The Journal of Hugh Campbell, Part X: Going fishing

This week, Captain Gale smooths things over with the skeptical passengers, and the crew goes fishing…sort of.

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28th July
W. Lon. 32, N. Lat. 45 degrees 50’

The wind had been favorable heretofore but some days it appeared to settle in the West. The passengers began to get unhappy and as is always the case, murmured against the

Emigrants at dinner.

Capt. and officers when they could blame nothing else. Several ridiculous stories were circulated and believed by most of them. Some said the Capt. had lost his reckoning and was taking us lord knows where, others that the ship had sprung a leak and that he was making for the nearest port to get ashore before she would sink and a third swore that the ship was such a clumsy, slow sailing vessel that we might not get to New York before Christmas. It required all the influence of the Capt. to reconcile the ferments that such ridiculous stories were calculated to promote. He would sit in the steerage and laugh half the day with passengers and when anything nice was cooked for his own table he was sure to send the greater part to the female passengers and old men. By these and many other little attentions he gradually gained the good will of all and I verily believe that they supported their tedious voyage with greater fortitude than they would have done under any other Capt.

August 1st
W. Lon. 34.50, N. Lat. 44

 

Flying Fish

About this time we began to see the beautiful fish called the Dolphin and their unfortunate prey the flying fish. I caught one of the former by a bait this day. Nothing can surpass them in beauty when taken out of the water. All the varied colors of the rainbow seem to unite in their skin. When cooked with pork and potatoes they make a dish called chowder, which tastes mighty well on the sea though the fish itself is very dry and little more than palatable.

 

When they perceive a flying fish they swim in pursuit with uncommon swiftness. As
soon as the flying fish finds itself in danger, it rises to the surface, expands its fins or wings and flies in a smooth rapid manner as long as it keeps moist. But its enemy still watches its course, swims under it and frequently receives it into its mouth as it falls.

*****

Next week:  Sailor Hugh

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