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"The 15 day wee came into Plymouth sound where wee ffound the Hctor not havinge seen hir since the 9th of this moneth at wch time wee lost companie with hir in a greate ffog."

Red Dragon journal of John Hearne and William Finch, 15 April 1607: Barbour, p. 156

W. Hollar, 1676: Plymouth, The Wenceslaus Hollar Collection, University of Toronto

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15 April 1607

17th century view of the port of Plymouth


We have got as far now as Plymouth which is the last we will see of England. We hoped to meet the other ships here. One of them, called the Consent, has already left Plymouth. The other one, called the Dragon, got separated from us in the fog after we left Tilbury, but it has just arrived now. Our ship is very leaky, and, although the carpenter tried to fix it when we were in the English Channel, I am not sure it is safe, and it is scary to think we are about to go into the huge ocean, far from land and safety, in a ship that is leaking. I have been on ships before but never in such rough seas, and I was very sick and find it hard to walk when the ship is pitching and rolling. I am told I will get used to it. Some of the men are kind to me but others threaten me when I am slow. I am tired all the time because I am always on ‘watches’ and so never sleep for more than four hours. There is a cat on the ship to catch the rats so that they don’t eat our food. At the moment it is my best friend, along with the cook, who gives me extra biscuits when no one is looking.

Ship's boy

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