Feb 8-Mar 6: The return voyage
Up at 6 a.m. Thirteen weeks since we sailed from Liverpool. After a very short time we retake up our life on board as though we had never left it. Many of the men look thin & poor, evidently tried by the heat.
A glorious day, fresh cool air, and under the shade of the awning we could read & work with enjoyment. Saw the sandy shore & low hills gradually fade away & we are once more surrounded by the limitless, vast and awe inspiring ocean.
Looking back over the ten weeks we have had in S.A. my chief enjoyment has been the climate - day after day of glorious cloudless sunshine.
The time at the "Inca" was extremely enjoyable out of doors; but the people jarred more or less. I was not in the humour to enjoy frivolity always - the exceeding beauty of the surroundings always soothed me - but I often felt I could not endure the life there.
Tue Feb 9
Up at 5.15. The 9th - can it be that it is only 7 months ago? Is each month of my life to be longer than the last?
A wind, gradually freshening, made the "Barbary" pitch, or rather, bow a little. So slowly does she rise & fall that the motion is only soothing.
The phosphorus at night was particularly brilliant, like a "milky way" in the sea. Read Macauley all morning ; began "Shirley" aloud, Ted reading very well. Capt: gave following recipe for porridge :-
"Let the water boil, then put in the salt, take a handful of oatmeal & let it slowly sift through the fingers, stirring all the time. When stiff enough, let it boil ½ hour or longer - still stirring the whole time"
Walked about 2 miles : too hot to do much in that way.
Wed Feb 10
Up at 5.45 & walked 2 ms before breakfast - very close & hot. Read Macauley until about 11.30 and again for an hour in the afternoon.
Thu Feb 11
Windy & a little rough all day - warm & damp - read 35 pages of M. & began "Count Osberno". Cannot read small print by the lantern light wh. is all we have outside at night. It is now dark within ½ hour after tea - 6.30.
Fri Feb 12
Still very windy and disagreeable - dull & overcast, but warm. Saw several flying fish & cape pigeons - read 20 pages of M. Began to walk but could not manage it - too hot & enervating. Saw two steamers quite close to. Very disgusted to find the tongues I had ordered were not tinned and therefore quite bad. Had them thrown overboard.
Sat Feb 13
Dull & rainy. Worked & read as usual - played Bull - F & I have now won two matches, May & Ted one.
Sun Feb 14
Still steamy & inclined to rain. Too hot to sleep last night. Got up at 2 & had a little walk in the dark: then had a little sleep.
Mon Feb 15
Bertie's birthday. God bless & keep the dear boy & give him wisdom. A beautiful day - saw a sailing boat - very smart, she looked like a graceful bird, full of life & motion.
"Araby" passed as we were discussing our pancakes. Beautiful day - read 42 Pages of Macauley.
Wed Feb 17
How often have we been setting out for Cannes on this day! Glorious weather - very hot. Passed Fernando Narouno at 6 - 7 - a very beautiful sight from the time we first saw the island, so soft and ethereal against the warm sky. It is very wonderful in shape - bold and precipitous on the S. side, but more picturesque on the N. or the side we first saw on the way out. Rats for the first time - horrible. Oh what can I do with my life now? This inaction is very wearisome.
Thu Feb 18
Crossed the line at 6 p.m. Hazy & damp.
Fri Feb 19
Very heavy rain at night, several showers. Have got to the 500th page of Macauley. Walked 4 ms.
Sat Feb 20
Walked 4 ms. Left a game at first Bull.
Sun Feb 21
Walked 2 ms before B. - read all morning - read the service together & afterwards sang hymns in the stern - very peaceful & beautiful.
Mon Feb 22
Windy & rough, but sunny. Distinctly colder.
Tue Feb 23
Arrived at S. Vincent at 2 a.m. began coaling at 6.30. I began a sketch of the harbour & finished it just as we left, about 9.30 - Island very fine, but very bare - bought some delicious oranges. Little chaps dived for pennies in the water, so clear & beautiful.
Saw a large quantity of Nautilus fish - what they call Portuguese men-of-war - they look very like a fleet of tiny ships - very delicate colours. Heard that the ship wh. left Montevideo same day has had very heavy weather, also those from Eng. God is very good to us - the winds & the waves obey Him.
Wed Feb 24
Fine & colder. Sun still warm enough to sit & read on deck.
Thu Feb 25
Colder still & rough. Barbary rolling in a very unsatisfactory way.
Fri Feb 26
Out of the tropics. Sunshine all day, but cold. Wind increased after dinner. Shipping a good deal of spray. The roughest day we have had yet.
Sat Feb 27
Reached Las Palmas at 6. Coaling commenced at once & as there was no fruit to be taken, we could not go ashore. Sketched the port - too far from the town to do so - it lies at the pt. of the bay and, as I saw it in the dim light at dawn is extremely picturesque - a white town clustering at the foot of a cliff that runs round the bay to where a narrow neck of land joins another islet, as it is called (wh. I sketched). Behind hill upon hill rise in dim outline until on a clear day the peak of Teneriffe 12,000, overtops all.
Unfortunately it was in the clouds. At noon we weighed anchor & were immediately in the teeth of a Nor'easter which gradually freshened all day & night, causing poor May to feel uncomfortable.
Sun Feb 28
Still cold, windy, & disagreeable. Cleared in the afternoon & was very bright & beautiful - only to freshen again at night.
Mon Feb 29
Much the same.
Tue Mar 1
Very rough. Big waves breaking over the bow all day. Could only go out for a short time.
Wed Mar 2
Blowing quite a gale. Capt: says the worst storm the "Barbary" has been in. She behaves beautifully - no one ill - May not very happy - only did 80 knots!!
Thu Mar 3
Calmer, wind changed, but very cold & still rough.
Entered the Bay early - glad to see it calmer, but still very cold. A better run - 112.
Less sea, but a bitter S.E. wind with rain cleared after dinner. & we had a game at Bull. Did a better run - 223.
4 weeks since we left Montevideo - very cold, wet & a little rough.
The diary ends here. There was no more room in the note pad, the rest of it is filled with vocabulary, and with the following note of the trip up to Inca :-
Leave Buenos Ayres about 6 p.m. Arrive Mendoza in evening of next day in time for dinner.
Leave Mendoza about 7 a.m. 5hr narrow guage railway to Punta de Vacas. Coffee in train. Breakfast at Punta de Vacas. Start driving about 2 p.m. - about 4 hrs - to dinner time at Guevas. Stop 3rd night there.
On 4th day start about 6 a.m. for ascent of the Ambra - a ride of about 5 hrs to Junce, then 3 hrs more drive to the other narrow gauge to Los Andes. £15 & Hotel bills £3 to £5 each.