The following is the account of the stranding of the Seaventure written by Captain John Smith as related to him by Samuel Jordan. It is interesting to note that much of the spelling and grammar are from the English spoken and written at the time.
"The First English Ship Known to Have Been Cast Away Upon Bermuda, 1609. From the Relation of Master Jordan, Samuel b: 1578, Master John Evens, Master Henry Shelly, and Divers Others"
'You have heard, that when Captain Smith was Governor of Virginia, there were nine ships sent with Sir Thomas Gates, and Sir George Somers, and Captain Nuport, with five hundred people, to take in the old Commission, and rectifie a new government: they set sail in May, and in the height of thirty degrees of Northerly latitude, they were taken with an extreme storm, or rather part of Hericano, upon the five and twentieth of July , which as they write, did not only separate them from the fleet, but with the violent working of the Seas, their ship became so shaken, torne, and leakie, she received so much water as covered two tier of Hogsheads above the ballast, that they took up to the middles, with Buckets, Baricos, and Kettles, to baile out the water.
Thus bailing and pumping three daies and three nights without intermissions, and yet the water seemed rather to increase than diminish, in so much that being utterly spent with labour, was even resolved without any hope to shut up the hatches, and commit themselves to the mercy of the sea, which is said to be mercilesse, or rather to the mercy of Almighty God, whose mercy farre exceeds all his workes; seeing no sense or hope in mans apprehension, but presently to sinke; some having some good and comfortable waters [spirits], fetched them and dranke one to another, as taking their last leves untill a more happy and more joyfull meeting in a more blessed world; when it pleased God out of his most gracious and mercifull providence, so to direct and guide their ship for her most advantage.
That Sir George Somers all this time sitting upon the poupe, scarce taking leisure to eat or sleepe, couing [coning] the ship to keep her as upright as he could, otherwise she must, long ere that, needs have foundered, most wishedly and happily descried land: whereupon he most comfortably incourged them to follow their worke, many of them being fast asleep. This unlooked for welcome news, as if it had been a voice from heaven, hurridth them all above hatches, to look for that they scarce beleeve; so that inprovidently forsaking that taske which inported no less than their lives, they gave so dangerous advantage to their greedy enemy the salt water, which still entered at the large breaches of their poore wooden castle, as that in gaping after life, they had well-nigh swallowed their death. Surely it is impossible any should be urger to doe his best, and although they knew it, [to be] that place all men did so shun, yet they spread all the saile they could to attain them: for not long it was before they strucke upon a rock, till a surge of the sea cast her from thence; and so from one to another, till most luckily at last [she struck] so upright between two, as if she had been in the stocks.
Till this they expected but every blow a death: But now behold, suddenly the wind gives place to a calme, and the billows, which each by overtaking her, would in an instant have shivered her in peeces, become peaceable and still; so that with all conveniency and ease, they unshipped all their goods, victuall, and persons into their Boats, and with extreme joy, even almost to amazedness, arrieved in safetie, though more than a league from the shore, without the loss of a man; yet were they all one hundred and fiftie.
Yet their deliverance was not more strange in falling so happily upon the land, as their feeding and preservation was beyond their hopes; for you have heard, it hath beene to the Spaniards more feared then an Utopian Purgatory; and to all Seamen no lesse terrible than an enchanted den of Furies and Devils; the most dangerous and forlorn place in the world: and they found it the richest, healthfullest and pleasantest they ever saw, as is formerly said.
Being thus safe on shore, they disposed themselves to search for food and water; others to get ashore what they could from the ship; not long Sir George wandered but he found such a fishing, that in halfe an hour with a hook and line, he tooke so many as sufficed the whole company. In some places they were so thicke in the coves, and so great, they durst not go in least they should bite them, and these rocke are so great two will load a man, and fatter nor better fish cannot be. Master Shelly found a Bay near a quarter mile over, so full of Mullets, as none of them before had ever seen or heard of the like: the next day seeking to kill them with fish-gigs, they strucke so many the water in many places was thick with bloud, yet caught not one; but with a net they caught so many as they could draw a shore, with infinite number of Pilchards and divers other sorts. Great craw-fishes in a night by making a fire they have taken in great quantity. Sir George had twice his hooke and line broke out of his hand, but the third time he made it so strong he caught the same fish; which had pulled him into the sea had not his men got hold of him, whereby he had his three hookes againe [that] were found in her belly. At their first hunting for hogs they found such abundance, they killed 32: and this hunting and fishing was appointed to Captain Robert Walsingham and Master Henry Shelly for the company in general: they report they killed at least 500. besides Pigs, and many that were killed by divers others; for the birds in their seasons, the facility to make their cabins of Palmeta leaves, caused many of them utterly forget or desire ever to return from thence, they lived in such plenty, peace and ease.
But let us remember how the Knights began to resolve in those desperat affires. Many projects they had, but at last it was concluded, to decke their long boat with their ship hatches; which done, with all expedition they sent Master Rauen, a very sufficient Mariner, with eight more in her to Virginia, to have shipping from thence to fetch them away. The weekes or a month they expected her returne, but to this day  she was never more heard of.
All this time was spent in searching the iles: now although God still fed them with this abundance of plenty, yet such was the malice of envy or ambition, and for all this good service done by Sommers, such a great difference fell amoungst their Commanders, that they lived asunder in this distresse, rather as meere strangers then distressed friends: but necessity so commanded, patience had the victory.
Two ships at this time by those several parties were a building; in the mean time two children were born, the Boy called Bermudas, the Girl Bermuda, and amoungst all those sorrowes they had a merry English marriage.
The forme of these iles you may see at large in the Map of Master Norwood, where you may plainly see no place knowne hath better walls, nor a broader ditch.
But having finished and rigged their two new Ceder ships with such provisions they saved from the Seaventure they left amoungst the Rocks, they call the one the Patience, the other the Deliverance; they used Lime and Oile, as May did for Pitch and Tar. Sir George Sommers had in his Barke no Iron at all but one bolt in her Keele; now having made their provisions of victuall and all thing ready, they set saile the tenth of May 1610. only leaving two men behinde them, called Christopher Carter and Edward Waters, that for their offences, or the suspicions they had of their judgements, fled into the woods: and there rather desired to end their daies than stand to their trials and the event of Justice; for one of their consorts was shot too death, and Waters being tied to a tree also to be executed, had by chance a Knife about him, and so secretly cut the rope, he ran into the woods where they could not find him.
There were two Indians also sent from Virginia by Captain John Smith, the one called Namuntack the other Matchumps: but some such differences fell betweene them, that Matchumps slew Namuntack, and having made a hole to bury him, because it was too short, he cut of his legs and laid them by him; which murder he concealed until he was in Virginia.
The foure and twentieth of the same month [May 1610] they arrived in Virginia at Jamestown, where they found but threescore persons, as you may reade at large in the History of Virginia of the five hundred left by Captain Smith: [as] also the arrival of Lord De La Warr, that met them thus bound for England, returned them back; and understanding what plenty there was of hogs and other good things in the Bermudas, was desirous to send thither to supply his necessary occasions. Whereupon Sir George Sommers, the best aquainted with the place, whose noble minde ever regarded the general good more than his owne ends, though above threescore years of age, and had means in England suitable to his ranke, offered himselfe by Gods helpe to perform this dangerous againe for the Bermudas; which was kindly accepted, so upon the 19 of June , he embarked in his Ceder ship, about the burthen of thirty tunnes, and so set saile.
Much foule and cross weather he had, and was forced to the North parts of Virginia; where refreshing himselfe upon this unknowne coast, he could not bee diverted from the search of the Bermudas, where at last with his company he safely arrived: but such was his diligence with his extraordinary care, paines and industry to dispatch his business, and the strength of his body not answering the ever memorable courage of his minde; having lived so long in such honorable services the most part of his well beloved and vertuous life, God and nature here determined, should ere remaine a perpetuall memory of his much bewailed sorrow for his death: finding his time but short, after he had taken the best course he could to settle his estate; like a valiant Captain he exhorted them with all diligence to be constant to those Plantations, and with all expedition to returne to Virginia. In that very place which we now call Saint George towne, this noble Knight died, whereof the place taketh his name.
But his men, as men amazed, seeing the death of him who was even as the life of them all, embalmed his body and set saile for England; being the first that ever went to seeke those lands: which have beene ever since called Summers lles, in honour of his worthy memory, leaving three men behind them, that voluntarily stayed, whose names were Christopher Carter, Edward Waters, there formerly left as is said; and Edward Chard.
This Cedar ship at last with his dead body arrived at Whit-Church in Dorsetshire; where by his friend he was honorably buried, with many vollies of shot, and the rites of a Souldier: and upon his tombe was bestowed this Epitaph.
Hei mihi Virginia quod tam cito praeterit AEstas, Autumnus sequitur, saeuiet inde et hiems; At ver perpetuum nascetur, et Anglia laeta, Decerpit flores florida terra tuas.
In English thus:
Alas Virginia's summer so soone past, Autumme succeeds and stormy Winters blast, Yet England's joyfull Spring with joyfull showers, O Florida, shall bring thy sweetest flowers."