Fellow Whalers to the Rescue

The seven vessels that were spared had to dump their catch and most of their equipment to make room for the crew of the Roman and others whose ships were either destroyed or adandoned. Those people evacuated in small whaleboats crossed over 70 miles of ocean until reaching the seven life saving ships.

On September 16, all 1219 men, women and children were safely on board and heading back to the Sandwhich Islands. The last of the seven survivor ships arrived in Honolulu on November 22, 1871. Interestingly, the Europa, captained by Thomas Mellen from Edgartown, was one of those seven. His wife Katie and daughter Laura, who had shared living accommodations with Helen, Laura and Prescott in Honolulu in 1869, were part of the crowd of survivors on board.

By all accounts, what is most amazing about this chapter in Arctic whaling history, is that not one life was lost. Captain Jernegan was soon on his way home to Edgartown, but not yet finished with his life at the helm of whaleships.

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Martha's Vineyard Museum