The Arctic Whalers.

An engaging history of Arctic whaling.

p. 53-54: These bashaws of the half-deck had all the pride of a high caste. They boasted on one subject only—their prowess at the fishing. In all else except whale and seal hunting and ice seamanship their qualifications were nil. In the watch below they occupied themselves with yarning, singing and card playing. Few of them could read with any ease, and the man who was seen reading a book on a Sunday was considered to be qualifying himself as a chapel preacher.

p. 306, Oct 1834, refers to the wintered-in ship, Jane, as a Bethel Ship: The Jane, commanded by Captain Tather, was a Bethel ship; her mate, Stephen Wilson, was afterwards a noted preacher at the Hull floating chapel, and he left a vivid log of the Jane’s adventures.

p. 308: November 1.—[Mate of the Jane.]—When a most tremendous gale of wind came on, the ice suddenly separated to the east of us, called all hands, double-reefed the topsails, and cut a warp up in order to fender the ship if the swell set in upon us; excessively thick with heavy falls of snow. At 1 p.m., hoisted the (Bethel) flag, and spoke from Daniel 12, 13th verse.

November 4: Invited on board the Middleton, spoke from Hebrews 11, verse 23; felt very much liberty while enforcing the necessity of faith.

p. 310: November 13.—[Dordon’s Petty Officer.]—…. We saw many whales, but did not attempt to take any, the weather was so severe, and the ice came together at times and gave us great uneasiness about the ship’s safety, as she was our only refuge; no ship, no land in sight, nor any prospect but of perishing on the ice, or in the ocean, if we lost her. But we had a Shield impregnable, to whom all praise is due.

…. When the frost was not so intense we used to amuse the mind by making, mending, reading, writing, etc., nearly all sorts of work going on at a time; some smoking and talking of happier days….

p. 311, Nov 17: The ice “struck our ship with great force, which put us all in great fear, not thinking her sides able to resist such blows, forgetting that she was strongly sheathed and fortified by a Power Divine.

p. 313. Dec 8: No pen can describe the general consternation which pervaded our crew at this woeful period; but there was a Supreme Being who was our Pilot, Glory to His Sacred Name.

p. 314, prayer service on Dordon with 90 men present.

p. 317, Dec 27 on Jane: It being the last Sabbath in the year we have had prayers twice, and well attended. Great seriousness appears to take hold of the minds of some, and others appear to be as hardened as ever. May God soften them!