Dec. 18 Fine morning. Light N.E. breeze as usual. Very few whitecaps. A few flying fish flashing silvery here and there. No birds though only about a hundred miles from shore. Sooty cumuli now bright white in morning sunshine. No sound of wind save low whispering. Ship gliding smoothly like a star. Engine heart-beats barely audible. Our dozen cabin passengers sorely put to wits end to pass yesterday without cards in observance of the Sabbath. Not a glint of science visible. Dull sky at 6:00 P.M. Sooty clouds ill-defined, the top of only one glowing almost white. Dec. 19. Dull leaden sky. Cottony wisps drifting front of hazy, all-embracing half-translucent cloud films. Glints of sunshine at intervals. Sea wondrous calm. Ship gliding silently. The sea hereabouts is said to be nearly 15,000 feet deep. No birds. One ship in sight. The region of rain and doldrums. Expect to cross the line about midnight. Showers falling around the horizon. Half an hour before sunset the sun looked like a copper ball. Dec. 20. Calm unbreezy, though a heavy, weltering swell keeps the ship slowly solemnly heaving. Cloudy, but with many openings for sun to sow broad swaths of spangles and sparkles. About 8:00 A.M. I saw a dolphin pursuing a flock of flying fish over a wide area. They made heavy splashes as they leaped out of the water. These splashes looked like whitecaps. The fish fly considerably faster than the ship is sailing, 11-1/2 knots. Some flocks fly all one way, along the
Original journal dimensions: 10 x 17 cm.
Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library
John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist