Page:Journal of a Voyage to Greenland, in the Year 1821.djvu/97

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VOYAGE TO GREENLAND.

strange tremulous hurried noise is heard: they generally rise in little herds, and make a feeble blast in the direction over their nose. The food of the narwal consists of the sepia or cuttle-fish, many of which I took from the stomach of this specimen. Just as we were finishing the examination of the narwal, a whale was seen to blow at a great distance: six boats were immediately sent off, but as they were not able to overtake it, the signal of recall was made, and five of them returned. On the arrival of the first, I went into it with my gun, for the purpose of shooting a remarkable snow-bird with a black head, which came near the ship: this with two others I shot, and they fell upon a piece of ice: but, as we were rowing round it, in search of a convenient spot to ascend, the ship again became in a state of uproar, and the shout of "a fall!" was vociferated by all on board. The chase of the birds was consequently abandoned for a nobler pursuit, and our boat, with the other four, was rowed to the one attached to the fish, which was upwards of two miles distant, and which, besides its jack flying, had two oars elevated as signals that early assistance was required; not long after a third oar was raised to evince that the demand for aid was pressing. Never was a boat-race better contested, and never was greater exertion made by men to reach the goal. On our passage, the straight line of direction was interrupted by several large flat pieces of ice, some of them bearing hummocks mountain high. At length, when within a quarter of a mile,