Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/145

This page has been validated.

brim, and, observing this small aperture, made all sail, and succeeded in passing through it just before it closed; we continued our course to the westward, and at four o'clock saw a whale near the edge of the ice. Several boats were sent in pursuit, but returned about eight o'clock without having seen it again. While absent from the ship in this service, I witnessed a sight of much interest to a lover of falconry, in the attack of an arctic gull, (Larus Parisiticus, Linn), upon a kittywake. My attention was first directed to it by a screaming at a great height in the air, and at a considerable distance. I observed a sharp conflict for upwards of a quarter of an hour, during which, many bold stoops were made by the gull, and they were as beautifully evaded by the superior aƫrial movements and dexterity of the kittywake; I never beheld a finer or more active flight at a heron, which it very much resembled. About nine o'clock a whale rose in the midst of our little fleet, which now consisted of five ships; boats being instantly lowered from each, rowed to that part of the ice under which the fish swam, and took their stations against its return. After waiting some time, the old fishing stratagem was put in practice by the boat's crews of two confederate ships: the crew of one of the boats commenced the plan usually adopted on seeing a whale that is, the harpooner quickly sitting down, takes his oar, and the boat is rowed with the greatest speed, in the expectation that all the rest will follow, leaving the favourable situation open, when boats belonging to the confederate party avail themselves