Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Esquimaux on board, who, to the number of twen. ty, had lately arrived from Toonõõnee-roochiuk, a place situated to the westward and northward of Igloolik, and somewhere upon the opposite coast of Cockburn Island. This party confirmed the for. mer account respecting the two ships that had been forced on shore ; and, indeed, as an earnest of its truth, one man named Adloo, who was said to have actually seen them in this state, was a day or two afterward met by our people at Arlagnuk, while travelling to the southward, and having on his sledge a great deal of wood of the same kind as that before described.

This information having excited considerable in terest, Lieutenant Hoppner, who had taken great pains to ascertain the facts correctly, volunteered his services to accompany some of the Esquimaux, who were said to be going northward very shortly, and to obtain every information on this and other subjects which might be within the scope of such a journey. On the night of the 4th, having heard that a party of the Esquimaux intended setting out the following morning, Lieutenant Hoppner and his people went out to their tents to be in readiness to accompany them. We were surprised to find the next day, that not only Lieutenant Hoppner's in. tended guide, but the whole of the rest of these people, had altogether left the island, and, as it af. terward proved, permanently for the summer. We were now, therefore, for the first time since our arrival here, entirely deserted by the natives, only two or three of whom again visited the ships during the remainder of our stay. It appears prob. able, indeed, that these wandering people are in the

the same

habit of residing at their various stations only at particular intervals of time, perhaps with the inten. tion of not scaring the walruses and seals too much by a very long residence at one time

upon spot. What made this appear still more likely was the present state of their winter habitations at Igloolik, which, though offensive enough at about the same time the preceding year, were then whole. some and comfortable in comparison. Besides quantities of putrid walrus flesh, blubber, and oil, carcasses of dogs, and even of human beings re. cently deceased, were now to be seen exposed in their neighbourhood. What remained of the corpse of Keimõõseuk was of course wholly un. covered ; a second, of a child, on which the wolves had feasted, was also lying about ; and a third, of a newly-born infant, was discovered in the middle of a small lake by Mr. Richards, who caused them all to be buried under ground.

Our stock of meat for the dogs being nearly expended, and no seahorses having

yet been seen near the shore, I sent Mr. Ross with a sledge to Tern Island on the 13th, in expectation of being supplied by the Esquimaux. Mr. Ross returned on the 14th without success, the whole of the natives hay, ing left the island after plundering the birds' nests, as they had done the preceding year.

Finding that our valuable dogs must be now wholly dependant on our own exertions in provi, ding meat, a boat from each ship was carried down to the neighbourhood of the open water, and shortly afterward two others, to endeavour to kill wal. ruses for them. This was the more desirable from the probability of the Fury's passing her next win

ter where no natives were resident, and the conse. quent necessity of laying in our stock for that long and dreary season during the present summer. Our people, therefore, pitched their tents near the old Esquimaux habitations; and thus were four boats constantly employed, whenever the weather would permit, for the three succeeding weeks.

On the 16th Lieutenant Hoppner and his party returned to the ships, having only been enabled to travel to the south shore of Cockburn Island, on account of their guides not yet proceeding any farther. Two of the Esquimaux accompanied our travellers back to Igloolik, and, being loaded with various useful presents from the ships, returned home the following day.

CHAPTER XV.

Extraordinary Disruption of Ice in Quilliam Creek.--Some Ap

pearance of Scurvy among the Seamen and Marines.- Dig. covery of Gifford River.- Commence cutting the Ice outside the Ships to release them from their Winter-quarters.--Considerations respecting the Return of the Expedition to Eng. land.-Unfavourable State of the Ice at the Eastern Entrance of the Strait.- Proceed to the Southward.—Ships beset and drifted up Lyon Inlet.-Decease of Mr. George Fife. --Final Release from the Ice, and Arrival in England. Remarks upon the practicability of a Northwest Passage.

AMONG the various changes which the warmth of the returning summer was now producing around us, none was more remarkable than that noticed by Captain Lyon in an excursion to Quilliam

Vol. II.--)

Creek, and which, in a note received from him by the return of the sledges on the 17th, he thus de. scribes : “ Between the two points forming the en. trance of the creek, we saw a high wall of ice ex. tending immediately across from land to land, and on arriving at it, found that, by some extraordinary convulsion, the floe had burst upward, and that im. mense masses of ice had been thrown in every direction.. Several blocks, eight or nine feet in thickness, and many yards in diameter, were lying on the level solid floe ; yet we were for some time at a loss to discover whence they had been ejected, till at length we found a hole or pool, which appeared so small as to be hardly capable of containing the immense fragments near it; yet from this place alone must they have been thrown.

Captain Lyon subsequently added, that “the water, which was found to be quite fresh, was run. ning rapidly to seaward in this opening; and it seemed probable that the vast accumulation from the streams at the head of the creek, although at about ten miles' distance, had burst a passage, and thus ejected the ice. The force employed for this purpose may be conceived, when I mention that, of several masses of ice, one in particular was above eight feet thick, full forty yards in circumference, and lay more than five hundred yards from the pool. No traces could be found of the manner in which these bodies had been transported, as not a single small fragment was seen lying about, to warrant-the supposition that they had fallen with a shock. Neither were there any marks observ. able on the smooth uncracked floe to cause a sus. picion that they had slidden over it, the general ap

pearance of the floe at this place being the same as at all other parts of the inlet, and bearing no marks of having had any rush of water over it.”

The weather was now, at times, extremely sul. try, bringing out swarms of moschetoes, that soon became very troublesome, even on board the ships. A thermometer suspended in the middle of the ob. servatory, and exposed to the sun's rays, was oh. served by Mr. Fisher to stand at 92° at five P.M. on the 18th.

On the 19th Captain Lyon returned from Quil. liam Creek, bringing with him the whole of our party stationed there, the ice being now so broken up in that neighbourhood as to render the fishing dangerous without proper boats. On this journey, , which it took two days to perform, eleven dogs drew a weight of two thousand and fifty pounds, of which six hundred and forty were salmon, and ninety-fiye venison, procured by our people. The fish had all been caught in the trawl; and treble the quantity might easily have been taken with a seine, had we known how wide the mouth of the stream was to become. They varied in length from twenty to twenty-six inches, and one of the largest, when cleaned, weighed eight pounds and a half; but their average weight in this state did not exceed two pounds and a quarter. The distance of the fishing-place from the ships, the dangerous state of the ice, and the soreness of the dogs' feet from travelling on the rough, honey.combed ice, prevented our taking any farther advantage of this very acceptable change of diet.

Nothing worthy of notice occurred till the 29th, when a patch of ice, a mile broad, separated from

« AnteriorContinuar »