Saturday, Feb’y 13th 64 days out Lat. 56” 30’ South, Long. 71”00’ West
A hard beat! For 4 days we have been beating about against head winds and strong currents. One day when we thought we had done well, we found that we had drifted right to where we had started from the day before. Two days we were becalmed in sight of those islands, the Diego Ramirez, with the tide whirling around us round and round as though we were in a boiling pot. It roared and hissed along side and spit at us out of perfect contempt, and it took a good breeze to get us out of it. We have seen a good many ships and signalized some, but they are all out of sight now. The water is a beautiful purple blue; it is one of the voices that speaks to us of danger, for when we approach the shore, and on our sounding it turns a sickly green. One night we were
drawing in to the coast; it was so thick we could not see anything. The water changed all at once from blue to green, so we tacked quick enough and stood off.
Pilgarlic has been a little sick for a couple of days. Anxiety and care brought on a foul stomach and severe headache—just enough to show one what a mean thing it is to be sick at sea. But it’s all right, all right, he has no cause to complain; for two years he has not had an ache or a pain. What solitude this is; how still; lots of time to think. What queer fancies come, what visions of the past and future, but what has Pil to do with either. The present? The present? “Heart within and God o’erhead”. The past is gone. The future no man may foresee. The present is all we have.
Lat. 47”30’ S, Long. 89”09’ West, S. Pacific,
Sunday Feb’y 21st. 72 days
Crawling along. Nothing to write about, only it is cold chilly weather, but it grows warmer. No company but the albatross: Mother Carey’s chicken. Pigeons and large schools of white-bellied porpoises; they are a beautiful sight. They have been sporting about all day, turning their sides up and laughing at us. One of the sailors caught one and, in so doing, got overboard, but he got back again. The birds are our constant companions. Sometimes a big old albatross may be seen coming right perfectly horizontal and not moving a hair. They scale along this way for a long time. When close-to they cast their head sideways and ogle us with
their great black eyes, so like a human being that it seems as though they were going to speak.
I often think of the steamer on the Kennebec coming up the river head-on: nothing in motion in sight, her two great wheels at her sides extended like the wings of the bird. And so we imagine all kinds of things for we haven’t much else to do. Time wears away; we are becalmed every other day. Yesterday we had a nice breeze and the old ship bowled along right merrily. We saw a large ship bound around Cape Horn, the only one we have seen for a week.
Killed two of our hogs yesterday and we are having a banquet of pork today. So we don’t mind Lent much as today is the sec. Sunday, Reading “Pickwick Papers” now. Away, away, to the home of my childhood today. Pil says that he thinks I think too much of my childhood and I had better think more of manhood.
Lat. 42 South, Long. 85 West. Pacific Ocean
80 Days out. March 1st
Pilgarlic thinks it ain’t much use to write, but it’s been so long since he wrote that he has concluded to venture a line or so today. We have been becalmed now over a week, and the high hopes we had of making a quick passage are all gone, yet we are content for we might have gone worse. Thanks for the fine run we had from New York to Cape Horn. When any one is becalmed at sea, it seems as though there never would be any wind again, and we begin to think of a time when our water will be all gone, of the “Ancient Mariner” all parched with thirst, and a thousand wild forebodings flit o’er us. Then comes the care of the Captain; oh the anxiety. Happy is he who can put them far from him.
Oh Pil, you are never satisfied. When you are at home surrounded with all you wish, you long for the deck of a stout ship again, and here you are fretting at imaginary evils. “You’re right”, quoth Pil, “help me to be a better man”.
We have a ship in sight today a good ways off; I guess this is a whaler. The sea birds have nearly all left us. Pil saw a couple of land birds today and a porpoise. Yesterday the mates saw a shark. Some days the water is filled with wonderful Medusae such as I never saw before. One specimen looked just like a huge eel; it was seven or eight feet long and had a beautiful crest the whole length of its back. Others again looked like the head and body of a lobster with protruding
black spots like his eyes.
We are overrun with rats. Last night they held high carnival. At last they invaded my room; two of them visited me in my berth. I jumped, shut the door, sprung out of bed, knocked my brains almost out on the chronometer box, hit the barometer and sent the mercury higher than ever it went before, and then begun to battle my intruders. Round and round the ring of roses we went, they chasing me and I them, sometimes jumping on them, but they would manage to get away, with a piece of their tails under my foot, ‘til at last Pilgarlic got them in a tight place and they were beat. They are desperate characters; Pil killed three fat ones. How the Chinaman’s eyes glistened when he came to sweep my room in the morning.
This puts me in mind of a little story, as Payson used to say. It was on my first voyage; Master Payson was passenger. Well, the rats were as thick as they are now; they were ravenous for water and, finding that I left a little in my wash bowl, when they began their orgies nights the first thing they done was come and look in. If I was out they would help themselves. Payson played the guitar nicely and I got an old fiddle from the cook, so we used to sit evenings and play in my room. The rats coming for water heard the music; it was very good and they liked it, so they would pass and re-pass the door with their ears open, listening with the greatest delight in the world ‘til we stopped, then they would go off. So Shakespeare says “The soul that is not moved by a concord of sweet sounds is fit for stratagems, treason, and spoils”. These rats know as much as human beings and are as cunning as foxes.
1st March “The stormy March has come at last”
So I used to read in some old schoolbook; but it ain’t so today. There is not wind enough to fill the sails. Well, I can’t help it. I wish they may have it as pleasant at home; I guess it is bustling enough there but it will soon be over. That long tedious winter that so many dreaded is almost gone, and where and how are they? “There, Pil, you’re always thinking about those things that don’t get you a living.” I don’t care D.B.; I always shall think of them, for I know they are thinking of me, and they are all I have to live for and, for that matter I would die for them too.
So, now , come.
I see by looking at my chart, here close by, the port of Islay de Blanco in latitude 25” South on the South American coast, about halfway between Callao and Valparaiso. Does my good lady remember somebody said Captain Bowker was bound to Icily around the Horn? I said there was no such place but I suspect the above named port is the place. It is a small town on the open sea without any commerce at all, and is not on any of the old charts. It was visited by the great earthquake last year. I hope this will explain the affair, “that’s all”.
I am now two days ahead of the quickest passage ever made by the Franklin to S. Francisco: 137 days, under the renowned Capt. Nelson. I do hope to keep it up.
March 11th 90 days out. Lat. 26” South, Long 90” West
One quarter of a year at sea! One quarter of the distance around the globe! We have fine S.E. trades now and the old ship is bowling along right merrily with her wings out. The air is delightful, the sea smooth and sparkling. It curls as crisp as though it was filled with ladies’ hair irons red hot, and laughs like a child, and that eternal rush-sh-sh. It is right under my window all the time so…
“Ships our cradles, decks our pillows,
Lulled by winds, and rocked on billows,
Gaily bound we o’er the tide:
Hope our anchor, Heaven our guide.”
We have in company the ship Bristolian of Bristol, England. She sails just the same as we do. We have also in sight a larger American ship and he sails the same, so the Franklin ain’t the slowest ship in the world.
Pilgarlic has built a neat little bench in his room that answers for a drawing table, writing table, with a vise on it for a workbench, drawers for tools, drawing and writing materials, etc. What next?
Oh it is lonesome! I have been worrying about the water a good deal before we got this nice breeze, but now we have decided there is sixty days’ water at one gallon per man per diem so I am at rest on that score. It is such a terrible thing to be short of water in the tropics; the very thought of it makes me crazy with thirst. I mean to get some more water casks when we get in.
Chapter 6 – Palm Sunday
Story behind the Trade Wind Journals and Jewelry Collection
Where does inspiration come from? Where do the creative sparks for design begin? For Cross’ new Trade Wind Jewelry Collection, we find ourselves drawn into the story of Captain John Henry Drew, from Gardiner, Maine. Born in 1834, he grew up the son of a Ship’s Carver, and went to sea at the age of 15, eventually becoming Captain of a series of clipper ships, and traveling from New York to China and back home, when that voyage took more than seventeen months.
Instead of carving or knotting or other hobbies that were characteristic of sailors, this mostly self-educated man read books, memorized details from newspapers, and wrote about his journey—his literal and his inner journey. His hand-written and personally illustrated journals tell us of his longing for Maine, for his family, and for “making something of himself”. He is very much like you and me, and it makes his story that much more compelling. He savors apples from home, as tasting better than apples from anywhere else. He imagines the scene he might see looking in the window at home, where his family sits, and he chastises himself for not getting more done at home when he was there.
The jewelry in our Trade Winds Collection is made by his great-great grandson, Keith. This young man went to sea as well, at age 18. As part of his service to the US Navy, his travels took him to many of the same places his great-great grandfather’s clipper ships visited. Keith also had a hobby unconventional for sailors— he had a fascination for gems and he studied gemology. He studied so that when his service was completed, he could become a jeweler. As Keith traveled the world, he collected exquisite gems, and after leaving the service and returning home, he mastered the art of fine jewelry making.
It is now decades later. We met Keith for the first time in March, 2014. We were impressed with his jewelry, and as we talked further, discovered he had a clipper ship sea captain ancestor and became intrigued with the parallels of his journey in life with that of his sea captain forebear.
The parallels in the two stories are expressed in the jewelry itself—the exotic colors, the flow of the designs, the attention to detail which is something passed down in this family—whether it is to protect the ship, its cargo and its crew, or to create a design that will last and protect its valuable gems, giving the wearer the same pleasure we experience when a ship at full sail goes by. You can’t help but stop and exclaim, “Isn’t that beautiful?”
We were hooked by this story, and by the jewelry. We think you will be too. In fact, we’re posting pages from Captain Drew’s journals from the Voyage of the Franklin in 1868 on our website, along with all the jewelry from the Trade Wind Jewelry Collection. Take a few minutes to join in the journey, and think of those you love most, and rejoice if they are right there with you.