JJ Rowe Diary: 12 Feb 1889


For those with a love of being on the water, today’s diary entry paints a picture of adventure, albeit it a small one. There is rough weather in the Alboran Sea, some sea sickness, and a thorough drenching.

The Diary Entry


Arose at 5 am, rolled up my hammock & went up on deck & had a wash as we are not allowed in the womans quarters till 7 am. Just as I was going in, I was told Pollie was on deck, so I went up on deck & their she sit the only woman on deck. It was a fine morning but rather rough, & Pollie would not go below, but remained on deck all day. She had a basin of cocoa, which one of the sailors gave me & some bread & cheese. I had some boiled beef & potatoes for my dinner.

Afternoon very rough. Both turned up sick. Pollie went to bed early.

I was for watch for the night that this from 8 pm, at night till 8 am in the morning with a 100 men. Being Senior Sergt was in charge of the party, fell the men in on the Harboard side of the ship. Told{?} off 24 for sentry, two on at a time, on the stern of the Ship one each side over life buoys. In case of any one falling overboard, they have to throw over the life buoys & pull a nobble in the side of the Ship, which ring a bell to summons the Officer of the watch.

The wind rose & blew tremendous. The men on watch brought their blankets & hammocks up with them to lay down on. I brought mine blanket up only, gave it to a Corprl to hold, while I took down the name of the men for Sentry. He laid it down & left it. Of course someone else took it up at once, & I was left with only my big coat on.

About 9.30 pm, a big wave came over the side & drenched the lot. One fellow had hung his hammock on the side & was in & cover up with his blanket, was very cosy (if not asleep). It nearly filled his hammock & he got out looking like a drowned rats. Then nearly all the men on watch went below & did not turn{?} out anymore so I was left alone without either a Sergt or Corprl to post the Sentries.


  1. Life aboard ship: There are obviously no accommodations for married couples; rather, there are separate quarters for men and women. The men all slept in hammocks & apparently had only one blanket each.
  2. Nautical jargon: It seems unlikely that Joseph had travelled much by sea. His description of “pulling a nobble in the side of the ship” in case of emergency gives him away.
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