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Challenger reached Inaccessible Island on October 16th,1873 and Joseph Matkin heard first hand the tale of the Stoltenhoff brothers.

We anchored this morning close under the lee of this wild looking island, and in a small cove about 200 yds in extent, we saw the hut of the 2 Germans, & themselves walking down to the beach. Directly our boat landed, they came off, & asked the Captain to remove them from the island, for they had been living on it for 2 yeras in great hardship, & with no probability of being removed. After hearing their story, he consented to give them a passage to the Cape, & has given them some clothes & c. for their own were quite worn out, & they had neither boots, nor stockings. I have heard them relate their adventures & will give you the rough particulars. —They are brothers, Prussian seamen, named Gustave & Frederiche Stoltonhoff, speak excellent English, & are very intelligent looking men.

 

The Stoltonhoffs had joined an American whaling ship upon their discharge from the Prussian army, and arrived with this ship at Inaccessible island in October 1871. They agreed to remain on the island for three months to hunt seals while the ship proceeded south to continue whaling. The unfortunate brothers soon lost their boat, and additionally discovered that, true to its name, the interior of the island was inaccessible from the beach where they'd been left, for the 2,000 foot cliffs rose nearly vertical. The expected three months and more elapsed, and the whaling ship never returned for them. Supplies dwindling, they determined to access the rest of the island, despite their lack of a boat.

They tried hard to scale the Cliff but tound it impossible, & resolved at last to swim round the island, in hope of finding an easier ascent to the summit. This they at length found, & managed to reach the top„which was comparatively level, and covered with a rough vegetation; but it abounded with wild boars of such a fierce and ferocious description, that they soon found they should have to return again to their old haunt under the cliff. However they managed to seize 2 tiny suckling pigs & drag them to their hut through the surf, building them a stye, & feeding them on potatoes & c. They soon increased, but not fast enough to supply them with food, & they had occasionally to swim round & ascend to shoot a Boar....After this manner they have existed during the last 2 years, occasionally seeing a ship at great distance, but never one near enough to attract notice, until last night when they saw a vessel coming under steam, straight for their island home & they never lost sight of its light until she appeared & anchored this morning, & found her name was the "Challenger"; & this is the conclusion of the Stoltonhoff's story.