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municate with the other. This work proved heay. ier than we expected, the ice being generally from five to eight feet, and in many places from ten to eleven in thickness. It was continued, however, with the greatest cheerfulness and alacrity from sev. en in the morning till seven in the evening daily, the dinner being prepared on the ice, and eaten under the lee of a studding sail erected as a tent.
On the afternoon of the 19th, a very welcome stop was put to our operations by the separation of the floe entirely across the harbour, and about one third from the ships to where we were at work. All hands being instantly recalled by signal, were, on their ruturn, set to work to get the ships into the gravelled canal, and to saw away what still remained in it to prevent our warping to sea. This work, with only half an hour's intermission for the men's supper, was continued till half past six the following morning, when we succeeded in getting clear. The weather being calm, two hours were occupied in towing the ships to sea, and thus the officers and men were employed at a very labori. ous work for twenty-six hours, during which time there were, on one occasion, fifteen of them over. board at once; and, indeed, several individuals met with the same accident three times.
It was impossible, however, to regret the necessity of these com. paratively trifling exertions, especially as it was now evident that to saw our way out without any canal would have required at least a fortnight of heavy and fatiguing labour.
Sail over towards the Western Coast of Prince Regent's Inlet. -Stopped by the Ice.-Reach the Shore about Cape Seppings.-- Favourable Progress along the Land.–Fresh and repeated Obstructions from Ice.-Both Ships driven on Shore.Fury seriously damaged. — Unsuccessful Search for a Harbour for heaving her down to repair.
July 20.-On standing out to sea, we sailed,. with a light southerly wind, towards the western shore of Prince Regent's Inlet, which it was my first wish to gain, on account of the evident advan. tage to be derived from coasting the southern part of that portion of land called in the chart “ North Somerset,” as far as it might lead to the westward; which, from our former knowledge, we had reason to suppose it would do as far at least as the longi. tude of 95°, in the parallel of about 720o. After sailing about eight miles, we were stopped by a body of close ice lying between us and a space of open water beyond. We were shortly after en. veloped in one of the thick fogs which had, for sev. eral weeks past, been observed almost daily hanging over some part of the sea in the offing, though we had scarcely experienced any in Port Bowen until the water became open at the mouth of the harbour.
On the clearing up of the fog on the 21st, we could perceive no opening of the ice leading to. wards the western land, nor any appearance of the smallest channel to the southward along the eastern shore. I was determined, therefore, to try
at once a little farther to the northward, the pres. ent state of the ice appearing completely to accord with that observed in 1819, its breadth increasing as we advanced from Prince Leopold's Islands to the southward.
Light winds detained us very much, but, being at length favoured by a breeze, we carried all sail to the northwest, the ice very gradually leading us towards the Leopold Isles. Having arrived off the northernmost on the morning of the 22d, it was vexatious, however curious, to observe the exact coincidence of the present position of the ice with that which it occupied a little later in the year 1819. The whole body of it seemed to cling' to the western shore, as if held there by some strong attraction, forbidding, for the present, any access to it. After running all night, with light and va. riable winds, through loose and scattered ice, we suddenly found ourselves, on the clearing up of a thick fog through which we had been sailing on the morning of the 24th, within one third of a mile of Cape Seppings, the land just appearing above the fog in time to save us from danger, the soundings being thirty-eight fathoms, on a rocky bottom. The Fury being apprized by guns of our situation, both ships were hauled off the land, and the fog soon after dispersing, we had the satisfaction to perceive that the late gale had blown the ice off the land, leaving us a fine navigable channel from one to two miles wide, as far as we could see from the masthead along the shore. We were able to avail ourselves of this but slowly, however. in consequence of a light southerly breeze still blowing against us.
The land here, when closely viewed, assumes a very striking and magnificent character; the strata of limestone, which are numerous and quite horizontally disposed, being much more regular than on the eastern shore of Prince Regent's In. let, and retaining nearly their whole perpendicular height of six or seven hundred feet close to the sea. I may here remark, that the whole of Barrow's Strait, as far as we could see to the N.N.E. of the islands, was entirely free from ice; and, from whatever circumstance it may proceed, I do not think that this part of the Polar Sea is at any sea. son very much encumbered with it.
It was the general feeling at this period among us, that the voyage had but now commenced. The labours of a bad summer, and the tedium of a long winter, were forgotten in a moment when we found ourselves upon ground not hitherto explored, and with every apparent prospect before us of making as rapid a progress as the nature of this navigation will permit, towards the final accomplishment of our object.
A breeze enabling us again to make some prog, ress, and an open channel still favouring us, of nearly the same breadth as before, we passed, du. ring the night of the 25th, a second bay, about the same size as the other, and also appearing open to the sea; it lies in latitude (by account from the preceding and following noon) 73° 19' 30'', and its width is one mile and a half. We now perceived that the ice closed completely in with the land a short distance beyond us; and, having made all the way we could, were obliged to stand off and on during the day in a channel not three quarters of a mile wide.
A light southerly breeze on the morning of the 28th gradually cleared the shore, and a fresh wind from the N.W. then immediately succeeded. We instantly took advantage of this circumstance, and, casting off at six A.M., ran eight or nine miles without obstruction, when we were stopped by the ice, which, in a closely packed and impenetrable body, stretched close into the shore as far as the eye could reach from the crow's nest. Being anxious to gain every foot of distance that we could, and perceiving some grounded ice which appeared favourable for making fast to, just at a point where the clear water terminated, the ships were run to the utmost extent of it, and a boat prepared from each to examine the water at the intended anchoring place. Just as I was about to leave the Hecla for that purpose, the ice was observed to be in rapid motion towards the shore. The Fury was immediately hauled in by some grounded masses, and placed to the best advantage ; but the He. cla, being more advanced, was immediately beset in spite of every exertion, and, after breaking two of the largest ice-anchors in endeavouring to heave in to the shore, was obliged to drift with the ice, several masses of which had fortunately interposed themselves between us and the land. The ice slackening around us a little in the evening, we were enabled, with considerable labour, to get to some grounded masses, where we lay much exposed, as the Fury also did. In this situation, our latitude being 72° 51' 51", we saw a comparatively low point of land three or four leagues to the southward, which proved to be near that which terminated our view of this coast in 1819.