Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/144

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for which the Gravesend boats are so justly celebrated, be half so ingeniously displayed, as in keeping clear of the pieces of ice, which now frequently threatened by their overwhelming power to impede the ship's progress. At length we came into more open water, kept our course, and hoped soon to gain our westward destination. We saw with regret that our companion, the Trafalgar, was unable to follow our track; that the ice was in rapid motion; and that in all probability, if that ship was not already beset, she soon would be; but a fog coming on suddenly shut her from our sight. In the course of this day, the ice assumed an entirely new character, consisting principally of pieces about three feet above the surface of the water, without hummocks, quite level, and of all dimensions from a few yards in surface to an extent of many square miles.

June 23. 
We kept our course all night, and in the morning came into a basin perfectly free from floating ice, but surrounded by fields infinitely larger than any we had before seen. It is a remarkable circumstance, that fields of ice are always found with spaces of water on their boundary; whether, his fact has given rise to the hypothesis of a polar basin, I will not presume to say; neither will I offer an opinion on the probability of such a space being formed round the north pole, since so many abler men are undecided upon this interesting question. The inlet into this basin, was scarcely a point of the compass in width, resembling the spout of a large jug; we sailed round its impenetrable