On the 15th, the beach being clear of ice, the people were sent to haul the seine, and caught an abundant supply of fine flat fish for both the ships’ companies. Indeed from this time, during the whole of our stay in the harbour, we were absolutely overpowered with the quantities of fish which came in from every quarter. The Toions, both of this town, and of Paratounca, a village in the neighbourhood, had received orders from Major Behm to employ all the Kamtschadales in our service; so that we frequently could not take into the ships the presents that were sent us. They consisted in general of fish, cod, trout, and herring. These last, which were in their full perfection, and of a delicious flavour, were exceedingly abundant in this bay. The Discovery’s people surrounded at one time so great a quantity in their seine, that they were obliged to throw a vast number out, lest the net should be broken to pieces; and the cargo they landed was afterward so plentiful, that besides a sufficient store for immediate use, they filled as many casks as they could spare for salting; and after sending to the Resolution a sufficient quantity for the same purpose, they left several bushels behind on the beach.
The snow now began to disappear very rapidly, and abundance of wild garlic, celery, and nettle-tops, were gathered for the use of the crews; which being boiled with wheat and portable soup, made them a wholesome and comfortable breakfast; and with this they were supplied every morning. The birch-trees were also tapped, and the sweet juice, which they yielded in great quantities, was constantly mixed with the men’s allowance of brandy.
The next day a small bullock, which had been procured for the ship’s company by the serjeant, was killed; and weighed two hundred and seventy-two pounds. It was served out to both crews for their Sunday’s dinner, being the first piece of fresh beef they had tasted since our departure from the Cape of Good Hope, in December 1776, a period of near two years and a half.
This evening died John Macintosh, the carpenter’s mate, after having laboured under a dysentery ever since our departure from the Sandwich islands; he was a very hard working quiet man, and much regretted by his messmates. He was the fourth person we lost by sickness during the voyage; but the first who could be said, from his age and the constitutional habits of his body, to have had on our setting out an equal chance with the rest of his comrades; Watman, we supposed to be about sixty years of age, and Roberts and Mr Anderson, from the decay which had evidently commenced before we left England, could not, in all probability, under any circumstances, have lived a greater length of time than they did.
I have already mentioned, that Captain Clerke’s health continued daily to decline, notwithstanding the salutary change of diet which the country of Kamtschatka afforded him. The priest of Paratounca, as soon as he heard of the infirm state he was in, supplied him every day with bread, milk, fresh butter, and fowls, though his house was sixteen miles from the harbour where we lay.