Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

which we considered the ternina- devious course nearly ninety miles, tion of our difficulties. After and accomplishing a distance on a steering three hours to the south- direct north-east course of about castward, as directed by the north- forty miles ; we found ourselves ern ice, we were concerned to dis. at the very margin of the sea, secover, that our conclusions had parated only by a narrow sea been premature. An immense stream. The waves were so great pack opened on our view, stretch without, and the wind so violent, ing directly across our track. that we dared not to hazard an There was no alternative, but attempt to force through this reforcing through it: we therefore maining obstacle. After waiting pushed forward into the least about thirty hours, on the mornconnected part. By availing our. ing of the 28th of May the weaselres of every advantage in sail. ther cleared, and the wind abated. ing. where sailing was practicable, The sea stream, which, the preand boring or drifting, where the ceding day, did not exceed iwo pieces of ice were too compact, hundred yards in breadth, was we at length reached the leeward generally augmented to upwards part of a narrow channel, in which of a mile broad. One place alone we had to ply a considerable was visible, where the breadth was d.stance against the wind. In per- less considerable; to that we diforming this, the wind, which rected our course, forced the ship had bitherto blown a brisk breeze into it, and by prompt and vigorous from the north, was increased to exertions were enabled to sura strong gale: the ship was placed mount every difficulty, and ac. in such a critical situation, that complish our final escape into the we could not for above an hour free ocean. accomplish any reduction of the I have been thus minute in the sails, and she was thus alarmingly relation of the progress of our exoppressed: while I was personally trication from an alarming, though engaged performing the duty of a not very uncommon, state of bepilot from the top-mast-head, the setment, both for the purpose of agitation and bending of the mast giving a faint idea of the difficul. was so uncommon, that I was se- ties and dangers which those en. riously alarmed for its stability. gaged in the whale-fishery have At length we were enabled to reef occasionally to encounter, and also our sails, and for a while proceeded more particularly to shew the exwith less danger. We continued traordinary manner in which ships to manquvre among the ice, ac- are imperceptibly immured amidst cording as its separation was most the ice, by the regularity of its considerable. Our direction was drift to the south-westward. now east, then north for several From this narrative it will aphours, then easterly 10 or 15 pear, that, notwithstanding we miles ;--when, after 18 hours of only penetrated 25 or 30 miles on the most difhcult, and occasionally our ingress, and among ice most hazardous sailing, in which the widely disposed; yet, before our ship received some hard blows regress was accomplished, we had irom the ice; after pursuing a passed on a direct course a dis

tance

fixed in young ice. At the same this time, would have been quite time, the external sheets of ice on unavailing), we determined to the north-east wheeled to the south, improve the advantage we had formed a junction with the ice acquired, by proceeding to the south-east from us, and completely utmost limits of the opening. Acenclosed us. Until the 16th, we cordingly, we advanced, on various lay immoveable ; a break of the winding courses, amidst bay ice bay ice then appeared about half and fields, in narrow obscure a-mile from us, to attain which, passages, a distance of several we laboured with energy, and in miles. We then discovered a coneight hours had made a passage tinuation of the navigation, which, for the ship. On the 18th, we pur- although contracted to the space sued the same opening to its of a few yards, in a channel exeastern extremity, and endeavour tending near a mile, between two ed, but without success, to force immense sheets of ice, we deterthrough a narrow neck of ice, mined to attempt to pass on. The into another opening leading fur- prospect was indeed appalling; ther in the same direction. On the but, perceiving indications of the 20th, in accomplishing this object, enlargement of the passage, rather we endured a heavy pressure of than the contrary, we advanced the bay ice, which shook the ship under a press of sail, driving aside in an alarming manner. The next some disengaged lumps of ice day we made a small advance; that opposed us, and shortly acand on the 22d, after a fatiguing complished our wishes in safety. effort in passing through the midst Here, an enlivening prospect preof an aggregation of floes against sented itself: to the extreme limits the wind, we obtained a channel of the horizon, no interruption which led us several miles to the was visible. We made a predesouth-eastward. On the 23d, we termined signal to the ships we lay at rest together with four other had left, indicative of our views. ships. The day following, having In two hours, however, our sansawn a place for the ship in a thin guine expectations of an immefloe, we forced forward between diate release, received a check, for two large masses, where bay ice we then met with fields in the unconsolidated had been com act of collapsing and completely pressed, until it had become 10 barring our progress. As the or 12 feet thick. We were assisted distance across was scarcely a by about a hundred men from the le, and the sea to appearance accompanying ships, which fol- clear beyond it, the interruption lowed close in our rear; and after was most tantalizing. We waited applying all our mechanical powers at the point of union, in the hope during eight or nine hours, we of the separation of the two fields; passed the strait of about a fur- and on the morning of the 26th long in length, and immediately of May, our anxiety was happily the ice collapsed and rivetted the relieved by the wished-for division ships of our companions to the of the ice. The ship, propelled spot. As they declined our prof- by a brisk wind, darted through fered assistance, (which indeed, at the strait, and entered a sea,

narrow

sea

which we considered the termina- devious course nearly ninety miles, tion of our difficulties. After and accomplishing a distance on a steering three hours to the south- direct north-east course of about eastward, as directed by the north- forty miles; we found ourselves ern ice, we were concerned to dis at the very margin of the sea, secover, that our conclusions had parated only by a been premature.

An immense stream. The waves were so great pack opened on our view, stretch-' without, and the wind so violent, ing directly across our track. that we dared not to hazard an There was no alternative, but attempt to force through this reforcing through it: we therefore maining obstacle. After waiting pushed forward into the least about thirty hours, on the mornconnected part. By availing our ing of the 28th of May the weaselves of every advantage in sail- ther cleared, and the wind abated. ing, where sailing was practicable, The sea stream, which, the preand boring or drifting, where the ceding day, did not exceed two pieces of ice were too compact, hundred yards in breadth, was we at length reached the leeward generally augmented to upwards part of a narrow channel, in which of a mile broad. One place alone we had to ply a considerable was visible, where the breadth was distance against the wind. In per- less considerable; to that we diforming this, the wind, which rected our course, forced the ship had hitherto blown a brisk breeze into it, and by prompt and vigorous from the north, was increased to exertions were enabled to sura strong gale: the ship was placed mount every difficulty, and acin such a critical situation, that complish our final escape into the we could not for above an hour free ocean. accomplish any reduction of the I have been thus minute in the sails, and she was thus alarmingly relation of the progress of our exoppressed : while I was personally trication from an alarming, though engaged performing the duty of a not very uncommon, state of bepilot from the top-mast-head, the setment, both for the purpose of agitation and bending of the mast giving a faint idea of the difficulwas so uncommon, that I was se ties and dangers which those enriously alarmed for its stability. gaged in the whale-fishery have At length we were enabled to reef occasionally to encounter, and also our sails, and for a while proceeded more particularly to shew the exwith less danger. We continued traordinary manner in which ships to manæuvre among the ice, ac are imperceptibly immured amidst cording as its separation was most the ice, by the regularity of its considerable. Our direction was drift to the south-westward. now east, then north for several From this narrative it will aphours, then easterly 10 or 15. pear, that, notwithstanding we miles ;---when, after 18 hours of only penetrated 25 or 30 miles on the most difficult, and occasionally our ingress, and among ice most hazardous sailing, in which the widely disposed; yet, before our ship received some hard blows

regi ess was accomplished, we had from the ice; after pursuing a passed on a direct course a dis

tance

tance of 35 or 40 leagues, whereof the borders of the ice; and such one-half was in contracted chan- conflicting winds have been obnels, amidst compact and formi- served to counterpoise each other dable ice. And, further, that in a few furlongs distant from the less than a fortnight, while at ice, for several hours : the viorest with regard to the ice, our lence of the one being, as it were, drift, as ascertained by astronomi- subdued by the frigorific repulsion cal observations, had been 60 or and lesser force of the other. The 70 miles to the south, and a dis- effect resulting, is singular and tance equally as great to the west. manifest.

2. The moist and temperate Effects of the Ice on the Sea and gale from the southward, becomes the Atmosphere.

chilled on commixture with the

northern breeze, and discharges The profusion of ice in the polar its surplus humidity in the thickregions produces peculiar and est snow. As the quantity of the marked effects on the surrounding snow depends considerably on the elements. The sea, in conse difference of temperature of the quence, exhibits some interesting two assimilating streams of air, it characters, and the atmosphere, follows, that the largest proportion some striking phenomena. Of must be precipitated on the exthese, the power the ice exerts on terior of the main body of ice, the wind, on aqueous vapour, where the contrast of temperature on the colour of the sky,--and on is the greatest: and since that the temperature of the air, are the contrast must be gradually dimimost prominent; and of those, nished, as the air passes over the accordingly as the ice or swell has gelid surface of the ice, much of the ascendancy, the results are its superabundant moisture must varied and remarkable.

generally be discharged before it 1. When the wind blows forci- reaches the interior. Hence we bly across a solid pack or field of

can account for the fewness of the ice, its power is much diminished clouds,--the consequent brightere it traverses many miles : in ness of the atmosphere, and the somuch, that a storm will fre

rareness of storms, in situations quently blow for several hours on far immured among the northern one side of a field, before it be ice. perceptible on the other; and, From this consideration, it might while a storm prevails in open be supposed, that after the preciwater, ships beset within sight pitation of a certain small depth will not experience one-half of its of snow on the interior ice, the severity.

atmosphere could alone replenish It is not uncommon for the ice its moisture from the same surto produce the effect of repulsing face, and that whatever changes and balancing an assailing wind. of temperature might occur, it Thus, when a severe storm blows could only discharge the same from the sea, directly towards the again: or, in other words, that main body of ice, an opposite the very same moisture would be current will sometimes prevail on alternately evaporated and depo

sited, without a possibility of add-ice, the phenomenon of the iceing to a limited depth of snow. blink is seen whenever the horizon Now this would assuredly be the is tolerably free from clouds, and case, if nothing more than the in some cases even under a thick same moisture evaporated from sky. The ice-blink consists in a the snowy surface of ice were stratum of alucid whiteness, which again deposited. But, it must be appears in that part of the atmosobserved that notwithstanding phere next the horizon. It is eviwinds from the north, east, ordently occasioned thus : those rays west, may not furnish any con of light which strike on the snowy siderable quantity of snow ; and surface of the ice, are reflected that although those warm and hu- into the superincumbent air, where mid storms which blow from the they become visible ; but the light south, may afford a large propor which falls on the sea is in a great tion of their humidity to the ex measure absorbed, and the superterior ice; yet, as the temperature incumbent air retains its native of the northern regions would be ethereal hue. Hence, when the gradually elevated by the long ice-blink occurs under the most continuance of a southerly gale, favourablecircumstances, it affords the advance of the wind must in to the eye a beautiful and perfect consequence be farther and farther map of the ice, 20 or 30 miles before it be reduced to the tempe- beyond the limit of direct vision, rature of the ice; and, therefore, but less distinct in proportion as some snow would continue to be the air is hazy. The ice-blink not precipitated to an increasing and only shews the figure of the ice, unlimited extent.

but enables the experienced obHence, as winds blowir.g from server to judge, whether the ice the north must be replaced by air thus pictured be field or packed neither colder nor less damp, and ice: if the latter, whether it be as every commixture with warmer compact or open, bay or heavy ice. streams must produce an increas- Field ice affords the most lucid ed capacity for moisture; there- blink, accompanied with a tinge fore no wind can occasion a de- of yellow; that of packs is more traction of vapour from the cir- purely white; and of bay ice cumpolar regions : on the con- greyish. The land, on account of trary, as the snow deposited on its snowy covering, likewise occathe interior ice by southerly sions a blink, which is yellowish, storms, (from the nature of the and not much unlike that produced circumstances), must be derived by the ice of fields. from evaporations out of the sea ; 4. The ice operates as a powerit is evident, that there must be ful equaliser of temperature. In an increase of snow in the icy la the 80th degree of north latitude, titudes, and that we cannot pos. at the edge of the main body of sibly determine any limit beyond ice, with a northerly gale of wind, which it may be affirmed that no the cold is not sensibly greater snow can be deposited.

than in the 70th degree, under 3. On approaching a pack, field, similar circumstances. or other compact aggregation of 5. The reciprocal action of the

« ForrigeFortsæt »