Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/121

This page has been validated.

only run out our complement of six lines, but also three others belonging to a boat that had been sent to our assistance. I now observed the boat from which the second harpoon had been struck, moving rapidly along the ice, over large hummocks, while its crew were exerting their utmost strength to impede its progress. From the commencement of the attack, we had used our best endeavours to check the career of this resolute fish, but human efforts were for the present unable to control its power. Determined, however, not to give more line, we put over the stern a heavy grapnel and long tow-line, to which every man held on with his utmost strength, while I, having got into the boat to travel in this unusual manner, was drawn with great speed to the place where the whale was first struck; here, to prevent the boat being taken under the ice, more line was given, but to no great extent. Fortunately, the whale quitted the ice, and came up in open water; when we had soon the pleasure of seeing a jack displayed from another of the boats to announce that a third harpoon had struck the prey. About a quarter of an hour after this, we heard the welcome shout which follows the death of a fish.

Our boat's crew being engaged in pulling in the line, I had an opportunity of exploring part of this extensive plain of ice which was immeasurable to the eye. This dreary waste was wholly composed of newly-created ice, and, rising from the surface of the ocean, was in many places perfectly flat, while in others, it was covered with hillocks, especially