Posted by: Karlee A. Turner | May 10, 2014

10th May [1849 and 1860]

Mary Brewster, THURSDAY [May] 10th [1849]: “Early this morning the cry of land was heard which soon proved to be ice which we have been passing most of the day — The sea is as smooth as a river with a gentle breeze and we found no difficulty in keeping clear from it. It has been very cold all day though the sun shone but the air from the ice is cold enough. At 4 o’clock we thought we had got clear of this new and unexpected trouble and was congratulating ourselves upon our success — when we saw one of the ships which was ahead tack ship, it proved to be Capt. Destin who told us that he saw a large pack of ice ahead and we could not pass it in the night. Accordingly the sail was shortened and we are to work to windward till day appears.   LAT. 46.60   LONG. 145.50.”

NOTE: The three photos below show (top photo) the location of the Okhotsk Sea; (middle photo) a contemporary photo of a ship surrounded by ice fields in the Okhotsk Sea, and (bottom photo) a photo of just ice fields in the same sea. Lots of “floating cakes of ice” were common in the Okhotsk Sea, even as late as May 10 and beyond, depending on the year’s weather.  Numerous Charles W. Morgan (7th voyage) logbook entries dated 23rd April through 17th May 1865 in the logbook recorded: “….working through ice….” The same ice condition continued until 17th May, when the entry changed to: “Ice open!” Additionally, at least one whaling wife, when writing in her journal referred to the Okhotsk Sea as “a sea of ice.” Likewise, for captains, wives and crews, all those HUGE moving, floating cakes of ice caused many sleepless, anxious nights for all aboard; until by the end of May or beginning of June, finally broke up, melted and/or floated south.

Sea of Okhotsk


Mary Lawrence, [Thurs.] May 10 [1860]: “Fine weather, but very light wind and very warm. Made only 100 miles in twenty-four hours.”



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