Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/63

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VOYAGE TO GREENLAND.

hue of dense blue ice. In cases where the pieces that opposed our progress were not very ponderous, a contention for strength was often to determine the issue; and the struggle, in some instances, was considerable, but the power of the ship being so judiciously and mechanically applied, made the ice yield in the contest, so that we invariably forced a passage. Boats were now got out a-head, to assist the ship to keep her course. The ice gathering very fast, ice poles were used for forcing openings, while the boats went a-head, to try which pieces might be the most easily removed. In this manner we went two or three miles, until a barrier of solid ice, many leagues in breadth, rendered it impossible to proceed any further. The ice through which we had passed, being observed to be rapidly closing, the promptest decision was necessary; and immediate exertion, it was evident, could alone save us from being locked in by the ice, probably for several weeks, and thereby losing the season for fishing. A moment was not to be lost; the ship's head was got round, to retrace her former course; and it was most fortunate that the quick determination to retire was carried into effect; as a stiff breeze springing up, caused the ice to close so very fast, that half an hour later would have prevented our escape. On clearing our difficulties, we sailed to the north-west.

At one period of the day, when the ship could make its passage without the assistance of the boat, I had some excellent shooting; killing upwards of