The Diary of Darius Green, Aboard the S.S. Iceland, 1898
Captain: Darius Blandford, 218 men
Copied from the Greenspond Letter, Volume 13, Number 3, Summer 2006
Thursday, March 10, 1898
Left St. John's March 10 at 8.a.m. First ship from wharf but let three or four go out ahead. No stowaways. Weather fine. Sea smooth. Winds N.E. Fresh. Passed Cape St. Francis at 11 a.m. Baccalieu 2p.m. Met loose ice in Strait off Cape Bonavista. Ships course N.E. by N. Three ships astern at sunset. One passenger Mr. Edward C. Brown.
Friday, March 11, 1898
Winds S.S. West. Fresh. Thick. Steam and Canvas going. Passing through little loose ice. Ships course N.N.E. Sighted the Funks 2 p.m. Still thick. 5:30 sighted S.S. Mastiff, steamed up to her later. Both ships got jammed about dark. Close to each other, both crews out on ice pulling on ropes.
Saturday, March 12, 1898
Winds West. Fine. Clear. Ship got clear of jam at daylight. Seven steamers in sight S.S. Diana, Leopard, Labrador, Neptune, Mastiff, Greenland, Walrus. Steaming through loose ice all day. Skipper Daniel Bragg shot one old Harp Seal. I was with him. At 7a.m. passed a ?? hood seal. Captain in good spirits & at 1 p.m. passed one
Sunday, March 13, 1898
Winds West. Dull. Showery. Light breeze. Passed a few white coats. 3 p.m. slowed down in a fair patch but could not kill, being Sunday. Diana close by also slowed down. Good sign of seals. At night winds S.W. by W.
Monday, March 14, 1898
Winds S. by W. Light dull with showers. All our crew myself included & Brown out panning seals. Ice loose. At 11 a.m. all hands aboard finished up the patch. I killed & hauled seven, our pan numbered about 180 seals for twelve men. Total number of seals taken to day 3000. Afternoon winds S.W. by W. Strong ice little tighter. Steamers in sight S.S. Diana, Greenland, Aurora, Leopard all picking up a few pans. Prospects good.
Tuesday, March 15, 1898
Winds West. Fine & Clear. Ice little tighter. S.S. Aurora passed us 7:15 going in W.S.W. Same course as Iceland.
At 9 a.m. got jammed. Captain said all hands out. Left the ship & traveled over ice about seven miles W.N.W. Struck a nice little patch panned 1000 or more. Winds chopped N.E. coming home, I tell you I felt fairly beat. I killed nine for my hand. Got aboard at 4:30. Ice got slack, ship steamed up & took in a few pans. Got fearfully stormy. Took on board 200 of Capt Kean's men which had lost their ship. Blowing a living gale with sleet.
Wednesday, March 16, 1898
Winds N.N.W. Strong. Fine. Clear with frost. All hands out I did not go. Did ship work on deck all day. Panned about 6,000. Crew aboard just at dark after traveling about 12 miles. The bulk of seals lies in N.N.W. of our ship about 25 miles ice too tight to get through. Diana, Aurora & Greenland all taking seals in same ice as us.
Thursday, March 17, 1898
Winds S.S.W. Light breeze beautiful day. All hands left for panning. I did not go as the crew had to go 12 or 14 mile. I got 10 by the ship during the day. S.S. Aurora struck a lot of our flags & put up theirs in place of ours. While taking in one of our pans four of the Aurora's, crew were on it & said it was theirs & had a little scuffle with our men but did not get the seals for they were marked in the fat - S.S.I. In the battle they cut three of our straps and cut the skins of several seals which were on the last strap hoisted aboard of us. S.S. Greenland 1,000
Friday, March 18, 1898
Winds S.S.W. Strong with snow. (300 seals taken) Picking up pans but find Aurora & Diana got a lot of them. They are taking all they come in contact with. Still blowing with snow.
Saturday, March 19, 1898
Winds N.W. Fresh fine clear. Ice loose. Still picking up a few pans same old go got a few at 6.30 wheel broke but was mended by Captain & two of crew in a short time, about two hours. Same three ships still in sight - doing a little.
Sunday, March 20, 1898
Winds S.W. Fine. Clear. Putting out coal & ballast to stow seals at 12:30. Wind changed to S. by E. Strong with snow. Two men on board from S.S. Greenland, Captain gave them H for robbing seals. Ship blew down for the night. Still blowing a gale with snow.
Monday, March 21, 1898
Winds S.S.E. Strong with snow. At 8 a.m. cleared a little steamed in W.N.W. Struck a little patch of seals all hands out including myself. Panned about 300 seals close to ship. I got 7 for my hand. Ship got jammed at 12 a.m. Put out a blast and got clear at 2:30 p.m. At 3:30 p.m. Winds shifted to N. by E. & blew a fair gale with heavy snow. 150 men still out. Captain in an anxious state about men. At 5:30 p.m. Captain ordered all the steam to be put on that ship could bear, Chief and Second did so. This was to search for missing men. At 6:30 after fearful trouble got about 30 men, at 7.10 p.m. ship got jammed & could not get any further. Fearful excitement on board. Could hardly stand on deck for wind & snow & still increasing. Glass going down fearful. At 8:10 p.m. ice closed. 100 men still missing. Dark as death, pure hurricane. Captain ordered a fire on ice & fired guns & did all in his power to get them to the ship. At 9:15 about 50 men reached the ship nearly exhausted from cold & wet. At 10:25 p.m. the last lot arrived & thankful we were for it. So we thanked God for his goodness & went to bunk happy. Blowing a fearful gale with frost and snow. 11:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 22, 1898
5:30 a.m. winds N.N.E. Storm no better glass still low. :30 p.m. glass going up a little snow slacking. 3:45 snow off getting a little clearer ice slacking. 4:10 ship clear of jam managed to get 1000 seals killed by men out in storm yesterday. 7:30 p.m. got jammed & again stopped steaming till morning.
Wednesday, March 23, 1898
6:30 a.m. Beautiful morning. WindN.W. Eight, frosty. 7:30 a.m. all hands off looking for seals. 7:45 sighted S.S. Greenland flag half mast. Sad news lost men don't know how many. Saw two being taken on board dead fear more to follow. 8:10 a.m. Skipper Dan saw two men astern, suppose them to belong to S.S. Greenland. Seem to fall on ice as they walk. Two men left our ship with food & to help them along. Capt. Blandford feels bad. Ship still jammed 8:30 a.m. 10:30 a.m. ship got clear two of our rescue crew back with sad news. Found five of Greenland's dead one alive. Fifty more missing give more news when the rest of our rescue crew returns. Flag half mast since daylight on S.S. Greenland. Name of one man found dead by our crew, Kenneth Parsons, Pinchards Island. 11:10 a.m. Captain ordered all our men out to assist in looking for dead men. Just past several hauling ropes & gaffs on ice belonging to men supposed to be dead. Capt. Blandford is doing all in his power to assist in picking up S.S. Greenland's dead crew. Still great excitement board all ships. Aurora in sight. Diana close by. Will do nothing in panning to day. 11:25 a.m. one of Greenland's crew on board out on search since daylight for his crew. Found five dead, five alive up to date. Just passing a lot of gaffs & a wall built of ice which the poor fellows had made for shelter. 12:45 p.m. I just got on board with 2 dead men. One had all his clothes cut off. I shall never forget the sight. 5 more coming dead. Found one with his gun stuck up' & his pocket knife tied to it.
Our Captain & crew purely broke up. I am off again to look for more if I can hold out but I hope we will all be given strength to keep up till we find all the poor fellows. 1:15 We have nine now lying by ships side in our boats. The sight is getting worse never has there been such a sight before. (Ship 25 miles South of Funks) 4:40 Just back from S.S. Greenland (Capt Barbour) had a talk to Captain. Feels bad. About 45 men frozen to death our ten dead men put aboard S.S. Greenland. saw men getting iced in on deck. It was a fearful sight. This is all I can put down for I feel bad, completely broken up. 10:30 p.m. Wind S. Glass going down fast wind increasing to a gale with snow. Ship jammed, will not steam to night 11:10 p.m.
Thursday, March 24, 1898
Wind S. at 6 a.m. Blowing a gale with blinding snow. 8 a.m. Winds N. Still increasing ship not steaming. Crew at coal. Can't see any ship to day for snow. No chance of finding any more dead men ice covered with snow. 4:30 p.m. 6 p.m. Ship got clear steamed a little North. Sleet & heavy frost. 10 p.m. jammed for night ship lying by large pan. Few seals around ships good prospects for tomorrow 11:10 p.m.
Friday, March 25, 1898
Wind N.N.W, fine clear but fearful frosty. All hands out on ice at 5:15 a.m. I included. Panned for Brown & myself, 32 hauled 24 each off pans. 1:30 ship got clear & picked a few pans. Crew did good work panned about 4000 to day. 6 p.m. all on board. I am fearfully tired. Fine night. S.S. Diana & Greenland close by 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 26, 1898
Winds N.N.W. Strong. Fine. Fearful frosty. Coldest day on ice since we left St. John's. Men can hardly work.
Left ship at 6:30 a.m. returned at 9:30 a.m. no seals to day ice, split up a bit. Ship getting in a few pans left from yesterday 3:30 p.m. 5:10 p.m. doing good work collecting pans up to date. Glass going down a little. Beginning to snow again. 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 27, 1898
8:30 a.m. Winds E.N.E. Dull but mild, little swell ice broken up. Ship loose picking up a few pans. No other work doing being Sunday. 1:30 p.m. still mild but thick fog. Ice still slack. Ship steaming about on spec. Ship burnt down till daylight.
Monday, March 28, 1898
Wind N.E. Dull no wind. Got up steam at 5:30 a.m. put out all hands & panned during day about 3000 seals. Ice loose little swell. Dull all day. Expect to finish to morrow. Want about 250 more to finish. Captain well pleased to day. 8:30 p.m. about eight more pans out yet. Ship burnt down till morning. Ship too deep to risk steaming after night. Still dull & mild. No wind. 9:10 p.m.
Tuesday, March 29, 1898
Wind N.E. Dull. No winds. Ice slack. Men panning seals all day ship full under deck 20,000. Panned about 1000 seals scarce expect to finish tomorrow if fine. At 6:30 p.m. steamed up with Aurora at 7:30 p.m. was close by her. Captain Kean came on board. Hails for 25,000. Fine night but dull no wind. 9:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 30, 1898
Winds S. Beautiful morning. Mild light breeze. Men out on loose ice after scattered seals 11:30 a.m. got a little thick. 2:30 p.m. cleared off men out again. 6 p.m. all on board did fairly well. Killed about 800. 6:15 the joyful words came from the captain "boys we have enough". Bore up for home amid firing of guns and cheers 7:10 p.m. 7:50 p.m. had to stop. Tube of boiler broke. Made repairs & got steamed up again by 10:30 p.m. Beautiful night, ice tight. 10:45 p.m.
Thursday, March 31, 1898
Wind S.W. light & clear. Ice slacking. At 6:30 sighted Baccalieu & kept nearing it all day through tight ice. Beautiful day. Crew killed about 30 seals coming along at 8:30 got jammed. Ship going dead slow. 9:25 p.m. got thick with rain. 10:30 p.m. ship got clear & moved slowly along hope she will continue till morning.
Friday, April 1, 1898
5:30 a.m. Wind S.E. mild but a little thick. Steamed all night off Baccalieu at 6:30 a.m. in clear water going up Bay. Sea smooth, expect to arrive at Harbour Grace about 12:30 a.m. Dropped anchor at 10:55. Two ships in S.S. Greenland & Panther. Number of Seals Stowed Under Deck.
Monday, March 21 11820
Tuesday, March 22 none
Wednesday, March 23 620
Thursday, March 24 360
Friday, March 25 340
Saturday, March 26 2982
Sunday, March 27 600
Monday, March 28 none
Tuesday, March 29 3200
Wednesday, March 30 1000
Thursday, March 31 840
Full Tally Landed 21,782
Darius Green (cook)