In the morning of the 29th, we saw the main ice to the northward, and not long after, land bearing S.W. by W. Presently after this, more land shewed itself, bearing W. It shewed itself in two hills like islands, but afterward the whole appeared connected. As we approached the land, the depth of water decreased very fast; so that at noon, when we tacked, we had only eight fathoms, being three miles from the coast, which extended from S., 30 deg. E., to N., 60 deg. W. This last extreme terminated in a bluff point, being one of the hills above mentioned.
The weather at this time was very hazy, with drizzling rain; but soon after it cleared, especially to the southward, westward, and northward. This enabled us to have a pretty good view of the coast, which, in every respect, is like the opposite one of America; that is, low land next the sea, with elevated land farther back. It was perfectly destitute of wood, and even snow; but was, probably, covered with a mossy substance, that gave it a brownish cast. In the low ground, lying between the high land and the sea, was a lake, extending to the S.E., farther than we could see. As we stood off, the westernmost of the two hills before mentioned came open off the bluff point, in the direction of N.W. It had the appearance of being an island; but it might be joined to the other by low land, though we did not see it. And if so, there is a two-fold point, with a bay between them. This point, which is steep and rocky, was named Cape North. Its situation is nearly in the latitude of 68 deg. 56’, and in the longitude of 180 deg. 51’. The coast beyond it must take a very westerly direction; for we could see no land to the northward of it, though the horizon was there pretty clear. Being desirous of seeing more of the coast to the westward, we tacked again at two o’clock in the afternoon, thinking we could weather Cape North. But finding we could not, the wind freshening, a thick fog coming on, with much snow, and being fearful of the ice coming down upon us, I gave up the design I had formed of plying to the westward, and stood off shore again.
The season was now so far advanced, and the time when the frost is expected to set in so near at hand, that I did not think it consistent with prudence, to make any farther attempts to find a passage into the Atlantic this year, in any direction, so little was the prospect of succeeding. My attention was now directed toward finding out some place where we might supply ourselves with wood and water; and the object uppermost in my thoughts was, how I should spend the winter, so as to make some improvements in geography and navigation, and, at the same time, be in a condition to return to the north, in farther search of a passage, the ensuing summer.