Imágenes de páginas



worth determining, as if that is the case, all altitudes taken at sea must require a like correction on that account, independent of the correction which may be necessary for the refraction in altitude of the object observed. It seems probable also, that the refraction of the horizon may be liable to variation with the state of the atmosphere.

When the height of the observer above the level of the sea is known, the depression of the real terrestrial horizon is correctly ascertained on trigonometrical principles; accordingly, by observing the vertical arc contained between two opposite points of the apparent horizon, the refraction of the horizon can be determined, the difference of the observed vertical arc from the half circle being the combined effect of dip and refraction.

So much snow fell during the winter, that the Hollanders had almost every day to clear the entrance of their hut.

On the 13th of February, a great bear came close to their hut, which they shot, and obtained from the carcass above a hundredweight of fat or lard. On the 8th of March, the sea to the North was observed to be quite clear of ice, which made them conjecture there was a great extent of open sea in that direction. The next day the sea appeared equally open and clear to the North and North-East; but more eastward, and

to the S.E. there was ice; and to the South and S.E. they saw an appearance like land, but could not ascertain whether it was land or clouds.

In the night of April the 6th, during a thick fog, a bear came to the hut and endeavoured to force in the door. The Hollanders tried to shoot him, but, from the dampness of the weather, it was with much difficulty they could get one of their arquebuses to go off, which made the bear retire ; but he returned in about two hours after, and mounting the roof of the hut, shook the chimney with all his might, endeavouring to pull it down, making at the same time a terrible roaring or noise. After much ineffectual trial, he went quietly away.

Towards the end of May, they began to prepare their two boats, both open, with washboard, sails, &c., for their departure, as the only means for their escape from this desolate country. It was proposed to repass round the north end of Nova Zembla, in preference to seeking a passage southward on the East side, and that way through the Waigatz Strait. On the morning of June the 14th, they embarked in the two boats, with the remains of their provisions and some small packets of their best merchandise, and quitted the place where they had passed a winter of more than eight months' continuance.

Barentsz had been some time ill. One of the sea



men, Nicolas Andrisz, was likewise ill. That they might be the more commodiously attended, they were embarked one in each boat ; but all the care and nursing that could be bestowed on them, exposed to the open air in a small boat, was not capable of saving them from falling victims to the severity of the weather. On the 16th, the boats were at the Isle Van Orange, which lies near the northern extremity of Nova Zembla. The next day they were beset by ice, and remained the three following days without being able to proceed. On the forenoon of the 20th, word was brought to Barentsz that Andrisz appeared to be drawing to his end. Barentsz said, in reply, that he believed his own was not far distant. The people in the boat with him, seeing that he was at this very time inspecting and considering a chart which Girard le Ver had made of the places they had seen in the voyage, did not apprehend immediate danger, but continued sitting and conversing, till Barentsz put down the chart and asked for some drink, to which he was helped, and immediately after expired, to the great affliction of his remaining companions, he being esteemed one of the most capable seamen of his time.

They proceeded westward and southward along the western coast of Nova Zembla, as well as the ice and weather would permit them. On the 28th of July they had the good fortune to meet two Russian loddies, and to obtain from them a supply of provisions. They also learnt that three Dutch ships were lying at Kola; and after a fatiguing navigation, having been obstructed by ice from entering the White Sea, on the 25th of August they arrived at Kilduyn. Here, not less to their surprise than satisfaction, in a short time came to them with provisions and refreshments, Jan Cornelisz Rijp, who commanded one of the Dutch ships then lying at Kola, and who the year before had sailed from Holland in company with Jacob Heemskerk and W. Barentsz, from whom (as related) he had separated to seek by a more northerly route, a passage to India. He had not succeeded in that attempt, and had returned to Holland ; and was now again homeward bound from a trading voyage to the White Sea.

Jacob Heemskerk and his remaining companions embarked with Rijp, and they arrived at Amsterdam on the 1st of November, 1597.

Of the seventeen men cast on Nova Zembla, the carpenter and another man died there ; Willem Barentsz and two other men died whilst navigating in the small boats along the coast of Nova Zembla ; and twelve lived to return to their native country. What



doubtless much contributed to their preservation, was their sea provision being well cured, which is particularly noticed by the journalist, who remarks that it was as good at the time of its being used as when first put up.

The house also in which they had passed that memorable winter remains to the present day, and its contents were found in a condition but little altered, when some Dutch sailors entered, in the season of 1872, the long closed door. There they found such of the various articles saved from the wreck in 1596 as were too cumbrous to carry away in the boat the survivors had constructed, and by whose means they had made their escape. The shoes of the little ship’s boy who died in the winter lay there, along with his flute, along with the rapiers and halberts, gun-barrels, and earthenware utensils, as well as white metal vases and quaint metal articles, destined, perhaps, for gifts to Oriental potentates, when the Orient was gained. They found also the most recent printed books of that period on China and India, with nautical works, and a curious metal disk, made by Plaucius, the great instrument maker of that day ; it was found to be based on a wrong principle, however, and though described in old books of scientific purport, never again repeated, although this one is


« AnteriorContinuar »