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Challenger crossed the Equator for the first time in her voyage on September 3, 1873.  Matkin takes the opportunity for a brief progress report:

September 3rd, at anchor off the island of Fernando di Norhana
We crossed the Line at 1PM on August 30th, no shaving & c. was allowed, but the Captain issued Wine to all hands, in honor of the Event. We have now finished operations in the North Atlantic, having crossed in in 3 different directions, and visited most of the islands south of England.

 

September 15, anchored in the Bay of Bahia, they received some news via the mail ship:

From the British Consul at S. Vincent she brought news that the body of the missing schoolmaster had been found in a deep gully at the foot of a mountain, but owing to its having lain there for a month, they were unable to say whether the man was murdered or accidentally killed.