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Challenger was overhauled in the floating dock and during this second stay at Bermuda, and then set sail for the Azores the afternoon of June 12th, but not before several members of the ships company were taken by Cholera and dysentery. Matkin states in this June 5th letter to his cousin the supposed reason for Cholera among the crew:

Mail just going to close—another man went to Hospital to day with Cholera, brought on through eating too many Cucumbers, Tomatoes, bananas &c.

And Matkin himself would suffer from dysentery. In a letter written after their departure from Bermuda, Matkin describes to his mother the ship's experiences with this unpleasant illness, and the medication issued:

H.M.S. Challenger Mid-Atlantic
June 19, '73

Dear Mother,
We are halfway across to the "Azores" so I will commence another letter. The last mail for England left Bermuda the same day we sailed, but I was not able to write—in consequence of being doubled up with an attack of Dysentry. Nearly every one in the ship, inlcuding the officers, had a touch of it, some in a mild form—others very severely; I was very bad indeed with it for 5 days but got rid of it soon after we cleared the islands. I ate nothing the whole time & was on the Sick List, diet—beef tea & Arrowroot, the Beef Tea is made from "Liebigs Extract of Beef" and is called by the sailors "Animal Fluid," Pick me up &c. It is a very weakening sickness & has made me look quite thin, but I feel so much fresher & livelier since I recovered that on the whole I think I would rather have had it than missed it.


The transit from Bermuda to Fayal, in the Azores, would proceed with the usual stops for dredging and trawling. On June 25th Matkin reports on a particularly good day of scientific collecting; perhaps some of the 4, 717 new species described during Challenger's voyage:

We have had a good wind again & expect to be in on Saturday 28th, the day I told you the letters were to be there, so we have made a very good passage considering that we are hove to all day dredging &c & only sail at night. The depth on the 20th was 3,000 fathoms, on the 21st 2,700 —22nd Sunday, 2,750—23rd, 2,700—24th 2,170 & to day 2200 fms. The Trawl net has been over all day & was 6 hours coming up, it contained several fine specimens including a blubber fish 5 ft. in length which is at present on deck & emitting a very powerful Phosphorescent light (the sun has gone down of course) 8pm. But the specimen which is most valued is a large species of Prawn of a brilliant scarlet colour, with a spike protruding from its head, and other appendages in the shape of wings. So this has been a very successful day & the Scientifics are in great glee. We passed 2 vessels this morning but they were a long way off.