October 14, 1914
Death Stared Them In Face
Sch. Tattler in Gale at
Virgin Rocks Lost Rudder and
Parted Cable With Breakers Under Lee
Capt. Geel Tells Story
Further particulars concerning the accident to sch. Tattler,
Capt. Alden Geel, of this port, one of the dory handline fleet fishing at
the Virgin Rocks, tell of the hair line shave which the craft had from utter destruction
in the recent heavy blow which near sent all hands to their doom. Not until Capt. Geel
reaches home, however, will the whole story in all its details be learned.
The Tattler anchored off Virgin
Rocks, Friday evening, September 25 and on Sunday came the unusually heavy gale during
which the vessels rudder was carried away. This was bad enough in itself, but
nothing in comparison with what followed.
The wind suddenly hauled and the Tattler
was right to the windward of the main ledge, with the worst breakers only 500 yards to
leeward. Capt. Geel realized the situation and knew that it meant almost
destruction to cut the cable, as the vessel was without a rudder.
All hands thought she might hold on, but about 5
oclock the craft parted her cable. With the breakers under the lee it was a perilous
moment but the staunch fishermen edged by the white line of death, thanks to the
seamanship and what little rag of canvas the Tattler could show.
How it was all done, neither Capt. Geel or
his men can say. A more thankful crew never sailed the seas, for it was certainly a most
narrow call which they experienced. The Tattler lost most of her
cable, it being necessary to take what was left to make an emergency rudder by means of
which the vessel was guided to St. Johns, N. F., where she went into dry dock.
On account of the accident, the Tattler
has not taken a fish for over a month. Capt. Geel expected to leave St.
Johns October 6, as he had plenty of salt clams left and did not wish to dump them
The Tattler took on a new string
of cable before leaving, about 225 fathoms. The Tattler has lost
two anchors, wire and 30 fathoms of chain. With the indomitable spirit which is his, and
determined to complete his fare, Capt. Geel did not head up for Quero,
but boldly drove out again for the Virgin Rocks, the scene of the recent gamble with Davy
Jones which the Tattler won.