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TRAWLING LIFE INDEX
 

 

By Courtesy of Hilary

 

Extracts taken from a small notebook Hilary bought which depicts a voyage on a Hull Trawler to Iceland in 1922

 

August 25th 1922

Left Grantham 9.30 am Arrd Doncaster 10.40 and Hull 12.10.  Taxi to Pier Hotel.  Boat in river right opposite waiting. Board 12.50.  Set sail1.10.  Passd Grimsby 2.10.  Raining.  Had some champion soup and boiled beef. Spurn Point 3.0.  Sick 3.30 pm to 4.30 pm.  Wells on couch all afternoon.  Went to tea at 6 pm but had to leave it early sick again – no tea, had a biscuit.  Passd  Flamboro Head 7.45 pm. Lovely sunset.  Well sick.  Passed Flamboro 8 pm beautiful sunset Charlie too bad to look.  Went to bed 9 pm.  Charlie bit better.  I am alright.  Captain a bit white under the gills – several now sick.

 

August 26th Saturday

Charlie wanted the poe 1.30 am as he had to go outside.  Sea very rough as good as being in a swing boat.  Charlie is a ?beggar to snore.  Got up 6am.  Very stormy – Charlie very bad – I was not very grand had to shoot the cat at 6.30.  Passed Berwick 7.45 sea still rough.  Just had some bread and cheese and coffee took a lot of getting down can’t smoke yet.  9.30 am just been down below to see Charlie he is very bad yet I feel better but am as white as a sheet, sea coming over the end of ship.  10.40 am Charlie much better and sea much calmer.  Charlie on the bridge now but he don’t want any food yet – nor me.  Sun out grand but very cold wind.  1.30 am much calmer Charlie and I had a leg of chicken each no bread or salt think it has done us good.  Only seen two ships today.  1230 pm Charlie gone below to change.  Shall be glad when we can have a wash, not had one since left home and shan’t do yet if the waves don’t drop a bit now.  3pm not washed yet too rough.  Just had two ships biscuits.  Charlie still sick. 4pm we are all well.  6pm sighted Scotland first land since passing Flamboro last night.  Wind changed.  6.30 pm had first wash.  First meal 6.45 pm passed Aberdeen 7pm feeling like regular sailors.   Boat riding champion. 7.15 pm first pipe of bacca since left Hull.  7.40 pm passed Buccaness and saw a train running. 9.5 pm passed Peterhead saw a very large crane that had been wrecked.  10 pm raining. Went to bed,

 

Aug 27th Sunday

Head wind fine.  Got up at 3.45 am so we could see the north of Scotland passed Ness Head on left Pentland Skerries on right Duncansby Head on left Swonna on right Stroma and John O’Groats on left. 4.45 Kentick Head the entrance to Scaffa  (Scapa?) Flow.  5.0 Dunnett Head.  Lloys {Lloyds} signal station on left.  Hoy Head and Old Man of Hoy on the right.  We ?entranced to the Atlantic.  5.30 am saw a thresher shark – Charlie and I had a good breakfast at 7 am.  Sausages and chops.  Very big rollers in Atlantic but more comfortable than North Sea.  9.15 am Sule Skerry Lighthouse last point we shall see before reaching Iceland – Goodbye – 360 mile from Spurn Point.  9.30 am ?go by Nth.  Fixing nets all day – began to blow hard 10pm ship rolling very much. Shaved today, only saw 2 ships all day – we were close behind one that left Hull 4 hours before us. [470 miles from Hull Bed 10 pm crossed out] had to put box at Charlie’s feet to keep him from sliding out of bed.  Sea very rough.  Wind blowing a gale. 

 

Monday 28th

Although sea very rough we had a good sleep.  Charlie woke us up at 5 am snoring like a pig.  We are all very sorry for Mrs Wells.  Ham and eggs for breakfast in captain’s cabin. Lovely.  9.30 am 570 miles from Hull – sea getting a bit more reasonable.  We felt champion.  First time I could wash my teeth owing to bad weather.  9.30 am  Bond opened.  Milk very thick diluted with rum. Captain’s suggestion.  Case opened to determine the peculiar noise by the Chief Engineer.  We would not find where the noise came from without the aid of hammer and chisel.  Captain {I or J?] started to grow a scrubbing brush tash.  Wells to cabin at 10 am to make beds and general clean up.  12 pm dinner.  5 Charlie very fond of milk  Full up. Tea cancelled till 6pm   Charlie had to go forward 10 pm blowing hard got his bottom wet again, had to take his books and stockings off to back through the water.  Very rough.  Captain stopped the ship so as to make it possible for him to get back to the bridge.  Bed 10.20 pm very rough night did not get much sleep.  Mother never rocked us like this ship does. 

 

Tuesday 29th

Got up 6.15 am very rough.  Charlie had to go forward and got wet again.  His backside was never so clean since Mother finished with him.  7 am Breakfast bacon and tomatoes – we can eat like horses and feel quite fit.  Charlie makes a good cabin boy.  Beautiful whale close to ship 9 am Jolly good job we did not run into him.  Getting foggy.  Sea bit calmer.  9.35 am Log 784 miles from Hull.  Fog gone, but getting very cold, lovely air.  Not seen any ships since Sunday.  2.25 Iceland in sight. Mountains covered in snow. Passed Portland 6.45.  All snow.  Lovely sunshine.  Shot trawl 9.20 pm Iceland time 11.0 pm sun set 11.55 pm.  Trawl set and caught fish for breakfast a bout 18 cwt.  Charlie could not wait till morning so the boatswain cooked some for supper.  Bed 12 am English time. Blowing hard.

 

Wednesday August 30th

Very rough.  6.30am passed Racaness [Reykjanes?]. Saw steam rising from the hot springs.  Skipper very anxious at this point.  Very dangerous in bad weather.  8.35 am passing Faxa Bay all men say  this is exceptional weather for this time of year.  Passed first ship since Sunday 27th.  This is a lonely sea and must be terrible in winter time.  The sea birds are the sailors only companions and it is good to see how they love them.  9.30 am 975 m from Hull.  The ship just parted a little black duck from her brood of little ones, it seemed wonderful how they got together again through the big waves, the spray at this time was reaching above the bridge and struck the windows like a lot of gravel.  9.45 am abreast of Snaefel 4710 ft high. 1.30 pm heavy gale waves washing over  bridge.  Heating apparatus turned on 2.30 pm. Owing to storm anchored in ?Road Sand Bay 7.40 pm. 1043 miles from Hull.

 

Thursday Aug 31st

Gale still blowing.  2 more vessels arrived during the night.  We are all busy feeding the gulls with scraps.  It is good to see how the men love them.  We are anchored in front of perpendicular rocks.  They are 1 mile away but they look about 200 yards away.  They are covered in snow, wind blowing from East, very cold.  Just had a shave, wind cuts face like a knife.  Breakfast off cods tongues. Lovely.  Time here 2 hours in advance of Grantham.  1 pm sea still running very high.  2 pm 2 more ships arrived.  10 pm anchor weighed, Captain going to try and run to Adlavik? this is midnight  here and sun shining lovely.

 

Friday Sept 1st

1113 miles from Hull.  2.50 am saw the Northern Lights in the sky, this is caused by the reflection of the sun on the ice. 7am arrived at Adlavik?  all the rocks covered with ice and snow.  Started to fish at 7.20 am first haul 9.30 am comprising of Plaice, Cat Fish, Cod Fish, Soles, Haddocks, Halibuts about 30 cwt in all. 

 

Place

5

4

2

Haddock

21

17

14

14

Codling

17

13

12

10

Hallibut

½

½

½

 

                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                 Total

 

 

Plaice             2

5

2

21

Had                8

30

12

6

122

Cod                7

10

17

13

99

But                ½

½

½

 

3

 

Finish of 24 hours catch. Total before shifting grounds. 

Plaice 23½

Cod 86

Had 116

But  3____ 

        228½

 

Written in margin “7 ton ½”

 

Sea has been a dead calm since arriving this morning.  Sun quite hot, best day we have had.  It seems funny to see so much snow and ice with a hot blazing sun on.  It is also a treat to know we may not be swamped any minute.

 

Sat Sept 2nd

 

Fine.  Shifted to fresh grounds near North Cape.  Danish gun boat ?D.O.R. (possibly D.G.R. or D.G.B.) visited us at 9 am.  Good job we were outside the limit.  We are now a long way up in the Arctic regions.

 

Cod       6

22

10

12

10

27

15

Had       8

4

1

20

20

43

20

Place     3

2

1

2

1

6

1

But        x

x

1

1

2

3

 

Cat        x

X

11

10

11

36

16

 

1 lot of fish lost. Trawl broke.

 

Cod 102

Had 116

Place 16

Cat 84

Buts  __7_

         328

 

This being Saturday and market day Charlie had an afternoon off and went to bed for the afternoon poor chap.  Bed 10 pm.  Big swell on.  Total catch 328 Baskets.

 

Sept 3rd Sunday

 

Shifted to Stroumness.  Bit foggy.  All on board well.  Men appear to be getting tired.

 

Place

2

2

1

3

 

1

3

12

Cod

9

9

8

8

7

3

3

8

57

Cat

28

18

12

5

16

3

10

22

114

Had

13

20

17

7

21

1

12

23

115

Buts

1

 

1

1

 

 

 

 

3

 

Place 13    But 3

Cod 52

Cat 114

Had 115

 

Total 298

 

6 pm shifted to new grounds.  7.30 arrived North Cape.  Very rough.  1243 miles from Hull.

 

Sept 4th Monday

 

Back at Adlavik?  Very rough weather.  10 am gale worse running for shelter.  Men continually in water, waist of ship full.  I got thrown down today first time, had many narrow escapes.  Hope all plums don’t get blown off trees before I come home.  We have passed many islands and they are completely bare except a kind of moss.  2.45 pm arrived Adlavik? and anchored close to the rocks.  We have had an awful day up to now. 

 

Cod     3

4

3

3

3

 

 

17

Plaice  3

1

2

1

1

 

 

8

Had     7

9

13

12

17

 

 

58

Cat      3

1

18

27

23

 

 

72

But

 

2

 

1

 

 

3

 

Cleared out at 9 pm and ran to and fished in Isafiord.  Wind dropped but very heavy swell.  Bed 10.30 pm.

 

Sept 5th Tuesday

 

Heavy swell, shifted from Isafiord to North Cape.  Heavy swell.

 

 

Plaice

1

 

 

1

5

 

8

Cod

9

9

 

10

90

 

112

Had

6

7

 

13

110

 

136

Cat

 

10

 

14

20

 

54

But

 

 

 

 

1

 

1

                                                                                                                  Total         316

 

Total catch 316 Baskets.  Heavy gale all night.  Could not run for shelter owing to fog.  70 baskets fish washed overboard.  Men continually soaked in water.

 

Sept 6 Wednesday

 

7 am Gale blowing away.  Sea much calmer, now off Flotavik fishing.  Icy winds.

 

Plaice

3

2

1

3

 

Cod

7

7

9

99

28

Had

22

18

10

12

15

25

25

Cat

10

9

6

16

13

11

10

But

 

 

1

 

 

 

Ling 307 (could be 30)

Place 16

Cod 55                    266

Had 127

Cat  ­­­_68

        266

 

9 am Sea calm but very cold. 2 pm Sun out for a little while and quite grand, first time we have seen it since Saturday.  Lovely day.  It seems funny after the gales.

 

Sept 7th Thursday

 

Still fishing at Adlavik.  Sea calm but very cold.

                                                                                                                              Total

Plaice

5

4

1

3

4

4

4

 

25

Cod

6

7

5

9

10

10

8

 

55

Had

21

14

3

9

12

10

12

 

78

Cat

9

 

7

3

6

4

14

 

32

Buts

 

1

 

 

1

 

 

 

2

 

Total 224

 

Sept 8th Friday

 

Still fishing at Adlavik.  Heavy sea but nice day.  Sun very bright but still top-coat weather.

 

P

5

2

2

3

 

 

12

Cod

14

9

18

12

 

 

53

H

23

14

7

8

 

 

52

Cat

10

4

6

4

 

 

24

But

 

1 shark

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finished fishing 7.20 pm at Adlavik.  Left for Hull 7.45

 

Total catch

(in margin) 12 big halibuts

21 Barrells of liver

 

Plaice 114

Cod 566

Haddock 798

Cats 431

Big Halibut 12

 

Total 1921

 

And 1 big shark, the liver of which weighed 6 stones.  Wind began to blow at 9 pm, expect we are in for a bad passage home.  No sleep up to midnight. 

 

Sept 9th Saturday

 

Very rough all night, also fog.  Ship stopped at 2 am to enable captain to take bearings.  No body got any sleep.  Charlie off his feed.  3 pm fog cleared but seas very high.  It is a wonder the ship don’t break in half.  The nip in the air is not so keen now we are running south.  Rough seas still running.  Bed 10 pm. 

 

Sept 10th Sunday

 

Been very rough all night.  Engines broke down at 11.45 am when in middle of the Atlantic.  Put right 12.30 pm.  Captain wants to catch Thursday’s market but the weather and delay is worrying him.  He thinks we shall lose the tide.

 

Sept 11th Monday

 

Much rougher, deck always under water, lot of fog, shall be glad when we can get out of cabin and stretch our legs.  Losing our appetites.  Not had a wash since Saturday, getting a long beard. 

 

Sept 12th Tuesday

 

Roughest night we have had.  Passed Cape Wrath Lighthouse 6.30 am, we were then abreast of the mountains and got a smoother passage, sun shone 9 am quite a treat to be able to get on deck, we have not seen the sun since last Thursday, not been round deck since Friday.  Had a shave.  First land we have seen since Friday night.  Passed Dunnet Head and the Orkneys at 12 pm, signalled to the lighthouse who will telegraph us on to Hull which we expect to arrive on Thursday.  1.45 pm passed the Pentland Firth.  It was a treat to see green fields again.  North Sea is much calmer than the Atlantic.  Bed 8.30 pm. 

Sept 13th Wednesday

 

Had the best nights sleep since been on board.  Dull day, no wind, sea calm.  1.30 pm 100 miles from Hull.  Passing Whitby 8.30 pm.  The lights look lovely, should have liked to get out and have a walk on the prom.  9.30 pm Scarboro looked beautiful.

 

Thursday Sept 14th

 

Up at 1.30 am.  Entered the river at 3 am.  Changed my clothes, this was the first time I had my clothes off since Saturday August 26th.  6.30 am passing Grimsby.  Lot of vessels in river waiting for coal.  8.15 am arrd St Andrews Dock Hull, waiting for tide to get inside.  We had to fairly creep up the river owing to thick fog.  Inside Dock Gates 9.15 am.  Landed at the Fish Dock 9.35 am.  First basket of fish landed 9.53 am. 169 ton of fish.  Had a grand lunch with Captain Leighton at the Pier Hotel 1.30 pm.  Left Hull 2.50 arrd Doncaster 3.52 pm.  Left 4.56.  Arrd Gm 6 pm.  3 ship load of fish condemned on arrival owing to boats being storm bound.

 

H G Pearce ???

Sept 14th 1922