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Thursday, February 16, 1837

Arrived early in the day in the Southwest Pass.  Wind strong from northwest; not fair to go to sea with.  Captain cast anchor, and determined to await a fair wind.  Went on shore to the pilot's station, with several other passengers, and stayed all night.  B. C. Boyd, etc., played cards.  I wrote letters and journal.  Wrote to J. F. S., Dr. N. and A. H. W. & Co., and to Mrs. Gray, which will go up to New Orleans to be mailed.

Friday, February 17, 1837

After breakfast this morning the Captain sent his boat for us, and at 11 o'clock he got under way and stood out to sea, under a stiff breeze from the north.  When about starting a pilot came alongside and offered his services, which the Captain refused, whereupon he demanded half pilotage, $6, which our Captain had to pay.  The wind blowing strong and veering to northwest, we bore down to the south; finding it freshening and taking us out of our course, attempted three times to tack by luffing and failed; the [boat] stood away before the wind; gibed and attempted to get back to the river; in this he failed.  At sunset found we were fifteen miles to leeward of the pass; again gibed and bore away to westward as much as he could.  The wind veered to the east, and that night we had a fine run.  The rough sea today brought sea sickness on all who were not old sailors.  For the first time in my life I experienced the horrid feeling.  Lay in my berth all night without throwing up.

Saturday, February 18, 1837

At sea. -- Continued our course to the west all day.  At noon Captain got an observation of the sun, and pronounced us ninety miles from the pass.  Distance from the Mississippi to the mouth of the Brazos, 370 miles.  Sick all day; could not eat nor hold up my head.

Sunday, February 19, 1837

At sea. -- It fell calm during the last night, and continued so all this day, warm and cloudy, a high swell in the sea, the effect of the two past days blow, and the vessel rolled and flapped her sails all day, to the great annoyance of the passengers.  Sick all day; ate a little dinner and felt better; could eat no supper.

Monday, February 20, 1837

At sea. -- Calm and cloudy.  Captain could not get an observation.  Impatience begins to manifest itself on all who are not too sick.  A few light breezes gave us some hope, but they did not seem to help us on our course much.  There was barely wind enough to keep the vessel on her right tack.  The swell being less


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The Diary of William Fairfax Gray, from Virginia to Texas, 1835-1837
Copyright 1997 William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas