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A Whale Struck: May 19, 1811

May 19, 2011

In the morning the Resolution followed several other ships out of the ice, and into more open water, yet still the amount of ice was troubling. Of more immediate importance, however, was the appearance of whales. Boats were lowered, and a “Mysticetus“, or Common Whale, was struck. Although the whale was in open water, it ran for the cover of a patch of ice two miles across. Scoresby sent some of his officers across the ice, and they found the whale, which had broken through to breathe, and killed it with lances. The whale sank, and it was hoped they could pull the body out from under the ice:

She had run out 7 1/2 lines[.] Took an end to the Ship and began to heave on the Capstern[.] After getting in about a line we had a very heavy strain about as much as the line was calculated to bear with safety[.] The line lay very horizontal from which we supposed the whale had not sunk, but lay under some rough Ice or behind some hummock under the surface. … 3 1/2 lines were lost and 3 of those saved were nearly spoiled by being over strained. The Mate with 3 men went to the place where she died. Here they sounded with Boathook &c on the further edges of all the heavy pieces of Ice near within 200 yards al[so] through numerous places of the then flat of Ice under which she went. They found her not.

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