The people:
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Challenger left Portsmouth with 269 persons aboard: 23 naval officers under the command of Captain George Strong Nares, the scientific team of six, led by Professor Wyville Thomson, and a crew of 240. Only a few of the "bluejackets' or crew, are known to us now, most notably, by virtue of his letters, Ship's Steward's Assistant Joe Matkin, who brings Challenger's tale to life.

Did I tell you we had a Brass Band on board composed mainly of seamen and marines who volunteered. The Officers bought the Instruments and provided a Bandmaster to teach them; there were 15 volunteers and 9 wanted to play the big drum, they practice every day in the fore peak of the vessel and the noise is something fearful and causes the Watch below to swear a good deal. The Bandmaster expects to fetch tolerable music in about 6 months.
--Joseph Matkin