Wednesday, August 7, 2013

16 August 1859

16. We were disturbed about midnight by the extra rolling of the ship and the noise of the sailors on deck. We found a very strong cold wind blowing and storms of rain pelting and all hands hard at work taking in all the sails except three, two of which were reefed and all made snug by about 7 o'clock. (3 gibb sails and main top royal went to pieces before they could be furled). I may here remark that the first impressions conveyed by such a scene (especially when they happen by night or in the twilight of morn) are capable of exciting great fear in the bosom of those who know so little of seafaring life but more particularly so if they do not lovingly know him who holds the winds in his fist and the waters in the hollow of his hand. But a believer sees and feels god as near and precious on the lonely deep as in the cottage of devotion or the temple of prayer and praise and yet to all landsmen it must be somewhat startling to hear the wind whistling through the rigging and blowing the water about like dust and heaving wave upon wave as if to pile the deep into liquid pyramids, each one of which would come rolling and roaring after us as if to engulf us in its surgings. And then rolling the ship on her beam ends (broadside) then kicking against her ribs as if to affright every inmate. Again lifting as though they would toss us in the airy regions and then opening it's mouth to swallow us up as intruders on its troubled waters. But as the day advances and we become more accustomed to this new dispensation a few things recur which serve to amuse us at the moment as we see our fellow passengers rolling one against another, some slipping down on the wet decks, others getting a shower both with the spray dashing over her Bulwarks and often in her rolls upsetting buckets, breaking bottles and crockery and rattling the tins about and turning the benches over. All these in turn kept chiming their answers to the music of the deep (which excited many a smile at each others little mishaps). The sea continued heavily and the wind blew fierce and unabated all day and at night we retired to our rocking beds, looking round somewhat wishful on the patches of blue sky and here and there a star peeping through the broken clouds which still looked wild and stormy.
Booth, Thomas. Papers, 1857 - 1859. Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. MS 2002/56.

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