Columbia Rediviva

Columbia Rediviva

The ship Columbia Rediviva, of about 230 tons, and her consort, the 90-ton sloop Lady Washington,

were making heavy weather of it, barding their way around Cape Horn.

Ir was March 1788, and getti ng into rhe Antarctic autumn, a bad season to take on rhe Horn.

The ships had left Boston almost six months earlier, their passage prolonged by lengthy visits in the Cape Verde Islands off Africa and the Falklands,

300 miles downwind of Cape Horn.

These delays were due to the eccentric behavior of rhe expedition commander, Captain John Kendrick of the Columbia.

His dilatory ways and brutal outbursts of rage led young Robert Haswell, promoted to second mate of the Columbia when the mate quit the expedition in the Cape Verdes,

To switch from the larger ship to the little Lady Washington, commanded by Robert Gray.

So at last the two vessels headed off for the Horn .

“We found frequent fogs and at the same rime a severe and disagreeable cold,” H aswell noted from rhe decks of rhe embattled Washington,

as rhe ships reached Latitude 62° 29′ South on 12 March, over 300 miles south of Cape H orn, practically in Antarctica.

Tackling Cape Horn was surely a hard way to go.

The direct route to China was a far gender road, slipping round the Cape of Good Hope.

and then slanting up through the Indian Ocean for the Sun da Strait through the Java Island chain, and so into the China Sea.

The route to the American Northwest, however, demanded sailing far south to take the Horn head-o n, in order to gen a round.

South America and make one’s way back up the Pacific coast to where rhe furs needed for the China trade could be picked up cheaply from rhe Indi ans.

The Columbia and the Lady Washington, from whose wer, sloping decks young Haswell surveyed rhe scene,

The ships found themselves among a new peril, floating icebergs, e

a thc a pable of crippling or sinking the ship that ran in toit.

But the two ships hung on, “raking advance of eve ry favorable slant of wind,” as Haswell nores.

By 1 April they had fought their way northward to a little over 100 miles sourh of Cape Horn.

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