Hudson's second voyage, 1608
The northeast passage
Part 3 of 6
- It had been eight months since Hudson's last voyage.
- He sailed the Hopewell again, for the Muscovy Company for "finding a
passage to the East Indies by the northeast." He decides to sail the
waters north of Russia.
- The Hopewell is strengthened with extra planks to help make it through icy
- Robert Juet (Ivett), 50, was aboard as master seaman. Hudson wrote to
Hakluyt, describing Juet as "filled with mean tempers."
- A crew of 14 only contains three who had sailed with him to the Arctic
previously. His son John is also aboard for a total of 15. Included are
also: Robert Juet, master's mate; Arnall Ludlowe (Arnold Ludlow or Ladle);
John Cooke, boatswain; Philip Stacie (Staffe), carpenter; John Barnes; John
Braunch, cook; John Adrey; James Strutton; Michael Feirce; Thomas Hilles;
Richard Tomson; Robert Raynor (Rayner) and Humfrey Gilby.
- 22: Left St. Katherine's Docks, on the Thames, London. According to
Philip Vail, an Anglican priest blessed the voyagers, but Juet didn't take
part in the religious ceremonies. He was busy entertaining friends in his
quarters. Hudson was forced to turn out Juet's guests in order to get
underway. "The nose of Master Juet was put much out of Joint,"
Vail says Hudson wrote in his journal. "When I desired to retire to my
sleeping cabin, J. was still in foul humours, and had to be summoned to take the
If true, this was an inauspicious start and indicates bad feelings between
Juet and Hudson from even before the first time they sailed together.
Chamberlain puts the date of sailing as April 25.
- Hopewell sailed northeast for a month, rounding the northern tip of Norway
in late May, then on into the Barents Sea. Bad weather and cold forces
Philip Stacy, ship's carpenter, and three or four others into their bunks
- 3: Sight North Cape at 71°N.
- In early June they encounter ice and try to go through it. Hudson almost
gets trapped, but backs out in time before the ship takes serious damage.
- 8: Hudson noted the colour of the sea changed near ice.
- 15: Two crew members - Thomas Hilles and Robert Rayner - sight a
mermaid, and Hudson records it in his log as a "tail of a porpoise and
speckled like a mackerel." Others of the company also see her as well
and the description Hudson wrote says she had long black hair, white skin
and a woman's breasts. .
- 18: Reach the ice barrier to the port side.
- 22: At 74°35'N, surrounded by ice, Hudson sails southeast.
- 26: They sight land at 72°25'N, about 12-15 miles away.
Hudson reached the islands of Novaya Zemlya, but can't go further north, so
he tries to go south around the islands. He reaches calm waters two miles
offshore. He dispatches Juet, mate, and John Cooke, boatswain, to lead a
party of six ashore to "see what the land would yield that might be
profitable and to fill two or three casks with water." The men return
with deer antlers and whale fins, and reported the presence of grass and
streams, as well as tracks of bear, deer and fox. They also return with
pieces of a cross they found ashore, and report seeing another cross at a
- Their boat was followed back to the ship by a herd of curious walrus, but
they were unable to catch any ashore.
- 30: Hudson sends his crew back to look for the walrus, thinking
they may have arrived by warm currents. Although they spy 40-50 of the
animals asleep on a rock, they are only able to shoot one, and bring back
its head as a trophy. During the night, their anchor breaks free and the
ship went aground, but was pulled off without damage.
- 1: Ice near the ship is moving northwest. Hudson sends some crew to
explore the sound and a river at the head of the bay. Hudson writes he hopes
to navigate south of the island, north of the Cape of Tartaria (Cape Tabin).
- 2: Hudson spots a "fair river" on the island, "six
to nine miles broad, its depth exceeded 20 fathoms" the colour of the
sea and "very salty with a strong current setting out of it." He
turns the ship to explore it, but barely escapes a collision with an
iceberg. It takes the crew all day to fend the ice off with beams and spars,
while pulling the ship out of its path.
- 4: Hudson sails 15-18 miles upriver but the water becomes too
shallow to continue - down to one fathom (about six feet). He sends Juet and
five or six others in a boat to explore the river.
- 5: The crew return after travelling another 18-24 miles upstream,
saying it became too shallow to go further. They say they saw many deer
while they travelled. The mate Ladle (Ludlow) goes ashore with four crew to
hunt for walrus, but don't find any. Instead, they shoot almost 100 birds
called 'wellocks.' Hudson decides there is no passage around the island this
way and gives up his quest to get past Novaya Zemlya. He secretly decides to
sail for North America, but doesn't tell his crew.
- 6: Hudson decides to look for 'Willoughby Land' (Willoughby
Island), which was actually a 'conceit' of map makers and didn't exist. The
Hopewell sets sail west and southwest, heading back the way they came. They
travel through considerable rain and bad weather for the rest of the month.
- 11: Hudson again notes a green sea and notes a "black-blue
colour sea...is a sea pestered with ice, according to last and this year's
experience." He is the first mariner to record the changing colour of
the water with the proximity of ice.
- 26: Hudson notes they have to burn lights again at night because
the midnight sun is no longer with them.
- 30: Off the Lofoten Islands, north of Norway.
7: When the crew realize they aren't going home to England, they get
angry. After a near-mutiny in which the crew probably forced his hand, Hudson
gave his crew notice that he was returning by his own hand, without any
force on their part, probably a fabrication demanded by the crew so they
won't get charged with mutiny and hung. Although he recorded in his journal
his belief that a passage lay through the Furious Overfall, he headed back
- "I used all diligence to arrive at London," Hudson wrote in his
journal. "and therefore I now gave my crew a certificate under my hand,
of my free and willing return, without persuasion or force by any one or
more of them.any one or more of them. For when we were at Nova Zembla on the
6th of July, void of hope of a Northeast Passage...I therefore resolved to
use all means I could to sail to the northwest."
- 26: The Hopewell returned to Gravesend, England.
- After his failure, the English lost interest in his goal, and the Company
directors were disappointed in Hudson's efforts and probably had lost
confidence in his abilities. The Company refused his request for another
voyage with more men and less rigid orders.
- With no employment for him in England, Hudson went first to the Dutch, then
to the French, looking for sponsors. Cold at first, at the end of 1608, the
Dutch decided to hire him, probably to prevent their rivals, the French,
from hiring him. For details, see the story of Hudson's
third voyage, 1609.
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