Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/39

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21
VOYAGE TO GREENLAND.

pass before. It being Sunday, we hauled off to a considerable distance, took in our sails, and lay to, preparatory to the religious observance of the day. It may here be proper to notice that, should a whale be seen close along side the Baffin, on a Sunday, a boat is never lowered down in pursuit.

Scarcely was the morning service ended, when one of the most tremendous gales ever witnessed, began to blow directly towards the ice. The clouds had given no indication of a storm; but, commencing at once with furious blasts, it caused the waves to roll mountains high. We appeared to be the sport of the element: at one instant tossed on its heaving bosom to a frightful height, then descending into a yawning gulf, that threatened to swallow us up; it was nevertheless awfully and sublimely grand. The situation of those ships which we had seen enter the ice in the morning, under what probably was regarded as a propitious gale, was now considered to be so dangerous, that all on board were fearfully apprehensive for their safety. The wind continued raging all the afternoon, with the increased disadvantage of terrific pieces of ice floating about the surface of the ocean: these we had to avoid; and violent snow storms prevented their being seen at any great distance from the ship. About nine o'clock, the gale rather moderated, but as if it had been only to gather strength for an increase of fury; for, during the night, it blew from every point of the compass; which occasioned such a contention of billows, rolling higher and higher,