Brazil and the Portuguese Islands

We hoisted sail just at night, and steered away in an east northeast direction until we crossed the Grand banks, and then stood away for the Azores, where, after 20 days’ sail, we made the Island of Carvo, one of that group of Islands. Here we stopped a few days and took in 500 bushels of potatoes and 100 bushels of onions. There was no harbor in this place; so we were obliged to go ashore in our boats. The people brought down the above articles on their backs. Men, women and children were all engaged in supplying us with the above articles. We paid them in oil, of which they were very fond. What they do with it I know not. They were a very kind people to strangers, but poor. From this place we sailed for the Cape De Verds, on the coast of Africa. We were forty-two days in sailing from the former to the latter island. We touched at the island of Buenavista, one of this group, where we took in thirty-two hogs, for which we paid corn, meal and bread. These people are of a very dark hue, and speak the Portuguese language. Here we stopped but four days, when we set all sails and steered away a southwest course, for the Brazil Banks, where we arrived, after a sail of forty-two days.

Here we commenced fishing for whale, but for a time had bad luck, owing to the drunken habits of our Captain. We sunk twelve whales before we caught one. Then we caught six in the course of two weeks. I harpooned all these, and assisted in taking and towing them along side the ship. After we get a whale along side, we hitch our blubber hooks into the head, after severing it from the body, then, with our windlass, draw it aboard, and dip the oil out, which sometimes amounts to more than fifty barrels. After this, we commence cutting the whale in a circular manner with our spades; then we hitch the blubber hooks into the commencement next to where the head was taken off, and by pulling at the windlass, take off a large piece which will usually when tried and strained, produce ten barrels of oil. Before heaving on board this piece, another hook is fastened below the one to be taken off; when this is done with a cross blow from the spade, the first piece is separated from the rest of the whale. Then the cutting is continued in the same manner as before mentioned, and another piece torn off and swung aboard. This operation keeps the whale constantly rolling over until the mass of flesh is stripped from the carcass, which is then permitted to float off, or sink, and it becomes the sport of sharks, who feed upon the little flesh which remains after it has gone through the hands of the whalemen.

Here we stayed but six weeks before we took in 1600 barrels of oil. This was about 300 miles off the Brazil coast.


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