John Muir


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5:00 P.M. Now off the Tongkin coast, French possessions in China. Mountains looming amid gloomy rain clouds. It has been a dark day, one of the darkest ever saw on land or sea. Clouds thick all over the sky, what seamen call a dirty day. Raining more or less since early morning. Some parts of sea well watered - irrigated. Wind has swung around to south. Cooler. Sea still smooth, few small white caps. September 19th. Head wind - Monsoon, not so dark though still cloudy. Temperature 82, but strangely clammy. Pleasant on deck in the breeze. Expect to reach Singapore tomorrow evening. If I find a ship to said for Calcutta within 2 or 3 days, will try to engage passage. If required to wait longer will go on to Columbo, and take chance of ship or rail from there. Sea mostly black blue slate and soot color on sides of waves. Ran through a hundred miles or so of yellowish, scum-like alga arranged in long parallel ragged lines by the wind. September 20th. Scarce a white cap in sight. Sun shining dimly. A little of the alga scum noticed yesterday present in smaller patches and windrows this morning. Delightful breeze. Out of the breeze sweat quickly appears in bead-like drops and saturates underclothing, takes starch from cuffs and collars and causes sticky clammy feeling all over. But by changing position so as to catch the breeze all this stops and the coolness from evaporation is delightful. The baggy loose clothing of the Chinese allows free ventilation and insures coolness when there is the least breeze. A group of islands in sight this morning on our left - east side. The stars last evening about 10 o’clock were glorious in brightness especially

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Original journal dimensions: 11 x 16.5 cm.

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Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist