Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/35

This page has been validated.



of the boat from us. The ship being in a bay, whose boundary was impenetrable ice, with a gale blowing into it, the probable capture of a whale became a consideration of minor importance, in the breast of our prudent and experienced commander, than the hazard to which the ship and boats might be exposed. I must here add a circumstance that now occurred and regulated, in some measure, the determination of relinquishing the pursuit, and to which I respectfully direct the particular notice of every commander of a vessel at sea. Captain Scoresby being constant in his observance of that faithful monitor, the barometer, which will warn the unwary by its depression in approaching storms, saw that it foretold an impending gale; as such, he called the boat in, took in superfluous sails, and got the ship under close-reefed topsails and courses. This act of judgment was among the numerous proofs which I witnessed of his professional attention; as it soon after blew with greater violence than it had hitherto done during our voyage, and continued with, what is very unusual in this frozen region, torrents of rain all night. Thermometer, at noon, 15°.

May 5. 
The wind having blown hard from the south-east, all the day before, at length changed to the north-west, and again gathered to a storm with a high rolling sea. The gale abating about six, p.m., numerous flocks of small birds called Rotges, (Alca Alle, Linn.,) were seen in every direction, flying, swimming, and diving; and by their appearance bespeaking our approach to ice. At