I dared not go below, I dared not leave the helm so here all night I stayed, and in the dimness of the night I saw it - Him! God forgive me, but the mate was right to jump overboard. It is better to die like a man; to die like a sailor in the blue water no man can object. But I am captain, and I must not leave my ship. But I shall baffle this fiend or monster, for I shall tie my hands to the wheel when my strength begins to fail, and along with them I shall tie that which He - it! - dare not touch; and then, come good wind or foul, I shall save my soul, and my honour as a captain.
Taken from the log of the ‘Demeter’ (Varna to Whitby)
The following extract is taken from an article that appeared in the Whitby Gazette on the 31st October 1885.
A little later in the afternoon a schooner was descried to the south of the harbour, outside the rocks. Her position was one of great danger; for being evidently unable to beat off, there seemed nothing for it but to be driven among the huge breakers on the scar. Her commander was apparently a man well acquainted with his profession, for with consummate skill he steered his trim little craft before the wind, crossing the rocks by what is known as the ’sledway’ and bringing her in a good position for the harbour mouth.
The piers and the cliffs were thronged with expectant people, and the lifeboat ‘Harriot Forteath’ was got ready for use in case the craft should miss the entrance to the harbour and be driven on shore. When a few hundred yards from the piers she was knocked about considerably by the heavy seas, but on crossing the bar the sea calmed a little and she sailed into smooth water. A cheer broke from the spectators on the pier when they saw her in safety.
|The Flag of Distress: The brig Mary and Agnes (Frank Meadow Sutcliffe)|
passage taken from the same Gazette article dated 31st October 1885 illustrates.
In the mean while the lifesaving brigade by a well directed rocket threw a line over the brigantine which now was seen to be the Mary and Agnes, of Scarborough. It seemed a long time before the crew on board fixed the apparatus, but eventually this was done, and the youngest of them, a lad of about fifteen years, was sent ashore in the breeches. In being dragged towards the shore the poor little fellow was struck by many seas and considerably buffeted about. There were, however, many ready and willing among those on shore to rush into the water and bring him to land.
What makes this day’s events all the more dramatic is that both shipwrecks were captured on camera by the famous Victorian photographer Frank Meadow Sutcliffe.