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formed of the manner in which the captain was able to predict the approaching storm and prepare his ship to meet it; but, for the benefit of others, a brief explanation scems necessary.
It appears, that early in the afternoon, the captain had taken a look at the barometer, according to his usual custom, when, to his surprise, he observed that the mercury was falling with great rapidity. As no other signs of a storm were visible, he did not immediately heed the warning thus conveyed; but, when, after the lapse of half an hour, he again consulted the barometer and found the mercury still falling, he wisely concluded that r.o time was to be lost, and hastening on deck, proceeded to shorten sail as previously described. The result the reader already knows.
After a few hours the wind considerably abated; and by midnight, we were running smoothly along under close reefed top-sails, fore top-mast stay-sail, and spanker; while it was evident to all, that the gale had blown its strength away, and that no farther danger was to be apprehended. Had it not been for the timely warning of the faithful barometer, however, not one of us would have survived to tell the tale.
Fair weather again-A leak-In port for repairs-Arrival at the
whaling grounds---A successful season-Maltreatment-Encampment on the coast-The escape-Two nights iu the wilds-Joining the natives.
By daybreak, on the morning following the storm, the wind had greatly abated, and the clouds had began to break away and disappear. During the morning watch, the reefs were shaken out of the topsails, and at eight bells the other watch were turned out to assist in making sail. An hour later, we were again heading our course, under full sail, for the Okotsk sea.
No farther incident of importance occurred for several days; and every thing on board the Condor went on as usual, until nearly a week after the storm, when it was suddenly discovered, upon sounding the well one evening, that the ship had five feet of water in the hold !
She had been pumped dry on the preceding evening; and it was evident that she had again sprung aleak. The pumps were immediately put in operation, and the crew were divided into pump gangs of six men each, that they might relieve each other at regular intervals. We soon perceived, however, that the leak was rapidly gaining upon us, notwithstanding our utmost exertions at the pumps ; when the captain immediately decided to tack ship and stand in for the port of Gnom for repairs. This was accordingly done ; and, in the course of twenty four hours, we arrived at Gnom, with eight feet of water in the ship, and, literally, in a sinking condition.
At this port, the ship was overhauled and thoroughly repaired; after which, we took in a supply of water, and vegetables, and sailed again, on the 5th of March, for the Okotsk sea; making the passage without further adventure, and arriving in the sea on the 25th of April.
Thence, we sailed for Jonas Island, where we cruised nine days, and took one whale. We then ran into Ayan, and lay off and on for a day or two while the captain was ashore ; sailing thence, immediately upon his return to the ship, for the Shanter Bay, where we arrived on
the evening of the following day, having made the passage from Ayan in thirty six hours.
Here we encountered a dense fog, which for several days, prevented us from giving chase to any of the whales, which we saw in abundance around us. , At length, however, the fog cleared away; when we commenced the fishing in good earnest. After this we had quite a “ run” of good luck, and in a short time succeeded in capturing nine whales, one of the “right whale" species, which yielded three hundred barrels of oil.
One morning during the season, the cry of “ Whales !” was heard from the mast head; and as usual, the boats were hastily manned for the chase. At that time I belonged to the captain's boat and, upon this occasion, while rowing, I accidentally did what many an older and better seaman than myself has occasionally done before me, that is to say, I had the misfortune to “ cramp” my oar; whereupon the captain immediately knocked me off my seat. He then proceeded to kick me as I lay in the bottom of the boat, and to strike me several blows with an oak stick, which he found in the stern sheets of the boat. One of these blows inflicted a wound upon my side, from which I never ex
pect to recover; having produced an internal injury of a severe and painful nature.
As the reader may well imagine, this treatment rendered me unfit for the proper performance of my duty ; nevertheless, I was compelled to resume my seat, and pull at my oar until the whale of which we were in pursuit of had been overtaken, killed, and towed alongside of the ship.
On the following morning I found myself scarcely able to leave my berth, from the effects of my injuries ; still, I dared not complain, or refuse to perform duty. Accordingly, I hobbled on deck, as well as I was able ; and, soon afterwards, ti: "ry of “whales ” having been raised, was placed in the boat, by the assistance
my shipmates, and, although in great pain, compelled to pull an oar for many hours.
A few days after the occurrence of the events just described, the second mate had a long chase after a whale, which he finally succeeded in killing, at a distance of nearly twelve miles from the ship, and very near the shore. Finding that he should be unable to tow his prize back to the ship without assistance, and being in shoal water, he anchored the carcase securely and returned to the ship.