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coast lies directly in the ship's course, and as we near their home the whole air is alive with white-winged armies, and the high cliffs are tenanted with another host at rest. It is a place of marvels ;-as if to mock the wondering crew, two rocks stand out from the land so exactly resembling swift-sailing ships, that even a reference to the chart, where the fact is duly recorded, hardly convinces us of their unreality. On they seem to come with all sail set, and heeling over to the favouring gale. But they are rocks and not ships, after all.
The best known feature of the island of Jan Mayen is the magnificent Peak of Beerenberg. This mountain rises in icy splendour to a height of some six thousand eight hundred and seventy feet above the sea-level.
The coast presents a rocky aspect; in some parts the bold cliffs rise out of the waves, and at such places are altogether inaccessible on the western side. There are, however, several indentations, and amongst these there are many that deserve the name of bays, and in these bays there are many spots where good anchorage can be found. It was here the Dutch formerly made little settlements or fishing stations, at a time when the “right whale” was found at certain seasons along the rocky coast, and at these stations they “tried” down the oil by suitable boiling apparatus erected near
the sea. The bay we entered, on the 3rd of May, was named after a very shrewd Dutch woman, Mary Muss, whose energy and industry entitled her to rank amongst the foremost merchants of Rotterdam in this lucrative trade ; this intelligent woman was the first to send a ship provided with all the necessary appliances for boiling the blubber on the coast after the whales were captured, and the oil and whalebone so obtained gained a higher market price than could be obtained after the blubber had lost some of its most valuable qualities by being stowed away in its crude state. Our companion, with one sailor, landed here, whilst we and another ascended a mountain ridge, about a mile to the northwards. On the way we noticed several patches of rich vegetation, and we gathered specimens of the botanical productions, such as they were. One plant we found growing in great abundance, we regarded as a species of saxifrage or arenaria. We had some idea of making a long detour, and of joining our friends at a point somewhere on the eastern slope of the island. But the labour and risk involved in such an adventure was so great, owing to the slippery state of the snowy ledges and the exceedingly rough volcanic nature of the ground, composed for the most part of scoriæ, cinders, and blocks of lava, which crumbled beneath our weight as we endeavoured to force our way over the uneven surface, that we were soon compelled to relinquish our attempt, so there was nothing for it but to retrace our steps and endeavour by some short cut to join the others on the sandy beach below. Getting down again we struck across a kind of lagoon, rough with frozen snow, called by arctic travellers “bay ice;" for three miles our way lay across this flat, which lies at the base of the mountains, and is fringed by the sea-shore.
We found our friends at length, and enjoyed with them the prospect they were contemplating. A pyramidal rock shot up into the air about 1,200 feet above us; its otherwise bleak and wall-like face was cut up by stratification into a series of narrow ledges inaccessible to all save the winged denizens of the air, who here found a secure resting-place and a nursery where they might bring up their callow brood, safe from the approach of the cunning foxes, evidences of whose presence on the island were to be observed everywhere. We found no difficulty in spreading alarm amongst these airy colonists by throwing stones at the cliff, and when we succeeded in setting on the wing a myriad of sea-fowl, the flocks circling round and passing over our heads really darkened the air above us, and, as they swept along like a thick cloud, wheeling suddenly in their flight, produced a curious effect,—the dull-looking