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Adrift Four Days


August 13, 1910

Sang Ballads in Face of Death
Stray Fisherman Was Cheered Up By Older Companion
Reached Land After Four Days In Their Dory Without Food

When sch. Essex, Capt. Michael Wise, who was mate with Dr. Cook in the John R. Bradley on the famous North Pole trip, arrives home, he will find two of the crew for whom his men vainly searched on the wastes of Labrador waters have arrived ahead of them.  They are Samuel and Nicholas Cole, uncle and nephew, natives of Conception Bay, N. F., who were brought here last night.

The Essex in on a halibut fleching trip in the near Arctic waters.  July 23 the two Coles, who were dory mates, were hauling their trawls off the Labrador coast, when a severe gale came up that separated them form their vessel and blew them far from their craft.   The next morning the vessel was nowhere in sight.

The situation was most alarming.  The storm was raging, they were far from the track of shipping and they had no food aboard.   Young Cole was disposed to give up the fight, but the uncle stimulated his courage.  To this end he help up an air of cheerfulness, and sang every song he ever knew, old ballads which had come down by word of mouth from the fisherfolk of centuries.  Fortunately the dory was equipped with a sail and compass, and when the wind moderated, it was headed for the land, 125 miles away.

Young Cole began to suffer from hunger and wanted to eat the raw halibut in the dory, but the uncle, wise in the wisdom of the fisheries, restrained him, for it is said that to eat raw fish will drive men into a delirium.  For four days the men were afloat without food and in the track of icebergs and ice floes, necessitating constant vigilance.  The young man's courage revived as the days wore on, and he bore his part well in navigating the craft to land.   Toward the last the men say that they did not feel the pangs of hunger as much as at first, but grew weaker.

Finally they sighted the dim, indistinct haze of the land.  Unfortunately, however, the wind was ahead and a flat-bottomed dory is not a good craft to go to windward, so the men manned the oars fearful that they might again be blown off the coast.  They rowed ass day, a distance of 5 miles, and at nightfall descried a little fishing schooner under the ice of Ironbound island on the Labrador coast,.  She was a Newfoundland craft, which is known as a "green" fisherman.  They rowed up to the sides of the craft and were helped over the side by the astonished fishermen.

They were in a pitiable condition and could scarcely stand on their feet on the decks, so cramped and weak had they become from confinement and exposure.  The Newfoundland captain did everything he could to alleviate their condition.  Such as he had was freely given, hard biscuits soaked in tea, and the captain gave up his berth to them, awakening them every three hours to give them a small portion of food until they had sufficiently recovered to be able to eat as much as they wanted without danger.

After remaining several days aboard the schooner the government steamer Lulu, Capt. Winsor, came along, took them aboard and landed them at St. Johns, N. F., whence they were forwarded here by the United States consul.  They have about recovered from their experiences.

When they left the Essex, July 23, the crew had secured about 80,000 pounds halibut fletches.


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