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division ot Fishes,

U. S. National Museurrf






JOHN J. BRICE, Commissioner.






Evermann, Barton W. A Report upon Salmon Investigaiions in tlie Head Waters of the Colnmliia River, in tlie State of Idaho, in 1895, togetlier with Note.s upon the Fishes

observed in tliat State in 1894 and 1895 149-202

Seagle, George A. Tlie Artificial Propagation <d' the Rainbow Trout 237-256

Stejneger, Leonhard. The Russian Fnr Seal Islands 1-148

Stone, Livingston. The Artificial Propagation of Salmon on the Pacific Coast of the United

States, with Notes on the Natural History of the Qninnat Salmon 203-235

Tanner, Z. L. Deep Sea Exploration: A General Description of the Steamer Albatross, her

Appliances and Methods 257-428







r''* '






Plate. Page.

1. Map of Western Portion of Bering Sea 148

2. Isotherms of the Surface of the Sea 148

3. Temperatures and Specitic Gravity of the Water in Bering Sea, July 29 to August 2, 1888 148

4. Map of Bering Island 148

5. Map of Copper Island 148

C. Straits between Robbon Island and Cape Patience, SaLlialin, and Robben Island 148

7. Map of North Eookeiy, Bering Island. Distribution of Seals, 1882 148

8. Map of North Rookery, Bering Island. Distribution of Se.als, 1895 148

9. Sketch map of Poludionnoye Rookery. Distribution of Seals, 1882 148

|0. Sketch map of Poludionnoye Rookery. Distribution of Seals, 1895 148

11. Map of Karabelnoye Rookery, Copper Island. Distribution of Seals, 1883 148

12. Map of Karabelnoye Rookery, Copper Island. Distribution of Seals, 1895 148

13. Map of Glinka Rookerie.s, Copper Island. Distribution of Seals, 1883 148

14. Map of Glinka Rookeries, Copper Island. Distribution of Seals, 1895 148

15. (a) Heradctt??!. /(inatMTO, North Rookery, Bering Island 148

(b) Yurt, or Sod Hut, Nikolski, Bering Island 148

16. (a) Wooden frame of Y urt, North Rookery Village, Bering Island - 118

(b) Kamchatkan Cattle, Bering Island - 148

17. (a) Nikolski Village, Bering Island 148

(b) New Schoolhouse and Governor's Office, Nikolski, Bering Island 148

18. (a) Company’s House, Nikolski, Bering Island 148

(6) Company’s Store, Nikolski, Bering Island 148

19. (£1) Reef and Sivutchi Kamen, North Rookery, Bering Island, from Sledge Road 148

(5) Same from Driveway at Lower End of Killing Grounds 148

20. Reef and Sivutchi KaTueu, North Rookery, Bering Island 148

21. Reef and Sivutchi Kamen, North Rookery, Bering Island, July 15, 1895, to show distribution of seals 148

22. Reef and Sivutchi Kamen, North Rookery, Bering Island, .July 15, 1895, from Driveway 148

23. Kisbotehnaya, North Rookery, Bering Island, July 16, 1895 148

24. Salt-house, with Skin-chute, North Rookery, Bering Island - 148

25. (a) Beach, North Rookery, Bering Island, Natives ready to load Skins into the Boats 148

(6) Village at North Rookery, Bering Island, from Salt-house 148

26. (a) Reef, North Rookery, Bering Island, July 4, 1895. Breeding Seals in three disconnected patches to the left.. . 148

(5) Same, July 9, 1895, showing Breeding Seals occupying a continuous area; also the “Baud” across the “Sands” 143

27. (a) Reef and Sivutchi Kamen, North Rookery, Bering Island 148

(b) Steller s Arch, near South Rookery, Bering Island ? 148

28. South Rookery, Bering Island, from Photographic Station No. 3. August 17, 1895 148

29. South Rookery, Bering Island, looking west trom Photographic Station No. 1. August 17, 1895 148

30. South Rookery, Bering Island. Females and Pups. August 17, 1895 148

31. South Rookery, Bering Island, photographs by Colonel Voloshinof, to show Distribution of Seals in 1895 148

32. (a) Salt-house, South Rookery, Bering Island 148

(6) Waterfall at South Rookery, Bering Island 148

33. Preobrazhenskoye Village, Copxjer Island 148

34. (fl) Karabelni Village, Copper Island 148

(6) Glinka Village, Copiper Island, from Hill 148

35. Glinka Village, Copper Island, from the Beach 148

36. Interior of Salt-house, Glinka, Copper Island 148

(а) Se.al Skins in Salt 148

(б) Seal Skins bundled, ready for shipment 148

37. Glinka, Copper Island, Natives returning to the main village 148

38. Karabelni Stolp, Karabelnoye Rookery, Copper Island 148

(a) Prom Photographic Station No. 4, August 1, 1895 148

(ft) From Photographic Station No. 1, August 2, 1895 148

39. Karabelnoye Rookery, Copper Island, looking west toward Karabelni Stolp, August 1. 1895 148

40. Karabelnoye Rookery, Copper Island, looking east toward Vodopadski Mys, August 1,1895 148




Plate. Page.

41. Karabelni Stolp, Copper Island, Facsimile of Pencil Sketch by tbe Author, July 3, 1883 148

42. Karabelnoye Rookery, Copper Island. From Photographic Station No. 3 148

43. Karabelnoye Rookery, Copper Island. From Photographic Station No. 2 148

44. Karabelnoye Rookery, Copper Island 148

(a) Bolshaya Bukhta, from extreme end of Kar.abelui Stolp 148

(b) Drive Steps, Stolbovaya Bukhta, from Photograiihio Station No. 5 148

45. Drive Steps and Waterfall, Todopad, Karabelnoye Rookery, Copper Island 148

46. Palata, Copper Island, from Zap.adni 148

47. Palata Reef, Copper Island 148

48. Palata Rookery, Copper Island, from a Rock oif the Rookery, looking up tbe Gully. August 2, 1895 148

49. Palata Rookery, Copper Island, looking toward Sabatcha Dira. August 2, 1895 148

50. Palata Rookery, Copper Island, looking down the Gully. August?, 1895 148

51. Palata Rookery, Copper Island, from Hill marked “806” feet on map. August?, 1895 148

52. Palata Rookery, Copper Iskind. From a Sketch by the Author, July 16, 1883, to show Distribution of Seals 148

53. Copies of Photographs by Colonel Toloshinof, to show Distribution of Seals in 1885 148

(a) Palata Rookery, Copper Island. Stand])oint a little farther to the right and lower down than Plates 51 and 52. 148

(b) Zapadui Rookery, Copper Island. Standpoint lower down than Plate 54 a 148

54. (a) Zapadni Rookery, Copper Isliind, from same point as Plate 51. August ?, 1895 148

(ii) Urili Kamen Rookery, Copper Island, from Pereshejmk. August 3, 1895 148

55. Zapalata Rookery, Copper Island, looking oast toward Stolbi. August ?, 1895 148

56. Zapalata Rookery, Copper Island, looking west towaril end of Palata, from same point as Plate 55. August ?, 1895. 148

5?. (a) Zapalat.a Rookery, Copper Island. From a photograph showing Distribution of Se.als in 1885 148

(b) Sikatchinskaya Bukhta Rookery, Copper Island, from a rock off the Rookery 148

58. (a) Driveway from Zapadni Rookery, Copper Island, looking down the valley. August 8, 1895 148

(b) Driveway from Pestsluani Hauling Grounds, Copper Island 148

(c) Pestshani Salt- house, near Glinka Village, Copper Island 148

59. (a) Hutchinson, Kohl & Philippeus & Co.’s steamer Aielsundrr II 148

(b) Russian Seal Skin Company’s schooner BubrH, Capt. D. Groeuberg 148

(e) Reduced copy of Choris's picture of Fur Seals 148

60. Salmon Weir (Zaporr), Saranna River, Bering Island 148

61. Saranna Village, Bering Island 148

(a) Western Half, with Salmon Weir 148

(b) Eastern Half, with Sc.aft'olding for Drying 148

62. Drive from Zapadni, Copper Isiand, August 8, 1895; early morning ; drizzling rain 148

(а) Native dragging along a Seal which is too tired to move 148

(5) A Baby Skin-carrier 148

63. (a) Salt-hou.se at Popofski, ne.ar Karabelni A'illage, Copper Island 148

(б) Seals sliding down the last embankment, Glinka Village, Copper Island, Drive August 8, 1895 148

64. Dead Seal pups in Windrows, Reef, North Rookery, Bering Island, September 16, 1895 148

65. Petropaulski, Kamcluatka 148

(a) From Hill behind the Town 148

(b) Fro7u Russian Seal Skin Company’s Wlnarf 148

66. Petropaulski, Kamchatka 148

(a) Russian Seal Skin Company’s wharf, magazines, and steamer Kotik, Ca]it. C. E. Lindcjuist 148

(b) Headquarters of Russian Seal Skin Company 148


6?. Mouth of inlet to Alturas L.ake, Idaho 151

68. Map showing the Redtish Lakes in Idaho 153

69. Alturas Lake 155

?0. Pettit Lake 161

?1. Fig. 1, Breeding Jlale Redfish (OncorAj/nc/ins Jiertn) 18?

Fig. 2, Breeding Female Redtish (Oncorliynclms nei ka) 18?

?2. Breeding ilale Redtish (Oneor/u/nc/iu* mrria). Small form 191

Text Cut: Young Chinook Salmon 185


?3. Baird Station. McCloud River in foreground; in tbe b.ackground tbe Limestone Rocks of Mount Persephone 205

?4. Current Wheel and Connections with Centrifugal Pump 208

?5. Seining Ground at the Left; Hatching House and other Buildings at the Right. Baird Station, McCloud River. . 212

?6. Driving Salmon into the Trap, Clackamas Station, Oregon 220

??. Baird Station. Outlet of Wiley Creek Ditch, showing Water Connections with Hatching House 224

?8. Fig. 1, Packing Salmon Eggs at Clackamas Hatchery 228

Fig. 2, Interior of Hatching House, Baird Station 228




Plate. Page.

79. Oncorhynclius tschawytscha (WaXhanm) . Qniimat Salmon ; Chinook Salmon ; King Salmon; Sacramento Salmon . 230

80. Oncorhynchusgorhuschai.Wsi\ha,\\m). Humpback Salmon - 230

81. Oncorhynclius keta iyf a\ha,\im) . Dog Salmon 230

82. OncorhyncJmskisutch (Walhaam). Silver Salmon 230

83. Oncorhynchusn’rka (.yfaXhanm). Blueback Salmon ; Eedfisb ; Sawkeye Salmon ; Fraser Eiver Salmon 230

84. (Snlnio poirdnfri Eicharrtson. Steelheacl; Steelhead Trout ; Salmon Trout 230

8b. Salmoirideiis Gihhona. Eainbow Trout 230

86. Salmo iride^is stoneHJ orian) . No-Shee Trout; Stone’s Trout 230


87. Salvelinus malma CWaibiinm). Dolly Varden Trout; Bull Trout; Western Ch.arr 230

88. View of Wytbeville Station, showing Breeding Ponds, with Hatchery and Carp Ponds in the Background 239

89. Spawning Pond 241

90. General View of Wytbeville Station from Eailroad Track 243

91. Bearing Pond 249

92. Apiraratus used in Packing and Shipping Eggs 251

93. Wytheville Station— view of the Trout-rearing Ponds, Tate’s Eun, and Carp Ponds to the right 253

94. The Eainbow Trout (Salmo irideus) Adult Male and Young 255

Text Cuts:

1. Hatching-troughs, Guard-screen, etc 245

2. Tin Tray for use in Muddy Water 246

3. Interior View of Hatchery, showing Men fishing out Dead Eggs 247

4. Cross-section through Bo.x after it has been packed and closed 251


I. The Albatross 259

II. Plan of the Albatross 261

III. The Cabin 263

IV. Upper Laboratory 265

V. Chart Eoom 265

VI. Lower Laboratory, Port Side 267

VII. Lower Laboratory, Starboard Side 267

VIII. Ward Eoom 269

IX. Lieut. W. M. Wood’s Boat-det.achiug Apparatus 273

X. Compound Twin-Screw Engines 275

XI. Midship Section of the Albatross, showing Baird’s Ash Elevator and Chute 281

XII. Steam Windlass and Capstan 285

XIII. Lamp Fixtures 287

XIV. The Brooke Deep-Sea Sounding Apparatus 291

XV The Belknap Sounding Cylinder No. 2 293

XVI. The Sigsbee Sounding Eod 295

XVII. May’s Splice 307

XVIII. The Sir William Thomson Sounding Machine, Original Form, furnished to the Blake 311

XIX. The Sigsbee and Tanner Sounding Machines, as inst.alled at the Stern of the Albatross 313

XX. The Negretti & Zambra Deep-Sea Thermometer and MagnaghiFrame 323

XXI. The Tanner Improved Thermometer Case and Sigsbee Clami) 326

XXII. The Miller-Casella Deep-Sea 'Thermometer 328

XXIII. The Hilgard Ocean Salinometer 336

XXIV. The Sigsbee Water Specimen Cup 340

XXV. The Kidder-Flint Water Bottle 342

XXVI. Dredging Engine: Aft, Looking Forward 344

XXVII. Dredging Engine: Forward, Looking Aft 344

XXVIII. Keeling Engine and Governor 346

XXIX. Lead of the Dredge Kope, showing Governor 348

XXX. Dredging Block 348

XXXI. The Accumulator 350

XXXII. The Tanner Beam Trawl, No. 1 354

XXXIII. The Tangles 362

XXXIV. Fig. 1, Cradle Sieve; Fig. 2, Table Sieve; Fig. 3, Strainer 365

XXXV. The Tanner Improved Dredging Quadrant 365

XXXVI. The Tanner Intermediate Tow Net, First Pattern 368

XXXVII. The Tanner Intermediate Tow Net, Improved Pattern 370

XXXVIII. The Blish Distance-finder 379

XXXIX. Stations at the Sigsbee Sounding Machine, Wire going down 383

XL. Stations at the Sigsbee Sounding Machine, Wire coming up 385



Text-cuts :

1. Interior of Pilot House, Steam Steering Engine.

2. Ice Boxes and Cold Boom

3. Longitudinal Elevation of Auxiliary Steering


4. Plan View of Auxiliary Steering Gear

5. 6, 7, 8. Iron Tubes and Carriers for the Tiller


9. Engine of Steam Cutter

10. Herreshoff Steam Cutter

11. Herreshoff Steam Gig

12. Svedberg's Marine Governor

13, 14, 15. Baird's Pneumatic Indicator

16, 17, 18. Baird's Pneumatio Indicator

19. Circulating Pump ; .

20. Boiler Feed and Fire Pump

21. Baird’s Ash-Hoisting Engine

22. Baird's Fresh-Water Distilling Apparatus

23. B.aird's Evaporator, Ho. 3, Type C

24. Pressure-Eegulating Valve

25. Edison Ko. 3 Dynamo and Armington & Sims


26. Baird's Automatic Steam Trap

27. Sands Cup, Side and Sectional Views

28. Baillie Sounding Machine

29. The Brooke Double- Arm Detacher

30. Back for Holding Sinkers

31. Spare Sounding Wire, Eeel Box, and Copper

Tank 304 [

32. Soldering Lamp 306

33. The Tanner Link 307

34. 35, 36. Measuring Eeel 308 'j

37. Measuring and Transferring Wire 309 !

Text-cuts : Page.

38. Eatchet Crank, Front and Side Views 316

39. Belt-tightener 318

40,41,42. Sigsbee Wire Clamp 318

43. The Wire Guido 318

44. Guide for Temperature Wire 319

45. The Tanner Sounding Machine IMounted in the

Steam Cutter 322

46. Comparative Thermometric Seale, Fahrenheit,

Celsius, and Eeaumur 324

47. Beading Lens for Tanner Thermometer Case. . 327

48. Small Comparing Jar 329

49. Comparing Jar for Deep-Sea Thermometers .. . 330

50. Low-Temperature Comiiarator 334

51. 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60. The IZidder-Flint

Water Bottle 342

61. Pressure-Eegulating Valve 437

62. Beam Trawl Frame 353

63. Tanner Beam-Trawl Frame 351

64. Blake Deep-Sea Trawl Frame 357

65. The Common Dredge 361

66. The Chester Bake Dredge 362

67. The Blake Dredge 363

68. The Angle and Scope of the Dredge Eope 36.5

69. Improved Surface Tow Net 367

70. Cod Hand Line 373

71. Cod Trawl Line 374

72. The Tanner Flexible Staff 377

73. Case 1, Sumner's Method 380

74. Case 2, Sumner’s Method 381

75. Case 3, Sumner’s Method 382

76. Comparative Scale of Linear Measure, Inches

and Millimeters 406









272 272





280 281 283 283 285

286 j



293 298 302



Of the United States National Museum.




I. Introduction 3

Scope of the "Work 3

Itinerary 4

Acknowledgments 5

II. The Pussian Seal Islands 7

1. The Commander Islands 7

Hydrographic Notes 8

Meteorology 12

Fauna and Flora of the Commander Islands. . . 19

Native Population 26

a. Bering Island 36

General Description 36

Seal Eookeries 39

Nortli Eookery 40

South Eookery 42

!>. Copper Island 43

General Description 43

Seal Eookeries 45

Narabelni 45

Glinka 48

2. Eohhen Island 52

Description 52

History 54

3. Other Islands 58

III. Seal Life on Commander Islands 60

Historical .and General 60

Latitude in the Phenomena of Seal Life 62

Proportionate Number of Sexes and Ages on Eook- eries 63

Virility of Bulls 66

Do all Bachelors haul out ! 67

Food of Seals at the Isl.ands, and Excrements on the Eookeries 69


III. Seal Life on Commander Islands— Continued.

Effect of Driving 71

Description of a Drive on Pribylof Islands 71

Description of Drives on Commander Islands. 72 Does the Female Seal nurse her own Pup only ? . . . 77

Mortality of Pups 78

Alleged Changes of Habits 82

Feeding-grounds 87

IV. The Eussian Sealing Industry 88

Historical 88

Eighteenth Century 88

Eussi.an- American Company 89

Interregnum 90

Hutchinson, Kohl, Philippeus & Co 91

Eussian Seal Skin Company 93

Statistics 95

Administration 102

Condition of the CommanderTslands Eookeries. . - 104

Preliminary remarks 104

Comp.arison between the Condition of the

Eookeries in 1882-83 and 1895 106

Bering Island 106

Copper Island 112

Comparative Condition of the Bering Island

and Copper Island Eookeries, in 1895 117

Eaiding of Commander Islands Eookeries 118

Pelagic Sealing at Commander Islands 122

V. Conclusions 134

Summary 134

Cause of the Decline 134

Future Prospects on Commander Islands 136

Eecommendations 136

List of Maps and Illustrations 138-140

Index 141-148




Of the United States National Museum,


The following treatise is based upon observations gathered during two different visits to the Commander Islands, off the coast of Kamchatka, the first undertaken in 1882-83, during the palmiest days of the fur-seal industry, the latter being last year (1895), as a special attache of the United States Fish Commission, to study the recent decline and to compare the conditions as I knew them thirteen years ago with those of the present day.

I undertook the trip with a full understanding of the difficulties awaiting me, both in the studies in the field and in the working up of the report. I was fully aware that, alone in an almost untrodden field, my work would of necessity be fragmentary and for that reason unsatisfactory. Nevertheless, I felt that I ought to do it for several reasons. In the first place I was in possession of a great amount of interesting information about the Eussian seal islands never published, or else very inaccessible to those concerned in the fate of the fur-seal, which it might be useful to bring together. In the second place, I felt convinced that but few men were in the same fortunate position as myself of having had the opportunity to study the Eussian fur- seal industry at close quarters while it was still flourishing, and that, consequently, I was in an excei)tionally good i:)osition for instituting the desired comparison.

Finally, I reflected, having kept aloof from all the strife and controversy of recent years concerning seal matters, because I had no pet theories of my own to ventilate nor any personal interest of myself or friends to advance, I would be less liable to suspicion of being prejudiced or biased by any outside motive. I have earnestly endeavored to i)reserve this indeijendence, personal and scientific, in the investiga- tions which I have undertaken, and I claim that the conclusions I have reached are based uiion the facts as I have been able to discern them. It is my hope that the logic of my deductions will not be found lacking.


At the suggestion of Mr. Eichard Eathbun, in charge of the scientific inquiry of the Fish Commission, and with the approval of the Acting Commissioner of Fisheries, Mr. Herbert A. Gill, the scope of the report was extended so as to include all other obtainable information concerning the Eussian seal islands, and it has thus assumed somewhat the character of a monograi)h. But I wish it distinctly understood that it does not iiretend to exhaust the subject in any direction. Some of the chapters are




only brief r6sumes, thus causing great inequality in tbe treatment of tbe various questions. This could not well be otherwise, for it would have been manifestly impos- sible to prepare a work of that scope, with all the labor and research it involves, in the short time of months which I have had at my disposal for writing this treatise. Moreover, such an exhaustive work could not be done here in Washington or even in this country. It would have been necessary to consult records and archives in San Francisco and in St. Petersburg, as well as the libraries in the latter city.

In preparing this work I have had the hearty cooperation of the authorities of the United States Fish Commission, and I wish particularly to express my grateful appreciation of the truly scientific spirit and liberality shown by Mr. Eathbun in giving me every possible latitude for working out the j>roblems in my own fashion without attemi^ting to influence my opinion in any direction. His only injunction to me has been a desire for the facts as I have seen them. It has been my endeavor to supply them to the best of my ability.


My first visit to the Commander Islands was undertaken in March, 1882, under the joint auspices of the Smithsonian Institution and the United States Signal Service. With a notice of only two days, I left Washington on March 22, 1882, and sailed from San Francisco in the Aleksander II the following April 5, landing on Bering Island a month later on May 7. During the summer I studied the fur-seals and rookeries on this island. In the fall of 1882 I undertook a circumnavigation of Bering Island in open boat, returning to the village after a successful trip of two weeks. The winter was passed on Bering Island, but part of tlie following summer, particularly the sealing season, I spent on the various rookeries of Copper Island. In October, 1883, I took passage in the St. Paul from Petropaulski, Kamchatka, to San Francisco, arriving in Washington the following November 26. The results of this trip have been published in numerous memoirs and papers, mostly issued by the United States National Museum.

Tlie itinerary of my trip in 1895 is as follows: After receiving my appointment on May 21, I left Washington on May 28 with letters from the Eussian legation, author- ized telegraphically by the authorities in St. Petersburg, and arrived in San Francisco on Sunday, June 2. Yarious preparations for the journey occupied me until June 6, when I sailed in the steamship Bertha for Unalaska. In this port I was to join the Fish Commission steamer Albatross, which, it was calculated, would have returned to Unalaska from its first trip to the Pribylof Islands at the time I was due there. In such an event Captain Drake had orders to bring me to Bering Island via the Priby- lofs, in order to afford me an opportunity to witness and compare the mode of driving the seals on both groups. Upon my arrival at Unalaska on June 17 I found, however, that the Albatross had only arrived there the day before, without having as yet been to the Pribylofs. The following week was consumed in Unalaska taking in coal. The Albatross left Unalaska on June 23, and on June 25 we were landed at the village, St. Paul Island. The rookeries near the village were inspected the same afternoon.

Thanks to the zeal and courtesy of the Treasury agent, Mr. J. B. Crowley, and the company’s general agent, Mr. J. Stanley-Brown, a small drive of seals was at once arranged for the following morning. Mr. F. W. True, of the United States National



Museum, and I ijartook in tlie drive, wlucli lasted from 2 o’clock in the morning to 10 a. m. At 1 p. m. I embarked again on the Albatross and steamed at once away for Bering Island; anchored off the main village on July 3, and on the 4th, with Cai>tain Drake and Mr. 0. H. Townsend, went per dog-sledge to the great North Eookery. After having landed my effects, the Albatross left on the following day.

My next trip to the North Eookery was per boat, in company with Governor Greb- nitski, on July 7. On July 15 I again proceeded to the same rookery in dog-sledge, returning to the main village by the same means July 20. Bad weather prevented the carrying out of my intentions of visiting the South Eookery at this time. On July 27 I took passage on the Eussian Seal Skin Company’s steamer KoWc, Capt. C. E. Lindquist, for Copper Island, and on July 30, in comx)any with the governor, Mr. Grebnitski, who bore the expense of the trip, started from the main village on an open- boat expedition around the island. Spent the evening and the next morning at the sea-otter rookery. July 31 and August 1 were devoted to inspecting and i)hotograph- ing the Karabelni rookeries and Angust 2 to 11 to the Glinka rookeries, the latter being the more important ones, finishing the circumnavigation August 12. On the steamer Kotik I then returned to Bering Island, anchoring off the North Eookery August 13. Visited the South Eookery August 17, securing photographs and a map of the rookery. On August 18 I called on board the British cruiser of the third class Porpoise, Commander Francis E. Pelly (doing patrol service on the 30-mile limit), then at anchor off Nikolski. On August 21 I went in dog- sledge to the North Eookery, returning two days later. The captain of the Porpoise having kindly offered to take me to Petroi)aulski, I gladly accepted his offer, as it was somewhat doubtful whether the Kotik, in which I intended to return to San Francisco, would be able to call at the islands before going home, and I did not dare to risk the possibility of wintering on Bering Island. I arrived in Petropaulski August 25. The comiiauy’s agent having decided to make another trip to the islands, I returned in the Kotik and was thus enabled to again inspect the Bering Island South Eookery on September 9 and the North Eookery September IG, being back in Petropaulski September 18, which port 1 left on September 24 in the Kotik, bound for San Francisco, where I arrived on October 11.

The weather was unprecedentedly stormy and rainy during my entire stay at the islands and interfered greatly with my work. The great distances between the habitations and the rookeries and tlae primitive means of transi)ortation also added to the difficulties, while much valuable time was lost owing to the uncertainty of the movements of the steamer.

Under such adverse circumstances I should have been unable to accomplish even what I did had it not been for the kind assistance I received on all sides.


In the first place, it gives me great pleasure to acknowledge the aid and courtesies received at the hands of Governor N. Grebnitski, the administrator of the islands, without which I should have been seriously embarrassed in my work. The following report would undoubtedly have been more replete with official data and statistics relating to the sealing industry on the islands had not the documents relating thereto been either sent away already or packed ready for shii^ment in anticipation of Mr. Grebuitski’s prospective departure for St. Petersburg.



I am also uuder great obligations to the lirm and officers of tbe Eussiau Seal Skin Company, tbe present lessees of tbe islands, especially Mr. C. A. Williams, New London, Conn., and Mr. Tbomas F. Morgan, Groton, Conn., as well as Mr. Coustantine M. Grunwaldt, of St. Petersburg, at present tbe representative of tbe firm on tbe Pacific Coast; Mr. John Malovanski, of San Francisco, tbe general agent of tbe company; Capt. C. E. Lindquist, of tbe Kotil;; Capt. I). Grmuberg, of tbe Bohrilc; Mr. Kluge, tbe resident agent on Bering Island, and Mr. Cantor, on Copper Island.

It Avould be ungrateful not to mention tbe hospitality received from tbe Alaska Commercial Company and its functionaries, especially during my first visit to tbe islands. Tbe liberality with wbicb tbe members of tbis firm bave been ever ready to assist scientific endeavors bas contributed greatly to tbe success of my undertakings.

To Lieut. Commander F. J. Drake, U. S. N., commanding tbe United States Fisb Commission steamer Albatross, and bis officers, and to tbe scientific staff' of tbe vessel, and more particularly to Mr. C. II. Townsend, special tbanks are due for courtesies during my stay on board, and to tbe latter for valuable information received during tbe i)reparation of tbis report, due credit for wbicb is given in each instance.

It is Avitb great pleasure that I acknowledge my obligations to tbe captain of II. M. S. Porpoise, Commander Francis E. Pelly, E, N., and bis officers, for bospitalities and for aid in transportation.

Finally, I wisb to exj>ress my appreciation of tbe willingness and promptness with Avbicb my desire to witness a seal-drive on St. Paul Island was gratified by tbe Treasury agent, Mr. J. B. Crowley, and by Mr. J. Stanley-Brown, tbe general agent of tbe North American Commercial Company, tbe ijresent lessees of tbe Pribylof Islands.




Until the purchase of the Territory of Alaska by the United States, in 18G7, all the resorts of the northern fur-seal north of California belonged to the Russian Enii)ire, and the fur-seal industry of the Uorth Pacific was entirely monopolized l)y the Russian American Company.

These resorts were in all instances uninhabited islands, and at the time of their discovery by the Russian fur-hunters, in the middle and latter ]>art of the last century, even unknown to the native races. The seals when first found on the rookeries, about one hundred and fifty years ago, had never been interfered with by man while on their breeding-grounds. The islands alluded to were the Commander group, certain small islands in the Okhotsk Sea, certain small islands in the Kuril chain, and the Pribylof group.

In 1807 the Pribylof Islands were sold to the United States, and in 1870 Russia ceded the Kurils to Japan in exchange for the southern half of the island of Sakhalin. There remain thus, in the possession of the Russian Crown at the present date, only the Commander Islands and the islands in the Okhotsk Sea.


The Commander Islands (also occasionally called the Commodore Islands; Rus- sian, Kommulorsli Osirova), so named in memory of the great commander, Bering, who discovered the group, comprise two main islands, Bering and Copper, situated off the east coast of Kamchatka, between 51° 33' and 55° 22' north latitude, and 165° 40' and 108° 9' east longitude, approximately 97 miles from Cape Kamchatka, the nearest point on the maiidand. The southeast point of Copper Island is distant from Attu, the nearest American island, about 180 miles, and is less than 75 miles from the imaginary boundary line across Bering Sea between Russia and the United States. The distance between Bering Island and the port of Petropaulski is somewhat more than 280 miles, while a straight line between the nearest i)oints of the Commander group and the Pribylof groui) is 750 miles. The steamer’s track between the former and San Francisco is something like 3,100 miles.

Geographically the Commander Islands are the westernmost groux) of the Aleutian chain. Politically, however, they form a separate administrative district of the so-called Coast Province {Primorsl:a,ya Oblast). This enormous territory extends from Korea to the Arctic Ocean, and, including the xieninsula of Kamchatka, is ruled by the governor- general of the Amur Province, residing at Khabarovka, on the Amur River, moi'e than 1,200 miles, as the crow flies, from the Commander Islands. The administrative xmsition of these islands, however, is somewhat comxflicated, inasmuch as they also dex>eud directly under the Minister of the Imperial Domain in St. Peters- burg, 4,600 miles away. In other words, their i>ositiou corresponds very much to that of our Pribylof Islands, which are subject both to the governor of Alaska and to the Secretary of the Treasury.

The Commander Islands were discovered on Kovember 4, 1741 (old style). On that day the vessel St. Peter, with the commander, Adtus Bering, and nearly the entire



crew, sick to death with the scurvy, slowly approached the southern extremity of Copper Island from the east, oii their return voyage, after having discovered the main- land of America. Owing to the universal sickness, the ship’s reckoning was entirely out, and the officers believed themselves off the coast of Kamchatka. The next day the vessel, over whicli the exhausted crew had hardly any control, drifted toward the east shore of Bering Island, and in the night following, a beautiful, still November night, of which this coast knows but few, the unfortunate craft came pretty near being left by the receding tide and wrecked on the projecting reefs at the southern entrance to the little bay called Komandor on the map (plate 4). By an exceptional piece of good luck, the breakers carried it safely over the rocks into the basin beyond, and a landing was effected.

To such extremity were the discoverers reduced that it was decided to winter on this inhospitable shore. Hollows were dug in the ground for shelter and covered with skins of wild animals and sails. Many of the crew died of the scurvy, and on the 8th of December (old style) Bering himself. He was buried near the place marked on the map “Bering’s grave.” The others, 46 only out of 77, recovered slowly under the care of Gr. W. Steller, who accompanied the exj)editiou as a naturalist. The vessel was thrown up on the beach during a heavy gale in the night between November 28 and 29 (old style), and all attempts to float it were in vain. The next spring, after a winter full of suffering and privations, the crew broke up the old vessel and of the materials built a smaller one, in which they landed at Petropaulski, Kamchatka, August 27, 1742.

The present writer visited the place of the shii)wreck and the wintering August 30, 1882, and has given an account of it, with a ground-plan of the hut and a sketch map of the locality, in Deutsche Geogr. Blatter, 1885, ijj). 265-266. A partial rendering of this is found in Prof. Julius Olsen’s translation of Lauridsen’s “Vitus Bering” (Chicago, S. G. Griggs & Co., 1889), ji. 184, and additional notes, pp. 214, 215. The relics of the expedition found by me are deposited in the United States National Museum.


It is astonishing how very little is definitely known about the hydrography of the western side of Bering Sea. But few vessels fitted for such work have visited that part of the Avorld of late years, and those few have only made hurried passages through. In that AAmy a small amount of material has been accumulated, Avhich has been utilized by the Bussian admiral, S. O. Makarof, in his interesting work Vitiaz i Tikhi Okean” (2 volumes, St. Petersburg, 1894), in which, so far as the investigations relating to temxierature and specific gravity of the waters of the western Bering Sea are concerned, his own observations on board the corvette Vitiaz form the most valuable part. This being the case, I have no hesitation in presenting, in a brief abstract, the substance of those iiaragraphs in his book which refer to the matter in hand, especially since a full understanding of the phenomena in question is a necessary basis for an equally full understanding of the distribution of the food animals of the seals and of the seals themselves.

On July 29, 1888, the Vitiaz left Petropaulski on a short trij) to the Commander Islands. The bathymetric observations in Bering Sea have shown that the bed of warm water of a tem])erature of + C. is very thin near the coasts of Kamchatka. At a depth of 10 meters a temperature of -+- 2. C. is found and at 25 meters only



-f 0. 6°. Near the Oommander Islands, with the same surface temperature of -j- C., -P 7. was found at 25 meters and 4. at 50 meters. We have here absolutely the same phenomenon as in the Japan Sea, viz, that the cold water predominates in the lower beds of the western imrtion of the sea. The identical phenomenon has been observed in the Okhotsk Sea and the Straits of Tartary.

The bathymetric observations in Bering Sea, at stations Nos. lOS, 109, 110, and 113, have established another peculiarity of this sea, viz, the presence in the dee[»er portions of warm water of high salinity. Near the coast of Kamchatka the increase in temperature is shown as follows: At station No. 108, from O. at 200 meters to + 3. 0. at 400 meters; at station 109, from + 0. 0. at 150 meters to + 2. O. at 175 meters and + 3. 0. at 200 meters; at station 110, in longitude 105° 50' E., at a depth of 100 meters a temperature of -p 0. was found, and at 150 meters and below, -p 3. O. The details are shown in the accompanying diagram (pi. 3).

These temj)eratures prove to us that the bed of warm water of great specihc gravity is found nearer the surface at the Oommander Islands than along the coast of Kamchatka. A similar phenomenon has also been observed in the Okhotsk Sea. In other words, the cold and less saline water in descending from north to south approaches the coast toward the western side of the sea and forces the warm water of high salinity to a greater dejith.

Plate 3 shows a section of Bering Sea from the coasts of Kamchatka to the Commander Islands. The cold water here occupies an intermediate bed between the surface and a depth of 250 meters. As iu the Okhotsk Sea, the bed thickens toward the mainland coast and tapers off as it recedes from it. It will also be seen that this cold water, with a temperature lower than 0., has a specific gravity of 1.0252 to 1.0254. Where does this water come from ? Makarof concludes that as