Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/147

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VOYAGE TO GREENLAND.

ice in motion, and prevented our getting out, though almost all the other ships found a clear lead to the westward; the opening through which they had passed we visited about noon for the same purpose, but found it too hazardous to attempt until four o'clock, when it having indicated a more favourable movement, we again sailed towards it; but the moment we were about to enter, it was observed to be closing very rapidly, and that inevitable destruction would be the consequence of our proceeding. The sails were therefore backed, and the ship lay to, to afford us an opportunity of observing the collision of two heavy bodies of ice; a circumstance fatal to many, and dreaded by all who visit the arctic regions. The meeting was terrifically grand; as soon as the most projecting parts came in contract, they began to rise above the surface in cubical and rhomboidal masses of great magnitude and vast weight, some at least fifty feet long, thirty feet broad, and twenty feet thick; these projections being elevated on the great bed of ice, threw the pressure on parts of yet greater extent, whilst those of higher elevation kept gradually rising and forming an immense bank, as if by some supernatural agency. The whole was calculated to excite the admiration of those who delight in beholding the wonderful works of God.

Being thus shut out, we sailed to the northward, keeping near the margin of the field throughout the day, and intending, if possible, to get round it.