Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/48

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favourable ice. Having made his decision, he directed the ship to be run within twice or thrice its length of the spot; then promptly ordered the yards a-back, that it might lose all velocity on touching the ice, to break the concussion: again, at the instant of contact, the sails were all filled, and the frozen barrier, no sooner summoned, than its icy gates were forced by the Baffin's prowess. In this manner we entered the ice; and human imagination, to those who had not before witnessed such a scene, cannot conceive any so grand. We now passed into what is professionally called "open sailing ice[1]." The colour of the water being very favourable for fishing, a good look out was kept, and all were in readiness. We had not proceeded far, before the pieces of ice, which were floating, increased in number and in size; and being of considerable extent and dangerous to pass, every person was at his post, standing by the braces to obey instant command. The wind was blowing strong, the water smooth, and the ship gracefully "danced the hay" in quick time, among numerous dangers, for the distance of thirty or forty miles, when an impenetrable barrier compelled us to put the ship about, and explore other unsearched stations for whales. On passing several large pieces of ice, having apertures, through which light was admitted, a fine effect was produced by the beautiful blue colour, tinted

  1. That is, where the pieces are so separate, as to admit a ship sailing conveniently among them.