Esteemed Readers, a terrible heat goes on attacking us. So don’t forget the ice & other cooling measures suitable for an ordinary 17th century voyage. Might winds return faster to our ship!
Aboard the Oiseau, 4 April 1685
“…It is always still & too hot. Messieurs de la Maligne have paid us a visit this morning. Their dinghy is so tiny that it is a great adventure for them to stay on its board. They have told us about huge waves they faced near Cape Finisterre when the water flooded the deck & its level was so high that they were forced to destroy their rowboat. The whole crew believed it was their very last day. As for us, we are glad & calm aboard of our “Oiseau”. We watch the furious sea without fear & almost without feeling her. There are no sick among them (their crew). (As for us), we have some & their number grows every day. Thanks Lord for His graces & mercy! None of us has been thrown to the sea (NB: died)…”
Aboard the Oiseau, 6 April 1685
“…It has never been so hot before. The air is clear & the sun shines with all its strong brilliance above our heads. The sea is stiller than a pond. We don’t know what to do with ourselves: our hearts are burning. What to say about our studying! So we catch fishes. There are plenty of Sharks. They are for the crew. We have Bonites which are very good for cooking. Chevalier de Fourbin is always a great help for others & for himself. We have measured the altitude. We sail 50 minutes a line. It is difficult to move one…!
Aboard the Oiseau, 9 April 1685
“…The altitude is not correct. We must adjust 2 degrees. There is about fifteen or sixteen lieuës to the Cape but not directly. We have made about a half. Nevertheless, it is necessary to go towards the Brazilian coasts to catch the Western winds there that will deliver us to the Cape. Whatever happens, we have made a quarter of the way…
Dieu Vous Ait en Sa Sainte Garde,
Vostre l’Abbé de Choisy ”
Image: Beauvais, Verdure de Chantilly, tapestry.