ships, had, in the spring of the year, met together on the borders of the ice, about sixty miles to the eastward of the island, Jan Mayne. On the twenty-ninth of March, the weather being moderate, the whole fleet penetrated within some streams of ice, and sent out their boats in search of seals. While they were thus engaged, a dreadful storm suddenly arose; so sudden and furious indeed was its commencement, and so tremendous and lasting its continuance, that almost all the people that were at a distance from their ships perished. A ship, named the Duke of York, had two boats out at this time; the crews of these having, by the utmost exertion, rowed up to the ship, held fast by the rudder-rings, being unable to make their way along side; here they remained for some time, but, at length, the force of the waves becoming too great for their benumbed grasp, they lost their hold, and drove astern. The chief mate of the ship, a resolute and noble tar, seeing that his shipmates, if not immediately succoured, would perish, determined to rescue them at the hazard of his own life. Having manned a boat with six stout seamen, besides himself, he proceeded to their assistance. On reaching them, he exchanged four of his vigorous crew for two of his fainting ship-mates in each boat; thus reinforced, the three boats by the powerful exertions of their crews, were brought to the stern of the ship. Beyond this point the increase of the waves, and the rapid drift of the ship, prevented their advancing, while their companions on board
Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/90
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VOYAGE TO GREENLAND.