May 13. Temperature 70 at 8:00 A.M. Dark weather, high wind, waves tons weight coming aboard at waist. The wind is southerly and warm, the sky one even featureless leaden gloom. The horizon even from our top deck only a few miles away and o__ blended with the mist of wave spray. 1:00 P.M. Rain deepening the gloom; waves breaking enrich the rain. This afternoon, a poor swallow came aboard fairly spent and allowed itself to be caught. The nearest land was about 800 miles distant. The heavy wind had driven it off shore and the rain and mist had hidden the land and wet its plumage so that even so fine a flyer was worn out. In the evening, in the rain and scud, one of Mother Carey’s chickens came aboard and sufferd itself to be caught. May 14. Temperature 6:00 A.M. 64. Wind abating and changed from southwest to north east with, of course, falling temperature. Ship with scarce perceptible roll. A few gleams of sunshine and few whitecaps, a half dozen albatrosses, the black smaller species following ship. Temperature 4:00 P.M. 62. 7:00 P.M. 60. Everybody with colds. How thoughtlessly the 1200 inhabitants of this swift gliding ship are carried toward California across the hills and dales and plains of old Ocean, with its great and noble journey, and how small the talk, reading and card games! How few do any real work with hand or head save the seamen, the true headmen with eyes on the stars and throbbing tireless engines!
Original journal dimensions: 9 x 15.5 cm.
Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library
John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist