Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/169

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VOYAGE TO GREENLAND.

sailing towards England; we stood towards her to avail ourselves of this opportunity of informing our absent friends, that we were well, had been in ice for more than two months, and had taken very few whales. A boat was despatched with this news; and on its return we found the ship to be the Vigilant of London, which was homeward bound, having had good success, in taking fourteen whales; we also learned that in the boat hanging over its stern was a coffin containing the remains of one of its boat-steerers, who the day before had been killed by a whale while he was performing the dangerous service of lancing it. This, among the many dangers attendant on the Greenland fishing, confirms and clearly shews the advantage that would be derived from the use of shells and carcasses; which, by judicious management and proper application, will at once remove the most dangerous part of the scene by lacerating the vitals, and this in perfect security, at a distance beyond the reach of the most enraged fish. In the evening we saw a shoal of seals sporting upon the surface of the ocean: this the sailors called a wedding: and at night we caught a large one, as it was sleeping upon a piece of ice which we were passing.


July 15. 
The wind having continued a steady breeze all the night, and the ship having kept a northern course, it was calculated (for we had not seen the sun to take an observation,) that we had attained about the 76° of latitude. Here the ice exhibited a wonderful change in its appear-