Stages of the voyage


On departure from Guyana 29 of the original 37 crew members remained on board. Another sailor had been added to this: Jacobus van de Putte had embarked on December 17th, 1762, to work in exchange for food and accommodation. He had served on the ship The Spoorse Galei in Demerara, Guyana, but that ship had been scrapped. The other crew which were lost included:

Sailor Anthonie Battram, who was too sick to even commence the voyage and remained in Middelburg – letter of the captain October 2nd, 1761

  • Sailor Roelof Siebers, who died on the way to the coast of West-Africa – logbook, December 24th, 1761
  • Boatswain’s mate Hans Cramer drowned in Liberia, on New Year’s Day – logbook, January 1st, 1762
  • Sailor Maarten Kapper drowned in Ivory Coast – logbook February 22nd, 1762
  • Master carpenter Poulus Kemp died a few days after departure from Africa – logbook, May 10th, 1762
  • Sailor Jacobus Duijnkerke, died halfway the trans-Atlantic crossing – logbook, May 26th, 1762
  • Surgeon’s mate Louis Bernard chose to remain in Essequibo – statement of the captain, September 3rd, 1762
  • Sailor Anthonie Colombo deserted in Essequibo and did not return – logbook November 16th, 1762

The number of crew, including the sick, was large enough for The Unity to return home. To compare: for its first two voyages, The Unity only had a crew of 18. Those were return-trips, which sailed straight from Zeeland to the Caribbean and back. A larger number of sailors was mostly needed to guard the enslaved Africans on board keep them in check.

Auctioning off the sailor’s goods

The goods of sailor Anthonie Colombo were auctioned off a few days after departure.  The Spaniard from Malaga had deserted the ship on November 16th, 1762, together with another Spanish sailor, Alonso Madroes. Madroes returned after a few weeks, more dead than alive, his body covered in wounds and sores. With regard to Colombo, he said little more than that he had simply lost sight of his mate.

Sailor Colombo had taken the best of his goods with him on his secretive departure. The remainder that was left on board fetched a mere 14 guilders at the auction on December 21st, 1762, roughly 132 euros in 2018.