Diaries of Henry BALFOUR (1863-1939), anthropologist and museum curator
Liverpool to Para and Manaos, 1927
From Liverpool to PARÁ
& MANÁOS, N. BRAZIL,
In the Booth Line S.S. “Hildebrand”,
July – August.
Henry Balfour Oxford
[---FACING PAGE: Photograph of the HILDEBRAND ON THE RIVER AMAZON.---]
Left for Liverpool via Bletchley + Crewe. Put up at the Lime Street Station Hotel. Went to the Museum in afternoon.
Museum again in the morning + saw the Pacific collection + had a talk with the Curator. Sent my luggage down to the Quay + walked down. The “Hildebrand” was not yet alongside, but came in at about 3p.m. + I got on board a little before the arrival of the crowd coming by the special train from London. Found my cabin (54) on main deck had been changed for a much better one (39) on the upper deck. Excellent, roomy cabin for two all to myself.
We cast off at 4 p.m. exactly, with gramophone blaring away + making an awful din. At 6.30 passed 4 gannets on a log (one dark bird with white breast + others not quite fully adult). Herring - + Lesser Black-backed gulls, many of them settling on the ship’s poop. Also saw Kittiwakes. Saw some Guillemots (one with very young chick) on the water, + Razorbills a few Manx Shearwaters along the N. Wales coast. After passing the Skerry Light we put into Holyhead just to drop the pilot. Dead calm + slightly foggy.
Fog horn going during night + morning but fog lifted later. Oily sea + no breeze. Ship rather empty + only about 13 going on Amazon cruise (see passenger list). A few Puffins, Guillemots, Manx Shearwaters + adult gannets. Saw 3 Rorquals (probably Rudolphi’s or Common). Scilly Ids. sighted after lunch. Wolf Lighthouse on beam c. 2.45pm. Many Manx Shearwaters + a few adult Gannets, Puffins, Herring Gulls, Great + Lesser Black-backed Gulls, + a very large Shearwater (light underneath). Later a few Gannets, Guillemots + many Great Black-backed Gulls. One Rock Dove flew round, eventually going off East towards French Coast.
[---FACING PAGE: Label, reading: “Puffinus gravis (O’Reilly)”---]
The Bay very calm, light following wind. Cloudy but mostly fine. After lunch, a lot of Stormy Petrels following the ship. Saw a large Shearwater + some Dolphins; but little life about. Off Finisterre, light abeam at 9.45p.m. Ship rolling a bit but weather fine. Wrote home.
Arrived at Leixoes at about 9 a.m. Went ashore with a party of passengers + motored to Oporto. Some of the private + public gardens very attractive + gay with hydrangeas, hibiscus etc. Many bullock-carts with wheels + axles revolving together + huge elaborately carved yokes of rectangular form. Visited the fruit + fish market, where
[---FACING PAGE: Label, reading: “Puffinus gravis or ? P. kuhlii borealis”, and a photograph of “OX-DRAWN CARTS IN AN OPORTO SQUARE”.---]
Baracutas + Octopus were largely for sale. Went inside a now derelict + disused church (_____ [left blank]) the whole interior of which is elaborately carved + gilt woodwork, with a ‘Tree of Jesse’ in complete relief. It is rapidly falling to bits.
Chamber of Commerce of Granites with wood inlay + a ‘moorish’ ball-room of modern date. Then we drove over a bridge spanning the gorge of the Douro; with double roadway (high + low levels).
[sketch showing “high level” and “low level”]
Fine view of Oporto from the other side of the bridge (Villa Nova side) + good view of the river far below.
Went over a Port wine factory (Hunt, Ruope + Co) + the store in huge vats + barrels. Saw the barrel making which was interesting + sampled various dark + white ports. Lunched at the “Crystal Palace”, where the gardens contain a few animals (leopards, wolf, red deer + various breeds of dogs). Motored back to Leixões. The roads are awful + very dusty. We sailed at about 6 p.m. Very foggy at first + quite calm. Many Guillemots with young, mostly nearly full sized. Some had 2 young birds, but mostly one only. A great many very large Shearwaters. The fog cleared at night.
Arrived at Lisbon about 7.30 a.m. The ship anchored in the Tagus near where it widens out into a wide lagoon. Went ashore + joined a motor excursion to _____ [left blank], a very pretentious villa in a fine garden with horrible sham grottoes etc – a medley of misspent money + bad taste. Then on to Cintra + went over the Palacio Real, 14-15 cen. Interior interesting though not very specially so. Next up to the Castello da Pena on top of a fine granite ridge. Very fine view + some interesting architectural features. Back to Lisbon via the Estoril, “Portuguese Riviera”. Went on board at 4 pm. Weighed anchor c. 6.0. Absolutely calm. Foggy at first. Large shearwaters, but nothing else.
[---FACING PAGE: Photograph of “A GENERAL VIEW OF CINTRA.”---]
At sea – fine, warm but with cool breeze. Little motion. Very little life – one school of Rorquals + many large Shearwaters + a few large petrels.
Anchored off Funchal at 7.30 am. A few flying-fish seen before reaching Funchal. Many gulls, like Herring-gulls but darker shades with deep beaks [sketch]. Also petrels + shearwaters. Went ashore with Bryant, Gutteridge + Stewart, going by launch to Reid’s Hotel landing + up in a shaky lift to the hotel. Garden very nice + gay with hibiscus, bougainvillea etc. At Reid’s we took a car to top of
[---FACING PAGE: Label, reading: “Oceanodroma castro. Puffinus kuklis borealis”---]
a low hill for a fine view all round. Back to Reids + I had a walk till lunch at 12.30. Lunch quite good. Gardens all round pretty luxuriant with lots of colour. Vines coming on very well + very promising. Jacarandus plumbago, bougainvilleas, geraniums flourishing. After lunch we drove to the town, visited the fruit and fish markets. Parrots, macaws + other birds for sale in markets. ‘Espadas’ seem the chief fish sold; long, ugly black + slimy fish, but not bad to eat; with thin bodies tapering from a large head with goggle eyes to an almost finless tail.
Thin black skin is scraped off, leaving them pure white. Barracuta also
for sale (striped like pike), wrasse, ? Grey mullet + other scale-fishes, octopus etc. We called on ‘Maria’, a red macaw of great age + then spent some time in the small public garden. Frangipani in flower; many palm varieties, tree-ferns; pandanus + pomgranates [sic] in fruit; hibiscus, strelitzia etc. in flower. Went on board about 2.30 pm + sailed at 3. Gulls followed the ship. Shearwaters + large petrels. While ashore I saw a Kestrel + heard Blackcaps + ? Orioles but had no chance of identifying. Hot night.
At sea – Calm with N.E. trade wind + S.W. course. A few pelagic petrels, many flying-fish. Sun slightly overcast. Saw hardly any birds. Ship rolling towards evening. Heat not oppressive esp. on port side. Lecture by the Doctor after dinner, on the Amazon, nothing new however; some slides.
At sea. Ship rolling fairly heavily. Fine + not too hot, except in dining saloon. Following wind. A few flying fish.
At sea. Same as yesterday. Rolling, stuffy. Flying-fish only. Cooler later with wind on port beam.
At sea. Overcast at first but sun came through later. Rolling, stuffy atmosphere. Flying fish only. Somewhat cooler on deck. No flying fish during afternoon.
At sea. Fine; little breeze but moderately cool. Calm sea. One Portuguese man-of-war reported seen, otherwise only flying fish + these scarce.
At sea. Fine, but heavy clouds in late afternoon + a fresh Southerly breeze. Hot + stuffy down below. A small all dark petrel seen early in morning. A large school of dolphins or small whales lazing on surface, + a bonito seen. Passed close to the “Aidan” (Booth Co) at 7.30 a.m.
At sea. Fine + calm with coolish breeze on port side. Passed many Rorquals fishing in morning; one probably a Sibbald’s Rorqual; also a few Sooty Terns + Petrels. Crossing the line ceremony at 3pm. Amusing + elaborately done with help of the canvas swimming tank into which all neophytes were tipped backwards. Captain says that whales are very rarely seen in this latitude.
At sea. Calm; cool breeze from S.E. Very hot below. No life seen except two very white birds (? large Terns) + flying fish. Equator crossed about midnight. Hot night in cabin.
[---FACING PAGE: Label, reading: “Sterna fusca”---]
At sea – Picked up pilot off Salinas c. 3 a.m. Raining. Entered the Pará Estuary long before breakfast. Both banks visible though distant; heavily jungled. Picturesque fishing boats with coloured sails. Urubus (vultures) visible in quantities flying about the shores. A few dolphins. Dense jungle everywhere broken by clearings +, near Para, by groups of residences. Slight mirage effects. Arrived at Para at about 10.30 a.m. + tied up to a wharf. Did not go ashore till 3.30pm, to escape the heat which was considerable. Then I went with Bryant, Gutteridge + Stewart for a motor drive to the Bosqué (a preserved area of natural jungle), + some way beyond along a partly made road. Passed a garden with
some large egrets, a very fine heron, a smaller dark mottled heron (or bittern), some toucans + troupials (yellow+black) etc. In the gardens + parks, many varieties of palms, pawpaws, breadfruit trees + mangoes, silk-cotton trees (sucuruma) with great buttressed stems. Erythrina (?) in flower, white + red frangipani in flower, cycads, hibiscus, cacao, hevea braziliensis etc. We returned to the Grand Hotel for a drink, + I went back there to dine with Mrs. Kingdon + Miss Randall. Not very good. After dinner I went with them, Mrs Lloyd + Mrs Pollock, to the adjacent theatre, where a very poor musical comedy was played. Voices execrable + acting mostly poor. We stood two acts + then left, + went back to the ship.
Very sultry night in cabin, awfully stuffy, with mosquito screens over port + door.
In afternoon I went with the Oxford + Cambridge men + Gutteridge to the palace to be received by the Governor of Manaos (+ acting President
[---FACING PAGE: “At the end of the tram line many nests of japim, troupials (cassicusicteronotus, Swain) were seen hanging from a tree. Pensile nests up to 2ft. long, with opening near the top. The boldly marked black + yellow birds were also seen.”---]
the little English church, where is a gunmetal tablet to Bates, Wallace etc. Also went to the Zoo which is quite good, though small; all the beasts + birds seeming very healthy + in excellent state. All local except a chimpanzee.
In the afternoon I went back to the Zoo + Goeldi Museum + spent some time there by myself. Dined at the Grand Hotel.
Pará. Spent the day looking around in general. Dined at Grand Hotel with Mrs. Lloyd, Mr. Pollock, + went on board at 10. Anchor weighed at 11 p.m. Nice cool breeze for a few hours steaming Eastwards before turning W. towards the Narrows
In rather narrow waters, jungle grown on both sides + heading for the Narrows which we reached at about noon. This channel, joining the Amazon + the Pará Estuary (Tocantins) is mostly very narrow + densely jungled with caboclo huts at intervals, but only slight clearings. Was on deck by 6.15 a.m. + saw large + small Egrets, light-coloured herons + large heavily built yellow billed Terns. The native huts are mostly of palm leaf + built on piles. A stem of Mirité palm forms a landing pier over the sloping muddy bank. Canoes (montaría) are either dug-out or sometimes built [sketch] + either open at the two U-shaped ends, or filled
in with triangular pieces of wood.
Watermanship even of quite small children is wonderful. The paddles are very broad-bladed with crutch handles [sketch]. Sometimes pointed. Hammocks used for sleeping. Pale-copper coloured Indians (Tupi) + half breeds + mixtures of all kinds. Reached Brévés, a small settlement, at about 1.30pm. At about 4 we passed the narrowest part of the channel (or paraná) which leaves little room to spare. Heat mitigated by coolish breeze on starboard side.
Dense jungle on both sides, but very varied with palms + trees, climbing + parasitic or epiphytic plants. Hills of the Serra Jutahy seen for a long while on N. bank of Amazon.
Mostly flat-topped + seeming remains of an eroded plateau. The ship anchored at 7 a.m. close to the S. Shore, + the body of the violin of the orchestra, who had died at 5 a.m., was lowered into a boat + rowed to the bank, for burial in the muddy bank in the jungle edge. The first officer accompanied the boat, which was not gone long. During the halt I saw numbers of small green parrots with short tails flying about + looking very like Puffins in flight. Several large, long-tailed crotophagas (black with irridescent colours). Darters, Egrets (both large + small. Blue + yellow Macaws were flying over from N. to S. bank for the day (to return N. at night to roost); 3 or 4 together. Also Red + Yellow Macaws in smaller numbers. They
looked splendid in the sun. Several freshwater dolphins, very pale grey (? _____ [left blank] Pallidum) fishing close to the shore; also one large manati (Peixe boi). In the afternoon, after passing the Jutahy range, the character of the jungle changed. It was thinner + palms became scarcer. Many ‘Kapok’ trees without leaves but with large red pods [sketch], some bursting + shedding the ‘silk-cotton’ seeds which were wafted down wind in quantities. Extensive clearings + swamp areas covered with long grass. Lagoons of still water behind the camarana-grass covered banks. Great numbers of large + small herons, bitterns, darters (Plotus ahinga), crotophagas, green parrots with long central tail-feathers. Scissor-bills plentiful.
Several shelducks (?), with black + white plumage. Also some Trumpeters with white wings. Eagles, buzzards, hawks, + urubus. Only a few jacarés (alligators) seen + some dolphins. It rained late in afternoon. Millions of soft-bodied flies came on board at night + covered the decks, filling the scuppers. Pitch dark night + no stars.
Monday, Aug 1.
Passed Santarem c.12.30 a.m. Did not turn out to see it as only lights could be seen at a distance. On deck by 6 just before sunrise. We had passed Obidos at about 5.15. Low red cliffs on left bank, then jungle with open spaces + lagoons. Many shelduck (?) during morning
+ a few Macaws; flocks of green parrots; some Cormorants; many Kingfishers, white collared with broad red breast-band. Very large grey herons; small white + grey black-headed Terns (like Lesser Terns) flying gracefully + picking things from water surface. Great numbers of scissor-bills on a sandspit (with hundreds of small Terns) or skimming low over the water. Made sure of the Cormorants by seeing some settle on the water. Large egrets numerous. Had an excellent view of an alligator (jacaré) floating high in the water.
Great numbers of urubus + another bird not identified circling round in a thick cloud.
Saw many Indians in small canoes shooting fish with bow + arrow. The arrows long + some with detachable heads + retrieving lines. At about 12.30 we passed the boundary between Pará + Amazonas states. Wide reaches free from floating masses of camarana grass, which till then had been very abundant. The jungle is lower than further down the river. In afternoon large clearings turned into grazing land with good herds of cattle (mixed European + Indian humped breeds). Many large belted Kingfishers, + Indians fishing with bows. Raptorial birds abundant. A few macaws + parrots, many scissor bills + some dolphins. Saw a Jacana fly from a floating camarana patch. Heavy rain.
Fine, partly overcast. Banks more inhabited + cultivated with some large cattle-grazing areas. Palms few but more than yesterday. Bombax (silk cotton) abundant + in pod. Many banana plantations. Natives fishing with bows. Jungle rather open. Passing a small, primitive light house at 11.30 am. Saw a few Jacanas + some King Vultures, also Scissor-bills, Terns, hawks, trumpeters, herons + egrets. Many belted Kingfishers. Near the lighthouse many dolphins were fishing, some bright flesh-coloured; others very dark above + with falcate dorsal fin. Black + white fork-tailed Kites (?). Parrots with long central tail feathers, other with short tails; cormorants; croton eaters. We crossed the sharp line where the ‘black’ water of the Rio Negro join the yellow Solimoês Amazon without mingling,
at noon. Passed the Leper Hospital on a low red cliff soon after; + reached Manáos at about 12.30. Not very attractive looking from the river (Rio Negro). We tied up to a huge pontoon, forming a detached quay. Numbers of urubus flying overhead; swallows + large yellow-billed Terns. Went ashore at 3pm with the Varsity contingent to be received by the Governor of Para (+acting President of the State of Amazonas), Señor A. Monteiro de Souza, at the Palace. Genial old boy, speaking mixed French + English. Drinks + coffee served round + then he showed us his collection of live animals (a Capybara, agouti, 2 kinds of jungle deer, horned + hornless – 2 Trumpeters, Curassows, Shelducks, a pheasant of some kind with red wattle, 2 Thickknees, etc)
The Governor then took us in 3 or 4 Government motor cars round Manaos to see the town buildings, schools etc. I drove with him. We finished up at the brewery, a very large, prosperous looking building, where we were entertained with excellent beer by the Manager. Back to the ship at 6.30 for dinner. It rained in the evening with much lightening. A few Terns were flying around at night + calling.
Overcast + threatening rain in the morning. The party went on board a small steamer at 9 a.m. + some way up the Rio Negro (1 3/4 hours). Arrived at the Igarapá Tarumá, we changed into a smaller launch, towing several boats, into which
we got on arriving at the edge of an extensive igapó (flooded forest). Through this we went in the boats, forcing our way through the tree trunks + stems of llianas etc. A wonderful, fairyland scene – somewhat spoiled by heavy rain + lack of sunlight. The vegetation very fascinating with forest-trees, palms, climbing plants in great variety, + parasitic or epiphytic orchids + aroids. Many of the palm stems were densely thorn studded. Immense ants’ nests were abundant on the trees; often very high up + near the tops. Huge wasps’ nests hung from many trees; and some small [sketch]-shaped + beautifully formed wasps’ nests were seen hanging from branches. Each had a small circular entrance [sketch] in centre of the flat base. Several
birds were heard calling, but could hardly be seen in the dense growth. I heard some Squirrel Monkeys chittering. After a time we reached the Tarumá Fall, a small but picturesque fall of amber-coloured water falling vertically. Some of us scrambled over the rocks to the foot of the fall + also up the steep ravine side to the top. The water above the fall is of the deepest amber colour, very remarkable. The Tarumá is quite a small stream running through dense jungle. I got very wet from the rain, in spite of a ‘waterproof’. We returned the same way through the igapó , + were then towed in the boats by the launch to the steamer, which we reached at about 2 p.m. We had lunch on board on the return journey to Manáos, reaching the “Hildebrand”
soon after 5. On the Rio Negro I saw during the day many large + small Terns, + quantities of white rumped Martins (? Panyptila sp.). A large belted Kingfisher appeared in the harbour at Manáos.
The Governor of Manáos (acting President of the State of Amazonas), A. Monteiro de Souza, claimed the University contingent for the day, and he turned up in his launch unexpectedly at 6 a.m., accompanied by the Chief of Police (R. Gomes Nogueira), the Mayor of Manáos, Dr. J. Ribeiro + his wife + daughter + some other people. We, of course, were not ready for so early a start [I was in my bath + others were not even up]. But we got together
by 7, + went to the launch with profuse apologies to the Governor, who however was not much upset by the delay. He took us in the launch down the Rio Negro + turned into + across the Solimões (Amazon) + up some of the paranás (channels forming islands), passed some cultivated areas + grazing lands with wooden or palm-leaf houses built on piles (as it is within the flood area). We saw some small huts build [sic] upon rafts, moored so as to rise + fall with the water, + lived in by petty traders, who use them as bases from which to trade in canoes. Many tucuxi + other fresh-water dolphins were seen, especially in a small bay near the mouth of the Rio Negro (right bank). Some were flesh-coloured, others dark +
with pronounced dorsal fin. We transferred to small boats at one place to visit a lagoon, to see the Victoria Regia lilies, which are abundant in the still lagoons. These were not at their best, it not being the season, but there were plenty of the floating leaves, 3 to 4 feet across, with upturned edges, + some very prickly buds, though no open flowers. A very beautiful lagoon, surrounded by jungle. Jacanas were plentiful, also large Tyrant Flycatchers, Croton-eaters, Belted Kingfishers, an eagle, some buzzards + hawks + a black + white kite (?) with very long deeply-forked tail + of slender build (? Elanoides furcatus), etc. etc. We next went to Dr. Jeronymo Ribeiro’s bungalow, “Somé”, at Cambixe, on a small
[---FACING PAGE: Photograph of “VICTORIA REGIA LILIES AT MANAOS.”---]
paraná, where an elaborate lunch had been prepared, under a dense clump of bamboos on the bank of the paraná. While there, I was presented by Miss Ribeiro with a magnificent macaw (arára, Ara macao), which a girl friend of hers had on her wrist. A somewhat embarrassing gift but a very beautiful example, + quite tame. We went round part of Dr Ribeiro’s property + looked at his crops of bananas, cacao etc. + stayed some time after lunch smoking, talking + photographing. We returned to Manáos by the same route, slightly modified. The dolphins were still fishing in the little bay near the Rio Negro mouth. We passed some tugs towing 30 or 40 montarias (small boats or canoes) apiece, on their return down river from trading.
After a splendid, sunny day, we got back to the jetty at Manáos at about 5.30 pm. I took the macaw on my wrist + marched to the ‘Hildebrand’, making a somewhat sensational entrée on board. I deposited the bird with the butcher.
In the morning, I looked about Manáos with Salt + Hargreaves. We went into the Cathedral, which is not particularly interesting, but has a fine approach with double, converging sets of very wide stone steps. We also went round the fruit market which is quite interesting. In the afternoon, Gutteridge, Harvey, Hargreaves, Roget + I took a motor-car + went out along the new road (eventually destined to reach Guiana), past
Flores through jungle + as far as Campos Salés where the road is alongside the Tarumá river. I looked around in the jungle which is pretty dense. The road beyond this was under construction, but the car was able to get over it + we eventually reached the top of Tarumá Fall, much to our surprise. I found some of the pot-like wasps’ nests, but did not succeed in finding any snakes, for which I looked. I saw several Toucans + some Tyrant Flycatchers + Croton-eaters, + other birds not identified. We got back at about 6 pm. At 10 pm some of us went to the English Club where a dance + “soirée blanche” had been arranged. There we met most of the resident English people + many Brazilians. I went back to the ship
soon after midnight, leaving most of the others there. Salt + Mrs Lloyd came away with me.
The ‘Hildebrand’ dropped from the pontoon to the main jetty early in the morning. At 6 a.m. I went off to the fish + fruit market, which is in fill swing early in the morning. Many varieties of fish were for sale – pirarucuperanha, some varieties of armour-plated fish, etc. etc. There were hundreds of urubús hanging round the outskirts of the market + scavenging. When I got back it was to a busy scene on board + on the jetty. Many people came on board to say goodbye – including Taylor, his son + Miss Rolfe (who was going far up the Madeira in a stern-wheeler, for a two-years job).
[---FACING PAGE: Illustration of a fish, labelled: “Fig. 75. Arapaima of the River Amazon.”---]
The Governor’s military attaché also came + I said goodbye to him + sent messages to the Governor, on behalf of the University contingent. Amid much waving, the ‘Hildebrand’ cast off at 10 a.m. + started the homeward voyage. Fine, hot, sunny day. Saw many green parrots, large yellow-billed Terns, herons, egrets, some Curassows, ducks, cormorants + darters (Plotus ahinga). Also several dolphins with dark backs + dorsal fins, + pink undersides. We passed Obidos, a cheerful looking collection of houses + stores on a high bank (left, or N. bank). Oposite [sic] near the other bank of the Amazon there was a group of 16 or 17 canoes, each with an indian fishing with bow + arrow (or harpoon-arrow). Hardly any floating vegetation (camarana etc.) seen on the broad reaches hereabouts, such as one
[---FACING PAGE: Label, reading: “The Terns had dark head + primaries, grey back, tail grey + not forked; bill yellow.”---]
sees so abundantly lower down the Amazon. Very fine sunset +, at night, a great deal of lightning, with rather more than a half moon, giving a very fine effect of colour.
Up at 6 am, to find the sky heavily overcast + rain, thunder + lightning. It had turned cold during the night + I had to shut off the fan in my cabin at 5. The weather cleared during the morning. At 10.15 am. we passed Santarem, very prettily placed at the mouth of the Tapajos R. Quite a pleasing small township, mostly red-tiled. A sharp line marks the meeting of the ‘black’ water of the Tapajos + the yellow, opaque Amazon water, which is turgid with silt. This line is drawn right across the Tapajos mouth + extends for some distance along, + near the right
bank of the Amazon. There is a high-ground (a serra) at the back of Santarem, jungle-clad hills. Saw few birds during the morning. Several very large herons (with white back + upper wings + black primaries); some black + white mottled ducks of good size; large swallows with only slightly forked tails [sketch]; egrets. The jungle was relatively low, but dense, + open grazing areas were frequent near Santarem. Lovely sunny afternoon along very broad reaches, mostly quite free from flotsam. Vegetation in jungle very varied. Egrets became very numerous, also large herons + some smallish buff-+-grey herons with white necks. The ‘Hildebrand’ only rarely was close to the river banks, as she keeps well out going down stream, + comparatively little detail could be
seen + birds were mostly too far away for identification. It rained again a little in the late afternoon. We were passing the hills of the Serra Jutahy at about 6 p.m., a range of flat-topped jungle-clad hills. A very fine thunderstorm at night; lightning almost continuous, sheet + chain, covering a huge area.
Up at 6 a.m. We were in the “Narrows”, which link the Amazon proper with the Pará Estuary, which is mainly an extension of the Tocantins. Fine, hot morning. I saw many egrets, some small greyish herons, a few hoatzins, lots of flocks of green parrots; + four black + white fork-tailed kites (Elanoides) were seen flying together. Flesh-coloured
dolphins with [sketch] very low rudimentary dorsal fins were seen in small groups. Crotophagas were pretty abundant. There were many large + very brilliant blue Morpho butterflies along the jungle edge, flashing dazzlingly in + out of the bushes. A great swarm of a pale yellowish butterfly (? Pierine) flew across + along the river + we were passing then for some hours. Brevés was passed at 12.30 p.m., + the “Narrows” were left soon after lunch + very wide reaches opened out. Coolish breeze in the evening, but it was still exceedingly hot in the cabins + saloon. We passed Mosqueiro, on the S. shore of the Pará estuary, at about 11.15 pm. + anchored at 1 a.m. some 4 or 5 miles East of Pará.
I went ashore at 9 a.m. + did some rather disappointing shopping. I spent £2-10-0 on Indian spears + arrows etc. for the Museum, but found little else of interest. Went on board for lunch + left again at 2 pm for the shore. I spent most of the afternoon at the Zoo + Goeldi Museum, having met Goulding with whom I visited the fine new R. Catholic Church. Afterwards Goulding + I went to the offices of the Para Electric Tramways Co. + saw J. Mansell (who had come out in the Hildebrand with us); the latter showed me his garden + gave me a very curious fern. He has a fine collection of varieties of crotons. After that I walked back to the centre of the town + looked about the streets + gardens. Dined at the
Grand Hotel with some of the others, + went back to the ship by the 11.30 pm. launch, with Mrs Lloyd, Mrs Pollock + Stewart.
I went at 9 a,m. with others in a large, three-decked river steamer down the Pará Estuary to Mosqueiro, a small sea-side resort, reached in about 2 hours. We landed on a pier + transferred to two exceedingly primitive trams, each drawn by two mules, + went along a vilely laid track through jungle to Chapéo Virádo, a smaller village picturesquely situated along a shore with fine sandy stretches. Some of us bathed, while I had a stroll along the coast. Few birds were to be seen, but I saw some palisade
fish-trap, erected along the shore between tide-marks. We returned to Mosqueiro the same way in the trams. At a siding our tram’s front wheels jolted right off the lines + let us down with a crash. Giving us a good shake up. The car was eventually lifted back onto the lines + we passed on, but stopped to see how the other tram would fare + whether it would follow suit. It did – first the front wheels + then the back jumped off the track + crashed onto the sleepers. It, too, was lifted back onto the track + we managed to get to Mosquiero with only one more accident, to the vilely-driven second tram. The mules while pulling wide in trying to round a sharp curve, fouled an iron post, smashing the traces + detaching
the mules. We walked from there to the pier! Great numbers of Urubús were scavenging along the shore. We lunched on board the river-steamer + got back to the ‘Hildebrand’ by about 3.30. I went ashore at 6.30 pm. with several others + dined at the Grand Hotel + came back by the 10pm. launch. It rained heavily for a time from 9.30, but cleared afterwards.
We weighed anchor at 10 a.m. Fine, sunny day. The Booth Line tender, after casting off with the people returning to the shore, tried to turn in two [sic] narrow a space + rammed the ‘Hildebrand’ hard, crashing into her starboard quarter.
No special damage was done, luckily. We passed close to Mosqueiro. Our pilot was dropped off Salinas (a long way out) at 5.30 p.m.
At sea. Fine. Ship pitching somewhat + most of the ladies + some of the men were much off colour, or downright ill, partly because of the motion, but largely because of the sudden change from the damp river atmosphere to the dry sea air, which is, apparently, usually very upsetting. It did not affect me at all. Cool breeze, but still very hot, especially below. Nothing seen except flying fish.
At sea – In the Doldrums + exceedingly hot – no breeze in the morning. Saw a big mob of birds (mostly, I think, Sooty Terns) fishing far away. I saw one Sooty Tern close to the ship. There were also many dolphins fishing + some Killer-whales. Otherwise only flying-fish. Most of the invalids had perked up a bit, but some were still pretty seedy. Very calm, though a good breeze was met in the afternoon + evening.
At sea - no incidents. Mostly fine, but some showers + a little breeze. Few flying-fish.
At sea – overcast. A few flying-fish only. Hot, but a cool breeze sprang up in the evening for a while. Calm + only slight pitching. Some rain at night.
At sea – overcast for part of the day. Breeze slightly cooler.
Crossed the northern Tropic-line in the afternoon. Overcast with sunny intervals most of the day. Still very hot, but breeze cooling a little. Very few flying fish.
At sea – Sun very hot during morning. Fine mostly all day. Much cooler in evening. A few flying-fish seen + one large pelagic petrel (dark above + white below).
At sea – Cooler, though sun very hot, good N.E. breeze making ship pitch a good deal. Large petrels (dark above, white below) becoming numerous; also flying-fish. Some engine-room damage caused several hours’ delay, the ship going dead slow. Repairs were effected + full speed was regained.
Very cool in early morning. Madeira sighted at about 9 am. Large petrels very abundant + also some small, all-black petrels (larger than storm-petrels). We anchored off Funchal at 11.30 am. Many gulls + petrels. A mist hung over the island. I stayed on board for lunch + went ashore with Bryant + Gutteridge, + bought some embroideries (Tenerife work). We went to the public garden + spent a little time there. The sea was loppy + landing from the launch rather difficult, as also getting on board from the launch. Weighed anchor at 4 pm. I got letters from home for the first time during the voyage. It was very cold for a few hours after leaving Funchal + passing the Desertas, turning warmer later.
At sea. Calm. A few petrels or large shearwaters. Nothing else.
Very still + calm. Ran into a fog-belt at about 7 a.m, but it did not last long. I saw a good-sized shark in the still water outside the Tagus Estuary. Entered the Tagus at about 10.30 a.m. The clock was put on 1hr + 40 minutes, to take up “Summer time”, so that the time was really 12.10. Plenty of petrels + Black-backed Gulls. We anchored off Lisbon. I went ashore by myself to see the archaeological collection in the Museum at the Academia Real das Sciencias. Stone age collections very interesting. Kitchen midden pigmy flints of Tardenosian type [three sketches], etc.
from Mughem on the Tagus + elsewhere. Some very finely worked, very thin Neolithic blades of good size [sketch], some with slight tangs. The collection is not well exhibited but rich in material. I went on to the Botanic Garden, which is extensive + well organised with labels. I returned on board at 5 p.m., with the others who had gone ashore on various excursions. The ship did not sail till 7p.m. The day was very hot + I was tired, having been on my legs all the time ashore. Very still, fine evening. The late sunset was nice, after weeks of sundown soon after 6.
We reached Leixões at about 10 a.m. + anchored in the harbour. Rather foggy. Petrels + Lesser Black-backed
gulls plentiful; also small, white-rumped fork-tailed petrels. Some dolphins also seen. There was a great crowd at the landing beach for fishing-boats, where the boats were arriving with their catches. Some of the local small boats have very high sterns + are rather striking. [sketch]
I went ashore with Dr. Atock, Stewart + Mrs Pollock, + we were shown round Leixões by a guide, who was interesting. We saw the quaint + rather tawdry church. There was not very much time as the ship was sailing fairly soon, + we returned on board after about 1 1/2 hours. After the “Hildebrand” had been on the move again a short time I saw a good-sized Rorqual pretty close (probably a Common Rorqual). Large + small petrels very numerous.
A dark Skua also seen. It was quite light until long after dinner. Saw a very strong ‘green-ray’ at sunset. Passing the northern lights of Spain at 10.30 pm. Rather cold.
At sea. The Bay behaving very well. Fine day with good breeze on port side, + a fair amount of pitching. Petrels + Shearwaters numerous + some dark gulls. Later the sea got rough + the wind was very cold. Many passengers laid out. Too chilly to stay on deck in the evening.
At sea – the Bay was rough all through the night + it was very cold. Passed the Bishop Rock Lighthouse, at S.W. end of the Scilly Ids. early in the morning. In the afternoon the sea became perfectly calm + the wind dropped. Passed close to Grasholm + I could see very clearly the great white patch of the nesting area of Gannets. Skomer Id., was well in view in the background ( I could see the farm-house upon it quite clearly with glasses). Many gannets were on the water or flying, also Herring - + lesser Black-backed Gulls. The Wicklow hills showed up distinctly on the port beam. The stack lighthouse abeam at about 11.30 pm.
Arrived in the Mersey very early in the morning + tied up to the quay at about 7.0 a.m. Went ashore with “Marocas” in a large cage-box, made by the ship’s carpenter. After clearing the customs, I went over to Birkenhead + caught the 9.35 am. train to Oxford, arriving at 2.18 p.m. Was met by E. + the Twins.
[---NEXT YWO PAGES: Handwritten table, entitled: “Distances in knots on the homeward voyage”.---]
[Inserted into the pages of the diary is a fold-out map of “The River Amazon from its mouth to Manaos”, with tables of distances, a short article entitled “The River of Mystery” and photographs of Funchal Bay, Madeira.]