Nov 302010

The Cruise

Chapter 1

The summer of 1895 had turned extremely hot, especially about the middle of July and the harvest crew that were threshing wheat on the plains east of the Salinas river which divided the county into two distinct climatical parts, were sweltering in the awfull [sic] heat of those days.

Many men had been taken on, to replace those who had been overcome with the heat, as many as three per day were laid in the shade of those beautiful oaks which grow no where else in the state of California as they grow in that county “San Luis Obispo”.

It had been so hot in fact, that the crew had been laid up from 12 noon to 2:30 p.m. To wait for the breeze which was usually always dependable to spring up about the middle of the afternoon during all the summer months except about 3 or 4 days each month, when it was sultry until after sundown. The thermometer generally standing at about an average of 112 sometimes running up to 118 during these few days.

The times I speak of was just one of those 3 or 4 periodical days. The boys were laying under the shade of the oaks and some had taken to the water wagon, which was as cool if not cooler than the shade of the trees because of the constant dripping of the water from the tank.

The coast lay about 25 miles due west of us, and during the summer people who lived on these plains, whenever they could, when the harvest was over, and before, if it was possible to get their grain threshed early, traveled to the summer camps of which there was several on the beach, and those camps were scenes of many joyous weeks of camp life, boating, swimming, bathing, calm-digging and at night, a great bon-fire was build from the beach drift, and page wood, which was plentiful and eas[il]y had. Around this the older people sat and run over again, the many [inslimer ?? endeavors] of farm life, back on the hot [sandy ?? fiery] plains at home or reminisces of younger days while the young folks danced around and such dances as we had all out under the stars and the surf at our back and a large hole dug in the middle of the camp ground in which roasted clams enough for all. It was usually 12 o’clock before our night frivolity broke up. How could we who were doomed to spend the long hot summer months 30 and 50 miles away, and working 16 ½ hours a day fell anything but contempt for our work and a longing for the cool foggy coast. It was as much as we could do to keep at out work and all our boyish plans were what we [were] going to do when harvest was over and it seems as though everything was going to take place on the coast, no plan was laid but what it had the coast for a starting point.

Under this water wagon I lay on this July day in a half doze, my head under a leak and the persperation soaking my clothes, day dreaming of the time when the harvest would be over and then the whole month on the coast at the beach, bathing in the surf which I enjoyed so much, when I heard some one of the boys say “Here he is under the wagon, but you must get him out. It’s too hot. Get down and tie your horse in the shade and get in it yourself, you will melt sitting there. Have you had dinner. Well go over to the work house and tell the cook you are hungry, everybody eats here.” Which is, “by the way”, a harvest rule never broken, if a stranger even if he is a tramp, drops in around noon or supper time, he must eat, and it is a disrespectful act bordering on insult to decline.

I over heard much of the conversation, but did not trouble myself to see who or ask who the man was, as almost daily the same dialogue was indulged in, and it was of no interest to me. I must have dozed away into a pretty sound sleep for when I next was roused, it was by being dragged by the heels from under the wagon and someone saying get out of this you old lazy dry boner. Dry boner was a name given to the people who lived or work on this side of the coast Mts. Or on the plains, as it was called. Gathering myself for a tussle, I kicked loose and springing up. Who should I see but an old chum of mine, R.P. by name, who had left [acaclips] in the spring working on a ranch, but later had gone to the coast and engaged in the sea otter trade.

“Say, kid”, he said to me, “come and join us on the coast in our otter hunting trip. We like one more fellow and I have recommended you to the rest of the crew and have come all the way from the coast after you. I know you will never regret it. We are making good money and expect to double our catch when we get away to the hunting grounds which is about 75 miles up the coast at a place called Big Sur. He talked about 1 hour and oh how he pictured what a great sport it was and how much we could make, and about all the cool days which had more to do in persuading me that[n] his talk of money and sport. At last I consented to go, but how [?] I had no horse and it was 15 miles to the nearest town where I could get one and I was an <awfull> poor hand at footing it. He quickly overcame my objections in that line by saying he would ride and tie1, all [an] old cowboy trick I knew well. So at 3 o’clock in the afternoon on the 25th of July, 1895, I <imbarked> upon one of the most delightful trips I ever had taken, and at the present writing, have taken since.

The Cruise…NEXT

1 [One person starts out running, the other starts on the horse and rides down the trail as far as they think their partner can run (or walk) and still keep up a decent pace. At that strategic point the rider stops, dismounts, ties the horse to a tree or fence post, and continues down the trail on foot. The team member who started on foot gets to the horse, unties it, mounts, and rides to catch their partner up ahead. When they get to their running team member they can either stop and exchange, or ride further up the trail and tie the horse and then continue running. RWR]

The Big Sur Expedition notes say that that expedition started out in February of 1895, yet this “Cruise” started in July of the same year. This story however, claims to be the first sea adventure.

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 Posted by at 12:00 pm  Tagged with:
Nov 292010

Ch. (2)

Arriving in town, we hired another paddle horse, and taking a trail through the coast range Mts. Arrive at out destination the second afternoon fresh and full of pep. Being at the time 20 years old in fact I found that with only one exception, no one over 22 years. I find lot of husky robust fellows ready for any emergency and a good natured lot as well. I found a camp yet unorganized, waiting for my friend and I which made up the complete crew. I had never been on the ocean in a small boat, and at first they looked frightfully small and frail to battle with the mighty power of the waves and breakers, especially so when I was told that every night we were to land for camping ashore, by the way, I was chilled and had been since our arrival. What a contrast I found it. Thee days before I was actually suffering with the heat and now, with the cold, and the wind blew continually always fro the west or north-west, but I gradually become acclimated and before two weeks had passes I was enjoying it with all by youthful vigor. Caulking our boats was my first work as a seaman, some experience is needed for this work as I found soon after undertaking the work, but after a fashion I finally did the half of one boat, some 16 ft. Our boats ranged from one 22 foot double-ended one to one 16 ft. flat bottom and a small one, 12 foot keel bottom. The caulking finished, I was to have a try out ride, to try my nerve, I suppose, and try it they did. I was told to get right into the middle of the boat and take my seat with oars in place and pull when the word was given. Now I had never pulled or rowed a boat and I had never given it a thought, but what it was so simple that one needed no instructing. One of the boys was going to initiate me in surfing, as surfing was going to be our principle vacation during our cruise. Every thing being ready and I as the locomotion power they shoved her out into the surf and as soon as the boat was afloat the fellow who was running the initiation program shouted Pull, and I plunged both oars into the water and they plunged so deep, that I could not get any action on them, the handle was about my head and try as I would I could not get any motion on the boat.

Rube was shouting at the top of his voice. Pull, pull or you will swamp us. I for some inquisitive reason looked over my shoulder and what I saw stirred me to quicker action than even Rube’s startled cry of pull, a breaker about 12 to 15 feet away and as large as a small hill, just<ring> starting to comb, was rushing down on us. I knew enough about the situation to know I should hit this wave with as much power as I could command, in order to drive us through it, or it was all day with the initiation. So scrambling and working to get the oar out and pulling with all my strength, at the same time our boat began to mount the coming wave, when I at the very instance got my oar in the position again for the critical moment, which was to take us over the mountain of water, but something happened. I did not realize what at the time unless I had in my frightened strength, broke an oar, but I did know that I saw my heels going over my head as I plunged backward into the bottom of the boat and instantly I was smothered in tons of water, even at this calamity, I caught through a heavy shower of water, the form of Rube being pitched head foremost out and over the side of the boat, then all was dark and a mighty roar, it seemed hours, but really could only have been seconds before I was thrown cleat of the boat, and towards the shore. I sank once more, and on coming up was able to touch bottom, and a minute later I was out on the sand. Rube had been carried out shortly before, but none the worse for our experience except a thorough wetting and a bit short of nerve

But, oh, how cold, my teeth fairly ached, and talking was out of the question, my teeth was chattering at an awful rate.

At the camp, which was only a stone’s throw from the water, I got into any clothing, and, a moderate dose of poison soon put me on my mettle again. Several opinions were discussed as to how the accident occurred. I thinking all the time I had broken an oar, but later when the oars came ashore the were found in good repair, and the opinion of all then, an oar lock or rather my oar had jumped out of a lock, causing our disaster.

It was several days before another attempt was made to put me through the 1 degree again. Meanwhile, I fell for the work of painting the boats. When the painting was done, someone suggested we should name them, but what name and which boat should have such name, caused a long and hot rangle. But we finally came to an agreement. There was 3 girls that some or most of the boys knew, and of coarse their name won. The larger double-ended was names after a young and pretty school teacher “Lizzie Engles”, the middle sized boat was adorned with the name “Anabel”, the little one was “Dora”. To the best of my knowledge, those girls still retained their maiden names, at least there was none of our crew that was lucky enough to change it.

The Cruise…NEXT

 Posted by at 6:58 pm  Tagged with:
Nov 282010

On the 15th of August, with enough provision for three months, we put to sea with out mishap, with all hands who had signed for the trip, except one fellow, who we all believed was forced out of our trip through shear fright. Several days previous, he had been out on the reef fishing with some of the boys and on coming in through the breakers they capsized and he was, or believed he was, all but drowned, and from that day on the would not venture out, and finally most pressing duties called for his presence at home.

The weather was glorious, not a cloud marked the beautiful sky, just shedding her last of the morning stars, and the faint streak of light in the east heralding the coming of one of the most beautiful breaking of day I had ever witnessed. The boat I was assigned to was the long 22 ft. double-ended, and the first one out as it took all of the other boys to help launch her, and she was loaded heavy, as we had all of the provisions, the camping utensils and bedding were carried by the other two boats and were considerably lighter to handle. After making a successful launching and well before the danger line of breaker we lay to, watching the coming of the other two boats. The first one got away in fine style, but the little boat with only two men to handle her, they made at least a half dozen attempts before successfully getting away, but I should in ¾ of an hour, we were all laying alongside of each other preparatory to getting away on our first lap of 65 or 70 miles. My boat carried two oarsman and the steersman. Jack E., who was later elected as captain with full authority as to the sea end and boating. The other two boats only carried two men each, making 7 men in all. Our boat took the lead, but being so heavy loaded, she pulled hard and I being green, we were soon passed by the other two. I would judge that we were about 6 or 7 miles from shore when I felt my feet was wet, but could not think of any way why they should be. I pay very little attention to it, for probably 10 minutes, but on shifting them back again, I put then down in about 6 inches of water. Instantly I called Jack’s attention to it and we immediately started an investigation, all the heavy boxes and snug packing away of other article had to be carefully handled and so piled that the boat would keep an even keel and being very much handicapped but the rolling of the boat, made this work tiresome as well as a bit dangerous. It must have took at least half an hour to locate the leak, but found it came in at the bottom, and our work of replacing the cargo must have sprung a wider leak, as the water actually now spurted up from the bottom as streams as wide and thick as my hand. When I saw this I yelled for a bucket, and while I was bailing furiously, Jack had signaled the other boats, and taking my place at the bucket, directed us to row our boat for shore which we did without and urging. Jack held his own with the incoming water and when about ½ way to shore, another leak opened and with double the amount to handle the water rapidly gain, while I noticed we were gradually sinking, the water was now only 4 inches below the row locks and my head about 2 feet about the water level, I knew if it came to a swim for it I was doomed, as I never could swim over 30 or 40 yards, I began to watch the shoreline and plan on how I could manage to make shore as I has planned to cling to my oar if worse came to worse. Jack was urging and cheering us, by calling to us to pulled with a long steady and strong stroke, and that we are going to <made> I believe “By Golly” the perspiration was now flowing freely from the three of us and I do not think is ever run form my face and body any faster while on the plains and the thermometer at 118° that it was running now. Every thing I noticed was afloat in the boat that could float and that which was too heavy to float was submerged. We neared the shore but with a waterlogged boat it was dragging oh, so slow, we hardly seemed to be moving. The other two boats had came up and passed us. Jack directing them to put for shore with all speed and stand by to assist us as best they could. The nearer our boat settled to the water’s edge the more pressure it seemed to create and by furiously bailing now, it looked as though we had a shadow of a chance of getting in. I remember hear Jack shout, “The boys have landed” and we are going to going into the first swell of the line of breakers. I could not see the shore, my back being toward shore and all my attention now was on the rising water in the boat. I now felt the raising of the boat as she took the first swell and felt her settle into the trough of the next, as the roller became higher and more frequent our boat began to take water over the sides, and instinctively I knew we had reach[ed] the end of our run, for as soon as she rose on the next one, and would plunge down into the wall of the next she was swamped, and I had guessed aright., for when she began to rise on an<d> extra large, she did not take it at the stern and began to allow herself to be sucked into it. I yelled to Jack who’s back was to it, to look out, she was going, he yelled back, take to the water over the side and jump far out. We all seemed to jump at once and the same roar and darkness that I had experienced on my initiatory trip, came over me, and I had a sensation of being carried and rolled over and over under water. My experience in water had been to keep my mouth shut and not fight, and this I did fairly well, but fight I must and did at the same time I knew I was doing wrong, but it seemed I must get on top or my chest and head would burst. At last I could hold no longer and I open my mouth to gasp for air, knowing water was all I would get. When Oh God, how fresh and abundant the good air was. I was on top, but still being tumbled and rolled, and of course could see nothing or hear only the thunderous roar of the surf. At once I was dragged under again I had now my doubt of surviving many more such horrible strain put on me, but this time I was only under a few seconds and up I came, my feet touching assuredly on form bottom. The last time I was thrown down I was on good footing and help was at hand. Jack and Pablo cane through in about the same manner as I had, and with help we were soon on the dry sand reviving. Our boat was still in the surf, being still right side up, but completely submerged. The other boys finally with many attempts got a line on her or her own <paniter>, and she was pulled ashore as far as the water could assist and the unloading of her began.

The Cruise…NEXT

 Posted by at 6:59 pm  Tagged with:
Nov 272010

The attempt was again put into operation to start some 6 or 7 days later, with fresh provisions and all boats in good repair, we pulled out to seas one morning at dawn, and you may be very sure that I critically eyed the bottom of our boat for many miles until my interests were attracted to something that was strangely new to me. My trouble for the the first 8 or 10 miles was barking my knuckles on the handle of the oar. I was unable to space the ends and row with any speed or power. For a good many days, about 10 o’clock in the forenoon, my hands although hard, form the late harvest field, began to pain is if blistered. This was a great surprise to me, as my hands had not blistered very easily, at anytime and especially not after the hard work I had previously done. Now with the insides blistered and the skin bruised on the backs and becoming wet as often as they did by my dipping and missing splashing salt water, attempting to row, nearly put me below. I suppose it would be foolish to say that my back began now to ache, until I thought I would have to give up to save my life. But I had a sort of an old bulldog sicktoitiveness inherited from my grandfather, who had never laid down in all his 80 years, regardless of his work, so I would shift my seat and duck into it. But I certainly was suffering. I wonder where we would stop for lunch and how the other fellows, who sat behind me was fairing. By the dip of his oars I imagined he was growing tired. When I was on the point of calling a halt, as my hands were becoming almost to[o] tender to grasp the oar, Jack came forward and asked to spell me a mile or so. That I look about fagged, I spiritly replied, I was as tired as ever, but ravishingly hungry, so while he took my place, I rummaged through the chest, which there was one, in each boat on long pulls, containing a cold lunch. I believe I never enjoyed straight bread and cold meat as I had now. Before I had eaten my sandwich, we pulled up to the other two boats who had stopped to wait our coming and enquire into the welfare of everyone and discuss lunch. I was not the only one tired and hungry. We lay gently swinging with the long smooth glassy swells and ate our well earned lunch. We had now traveled about half our distance and from now on we had considerable of a point to round before we came into the little harbor we were making for. The wind which as a rule spring up early in the P.M. Began now to blow gently from the north-west and increased in strength as we progress. Our progressing became slower and rougher as we were facing directly into it. As we neared Gordo Point, we swung into the coast or beach to avoid the chop out side.

We pulled abreast the point about 4 in the afternoon and the point gave back to us a cross chop which was most difficult to make a progress in. We were at least 1 hour rounding this place. The distance probably was something like 2 miles but we safely rounded it and leaving the chop it now became less difficult to row. We arrives at the landing about 6 o’clock, beaching our boats without an<d> accident. I was thankful beyond measure to step ashore. While some of the boys unloaded the boats others were preparing supper. Just before sundown, we had eaten and made camp and tired was I. Sand makes a very heavy bed and know of nothing as hard as sand to lie on. But this night I never woke, until called for breakfast. I was so sore and stiff the next day I was <allmost> out of commission. The third day we set out down the coast a foot to investigate a lave herd of sea-lions which we had noticed on our way up several days before. It was a tramp of 4 or 5 miles but the walking was good, until we got opposite the point where they had been seen. But now, as we were several hundred feet above the water’s edge the descent was strewn with boulders of all shapes and sizes, a sort of trail lead down which was extremely steep, we carried among us several rifles, and it was no child’s works getting down to the beach. But we be accustomed to roughing it in all <manner> of bad places, at last found ourselves at the bottom of the cliff and within 200 yards of an<d> immense herd of all sizes of these animals.

The males were said to weigh as much as 1 ton, of which we saw several. The rock on which they lay was perhaps 150 yards from shore, flat on the top, over which the waves occasionally broke but on the whole was a excellent place for sun bathing which they seemed to be very fond of. Among the herd were scores of young about the size of an ordinary cow and look a great like one. The old sea-lions are of a tawny color, but the young are coal black and are <rear> on shore until several months old, when the females commence training them in the art of swimming. It is an interesting scene to watch this process. They are helped out to this flat rock by the older ones, when they can swim but, a little and after an effect almost human, a great deal of maneuvering is gone through with getting them up on to the rock. The water is swarming with the young, all eagerly clambering to get up but this feat they can not accomplish along without the aid of either the mother lion or the swells. About every 6 or 7 swell which rolled shoreward, is always much larger than the others and these swells are the ones which carry, if it is extra large. The rocks, now the mothers who are swimming among the young seem to know it is of no use to try, helping up the babies until assisted by the water, so they <swam> and <loiter> until these two or three large swell come and then business commences!

They swim to and from assisting the young over the edge mount up on the rock and a more interesting <proformance> I have never seen. In order to observe this, we had to be cautious as they are very shy and have a <quiet> <and> sharp eye.

Some even saw us as we descended the cliff side. It took time for use to sneak and look to out footing, as well, to get within rifle range of this rookery. The frightened ones quickly slide into the water., but presently returned.

After observing their antics for an hour or more, one of the boys prepared to try a shot at some of the larger males. He met with a strong plea for mercy from the rest of the crowd, but he <insist> so strong for just one shot, that we finally consented to let him try just one. He singled out one very large bull, and his shot was true to the mark. The great yellow monster reared high in the air and barking loudly fell backward into the water, we could see him floundering in a whirlpool of bloody sea foam. He kept this up probably 2 or 3 minutes, then struck straight out to sea, followed by and angry school of males, who scenting the blood followed, and overtaking him, we concluded by the terrific fight we could just see far out at sea, that he was killed by his mates and eaten.

Our shot put to flight every one on the rock and it was at least an hour and a half before they became bold enough to come back. It was now growing late in the afternoon and we were about as hungry as we could be and have pep enough for our return tramp back to camp, so we turn ourselves toward home arriving tired and very hungry, but well paid for our day’s absence.

The Cruise…NEXT

 Posted by at 7:01 pm  Tagged with:
Nov 262010

This landing was know[n] as Pacific Valley or Cook’s Hole and consisted of a highland probably 60 to 80 ft. above high water. The Mountains which had every since our start from home <(Puceda Alaveho)> had hugged the shore so close that there was no space for even a trail, and that many <lirnes> for miles, had taken the ridges from the shore, and at an<d> elevation of 3 to 5000 ft. But on passing Point Gorda the mountains had swing back from the shore, leaving a bench or mesa, averaging ½ mile wide and swinging again down to the waters’s edge, about 6 or 8 miles from the point of forming the valley, making a beautiful spot <braurrsed> at many points by being out from the mountains to the ocean by small creeks or brooks. Lining these beautiful streams were red-woods and alders making a glorious combination of colors.

I believed on beholding this spot I had never saw any place to compare with it. Some 3 or 4 families controlled this valley and they had no cause to fear any outside influence to mar this peaceful and grand home life. No road lead into to it. No road lead out, and in fact no road lead and where because there was no road. The mountains back of them which parallel the coast was to[o] steep and rough fro roads, and down the coast it was the same and up the coast ditto. They had wagons. You know doubt will ask the same question I did. “What use have they for wagons?”

I found out that the wagons can be used put to many purposes in a place of this kind. I have seen places where it was impossible to get a wagon, but instead the mountaineers used sleds, on observing the wagon in Pacific Valley, I saw at once where these people had improved on others who did not have them. They here in the valley raised considerable hay and grain, but especially for home consumption, now this product had to be moved and the valley being several hundred acres in area, they found it could be handled at a much better advantage by wagons then by sleds so wagon were either packed in over the mountains or shipped down the coast in schooners and brought ashore in lighters. In fact all of their produce was handled this way except the cattle, these were driven out over the mountains to the railroad some 35 or 40 miles. All lumber used, was sawed by the people with a small mill, and I must say I saw no better houses and farms than I saw here on our entire trip, even places that were accessible to towns. The also had a grist mill for family use and their <infirmmity> and progressiveness was to me quite astonishing . Everything was as in a pioneer day. They bought only that which it was impossible to make themselves and sold cattle and hogs. The hogs were shipped out by water being loaded as I say in a schooner by lighters.

Our stay here was one round of pleasure. There was nothing to[o] good for us, and we were reluctant to leave, but we had planned to run in here for only a stay of one or two days and nearly a week was now gone., So one bright and early morn, we pulled out for out next landing some 18 or 20 miles north across a bay know[n] in that locality as Lime Kiln bay, but not shown on the maps. We were headed for Big Creek or Arroyo Grande, beyond Lopez Point. It was a grand morning, as we were out own masters, we always tried to pick a smooth and windless day, and this proved one of them. I had now become reconciled to the swing of the boat, the gradually rising and sinking of the boat in the sells which at first gave me a sensation of never rising or descending again, now had become unnoticeable, and I began to enjoy the many curious object that abound in the ocean. Birds I saw were on object of great wonder to me. I knew most all the land birds and their habits so naturally I was deeply interested in what I saw here, especially the vast numbers. The day me left Pacific Valley, we run into a steady stream of birds flying southward some 50 or 75 yards wide, and as far as the eye could see and they continued to fly all that day and were flying still at dusk. The next morning I saw from the shore the same black line <steading> going southward. Two weeks later I saw the same thing over again, but this time flying northward. I was told the name of these birds was Black Shearwater, later I have seen them flying swiftly in some one direction where suddenly the leaders would begin to circle, in perhaps an area of 20 acres, and this would continue until a vast multitude of birds were circling, as thick as they could fly, finally settling into water. I wonder for sometime at this vast assemblage, curious to know what they were doing. At last I found they would fly in this fashion until a school of sardines or herring was sighted, when they would at once begin circling and feasting until the school wound sink for protection, then after a few minutes of a most tremendous crying and squawking they would straighten out by following the leaders and continue in one long line, swiftly in pursuit of their prey, which would be probably many miles before they would find another school. The sea parrot near Point Lopez where I first saw them, was another curious bird, pretty of color, but very clumsy and awkward on land and almost as ungainly in the water. They have a bill resembling almost identically the beak of a parrot. The cormorant I believe to be the best swimming bird of any I saw, being of an unsightly appearance, his looks does not appeal to me, but his swimming is so marvelous, his looks at once become really handsome. He is a bird some 35 inches in length and glossy black. I have know him to swim under water 300 yards and at such speed that one man pulling a boat, try as he would, could not overtake him, and he kept this strenuous work up for at least 30 minutes under very trying circumstances, as we were shooting at him every time he came up, not allowing him a moment for rest or air. We were about I should say, half way across the bay between the Valley and Arroyo Grande, when I noticed as I was looking shoreward a great white blot on the shore which resembled a landslide, but the distance be so great I could not distinguish what it was. It was at least 8 or ten miles distance. Calling Jack attention to this, he told me it was what gave this bay it’s name. It was Lime Kiln Landing, and one of the most dangerous landing on the coast of California, only one line of breakers occureded there, and they broke immediately on the pebble, as it was a rocky beach, and there was no danger of getting ones feet wet, as the undertow was so great, that the instant the swell broke, it was carried out in this suction or undertow, 30 feet from where the swell broke it had a depth of 250 and 100 ft. out it measured the enormous depth 500 ft. Several men at various time being drowned here, by being caught only by a few feet of breaker. The landing was carried on by the means of a crane guyed into the solid rock from a shelf of rock cut and blasted out f the mountain side creating a space some 80 ft. square. This crane was operated by hand, using blokes and tackle to lower or raise from a lighter or boat which was loaded from a schooner anchored some ¼ of a miles off shore, but at the time I was there it had not been in operation for many years.

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 Posted by at 7:02 pm  Tagged with:
Nov 252010

Abreast of Lopez Point, I saw what gave me more courage in regard to boating than anything that had yet came to me as it was still a mystery to me how much our boats would endure, and why they did not swamp when encountering the many <crise ire> choppy seas we were at times compelled to ride into. But when out here on the lonely deep many miles from shore, we hailed and spoke a solitary fisherman who I judged to be a Mexican, who’s boat was almost square and flat bottom drawing not more than 3 or 4 inches of water and made of redwood board roughly jointed or nailed together and the few minutes we detained him, he was obliged to bail out his boat several times. I looked around at our trim <slainch> easy swaying Lusitanias and at felt absolutely safe. If such a makeshift could and did <plared> the choppy sea that we were beginning to feel, and which is always encountered abreast any point of land, I knew we were perfectly safe with our heavy cargoed boats. He asked us for tobacco and giving us such information as we asked for and bailing again he rowed away, saying as he did so, that he thought it was time to take in his lines and head for shore as it looked like a blow might overtake him if he lingered much longer.

The wind did spring up from the southwest and was to our relief and advantage in helping us as it was blowing directly into the cove where we were intending to land.

As we neared the shore in the last 2 miles of our run, I was unable to see where there was even a ghost of a change for a landing if we were to land anywhere near in the direction we were headed. For the mountains were becoming almost sheer bluffs and a head of us could be seen to the right and left from where we were steering nothing but the white line of breakers with no trace of a sandy beach. I kept my silence, but nevertheless was becoming anxious, for as far as I could see, it was going to be impossible to get ashore.

Another mile soon passed, and still no sign of a sandy beach. I had noticed for some minutes though, by getting a line from the bow of the boat the shore, that we were heading dead into, two very large rocks, which was heretofore so much like in appearance to the main shore and steep mountains that we were within 3 or 4 hundred yards of shore before they could be distinguished as huge rocks, standing somewhat apart from the mainland. I concluded at last that this must be out goal. When just outside of the breakers, Jack signaled the other boats to come up, which they did, and got their instructions for landing. As they pulled cautiously toward the narrow space between these two portals, I gazed with wonder on the wonderful sight of towering mountains which seemed to be immediately in front of us, and reach in sheer precipices thousands of feet high, where could we ever find space enough to make even a bed or cook our meals in this rocky bluff of brown, caused by the low sage and chaparral brush which grew on the steep mountain sides was more than I could tell. Many thousands of feet about and miles inward from shore I did see some timber but only the tops, over the bluff at the water’s edge. Still I held my peace, and guessed, wondered, and worried. The last of the two boats had landed safe, and as they were to helpers as our boat was to[o] large and heavy to try to land first, and it would be a calamity to have had an accident and loose provisions in this hole with no chance of replenishing them inside of 30 miles at the best and there from <launsher?rancher>, we always sent in the lighter boats first to assist the large boat to land safely. It now came our turn to run the gauntlet. Jack used particular caution on this occasion. Standing up in the stern with his paddle ready for <instance> use, “Urging us now, gently forward”, now to back water with all our strength, “again, hold her steady, ahead very slowly.” While he was eying the rollers astern with a quick and eager eye. At last on going over what I thought would surely swamp us, He yelled “pull, give me help boys”, himself setting instantly in his seat began to assist with his steering paddle, we rose now on a large swell and the order came Hold steady for a moment boys and we could feel the boat being out run by the swell and just as she began to settle the last might, Jack yelled again now pull, it our last chance, and believe me we pulled, and being just in the right position, we were slid swiftly and safely into the hands of our four comrades who stood knee deep in the surf to receive us the the water receded, we were left high and dry on a little sandy beach not over 200 ft long, directly between those two large rocks I had seen when far out at sea.

All was bustle now for perhaps half hour or so longer unloading the boats as it was impossible to drag them up out of the reach of high water while loaded. After securing our boats we in turn gathered up what articles was needed for making our camp and walking through and over sane that was piled up in the form of a levee, we descend into Paradise.

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The Cruise…NEXT

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