A little reading for Christmas: the NMMC’s Maritime Views


Tenerife rocks that might resemble a ship from a distance (photo taken by Alumnado Módulo ITG from Wikimedia Commons)

I’ve been enjoying the National Maritime Museum Cornwall’s online newsletter Maritime Views, and would like to put the word around. If somehow you haven’t got something marvellous from the Lodestar Books catalogue, Maritime Views might be something to consider on one of the quieter days ahead.

Recent features include the story of a cruising yacht named Mignonette, which in 1904 led to Britain’s last trial for cannibalism at sea; the tale of how Lt Laponetiere of HMS Pickle raced to deliver the news of the British victory at Trafalgar; and the diaries of a surgeon who aboard packet ships travelling the world during the first half of the 19th century.

Here’s a small taste of the series they’re calling the Packet Surgeon’s Journals:

Friday 22 Aug

– 7 knots an hour – weather cloudy in the morning but cleared up in the afternoon. At dinner a Mr Moone an English passenger to Rio said to Mr Geach our Master, ‘Mr Geach you are not Master of the Ship as you are falsely called – otherwise you would prevent it rolling? Why can’t you prevent it?’ ‘Why to be sure’ said Senor Ashevedo a Brazilian, ‘clearly because he is not Master of the Rolls.’

Saturday 23rd Aug

– when I got up this morning, I beheld the island of Teneriffe. This island seems to be more rocky and precipitous than Madeira – and is not so beautiful by far. At first we could not see the celebrated Peak of Teneriffe for the whole island was shrouded in thick mist, during almost the whole day, we lay off and on Oratava – the capital of Teneriffe which seems to be pretty, tho small. You being told that we were merely to land the mail and proceed we did not seek to go ashore till it was to late. In the afternoon the weather cleared up and we then obtained a sight of the peak, which is more than 12,000 feet in height – above the level of the sea…. 6 oClock P.M. we left Teneriffe and when about 30 miles distant, we then saw that view of the Peak, which is calculated to impress the mind with admiration and awe. For in by mild but clear light of the moon, towering far in majestic height above the Island. It was indeed a most magnificent sight – and not soon will I forget it.

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