1:00 pm Fair Weather and Cloudy.
5:00 pm Squally and Rain.
8:00 pm In 1st Reefs.
12:00 am Moderate and Cloudy.
6:00 am Set Starboard Steering Sails.
9:00 am Very Squally. In all Sails. The vortex of a Water Spout passed within 10 Yards of us.
10:00 am Cleaned below. Served fresh Pork & Plantains to all hands.
12:00 pm Open Cloudy Weather. Under all Sails.
Remarks at Noon: Palmerstons Isles W3°N 94 leagues.
About Nine O'Clock in the Morning the Weather turned very Squally and a large Body of black heavy clouds collected in the East. Soon afterwards a Water Spout appeared, the Column of which was seen to great advantage from the clouds being Set black behind it. To give an Idea of its size, it appeared about 3 feet broad at the upper part and about 8 inches at the lower. I had scarce made these Observations when I observed it advancing rapidly towards me, the Sea in the Vortex giving great proof of the Strength of the Whirlwind. I therefore took in all the Sails but the Foresail and stood across it and it passed within 10 yards of our Stern, without our feeling the least effect from it. I never in my life was so near one of those Water Spouts as to form any judgement before of the Nature of it. There was no visible connection between the Column and the Water below. The Vortex occupied space nearly a Circle, of 6 Yards in Diameter, the centre of which from the whirling force that it had, was just the same as it would be in a Tub of equal size, if the Water was suddenly let from it through a hole in the center of the bottom. From the Outer parts of the Circle the water was thrown up with much force, but still preserved a Spiral motion very visible for about 15 or 20 feet high; at this height I could see no more of it, or of its junction with the Column above, which was higher than our Mast heads. The Center of the Vortex (to which I paid much attention) was not raised, but formed a hollow, as may be conceived from my comparison, except that it was not near so large as such an experiment would prove if the hole should be more than two or three Inches Diameter. It created a rustling noise, and past us at the rate of 10 Miles per Hour and dispersed about ¼ of an hour afterwards. In the Center of the Whirl was a Collection of froth about the size of a Mans Head. This however did not appear to me that the Water raised at the center of the Vortex; yet is constantly the ascending Whirlwind as described by Doctor Franklin.
When these Water Spouts are seen at a distance, the point of the Spout is frequently seen nearly in contact with the Sea, the dark surrounding clouds seen then being near the Horizon, but in this instance being nearly over head, we had nothing to refract the Rays of light, which in the first case renders the lower extremity of the spout visible.
It is impossible to say what hurt it might have done us, as its progressive motion was very rapid from East to West in the direction of the Wind, but I do not apprehend they are in general so destructive as is supposed. Sails or Masts may be lost by them, yet I imagine the ship will in most cases be safe.
The Water that was thrown round in the Vortex was very similar to what may be frequently seen on a Turnpike Road in a Summers day, when there is much dust, acted on by violent gusts of Wind.