Monday, May 21, 2012
Women at Sea: More From the Whaling Wife
Friday, July 3, 1846: Light winds and weather more pleasant though cloudy and bad heavy swell. One whale sighted, boats have not lowered it being too rough. My employment has been of various kinds, cooking, making poultices for some hands, and numerous small jobs. No chance for idleness here nor lonesome feelings, plenty noise and work. Day closes with the sea more regular and cloudy.
Saturday, July 4, 1846: Beautiful and pleasant all day, warm enough without fire. Saw whales and chased hoping to get one as it would serve our purpose for a celebration but none could be got. At 6 PM we made the land called Roca Pamlonia 40 miles distant. Hope to go nearer, bore by compass N by E. How pleasant to the eye is the sight of land though distant. I often feel that if I can once more see my native land and walk thereon I shall prize it more than I ever did before.
Roca Pamlonia is a stretch of rock some sixty plus miles from the mouth of Prince William Sound near Valdez, Alaska. It is a treacherous area that has been known to chew ships up in bad weather. But Mary’s longing for land speaks to the trouble of “sloth” – depression – that she fought with during her years at sea.
Header: Daguerreotype of Mary Brewster via the Mystic Seaport Historical Society