Our stock of provisions consisted of about one hundred and fifty pounds of bread, twenty-eight gallons of water, twenty pounds of pork, three bottles of wine, and five quarts of rum. The difference between this and the quantity we had on leaving the ship was principally owing to our loss in the bustle and confusion of the attack. A few coconuts were in the boat and some breadfruit, but the latter was trampled to pieces.
Passage towards New Holland. Islands discovered in our Route. Our great Distresses. See the Reefs of New Holland and find a Passage through them.
It was about eight o’clock at night when we bore away under a reefed lug fore-sail and, having divided the people into watches and got the boat in a little order, we returned God thanks for our miraculous preservation and, fully confident of his gracious support, I found my mind more at ease than it had been for some time past.
At daybreak the gale increased; the sun rose very fiery and red, a sure indication of a severe gale of wind. At eight it blew a violent storm and the sea ran very high, so that between the seas the sail was becalmed, and when on the top of the sea it was too much to have set: but we could not venture to take in the sail for we were in very imminent danger and distress, the sea curling over the stern of the boat, which obliged us to bale with all our might. A situation more distressing has perhaps seldom been experienced.
Our bread was in bags and in danger of being spoiled by the wet: to be starved to death was inevitable if this could not be prevented: I therefore began to examine what clothes there were in the boat and what other things could be spared and, having determined that only two suits should be kept for each person, the rest was thrown overboard with some rope and spare sails, which lightened the boat considerably, and we had more room to bale the water out. Fortunately the carpenter had a good chest in the boat, in which we secured the bread the first favourable moment. His tool chest also was cleared and the tools stowed in the bottom of the boat so that this became a second convenience.
I served a teaspoonful of rum to each person (for we were very wet and cold) with a quarter of a breadfruit, which was scarce eatable, for dinner: our engagement was now strictly to be carried into execution, and I was fully determined to make our provisions last eight weeks, let the daily proportion be ever so small.