At Sea to Numea, 29 to 31 May 1893

On the high sea, direction New Caledonia. The wind blew continuously from North or North-east, piling up long mighty waves of the Pacific Ocean that hurled our brave „Elisabeth“ up and down like a toy. Especially uncomfortable were the heavy blows of the high sea against the protruding bays of the fore barbettes and on the gun batteries. These impact sent shock waves through the whole ship so that everything not fixed in place had to be tied down.  The living sea sometimes extended itself up to the forward tower and the iron deck was often completely under water.

All that breathed in the rosy light was more or less sea sick, even I who had up to now always shown resistance was affected. Even the menagerie whose numbers had been much increased in Sydney was suffering greatly under the effects of the bad weather. The two monkeys, namely especially Fips, became totally melancholic. The billy goat pressed its body sadly against one of the guns. The wild boar, the wildcat and the squirrel from Singapore refused to eat.

The least concerned seemed to be the mood of the birds if the endless spectacle they caused in the lower deck which robbed our poor commissary officer of sleep of  of sleep is not interpreted as an energetic protest against the persistent storms. The cockatoos, parrots and laughing jackasses were the lead voices in the choir in this savage concert.

During the whole trip the Pacific Ocean felt no compunction to honor its name and show us mercy. The moods were depressed by a dark melancholy which was only lifted by talking about the beautiful stay in Sydney and lamenting about being forced to leave the splendid calm harbor only to drive out into the stormy waves of the great ocean.

Numerous albatrosses, those huge storm birds, were flying  now and then close to the ship as if they wanted to jeer us by their show of beings that enjoyed it when the heavy winds were sweeping the sea. I let them be and did not shoot at them as the heavy sea would in any case not have allowed to send out a boat to bag the catch.

Links

  • Location: at sea to New Caledonia
  • ANNO – on  29.05.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Der Richter von Balamea“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing Mozart’s opera “Don Juan”.

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