“At 7.30 this morning we were called by the cabin boy to see a ship which was close by but we did not believe him as he so seldom tells the truth but on looking myself I found it to be quite true – So I turned out sharp. They were so close we could count the people on board (less than a quarter mile) & then we signalled her & she turned out to be the ‘Adauiant’ of Plymouth from London to Hawks Bay (New Zealand) with immigrants 75 days out.
Some of the people on board waved their handkerchiefs to which we responded. We passed them very quickly though & at 11 she was out of sight (We can generally see a ship’s masts about 25 miles off) which proves us to be a quick vessel. As it struck 8 bells at 8 o’clock we could see the people streaming onto the decks & soon was life. She had about 450 immigrants on board.
Have done 12 – 13 knots all day & have been shipping a lot of water. Joey was at the pumps getting some fresh water this afternoon & got a ducking but as he had a mackintosh on he did not get very wet. Seeing the vessel this morning has quite livened us all up as it was only yesterday we were saying how long it was since we saw the last one. This evening they have taken all sails in & furled them as they expect a bad night. We have only 9 set now 3 of which are reefed. They gave the men some grog tonight; this is only the second time since leaving London. Fell into the arms of more fuss at 11.30. Hearing occasional guns over my head. The waves coming bang against our door every now & again.”
Sailing to Australia aboard the iron clipper ‘Hesperides’
Extract from A.Whelen’s travel journal 1878