6th day out (8 April 1917)

A sharp southerly breeze is covering the rollers with catspaws or white horses.  We hear that we shall sail probably 200 miles south of the usual courses around the Horn but that the Captain says “It’s the best time of year for this trip”.  When standing about on Guard I wasn’t too warm with singlet, shirt, sweater, tunic and overcoat.  If we take the route expected (to Capetown via the Horn) we will go equal to 3/5ths of the earth’s circumference before making way North.  Yesterday we were assigned our respective lifeboats, rafts, etc., and wore our life-belts.  They are kapok ones of course, very light.  Mine however, is of the old cork variety.  The Captain gave us a short lecture about keeping our heads in case of casualty of the ship and said that the officers had orders to shoot any man who panics. The Maoris are a constant source of merriment.  The birds now following us appear to be Mother Carey’s Chickens, neat grey-coloured birds, convoyed by a couple of albatrosses, whilst a lonely little sea-sparrow flits about the bow.  Albatrosses have no difficulty in getting up off the water though possibly they might if it were dead calm.  I am for the first time reading Bullen’s “Cruise of the Cachalot”, find it most entertaining and am longing to sight a sperm whale.

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