The Tennessee was a down-Easter of two hundred and sixty tons burden, turned out apparently from one of those great factories where ships are built by the mile and chopped off to order, but stout, strong, well manned and equipped.
Her cargo was assorted for the Yucatan market, and consisted of a heavy stratum of iron at the bottom; midway were miscellanies, among which were cotton, muskets, and two hundred barrels of turpentine; and on top, within reach of the hatches, were six hundred kegs of gunpowder.
We had a valuable addition to our party in Dr. Cabot, of Boston, who accompanied us as an amateur, particularly as an ornithologist. Besides him, our only fellow-passenger was Mr. Camerden, who went out as supercargo.
The first morning out we woke with an extraordinary odour of turpentine, giving us apprehensions that a barrel had sprung a leak, which, by means of the cotton, might use up our gunpowder before it came to the hands of its consignee. This odour, however, was traced to a marking-pot, which quieted our apprehensions.
The town was full in sight, but at such a distance, and the waves were running so high, that we could not reach it with our small boat. A long flat extends several miles into the sea, making the harbour completely inaccessible except to small Greek caiques built expressly for such navigation. We remained on board all day; and the next morning, the gale still continuing, made signals to a fishing boat to come off and take us ashore. In a short time she came alongside; we bade farewell to our captain—an Italian and a noble fellow, cradled, and, as he said, born to die on the Adriatic—and in a few minutes struck the soil of fallen but immortal Greece.
Our manner of striking it, however, was not such as to call forth any of the warm emotions struggling in the breast of the scholar, for we were literally stuck in the mud. We were yet four or five miles from the shore, and the water was so low that the fishing-boat, with the additional weight of four men and luggage, could not swim clear. Our boatmen were two long, sinewy Greeks, with the red tarbouch, embroidered jacket, sash, and large trousers, and with their long poles set us through the water with prodigious force; but, as soon as the boat struck, they jumped out, and, putting their brawny shoulders under her sides, heaved her through into better water, and then resumed their poles. In this way they propelled her two or three miles, working alternately with their poles and shoulders, until they got her into a channel, when they hoisted the sail, laid directly for the harbour, and drove upon the beach with canvass all flying.