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The Greatest Part of the British in Greenland: May 15th-18th

May 15, 2011

The Aimwell was first to break out of the ice, with the Resolution close behind, and while the ice did not disappear, Scoresby wrote with relief that “The Ice seems now to be inclined to open in a general way.” They made their way northward through lanes in the ice as it broke up into large sheets that drifted one way and then another. At the end of Wednesday the 15th, Scoresby was pleased with the strenghth of the wind, but predicted that it wouldn’t last, concluding “from the rising of the Barometer it will soon fail us”.

By Thursday, they were in company with the Aimwell, and the Sarah and Elizabeth, within sight of seven other ships under sail, besides others still beset. As Scoresby had predicted, the wind fell almost to nothing, and the water froze again. He mustered the crew to tow the ship, an activity which continued into Friday with four boats. They were in constant company with other ships, 14 being spotted within a few miles and several others within sight. After a day of towing the ship was moored to the ice at around 1AM on Saturday morning.

However, the ice was in constant motion, and Scoresby was anxious about being beset again. He estimated they were within 500 yards of the western boundary of the ice, and set to towing again soon afterwards:

[B]eing unable to ply further upon account of the Bay Ice sent a boat up with 2 whale lines leaving one end on board the Ship and making the other fast to the weather Ice then taking in the Sails prepared to heave the Ship up but lo! the line became suddenly so stretched so as to be likely to break. We fastened the end and the Ship was turned round and pulled out to Windward of the Bay Ice without heaving in the least upon the line a Distance of 200 or 300 yards. Coming then into clear water hove the Ship up to the Ice.

Scoresby noted, as the ice took hold of them, temporarily, again, that on that day they had seen “40 sail of Ships … the greatest part of the British in Greenland”. 

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