December 27, 1831 (a Tuesday)

Charles Darwin by G Richmond.

On this date, HMS Beagle with Charles Darwin on board set sail from Plymouth, England, beginning its epic voyage with a crew of 73 men under clear skies and a good wind. Darwin became sea-sick almost immediately. Later, he wrote in his diary:

A beautiful day, accompanied by the long wished for E wind.—Weighed anchor at 11 o’clock & with difficulty tacked out.—The Commissioner Capt Ross sailed with us in his Yatch.—The Capt, Sullivan & myself took a farewell luncheon on mutton chops & champagne, which may I hope excuse the total absence of sentiment which I experienced on leaving England.—We joined the Beagle about 2 o’clock outside the Breakwater,—& immediately with every sail filled by a light breeze we scudded away at the rate of 7 or 8 knots an hour.—I was not sick that evening but went to bed early.


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