June 25, 1832
25 June: In the morning nice, bright weather; sunshine, but the wind northwest. Our course, unfortunately, southwest. Calm, smooth, dark-blue sea. At eight o’clock temperature of the air 9°R ⟨[52.3°F, 11.3°C]⟩, of the water 9 2/3°R ⟨[53.8°F, 12.1°C]⟩. About ten o’clock we saw a beautiful fir tree, trimmed rectangularly, drifting in the ocean. A boat was lowered, and the tree was fastened to a rope, with which it was pulled in. Unfortunately, the wood appeared to have nothing on it but some marine plants and clams. It seemed to have been in the water for not more than half a year.
At the same time a Procellaria flies about us, most likely leachii, which I obtained from Labrador and Greenland. This bird closely resembles pelagica but is larger, its uropygium white, the remainder of the body black. We tossed out some fat, and they immediately flocked together in large numbers and fell upon it. Toward noon, overcast sky. Observation: latitude 42°35' north, longitude 59°46' west. Temperature of the air at noon 10 1/2°R ⟨[55.6°F, 13.1°C]⟩, of the water 10°R ⟨[54.5°F, 12.5°C]⟩. Individual Procellaria leachii, but not any fewer pelagica today.
Last evening, when the dolphin, or porpoise, was wounded, we were sailing close to Porpoise Bank. During the night the wind drove us somewhat southward across the westward tip of this bank. Today we are south of Sable Island, a small, low, narrow, and crooked island situated on a large sandbar. It has no timber, only scattered shrubs and grass patches. The government maintains a single family here for the convenience of ships. The man living here has cattle and horses. Twice a year he receives necessities by ship. Several ships have already wrecked on this island at night: just a few years ago an English brig and a fishing boat from the Newfoundland Bank. The crews reached shore safely. It would be very useful to maintain a light here.
In the afternoon, overcast sky. Wind somewhat better, but a virtual calm sets in. Large numbers of Procellaria leachii come very close to us, because we lowered some fat on a board into the sea. Dreidoppel shot one of these birds; unfortunately, we could not get it. Procellaria pelagica, too, were flying together behind our ship with the species just mentioned. Since the calm was now complete and the ocean as smooth as a mirror, we shot one such bird also, and the boat was lowered. Mr. Gooden climbed into it, and he and a sailor fetched the bird. Then Skipper Robbins and Mr. Bodmer also rowed out. They tossed out fat; they shot but missed. (The bird killed is described on page 7 of the Zoological Diary ⟨[Natural History Diary]⟩ as no. 8.)M15Thalassidroma wilsonii Bonap. Just as they were returning with the boat, a slight breeze from the northeast sprang up and it rained a little. A completely white gull, probably Larus eburneus, flew around the ship.
The rain grows heavier and continues. After six o’clock, temperature of the air in the rain ⟨[is]⟩ 8 2/3°R ⟨[51.5°F, 10.8°C]⟩, of the seawater 9°R ⟨[52.3°F, 11.3°C]⟩. Somewhat more wind; studding sails are set. At seven o’clock, very favorable, brisk wind, which lasted until midnight. The ship runs at 7 or 8 knots since sixteen large sails have been spread. At midnight the wind shifts to the west and drives us too far north. Night wet, some fog.