The Cape Horner. Captain David Morgan (1836-1930)

Narrated by Jeff Rees

I am Captain David Morgan, A Cape Horner of Swansea.

Briefly stated I went to sea in 1851. My father allowed me to go thinking that one voyage would satisfy all my inclinations to a nautical life. But his hopes were in vain, for I was apprenticed during the following year 1852, at the age of 16.

I obtained my Master’s Certificate in 1864. The next thirty years were spent in long voyages round Cape Horn, altogether making 33 voyages, and crossing that dangerous Cape 66 times. I carried copper, nitrates, guano, hides, etc.

To give you some idea of the faith we sea-faring men have in our calculations as to latitude and longitude, I have started from Valparaiso in Chile, sailed round the Cape, up the South Atlantic, through the North Atlantic, and not sighted land during the whole of that voyage until I reached Swansea Bay, a distance of between 7000 and 8000 miles.

For twelve months at a time I never saw my wife and children, and my visits home were often of very short durations.

Joanna Greenlaw, The Swansea Copper Barques & Cape Horners, 1999

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