JOHN SIMPSON, FIRST MATE
Title: 1896 ORIGINAL, SUPERBLY DETAILED MERCHANT SHIP'S LOG OF A VOYAGE FROM ENGLAND TO INDIA AND THEN TO HAMBURG GERMANY FOUR YEARS AFTER ITS LAUNCHING AND NINE YEARS FROM ITS DESTRUCTION
Book Condition: Good
Size: Folio - over 12" - 15" tall
Publisher: ABOARD THE USS SKIDBY  1896
Seller ID: 0002183
On offer is a super, original 1896 manuscript ship's log book covering an England to India to Germany commercial voyage aboard an one day ill fated steamship out of West Hartlepool. The ship built and owned by Ropner & Co. England would one day wreck on Sable Island Nova Scotia. [We note that the future wreck would be caused by errors in command but the high quality of dutiful fulfilment of observations in this log would lead one to think Skidby a very well run ship as commanded by Captain Strachan and the author, First Mate John Simpson, a diligent First Officer faithfully recording the typical marine and nautical observations of every well run ship at sea and with almost surprisingly Naval like detail for a merchant vessel.] Sailing to Asia through the Suez Canal the Chief Officer's Log Book covers two travel legs and a Bombay Harbour Log during a three month voyage beginning Monday, February 24th, 1896, to Saturday, May 9th, 1896, from Blyth, England to Bombay, India and then Hamburg Germany. Simpson's neatly penned entries include; weather and sailing conditions, sick crew, the stifling heat, confused seas, gale winds, taking on water and any number of keen eyed observations. The log makes for a classic real life adventure voyage laid out in droll seasoned seaman vernacular as the staff and crew of the "Skidby" get ready to set sail through the Suez Canal, and on to Bombay India. There are times when the voyage is absolutely harrowing, as noted by First Mate Simpson; "Increasing head wind & rising head seas. Fresh N.W. gale with heavy seas, ship pitching & launching heavily & skipping heavy water forward. All hatches securely battened down. Lashing and extra tarpaulin put on. One of the Bow Ports gave way causing water to flow into the forecastle and fore peaks. Ship pitching and straining heavily & skipping heavy seas. Brothers light about 3' distant" etc. This ship and its crew encountered at least two heavy storms that pitched the ship rolling and laboring to stay upright. First Mate makes note of the hours from 1 A.M. for each 24 hour period, noting, Distance Run, Knots, Courses, Steering Compass, Wind, Names and Hours of those on watch [McLanders, Hall, Duden, Redford, Brown, Olsen, Chester, Winney, etc.] He notes the light houses they pass and the shoals, to include Cape Villano Light, Cape Finisterre, Cape Roea Light, Rounded Cape St. Vincent, Trafalgar Light House, Toriffa L.H., Europe L.H., Cape De Gata, Cape Carbon Light, Cape Bugaroni, Galita, Dog Rocks Light, Cape Bon L.H. Gozo Old Light, Gardo Light, Newport L.H., Getting ready to enter the Suez Canal, Port Said in the distance, Suez Roadstead, Ashrafi, etc. Simpson has to keep the crew on board busy, [except for Sundays when no one works], with cleaning out the fore peaks, set fore and aft canvas, clean and oil the windlass, overhauling the tarpaulins, painting the masts, cleaning out the store room, overhauling the awnings, over hauling the sluices-winch and clutches, cleaning out and painting the starboard bunkers, tallying the cargo, painting the funnels, records men sick and not able to work, etc. At the Suez Canal they load on electrical apparatus. At Bombay, over a period of a few days they discharge 4663 tons of coal and prepare to load cargo. They use a crane to put a spare propeller down #3 hold in Bombay. Gangs of coolies do bunkering coal while another gang of coolies paint the outside of the ship. The sailing ship "S.S. Bombay" comes alongside the "Skidby" and does damage to starboard bunkers. On the way through the Suez Canal heading for Hamburg "having sufficient steerage way on her, struck the ground heavily on three different occasions." The 10 x 13 inch log book contains 63 pages, all written in ink; printed wrappers rather worn and soiled, partially disbound, some soiling but the interior is G.
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