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three hares (Lepus Variabilis) were killed from Oc. tober to June, weighing from six to eight pounds and three quarters.
Their fur was extremely thick, soft, and of the most beautiful whiteness imaginable. We saw no deer near Port Bowen at any season, neither were we visited by their enemies the wolves. A single ermine and a few mice (Mus Hudsonius) complete, I believe, our scanty list of quadrupeds at this desolate and unproductive place.
Towards the end of June, the dovekies (Colym. bus Grylle) were extremely numerous in the cracks of the ice at the entrance of Port Bowen; and as these were the only fresh supply of any consequence that we were able to procure at this unproductive place, we were glad to permit the men to go out occasionally with guns, after the ships were ready for sea, to obtain for their messes this wholesome change of diet; while such excursions also contriba uted essentially to their general health and cheer. fulness. Many hundreds of these birds were thus obtained in the course of a few days. On the evening of the 6th of July, however, I was greatly shocked at being informed by Captain Hoppner that John Cotterell,* a seaman of the Fury, had been found drowned in one of the cracks of the ice by two other men belonging to the same party, who had been with him but a few minutes before. We could never ascertain precisely in what manner this accident happened, but it was supposed that he must have overreached himself in stooping for a bird that he had killed. His remains were committed to the earth on Sunday the 10th, with every solemnity which the occasion demanded, and our situa. tion would allow; and a tomb of stones, with a suitable inscription, was afterward erected over the grave.
* It is remarkable that this poor man had, twice before, with. in the space of nine months, been very near death; for, besides the accident already mentioned, of falling down the hill when escaping from the bear, he was also in imminent danger of dying of dropsy during the winter.
In order to obtain oil for ano her winter's con. sumption, before the ships could be released from the ice, and our travelling parties having seen a number of black whales in the open water to the northward, two boats from each ship were, with considerable labour, transported four miles along shore in that direction, to be in readiness for killing a whale and boiling the oil on the beach, whenever the open water should approach sufficiently near. Notwithstanding these preparations, however, it was vexatious to find that on the 9th of July the water was still three miles distant from the boats, and at least seven from Port Bowen. On the 12th, the ice in our neighbourhood began to detach itself, and the boats, under the command of Lieutenants Sherer and Ross, being launched on the following day, succeeded almost immediately in killing a small whale of “five feet bone,” exactiy answering our purpose. Almost at the same time, and, as it turned out, very opportunely, the ice at the mouth of our harbour detached itself at an old crack, and drifted off, leaving only about one mile and a quar. ter between us and the sea. Half of this distance being occupied by the gravelled canal, which was dissolved quite through the ice in many parts, and had become very thin in all, every officer and man in both ships were set to work without delay to com. mence a fresh canal from the open water to com.
municate with the other. This work proved heav. 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 impos sible, 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 re. peated 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 722°. 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 hang. ing 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 conse. quence of a light southerly breeze still blowing against us.