“Not much sleep for the wicked. Joey woke me up at 4. The 3rd mate having just been in & planted a campstool on his chest. This he at first laid at my door but the mate was in again soon & Joey was at last obliged to resort to some boots to protect himself. Today we are exactly under the sun & it would be jolly hot but for the fine breeze blowing. We are now off the island of Trinidad & may possibly sight it tomorrow. Our old friend is still a little ahead. We have just been passed by a small barque from Cardif to Point-de-Galle in Ceylon. She is the Oregan.
You will be thinking we are not in a very fast vessel but they say it wants plenty of wind & then we can out step any vessel afloat. Have done about 7 knots an hour all day.
This evening we have all been playing “Spanish Fly” & “Fly the Garter” also “Jump Little Nag Sail” but it is sometimes rather a hard matter to hold on. You must please fancy yourself on the sea & you will see that tonight there is scarcely any motion in the ship except the sound of the water rushing by & the rest being in bed. Joey is writing his diary with a solitary cocker [cockroach] for his companion which is making tracks for the milk pot. The wind has freshened (10.15pm) & they are altering our course & if you could only hear the infernal row the men are making while hauling on the ropes I am sure you would all be bad for a week. Thanks to our best friend on board the cook we have fared very well today. Scouse for breakfast, a conglomeration of potatoes meat & pepper made into a kind of a hard cake. For dinner we had pea soup & a pie made of the remains of a duck given us on the strict QT for the steward & Captain are 2 such mean fellows that there is never anything extra to be expected from them. Salt junk & potatoes with a treacle pudding.
Now the day is done & I will lay my weary limbs down to rest in my egg chest where there is a family of cockers on parade having a wake I fancy but they will never wake again when I put my carcase onto them. I have just been drinking all your healths in a glass of the pure & inexpensive. So goodnight.”
Extract from A.Whelen’s travel journal aboard the Hesperides sailing from England to Australia in 1878