The sky was very cloudy; over the land there were dense black bands of clouds. The temperature had dropped markedly. The sea was rough so that the pitching became more and more intensive and the journey proved to be quite uncomfortable.
During the night we had driven around Sandy Cape and took a Southern course from there. Portside was the open sea, starboard the coast with some mountains and hills some of which with peculiar forms such as the Glass House mountains with their pointy cones.
In the evening we passed by Moreton island on the latitude of Brisbane, the capital of Queensland.
- Location: near Moreton Island
- ANNO – on 14.05.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. The Wiener Salonblatt of 14 May mentions that FF has departed Thursday Island on the 9th in the direction of Sydney.
- The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the tragedy „Uriel Acosta“ and the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera “Carmen”.
In otherwise calm weather the sea was choppy so that „Elisabeth“ was pitching. These movements seemed to be caused by a high sea coming from the East. We saw the Northumberland and Percy islands, very stony islands that reminded me of Dalmatia with their steeply descending rocky shore and sparse vegetation. At noon we are opposite Port Clinton which we can only recognize as a line on the horizon. The great coral Harrier Reef that up to now has accompanied us on backboard and provided good cover against wind and sea is leaving us behind. We are now in the open sea that was by and by getting calmer. Towards 8 o’clock in the evening we crossed the tropic of Capricorn and passed the group of the Capricorn islands. Late at night the lights from Lady Elliot island are blinking at us.
During the day I had the opportunity to observe a richer wildlife than before. Dolphins appeared and played around the bow of the ship — some bullet shots fired at them proved ineffective — frigate birds and various sea gulls presented themselves; among the latter one of a species I did not know, black-brown with noticeably large and pointed wings. In an elegant flight this sea gull circled around the ship and suddenly dove into the waves to re-emerge with a skillfully caught prey.
- Location: near Lady Elliot Island
- ANNO – on 13.05.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. The Sultan of Johore whom Franz Ferdinand had just visited during his stay in Singapore is now in Vienna. A small world.
- The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Die kluge Käthe“ and the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera “Das goldene Kreuz”.
We continued our journey in the most beautiful weather. Early in the morning we passed by the Palm islands, then in Halifax Bay Magnetic island and Cape Cleveland with its decoration of a beacon. At noon we were East of Cape Bowling. The coast is now retreating and mountains and mountain ridges are only visible as faint contours.
Towards sunset we approached the mainland again and drove past Gloucester island, a fairly large hilly island that we had already noticed from afar due to its dense and rich vegetation. Up close we recognize a complete forest of beautiful Araucaria Cunninghamii and Bidwillii — these true pines from Queensland — that cover the slopes with their wide dark-green branches. With joy we greet the first conifers after a long time, a clear proof that we were more and more departing the tropical region.
Still with sufficient daylight that turned everything into a purple mist we passed through the lovely scenery of Whitsunday passage with the islands of Hook and Whitsunday. The bright light of the light beacon ship facilitates navigation. During the night we passed by the Cumberland islands.
- Location: near Cumberland Island
- ANNO – on 12.05.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
- The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Das Hochzeitsnest“ and the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera “DIe Jüdin”.
Lizard Island can also tell about a raid of natives on whites. Eight years ago, an English fisherman with wife and child and a number of servants had settled on the totally uninhabited island. When the man was out fishing, natives raided the settlement, having probably rowed over from the mainland. The woman and the servants defended it bravely for some time. Finally the poor woman fled with her child and a servant in one of the large tin water containers that are used to collect rain water, set off from the land and thus swam out into the sea. After a long drift the miserable party landed at Coquet island where they all perished from hunger. Since this sad episode Lizard island is again uninhabited.
After 5 o’clock the anchors were hoisted and the islands of Direction and Wooded passed, as well as Two and Three Islands and the Capes Flattery and Bedford. The coast which was clearly visible as we were driving close to it changed its character from what we had observed during the days before. Higher mountains appeared that were partly densely covered with woods and partly on their slopes were only covered with grass or had bare spots. Sometimes, there were, as during the day before, white sand fields that resembled snow fields Many of the mountains probably are of volcanic origin. The rise steeply out of the sea like the 1090 m high Pieter Botte at Cape Tribulation that looks from a far like a conical termite mound.
While up to now there had been no signs of human settlements visible on the coast, today we sighted a small settlement namely Cook Town with its light house visible from afar.
A few miles south of Cook Town appeared two light beacons with signal stations on two rocks opposite one another on Archer Point and Rocky Island. Like guardians they protect the difficult passage at night here. A short distance further to the south lies a historic reef called Endeavour reef. Here Cook suffered major damage in the year 1770 on his first voyage around the world (1768 to 1771), which — originally started by the Royal Geographica! Society to observe the transit of Venus in the south sea — prepared the occupation of East Australia by the British crown. He had to stay for quite some time in the bay where now lies Cook Town to repair the leak on his brave three-mast ship „Endeavour“, a vehicle of 350 tons displacement and a crew of 85 men.
Repeatedly we saw high pillars of smoke rise into the sky that were caused by forest fires which the natives start to catch game, especially kangaroos fleeing from the fire.
An hour after sunset the course was changed at Cape Grafton and having passed by the islands of Fitzroy and Frankland, towards midnight the lights of Johnstone River came into view.
- Location: near Frankland Island
- ANNO – on 11.05.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
- The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Die kluge Käthe“ and the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera “Tannhäuser”.
During both days no land in sight. We were driving in a South-eastern direction towards Thursday Island, and „Elisabeth“ is calmly slicing through the blue sea. The weather is very beautiful, in the cabins the temperature is dropping.
In the Java and Flores sea, the currents were very irregular, in the Wetar passage South-west and South-east, in the Arafura sea they do not come constantly from a particular direction. The drift due to the breaking waves is never more than 14 sea miles during 24 hours. The sea is not deep in the direction of our course. We are constantly at 28 fathoms.
- Location: north of Australia
- ANNO – on 03.05.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. Chicago announces that 300.000 persons participated in the opening of its world exhibition. The German Emperor made a stop in Lucerne, Switzerland on his way home from Italy.
- The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the drama „Die Zauberin am Stein“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera “Die Rantzau”.
In the morning we saw the islands of Timor and Kisser in the distance, the former on starboard, the latter on port. At the northeastern end of Timor north of the island of (Nusa, Noesa) Besi we entered into the Arafura sea, steering to the south of the islands of Letti, Moa and Leikor. Towards noon the island of Sermata also became visible; then we were fully on the open sea and took a direct course to the Torres strait that connects the Indian with the Pacific Ocean.
The day was beautiful and clear. South of Sermata there was a slight Eastern monsoon that grew in intensity with time but never crossed over a 4 in the wind force scale. The sea was only moderately choppy.
During the day nothing remarkable happened. Life on board continued as usual. We occupied ourselves mostly by reading travel literature and studied maps to thereby improve our knowledge of Australia which we were bound to enter soon.
Sometimes seagulls, frigate birds as well as smaller black petrels flew by. When I shot at a frigate bird flying high above the ship, it let, apparently hit, drop a flying fish out of its beak. The fish soon wandered into an alcohol bath for preservation. In the Contre-Carré the cadets caught a flying fish of a new species with beautiful intensive black yellow pectoral fins. The fish had flown in through a side window.
In the evening again a beautiful moon shine.
- Location: near Sermata island
- ANNO – on 02.05.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. On 1 May, the Chicago world exhibition was officially opened by President Cleveland. In Vienna, meanwhile, cyclists need protection from aggressive school boys. The police informs that mischievous kids will be prosecuted. German nationalists protested against the performance of a Czech piece in the Josephstädter Theater.
- The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the comedy „Der Bibliothekar“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera “Die Königin von Saba”.
A day on which we vividly thought about home. The First of May! Usually I would spend this day that marks the official beginning of spring either in the beautiful Prater or in a nice spot of this incomparable land in the mountains of Upper Austria, in Brunnwald hunting cocks. Here too in the tropics the first of May wanted to show itself as a beautiful pleasant day. When I was awakened by the music band with the day’s reveille and a serenade, the sky offered a charming view: The sky was completely clear, the sea was smooth as a mirror and sky-blue. The temperature was not too intensive.
We were driving between the outliers of the island of Flores with its completely extinct volcano Lobetobi (2170 m) and the island Komba which only consists of a smoking volcano. Both islands were covered with thick woods nearly up to the peak on the seaward face and offered a gorgeous view. Later we passed the islands of Andonare or Sabrao, Lomblen or Kwella, Pandai or Pantar and Allor or Ombaai on which in contrast to the other islands also bare stone hills were visible that were probably also of volcanic origin.
In the afternoon the staff had organized a small entertainment as a May feast. First there was a pistol shooting on the iron deck on a beautifully painted target by our „ship artist“ as well as on bottles. Some of the gentlemen proved to be excellent shooters while I, unused in shooting pistols, often missed the bottles. After the target shooting followed a funny sailor feast with various games: The first part of the feast program was the well known sack race in which people were completely sewn in into sacks and there were funny falls and accidents. Then it was the turn of a tug of war which was almost always won by our giant-sized strong stokers. Then a run of pairs of sailors bound together at their feet.
The main attraction of the program, however, was diving for coins in a water-filled barrel a meter high. In this barrel a dollar was thrown. Then the hands of the diver were bound on his back and the divers tried getting the dollar out with their mouth. Naturally this was only achieved after many attempts. Many plunged completely into the barrel and had to be drawn out or emerged out of the water without success after some time which was greeted by the audience with real gales of laughter. The NCOs offered good advice to their charges. If one of the divers finally managed to recover one of the coins, he was received with loud applause by his comrades. The people had a great time and we were pleased by the entertainment this game provided for them.
A very difficult exercise completed the event, namely climbing a 5 m long thick rope that had been covered over and over with tallow and therefore was slick like the skin of an eel. Many tried in vain to reach the top of the rope. Most of the times they had to already give up at the middle of the task as their force was exhausted. One could see how the climbers exerted themselves and even used their teeth. But all effort was in vain. Then a small lanky man stepped up and everybody believed that he would not manage to climb up two meters. Still, agile like a monkey, he climbed up the rope in a few jolts. Loud applause and a nice prize was his reward. After two other sailors had managed to complete the difficult challenge, the improvised May feast concluded with a crew dance.
The setting sun illuminated the horizon and the sea most brightly. At the same time a heavy rain was approaching from afar that poured down on us when we passed the islands of Kambing and Wetar through the Wetar strait between 6 and 7 o’clock.
- Location: near Wetar island
- ANNO – on 01.05.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. The German Emperor is on his way home from Naples.
- The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the comedy „Der Probepfeil“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera “Freund Fritz”.
Still during the night, during the dog watch, the ship passed between the Paternoster islands and the bank Maria Reigersbergen Medang. In the morning the island of Sumbawa with its 2756 m high volcano Tambora became visible. The island is under the command of the governor of Celebes. For all these relatively small islands their characteristic mountains rise steeply directly out of the sea and reach important heights. As could be distinguished through the looking glass they too have a rich tropical vegetation that is interrupted sometimes by less obstructing patches of what seem to be grass.
Towards noon we also saw the island of Sangeang which actually only consists of the volcano Goenoeng Api, a cone-shaped mountain 1884 m high whose latest strong eruption happened in the year 1820. Later the island of Flores appeared. Its western part is under the command of the governor of Celebes, while the remaining island is part of the residency of Timor islands to the east of Sumba — and now we were in the sea of Flores.
For the first time I observed multiple frigate birds (Tachypetes aquilus) that flew around our ship. I also shot a few times but the distance was too large to have reached my target.
Due to the many rain storms that poured down, church service took place today in the battery. Finally the sky cleared up and the weather remained constant until the evening so that we could for once again enjoy a gorgeous sunset with its beautiful intensive colors that are uniquely reserved to the tropical regions. Thus the sky was brilliant in most varied colors from the mst subtle pink to the darkest purple and this whole colorful splendor was mirrored in the calm sea as if it had been doused in fire.
- Location: At Sea ear Flores
- ANNO – on 30.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. The German Emperor visited Pompeii albeit completely in the mist.
- The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the tragedy „Die neue Zeit“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing Mozart’s opera “Die Zauberflöte”.
During the night, around 1 o’clock, a heavy storm’s intensive thunders awakened all sleepers. As the rain driven by the fresh wind was entering into the cabins through the hatches, the command rang out „Close the hatches!“. In the early morning, a blue sky was smiling down on us — an hour later, rain poured down out of the sea of clouds. The sea always remained calm during these changing weather conditions.
At noon we were in the Strait of Sapudi between Madura and Sapudi island. In the distance, one can see the volcano Baloeran of 1290 m on the East coast of Java, situated in the district Panarukan in the regency Besuki. We sent our last greeting to Java to this fire mountain as we now directed our course towards Lombok island.
During the voyage in the high sea many snakes were visible. For the first time I too saw „sea snakes“, namely a totally white specimen more than a meter long, as well as one in black and yellow stripes.
The sight towards Lombok and the island to the west of it, Bali, both part of the Timor group, was unfortunately obscured by fog and clouds. But then Bali and Agoeng mountain (3200 m) at least appeared if only for a moment. In the evening a gorgeous moon shine finally delighted us again so that the sight was very impressive when we came close to the island of Lombok. Yulcan Rindjani, which attains the considerable altitude of 3800 m, rises almost vertically out of the sea and grants a monumental view. At first its peak was obscured by thick clouds but then this veil parted suddenly and the mountain giant was in front of us, illuminated by the silver moon shine. As we were only a few miles distant from the coast, we could exactly see the contours of the mountain with the naked „unarmed“ eye.
The islands of Bali and Lombok form their own independent residency. The pacification of Lombok requires a lot of money and troops for the Dutch as this rough partly Brahminist partly Mohammedan population under the leadership of the raja, a Balinese, is offering tough resistance. The doggedness of the resistance is attested by the report shortly prior to our departure from Java that an engagement on Lombok a few days earlier had resulted in the death of one officer and a number of soldiers of the colonial forces, while on one of the cannon boats that participated in that action one of the naval officers was grievously wounded.
- Location: near Lombok
- ANNO – on 29.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. Busy preparations are under way in Lucerne, Switzerland, for the upcoming visit of the German Emperor on his return from Italy.
- The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the comedy „Das Heiratsnest“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the ballet “Die goldene Märchenwelt”.
The usual life on board has returned. A journey of sixteen days to Sydney is in store for us. We start to fill the long leisure time in devoting our attention to the packaging and storage of the objects collected on the land expedition and completing the neglected diary entries. Hunters and servants are busy in repairing all the damage the constant rain has caused to our rifles and hunting equipment.
The rainy season that this year lasts for an abnormally long time in these latitudes is highly sensible. Often the bright sky becomes cloudy within minutes and stormy winds with tropical rains brush across the ship.
At 2 o’clock in the night we passed the Boompjes islands; at noon we had the Karimon Djawa islands on backboard and on starbord the very hilly coast of Java with Cap Mandelika.
During the day we saw some Dutch sailing ships that were probably going towards Tandjong Priok and very small fishing boats that venture out far into the sea as the sea is very calm. During the night they make navigation difficult as they set no lights. Therefore one risks running over one of these boats that one becomes aware of only in the last instant.
The young boar caught during the boar hunt in Garut marks its presence by loud cries and a young wildcat bought on Java proves to be very ill-natured. Unfortunately, due to the humid and inconstant weather, many of the parrots are dying. In contrast the two monkeys „Fips“ and „Mucki“, housed on the afterdeck, are in good mood and serenely jump around. Namely during dinner, they are very cute and do much mischief.
From the bridge I observed large schools of fish at multiple times during the day — a species of mackerel that was jumping incessantly out of the water, probably because it had been in the process of spawning. Flocks of sea gulls were accompanying the flying fishes. Often I noticed flying fishes, two of which we captured when they jumped into the battery.
- Location: north of Java
- ANNO – on 28.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. Empress Elisabeth will spend the next two weeks in Lainz, while the Emperor will visit Budapest on 2 May.
- The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Kriemhilde“ for its subscribers, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing Beethoven’s opera “Fidelio”.
Wiener Salonblatt Nr.. 18, p. 4 reports the departure of Franz Ferdinand and Leopold Ferdinand from Java to Australia