A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 17 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 787 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 17.

It may be remarked, that, since the 8th of this month, we had twice traversed this sea, in lines nearly parallel with the run we had just now made; that in the first of those traverses we were not able to penetrate so far north, by eight or ten leagues, as in the second; and that in the last we had again found an united body of ice, generally about five leagues to the southward of its position in the preceding run.  As this proves that the large compact fields of ice, which we saw, were moveable, or diminishing, at the same time, it does not leave any well-founded expectations of advancing much farther in the most favourable seasons.

At seven in the evening, the weather being hazy, and no ice in sight, we bore away to the westward; but at half past eight the fog dispersing, we found ourselves in the midst of loose ice, and close in with the main body; we therefore stood upon a wind, which was still easterly, and kept beating to windward during the night, in hopes of weathering the loose pieces, which the freshness of the wind kept driving down upon us in such quantities, that we were in manifest danger of being blocked up by them.

In the morning of the 23d, the clear water, in which we continued to stand to and fro, did not exceed a mile and a half, and was every instant lessening.  At length, after using our utmost endeavours to clear the loose ice, we were driven to the necessity of forcing the passage to the southward, which at half past seven we accomplished, but not without subjecting the ship to some very severe shocks.  The Discovery was less successful.  For at eleven, when they had nigh got clear out, she became so entangled by several large pieces, that her way was stopped, and immediately dropping bodily to leeward, she fell broadside foremost, on the edge of a considerable body of ice; and having at the same time an open sea to windward, the surf caused her to strike violently upon it.  This mass at length either so far broke, or moved, as to set them at liberty to make another trial to escape; but unfortunately before the ship gathered way enough to be under command, she again fell to leeward on another fragment; and the swell making it unsafe to lie to windward, and finding no chance of getting clear, they pushed into a small opening, furled their sails, and made fast with ice-hooks.

In this dangerous situation we saw them at noon, about three miles from us, bearing N.W., a fresh gale from the S.E. driving more ice to the N.W., and increasing the body that lay between us.  Our latitude, by account, was 69 deg. 8’, the longitude 187 deg. and the depth of water twenty-eight fathoms.  To add to the gloomy apprehensions which began to force themselves on us, at half past four in the afternoon, the weather becoming thick and hazy, we lost sight of the Discovery; but that we might be in a situation to afford her every assistance in our power, we kept standing on close by the edge of the ice.  At six, the wind happily coming round to the north, gave

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