Aolib.comFragment of Photochrom print of the front of Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany (ca. 1897)

Bowdoin Boys in Labrador ... »


By Jonathan Prince Cilley

But, meanwhile, the Julia lies quietly at anchor, as if it were mutely reproaching your correspondent with singing another’s praises when she has brought us safely and easily thus far, in spite of gales, fog, and headwind, calm, and treacherous tide, and even now is eagerly waiting for the opportunity to carry us straight and swiftly to Battle Harbor in the straits of Belle Isle, where letters and papers from home await us, and then up through the ice fields to Cape Chudleigh.

[The Real Start] Our real start was made from Southwest Harbor, Mt. Desert, the Monday after leaving Rockland. Saturday night, after a short sail in the dark and a few tacks up the Thoroughfare to North Haven village, we anchored and rested from the confusion and worry of getting started and trying to forget nothing that would be needed in our two and one—half months’ trip. Sunday morning was nearly spent before things were well enough stowed to allow us to get under weigh in safety, and then our bow was turned eastward and, as we thought, pointed for Cape Sable. Going by the hospital on Widow’s Island and the new light on Goose Rock nearly opposite it, out into Isle au Haut bay, we found a fresh northeaster, which warned us not to go across the Bay of Fundy if we had no desire for an awful shaking up. In view of all the facts, such as green men, half—stowed supplies and threatening weather, we decided that we must not put our little vessel through her paces that night, and chose the more ignominious, but also more comfortable course of putting into a harbor. Consequently after plunging through the rips off Bass Head, and cutting inside the big bell buoy off its entrance, we ran into Southwest Harbor and came to anchor. In the evening many of the party thought it wise to improve the last opportunity for several months, as we then supposed, to attend church, and to one who knew the chapel—cutting proclivities of many of our party while at Bowdoin, it would have been amusing to see them solemnly tramp into church, rubber boots and all. It is a fact, however, that every member of our party, with a possible exception, went to church in this place yesterday largely for the same reason.

Our little Julia rewarded our action of the night previous by taking us out by Mt Desert Rock at a rattling pace Monday morning, bowing very sharply and very often to the spindle—like tower on the rock, as she met the Bay of Fundy chop, and at the same time administered a very effective emetic to all but five or six of the Bowdoin boys aboard. She is wise as well as bold and strong, and so after nightfall waited under easy canvas for light to reveal Seal Island to our watchful eyes. Shortly after daylight the low coast was made out, the dangerous rocks passed, and Cape Sable well on our quarter. But there it stayed. We made but little progress for two days, and employed the time in laying in a supply of cod, haddock and pollock, till our bait was exhausted. Then we shot at birds, seals and porpoises whenever they were in sight, and from the success, apparently, at many when they were not in sight; put the finishing touches on our stowage, and kept three of the party constantly employed with our long bamboo—handled dip—net, in fishing up specimens for the professor and his assistants. As the result of this we have a large number of fish eggs which we are watching in the process of hatching, many specimens of crustacea and of seaweed. The photographers, in the meanwhile, got themselves into readiness for real work by practicing incessantly upon us.

Thursday, we made Sambro light; soon pilot boat number one hailed us and put a man aboard, whom we neither needed nor wanted, and we were anchored off the market steps at Halifax. The run up the harbor was very pleasant. Bright skies, a fresh breeze off the land, and vessels all about us made many lively marine pictures. The rather unformidable appearing fortification, on account of which Halifax boasts herself the most strongly fortified city of America, together with the flag—ship Bellerophon and two other vessels of the Atlantic squadron, the Canada and the Thrush, the latter vessel until lately having been commanded by Prince George, gave the harbor and town a martial tone that was heightened upon our going ashore and seeing the red coats that throng the streets in the evening. Halifax, with its squat, smoky, irregular streets is well known, and its numerous public buildings, drill barracks, and well kept public gardens, all backed by the frowning citadel, probably need no description from me. After receiving the letters for which we came in, and sending the courteous United States Consul General, Mr. Frye, and his vice—consul, Mr. King, Colby ’89, ashore with a series of college yells that rather startled the sleepy old town, we laid a course down the harbor, exchanged salutes with the steamship Caspian, and were soon ploughing along, before a fine south—west breeze for Cape Canso.

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