When we arose in the morning we still found strong head winds which soon increased to a great Storm & tempest which scenery I have not language to describe. The Sails were close reefed or taken in as soon as possible. It took 16 men to Close reef the main top sail. The tempest was now raging with all power the sea piling up into mountains, the Ship mountain the waves & billows & pitching into the valleys & rocking tremendiously & shiping seas occasionly.
In the midst of this seenery the cry of help was herd in our Cabin. I rushed to the seene & found the ropes giving way & breaking which held the whole mass of baggage which was piled up between decks, consisting of heavy trunks, chests, Boxes & barrels which if once liberated from their Confinement would with one surge be hurled with all their force into the births of the men, women, & Children which would endanger the lives of all.
On seeing the foundation of this mass give way Elder W. Richards & myself Sprang to this place of danger & braced ourselves against the barrels & held them for a few moments untill it was a little secured. I then went on deck to the captain & informed him of the situation of things below & he sent the Sailors with some ropes & secured the pile which was endangering the lives of many.
After this was done I again repaired to the Aft quarter deck to behold the raging of the tempest & the wonders of the deep & the movements of the ship which was the greatest seenery I ever beheld upon the water. Elders Young, Kimball, Richard's & Smith was with me on deck for a time but all had now gone below except Elder Richards & myself & the officers & crew. We were Shiping heavy seas.
It was now about sun set. I stood in the middle of the aft quarter deck holding the captains Speaking trumpet in one hand & holding to a fast bench with the other when we Shipped a tremendious Sea on the windward side of us which passed clear over the quarter deck on which I stood. On seeing that we Could not escape it Elder Richards flung himself close under the Bulwarks & the body of the wave went clear over him without wetting him but little. But as I Could not take the same advantage I flung myself upon the deck & held upon the fast seat whare I remained untill the sea passed over me & left me drenched in the Surge.
I now thought it time for me to leave my seat of observation for the day & go below as I was thoroughly wet with salt water. I went to bed but did not sleep but little for the ship rocked at a dredful rate. Boxes, barrels, & tines were tumbling from one end of the Cabin to the other. And in the steerage about 15 Births were flung down 9 at one surge with all the men women & Children flung into a pile in the midst of the berths but no lives lost or bones broken. This is the 8th day in succession that we have had strong headwind.
[Wilford Woodruff's Journal: 1833-1898 Typescript, Volumes 1-9, Edited by Scott G. Kenney, Signature Books 1993, http://amzn.to/newmormonstudies]