Fort Pelican, the nearest port at which the mail boat called, was seventy miles eastward from The Jug. With the uncertainty of wind and tide the boat journey to Fort Pelican usually consumed three days, and with equal time required for return, the voyage could seldom be accomplished in less than six days. Lem Horn and his family lived at Horn’s Bight, thirty miles from The Jug, and fifteen miles beyond, at Caribou Arm, was Jerry Snook’s cabin. Save an Eskimo settlement of half a dozen huts near Fort Pelican and the families of Lem Horn and Jerry Snook, the country lying between The Jug and Fort Pelican was uninhabited. It was unlikely that evening would find the travellers in the vicinity of either Horn’s or Snook’s cabins, and therefore it was to be a camping trip, which was quite to the liking of the boys.
The boys washed the old fishing boat and packed the equipment and provisions for the voyage. Margaret baked three big loaves of white bread, and as a special treat a loaf of plum bread. The remaining provisions consisted of tea, a bottle of molasses for sweetening, flour, baking-powder, fat salt pork, lard, margarine, salt and pepper. The equipment included a frying-pan, a basin for mixing dough, a tin kettle for tea, a larger kettle to be used in cooking, one large cooking spoon, four teaspoons and some tin plates. Each of the boys as well as Doctor Joe was provided with a sheath knife carried on the belt. The sheath knife serves the professional hunter as a cooking knife, as well as for eating and general purposes.
For camping use there was a cotton wedge tent, a small sheet-iron tent stove, three camp axes, some candles and matches, a file for sharpening the axes and a sleeping-bag for each. Men in that land do not travel without arms, and it was decided that David should take a carbine and Andy and Doctor Joe each a double-barrel shotgun, for there might be an opportunity to shoot a fat goose or duck.
Thomas’s big boat had two light masts rigged with leg-o’-mutton sails. Just forward of the foremast David and Andy placed some flat stones, and covering them with two or three inches of gravel set the tent stove upon the gravel. Here they could cook their meals at midday, and the gravel would protect the bottom of the boat from heat. A sufficient quantity of fire-wood was taken aboard, and the provisions and other equipment stowed under a short deck forward where the things would be protected from storm and all would be in readiness for an early start in the morning.
“’Tis the ghost of long John”
The morning was clear and crisp. Breakfast was eaten by candle-light, and before sunrise Doctor Joe and the boys, with the tide to help them, worked the big boat down through The Jug and past the Point into Eskimo Bay. In the shelter of The Jug, which lay in the lee of the hills, the sails flapped idly and it was necessary to bring the long oars into service. But beyond the sheltered harbour a light north-west breeze caught and filled the sails, the oars were stowed, the rudder shipped, and with David at the tiller Doctor Joe lighted his pipe and settled himself for a quiet smoke while Andy and Jamie turned their attention to their scout handbooks.