John Muir


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Mt. Sinai pointed out, but none seemed to know it positively. (See several pages ahead for sketch.) November 25th Out of sight of land all day. Magnificent electric display after dark. Nearly all the sky in a quick-throbbing glow of sheet lightning mixed with darting zigzag chain lightning. The center of storm was across the desert of Nubia. Many passengers leaned over rail and watched the sky pulses for hours. At 11 o’clock heavy rain reached us. I saw rain storm to northward over Nubian desert before sunset, black ragged rain clouds like those along Chinese coast. All gulches hereabouts show work of cloudbursts though it is said that it seldom or never rains. November 26th Wind ahead as usual here, blows into Red Sea from both ends. Therefore with exceptions, one always has wind with at back at whatever end of the sea one enters, and in face going out. Dark and cloudy, rain falling in Nubia. November 27th Fine clear day after electric storm. Gulls in thousands hovering and circling close to surface of sea as if feeding. Stiff head wind, irised spray flying from wave tops. Pass the Strait of Babel-mandeb [Babel Mandeb] about 5:00 P.M. “The Gate of Tears”. It is quite short and narrow and shallow. Arrived Aden about midnight. November 28th Coaling until 7:00 A.M. Lively merchants alongside in boats, selling ostrich eggs and feathers, fans, horns of antelope, etc. One sort jet black and straight, 4 feet long, magnificent weapons cost 15 shillings. At 7:30 start for “Ceylon’s Isle”. Warm, interesting.

Date Original

November 1903


Original journal dimensions: 11 x 16.5 cm.

Resource Identifier



Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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