121. Adventures in circumnavigation
“Discipline will never be violated from condescending treatment. This applies especially to Russian sailors who have all the qualities that distinguish good sailors.”
“He went deep into the study of sailor knots. It seems that this manual and "Kamasutra" was written by one person.”
“A sailor is called a man only once in his life, and then when he is overboard.”
Observations by unknown author
[Abandoned OTL reality. In OTL Lisyansky had been sent to Britain to buy two ships. By the reasons which resulted in quite obvious, even if not proved, guesses, he bought two old ships for the price of the new ones. Both of these ships were in a really bad shape and even after the pre-expedition repairs required extended fixes during the travel. On “Neva” the foremast and the main mast (whose wood had cracked, causing rotting of the mast core and step) were replaced in Brazil at the expanse of the RAC, even though they had already spent £5000 on initial repairs in England. Krusenstern claimed that both vessels cost around £17000, but, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the cost was £25000.
The unsuitability of sloops became obvious after their arrival to Kronstadt. Judging by the notes of the “Neva”’s navigator Kalinin and the correspondence between Rumyantsev, Rezanov, Krusenstern, and the directors of the RAC, “Nadezhda” was in a particularly deplorable state. In stormy weather, its hull was constantly leaking and at threat of flooding. Upon arrival to Kamchatka, the expedition leadership even started discussing a plan to abandon the vessel.
Then, there were numerous protracted delays caused by a dual, commercial & diplomatic, mission. For example, staying for over 6 months in Japan for a failed diplomatic mission, etc.
ITTL these “entertaining” factors are being minimized to avoid retelling of the story one can easily find on wiki. However, some the “basics” are retained to keep things reasonably close to their OTL lousy state. It is still realistic to expect that Lisyansky is going … er… “to cut some corners” inspecting the ships .
Expeditionary sloops arrived in Kronstadt on June 5, 1753
, after which Kruzenshtern immediately inspected them, and came to the conclusion that "Nadezda" should change the entire rigging and two masts: when loading, the ship almost turned over. This was done in the shortest possible time thanks to the port captain Myasoyedov and his deputy Bychinsky. On July 6, the expedition was brought to the Kronstadt raid, where it was observed from the boat by an emperor who was visiting St-Petersburg.
After being briefed upon the situation, Alexey asked his Minister of Commerce (the main promoter of the enterprise) what was already a rhetorical question: why was there a need to order the ships abroad when there were at least 10 available similar Russian ships seemingly better suited for the task? Well, it was too late to do something and on August 7 expedition sailed away.
The ships were overloaded and overcrowded so the commander, due to extreme conjestion of people, set the order of shifts and norms for issuing provisions: a pound of beef and a pound of hardtack per day, as well as a glass of vodka (non-drinkers had a premium of 9 kopecks for each cup not drunk) and a pound of butter per week. There was only one dish at each meal: lunch - sour cabbage soup with corned beef or fish (on holidays - with fresh meat), dinner - porridge with a portion of butter. At half past six in the evening of August 17, expedition reached Copenhagen, where it had to take on board a load of French cognac for the Russian-American Company the scientists who were waiting there. Upon entering the port it was found that both hardtack and the corned beef are rotting and that expedition has to stay in Copenhagen for a while drying its supplies and packing then into the new barrels. Almost all supply of the sauerkraut taken against scurvy was spoiled beyond the redemption.
Only at five in the afternoon on September 8 managed to go to sea, but a storm from the Nordwest held the sloops in Helsingør for another 6 days. During the three-week stay in the port, the team bought fresh meat and herbs every day, and the sailors were given two mugs of beer daily, which cost 400 piasters (Mexican dollars), at the rate of 1 ruble 90 kopecks per piastre.
On September 27, “Nadezda” arrived in Falmouth, where Neva had been waiting for it for two days. It was decided to stock up on Irish corned beef, for fear that the one delivered from Hamburg would not stand even a year. The ships leaked heavily, and Kruzenshtern hired in addition to his own team of eight caulkers who worked for six days. Fresh water had to be delivered in 4 miles; according to the calculations of the bailiff Korobitsyn, supplies and water cost the Russian-American Company 1,170 piastres. On the "Neva" additionally had to caulk the upper deck and replace rotten boards on the forecastle, for which Lisyansky was given another 1,159 piastres. Still, the leaking and condensing moisture remained problems throughout the whole expedition. Only on October 5 the vessels headed to the Canary Islands
and arrived to the raid Santa Cruz de Tenerife
at 11 am on October 20. Here they bought fresh vegetables and fruits, potatoes and pumpkins, as well as four buttles
of Canarian wine (and while the scientists had been making astronomical observations the crew members made closer acquaintance with some female members of the local population; the local habits had been described as the "highest degree of debauchery") and on October 27 expedition sailed out. On December 21 the ships entered Brazil through the port Florianópolis
that, compared to Rio de Janeiro
, had softer climate, freshwater, cheaper food prices and cheaper tariffs
. Here they had to stay for 5 weeks due to the need to replace two masts on “Neva” and to do more caulking and other repairs.
On February 2, 1804, all repair works were completed but due to strong North winds, the departure was delayed until February 4. The expedition reached the Pacific Ocean on March 3. During the storm on March 25, the vessels eventually lost sight of each other. Since the closest shore was Valparaíso
in 1000 nautical miles to the East, Lisyansky decided to head for the Easter Island. .
Starting from April 1, when the weather stabilized, a forge was installed on the Neva's deck and the crews started to forge axes, knives and nails for future exchange with the natives. “Neva” reached the island at 1 am on April 21 but due to fogs and heavy surf, the ship cruised off the coast for the next four days. Since the anchoring was impossible, Lisyansky sent to the shorea boat with gifts for the islanders (knives, bottles, etc.) which returned with the fresh fruits and vegetables.
Nadezhda reached Marquesas Islands on May 8 and stayed there until May 11. Krusenstern and his crew were able to contact the leader of Kiatonui tribe thanks to Englishman Roberts, who was the leader's son-in-law. The best way for the crew to get fresh food was to sell the locals some pieces of barrel five-inch iron hoops, which were abundantly stocked for this purpose in Kronstadt. On May 11, Neva also reached the island. The crews had been most fascinated by the local tattoos . Not only sailors tattooed different signs as well, but even Krusenstern tattooed the name of his wife that he "desperately admires of", on his arm.
The route of Neva nearby Hawaii, 1804
Due to route length through the Northern part of the Pacific Ocean, vessels faced with the necessity to visit Hawaiian islands to update the stocks. Since the crew failed to get fresh meat on Nuku Hiva, Krusenstern was afraid of a possible scurvy outbreak even though no one member of the crews had any signs of the disease. On June 8 at 9 am the Hawaii island
became visible and the vessels arrived at the shore around 2 pm. However, the bargain did not work out because the natives asked for the clothes which the crew did not have. It was decided to sail straight to the Russian possessions because stocks on board allowed it. On June 10 at 8 pm Nadezhdareturned to the sea. Neva remained on Hawaiian islands until June 16: the aborigines finally agreed to trade food for the strip iron. On June 17 Neva anchored and headed towards the island of Maui
. After visiting Kauai
, on June 20 Lisyansky directly set the route to Unalaska Island
On July 13 Kamchatka's shore became visible, and on July 14 Nadezhda reached Cape Povorotny
. Because of the calm, the vessel arrived to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky
only at 1 pm on July 15, making the transition from the island of Hawaii in 35 days. They fed the crew with fresh bread and fish every day, so the team can get back in shape after a 5-months journey from Brazil. The sloop was moored in 50 fathoms from the coast; the goods were brought to the shore while the ship itself was repaired. An attempt to finish describing the Kuril Islands and Kamchatka failed due to fogs. Supplies ordered from Okhotsk was slow to arrive and only on September 2 the official transport came. It contained post (the latest letters dated on March 1), and also instructions that were delivered by the Courier Corps
from Moscow in 58 days. Nadezhda needed a complete change of rigging. Ballast and 70 cubic fathoms of firewood for the whole return trip were delivered to the ship. Provision from Okhotsk was bad: the crew took only corned beef for three months (it went bad after six weeks), and crackers for four months, but already in China, they were not even suitable for a livestock feed. On September 20, the transport from Unalashka arrived with the news from Lisyansky and a small load of furs for sale in China (400 skins of sea otters
and 10,000 fur seals
). The governor's brother Dmitry Koshelev delivered potato, vegetables (including beet), berries, and four bulls ( these were gifts from Kamchatka) to the ship. Finally, on Saturday, on October 5, Nadezhda was dragged to the bay and at 2 pm the vessel reached the open sea.
The travel of Neva from Kauai to Kodiak lasted for 25 days. Generally, the trip went calm, except that the weather was rainy and the frosts began to prevail. After the arrival, Neva found itself in the middle of the armed conflict
between RAC and the Tlingits who attacked Sitka. The Russian leader, Baranov, had on his side transport Ermak, 120 armed Russian hunters and industrialists, as well as 800 indigenous allied forces on 350 kayaks. The 14-gun sloop significantly strengthened the squadron.
On October 1, 1754, naval guns bombarded the Sitcan fortifications. However, it was not successful since guns' calibre was small, the palisade was thick, and the Indigenous peoples of the Americas
took refuge in ditches or underground passages. Thus, Lisyansky landed troops with 5 guns which attacked fortifications from two sides. Even though Tlingits fired from falconets
and rifles, the Russians started the assault, which failed with some losses. However, the Tlingits’ position was hopeless. On October 2 both sides started negotiations, however, already on October 7, the main forces of the Tlingits fled through the mountains. As a result of the conflict, a fortress Novo-Arkhangelsk
The winter was approaching, and on November 10, 1804, Neva returned to Kodiak to the harbour of St. Paul. By November 16 the sloop was outfitted, and the crew was transferred ashore.
The RAC's counterman Nikolay Korobitsyn made the main decisions regarding this stage of the expedition. He was also supposed to take furs on board for trading in China. Overall, Neva delivered goods for 310,000 rubles from St. Petersburg, and received furs and walrus bones total cost of 440,000 rubles. Besides loading the goods, the crew had to make a new bowsprit for the sloop that delayed the departure until June 13. The expedition left the Pavlovsk Harbor only at 2 pm on June 16 and arrived to Novo-Archangelsk. After a farewell to Baranov, around 6 pm on September 1, 1805, Neva went to the open sea to sail for China. On a route spoiled furs in the total cost of 80 000 rubles were thrown into the sea.
Nadezhda arrived to Macao on November 20.
By that time, the trade season had already opened, and British personnel went to Guangzhou, while the personal house of the director and the premises of the company were provided to Krusenstern and officers who wanted to scatter ashore. It turned out right away that the presence of Nadezhda in the bay broke many rules regarding the stay of foreign ships in China. Krusenstern was also concerned with the fact that the Neva had not shown up yet. On December 3, Lisyansky eventually arrived, and the Russian sloops relocated to the Huangpu island
to the mouth of the Pearl river
Krusenstern, according to the instructions, hoped that the Yury Golovkin
's embassy was already in Beijing, and all agreements with the Qing authorities would be implemented. In reality, the embassy had not even crossed the Chinese border, and Russian sloops caused a commotion among the Guangdong
authorities and merchants.
Golovkin was sent to China with a missionto secure permission for Russian ships to enter Canton and to negotiate for the opening of a Russian consulate in Beijing. However, in Urga he refused to comply with the Chinese demands to perform the kowtow before a table on which stood a wooden tablet and three candles (Chinese idea of “training” the foreign ambassadors before their arrival to the imperial court). So the whole embassy turned back to Russia leaving Krusenstern in a legalistic limbo.
However, after few misadventures and delays the goods had been exchanged. Generally, the deal did not bring the expected profit. They managed to sell furs in the amount of 191 621½ Spanish piastres, for which tea was obtained for 80,000, silk fabrics for 20,000, porcelain for 14,000 and pearls for 3,000 piastres. In case they received 74 631½ piastres, however, from them they paid commission to British, taxes, measurement tax, supplies for ministers, as well as expenses of two captains, two clerks and their servants on the shore.
The situation was extremely unfavourable, and it was decided to bring the best fur of sea otters, foxes, arctic foxes and bears back to St. Petersburg. For the most valuable beaver skins, Chinese side gave no more than 20 piastres (100 rubles), although in Moscow they could be sold for 200-300 rubles.
Joint travelling of Nadezhda and Neva lasted until April 15, 1756 when they had been separated by the bad weather. Neva reached Kronstadt on August 6 and Nadezhda on August 19. All officers were granted with ranks and pensions. Krusenstern was also awarded Saint Vladimir order 3rd rank and was elected an honorary member of the Academy of Sciences
. Sailors of both the Neva and Nadezhda received a retirement with a pension of 50 rubles per year.
The financial aspect of the expedition was unimpressive but crews of Nadezhda and Neva made several discoveries in the Pacific and, what’s more important, it triggered practice of the regular circumnavigational trips finally bringing the Russian sailors to the open ocean.
 In OTL the first recorded European contact with the island was on 5 April 1722, Easter Sunday
, by Dutch navigator Jacob Roggeveen
. But the next visits happened only in 1770 (by the Soaniards) and 1774 by Cook.
 Well, and by the females as well, Krusenstern even had to establish an organized system of the “social visits”