The LOG of John P. Pitcairn
A trip to the Arctic
Aboard the Schooner Effie M. Morrissey
June 20, 1940 September 15, 1940
Captain Robert A. Bartlett
The Mates Watch
William Bartlett, Mate
The Boatswains Watch
George Richards, Boatswain
Albert Hoffman, Jr.
Edward A. Darr, Jr.
John P. Pitcairn
George Bartletts Watch
Reginald Wilcox, Cameraman
Thomas Pritchard--- Asst. Cook
Leonard Gushue--- Chief Engineer
James Doolan---A. B.
David Nutt ---Curator
Dr. Mantor---Ships Doctor
Came aboard at Brigus *
James Doolan ran George Bartletts watch until we got to Brigus.
June 20, 1940
We left McWilliams Yard Staten Island about 11:00 AM this morning with much cheering, fan-fare, and news reels by Paramount. It took the latter part of the morning and most of the afternoon to get to City Island. We were under power the whole way.
We left the cameraman off at Twentieth Street, and left the relatives and friends who accompanied us off at City Island, where we took on Dr. Mantor, Albert Hoffman and the mainsail. Also at City Island we saw a new and very interesting ship. She was about ninety feet and designed after the Baltimore Clippers. The saloon is still an awful mess, but there is enough room in my bunk to sleep, thank goodness. We had a fair wind and a clear sky tonight, but it was terribly cold in spite of the beauty of the full moon and many stars. Billy seems to be a good cook. Alan Eurich, the Radioman, sailed around the world on Yankee. Even with all sail set we will use the engine most of the time. Darn it! I expected to sail most of the time. We are standing watches on the Newfoundland system. Three hours on and six off
June 21, 1940
I went on watch at 11:00 PM last night and was on watch until 2:00 this morning. It was extremely cold and beautiful. I had my first chance at the wheel. Breakfast was at 7:30 AM, and we went on watch again at 8:00 AM. We went off at 11:00 AM and had lunch at 11:30 AM. I turned in after lunch and slept till 4:00 PM (that makes nine hours sleep since 2:00 AM. On the eight to eleven watch we bent on the main. What a job! But the main does help a lot. We went on again at 5:00 PM and were relieved at 6:00 PM to eat and went off at 8:00 PM At about 10:00 this evening we stopped at Woods Hole to pick up Albert Barnes He was supposed to be waiting for us. He wasnt. We had to put over the whaleboat and go after him. We (five of the crew) went ashore on the whaleboat. Then we walked about a mile in the direction we thought his house would be. At the first gas station we stopped and telephoned his mother, and she came and got us. She took us back to the whaleboat and took off in the opposite direction from which we had, and stopped the third house form the whaleboat, and brought Albert to us still half asleep. It was cold again tonight, but the moon was out and the sky was clear.
We had the two to five watch this morning, and saw the sunrise which was beautiful. A good breeze whipped up after breakfast. So we hoisted the main, which had been down since we picked up Barnes. We get a ships newspaper everyday which is published and printed by Alanthe radioman. When I went on watch this afternoon I found five of the boys seasick. Poor George Hodge looks as if he were going to die, and I guess he wishes he would. Arthur Manice said that as soon as he finished learning he would help me learn to navigate. Finally after watching all the others run for the side I got seasick too, but it only lasted a few minutes. David Nutt started navigation classes tonight.
We swabbed the decks this morning on the five to eight watch. We sailed nicely all day until the main ripped, and we had to take it down for George to mend. I had my first game of chess this evening with Fred. Neither of us were very good. We sang songs this evening, after the chess game, to the accompaniment of Bart, the assistant engineers mouth organ. Alan told us of some of his experiences aboard Yankee. He has some wonderful tales to tell of ships: also of ranching in his home state, Montana, where his father owns a horse ranch. Alan is a wonderful fellow, and has me interested in the Johnson cruises on Yankee. It would be great to go on her when she leaves in 1941.
We saw three boats today, the first sighting in two days. There was not much wind, but the rain we had earlier this morning has disappeared, and it is now a swell day. While I was asleep this afternoon we stopped and bought some cod fish from a trawler that was out of Liverpool, Nova Scotia. This evening we had thick fog from five to eleven.
June 25, 1940
We had the coldest watch weve had on the two to five watch this morning. The day was the warmest. We painted gasoline tins most of the morning and afternoon. This evening the Captain had the Doctor and Davy read us poetry on the after deck. The Doctor read Revenge, the Captains favorite poem and sang songs. The songs sound awful because nobody can carry a tune. All this happened on the quarterdeck.
June 26, 1940
I slept all morning. During our relief watch we made Ripley take the helm. He has had it for every relief watch so far.
June 27, 1940
We had a good strong blow for about three hours, and had to reef the main. Around three oclock the wind died and a heavy fog rolled in. The seas were big and the ship rolled quite a bit causing us to reduce speed until we had very little headway.
June 28, 1940
We sighted Cape Race early this morning, and by ten oclock we were going up the coast of Newfoundland. There are cliffs all the way along the coast. Every so often there is a small town of about twenty houses. Little fishing schooners of around fifty feet are off the coast with their dories out. Davy says we will be in Brigus by tomorrow, which is Saturday. Everyone will be glad to get there and get our first baths it ten days.
June 29, 1940
At five oclock this morning on my watch I saw the most wonderful sight that I have ever seen. There to leeward as the old Morrissey healed under a strong wind there were cliffs coming right down to the sea with waves breaking twenty feet up their faces. All this was no more than two hundred yards away. Ahead engulfed in clouds were more cliffs and mountains. In a small cove there was a little town with a church in the middle. A winding street went all through this little town. We will be in Brigus by two this afternoon. Everyone is in a terrible dither about getting to port. We arrived at Brigus, and everyone from two to ninety years old was at the dock to greet us. Brigus is a quaint town of one thousand people who are true fishermen. When we went ashore all the boys under fifteen in town followed us. It was a regular parade. After the Customs officials were through tying pink ribbons on the radios and locking up the ammunition, guns, and tobacco we were allowed to go ashore. Only three of us are going to St. Johns. They are Albert Hoffman, Ed Darr, and myself. We hired a taxi at $1.25 a head to take us the forty miles to St. Johns. The first half of the trip is done over dirt roads. The last half is done over poor paved roads. The country is hilly and rocky with few trees. What trees there are, are spruce, fir, and tamarack. (All evergreens) In places rocks rise ninety feet into the air with no vegetation on them. We went to the Newfoundland Hotel when we got to town. Its St. Johns only decent hotel. The first thing one notices is that all the cars drive on the left. Most of them are American made. After checking in to the hotel and shaving (the first time on the trip) we went to Ayer and Son, the big department store. Mr. Ayre is a friend of Captain Bartlett and he helped us in every way possible. On the trip up I found that my oilskins were not heavy enough, and that I needed long woolen underwear of the heaviest type. (I only had woolen shorts). All three of us needed something. So we spent nearly two hours buying things at the store. We then went back to the hotel and took baths and changed into clean clothes. We had suits on but our shirts were the one we wore aboard in Staten Island. Then we went out to dinner. Albert, who had been in St. Johns before told us of a "good" restaurant .It turned out to be awful. The food was fair, but the service was poor and a radio was blaring out war news that was so colored that it was funny. Many people recognizing us to be Americans asked us when we would be in the war. But we had to change the subject as we were under orders from the skipper not to speak to anyone about the war. This was a wise order because any of these fellows would be willing to get in to a fight at the first thing we said against Briton or about the USA not going to war. After walking around town for a while we went back to the hotel and to bed.
June 30, 1940
All three of us got up to late for breakfast. In fact, we didnt leave the room until lunchtime. We had lunch in the hotel and found the food to be wonderful. The harbor at St. Johns small but safe. It is surrounded by hills and has a bottleneck entrance. It is full of fishing schooners and British freighters. We got some postcards and spent quite some time writing them. We called down and told them to wake us in time for breakfast. Then we turned in.
July 1, 1940
Today is a holiday in Newfoundland. It is the day that the Newfoundland army was wiped out in the last war. (World War I) Each of us had two large helpings of scrambled eggs for breakfast. One of our main reasons for coming to St. Johns was food. We finished our letters and post cards, ate lunch and headed for Brigus. This evening we ate at the Brigus Tea Room with Arthur Manice and Alan Eurich. I have never tasted better food than is served here. The Tea Room is run by the skippers sisters, and is full of models and pictures of the Morrissey. People come from St. Johns to eat here because they all know of the Morrissey and her great skipper. He is a hero to all Newfoundlanders. We found in St. Johns that if you said that you were on the Morrissey you were a life long friend of every Newfoundlander. After supper we went to the skippers home and met his mother. She is a wonderful old lady. Even though she is old she is still active. A few boys went to a dance tonight about nine miles from here, but I stayed aboard for a while and found my shoes full of shaving cream. I cleaned them out and decided to climb the mountain behind Brigus. It was ten oclock when I started and it was still daylight. I got to the top quickly as the mountain was more a big hill than anything. I looked around for a while then came down and turned in.
July 2, 1940
When I awoke at 11:30 this morning we had already left Brigus. I had intended to send some more letters and take some pictures, but I slept too late. Four new members to the crew came aboard this morning. They are: Sammy Bartlet on our watch (the skippers nephew) Rupert Bartlet on the mates watch (Sammys cousin) George Bartlet (no relation to any other Bartlet aboard) now runs Jims watch Jim is handy man Charlie Batten on George Bartletts watch (the strongest man aboard) There are now twenty-seven men aboard.
We have been sailing under a light breeze most of the day, but I dont know about this morning as I slept until lunch. We are on our way to Turnavik, Labrador. We expect to arrive in three or four days. Davy (Commander Nutt, as he is called by Arthur Manice,) has again taken up his navigation classes. We sighted Labrador late today.
July 4, 1940
Two things happened today that were new to most of us. First we sighted our first iceberg and many others none which were very large. Second. we sailed with out the engine for a while today. It was a swell wind coming off our port quarter. It certainly was quiet below without the engine. It seemed like the ship was tied up to the wharf. The sun didnt go down till ten this evening, and it wasnt dark until eleven. The engine was started again about six this evening
July 5, 1840
At five oclock it was blowing moderately hard from the North, and it was raining which made it seem terribly cold. As the morning wore on it cleared, and by eleven the sun was shining bright as ever. The cold wind still carries on despite the suns valiant efforts. There is a reef in the main, and we are heading into the wind too much to make very good progress. Fish for dinner tonight for the third time on the fish we bought on June 24. The fish is going slowly stale.
July 6, 1940
We arriver at Turnavik this evening. Turnavik is a small town situated on three islands; the largest of which is about five square miles. There are no trees or gardens on the island. There is mostly moss and rocks and a few flowers. On a walk around the island I only saw one thing that resembled a bush and it was only about two feet high. The people here live mostly on fish and seal that they catch. Their boots are made of sealskin. They catch seals and make the shoes from them. There is still snow some places, which causes little steams of water from which people get their drinking water. Len The Engineer says that Turnavik used to be full of ships all the time, but now because of the fresh fish trade down south of here the business at Turnavik has died out. Now there are only five houses and about eight people. There is a swell dog team on the island Huskies that have a lot of wolf blood in them. They seem like great dogs. The skipper intends to leave at dawn tomorrow (about three thirty in the morning). Ever since we dropped anchor we have been unloading flour, oil, and gasoline for the people of the islands.
July 7, 1940
We left Turnavik at five this morning, just in time to miss our watch. We have been going through ice floes all day: there has to be a man in the barrel all the time to give directions. When the man in the barrel calls "starboard" you turn your wheel to port. This is an old throw back from the days when they used tillers. The expression was never changed even though a wheel is now used. It is now raining and very unpleasant. This evening the Water is 32° above zero, and the air is 37° above.
July 8, 1940
We are heading for Disco, Greenland now. We have had a lot of trouble with the ice. When we went on watch at five this morning we were stuck and had to wait until seven when the skipper was ready to move on. Late this morning we sighted some seals, and this afternoon Albert Hoffman brought his gun on deck when one seal began swimming around rather close to the ship. He didnt get on deck in time to get him, so we didnt have meat for supper. We finally got stuck in the ice again and found that the only thing to do was to go back out of the ice and try to go around it.
July 9, 1940
We are still heading back (south) and by now I imagine we are past Turnavik and still going south. We might have to go back to Belle Isle (That is the Island between Newfoundland and Labrador). This morning while shifting the main from one side to the other one of the broom was knocked overboard. The skipper looked at it for a while and after we had left it by about 100 yards the captain ordered "Hard Port", and around we went to pick up the broom. We got out of the ice completely this evening, and now we are in clear water.
July 10, 1940
When I went off watch at five this morning it looked as though it would be a wonderful day, but at eleven it was raining and foggy. It has stayed that way all day. I think we are headed for southern Greenland now because we have mail for the Coast Guard Cutter "Campbell" which is in southern Greenland.
July 11, 1940
Sailed nicely under cloudy skies and increasing winds all day.
July 12, 1940
Sailed with a heavy wind on the starboard quarter all day. It rained most of the day, and the wind was strong enough to have the engine off. During breakfast this morning Ripley sat under the skylight: a large wave came over lifted the skylight somehow and fell down Ripleys neck. He couldnt breath for about half a minute the water was so cold. Toward the latter part of the day I was seasick very unpleasant
July 13, 1940
Head winds and rain are the only kind of weather we have had all day. The wind is still fairly strong, but is a head wind and the engine is on.
Early this morning we got into ice again, and are now trying to keep on the edge of the floe. This afternoon we went murre hunting. A murre is something like duck in taste. It is smaller and looks like a penguin when sitting on the ice. They differ from a penguin in that they are extremely fast fliers. Like a penguin they are black backed and white bellied. After lunch a few of us went out in the whaleboat to shoot them. Albert and the bosun are the gunners. In about two hours we got twenty-nine. If one was hit on the wing it fell dead, but if one were hit on the water, the tough things would dive under the water and come up about a hundred feet away. Then another shot would hit the bird, and if he was hit square he usually fell dead. If not he would dive again and come up another hundred feet away. It looks funny to see these birds diving under the water. They can stay under for a long time. After we returned to the ship we found that they had about ten aboard which Davy had shot. After we moved of for about an hour, the skipper found that we only had thirty-nine. So he made us (let) us shoot more from the bow. Before we stopped we had fifty-six. Alan Eurich the radioman, sailor, and cowboy turned out to be the best shot on board. The fifty-six birds will be just about enough for two meals. It was lucky that we ran in to these birds as we are running low on meat. This evening Davy skinned and stuffed one of the birds. Our watch took the meat from it and fried in on a clean place on the exhaust pipe. It tasted good. It is sweeter than duck. At twelve oclock midnight the sun had not set because we passed the Arctic Circle sometime today. Baffin Island has been in sight since about six this evening.
The sun hasnt set for over twenty-four hours, and wont set again until we cross the Arctic Circle again on the way south. Today has been exceptionally warm (about fifty or sixty degrees). We have had a good wind all day. Today we sighted Greenland.
A calm sea and a warm sun were featured today. Weve had a wonderful time, all day, climbing through the rigging and all over the ship. This evening the barbers (any one so inclined) cut our hair-in bowl haircuts. There are three true bowl cuts and a number of variations. I have a strange variation. It is a bowl all the way around except for a tail that sticks down the back. We ate murre today. It was broiled and very good. Greenland is even more desolate than Labrador. There is hardly any vegetation. On the shoreline there are rocks and cliffs. As soon as one gets inland a mile or so snow is everywhere.
July 17, 1940
Another calm and beautifully warm day. The doctor pulled Sammys tooth today. It had been bothering him for about a week. He took his trick at the wheel during the eleven to two watch, and now he is all right. We drew chances for bears tonight. I drew Number three.
July 18, 1940
Happy Birthday! It is Warren Ripleys birthday, and he is all excited. He told the cook two or three times so he would be sure to get a birthday cake. He is now nineteen. We had a wonderful party for him tonight at supper. He got a fake telegram that Alan fixed up with the help of a radio operator from Long Island. Rip thought it was from his girl. Rips mother sent him via the skipper a check for five dollars. By mistake Rip threw it overboard with some waste paper. We past Upernavich today and are going up the Greenland Coast amid tremendous ice bergs (some of them are a half a mile long). It has been warmer and calmer than we have had since New York (even though we are inside the Arctic Circle). We worked longitude tonight. Our Latitude is74° 51 30" Longitude (approx.) 58° 01 15"
July 19, 1940
Another warm day. No wind came our way as we travel up Melville Bay. There is a noted lack of ice here. Early this morning we stopped at an island that no one knows its name. . Most of the boys went ashore to look around and see some of the eider ducks that were there. I didnt go ashore because I was asleep and no one woke me. I was not disappointed because I had only two hours sleep last night. We sighted more seals today but none of them were close enough to shoot. I wish I could find out where we are going. Nobody (including the mate and commander Nutt) seems to know. Sometimes I think the captain himself doesnt know. It all depends so much on the condition of the ice .So far weve been lucky. Usually at this time of year Melville Bay is so jammed with ice that you cant get through, but now there is only drift ice Here and there.
This morning we headed for an Eskimo settlement, and when we arrived we couldnt attract any attention. So we supposed that they had gone to Cape York, which is not far away. We couldnt get to Cape York because of the ice, So we went back to the settlement. I went below and turned in. When I awoke I found that the Eskimos at the settlement had been asleep when we were there before. I slept through the whole thing and woke up in time for lunch. After lunch we tried a different lead through the ice and finally got clear of the ice and headed for Cape York. We arrived about five oclock. Right after supper, which was at five, three Eskimos came paddling along in their kayaks. The kayaks are made of sealskin pulled tight over bone and a wood frame. After giving cigarettes etc. to the Eskimos we headed for shore. We climbed to the top of a mountain to a monument to Admiral Robert E. Peary. It was a long steep climb. All hands except the cook, his assistant, Jim Doolan, the engineer, his assistant, and the radioman made the climb. The skipper all though sixty-five made it with the best of us. At the top we met more Eskimos (the others had stayed on the ship)). The Eskimos are short stocky people with dark skin and dark hair. They have a slightly oriental look. They are extremely happy and are always laughing. None of us except Billy the cook and the captain could talk to them or understand them. We intend to stray at Cape York until tomorrow. We will leave after we have loaded up with water.
July 21, 1940
We had to leave Cape York early this morning because ice set in. We went up the coast about twenty miles to a little Eskimo village, which was near a large glacier. Along side of the glacier was a big waterfall. After lunch we went ashore to the Eskimo village and traded knives, tobacco and trinkets for Eskimo artifacts. It is a lot of fun trading with the Eskimos. They dont understand us and we dont understand them. Their village was interesting. Some of their tents were canvas, but most were made of posy (seal skin). There were a few sod houses. The winter houses were small stone affairs that looked like a pile of rocks. There were about twenty puppies running in age from about a few weeks to nine months, and about five large dogs. These dogs belonged to or three or four families. This evening about eight Eskimos came aboard to get some food and have their pictures taken. The thing that interested them most was the radio.
July 22, 1940
After going about ten miles further north we stopped at Conical Rock. Commander Nutt went out in a whaleboat on a flower finding expedition. After lunch George took the other whaleboat and went hunting for murre. They got about one hundred and fifty birds. Arthur chases Bert Park and Rip all over the boat as they yell insulting remarks at him. Arthur cant do much about it even though he tries hard.
July 23, 1940
There has been no break in the sunshine and fine weather for eight days. That seems to be some kind of record for up here. It is usually cold. This morning we worked the big net trying to get animal life for the museums in New York and Cleveland. We worked the net again this afternoon. It has the deck an awful mess. This evening we arrived at Thule, a Danish trading post. Thule is made up of about three to five houses. After we arrived a boatload of Eskimos and Danes came out to see us. Among them was Hans Nielsen, Governor of Northern Greenland.
July 24, 1940
Late this morning I went ashore and met Dr. Beck. He is the doctor at the Thule Hospital it is the farthest north hospital in the world. He invited Dr. Manter and me into see the hospital and his home. His wife is a Swede and he is a Dane both are wonderfullly8 genuine people. They served us coffee (the best Ive ever had) and some excellent bread. They gave us the best they had even though we were total strangers. They were the most hospitable people. I guess they are glad to have white men even if they dont know them. This afternoon after lunch I went ashore again with Ed. And Dr. Manter Dr. Beck insisted that we come into his home again: it was rather embarrassing, especially when you think that we on the Morrissey are better supplied than they are. But they would have been extremely hurt if we hadnt. All the Danes here still consider themselves Danes and belonging to Denmark. The say they would rather go to the USA than belong to Germany. They prefer USA to England. After visiting the Doctor and his wife I went to the Eskimo settlement where some of the boys were trading, but the Eskimos didnt have much to trade. So Reggie and Rupert took a lot of pictures of dog fights and Eskimo life. This evening we left towing the Governors little sloop. On board we had eleven passengers (The Governor, his wife, another Dane, and eight Eskimo men).
July 25, 1940
For the first time in ten days the sun stayed under for a few hours. From about 11 AM to 12 Noon we had fog, but it cleared and we now have fine clear weather. We were rather inconvenienced last night trying to sleep fourteen people in eleven bunks. It worked out in the end because some one is always on watch. This evening we delivered our passengers to their destination. (Somewhere in Robson Bay. We intend to stay here all night. The whaleboat is going fishing now, but as it is late and I am tired I think Ill turn in. "And so to bed".
July 26, 1940
Early this morning we picked up Jim Van Hune and two Eskimos. Jim is a Dane who will help us catch walrus. After Austins Birthday Party the two whaleboats went out for walrus. They soon came back with two large ones which we hauled aboard. A little while later the whaleboat came back again with Fred who had fallen in while trying to jump from one piece of ice to another. By the time Fred had changed his clothes we were beside an ice floe with a walrus pup on it. The two Eskimos, Jim van Hune, George, the bosun, and the fellows who were there for pictures had the walrus tied up, and he was jumping around and squawking like mad. After a struggle they finally got him tied in a sling and we hoisted him aboard. After we hauled his dead mother aboard we headed for Pandora Harbor where we will spend the night.
July 27, 1940
Because of the fog we stayed in Pandora Harbor all-day and slept and ate. The Eskimos cut up the dead walrus and the Newfoundlanders made a box forth the pup who will be with us for the rest of the trip. After supper this evening we started to leave as the fog had cleared a little. As soon as we got the anchor up and went a few hundred yards the fog set in heavier than ever. So we turned around and anchored again. The skipper is pretty anxious to get out of here as we must get another pup. Late tonight we left Pandora Harbor and headed north for more walrus.
After leaving Pandora Harbor we had a strong headwind and found it hard to make any headway. Soon he fog set in again. So we headed for Littleton and tried to anchor but couldnt find bottom. We then moved south almost to Etah where we anchored. We had to stay anchored all day because of the strong wind...Many of us went ashore, and I found more vegetation here that any other place in Greenland. For dinner this afternoon we had walrus heart and liver. It was very good. I think walrus liver is better than calves liver.
July 29, 1940
Another day of rest for all hands because of the bad weather. Most every one stayed aboard and read and slept. About eleven this morning we hoisted anchor and headed for walrus. After running northward most of the watch the skipper decided that the walrus must have gone south.
We caught up to the walrus about seven this morning. All day boats have been going out and coming back with one or two walrus. We now have six pups aboard and about twenty dead ones. About three this morning the doctor and Jim van Huen began cutting up the dead walrus. There is blood and guts all over the deck. We have to wear our boots the blood and guts are so deep. Of course the meat is only in certain places, but blood is sprinkled everywhere. It is a lot of fun catching the cubs. The first thing is to get close enough to harpoon the mother. The Eskimo harpoons the mother and lets go the float (the skin of a seal). The whaleboat picks up the harpoon handle and chases the float. The mother keeps the pup with her . It is fairly easy to get up to the pup and mother. Then a lasso or rope must be gotten around the pup, and the pup hauled aboard. As soon as the pup is caught the mother is shot as she dangerous and liable to smash the whaleboat. We are heading back to Robertson Bay to let Jim and the Eskimos off as we have plenty of pups. All the meat goes to the Eskimos except for a few of the hearts and livers, which we keep. The tusks go to the captain and a few to the Eskimos
July 31, 1940
About one this morning we arrived at Robertson Bay where we dumped the walrus into the Eskimos boats. When I got up at two they were just starting to throw the walrus scraps overboard, and it certainly was a mess. The meat was old and smelled terribly, and blood was so thick it was leaking into the saloon. Finally after shoving big hunks of meat across the deck for the Eskimos to throw overboard. Finally we got all the walrus over the side except for three hearts that were kept for our consumption. Then came the bad job. We had to clean the blood off the deck and rigging. Blood was everywhere. We cleaned steadily for three hours and still it isnt all cleared away. After the deck was fairly clean we drew lots for the walrus tusks. I drew number four and got a good tusk. At five this morning we started across the bay to catch trout. We have been at it most of the day. At six this evening we hoisted anchor, and headed north. We stopped at the Eskimo settlement where we left the Governor. There we traded some tobacco for a pair of twenty-one inch tusks and two little husky puppies. They are about two months old.
August 1, 1940
Early this morning we ran into ice and rain. So I doubt if we will get much further north. We spotted a seal and a couple of walrus, but Albert didnt get his gun on deck in time We passed through Smith Sound into Kane Basin, and as we did the ice grew thicker and thicker. We hope to make Rensselear Bay by tomorrow morning.
August 2, 1940
We arrived at Rensselear Bay at about five this morning and remained until evening. While there we went ashore and tried to find some game, seal, rabbit, caribou, or and thing we could eat as we are out of meat. We had no luck. As a mater of fact we didnt even see any game. The only meat we have aboard is sea trout, and they are for the walrus. Incidentally, we had sea trout one day and they are very good. After collecting all hands and getting them aboard we ate supper. We the hoisted anchor and left. We were the third ship to ever enter Rensselear Bay and the second to ever leave. We are the first ship to leave since 1873. A ship entered the bay and left shortly as they were afraid that they would be trapped by the ice in the same way Dr. Kanes "Advance" had been in 1855. It took the men of "Advance" four years to get back to civilization. They had many hardships including scurvy. They spent six months on an ice floe drifting all the way to Labrador. Captain Samuel Bartlett, the skippers uncle, picked them up while on a seal hunt. The skipper wants to get to the Humboldt Glacier if possible. It is the largest glacier in the world, and runs sixty miles along the coast.
August 3, 1940
Early this morning we sighted Humboldt Glacier, but we couldnt get up to it because of the ice. After being stopped by the ice we headed for Ellesmere Land shooting at seal all the way. We didnt get one. Now on the west side of Kane Basin we headed north again. The skipper says we will break the record if possible. We are about 79° 20" Latitude now. The record is 82° 70" set by the "Roosevelt" when the skipper went north with Admiral Peary.
August 4, 1940
A seal at last; in fact two of their carcasses are hanging in the rigging, and waiting to be eaten. Both were caught today. We are now around 80° north latitude. This is the furthest north the Morrissey has been, and the ice is still fairly clear and scattered. After catching the last seal we got water for the large tank from the floe that the seal was on. We probably will not get much further north as fog has set in. We have been stopped since two-thirty this afternoon.
August 5, 1949
After being held up by the fog all yesterday. It is clear and warm today. We got to 80° 21" north latitude. And turned for home. We are now going down the Canadian side.
August 6, 1940
Today was clear and warm. We have been going south all day. We are now crossing back to the Greenland side. The captain wants to make sure that we were in Rensselear Bay on August 2.
August 7, 1940
The captain decided that we were not in Rensselear Bay on the second. We spent most of the day looking for it. It is difficult to find as the charts and pilot books are so inaccurate. After hunting all day the skipper decided that the bay we were in early this morning was it.
After leaving Kane Basin and passing into Smith Sound we met fog. And tied up to an ice floe for the night.
August 9, 1940
We had fine weather most of the morning, but toward evening we ran into some thick ice. The ice grew thicker until we couldnt move. After working for a while it loosened.
August 10, 1940
By eight this morning we were completely out of the ice and headed for Coberque Island. After looking all day we sighted a bear in a bay north of Coberque Island. We pulled up to the bear and took some pictures. Then Ripley took a shot and hit it in the back, but is took Albert Borne to finish it off with his rifle. It took eight shots.
August 11, 1940
Soon after midnight George, the bosun, who was in the barrel, sighted another bear. When we were about two or three hundred yards away the bear started to move away from us. So we put Rupert and Reggie on the piece of ice the bear was on. They were supposed to send the bear back toward us. While they were getting on the ice floe George showed me three other bears walking together. (I was in the crosstrees most of the night). Just about this time the other bear started to get away. And the three bears headed for water where it would be easier to get them. So we headed for the three bears, but they got in the water before we could get close enough to see where they went. By this time it was getting pretty cold. George and I were the only ones aloft, and we couldnt locate them. If a few more of the crew had been in the rigging the three bears might not have gotten away. While the three bears were getting away Rupert shot the other bear, but only wounded him. He came running over the ice toward open water and us. We were so intent on getting the three bears that we didnt notice him, and let him get away much to Reggies disgust. Reggie said that he drove the bear to open water as he was told, and all that we had to do was go up to the bear and keep him from getting on the ice and he would have been ours. Reggie was right. George thinks that if we had worked it right we would have got all four of them. Later in the morning we tied up to the ice floe that all the bears had been on. Another bear came along an Ed Darr shot and missed. Charlie Batten took a shot and killed him. It took five shots (two hitting him) to kill Eds bear. Another bear was seen at the same time, but was too far away. We remained tied to the ice floe for the rest of the day I thought I saw a bear, and the Bosun thought he saw one. We werent sure so nothing was done. I turned in about eleven-thirty. It took. The next bear is mine!
I was awakened at about one-thirty and told that another bear had been sighted. After getting up and going to the masthead the mate pointed the bear out to me. We then headed for the bear, which were a few miles away. It didnt take very long to get within a few hundred yards of her. By this time she was on the run and we were afraid that she would cross the ice and get away. So the canoe was put over. The doctor and Rupert went to head the bear toward the ship. For a while it looked as though Rupert would shoot the bear. Seeing the doctor and Rupert the bear turned and headed for the water. By the time we got around the ice floe the bear was in the water and coming straight for us. When she was about fifty yards I fired and missed. Fired again and missed again. Fired a third time and killed her with one shot to the neck. She is rather small (about 500 Pounds), but has a fine coat. My bear took three shots one killing her. She is the only bear with only one bullet hole. She is also the only one killed by her owner. As soon as we got the bear aboard David and. I started to skin her. By the time half way through (not thirty minutes later) another bear was sighted. This was Austin Colgates bear. After catching up to him George Richards shot the bear in the back putting him in the water. It took fourteen more shots to finish him and three of which hit him. Albert Hoffman finished him off with a shot to the skull. Both Eds and Austins bear were shot through the skull. This makes harder to mount them. By the time the two bears were skinned it was nearly five oclock in the morning. At five I went off watch and helped George Richards take the fat off the skin. We were finished in time for seven-thirty breakfast. After breakfast I turned in as I had only had two hours sleep since midnight the 11th. About ten-fifteen I was awakened and told that a bear cub was coming aboard. By the time I got on deck the bear was already aboard. I had slept through the shooting of the fifth bear. It was Bert Parks bear. It took three shots to kill him. George the bosun killed him with a shot to the head. She was the cubs mother. The cub must weigh about two hundred pounds. He certainly is no teddy bear. He is downright vicious. After hunting a while longer we headed south with our five bears and one live cub. Soon we were out of the ice and a strong westerly wind was blowing up.
In the last twenty-six days we have only had sail on her once. That was coming out of Thule when we had our foresail set to steady her. We left Thule over two weeks ago. Today, at last, we hoisted sail again. As a strong westerly increased the sea began to rise and by eight this morning we had to put canvas on to steady her. We put the storm trysail, foresail, and jumbo on. The wind finally came on to fresh gale (47 50 knots) In gusts it got up to sixty, (These are only guesses of course, but they are the guesses of the captain, mate and bosun). The whaleboat was slung out over the side a few days ago to make more room on deck, and it was never dry. The waves went right over it. Finally the seas bent the davits way over. (The davits are made of four-inch cast iron pipes) At eleven we reached Coberg Island and Anchored. We intend to remain here tonight.
August 14, 1940
We left Coberg early this morning and are headed south again. The wind is still pretty strong, but not near as strong as yesterday. We now have sail up to help us move. It is a pleasure to really be under sail again.
August 15, 1940
We sailed down the coast to Lancaster Sound and turned into it. About ten miles west of the mouth of the sound we came across a large cliff with millions of birds all over it. The cliff was two or three miles long and about 500 feet high. The birds were all murre. Albert Hoffman, George Richards, Charlie Batten, Rupert Bartlett, Davy Nutt, and Reggie Wilcox went in for the birds. After about two hours they brought back about five hundred of them. They only used about three hundred shells. After getting the birds we headed out of the sound and headed south again. Today is the skippers birthday, but we had no celebration, as he doesnt like them. For the first time on the trip it snowed. The snow lasted about half an hour.
August 16, 1940
Today is Albert Hoffmans birthday. Early this morning we got another bear for Jim Pond. It took twenty-two shots to kill him. This evening we got the biggest bear of the trip. It took eleven shots for George Hodge to get him.
August 17, 1940
Weve been slowly heading south today. We tried to get water, but the pan we tried to get it from was salty. So we had to go on. This evening we got the eighth bear. Its Freddies. It took him nine shots to kill the bear. Now all the boys that want bears have them.
August 18, 1940
We got two bears today for the skipper. Both were big. It got dark tonight for the first time since we entered the Arctic Circle. It gets colder when its dark Alan was very pleased to get the last bear today, with his six-shooter.
August 19, 1940
About two weeks to Brigus. About lunch time we got another bear which Rupert and Sammy skinned. They did a very good job for their first bear. Nothing much happens now that we are heading home except for the regular ships routine.
August 20, 1940
About ten this morning we sighted another bear. After chasing it over ice then through the water we finally caught up to it. Reggie got some good pictures. I didnt get any as I was on the quarterdeck yelling. The doctor finally shot the bear. It took only one shot.
August 21, 1940
Early this morning we cleared the ice, and it began to blow. By five in the morning the waves were getting rather large and some of the boys got seasick. The wind kept increasing all day and by evening it was really blowing (about thirty-five knots). When I came off watch it was rolling so bad that I could hardly move around the saloon with out being thrown all over the place. About two oclock there was a resounding crack. I rolled in my bunk where I had been fitfully sleeping and saw that the radio was on the flour in the radio room. Alan rushed to radio room where he tried to gather the pieces and put them where he could find them.
August 22, 1940
This morning I woke up seasick. The storm showed no signs of letting up. The waves seemed even larger. Alan got the kinks out of the radio. Tonight another part of the radio went on the flour with another loud crash. Three of the boys didnt go on watch because they were seasick.
August 23, 1940
It cleared to day and by eleven this morning it was calm and fair.
August 24, 1940
The sun was out all day and we made good time with the main up for the first time in a month.
August 25, 1940
We sailed peacefully all day under a clear sky and a light breeze. About seven thirty fog set in and by eight it was thick as pea soup.
August 26, 1940
This morning the wind started to blow again just about as hard as it did on the twenty-second. This afternoon the skipper took the ship behind an island and anchored. I dont know the name of the island. George says that most of Labrador is uncharted.
August 27, 1940
Im glad we were at anchor last night because it really blew. It was much worse then anything we have been out in. This morning we went further south to another bay. The northern Labrador coast is made up of many islands. After anchoring we went ashore to look for bake apples. Bake apples are berries that grow about an inch off the ground. Many other berries grow on the islands and all are good to eat. We found plenty of other berries but hardly any bake apples. While we were ashore taking a hard climb over the island the rest of the boys and men went for water. After the last barrel was full they came and took us off the island. By that time we were pretty cold. When the boat came in for us the tide was out and we had to wade out about fifty feet in water up to our hips. A bunch of fish were caught yesterday, and we gathered a lot of snow to pack around them. All this and Davids pack full of flowers had to be taken to the ship. We made a chain out to the boat and passed things out. Those with hip boots standing in deeper water than those with out them standing in shallower water. When everything was aboard those with hip boots passed them to those without and thus we all got aboard. Supper tasted very good tonight.
August 28, 1940
We hoisted anchor about four this morning and headed for Turnavik. Most of the day was fine. It turned very foggy between two and five. There has been no wind all day, but we should be in Turnavik tomorrow.
August 29, 1940
We arrived in Turnavik about eight-thirty this morning and dropped anchor. Most of the boys went fishing. Rupert, David, and I went ashore to tramp around and pick some bake apples and blackberries There were plenty of blackberries but very few bake apples. We picked what bake apples we found ate most of them and only brought back about two quarts. After about an hour ashore we heard the for horn. It was the signal to head back to the ship. When we got to the shore we found that the boat had gone, but Ernie (the man who runs Turnavik was there to take us out to the Morrissey. Ernies boat isnt fast by any stretch of the word. So it took us quite a while to get out to the Morrissey. We sailed down the coast all afternoon under calm seas and hot sun.
August 30, 1940
We have had another hot day with hardly any wind. This afternoon we stopped at Wolf Island and bought some fish from some fishermen. The doctor fixed one of their hands that had been hurt. Billy gave them all tea and cookies. Not because he wanted to, but because the skipper gave him orders.
August 31, 1940
We made extremely good time today with the wind and tide behind us. Brigus Monday.
September 1. 1940
Farewell to Labrador. We sighted Belle Isle and passed it before eleven this morning. Well be in Brigus tomorrow morning.
We arrived at Brigus this afternoon after a fine sail up Conception Bay. As soon as possible after we arrived Bert Park, George Hodge, Austin Colgate, and I went to Cubits Pond for a swim. It was cold but great fun; we hadnt a bath for two months. After swimming we went back to the ship. We wanted to eat at the Tea Room (whish is run by the captains sisters) but it was full. They had had seventy people this afternoon and had to turn down forty more. Later the doctor and I went to the Cabot Hotel and got a steak dinner. After dinner we went to Hawthorn, the skippers house. We couldnt leave till eleven thirty as we were having such a good time.
The doctor, George Hodge, and I went to ST. Johns for the day. We did a lot of shopping and saw a movie. When we got back to Brigus we ate at the Tea Room and had a wonderful meal. (O yea the doctor stayed in St Johns for the night)
George, Bert, and I had breakfast at the Tea Room. This afternoon we left Brigus. Sammy and Rupert stayed behind. It was tough to leave them because they are such wonderful fellows. Tonight we had head winds so our progress was slow. As the night drew on fog came in.
September 5, 1940
We passed Cape Race today and the wind changed more to the north. It is terribly hot (70° ) with rain and fog
September 6, 1940
Heading a little south of west all day, we said farewell to Newfoundland.
September 7, 1940
With all sail set and a following wind we crossed the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Toward evening the wind headed us and we had to lower the mainsail.
Early this morning it really started to blow and rain. We headed toward Nova Scotia this morning. From two to five it was blowing so hard that we werent moving forward at all. By lunch we were anchored off Canso Island, Nova Scotia. Canso is a typical fishing town. It is larger than most Newfoundland towns. We didnt go ashore because being an American vessel we would have to go through customs, which would be too much trouble. After lunch we all went swimming that is all but Arthur, Shellback, and the Newfoundlanders. The temperature of the water was sixty-one degrease and the air temperature wad fifty-nine (very warm for us). Some of the boys still had on their long woolen underwear when we decided to go in. I imagine that we will be in New York toward the end of this week or the beginning of the next. Some of the boys seem to be in a hurry to get back, parties I guess.
September 9, 1940
Early this morning we left Canso and again headed down the coast of Nova Scotia to New York. With all good intentions we headed for sea, but fate was against us. Head winds cut our days run to about fifteen miles.
Early this morning the wind changed to north and we again to head southwest. About two oclock someone found, with binoculars, a destroyer. Then a few minutes later another popped into view, and then another. Six of them passed in the course of an hour. One of them was close enough to read the numbers on it. It was an American destroyer flying the white ensign of Great Britain. It must have been one of the destroyers we gave England.
September 11, 1940
The wind headed us again, but we have made fairly good progress, as the wind has been very light. This afternoon we stopped and bought some fish from a small boat that was fishing out of Shelburne. This evening we entered the Gulf of Maine.
September 12, 1940
With a strong following wind we practically flew across the Gulf of Maine. The sun was out In spite of the wind it was the warmest day we have had in a long time. We should sight Pollock Rip tonight, and Cape Cod tomorrow morning.
September 13, 1940
Early this morning before light we sighted Pollock Rip Lightship. By daylight the wind had died, and the sun was strong and hot. There was no swell. The captain gave the order and hands turned to with paint. Freddie and I painted the mastheads. It was fun but terribly messy because we couldnt move around very well. The mastheads were done by noon. There was still plenty of painting to do. By five we were almost done. Just before noon we sighted Freddies summer home on Marthas Vineyard. Freds uncle came out and told us that his father had gone to New York to meet us. By three-thirty the wind, now dead ahead, was too strong to make much headway. So we anchored in Tarpaulin Cove. After painting we all (or most of us) went swimming.
September 14, 1940
We hoisted anchor at one this morning, and came down past Cuttyhunk toward Block Island. The painting was finished by two this after noon. So we cleaned up as much as possible. There is quite a hustle going on as we try to get ready for port tomorrow. We should get to City Island by nine and Staten Island by four.
September 15, 1940
About eight oclock we tied up at City Island. After the customs officials were through with us we went to a pier where the walrus were unloaded. They are headed for the Bronx Zoo. At eleven-thirty we headed for Staten Island. We made record time about three hours for the trip from City Island to Staten Island. After leaving the ship and saying out good byes to everyone we left for home with my family and Alan. I took Alan to his friends in Media this evening.