Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

passage is less difficult, and has frequently been performed; but it is not pretended that the voyage from the Kovyma round Tschuktskoi Noss has been accomplished more than once, and that was by a Cossack of the name of DESHNEFF, as far back as the year 1648. The account of this curious voyage was discovered in the records of Yakutsk, in 1736, and, together with that of some other navigations in the frozen ocean, published by Muller. Its authenticity appears to have been established by Behring and Cook, who found the description of the north-eastern coast of Asia, the opposite islands, and the people, to accord exactly with that which is given in Deshneff's narrative. It is however a remarkable circumstance, that none of the various attempts to pass Shelatskoi Noss, the point which forms the north-eastern extremity of Asia, have succeeded since the time of Deshneff. The most persevering were those made by SHALAUROF, a merchant of Yakutsk, who, having built a ship at his own expense, descended the

of July that he was obliged to take refuge in the Yana, where he was detained by the ice till the 29th August. From hence he coasted to the eastward, doubled Swaitoi Noss, or the “sacred promontory,” on the 6th September, and discovered land to the northward in the frozen ocean, which was afterwards visited by some Russian officers, and found to be five uninhabited islands, VOL. I.

A A

[graphic]

to which they gave the name of Bear Islands. Having passed between those islands and the main, and the season being far advanced, Shalaurof ran his vessel into one of the mouths of the Kovyma, where he wintered, and procured great plenty of wild rein-deer, salmon and trout.

The mouth of the Kovyma was not free from ice before the 21st July, 1762, when Shalaurof again put to sea, and stood to the eastward. He soon found that he had not only much ice to contend with, but also a current setting to the westward. On the 19th August the ship was near the shore, surrounded and hemmed in by islands of ice. He endeavoured for several days to regain the open sea, which was observed to be much less clogged with ice, but was forced down towards the coast by large floating masses setting in that direction. He succeeded, however, in getting clear of it, and again stood to the N. E. in order to double Shelatskoi Noss, the latitude of which is about 71', but contrary winds and the lateness of the season obliged him to search for some place to pass the winter in. He accordingly stood to the southward into a deep bay on the western side of Shelatskoi Noss, near the island of Sabedei, where he observed some huts of the Tschutski, but the inhabitants fled on his approach.

Finding no place here proper for his purpose, he again stood out to sea on the 8th September; and, having fastened his vessel to a large mass of ice, was drifted along with it to the W.S.W. at the rate of five versts an hour; on the 12th he came to his former wintering place in the Kovyma, intending to make another attempt the following year to double Shelatskoi Noss; but want of provisions and the mutiny of the crew forced him to return to the Lena.

The difficulties he had met with did not however intimidate Shalaurof from making another attempt to double Shelatskoi Noss, which he by no means considered as impracticable; and for this purpose he left the Lena, in the same vessel, in the year 1764, but neither he nor any of his crew ever returned. They are supposed to have been put to death by the Tschutski, near the Anadyr, the third year after their departure from the Lena; but whether he had succeeded in doubling the north-east promontory and passed through Behring's Strait to the Anadyr, or crossed the narrow neck of land which separates the Anadyr from the Kovyma, has not been ascertained; all that is known being the certainty of their having perished in that neighbourhood. Mr. Sauer learned from Dauerkin, the Tschutski interpreter, that Shalaurof's vessel had been found drifting near the mouth of the Kovyma, and himself and

the truth of the story. In all the Russian attempts to pass from Arch

A AQ

angel, and the more eastern ports, into the Pacific, it cannot fail to strike the reader that every where along this low coast and shallow sea the vessels had to struggle continually with ice, and that in their endeavours to double the projecting points of land, they constantly kept close to the shore, instead of standing out into deep water, where, in all probability, they would have met with less

ice.*

* Coxe's Account of the Russian Discoveries.

CHAPTER V.

VOYAGES OF NORTHERN DISCOVERY UNDERTAKEN

IN THE EARLY PART OF THE NINETEENTH

Lieutenant Kotzebue John Ross, David Buchan, Wil- ·

liam Edward Parry, and John Franklin.

LIEUTENANT KOTZEBUE. 1815 to 1818.

The long protracted war, in which all the nations of Europe were at different times involved, suspended all attempts at northern discovery; but no sooner did the European world begin to feel the blessings of peace, than the spirit of discovery revived. Expeditions were sent forth to every quarter of the globe; and, to the honour of an individual it ought to be mentioned that, at his own cost, a ship was fitted out for the purpose of ascertaining whether the sea, on the northern coast of America, afforded a navigable passage between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans : that individual is the Russian Count Romanzoff. The vessel

« AnteriorContinuar »