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Resolution Damaged: April 8-13th, 1811

April 8, 2011

Scoresby was pleased with the way the Resolution handled the heavy seas, commenting on the “kindliness” of the ship on April 7. But the following day, Monday 8, was marked with “very severe gales with heavy squalls frequent showers of unchryst snow”. In the morning the ship met a severe test: heavy seas coming from the NNE combined with the Easterly swell and “formed a very dangerous sea rising very high in knots so that it was impossible for a vessel to rise over it.” Around half past ten the ship was struck by a large wave, which washed over the deck, damaging the rigging, stoving in one of the boats which had been placed at the Quarters a few days before, and lifted a gun off its securing cleats. Scoresby notes that “mercifully however the Men all got secure themselves from its violence and no serious damage was done”.

On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday the squally weather continued, combined with snow showers, but while the sea was still heavy, the ship was able to meet it head on, so the deck was dry. Ice reappeared on Wednesday April 10, in the form of a large iceberg that looked like a ship, and by Thursday the ice had accumulated sufficiently for Scoresby to look for more open sea. Progress northwards was slow, as they tacked into North Easterly wind.

On Friday and Saturday the situation had become more dangerous, with large icebergs moving violently in the high seas. On Saturday April 13, Scoresby recorded that the weather was improving, and he took the opportunity for training and instructing the crew:

Fresh breezes with strong squalls. Met a heavy ESE Sea on the Larboard [Port] tack which caused the Ship to pitch uncommonly heavy. About 3PM passed through an opening in a heavy stream the passage crossed by many heavy pieces of Ice in a state of great agitation, some of them were actually forced at the rate of a knot to Windward. About 6PM were out at Sea. Took in the Main Sail for Squalls in the night. In the Morning charming fine weather. Employed Harpooners splicing in foregangers, and initiated the Seamen into the art of reefing Sails in the best and neatest manner.

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