December 6: We four gentlemen of New Babbage travel in our vessel,
the “Wrench of Truth” to preach the word and calculations of the Builder to
people of western Patagonia and bring religion to them, and perhaps discover
the fabled West Pole.
Though the sky is cloudy we are full of good cheer. I
believe we shall make record time. The triple condensing engine is a marvel to
behold. Surely when we reach our destination, we will have trouble to keep from
the natives worshipping us as heathen gods!
Dec 31: Passed the New Years Eve off the Canaries. We are
into the part of the world that persons oft call “The Mainland” and it is best
to be cautious from here on in. Extra ration of grog all around. I have heard
that the people of the Canaries speak by whistling. I would have liked to have
met them and heard their wondrous language, but we must press on.
Jan 5: Amazing speed. The Wrench has crossed the Equator. We
each took a dip in the warm waters as custom dictates. I write it as warm, but
curiously the water when measured was about fifty degrees by Fahrenheit. Unfortunately
M. Bertrand did apparently catch a dose of hypothermia, and I regret to say
that he is quite dead. We have given him a burial at sea. Regrettably he was in
fact our navigator. But the rest of us have some skill in this as well, though
we are somewhat ill at present, ourselves.
Jan 16: Crossed Tristan De Cunha, we believe. Saw lights of
a little village on that speck of an island. Our ship is being pushed to
leeward by forces I cannot explain. The engine is unable to compensate.
Believing this to be a hitherto unknown current, we have opted to let the sea
guide us for the time being. But we are heading SSW towards Africa, and we do
not have the coal to change course, now, even if the Sea permitted.
Jan 24: Foul weather began today. The worst I have ever
seen. Have to shut the hatch because (illegible scrawl).
Jan 31: Land sighted. We will attempt to find Cape Town and
put in for provisions.
Jan 31 Again: Drat and Blast! The current has the best of us!
I can no longer accurately record dates in the log as our
timepiece has been smashed, and our efforts to round Cape of Good Hope have
delivered us only impassable storms. The port side paddlewheel is smashed upon
a rock leaving us only at the mercy of the jib and gaff sail. Once our mast
nearly broke at the tabernacle, and by the Builder I am not carpenter. Haven’t
seen the sun in days. Wet through and through. I think its February 7, which if
correct, is just two months since we set sail from New Babbage. Oh how I long
to see home once more!
Entry 8: Ernst went overboard today. What pity! Saw his arm
flailing in the water. Unable to get the lifeline to him. Resquiat en Pacem Industria,
dear friend. Only Maddux and I remain.
Entry 9: The weather has cleared today, and astonishingly
the cold has ceased and with it a warm sky and the sight of an island ahead.
Our sails are nothing but rags, but I have repaired the engine enough that we
may limp ahead, with keel hard to port and one wheel running. We can see the
island, and surely they can see our plume. It will take a day or more to reach
land. Provisions are low. I almost ate my shoe today. Tried angling for fish
instead, and providence smiled upon us. I caught a small eel, and Maddux cooked
it on the boiler.