Once again in the fall, Jared returned from the Arctic and prepared to take his family aboard the Roman for the between season cruise south towards the equator. They sailed from Honolulu on December 10, 1870. Early in January, 1871, they arrived at the Maria atoll, in French Polynesia.
Sailing between two of these small islands, Captain Jernegan saw the color of darker deep water change in the blink of an eye. As he shouted an order to "Wear ship," he turned the Roman away from the wind. Before he could turn the ship completely around, she thumped three times on a coral reef. Fortunately she was not leaking, and any danger soon passed. Although it was frightening to Helen and the children, they quickly returned to their routines as the Roman continued the search for sperm and humpback whales.