Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/139

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whelmed, terror and dismay must be the predominant feelings. The whale-fishers at all times require unremitting vigilance to ensure their safety, but scarcely in any situation so much, as when navigating amidst these fields in foggy weather, because their motions then cannot be distinctly observed. It may easily be imagined, that the strongest ships can no more withstand the shock of the contact of two fields, than a sheet of paper can stop a musket-ball. Since the establishment of the whale-fishery, a number of vessels have been thus destroyed; some have been thrown upon the ice, others have been torn completely open, whilst others again have been buried beneath the heaped fragments of ice.

June 20. 
The shock of piece of ice striking the bow of the ship a tremendous blow, which made its whole frame to tremble, and the grating of a large mass in passing, as if determined to saw its way through the side of the ship, urged me hastily to the deck. The watch were all in activity; some getting towlines into boats, to tow the ship through a narrow passage, scarcely wider than itself; others on the ice, setting ice-anchors, whilst many were employed at the capstan. After considerable labour, by towing and warping, the ship was removed into more open water, and a breeze springing up, soon freed us from our present difficulties.

The assistance of the boats being no longer required, I availed myself of the opportunity to go in