Surviving in the ship’s boats

The Pandora’s log (Adm. MS 180) also makes for interesting reading, especially on days when the officers -usually the captain- report on  ‘out of the ordinary’ events that were happening during the voyage. The ‘remarks’ for the two days following the wreck focus on the preparations for the open boat voyage to Timor.

Remarks on Tuesday 30th August 1791

Took an account of the provisions etc. saved out of the wreck and spread them to dry. There was about 350 lb of bread, a small cask of wine and a few bottles. Meat not sufficient to make a division for a day,  ? gallons of water, two canisters of portable soup, 1 keg of essence of malt. The island or rather key for it was only 32 yards across at high water and about double the distance in length, there was not a single tree, shrub or blade of grass upon it. Nor could we catch any fish, a few shell fish was all we could procure here. 

 Began to prepare our boats and make arrangements for our return to England. Put our people to the following allowance of provisions per day, 3 ounces of bread, two wine glasses of water and a glass of wine, ½ an ounce of essence of Malt, ½ an ounce of portable soup, but the last two articles were not issued until we left the island. We also saved 3 loaves of sugar, three bottles of tea, a few guava cakes and about 2 lb of chocolate and a keg of tripe. This was all we had to feed 99 men. A voyage of such considerable length in open boats before we could expect to get any material supply of provisions.

Remarks on Escape Island Wednesday 31st August 1791

Moderate and hazy weather – launched the two yawls and sent one to the wreck to see if anything could be procured from her. She returned with the head of one of the TG masts, part of the lightning chain and a little of the TG rigging, but not one article of provisions. The other boat was sent to examine more thoroughly the channel from the reef which she found sufficient for any ship. She was afterward sent fishing and unfortunately lost her grapnel and rope without catching any fish. Artificers were busily employed in fitting the boats, all of these 24 hours.

The boats were completed and launched, and everything we had saved was put onboard them and at ½ past 10 we embarked and steered NW by W. 29 men in the launch, 24 in the pinnace and 23 in each of the yawls – two men were put out of the blue yawl into the launch

Lat obs’d 10º 22’ S

Long ?

The open boat voyage to Kupang would take 17 days. For Lt. Thomas Hayward, the only so-called Bligh ‘loyalists’ from the Bounty’s launch assigned to the Pandora, this was the second time within as many years that he found himself in the same waters, in the same arduous circumstances, making a perilous open boat voyage to safety.


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