John Muir


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schooner. She was threading the tortuous channel in the coral reef leading to the harbor of Cedar Keys. Now, thought I, perhaps I may yet sail in that pretty white moth. She proved to be the schooner Island Belle. One day sooner after her arrival I went over the Key to the harbor, for I was now strong enough to talk, and finding some of her crew ashore after water I waited till their casks were filled and went out with them to the vessel in the boat. Ascertained that she was ready to sail with her cargo of lumber for Cuba. I engaged passage on her, and asked her sharp-phized Captain when he would sail. “Just as soon,” said he, “as we get a north wind. We have had Northers enough when we did not want them and now we have this dying breath from the South. Hurrying back to the house I gathered my plants, took leave of my kind friends, and went aboard. Soon, as if to kill the Captain’s complaints, Boreas came foaming loud and strong. The little craft was quickly trimmed and snugged, her inviting sheets spread open and away she dashed to her ocean home like a war-horse to battle. Islet after islet speedily dimmed and vanished beneath the horizon, deeper became the water blue, and in a few unnoticed hours all of Florida vanished. This excursion on the sea, the first one for twenty years, was very interesting, and I was full of hopes. Boreas increased in power. Island Belle appeared to glory in her speed and managed her full-spread sings gracefully as a bird. In less than a day our norther increased in strength up to the point which in the language of mortals is called storm – deeper and wider became the vales and yet higher the hills of the round plain of water. Flying jib and gaff topsails were lowered and mainsails close reefed, and

Date Original

July 1867


Original journal dimensions: 10 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