A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 10 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 762 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 10.
quite covered with snow to the very wash of the sea, so that it seems more like a white cloud than firm land.  These straits seemed to answer well to the map of Frezier; being about seven leagues through and six wide, and extend almost due north and south.  Now the return tide rushed upon us with a violence equal to that which brought us in, and it was astonishing with what rapidity we were driven again to the north, though we had a fresh gale at N.W. so that we seemed to advance six knots by the log; whence I judged this tide ran not less than ten knots.  In short, we were carried quite out of the straits to the north in about an hour.  Upon this shift of tide there arose such a short sea, and so lofty at the same time, that we alternately dipped our bowsprit and poop-lanterns into the water; our ship all the while labouring most violently, and refusing to answer the helm.  The tide shifted again at midnight, and we shot through the straits, steering S. with a brisk gale at N.W. without seeing the land distinctly on either side:  And, in the morning, had a good offing to the southward.

We found it very cold before we got thus far; but now we began to feel the utmost extremity of coldness.  The bleak western winds had of themselves been sufficiently piercing; but these were always accompanied by snow or sleet, which beat continually on our sails and rigging, cased all our masts, yards, and ropes with ice, and rendered our sails almost useless.  We had been so much accustomed to most severe storms, that we thought the weather tolerable when we could carry a reefed main-sail; as we were often for two or three days together lying-to under bare poles, exposed to the shocks of prodigious waves, more mountainous than any I had ever seen.  We now sensibly felt the benefit of our awning, without which we could scarcely have lived.  The wind continued to rage without intermission from the westward, by which we were driven to the latitude of 61 deg. 30’ S. and had such continued misty weather, that we were under perpetual apprehension of running foul of ice islands:  But, thank God, we escaped that danger, though under frequent alarms from fog banks and other false appearances.  Though the days were long, we could seldom get sight of the sun, so that we had only one observation for the variation in all this passage, which was in lat. 60 deg. 37’ S. 5 deg.  W. of the straits of Le Maire, when we found it 22 deg. 6’ E. On the 1st October, as we were furling the main-sail, one William Camell, cried out that his hands and fingers were so benumbed that he could not hold himself:  And, before those near could assist him, he fell down and was drowned.  On the 22d October, our fore-top-mast was carried away, and we rigged another next day.  Having contrary winds from the time we passed the straits of Le Maire, with the most uncomfortable weather, we made our way very slowly to the west and northwards, the hopes of getting soon into a wanner and better climate supporting us under our many miseries.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 10 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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