« ZurückWeiter »
she was stopped by the ice which was attached to the sbore. The farthest tongue of land they reached was named Point Barrow, and is about 126 miles northeast of Icy Cape, being only about 150 or 160 miles from Franklin's discoveries west of the Mackenzie river.
The wind suddenly changing to southwest, the compact body of ice began to drift with the current to the northeast at the rate of three and a half miles an hour, and Mr. Elson, finding it difficult to avoid large floating masses of ice, was obliged to come to an anchor to prevent being driven back. “It was not long before he was so closely beset in the ice, that no clear water could be seen in any direction from the hills, and the ice continuing to press against the shore, his vessel was driven upon the beach, and there left upon her broadside in a most helpss condition; and to add to his cheerless prospect" che disposition of the natives, whom he found to increuse in numbers as he advanced to the northward, was of a very doubtful character. At Point Barrow, where they were very numerous, their overbearing behavior, and the thefts they openly practiced, left no doubt of what would be the fate of his little crew, in the event of their falling into their power. They were in this dilemma several days, during which every endeavor was made to extricate the vessel but without effect, and Mr. Elson contemplated sinking her secretly in a lake that was near, to prevent her falling into the hands of the Esquimaux, and then making his way along the coast in a baidar, which he had no doubt he should be able to purchase from the natives. At length, however, a change of wind loosened the ice, and after considerable labor and trial, in which the personal strength of the officers was united to that of the seamen, Mr. Elson, with his shipmates, fortunately succeeded in effecting their escape.
Captain Beechey was very anxious to remain in Kotzebue Sound until the end of October, the period named in his instructions, but the rapid approach of winter, the danger of being locked up, having only five weeks' provisions left, and the nearest point at
which he could replenish being some 2000 miles distant, induced his officers to concur with him in the necessity of leaving at once. A barrel of flour and other articles were buried on the sandy point of Chamiso, for Franklin, which it was hoped would escape the prying eyes of the natives.
After a cruise to California, the Sandwich Islands, Loochoo, the Bonin Islands, &c., the Blossom returned to Chamiso Island on the 5th of July, 1827. They found the flour and dispatches they had left the previous year unmolested. "Lieut. Belcher was dispatched in the barge to explore the coast to the northward, and the ship followed her as soon as the wind permitted. On the 9th of September, when standing in for the northern shore of Kotzebue Sound, the ship drifting with the current took the ground on a sand-bank near Hotham Inlet, but the wind moderating, as the tide rose she went off the shoal apparently without injury.
After this narrow escape from shipwreck they beat up to Chamiso Island, which they reached on the 10th of September. Not finding the barge returned as expected, the coast was scanned, and a signal of distress found flying on the southwest point of Choris Peninsula, and two men waving a white cloth to attract notice. On landing, it was found that this party were the crew of the barge, which had been wrecked in Kotzebue Sound, and three of the men were also lost.
On the 29th a collision took place with the natives, which resulted in three of the seamen and four of the marines being wounded by arrows, and one of the natives killed by the return fire.
After leaving advices for Franklin, as before, the Blossom finally left Chamiso on the 6th of October. In a haze and strong wind she ran between the land and a shoal, and a passage had to be forced through breakers at the imminent danger of the ship’s striking. The Blossom then made the best of her way home, reaching England in the first week of October, 1828.
PARRY'S FOURTH, OR POLAR VOYAGE, 1827. In 1826, Capt. Parry, who had only returned from bis last voyage in the close of the preceding year, was much struck by the suggestions of Mr. Scoresby, in a paper read before the Wernerian Society, in which he sketched out a plan for reaching the highest latitudes of the Polar Sea, north of Spitzbergen, by means of sledge boats drawn over the smooth fields of ice which were known to prevail in those regions. Col. Beaufoy, F. R. S., had also suggested this idea some years previously. Comparing these
with a similar plan originally proposed by Captain Franklin, and which was placed in his hands by Mr. Barrow, the Secretary of the Admiralty, Capt. Parry laid his modified views the feasibility of the project, and his willingness to undertake it, before Lord Melville, the First Lord of the Admiralty, who, after consulting with the President and Council of the Royal Society, was pleased to sanction the attempt; accordingly, his old ship, the Hecla, was fitted out for the voyage to Spitzbergen, the following officers, all of whom had been with Parry before,) and crew being appointed to her:
F. R. M. Crozier.
On the 4th of April, 1827, the outfit and preparations being completed, the Hecla left the Nore for the coast of Norway, touching at Hammerfest, to embark eight reindeer, and some moss (Cenomyce rangiferiha) sufficient for their support, the consumption being about 4 lbs. per day, but they can go without food for several days. A tremendous gale of wind, experienced off Hakluyt’s Headland, and the quantity of ice with which the ship was in consequence beset, detained the voyagers for nearly a month, but on the 18th of June,
& sontherly wind dispersing the ice, they dropped anchor in a cove, on the northern coast of Spitzbergen, which appeared to offer a secure haven, and to which the name of the ship was given. On the 20th, the boats, which had been especially prepared in England for this kind of journey, were got out and made ready, and they left the ship on the 22d of June. A description of these boats may not here be out of place.
They were twenty feet long and seven broad, flat floored, like ferry boats, strengthened and made elastic by sheets of felt between the planking, covered with water-proof canvass. A runner attached to each side of the keel, adapted them for easy draught on the ice after the manner of a sledge. They were also fitted with wheels, to be used if deemed expedient and useful. Two officers and twelve men were attached to each boat, and they were named the Enterprise and Endeavor. The weight of each boat, including provisions and every requisite, was about 3780 lbs. Lieuts, Crozier and Foster were left on board, and Capt. Parry took with him in his boat Mr. Beverley, Surgeon, while Lieut. (now Capt. Sir James) Ross, and Lieut. (now Commander) Bird, had charge of the other.
The reindeer and the wheels were given up as useless, owing to the rough nature of the ice. Provisions for seventy-one days were taken - the daily allowance per man on the journey being 10 ozs. biscuit, 9 ozs. pemmican, 1 oz. sweetened cocoa powder (being enough to make a pint,) and one gill of rum; but scanty provision in such a climate, for men employed on severe labor; three ounces of tobacco were also served out to each per week.
As fuel was too bulky to transport, spirits of wino were consumed, which answered all the purposes required, a pint twice a day being found sufficient to warm each vessel, when applied to an iron boiler by a shallow lamp with seven wicks. After floating the boats for about eighty miles, they came to an unpleasant mixed surface of ice and water, where their toilsome jonrney commenced, the boats having to be laden and
unladen several times according as they came to floes of ice or lanes of water, and they were drifted to the southward by the ice at the rate of four or five miles a day. Parry found it more advantageous to travel by night, the snow being then harder, and the incouvenience of snow blindness being avoided, while the party enjoyed greater warmth during the period of rest
, and had better opportunities of drying their clothes by the
I cannot do better than quote Parry's graphic description of this novel course of proceeding: "Traveling by night, and sleeping by day, so completely inverted the natural order of things that it was difficult to persuade ourselves of the reality. Even the officers and myself, who were all furnished with pocket chronometers, could not always bear in mind at what part of the twenty-hours we had arrived; and there were several of the men who declared, and I believe truly, that they never knew night from day during the whole excursion.
“When we rose in the evening, we commenced our day by prayers, after which we took off our fur sleeping-dresses and put on clothes for traveling; the former being made of camlet lined with raccoon skin, and the latter of strong blue cloth. We made a point of always putting on the same stockings and boots for traveling in, whether they had been dried during the day or not, and I believe it was only in five or six instances at the most that they were not either still wet or hard frozen. This indeed was of no consequence, beyond the discomfort of first putting them on in this state, as they were sure to be thoroughly wet in a quarter of an hour after commencing our journey; while, on the other hand, it was of vital importance to keep dry things for sleeping in. Being rigged for traveling, we breakfasted upon warm cocoa and biscuit, and after stowing the things in the boats, and on the sledges, so as to secure them as much as possible from wet, we set off on our day's journey, and 11sually traveled four, five, or even six hours, according to circumstances.