OUTFIT. OPINIONS OF THE ESQUIMAUX RESPECTING THE VOYAGE.
DESCRIPTION OF THE COMPANY. DEPARTURE FROM OKKAK. ARRIVAL AT NUNGOROME.
JUNE 16th, 1811. The ice began to loosen in the bay of Okkak, and to drive out to sea. On the 17th, the bay was quite cleared of it; but on the 18th, it returned, and seemed to preclude all possibility of settling out so soon as we intended. On the 19th, however, it left us entirely.
/7/ 20th. We were employed in hauling the boat to the edge of the water, and being floated by the tide, she came to anchor at six, P.M. She had been purchased by Jonathan, at Chateau-bay, and was about 45 feet long, twelve broad, and five deep, with two masts. We had furnished her with a complete deck, and divided her into three parts. The centre was our own cabin, into which all our baggage was stowed: the two other divisions were occupied by the Esquimaux. A small boat, brought from Lewis, was taken in tow.
21st. We began to ship our provision and baggage: viz. six cwt. of ship's biscuit, sixteen bushels of pease, one cwt. of salt pork and best beef, (of which but a small portion was consumed, as we were generally well supplied with fresh provisions, procured by shooting), a firkin of butter, half cwt. of captain's biscuit, one cwt. of flour, two small barrels of gunpowder, one cwt. of large and small shot, half cwt. of tobacco, two eighteen-gallon barrels of ale, a few bottles of brandy, eighteen pounds of coffee, which was all consumed, coffee and biscuits being our usual repast; a case containing knives, wire, nails, &c. for barter, if necessary; kettles and other utensils. Besides that every man had his fowling-piece, we had four muskets in reserve. After bringing all on board, we had just enough room to sleep in our cabin.
22d, was spent in conferring with our brethren, on various subjects relating to the voyage.
23d. All the Esquimaux met at the chapel, and in the most affectionate manner, and with many tears, bid us and our company farewell. They were the more affected with grief on this occasion, as the greatest part of our own Esquimaux thought the voyage impracticable, and expected that we should all perish in doubling Cape Chudleigh, (Killinek) on account of the violence of the currents, settling round between the cape, and the many rocks and islands /8/ which stretch from it towards the north. Reports had likewise been circulated of the hostile disposition of the Esquimaux in the Ungava bay; and it was boldly asserted, that even if we got there alive, we should never return. An old conjuror, (Angekok), ATSUGARSUK, had been particularly active in spreading these reports. We cannot deny but that they occasioned some apprehension in our own minds, but being fully determined to venture in the name of God, and trusting in His protection, we were thankful that they failed to produce the intended effect on Jonathan, our guide, and on the other Esquimaux, who were to go with us, and who all remained firm.
When Jonathan was told that the Ungava Esquimaux would kill him, he generally answered: "Well, we will try, and shall know better when we get there:" and once, conversing with us on the subject, expressed himself thus: "When I hear people talking about the danger of being killed, I think: Jesus went to death out of love to us, what great matter would it be, if we were to be put to death in His service, should that be His good pleasure concerning us."
24th. Having commended ourselves in prayer to the grace and protecting care of God our Saviour, and to the kind remembrance of our dear fellow missionaries, we set sail at two P.M.
Our company consisted of four Esquimaux families: 1. JONATHAN, and his wife SYBILLA, both between fifty and sixty years old. He was esteemed one of the most skilful commanders on the whole coast of Labrador, and for many years has shown himself both able and willing to serve the missionaries in a variety of ways. The boat was his own property, and we considered him as the captain of the expedition. 2. JONAS, Jonathan's son, and his wife AGNES, about thirty years of age, both intelligent, clever Esquimaux; they had their five children with them; SOPHIA, twelve years /9/ old, SUSANNA, JONATHAN, THAMAR, and SYBILLA, the youngest but half a year old. 3. PAUL, and his wife MARY, very agreeable, sensible people, about twenty years of age. Paul is Jonathan's cousin, and a man of a very warm temper. In activity and skill, he was next to Jonathan. 4. DAVID, and his mother RACHEL, the first a hopeful young man of about twenty, and the latter a good-natured old woman, who had the care of our clothes and linen, and kept them clean and in good order. Besides these four families, we took with us a boy, OKKIKSUK, an orphan, about sixteen, whom Jonathan had adopted, and who promised to reward the kindness of his guardian by his good behaviour. He was always ready to render us every service in his power.
We were attended on the voyage by a skin-boat (or woman's boat) in which were THUKKEKINA and his wife, and their adopted child MAMMAK, a boy twelve years old. Their age is about forty. The skin-boat was intended as a refuge, in case of any accident happening to our own boat, and was useful in landing, as we never brought the large boat close in shore. The first four families belong to Hopedale, Thukkekina and his wife to Okkak. They considered it as a great favour conferred on them to be permitted to accompany us. JONAS and his family occupied the after-part, and the rest the fore-part of the boat. The wind was moderate, and due west. We lost sight of our habitations in about half an hour, behind the N.E. point of the island Okkak, called Sungolik.
At three, passed Cape Uivak, a cape on the continent, forming a moderately high headland, and the nearest place to Okkak, where Esquimaux spend the winter. Two or three winter-houses were standing.
The wind failing, we cast off the skin-boat, which rowed merrily a-head. Before us, between the islands to the east and the continent, we saw much drift-ice, and it required attention to avoid the large shoals, the wind coming round /10/ to the N.W. We cast anchor at NUNGOROME, a cove about ten English miles from Okkak, where we found several of our Esquimaux, who had here their summer-station. Several had come from Naujasiorvik and other places, on purpose to meet us, and once more to express their affection and best wishes for our safe voyage and return. Late in the evening, we met on a green spot, where Brother Kohlmeister delivered a short discourse and prayer, after which we retired to sleep on board the boat.