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Narwhals: June 14th, 1811

June 14, 2011

On Friday the Resolution was amongst loose ice again, but by using two boats to tow the ship through, by mid-morning they were in open water, and whales had been seen. Scoresby comments that the water here turned deep blue:

Many Narwhales [sic] were seen near the Ship I observed them swimming from the Mast Head with a Spy Glass; their fins were stretched out horizontally (from the Body) and appeared motionless while an undulating motion of the rump with the flexibility of the posterior part of the Tail seemed to give propelling force. Occasionally a latteral motion was observed this might be for velocity or turning. When the Unicorn* wished to descend like as the whale the tail was forcibly pressed downwards which elevated the crown or head and then immediately forced upwards caused the head to descend. … I observed no horns amongst them comparatively few of them are possessed of this Instrument.

*Unicorn was a common name for Narwhal, because of the long, single horn on their heads.

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