Log of the Whaler Sheffield - Pt. 3

Footnotes to Long Island History


   MAY 5 1947


Thomas R. Bayles

(Editor's Note: This is the third of five articles which Thomas R. Bayles has adapted from the log of the old whaler Sheffield. The first installments described early phases of the voyage out of Cold Spring Harbor in 1845.)

       "Monday, Nov 2, 1846. Civil account. At 1 P.M. came to anchor Lahainer Roads in twenty fathoms of water. Found a large fleet of ships.

       "Tuesday, Nov 3. Shipped 6900 pounds of bone on board ship Charles of Boston for home. Strong symptoms of insubordination among the crew. Got off raft of water, broke out after watch for flour. Starboard watch ashore on liberty.

       "Saturday, the 7th. Fine weather. Three of our hands shut in fort for assault on the second mate.

       "Monday, the 9th. Put two men in irons for attempting to run away, and afterwards refusing duty. Rafting water casks.

     "Friday, the 13th. Nearly ready for sailing. Getting off vegetables etc. Released our two men from irons and they have gone to their duty.

    "Saturday, the 14th. Brought off a load of pumpkins. Shipped one man from ashore, a Portuguese discharged three men. These were the men who were shut up in the fort.

       "Wednesday, Nov 18th. Got underway between the Island Raine and Moritoo. At 1 p.m. raised Wahoo ahead. At sundown nearly abreast of Honolulu stand off and on through the night Sunday Nov 29 spoke the Huron of sag harbor four days from Honolulu.

       "Sunday, Nov. 29th. Spoke the Huron of Sag Harbor, four days from Honolulu.

       "Monday, Nov 30th. Close in with Orohyee. Saw one or two native towns on the shore. Employed in breaking out molasses.

       "Thursday, Dec. 8th. at 8 P.M. Spoke bark Columbia of Sag Harbor. Reports Capt. Pierson ashore four days and not returned yet.

       "Friday, Dec. 11th. Spoke ship Mary Ann of Sag Harbor, cruising.

       "Sunday, Dec. 13th. At 9 a.m. saw sperm whale. Chased but no success. Later saw more killed one. Took him alongside and put the fluke chain on him, and let him lay until morning.

       "Monday, Dec. 14th. Got through cutting in at 2 P.M.

       "Tuesday, Dec.14th. Plenty of sperm whale in sight. Lowered three boats. Struck and killed one cut the body in and paid him astern to a hawser. Spoke Daniel Webster of Sag Harbor, cruising. Through the night employed in boiling out oil.

       "Friday, Jan. 1, 1847. Another year is upon us, like a tale is told. Nearly all hands ashore on liberty.

       "Sunday, Jan. 3rd. In the afternoon had preaching in English by the Rev Mark Ives missionary at this station. Capt. White Mr. Halsey and Mr. Payne attended while I kept ship.

       "Saturday, the 9th. Received seven barrels of sweet potatoes from shore.

       "Sunday, the 10th. Most of the crew on shore, some at church

       "Monday, the 11th. Received on board 700 oranges.

       "Tuesday, the 12th. Received on board eight barrels sweet potatoes and 1400 oranges.

       "Saturday, the 16th. Stood in shore to mouth of Karakoa Bay, Capt.. White went ashore at 10 a.m. saw sperm whale chased, no success. At 4 P.M. Capt.. White returned and brought with him two deserters, John Bunn and William Bateman.

       "Thursday, the 28th. Lowered and struck a humpback, run some distance, cut the line. Starboard watch ashore.

       "Wednesday,  Feb.3rd. Died at U.S. hospital Charles Lopper, from on board bark Columbia. A large number of shipmates and countrymen attended him to the grave. The foreign counsels and the ship displayed their colors at half mast.

       "Wednesday, March 10. At sunset hove our ship to latitude 29-42. It is to our Maker we tender our sincere thanks in conducting our voyage with many bountiful favors. Set quarter watches and turned in.

       "Friday, April 2. Don't know when we shall get any whale."

       On a while ship every member of the crew was "on a lay" that is he had a share  in the profits of the voyage. Our historian of the cruise of the Sheffield would therefore naturally get discouraged when weeks passed without a capture of a whale.

       "Saturday, April 3rd. It is about time we were getting some oil if we expect to get any this season.

       "Wednesday, April 14. Chased a finback through a mistake. Thought it was a right whale.

       "Tuesday, the 20th. Lowered and chased this afternoon, no success. Spoke ship Isaac Hicks, had taken nothing this season.

       "Saturday, the 24th. Saw two right whales. Lowered, struck and killed one and took him alongside.

       "Sunday, the 25th. Hooked on to our whale, found him a dry skin, and let him go.

       A dry skin was whale so poor in oil as to be not worth cutting and trying.

       "Monday, May 3rd. Saw plenty whales, lowered, struck and killed one, sunk him got the bow boat slightly stove in, broke my steering oar. Spoke ship Corea, had taken nothing this season.

       "Tuesday, the 4th. Struck one whale in the morning and drawed from him. Spoke ship Morrison, had taken nothing this season. Had struck two whales today and lost them, and had sunk one yesterday."

       Occasionally a whale after being struck, would sink and it was imperative to cut loose in order to prevent the boats from being pulled under.

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