Lat 15N, Long 26W
26 March 1900
My dear Mother,
Here we are 9 days from Halifax steaming through a lovely smooth sea with the sun getting stronger and stronger every day. Each day at noon there is a perceptible difference in the height of the sun & each night the North Star is nearer the horizon.
I was pretty sick for three days after leaving Halifax, but since then I have been first rate and have made up for lost time in the way of eating. I have nothing very interesting to tell you this time as nothing out of the common has happened so far on the voyage. We are nearing Cape Verde Islands and will pass them about ten o'clock tomorrow morning when, I understand, a boat is to be signalled for to take our mail. The men of the regiment keep in very good health, although we are crowded for room, having nearly 700 men on board altogether. The recruits for the 1st contingent should really not have been sent on the boat as it made things much more unpleasant for us than they would have been had we only had our own 537 men, as originally intended. The mortality among the horses has been frightful, over 60 being dead up to date with a likelihood of the number being over 100 when we reach the Cape. Our arms have been issued to us & consist of a Lee-Enfield Rifle Smokeless 303, a bayonet & a Colt Revolver. The weapons are very good, especially the revolvers which are as nice a gun as I have seen. We have had a little musket drill, to parade again in the morning.
We have not seen any sharks yet which is strange, considering the number of horses going overboard every day, but I suppose we will have lots of them when we get nearer the coast. There are lots of flying fish about, queer little beggars, 8 or 9 inches long with wings or latter fins that seem to go like a dragonfly's. We were each supplied with a pipe since we came aboard, with Strathcona Horse marked on it & also a little buckskin pouch & 2 plugs of tobacco. Bert & I had 6 plugs of L&B given to us by friends in Ottawa before we left, so we have a plentiful supply.
Well, I must close for the present, as it is near bedtime. I have been interrupted 2 or 3 times in this since I started it. The wind has freshened & the boat is rolling rather heavily. It looks as if we would have a rough time tomorrow. However a little rolling doesn't trouble us much now.
Remember me to the boys & everyone. Write to me in Capetown.