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From The Twillingate Sun of Feb. 24, 1882.

Notes on a Labrador Fishing Voyage - By the Captain.

 

The schooner Experiment, James PARSONS Master, sailed on her fishing voyage from Lushe's Bight on Thursday, 26th. May 1881, the wind being from the North.

We reached down the Bay, and in the evening, the wind came from the East, so we had to make for Cape John. Soon after, it changed to SouthWest and before getting to the Horse Islands, it was from the West. On Friday morning, we were opposite Fox Head, the wind very light. William Henry BURTON was just ahead of us. The wind again veered in from the East, and we sailed nearly down to Fish Bowl Island, when we saw the ice.

A stiff breeze blew from the NorthEast, so we had to beat down to Goose Cove, arriving there about 4 o'clock that evening. We met a craft there belonging to Cape Freels. She had been down as far as Braha, and meeting the ice, had to run back to escape it, if possible.

I went up on a hill, and could see the ice extending beyond Back Cove. The wind came off shore in the night, which started it, and the next morning, about 8 o'clock, we left Goose Cove and got nearly down to Braha, when it got almost moderate, and as the ice was coming along, we had to go back a short distance. A breeze afterwards came, and we ran for St. Anthony, remaining there until Monday Morning. Two other craft were there which left in the morning.

It was nearly calm, so I ascended a hill in the place and could see the ice packed closely as far as the Cape, therefore, we did not leave until late in the day, when the wind veered, causing it to loosen a little. We ran down with the wind from the South, passing through Quirpoon, and nearly reaching Lancy Meadow. The main halyard strap gave out, and also the jaw of our gaff, which were quickly repaired, and then we sailed up the Straits to Cape Norman, 4 PM., and continued sailing until getting to Black Brook about dark.

The wind ceased. Ice was not far from land. A schooner came into St. Anthony on Sunday evening and left next morning; she came from Flower's Cove and brought the report that the ice was there, and that there was a good sign of fish at Bonespears. It was very foggy with light wind all night.

Next morning we were nearly in breast of Green Island. No water could be seen as the wind came down and ice ran together, so we tied on to a pan of ice. Soon after, we saw a seal to windward, and put out a boat on the ice, hoping to catch it. A couple of guns were fired, but it afterwards escaped.

William Henry BURTON came up and tied to the same pan as our craft. There was a nice little breeze all day, and in the evening, the ice slackened, but we did not like to run for the land, fearing the wind would come in on shore and loose our craft, - there being no harbor near -, so we held on to the pan all night.

The following day, the wind blew from the South, and as the ice was a little slack, we tried to tack in under the lee shore, but could not do so as the ice closed again, the wind coming West - so changeable were the winds all the time! We were then a long distance above Black Brook, and William BURTON was just in sight of us, tied to a pan.

The ice began to raft, and the schooner parted her line and was hove up on the ice, her fore part almost out of the water. We got our boats ready, fearing she would become a wreck, and had part of our clothes, &c., out on the ice. A little while after, it began to open again. We got all on board, and being in a channel, were soon going down the Straits, at a quick rate, with the ice. When we were opposite Boat Harbor, it was calm and we unshipped our rudder. This was the first day of June, and at dark, we were about half way between Boat Harbor and Cape Norman.

We drove up and down in the ice, during the night. The next day the wind came down and blew a good breeze, and the ice began to run down fast. When getting abreast Cape Norman, William BURTON found it a little slack, and ran in to the leeward of Cape Norman, but our craft could not move that way, as the ice was closed around us, so we drove down opposite Ha Ha Bay, and were jammed until the next day, Saturday the 16th. when we drove down towards Bell Isle.

Sunday morning it came thick, with the wind in from SouthEast. The ice was slack and we shipped the rudder and put on all sail, but could not start. The fog cleared away with the wind from the West and blew a breeze, and the craft drove towards Belle Isle. We again took off our rudder, and I thought that the craft was going ashore on Belle Isle, and prepared for the threatened danger, but fortunately, the wind moderated, and we escaped shipwreck.

Monday, June 6th. we were below the light - house, in a calm. In the evening, the ice slackened a little, so we hung the rudder and warped a little way, and the ice again tightened, so we tied on to a large pan and remained all night. It blew hard, but was again calm in the morning, when we were seven or eight miles South East of Belle Isle. We warped in about a quarter of a mile, through the slack ice, and towed two miles. Then there came a little wind, and we beat up to the light - house. It blew a strong breeze of wind. We once more tied to a pan and went ashore to the light - house, where I got the paper on which I am writing this description of our voyage.

Holding on to the pan all night, the next morning we put on sail and managed to beat nearer the light - house. Again going ashore there, to see how the ice lay, I found that we could not get across to DeGrat. As the wind come in from the South, we went up around, shaped our course for the Labrador shore, and beat up through a narrow streak of ice, and just passed through it, when there came a good breeze from the West, and we got across to the Sacred Islands, and when reaching there it blew a stiff breeze, and had to reef the mainsail and foresail. It did not hold long, and soon after, we stretched in for Cape Morgan Harbor, and left there on Thursday morning, with wind from East, and got to Isle a Buoys about eleven in the night.

Next morning, the wind blew a little, so we hove up our anchor, and beat up for Green Island. There we met Samuel SHORT and Robert WHITE; their crafts were in Lance a Loup, and they were bound up to Patrick's Island, birding. The wind was in from South West, and we made for Bonespear, and had to stand in for Belgamore, it blowing hard with heavy lop. But we succeeded in getting to the former place afterwards, where we anchored about seven o'clock.

The next morning, the wind was light, and we did not leave very early. Another schooner was coming down, and when she came near, we went on board to hear the news, and they said that there were no fish up the shore; only a little about Mutton Bay. We went a short distance farther, and there being a heavy breeze of wind, we hove to, now and again, and some of the crew went on shore to look for eggs, and got a few. In the evening, we anchored under Green Island, Labrador, June 11th.

Sunday, we remained at anchor, and the next day it was calm, so we did not leave. In company with others who were there, I went up to Rocky Bay. Landed at Mr. MELLOWNEY's, and found Joseph OXFORD there, and another from Bonavista Bay, and they said that there was a good sign of fish there, but bait was scarce. It was very foggy, with heavy sea. There was a light wind from the West, which did not last long.

Next morning we left and beat up to Rocky Bay, and then we had to give her the "hard up" again, and made for the Burnt Islands, where we anchored. Two of the crew went out to try for fish, but only jigged three or four. The next day, we jigged a little, and then got some lance, and on Saturday evening, we had several barrels!

Two of the crew went up to Rocky Bay, the same evening, to hear the news, and when they returned on Monday, they brought the news that plenty of bait had struck in there, on the previous day; it having come here the same time. We fished here all the week, until Friday evening, when it blew too hard to stay out, and did very well.

We afterwards, secured 52 quintals per man, and reached home on the 29th of August.

 

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