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The Uranie ...


…and other voyages.
Scraps and jottings about voyages of exploration under sail,
usually in some way related to the voyage
of the French corvette Uranie,
1817 – 1820.


The partitioning of Timor

Alone among the islands between Borneo and New Guinea, the middling-sized island of Timor stands out as a land of two masters. The western part belongs with all its neighbours, as part of the Republic of Indonesia, but the slightly larger eastern part is the main component of the independent state of Timor Leste,

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Gaimard’s diary – a puzzle

The first set of instructions issued by Louis de Freycinet to his officers was delivered to them in Sainte-Croix de Ténériffe on the 23 of October 1817, and the second, much longer, set ends with the statement that it was issued in the harbour of Rio de Janeiro on 28 December 1817. The diary proper then begins with the departure of the Uranie from Toulon on 17 September 1817.

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The boats of the Uranie

No sailing ship ever went to sea in the 18th or 19th centuries without boats, either on board or in tow. . Oddly, in none of the equipment lists that I have seen so far, which meticulously list the supplies and provisions taken on board, is there any mention of the boats that went with the Uranie,, but there were at least four.

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The strange affair of Lieutenant LeBlanc.

In the Introduction to the first (1927) publication of Rose de Freycinet’s journal, Baron Henri de Freycinet wrote that although it had been rumoured in Toulon that, to better accommodate his wife, Louis de Freycinet had disembarked his First Lieutenant LeBlanc before departure, the maritime prefect had no difficulty in doing justice to this malicious remark. It was a summary that was some distance short of the full truth.

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Renira Purvis

One surprise for Rose when she was on Mauritius was an encounter with another naval wife in a somewhat similar position to her own. There were, however, also very important differences.

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Kate Cochrane

If she had been taken to Valparaiso Rose would almost certainly have found herself meeting another extraordinary woman who, like her, had married a sailor many years older than herself. But unlike her, Kate Cochrane had not been welcomed into her husband’s family.

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The hope of rescue

200 years ago, it was the approach of winter that was to give the castaways from the Uranie their first sight of a potential rescuer, because was that which was driving the whaling and sealing fleets north

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The wreck of the Uranie

Exactly 200 years ago, on 14 February 1820, the French corvette Uranie, captained by Louis de Freycinet and with his wife illegally on board, struck a submerged rock and was wrecked on the uninhabited Falkland Islands.

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Arago in love

In The Hunt for Earth Gravity there is a description of Jacques Arago’s last minute dash from Apra Harbour to Hågatña (and back) for a final farewell to a Chamorro girl with whom he had fallen, very temporarily, in love. Twenty years later he wrote much more about this.

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