able position was selected for the purpose. It may be proper to remark, that the greatest observation and most strict attention are requisite in mooring a ship against a floe of ice, in a situation where other immense masses are in motion; for I noticed that large bodies of ice do not move directly to leeward, as would naturally be supposed, but, like a ship, form a curvature, greater or less, according to their elongated form. Several ships were now in company; some pursuing their avocation, others moored like ourselves to the ice, and one of them to an iceberg. The disagreeable process of making off the three whales last caught, was-now performed; this being finished, and the ship cleaned, we unmoored at three o'clock, and sailed again in search of whales. One, of an immense size, rose not far from us, but very near the Trafalgar, and was struck by a harpooner from that ship, who actually ran his boat upon the back of the fish. The wind was blowing very hard, and the whale, in going down, nearly upset the boat, by raising it on its tail; it very quickly ran out all the lines, and went under a field of ice; when from the harpoon not retaining its hold, the fish was lost. This method of close approach to a whale is common in the fishing when circumstances will allow, as it prevents the fish, from the situation of his eyes, from perceiving the meditated design; it is nevertheless a service of considerable hazard, and was, in this instance, of extraordinary peril: boats are thus often lifted out of the water; and, I have been assured, have in some
Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/128
This page has been validated.
VOYAGE TO GREENLAND.