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ACROSS GREENLAND.

A REMARKABLE JOURNEY,

SAILING ON THE ICE,

[From the • Daily News.']

Dr Nansen's short narrative of his remarkable journey across the Greenland ice, sent Home last autumn by a steamer which could not wait to bring the exploring party home, is now supplemented by the full narrative given by Dr Nansen on his safe return. It will be remembered that the party were left in their two boats on the east coast of Greenland by the Norwegian sealer the Jason on July 17 last year. They expected to reach the shore the next day, but screwing ice, maelstroms, and impassable ice where it was alike impossible to vow or to drag the two boats stopped them. One of the boats was stove in, but they got it repaired again. They were carried seawards at a speed of thirty sea miles in twenty-four hours, and drifted in the ice for twelve days. They strove hard to reach the shore, but thrice, when on the point of succeeding, were carried oat again to sea by the strength of the currents. For a whole day and night they expected to perish in the tremendous breakers of the sea against the ictf rim. After the twelve days' drifting, they at last got ashore near Andretok, north of Cape Farewell, at Cldeg some minutes N. latitude. They rowed again northward, and reached Umivik on the 10th of August. On the 15th they began their adventurous journey across the inland ice. Dr Nansen's present narrative, given below, commences with the start from Andretok.

At Andretok, in latitude Gideg 50min, we were '2BO miles too southerly. To enter on the inland ice here for Godthaab seemed to be a bad policy, airl the idea of crossing straight was not welcomed either. There was therefore no choice but to work northwards along the coast. We did so with great difficulty owing to the masses of ice, which had to be made passable with crowbars and hatchets. There was hardly time for sleeping or eating, and cooking was quite impossible. During this time our tinned provisions were very welcome. After two days, near the dreaded glacier of Puisortok, we met a native camp of about seventy men, part of whom were bound for the North. Wc were glad of the meeting, and counted on valuable help from their knowledge of the currents on the coast. We were, however, disappointed, for instead of taking the lead, they let us break the ice and contented themselves with following in our wake. The rain coming on in the evening, the Natives landed, and wc proceeded alone. Some dayc after, having reached latitude G3.-}:deg, some other Natives who saw us took to (light, thinking us supernatural beings, though we made signs that we wished to be good friends. On the 10th of August we reached Umivik, the intended starting point for the trip across the inland ice, which we saw sloping evenly in endless expanse towards the sea. All augured well for an easy ascent. Our boating done with, we spent four days in finding a landing-place. Next day Sverdrnp and myself reconnoitred inland, while the others remained making preparations. We were very satisfied with the results of our search. At first the crevices in some places were dangerous, aud we sometimes fell through the snow bridges which stretched across them, but being tied together with a rope we were able to support one another. On the evening of the loth we started, after depositing our reservo stores under the boats, which were left sheltered in a crevice. The luggage was packed in five sledges, the heaviest pulled by Sverdrup and myself, and the others each by one man. Their weight was over two hundredweight. Our stores and provisions consisted of dried meats, biscuits, tobacco, and a pipe to each man for use on Sundays; a cooking apparatus, two guns, a quantity of tools, snowshoes, skates, a tent, and sleeping bags and instruments. We took no brandy. At first it was warm in the daytime, and we walked at night; later, we reversed the proceeding. At first there were plenty of wide crevices, and wc had to be constantly on the aleit to prevent an accident. On the third day a downpour of rain commenced, which kept us in our tent for three days. When we proceeded no drinking water was to be had ; we were forced to melt the snow for cooking purposes, and for our tin bottles.

The ground was still steep and vising, and our progress slow. Our difficulties went on increasing, the snow became looser, and the pulling was very hard work. A continuous snow storm blew against us. We felt that if no improvement came we should be unable to reach Christianshaab in time to catch a ship home. On August, the 27th, we were fifty miles inland, in latitude 65deg, at a height of 7,000 ft. We decided to make for Godthaab. When we had altered our course, wc got a side wind and rigged masts and sails on the sledges, made of the tent flooring and tarpaulins. The wind abating, we had to give up sailing, and used our snowshoes and skates. The drifting snow hampered our progress, but the surface was still even, like a floor, and the ground still rose, till at the beginning of September we. had climbed to a height of o,oooft. We were now on an extensive plateau like a frozen sea. We were more than two weeks passing over it. The cold was most severe, the thermometer falling below the scale, and as I calculate no les3 fifty below zero centigrade. One morning I found that in the thermometer under my pillow the spirit had receded below forty into the ball.

On September 7 n severe snowstorm nearly overturned our tent, and on the next day we were overtaken by an awful drift. The tent was completely buried, and \vc had to dig it out. On the 19th there was again a favorable wind, and we lashed the sledges together, and as we used the sails it wis unnecessary to pull. We held on to the sledges, standing on our snowshoes as we rattled down the slope at a splendid rate. It was the pleasantest skating I ever had in my life. Tile same afternoon we sighted the first hilltop on the Western coast. It was already dusk when we noticed a dark object ahead, and rushing on we discovered a fearful crevice, which brought us to a sudden stop. It was high time; we were already on the very edge, and in two seconds more we should have been swallowed up in the bottomless abyss. We came across several more, and, in spite of the greatest care, we had other hairbreadth escapes. Once we were within an ace of destruction through a snow bridge falling. On the following days we met with some difficult rough ice with too many crevices. We had, consequently, to turn in a more southerly direction. On Michaelmas Day we reached a small lake, and leaving our sledges, we went down the valley towards the innermost oreek of Ameralik Fjord. On September 26 our goal was reached. The inland ice had been crossed. We had traversed about 300 miles in forty days. One thing remained—to reach human beings. We now made a boat out of the sailcloth and the tent-flooring, and used also willow boughs, staffs, bamboos, and oars, Sverdrup and myself went in the boat towards Godthaab, and had to wade kneedeep to carry the boat, as it was too shallow and muddy to float it. Next morning we reached the open water. The wind was against us for several days. On the 3rd of October we reached the mission station of Hernhut, and passed by land to Godthaab, opposite. Our approaching arrival had been rumored there, and we were prised at being received with a, booming salute of guns, and at all the inhabitants coming out to meet us. Danish hoßpitality failednottodo everythingtomake us comfortable. The four who had been loft inland arrived on the 12th. We passed the winter as agreeably as possible, a,nd had

I plenty of shooting and canoeing, and in fact got quite fond of Greenland and the Greenlanders. The time passed too quickly. We twice more attempted to penetrate the inland ice—once at the end of March, when foul weather forced us to beat a retreat, and again at the end of April. This time we were accompanied by two Esquimaux to Ujararsuah, where there are some splendid ruins left by the old Norsemen. The swelling of the glacjer river inundated the valley and prevented' our progress. On April 14 we returned to Godthaab, and the next day the ship Hvidbjornen arrived. To most of us the joy we felt at the prospect of seeing home was chastened by sorrow at leaving the hospitable inhabitants of Godthaab.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890727.2.35.5

Bibliographic details

ACROSS GREENLAND., Evening Star, Issue 7970, 27 July 1889, Supplement

Word Count
1,491

ACROSS GREENLAND. Evening Star, Issue 7970, 27 July 1889, Supplement

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