Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/33

This page has been validated.



we met with many pieces of heavy[1] drift-ice; and soon after, a streak of light, resembling the dawning of approaching day, but without its redness, was visible in the air just above the horizon. This appearance which is termed an ice-blink, proceeds from an extensive space, or compact aggregation of ice, which occasions the rays of light, that strike its snowy surface, to be reflected into the superincumbent air, where they become visible; hence, when the ice-blink occurs under the most favourable circumstances, it affords to the eye, a beautiful and perfect map of the ice, twenty or thirty miles beyond the limit of direct vision, but more or less distinct, in proportion as the air is clear or hazy. The ice-blink not only shews the figure of the ice, but enables the experienced observer to judge, whether it, as thus pictured, be field or packed ice; if the latter, whether it be compact or open, bay or heavy ice. Field ice affords the most lucid blink, accompanied with a tinge of yellow; that of packed, is more purely white; and of bay ice, greyish. The land, on account of its snowy covering, likewise occasions a blink, which is yellowish, and not much unlike that produced by the field ice. The nearer we approached to the north, the more numerous were the pieces of ice, until the ocean was covered with them. The wind still blowing into the ice, and finding ourselves embayed,

  1. Pieces that are of a great depth in the water, and dangerous for a ship to strike.