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Death Stared Them In The Face


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 vessel’s 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 o’clock 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 overboard.

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.


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