Parry's Voyages for the Discovery of the North-West Passage
On Tuesday 27th the clear water had made so much to the westward, that a narrow neck of ice was all that separated the ships from a large open space in that quarter. The men were just ordered out to saw off the neck, when the floes suddenly opened and allowed the Griper to push through under all sail. Although they lost no time in attempting to get the Hecla through after her, yet before they could effect it, the passage was completely blocked up by a piece of floating ice, which was drawn after the Griper, by the eddy produced in her motion. Before they could haul it out of the channel, the floes pressed together and wedged it immovably, and although the saws were used with great effect, it was not until after seven hours' labor, that they succeeded in getting the Hecla into the lanes of clear water, which opened towards the westward. They now perceived with pleasure, a pitching motion of the vessel, which, from the closeness of the ice, does not often occur in those regions, as a sure indication of an open sea. The wind breezing up by one o'clock P. M., the ice had all disappeared, and the sea was free from obstructions of any kind. Here they found the whales so numerous, that no less than eighty-two are mentioned in this day's log. It is commonly thought by the Greenland fishermen, that the presence of ice is necessary to insure the finding of whales but no ice was seen this day, when they were most numerous. At half past five P. M., the high land about Possession bay came in sight. Lancaster's Sound was now open to the westward, and the experience of a former' voyage had given Captain Parry reason to believe that the two best months for the navigation of those seas were yet to come. This, together with the magnificent view of the lofty Byaur Martin Mountains, which recalled forcibly to his mind the events of the preceding year, animated him with expectation and hope. On the 31st, they anchored in Possession bay and discovered a flag staff which had been erected on the former expedition. The only animals found here were a fox, a raven, some ring plovers, snowbuntings, and a wild bee. Several tracks of bears and reindeers were also seen upon the moist ground. Three black whales were seen in the bay, and the crown bones of several others were lying near the beach. The tide rises here about eight feet, and the flood seems to come from the northwest.
On the first of August, Captain Parry finding that the Griper could not keep up with the Hecla, determined to leave her. He appointed the middle of Lancaster Sound as a place of rendezvous, and crowding all sail on the Hecla, he came towards evening in sight of the northern shore of the sound; and the next day had a clear view of both sides of it.