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"BUNGOES " "UP" FOR CALIFORNIA.
intelligence from home. On returning one evening from Gorgona I was informed by Mr. Pratt, my room-mate, that a gentleman had called during my absence with a letter. I left the supper table to go in search of him; some one knocked at the door; and imagine my surprise and pleasure as Mr. D. Trembley, an old acquaintance from New York was ushered into the room.
He had letters for me dated two months subsequent to my departure. He was accompanied by his brother, and I had the pleasure of making the passage up the Pacific in their company.
The prospect, at this time, of getting passage to California was extremely doubtful, and many returned to the States. Dur. ing the latter part of April, however, several vessels arrived in port, and were "put up" for San Francisco. I had sent to New York for a steamer ticket—which was due, but there being no steamer in port, and being attacked with the fever, I was
I advised to leave at the earliest possible moment. I secured passage in the ship “Niantic,” which was to sail on the 1st of May. On the morning of that day bungoes commenced plying between the shore and ship, which was at anchor some five miles out, and at 4 P. M., all the passengers were on board. The captain was still on shore, and there was an intense anxiety manifested. Many had come on board in feeble health; some who had purchased tickets had died on shore; many on board were so feeble that they were not expected to live. I was one of the number; we all felt that getting to sea was our only hope, and all eyes were turned toward shore, fearing the captain might be detained. At half-past five his boat shoved off, when all on board were electrified. As he neared the ship all who were able prepared to greet him, and some, whose lungs had been considered in a feeble and even precarious state, burst out into the most vociferous acclamations. The captain mounted the quarter-deck and sung out, “Heave ahead,” when the clanking of the chain and windlass denoted that our anchor was being drawn from its bed. At half-past six the “Niantic" swung from her moorings, and was headed for the mouth of the “Gulf of Panama.” Again the shouts were deafening. No reasonable politician could have wished a greater display of enthusiasm, and a nominee would consider his election quite certain, whose pretensions were backed up by two hundred and forty pairs of such lungs. We had a light breeze and moved slowly out—the lights of the city gradually settling below the horizon. As we passed the islands an occasional light would appear and immediately vanish. Soon all nature was shrouded in darkness, and with the exception of an occasional creaking of the wheel, and a slight ripple at the prow, everything was still.
In the morning we were running down along the coast of South America, the captain wishing to cross the equator, in order to fall in with the trade winds. We passed along very near the coast, having the Andes constantly in view, some of the peaks towering up, their heads buried in the blue ether of Heaven.
We were often saluted by whales, sometimes coming up near the ship, throwing up a column of water, and passing under our keel, displaying to us their gigantic dimensions. We would sometimes run into schools of porpoises, extending almost to the horizon in every direction. We were constantly followed by sharks, accompanied by their pilots—the latter a most beautiful fish, from eight to twelve inches in length, striped in white and grey. It seemed strange that they should have been created to act as pilots to the "terror of the deep.” The shark is always accompanid by one, and sometimes two or three. They generally swim a little in advance, but sometimes nestle along on the back of their huge master-as if to rest, and in case of emergency, are said to take refuge in his mouth.
On the 6th we came in sight of “Chimborazo," the highest peak of the Andes, and the highest mountain on the western continent. It appears to penetrate the very heavens. It was surrounded by belts or layers of clouds, with sufficient space between to disclose the mountain. Below and above the first belt there was vegetation, above the second sterility, above the third, and towering on up, a covering of eternal snow.
On the 12th we reached the Gallipagos islands, a group of volcanic formation, directly under the equator. They are not inhabited by man, but are the home of the terrapin. We passed very near, but as it was almost sunset, we did not lower our boat. We crossed the equator, and made one degree south
latitude. Then standing west, in order to fall in with the trade winds, we reached 110° west longitude. We then headed north on our course to San Francisco, but there was no wind. We had a calm for several days, accompanied with rain and mist. The weather was excessively hot, causing everything on board to mildew. Our clothes, boots, trunks, &c., were covered with mould. Those who were sick became worse, and others were attacked. Our ship rolled about like a log, without sufficient air to cause a ripple. There was a general uneasiness manifested, and something foreboding in every face; all were indisposed; we felt that there was a destitution of vitality in the atmosphere. On the 6th of June one of the passengers was attacked with the ship-fever, which immediately proved fatal. He died at three o'clock in the morning, and at ten was brought out, sewed up in canvas, and laid upon the gang plank. A bag of sand was tied to his feet, a prayer read, and, at the signal, the end of the plank was raised, and he slid gently into his grave. It being calm, we watched the spot until the last bubble had risen to the surface. This was to us an afflicting scene; a gloom seemed to rest upon every countenance. That one of our number should have been taken away by a disease thought to be contagious, and one so malignant in its character, gave rise to emotions of the most painful dejection. The ship was immediately cleansed, disinfecting fluid was distributed profusely, and we escaped the farther appearance of the disease.
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ENTER THE "GOLDEN GATE."
dense we could not take an observation, but still stood in toward land. At 12 o'clock we felt a slight breeze, and the mist rose like a curtain, displaying to our astonished vision the coast of California. A simultaneous shout burst forth, and our very ship seemed to bound with enthusiasm. We find by taking an observation that we are twenty miles north of the entrance to the bay. We had a fair wind, and passed along very near the coast, which is bold and rocky, rising and terminating in the coast range of mountains, and in the back ground the famed “Sierra Nevada,” (mountains of snow).
At 3 o'clock, P. M., we arrived off a bold rocky promontory, which is the north point to the entrance of the outer bay of San Francisco, called "De los Reys,” or King's Point. We soon changed our course, standing in for the entrance to the inner bay, some twenty miles distant. The air was filled with geese, brant, loons, ducks, &c. We here saw the hair-seal, somewhat resembling a tiger. They would come to the surface, display themselves, and disappear. We saw, also, a very large whale coming directly toward the ship, alternately diving and reappearing, and the third time he came to the surface, he was quite
He threw up a column of water, and diving headlong toward the bottom, threw his huge tail into the air. Not wishing to come to anchor before morning, we shortened sail, and all “turned in."
In the morning we were a short distance from the “Golden Gate," the entrance to the inner bay, making for it with a fair breeze. A large ship was abreast of us, making for the same point. A schooner spoke us, and wished to pilot us in, but our captain not relishing California price ($200), declined. The strait through which we were about to pass, is an opening through the coast-range of mountains, about a mile in width, and has the appearance of having been cut through by the action of the inland waters. The capes at either side are bold, and that on the right is fortified. We could not have made a more auspicious entrance. It was a delightful morning, with a fresh breeze, and the tide rushing in at eight knots. When we had made the entrance, we could see through into the inner bay, directly in the centre of which is an island of considerable elevation, which serves as a beacon to inward-bound vessels. The passage in