Friday, 2 May 2008

Bad Luck Brigs 2

Here is George Bayly's account of the Calder wreck in Valparaiso in 1825. Stranded in Sydney, he needed a job. The skipper of the convict transport he was apprenticed in had been accused of smuggling tea. Bayly took discharge and shipped on the Calder, bound for Chile, as third mate. This account comes from my copy of his memoir published in 1885, "Sea Life Sixty Years Ago".

Bayly was discharged from the Calder in Chile, and was forced to sell his sextant to pay for lodgings. He found a buyer in Peter Dillon, Who later re-employed him for the St Patrick, again as third mate. I wonder if he got the sextant back, and at what price? Dillon didn't have much time for scientific navigation, letting his officers take the Latitude and did the rest by dead reckoning (he was acknowledged a master by those who left records of him).

By the time this voyage was over, Bayly had had a gutsful of Dillon and sailed back to England from Calcutta. Unable to find an officer's berth, he considered sailing before the mast. He was saved from this when he found a post shipping as sailmaker aboard the Hooghly; grateful that his father made him get a trade before he went to sea. He eventually became a trading captain himself.

I like Bayly, he takes things as they come and seems a cheerful soul. His diaries are held in the Hocken Library in NZ, and have been republished under the title "A Life on the Ocean Wave" by the Miegunyah Press. The picture of the Calder above is reproduced from that publication.

No comments: