The Southern Cross a little above horizon opposite the Bear. Orion and Pleiades in glory shining. April 9.Temperature 81 1/2 at 7:00 A.M. The southern sky black with rainbow in gloom, the northern covered almost completely with watery ill-defined cumuli byt white and luminous. We are now in Torres Strait, steering west, the great Papua or New Guinea Island to north of us. No land in sight and no coral reefs to keep the seaman ever watching. The Captain has now left the bridge for first time since entering the coral region. Two of the 5 stars of Southern Cross last evening shone with beautiful green and blue light. Only 4 conspicuous, the pointers a few degrees distant the brightest of all. Sea wondrous calm. At 9:00 P.M. Temperature 52 ½. Water slightly phosphorescent alongside the ship. The Cross and Ursa Major clear and bright again after rain. Have spent most of day looking over and naming a lot of Australian plants belonging to a Japanese traveler. April 10. Fine bright morning. A few flying fish frightened, getting out of way of ship. Yesterday, a wind-weary bird, a flycatcher, came aboard. Could not learn its fate. It was extremely beautiful, blue and green iridescent. Lovely wanderer perhaps from Papua, the most famous land of fine birds. Land in sight. Coral Island. Temperature at 1:00 P.M. 84. Not a whitecap in sight. Smooth all day. Coral islands in sight most of all the afternoon. Temperature at 9:00 P.M. 84. Anchored about 10:00 P.M.
Original journal dimensions: 9 x 15.5 cm.
Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library
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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist