them many times at a distance of at least two thousand miles from the nearest land.

About nine o'clock there was a slight breeze, but it fell as the sun rose, and the day was intensely hot.

Friday, November 24th. - A fine breeze in the early morning, which, however, gradually died away. Having now quitted the regular track of the trade winds and got into the variables, we lighted fires at two o'clock. Then another light breeze sprang up for a few minutes, only to fall away again immediately, and at six o'clock we commenced to steam.

Saturday, November 25th. - A very wet morning, the sky clearing at about ten, but the weather remaining dull, heavy, hot, and oppressive, throughout the day. But we were making good progress under steam, which rendered the state of things more endurable than it would otherwise have been.

Whilst I was standing on deck at night a flying-fish flew against my throat and hung there, caught in the lace of my dress. He is a pretty specimen, but only his wings are to be preserved, for Muriel will have his body for breakfast to-morrow.

Sunday, November 26th. - Our fourth consecutive Sunday at sea, and out of sight of land. At 4 a.m. the sails were spread to a good breeze. At 7 we stopped steaming, but at 10 the wind again fell light. The Litany was read on deck this morning on account of the heat. The observations at noon showed that we were in lat. 15 deg. 47' S., long. 135 deg. 20' W., the distance accomplished during the last twenty-four hours being 181 miles. We have now made good 4,067 miles from Valparaiso, and are 815 miles distant from Tahiti. At 5 p.m. we had prayers and a sermon, also on deck. It was then almost calm, and at eight o'clock we again began steaming, in order to insure our making the island of Tatakotoroa, 200 miles off, before dark to-morrow.

Monday, November 27th. - I was on deck at 3.30 a.m. Everybody on board was more or less excited at the prospect of making land, after twenty-eight days at sea. It was a delicious morning, with a favourable breeze, and under steam and sail we progressed at the rate of from 10 to 11-1/2 knots an hour. Several birds flew on board, amongst whom were two boobies, who hovered round us and appeared to examine everything with great curiosity, especially the little wind-vanes at the extremity of the masts. At last they settled on the foretopmast, whereupon one of the sailors went up to try and catch them. They observed his movements closely, and appeared to be specially interested in his cap; but as he approached, first one and then the other flew away for a few yards, and then returned to his former position. At last the man, watching his opportunity, managed to seize one of them by his legs and bring him down in triumph, despite flapping wings and pecks from a sharp beak. He was shut up in the fowl-pen - now, alas, empty of its proper denizens - where we had an opportunity of examining him before he was killed. He was a fine, handsome, grey bird, with large blue eyes, and a wild hawk-like look.

At one o'clock we were almost sailing over the spot marked by Findlay as the situation of Tatakotopoto, or Anonymous Island; but there was nothing whatever visible in the shape of land, even from the masthead, where a man was stationed, and from which it was possible to see a distance of ten or fifteen miles. Tom went up himself several times and scanned the horizon carefully, but in vain. It is therefore evident either that the position of the island is incorrectly stated, or that it has become submerged. I believe that in these seas there are many islands marked that have no existence, and that several that do exist are not marked, which renders it necessary to keep a constant good look-out. What a charming task it would be thoroughly to survey these parts, and to correct the present charts where necessary, and how much I should like to be one of the officers appointed for the service!

At 1.30 p.m. land was sighted from the mast-head, and at two o'clock I saw from the deck what looked like plumes of dark ostrich feathers rising from the sea. This was the island of Tatakotoroa - also known as Narcissus, or Clarke Island - to the eastward of the Paumotu or Low Archipelago of the South Seas. The sailing directions describe the inhabitants as 'hostile,' and Sir Edward Belcher mentions that some of them tried to cut off the boats sent from a man-of-war for water. We were therefore afraid to attempt a landing, but sailed as near as we could to the shore, which, surrounded by a rampart of snow-white coral, and clothed almost to the water's edge with feathery palms, cocoa-nut trees, and luxuriant vegetation of various kinds, looked very tempting. A few canoes were drawn up on the beach near a large hut, out of which three or four natives came, and, having looked at us for some time, ran off into the woods. Blue smoke could be seen curling up from several points of the forest, no doubt indicating the presence of more natives, whose dwellings were concealed by the trees.

After lunch, Tom had me hoisted up to the foretopmast-head in a 'boatswain's chair,' which is simply a small plank, suspended by ropes at the four corners, and used by the men to sit on when they scrape the masts. I was very carefully secured with a rope tied round my petticoats, and, knocking against the various ropes on my way, was then gently hoisted up to what seemed at first a giddy height; but when once I got accustomed to the smallness of the seat, the airiness of my perch, and the increased roll of the vessel, I found my position by no means an unpleasant one. Tom climbed up the rigging and joined me shortly afterwards. From our elevated post we could see plainly the formation of the island, and the lagoon in the centre, encircled by a band of coral, in some places white, bare, and narrow, in others wide and covered with palm-trees and rich vegetation; it was moreover possible to understand better the theory of the formation of these coral islands. I was so happy up aloft that I did not care to descend; and it was almost as interesting to observe what a strange and disproportioned appearance everything and everybody on board the yacht presented from my novel position, as it was to examine the island we were passing. The two younger children and the dogs took the greatest interest in my aerial expedition, and never ceased calling to me and barking, until I was once more let down safely into their midst. As soon as we had seen all we could of the island, fires were banked, and we proceeded under sail alone throughout the evening and night.