Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/62

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full plumage until five years of age, and live very long.

May 15. 
The difficulties, which we expected to meet with in keeping our course, accumulated as the ice became more compact and the pieces much larger; the face of the ocean being often totally excluded from our sight by the immense bodies floating on its surface. I could not help beholding with wonder and delight, the movements of the ship through them; it now being deemed necessary to have recourse to boring the ice, that is, forcing a passage through large bodies of it. The address requisite was very interesting; and nothing but the most skilful seamanship, and prompt obedience of the ship to the movements of the helm, could effect what came under my observation. I went to the bows to observe the tactics employed in facing the enemy, and was much gratified by the judicious mode of attack. To meet an immense surface of ice,, perhaps fifty times the ship's superior in weight, in hasty advance or in front, would be ineffectual; therefore, on approaching it, the rapid movement of the ship was progressively cheeked, until the bow was introduced between two of the pieces, and at the instant of contact, the whole power of the sails was applied to force aside the obstruction. During the day we passed several fragments of ice-bergs[1], that probably had been the growth of ages, and were of the richest

  1. Insulated mountains of ice.