Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/107

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VOYAGE TO GRENLAND.

and a quarter, a size very rarely seen; the extreme length of the fish, fifty-two feet; and the extent of the tail, twenty-one feet.

Among the subjects of natural history found in these regions, is the Oniscus ceti, vulgarly called the whale-louse. We saw several of these animals upon the body and jaws of this whale; they are about the size of a very small crab, and covered with remarkably hard scales, the head being similar to that of the Pediculus humanus, with four horns, two of which serve as feelers; the other two are hard, curved, and serve as clinches, to fix the animals to the subject which they attack: underneath the chest they have two carvers, like scythes, with which they collect their food; and behind these are four feet that serve the purpose of oars; they have six other clinches behind, with which they rivet themselves so fast to the whale, that they cannot be disengaged, but by cutting out the part to which they are affixed: they are joined in the back similarly to those of the lobster, and the tail covers them like a shield.


May 29. 
The waste of the ship being almost filled with the blubber, thrown in at the flincing of the three whales which we had now taken, the uncommon fineness of the day was an inducement to proceed to the business of paring and barrelling it, which is termed "making off:" for this purpose, the ship was moored to a piece of ice, when, the water being exceedingly clear, we had an opportunity of estimating its depth below the surface. On