We were now busily employed in examining and repairing our rigging, and that of the Gloucester; but, in stripping our fore-mast, we were alarmed by discovering that it was sprung just above the partners of the upper deck. This spring was two inches in depth and twelve in circumference; but the carpenters, on inspection, gave it as their opinion, that fishing it with two leaves of an anchor-stock would render it as secure as ever. Besides this defect in our mast, we had other difficulties in refitting, from the want of cordage and canvass; for, although we had taken to sea much greater quantities of both than had ever been done before, yet the continued bad weather we had met with, after passing the straits of Le Maire, had occasioned so great a consumption of these stores, that we were reduced to great straits; as, after working up all our junk and old shrouds, to make twice laid cordage, we were at last reduced to the necessity to unlay a cable, to work up into running rigging; and, with all the canvass and remnants of old sails, that could be mustered, we could only make up one complete suit.
Towards the middle of August, our men being indifferently recovered, they were permitted to quit the sick tents, and to build separate huts for themselves; as it was imagined, by living apart, that they might be much cleanlier, and consequently likely to recover their strength the sooner: But strict orders were given, at the same time, that they were instantly to repair to the water-side, on the firing of a gun from the ship. Their employment now on shore, was either the procurement of refreshments, the cutting of wood, or the procurement of oil from the blubber of sea-lions. This oil served for several purposes; as burning in lamps, mixing with pitch to pay the sides of our ships, or, when worked up with wood-ashes, to supply the place of tallow, of which we had none left, to give the ship boat-hose tops. Some of the men were also occupied in salting cod; for, having two Newfoundland fishermen in the Centurion, the commodore set them to work in providing a considerable quantity of salted cod for sea-store; though very little of it was used, as it was afterwards thought to be equally productive of scurvy with any other kind of salted provisions.