Schlagwort-Archiv: on ship

At Sea to Colombo, 4 January 1893

Towards noon we could see the shape of Indian mountains in the mist clouded distance.

An entertaining sport is the hunting of rays which kept me on the bridge at that hour. Seven of these flat, nearly 2 m long creatures swam portside by us at such a little depth that I could distinguish the dark brown backs from the greenish white fluorescing underside and hoped to hunt down one of them. At first I tried it with a shotgun – to no effect whatsoever then with a rifle shot which very finely painted a large ray. Unfortunately, the all too fast speed of the ship did not permit me to observe whether the bullet had killed it.

In the afternoon, the wind renewed itself, this time coming from the north. The sea became more violent and towards evening rather uncomfortable. The ship rolled greatly and the whole deck was repeatedly flooded by the sea.


  • Location: near India
  • ANNO – on 04.01.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. The Neue Freie Presse notes that Vienna is fighting against heavy snowfall that is interrupting traffic. Coachmen, workers and the homeless are suffering greatly from the exposure to the snow and the low temperatures.
  • The Pope sent the Austrian Emperor telegraphic New Year’s greetings. In Paris, meanwhile, the government prohibited all revolutionary public meetings in the city and the provinces.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater performed Emile de Girardin’s 1885 comedy „Lady Tartuffe“ while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater offered Luigi Manzotti’s ballet „Excelsior“.

At Sea to Colombo, 3 January 1893

Quietly, SMS Elisabeth floats across the blue sea at a velocity of 12 miles per hour. We were wishfully expecting the arrival at Colombo. Near the evening, the lighthouse of Minicoy on the Lakedives became visible and with the telescope we could distinguish some of the Coral Islands of the Lakedives and Maledives group.


  • Location: near Minicoy, Indian Ocean
  • ANNO – on 03.01.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. Das Vaterland informs about the escalating trade war between France and Switzerland. After the failure of coming to a trade agreement, Switzerland starts charging import duties on key French products such as wine. The beneficiaries of this small trade war will be the Italian wine producers.
  • The United States of America is already preparing the inauguration of its new president Grover Cleveland on 4 March 1893. Incidentally, Grover Cleveland had been president once before from 1885 to 1889, so the ceremony is a repetition for him.

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.


  • 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.

At Sea to Colombo, 1 January 1893

In the morning the captain and the older officers of all charges paid their respect and delivered the official new year’s greetings. Then our dignified boatswain and the master gunner visited me to the same purpose in the name of the crew. After church service (mass), with the issuing of the orders of the day, promotions of the crew were proclaimed.

Today I finally succeeded to catch a flying fish on the bridge.

The humidity of the air is increasing despite the ongoing Northeast Monsoon so that the psychometric difference amounts to only one degree.


  • Location: Arabian Sea
  • ANNO – on 01.01.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. On the cover of the Wiener Salonblatt is Archduke Leopold Ferdinand, fellow traveler on Franz Ferdinand’s trip who is soon to be sent home due to persistent misbehavior. The weekly account of the trip in the Salonblatt dated 21 December tells the stories of Franz Ferdinand’s adventures in Port Said.
Archduke Leopold Ferdinand

Archduke Leopold Ferdinand

At Sea to Colombo, 31 December 1892

The wind blew fresh from Northeast and cooled the temperature down a bit. A large number of flying fish swarmed around our fore, often covering considerable distances to do so. Multiple gannets flew by quickly.

To the New Year’s Eve party, I had invited all staff of the ship. Again, an improvised game of luck on the aft had to be at the center of the party in which the most incredible objects served as prizes. Hilarity and humor covered a lot of defects, especially the tropical warmth of the champagne. The ice reserve on board was totally depleted and replenishment had not been possible, as on the one hand our ship’s cook found that all reserves of ice in Aden were sold out and on the other hand our ice making machine had broken down in Steamer Point and had not been repaired yet. So instead of cool drinks, a warmed up brew had to be served, namely punch made for us by our chief medical officer.

After the ship’s clock had announced the twelfth hour and the New Year shot fired, we welcomed the new year first with the people’s hymn and then to the sound of the Radetzky march with a shout of three times Hipp Hipp Hurra, which all men joined in too.

The good old moon and the nearly cloudless starry sky illuminated the scene on deck. All congratulated one another most cordially, and again many new year greetings filled the air while many intense thoughts were sent through the silent night towards home.


  • Location: Arabian Sea
  • ANNO – on 31.12.1892 in Austria’s newspapers. The Neue Freie Presse presents a recap of the scandals in France under the title „The republic of talkers“. There are still cases of cholera being reported in major European cities.

At Sea to Colombo, 30 December 1892

In the morning, we catch sight of the island Socotra and pass it at noon about 15 miles north from the east end of the island. The view of the island reminds me of the coastal region of the Red Sea. Noticeable are only the snow-white sand moraines that almost look like glaciers from a distance. This island, 7,770 km2 large with around 4,000 inhabitants, has been ruled by the sultan of Qishn. England entered into a subsidies treaty with it in 1876 and then turned it in 1886 a treaty into a British protectorate. Socotra has once been offered to our government for sale. But I think such a purchase would not have been a good investment, as one can see no vegetation apart from a few coconut palms and only as a coaling station and a prisoner colony could it have had any meaning for us.

The impressive sunset was followed by an enchanting night. It was balm for the soul to breathe in the fresh Monsoon on the bridge.


  • Location: near Socotra, in the Arabian Sea
  • ANNO – on 30.12.1892 in Austria’s newspapers. The Neue Freie Presse informs about the approaching date next month of the wedding in Berlin of Princess Margarethe, the youngest sister of the German Kaiser. It also lists the prominent deceased of the year, separated into categories of nobles, priests, officers, diplomats and ministers, scientists, professionals (civil servants, teachers, doctors and lawyers), poets/writers/journalists, theater/music, painters/sculptors/architects, and technicians/manufacturers/merchants.

At Sea to Colombo, 29 December 1892

Against head wind we kept the same Eastward course. Two sperm whales were observed.

Up to now, we could allocate only a few hours to study travel literature. Today was given almost entirely over to this useful activity. As quickly as we are getting closer to countries afar which are on our itinerary we are eager to prepare appropriately and educate ourselves.

In the travel library, there was no lack of choice among the rich variety of books even though its composition had to take the restricted cabin space into consideration. Besides publications, rich in scientific spirit, that serve the traveller as sources are handbooks essential for tourists as well as works that successfully combine a captivating style with scientific content about the countries and peoples. Finally, there is light reading in the genre of travel literature that are sometimes glossy and feuilletonistic in its accounts. Maps and plans of all kind complete the literary inventory.

Many of these listed books I have already studied at home, almost in a presentiment of my future activities. In the same measure I owe instruction and pleasure to Sievers’ „Asien“, to Reclus’ „Nouvelle Géographie Universelle“, to the highly interesting and sumptuously illustrated work of Schlagintweit’s „Indien“, to the reports published on order of our naval section, in part edited by Benko, and not appreciated enough, of the travels of our various warships („Nautilus“, „Aurora“, „Albatros“, „Saida“, „Frundsberg“), Lehnert’s et al. „Seehäfen des Weltverkehrs“ — a work of a relatively voluminous nature that treats a wealth of material in a most felicitous manner, Jedina’s »An Asiens Küsten und Fürstenhöfen «, Hübner’s „Promenade Autour Du Monde„, Mantegazza’s „Indien„, Wereschagin’s „Reiseskizzen aus Indien„, Schulze’s „Führer auf Java“, Jung’s „Der Weltteil Australien„, Wallace’s „Der Malayische Archipel„, Forbes‚ „Wanderungen eines Naturforschers im Malayischen Archipel“, Chalmers’ »Neu-Guinea«, Finsch‘ „Ethnologische Erfahrungen aus der Südsee„, Katscher’s „Chinesisches Leben„, Exner’s „China“ und „Japan“, Hein’s „Japan“, Kreitner’s „Im fernen Osten“, Buchner’s „Reise durch den stillen Ocean“ and other highly deserving works to numerous to mention all.

After dinner all met on the bridge to enjoy the passing away of the wonderful evening.


  • Location: Arabian Sea
  • ANNO – on 29.12.1892 in Austria’s newspapers. The Neue Freie Presse offers a tribute to Thomas Cook, pioneer of tourism, who passed away that year on 18 July 1892.

At Sea to Colombo, 28 December 1892

Fierce shots whose echo resounded from the valleys of Shamsani woke us up in the morning. These were the salvoes of the battery of the English fortress that exercised shooting at moving targets out in the sea.

Again, a small market developed at our gangway, then our consulary agent bid farewell and we hoisted anchor and exited the harbour with a course towards the East.

The day is beautiful, a small blast of rain brings refreshment, even though the heat no longer feels as oppressive as in the Red Sea. Only the cabins remain steam baths, with the thermometer seldom sinking below 30° Celsius. Some steam boats are passed and a large school of fish observed.

One of the two goat kids we took on board in Aden and named Max and Moritz, namely Max, a most lovely animal, jumped over board in a suicidal manner and must have soon become the prey of a shark. Moritz got over the loss of his comrade quickly and gaily jumped around the cabins, nibbling zwieback, cigarettes and sugar.


  • Location: Arabian Sea
  • ANNO – on 28.12.1892 in Austria’s newspapers. The Pester Lloyd is concerned about Russian declarations about developing their Danube trade. Hitherto, the Russians, based in Odessa, were not interested in the Danube trade. Their vehicle, the Black Sea Danube corporation, is commercially ailing and can only sustain itself with government subsidies. Currently, a new round of financial assistance is discussed in St. Petersburg.
  • A telegram informs that the Emperor arrived in Wels on 27 December on his way back from Munich. On the same day, the Japanese prime minister was caught in a traffic accident by colliding with a car of princess Komatsu’s convoy. The prime minister was gravely injured in the temples.
  • Courses are offered in an ad for amateur photographers to better take pictures with their new camera. Nothing will stand in the way of a Victorian selfie.
Photography instructions for amateurs offered

Photography instructions for amateurs offered

Steamer Point, 26 December 1892

During the night we passed the reefs of the dangerous narrows between the islands of Jebel Zuquar and Hanish. Our Arabian pilot demonstrated cat-like eyesight as he could locate even the most distant reef in this dark night without moonshine.

In the morning, the sea is quieter. On the right is the African mainland, on the left is the Arabian coastline on which appear the high jagged mountains of Yemen whose steep cliffs reveal a different type of landscape than the granite mountains on the Northern coast of the Red Sea. A view through the telescope also shows some spare vegetation on the front of Yemen’s mountains. At the shore glister huts and tents, probably occupied by Arab nomads.

After the church service we pass through the straits of Bab-el-Mandeb, the „gate of grief“, a name verified by the silent witnesses of so many wrecks.

The practical English have occupied this important location on the way to India already in 1857, that is even before the Suez Canal was opened. A seemingly strong fort on the rocky island of Perim guards and blocks the passage of the narrowest point of the Red Sea. Both coasts are within cannon range of a passing ship. When we signalled the lighthouse of Perim the name of our ship, we received the common answer at the end of the year: „The compliments of the season!“

A giant turtle of nearly 2 m length surfaced a few paces away from the fore, observed us with its large yellow head for a number of seconds and vanished again in the sea.

Now the African coast disappears more and more while Arabia’s 844 m high rocky Jebel Kharas comes into view.

A large smack of jellyfish is approaching. They glitter and glow in the most beautiful rose red and dark violet colors which makes us stop the machines to pick up some of these sea flowers.

At 8 o’clock in the evening the lighthouse of Steamer Point was blinking and soon we were anchoring in the outer harbour of Aden. A small English patrol boat, the cannon boat „Redbreast“ and three large steamships were moored in the harbor, where just a powerful English transport ship was hoisting its anchor. This colossus let loose its steam whistle and departed quickly towards the East, probably in the direction towards India.

Just after we had dropped the anchor, the consular representative came on board, followed by a couple of merchants who eagerly offered their services in numerous languages.


  • Location: Aden
  • ANNO – on 26.12.1892 in Austria’s newspapers. Due to Christmas Day, few newspapers are published on 26 December. Time for the Wiener Sonn- und Montagszeitung to shine: In Dublin on 25 December, a dynamite bomb killed a British detective, wrecking the detective office. In Paris, the Panama scandal is hotly debated.

At Sea to Steamer Point, 25. December 1892

The South wind became stiffer and stiffer. The huge sea waves made it questionable whether church services could be held. Only our brave chaplain did not let himself be intimidated and read mass on the altar which was surmounted by the standard, despite the fact that all lights went out and the candelabra tumbled down.

In the afternoon the islands of Jebel Teir und Zebayir came into view, naked empty islands without any vegetation. Again some flying fishes crossed our path like silver stars. Of birds, I observed besides the common seagulls multiple flocks of swifts.

The sea grew more and more violent; wave upon wave crashed onto the bridge on which we, completely drenched, stayed during nearly the whole evening and admired the impressive play of waves.


  • Location: Red Sea
  • ANNO – on 25.12.1892 in Austria’s newspapers. On 22 pages, the Wiener Zeitung lists the army promotions separated by rank and branch of service. The Wiener Salonblatt notes that the Emperor is spending Christmas with his son-in-law, Prince Leopold of Bavaria, in Munich while the Empress departed from Palermo, Italy, to her villa Achilleïon on Corfu.
  • It also informs its readers about the progress of Franz Ferdinand’s journey as well as fellow passenger Archduke Leopold Ferdinand (who will be recalled shortly after Franz Ferdinand’s plea to the Emperor to do so). The Salonblatt states that they arrived in Port Said on 20 December and departed the following day to Colombo (Ceylon) . It pledges to provide a weekly update about the journey.