At Sea to Colombo, 2 January 1893

I was still in deep sleep in my cabin when the officer of the watch awakened me with the surprising message that our corvette “SMS Fasana” had come in sight. Quickly I went to the bridge where we could see the corvette move toward us with full sails. Everyone on SMS Elisabeth was very excited and, by and by, all had come on deck, the standard was hoisted, boats were readied. It was a matter of offering greetings to a piece of homeland, one of our warships, returning comrades who had circumnavigated the globe and unfurled our proud flag in far away seas.

The valiant “Fasana”, that felicitous sailing ship, one of our mission fleet, has already undertaken repeatedly hard and dangerous transoceanic journeys and always splendidly proved its value. This time, her performance was bound to attract the common admiration of all the maritime world. The corvette managed to survive one of the most heavy typhoons in all oceans with but limited damage, while large steamboats such as the P. & O.-Steamboat “Bokhara” had sunk.

„Fasana“ greeted us with a flag parade, a 21 gun salute and a rigging salute (“Wantensalut”). We stopped our machines while Fasana bracked back and I went over with a boat on board of the corvette. There I was received bit her commander, Captain Ripper, who introduced me to his staff, including the twenty embarked cadets among which was a Mannsfeld. The interesting journey of Fasana offered much to talk about, especially the stories about the typhoon in which our hardy sailors had shown their glorious mettle and skill. In the heaviest storm and most intense rolling of the ship, the crew had to change the topsail, while the water splashed across the deck and the corvette lost two of her boats. In order to give us a better understanding of the action performed under such trying circumstances, a changing of the topsail was demonstrated.

In the ship’s rooms, which we visited in all its parts,  were many objects from Japan from the recent journey.

Of eminent interest is the machine of “Fasana” which used to be on the frigate “Schwarzenberg” and had been in action during the battle of Heligoland and the battle of Lissa.

Deeply moved we took leave from our comrades. Gun salutes and Hurrahs resounded while both ships resumed their courses, “SMS Elisabeth” towards the south, “Fasana” towards the north”. There flies one of the ships into the distance, towards far away destinations while the other, barely saluted, disappears to rejoin her homeland after a journey of sixteen months! With full sails, illuminated by the morning sun, resembling a gull flying above the clouds, the corvette disappears quickly from our view. The uplifting impression that the 700 compatriots had made in the meeting of two ships of our war fleet in the waves in the midst of the ocean lingered on for a long time in my heart.

Links

  • Location: Arabian Sea
  • ANNO – on 02.01.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. The beginning of the year was used in most capitals to assemble the diplomatic corps for receptions at the respective courts and governments. A special report in the Neue Freie Presse deals with the state of school instruction in Bosnia-Hercegovina.

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