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outline of the coast. By these, we found that the north-east point of America had a large Island lying off it; and that a very narrow strait between the two lands, offered the desired communication with the polar sea. This information excited the most sanguine hopes of success; for we could not but believe, that we should be able to pass the strait early in the ensuing season, and that the principal difficulty of our enterprise would be then over. The arrival of the Esquimaux also afforded a delightful relief to the monotony we were before experiencing; and in our daily intercourse with them, there was also something to interest us in observing the habits and disposition of a very harmless, peaceable, and kind-hearted race of people. Thus circumstanced, the succeeding four months passed rapidly away; and the 1st of June brought in its train warm weather, and all the bustle and activity attendant on the necessary preparations for our summer exploits. The general health of our crew, was all that we could wish for.-Two or three very slight cases of scorbutic affection had made their appearance, and been eradicated almost as soon as discovered. As, however, the warmth of the lower deck had enabled us to raise a sufficient quantity of mustard and cress, to furnish each man with a salad of fresh vegetable about once a week, and as we had now hopes of procuring sorrel and scurvy-grass from the shore, we had nothing serious to apprehend on this account.
Notwithstanding these favourable circumstances, we were awfully visited at this period; no less than three of our shipmates being called from us to that "bourne from whence no traveller returns." The first, one of the seamen of the Hecla, fell from that ship's mast-head, and was killed on the spot; the second, a quarter-master of the Fury, was attacked in the middle of June, with an inflammatory complaint, that terminated his earthly career in a few days; and the third, our carpenter's mate, died of consumption, the symptoms of which first appeared a few weeks after leaving England. They were all three buried on Winter Island; and tombs built to mark the spot of their interment,-their names, ages, and the times of their decease being inscribed on each of them. Winter-Island, or, more properly speaking, the station of our ships, was found to be in lat. 66 d. 11 m. 26 s., and the mean result of 9460. Lunar distances gave the lon. 83 d. 10 m. 26 s. The dip of the magnetic needle at the Observatory on cape Fisher (the S. E. point of Winter Island) was 87 d. 49 m. 33 s. and its variation 54 d. westerly.
(To be concluded in the next number.)
In consequence of the strong tides that prevailed here, occasional disruptions of the ice occurred off Cape Fisher, during the whole winter, so that there was sometimes even at the coldest season, a clear sea for several miles in extent; and when; by the arrival of warmer weather, the freezing process no longer continued, we had the gratification of beholding, with every north-westerly wind, a navigable sea within seven or eight hundred yards of where we were frozen up. It became expedient, therefore, to endeavour to extricate the ships, by cutting a canal through the ice in the Bay, which averaged about four and a half, but in some parts, was fourteen feet in thickness, and extended 2100 feet to the sonthward of the ships. This arduous task was completed on the 19th of June; and we then only waited a north-westerly wind to drift the ice off, and enable us to resume the prosecution of our voyage. It was not, however, until the 1st of July, that any change took place in the state of the ice that beset us; when the wind, having veered round to the desired quarter, and increased to a gale, set the whole body speedily in motion; and on the following morning, as soon as the weather had moderated sufficiently, we cast off our hawsers and made sail, after an imprisonment of thirtyeight weeks. A couple of hours sail brought us once more upon the continental coast, where a ledge of land ice, from half a mile to a mile and a half wide, still adhered to the shores, from which the main body had drifted off, leaving a clear channel of from two to five miles in breadth, in which we proceeded without impediment for nearly ten leagues. The channel of water then became much narrower, and in a short distance farther closed quite in with the land, (Point Elizabeth in the charts,) so as to oppose all farther progress at present. The rapid tides we here met with, by keeping the ice constantly in motion, rendered our situation at all times precarious and hazardous, and it was not, without constant and excessive fatigue to the men, and frequent danger to the ships, that we succeeded in advancing forty miles farther in the course of the next ten days. On our arrival at this part of the coast, we discovered a river of considerable magnitude, and having a magnificent fall of water. As this is the first and only one we have yet met with in these regions, I shall venture to increase the bulk of my letter, by giving some account of our excursion to it. Early on the morning of the 13th July, having arrived in our boats at the entrance of the river, and rowed about a mile to the N. Vol. I. No. II.
W. its right-hand bank, we came to some breakers stretching quite across, and forming a rapid of considerable velocity. We pulled over, therefore, to the opposite side, landed, and ascended the hills, which here rose very abruptly. On reaching the higher land we found the river to wind sharp round to the W. S. W. and we shaped a course so as to come again upon its banks at a mile beyond our landing place. Here we discovered two small falls, over each of which the water was precipitated ten or twelve feet perpendicularly, and then rushed on towards another descent which we heard roaring below us, but which was hidden from our view by the rocks. Having contemplated for several minutes the sublimity of the scene before us, we walked back along the rocks to get a view of the other fall, and in a few minutes were astonished by the discovery of a most stupendous cataract; the bed of the river narrowing very suddenly to about forty yards across, as a fall of 15 feet, at an angle of 30 or 35 d. then precipitates itself, with impetuous violence over, a perpendicular cliff, whose height is 90 feet, into a circular basin about 400 yards broad, from whence it turns off to the E. N. E. as we had remarked on landing., The spot on which we stood was within a few feet of the precipice from whence the water fell; and "the mighty roar of the cataract," causing the rocks to reverberate as if shook by the concussion--the thick and misty volume of foaming spray ascending far above the heights from which the water had fallen; and, above all, the splendid iris, or rainbow, which the sun's rays reflected on the spray, presented the most sublime and magnificent spectacle I had ever witnessed. We gazed on it for an hour, and even then left it with reluctance. The scene wanted only trees, to be, perhaps, one of the most picturesque landscapes in the world. The entrance of this river, named after Mr. Barrow, lies in lat. 67 d. 18 m. N. long. 81 d. 24 m. west. In extending our walk a few miles farther, along the banks of Barrow river, we found its average breadth above the fall to be about 200 feet; it has several windings in its progress from the S. W.; and as its banks on either side were clothed with an unusual quantity and variety of vegetation, it still continued to present more picturesque scenery than any we had lately been accustomed to. On our return to the ships, another gratifying prospect awaited us; a south-westerly wind blowing all the morning, had opened the ice from the cape to the northward of us, and quite removed the barrier that impeded our progress. We immediately made sail, therefore, and on rounding the cape, (Cape Penryn,) had the satisfaction to find the clear water
extending as far as could be seen from the mast head, and that the land beyond us trended to the westward of north, in which direction we advanced 30 miles before midnight. Uninterrupted by ice, we pursued our course along the shores of the continent, in nearly a due north direction, for the two following days; and early on the 16th of July, the appearance of the land led us to hope that we had arrived at the entrance of the strait to which we had so ardently looked forward. At the same time a barrier of ice, stretching from shore to shore, afforded too much reason to fear that we might here experience some detention. At nine o'clock in the morning, some Esquimaux were seen in canoes, and immediately on communicating with these people, both our hopes and fears received full, confirmation. On landing at the tents, situated on the island of Igloolik, we found about 150 inhabitants, most of whom were related in some way or other to our Winter Island friends, and our visit had increased interest from our being able to impart as well as receive information. What we obtained in this way, however, was far from being pleasing to us; for although these people confirmed in the fullest and clearest manner all that we had before been told respecting the confirmation and the existence of a sea to the westward, communicating with the strait before us, they also assured us of the disagreeable fact, that the entrance of the strait was, at present, filled with fixed ice, firmly attached to the shores of the continent, as well as to those of the large northern island named after Sir George Cockburn. When this ice might be expected to break up we could not satisfactorily learn; but the result of all the information obtained, left the impression, that although the disruption was not likely to be immediate, the strait would certainly be clear some time in the course of the summer; and as it was obviously our proper and perhaps only road, there was no alternative but to wait patiently for the season to effect some change in our favour. By way of employing the interval, we coasted along the margin of the ice, to examine its state more narrowly, and then stretched to the eastward towards three or four islands lying off the east end of Cockburn Island. The channels between these islands were all filled with heavy ice, that afforded little prospect of our being able to navigate them, even if such an attempt should become necessary. Farther eastward other islands were seen; and it appeared not improbable, that a continued change would be found to extend to Fox's Farthest, and also towards the Clyde Inlet in Davis' Strait: the information afterwards obtained from the Esquimaux seemed to favour this idea. Returning to Ig
loolik a week afterwards, we found the Esquimaux in possession of a quantity of fine salmon, of which we procured a small but welcome supply. We learned that they had obtained these from a lake or river to the westward, by travelling across the ice in sledges; and some of the Esquimaux offering to go and procure a farther supply, Capt. Lyon undertook to accompany them. After proceeding about thirty miles to the westward, however, they found the ice so much decayed, that the sledge could no longer proceed, and they were therefore obliged to return without accomplishing the object of their journey; a circumstance we could not regret, as it led to the hope of a speedy disruption of the ice, which caused our present detention.
Another fortnight having elapsed, and the ice, though in a very decayed state, still attached to the shores, our impatience as well as our fears had naturally increased to a painful degree; and Capt. Parry undertook a journey across the ice, in hopes of being able to reach the sea to the westward, and arrive at some conclusion as to what we might ultimately expect. For this purpose he set out on the 14th of August, and having effected a landing on the continental shore, arrived on the 18th at the north-eastern point of America, which formed the narrows of a strait. Here the land suddenly turns to the westward, in which direction he could perceive the strait gradually to widen, so as to leave no doubt of an immediate communication with the Polar sea. The breadth of the channel, named the strait of the Fury and Hecla, was at this part reduced to about two miles and a half; and there is a still narrower channel to the northward, on the Cockburn Island shore, the intervening space being occupied by an island named after the Marquis of Ormond. The narrows of the strait was, at this time, clear of ice, but farther to the westward the sea was again covered with it, and Capt. Parry suspected from its appearance that this also was still attached to the shores. The lat. of the N. E. cape was found to be 69 d. 42 m. N. and its long. 82 d. 32 m. W.
Capt. Parry's return to the ships on the 20th of August was most opportune, for on the following day a general disruption of the ice took place, and in the course of two or three days more, it had cleared sufficiently to allow of the ships advancing in the desired direction. On the 26th, we passed Cape North East, and proceeding about ten miles farther to the westward, through the strait of the Fury and Hecla, arrived at two small islands lying near the centre of the strait, where, to our great mortification, we found the barrier of fixed ice before seen by Capt. Parry, to extend itself from shore to shore, so as to preclude all