AB Steele’s Shipboard Journal – 2 April 1886

Arose at 6 am and went on deck as soon as I could. The ship was tossing a little and a good many were sick, practically all of the women and most of the men. Most of the fellows in my room were sick, but I had had a good night sleeping very well. Partook of a good breakfast there bring very few at my mess this morning. Bayley was very bad. I had to turn nurse for those who were sick. Have not myself, felt sick at present. It’s a jolly sight to see the great fellows rolling about looking like corpses, and vomitting like whales. The inevitable being that some of them were all over “vomit”. Some of the women were most hapless. The sea in the channel is very rough today, alltho, the weather is very fine.

We arrived at Plymouth at 11.30 and cast anchor in the bay for two hours – shipping the while a few passengers. A missionary on Board, so we had a Prayer Meeting. Getting under weight at 2.30 we proceeded on our way, soon leaving old England far behind – may be perhaps never to see her dear old shore again.

The sea began to run very high again as we neared the Bay of Biscay, and the ship was going at a terrific speed, cutting through the water causing the waves to break over the deck. The passengers present a very dismal picture, lying about in the water and lifting their inside very nearly out vomitting.

We have one old boy on Board who weighs 26 stone. He is going to Melbourne to his son who is out there, He comes from Barnsley in Yorkshire. We have christened him “gumbo”.

Those who have listened to the thunder thuds of the cavalry regiments as they rushed by on their gallops can but little realise the enormous power and force of the engines as they revolved their might shaft of steel connected with the propeling the “screws”. Along flies theĀ monsterĀ gliding through the billows mountains high, so to speak, with a calmest expressive of content for such is the description of the HMS “Orient”.

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