9th June 1831
On this day, 9th June 1831, Allan Cunningham was at sea aboard the “Forth” heading for England. A ship, the “Royal Admiral”, outward bound from Port Jackson, sailed into view. Light winds kept them together several days, and visits were occasionally paid to and from both vessels until the wind picked up and they continued on their way.
Allan Cunningham wrote:
On the 9th of June we were on the northern tropic, when a large vessel was seen ahead, from the topsail yard. Being immediately under the sun (one’s shadow was dumpy, equal on all sides), we had, in consequence of the rarefaction of the atmosphere during the day, light airs, so that two days elapsed before we were able to come up with her, (we being evidently the better [p266] sailor), when we were most agreeably surprised to find her the “Royal Admiral”, who had left Port Jackson four days after we had sailed.
The weather was very favourable for our communication, and Captain Fotheringham, the commander came on board, with a budget of rare English news, to the 31st of March last, which he had received from an outward-bound Indiaman, met with on the south side of the equator.
The “Royal Admiral” had made better weather of it than we had, easterly to Cape Horn, which she doubled in something more than six weeks; her passage having been not a little diversified by seeing Campbell’s Island, the land of Cape Horn, and by having fallen in with many icebergs, in lat. 59 degrees S. the summits of some of which were estimated at six hundred feet above the sea; afterwards, however, she was much becalmed, and thus it was we were enabled to come up with her.
Light winds kept us together several days, and visits were occasionally paid to and from both, vessels; at length, however, a breeze sprung up, to which we set every stitch of canvas that would draw and soon taking the lead, we left our consort far behind, and have not seen her since. 1