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JOURNAL OF A VOYAGE FROM OKKAK, ON THE COAST OF LABRADOR, TO UNGAVA BAY, WESTWARD OF CAPE CHUDLEIGH;
UNDERTAKEN to Explore the Coast, and Visit the ESQUIMAUX in that Unknown Region
BENJAMIN KOHLMEISTER and GEORGE KMOCH
Missionaries of the Church of the Unitas Fratrum or United Brethren
London: Printed by W. M'Dowall, Pemberton Row, Gough Square, Fleet Street, for the Brethren's Society for the Furtherance of the Gospel Among the Heathen. And Sold By J. Le Febvre, 2, Chapel-Place, Nevils-Court, Fetter-Lane; L. B. Seeley, 169, Fleet-Street; Hazard And Binns, Bath; and T. Bulgin, and T. Lambe, Bristol
JOURNAL OF A VOYAGE,
Outfit. Opinions of the Esquimaux respecting the Voyage. Description of the Company. Departure from Okkak. Arrival at Nungorome. 6
Departure from Nungorome Cove. Account of Solomon. Drift-ice. Cape Mugford. Waterfalls from the Kaumayok Mountains. Fruitless attempt to get out of the Ikkerasak, or Straits. 10
Quit the Ikkerasak. Account of the Kaumayok Mountains, and of Kangertluksoak. Public Worship on Sunday. Saeglek and its Inhabitants described. The Missionaries visit the Esquimaux at Kikkertarsoak. 14
Departure from Saeglek. Fruitless attempt to reach Nachvak. Retreat into Nullatartok Inlet. Slate Bay. Detention on account of the Ice. Arrive at Nachvak. 20
Reception at Nachvak. Description of the bay. The Esquimaux manner of spearing salmon and trout. Christian deportment of the Okkak and Hopedale Esquimaux. Jonas's address to the Heathen. Love of music general among these Indians. Departure from Nachvak. Danger in doubling the North Cape. Arrival at Sangmiyok bay. 27
Pass Cape Nennoktok. Visit the Esquimaux families at Kummaktorvik and Amitok. Description of an Esquimaux travelling bed. Mountains seen at Ungava. Netsek seal described. Greenland houses. Danger of being shipwrecked near Kakkeviak. 33
Arrival at Oppernavik. Account of Uttakiyok. His perseverance in waiting for the arrival of the Missionaries. Islands and bays between Kakkeviak and Killinek. Danger in the ice at Ammitok. Want of fuel supplied by robbing old graves. 39
Departure from Oppernavik. Pass the Ikkerasak of Killinek. Whirlpools. The coast takes a southerly direction. Meeting with Esquimaux from the Ungava country, who had never seen an European. Anchor at Omanek. High tides. Drift-wood. Double Cape Uibvaksoak. Distant view of Akpatok. 44
Chain of black mountains. The Dragon's dwelling. Changes occasioned by rise and fall of the tides, and dangers attending them. Uttakiyok's superstitious customs. Singular effect of the tide in the bay of Ittimnekoktok. Arrive at Kangertlualuksoak bay and river. Its situation. Transactions there. 50
Further transactions in Kangertlualuksoak Bay. The Esquimaux women frightened by reports of Indians. Ceremony of taking possession of this new-explored country, as belonging to the King of England, and of naming the river George river. Leave the bay and proceed to Arvarvik. Whales caught by the Esquimaux in the shallows. Storm at Kernertut. 56
Doubts expressed by Jonathan and the other Esquimaux on the expediency of continuing the voyage. Consultations. Resolve to proceed. Thunder-storm at Pitsiolak. Account of Indians. Esquimaux cookery and hunting feasts. Arrival in the river Koksoak. 62
Sail up the river Koksoak. Transactions in that region. Dangerous eddy. Meet Esquimaux. Address to them. Their joy and eagerness to have Missionaries, resident among them. Find a suitable situation for a settlement. Description of the country. 70
Return to Okkak. 77
For these many years past, a considerable number of Esquimaux have been in the annual practice of visiting the three missionary establishments of the United Brethren on the coast of Labrador, OKKAK, NAIN, and HOPEDALE, chiefly with a view to barter, or to see those of their friends and acquaintance, who had become obedient to the gospel, and lived together in Christian fellowship, enjoying the instruction of the Missionaries.
These people came mostly from the north, and some of them from a great distance. They reported, that the body of the Esquimaux nation lived near and beyond Cape Chudleigh, which they call Killinek, and having conceived much friendship for the Missionaries, never failed to request, that some of them would come to their country, and even urged the formation of a new settlement, considerably to the north of Okkak.
To these repeated and earnest applications the Missionaries were the more disposed to listen, as it had been discovered, not many years after the establishment of the Mission in 1771, that that part of the coast on which, by the encouragement of the British government, the first settlement was made, was very thinly inhabited, and that the aim of the Mission, to convert the Esquimaux to Christianity, would be better obtained, if access could be had to the main body of the Indians, from which the roving inhabitants appeared to be mere stragglers. Circumstances, however, prevented more extensive plans from being put in execution; and the Missionaries, having gained the confidence and esteem of the Esquimaux in their neighbourhood, remained stationary on that coast, and, by degrees, formed three settlements, OKKAK, to the north, and HOPEDALE, to the south of NAIN, their first place of residence.
In consequence of the abovementioned invitation, it became a subject of serious consideration, by what means a more correct idea of the extent and dwelling-places of the Esquimaux nation might be obtained, and a general wish was expressed, that one or more of the Missionaries would undertake the perilous task of visiting such places as were reported by the Esquimaux themselves to contain more inhabitants than the southern coast, but remained unknown to European navigators.
The Synodal Committee, appointed for the management of the Missions of the United Brethren, having given their consent to the measure, and agreed with Brother Kohlmeister, by occasion of a visit paid by him to his relations and friends in Germany, as to the mode of putting it into execution, he returned to Labrador in 1810, and prepared to undertake the voyage early in the spring of 1811.
For several years a correspondence had taken place between the Missionaries in Labrador and the Brethren's Society for the Furtherance of the Gospel, established in London, relating to the manner in which the voyage should be performed. Opinions were various on the subject; but it was at length determined, that a steady intelligent Christian Esquimaux, possessing a shallop, with two masts, and of sufficient dimensions, should be appointed to accompany one or two Missionaries, for a liberal recompence; and that the travellers should spend the winter at Okkak, to be ready to proceed on the voyage, without loss of time, as soon as the state of the ice would permit of it. Brother Kohlmeister proposed, in this view, the Esquimaux Jonathan, of Hopedale, and the brig employed to convey the annual supply of necessaries to the three settlements, was ordered to proceed first to Hopedale, partly with a view to this negociation. She arrived safe with Brother Kohlmeister at this place, on the 22d July, 1810. On the same day, he proposed to Jonathan the intended expedition, laid before him the whole plan, with all its difficulties and advantages, and found him immediately willing to undertake the voyage, and to forward its object by every means in his power.
This was no small sacrifice on the part of Jonathan. An Esquimaux is naturally attached to the place of his birth; and, though he spends the summer, and indeed great part of the year, necessarily, and from inclination, in roving from one place to another in quest of food; yet in winter he settles, if possible, upon his native spot, where he is esteemed and beloved. This was eminently the case with Jonathan. He was a man of superior understanding and skill, possessed of uncommon presence of mind in difficulties and dangers, and at Hopedale considered as the principal person, or chief of his nation. But he was now ready to forsake all, and to go and reside at OKKAK, among strangers, having no authority or pre-eminence, and to undertake a voyage of unknown length and peril, from whence he could not be sure of a safe or speedy return, before the ice might set in, and confine him upon an unknown shore, during the whole of a second winter. There was, however, one consideration which outweighed every other in his mind, and made him, according to his own declaration, forget all difficulties and dangers. He hoped that the proposed voyage to visit his countrymen in the north would, in time, be a means of their becoming acquainted with the gospel of Christ, and partakers of the same blessings which he now enjoyed. This made him willing to accept of the call without any hesitation. Nor did he ever, during the whole voyage, forsake that generous principle, by which he was at first influenced, but his cheerful, firm, and faithful conduct proved, under all circumstances, most honourable to the character of a true convert to Christianity.
Brother KOHLMEISTER being, after seventeen years residence in Labrador, complete master of the Esquimaux language, and deservedly beloved and respected both by Christians and heathens, and possessing an invincible zeal to promote their temporal and spiritual welfare, was a man eminently qualified to undertake the commission, and to conciliate the affections of unknown heathen. He had also previously made himself acquainted with the use of the quadrant, and with other branches of science, useful on such an occasion.
Brother KMOCH, his companion, joined to other essential qualifications, great cheerfulness and intrepidity.
All the parties having met at Okkak, in the autumn of 1810, the winter was partly spent in preparations for the intended expedition, and Jonathan's boat put into the best possible state of repair.
Outfit. Opinions of the Esquimaux respecting the Voyage. Description of the Company. Departure from Okkak. Arrival at Nungorome.
June 16, 1811.—The ice began to loosen in the bay of OKKAK, and to drive out to sea. On the 17th, the bay was quite cleared of it; but on the 18th, it returned, and seemed to preclude all possibility of setting out so soon as we intended. On the 19th, however, it left us entirely.
20th. We were employed in hauling the boat to the edge of the water, and being floated by the tide, she came to anchor at six, P.M. She had been purchased by Jonathan, at Chateau-bay, and was about 45 feet long, twelve broad, and five deep, with two masts. We had furnished her with a complete deck, and divided her into three parts. The centre was our own cabin, into which all our baggage was stowed: the two other divisions were occupied by the Esquimaux. A small boat, brought from Lewis, was taken in tow.
21st. We began to ship our provision and baggage: viz. six cwt. of ship's biscuit, sixteen bushels of pease, one cwt. of salt pork and best beef, (of which but a small portion was consumed, as we were generally well supplied with fresh provisions, procured by shooting), a firkin of butter, half cwt. of captain's biscuit, one cwt. of flour, two small barrels of gunpowder, one cwt. of large and small shot, half cwt. of tobacco, two eighteen-gallon barrels of ale, a few bottles of brandy, eighteen pounds of coffee, which was all consumed, coffee and biscuits being our usual repast; a case containing knives, wire, nails, &c. for barter, if necessary; kettles and other utensils. Besides that every man had his fowling-piece, we had four muskets in reserve. After bringing all on board, we had just room enough to sleep in our cabin.
22d, was spent in conferring with our brethren, on various subjects relating to the voyage.
23d. All the Esquimaux met at the chapel, and in the most affectionate manner, and with many tears, bid us and our company farewell. They were the more affected with grief on this occasion, as the greatest part of our own Esquimaux thought the voyage impracticable, and expected that we should all perish in doubling Cape Chudleigh, (Killinek) on account of the violence of the currents, setting round between the cape, and the many rocks and islands which stretch from it towards the north. Reports had likewise been circulated of the hostile disposition of the Esquimaux in the Ungava bay; and it was boldly asserted, that if we even got there alive, we should never return. An old conjuror, (Angekok), Atsugarsuk, had been particularly active in spreading these reports. We cannot deny but that they occasioned some apprehension in our own minds, but being fully determined to venture in the name of God, and trusting in His protection, we were thankful that they failed to produce the intended effect on Jonathan, our guide, and on the other Esquimaux, who were to go with us, and who all remained firm.
When Jonathan was told that the Ungava Esquimaux would kill him, he generally answered: "Well, we will try, and shall know better when we get there:" and once, conversing with us on the subject, expressed himself thus: "When I hear people talking about the danger of being killed, I think: Jesus went to death out of love to us, what great matter would it be, if we were to be put to death in His service, should that be His good pleasure concerning us."
24th. Having commended ourselves in prayer to the grace and protecting care of God our Saviour, and to the kind remembrance of our dear fellow missionaries, we set sail at two P.M.
Our company consisted of four Esquimaux families: 1. Jonathan, and his wife Sybilla, both between fifty and sixty years old. He was esteemed one of the most skilful commanders on the whole coast of Labrador, and for many years has shown himself both able and willing to serve the missionaries in a variety of ways. The boat was his own property, and we considered him as the captain of the expedition. 2. Jonas, Jonathan's son, and his wife Agnes, about thirty years of age, both intelligent, clever Esquimaux; they had their five children with them; Sophia, twelve years old, Susanna, Jonathan, Thamar, and Sybilla, the youngest but half a year old. 3. Paul, and his wife Mary, very agreeable, sensible people, about twenty years of age. Paul is Jonathan's cousin, and a man of a very warm temper. In activity and skill, he was next to Jonathan. 4. David, and his mother Rachel, the first a hopeful young man of about twenty, and the latter a good-natured old woman, who had the care of our clothes and linen, and kept them clean and in good order. Besides these four families, we took with us a boy, Okkiksuk, an orphan, about sixteen, whom Jonathan had adopted, and who promised to reward the kindness of his guardian by his good behaviour. He was always ready to render us every service in his power.
We were attended on the voyage by a skin-boat (or woman's boat) in which were Thukkekina and his wife, and their adopted child Mammak, a boy twelve years old. Their age is about forty. The skin-boat was intended as a refuge, in case of any accident happening to our own boat, and was useful in landing, as we never brought the large boat close in shore. The first four families belong to Hopedale, Thukkekina and his wife to Okkak. They considered it as a great favour conferred on them to be permitted to accompany us. Jonas and his family occupied the after-part, and the rest the fore-part of the boat. The wind was moderate, and due west. We lost sight of our habitations in about half an hour, behind the N.E. point of the island Okkak, called Sungolik.
At three, passed Cape Uivak, a cape on the continent, forming a moderately high headland, and the nearest place to Okkak, where Esquimaux spend the winter. Two or three winter-houses were standing.
The wind failing, we cast off the skin-boat, which rowed merrily a-head. Before us, between the islands to the east and the continent, we saw much drift-ice, and it required attention to avoid the large shoals, the wind coming round to the N.W. We cast anchor at NUNGOROME, a cove about ten English miles from Okkak, where we found several of our Esquimaux, who had here their summer-station. Several had come from Naujasiorvik and other places, on purpose to meet us, and once more to express their affection and best wishes for our safe voyage and return. Late in the evening, we met on a green spot, where Brother Kohlmeister delivered a short discourse and prayer, after which we retired to sleep on board the boat.
Departure from Nungorome Cove. Account of Solomon. Drift-ice. Cape Mugford. Waterfalls from the Kaumayok Mountains. Fruitless attempt to get out of the Ikkerasak, or Straits.
Nungorome is a cove on the south side of the Island Pacharvik. Between this island the main land is a narrow strait, so shallow that no whales can pass. The Esquimaux stretch their nets across, to catch seals, seeking shelter in it when the wind sets in from the open sea. They can only be taken in the night, and the greater part of those which frequent this coast are of the Kairolik kind, a middle-sized animal, and of the Ugsuk, the largest species of the seal tribe, weighing sometimes from five to six cwt.
The Esquimaux belonging to our congregation, who were at present stationed here, in tents, were Moses, Samuel, Thomas, Isaac, Bammiuk, and their families. Solomon, who has left our communion, was also here. He had formerly been a communicant member of Okkak congregation, but could not resist the temptation of going to the north to feast with the heathen Esquimaux, whenever they had caught a live, or found a dead whale. On such occasions he was seduced to commit many irregularities and sins, but always returned to us with a show of great contrition and repentance. After many relapses, he was informed, that this would do no longer, but that if he went again to these heathenish feasts, he would be excluded. He is a sensible, well-disposed man, and perceived the justice of the sentence; but his love of that species of amusement overcame all his good resolutions. He not only went again, but took also another wife; a step which, of course, excluded him from our fellowship. Yet he is very desirous that his children may receive a Christian education, and remain faithful to the precepts of the gospel.
25th. Brother Kmoch rose at half past one in the morning, and suffering the rest to sleep on, got breakfast ready; he then fired his piece, by which Brother Kohlmeister and all the Esquimaux, young and old, were suddenly roused from their slumbers. Not one, however, regretted the unexpected interruption to their pleasant dreams, on beholding the sea quite free from ice, with a fine morning and fair wind; but after yawning, stretching, and shaking themselves as usual, the Esquimaux with great good humour got ready, and we set sail at half past three. Passed Pacharvik Island at four. Bammiuk and Solomon accompanied us as far as the North Ikkerasak (the Esquimaux name for a strait) between Cape Mugford Island, in 58 deg. N. latitude, and the mountains of Kaumayok. Their being in company retarded our progress, but in the sequel proved no disadvantage.
About nine, we entered the straits, and perceiving at a distance much drift-ice a-head, cast anchor, and Brother Kmoch and Jonas landed on Cape Mugford Island. An Esquimaux, called Niakungetok, accompanied them to the top of an eminence, from whence the outer opening of the Ikkerasak was seen. They perceived the ice driving into it from the sea in such quantities as to threaten to close it up. Cape Mugford is an high island, extending far into the ocean, and the northern land-mark in steering for Okkak, Kiglapeit promontory bearing south, and the Saddle-island appearing right before the entrance of the bay. On their return to the boat, the wind veered to the north, and we steered for a dwelling-place of the Esquimaux, about twenty miles from Okkak, called Ukkuararsuk. To our great joy the ice began now to drive out again to sea, and we resolved to go with it. A gentle S.W. wind brought us to the place, where we had before anchored, but we were now beset with large fields of ice, among which we tacked, till we had nearly cleared the straits, when the great quantity of surrounding ice, pressing upon us, prevented our making further attempts, and we, were compelled to work our way back with oars and boat-hooks.
On Cape Mugford island we now discovered more Esquimaux, who by signs directed our course towards a convenient harbour, near their dwellings, which we reached in safety.
The Esquimaux pitched their tents on shore, but we slept on board.
The situation of this place is remarkably beautiful. The strait is about an English mile broad, and four or five in length. Both shores are lined with precipitous rocks, which in many places rise to a tremendous height, particularly on the Kaumayok side, from whence several waterfalls rush into the sea, with a roar, which quite fills the air. The singular appearance of these cataracts is greatly increased when illuminated by the rising sun, the spray, exhibiting the most beautiful prismatic colours. Below them huge masses of ice are formed, which seem to lean against the sides of the rocks, and to be continually increasing during the winter, but when melted by the power of a summer's sun, and disengaged by their weight, are carried off by the tides, and help to form floating ice-mountains. The coast lies S.W. by N.E.
26th. Being detained here by the state of the ice, and the weather fine and warm, Brother Kmoch and Ogiksuk rowed across the straits to the nearest great cataract, and were able, notwithstanding the steepness of the ascent, to get pretty close to it. It falls fifty or sixty feet perpendicular, and the noise is terrible. The spray ascending from it, like the steam of a huge cauldron, wetted the travellers completely. They amused themselves some time by rolling large stones into the fall, which by its force were carried along towards the sea, down the sloping torrent below. Our people meanwhile caught three seals, and made a hearty meal, of which we also partook, hunger, on this occasion, overcoming our dislike to seal's flesh. A sallad of scurvy-grass was made for supper.
27th. We left this harbour about four A.M. with a favourable wind at West, but as it soon died away, we took to our oars, and reached the north point of Kaumayok, at the northern extremity of the strait. By an observation taken by Brother Kohlmeister, this point is situated in 57 deg. 59' N. latitude. Though calm, there was a great swell from the sea, and the rolling of the boat affected our brave captain not a little, to the diversion of the other Esquimaux. About two P.M. the wind shifted to the N.W. By tacking we got to Kupperlik, about the middle of Kaumayok, but having the skin-boat in tow, could not weather the point, and were at length obliged to return to our former anchorage in the strait.
28th. The wind being North we could not proceed. We therefore ascended the mountain of Cape Mugford. It is a barren rock, though here and there a solitary plant or a tuft of moss clings to its steep sides, and is difficult of access. The numerous waterfalls on the Kaumayok, which still rose above us, were full in view, and we now discovered several small lakes which supply them. Some of them fall from a great height perpendicularly into the sea.
We could here discern the island of Okkak, to the S.W. to the East, the boundless ocean, and to the N.E. three high, barren, and steep islands, called Nennoktuts by the Esquimaux, (White mountains.)
Quit the Ikkerasak. Account of the Kaumayok Mountains, and of Kangertluksoak. Public Worship on Sunday. Saeglek and its Inhabitants described. The Missionaries visit the Esquimaux at Kikkertarsoak.
June 29th.—We rose soon after two o'clock, and rowed out of the Ikkerasak, with a fair wind. The sea was perfectly calm and smooth. Brother Kmoch rowed in the small boat along the foot of the mountains of Kaumayok, sometimes going on shore, while the large boat was making but little way, keeping out at some distance, to avoid the rocks. The outline of this chain of mountains exhibits the most fanciful figures. At various points, the rocks descend abruptly into the sea, presenting horrid precipices. The strand is covered with a black sand. At the height of about fifty feet from the sea, the rocks have veins of red, yellow, and green stone, running horizontally and parallel; and sometimes in an undulated form. Above these, they present the appearance of a magnificent colonade, or rather of buttresses, supporting a gothic building, varying in height and thickness, and here and there intersected by wide and deep chasms and glens, running far inland between the mountains. Loose stones above, have in some places the appearance of statues, and the superior region exhibits all kind of grotesque shapes. It is by far the most singular and picturesque chain of mountains on this coast. To the highest part of it we gave the name of St. Pauls, as it is not unlike that cathedral when viewed at a distance, with its dome and two towers.
Before we left the Kaumayok, Brother Kohlmeister landed, and found the beach covered with blocks of stone, in colour white and grey, like statuary marble, but very hard. We now steered for Kangertluksoak, a winter-station of the Esquimaux, where several of our people had pitched their tents.
At noon, we were off an island, called Eingosiarsuk, (the Little Cup), opposite the Ittiplek, (a flat piece of ground joining two headlands) over which the northern Esquimaux pass in sledges to Okkak, round Kaumayok. Farther towards the N.W. lies Tuppertalik, a high ridge of mountains, which, from its appearance, we called the Table mountain, having nearly the shape of the mountain so called at the Cape of Good Hope.
To the north lies Nellekartok, the outermost island on leaving the Ikkerasak, and the first of the Kangertluksoak islands. Behind Tuppertalik, a bay opens called Nappartok (a wood), a winter-habitation, with a little wood higher up the country, about eight or ten hours drive from Okkak. A good harbour for large vessels is said to be here, called Umiakovitannak, (Broad boat-harbour). Before the entrance to Nappartok, lies an island, Naujartsit (the Little Sea-gull island). Seven or eight miles, north of Nappertok, a long flat point runs out, terminated by a small island. On approaching towards Kangertluksoak, a long island runs parallel with the coast called Illuektulik, (a burial-place), between which and the main land is a strait, affording good shelter for boats. Into this Jonathan intended to run, but the wind being favourable, we kept on our course, and passed two islands, Kingmiktok, (Dog island), and farther north, Kikkertarsoak a great island which defends the entrance into the harbour of Kangertluksoak, from the sea. At ten P.M. we came to an anchor in the harbour, and were received by our Esquimaux, of whom several families were stationed here, as well as by the other inhabitants, with demonstrations of great joy. Both the heathen who kept on the right side of the great bay, and our own Christian Esquimaux, on the left, fired numberless shots to welcome us. Several boats were here from Kittinek and Nachvak bound to Okkak.
Kangertluksoak lies about sixty miles north of Okkak, is an agreeable place, and has a good strand, and safe anchorage.
30th. Being Sunday, the Missionaries went on shore, and visited all the Christian families, by whom they were received with the most lively expressions of affection and gratitude. Many strangers from the opposite coast had joined them, and they all seated themselves in a large circle on the grass.
Nikupsuk's wife, Louisa, who had long ago forsaken the believers, was here, and said, with much apparent contrition, that she was unworthy to be numbered with them. She then seated herself at a little distance from the rest.
The number of the congregation, including our boat's company, amounted to about fifty. Brother Kohlmeister first addressed them, by greeting them from their brethren at Okkak, and expressing our joy at finding them well in health, and our hopes, that they were all walking worthy of their Christian profession, as a good example to their heathen neighbours. Then the Litany was read, and a spirit of true devotion pervaded the whole assembly.
Our very hearts rejoiced in this place, which had but lately been a den of murderers, dedicated, as it were, by the angekoks, or sorcerers, to the service of the devil, to hear the cheerful voices of converted heathen, most melodiously sounding forth the praises of God, and giving glory to the name of Jesus their Redeemer. Peace, and cheerful countenances dwelt in the tents of the believing Esquimaux.
Our people had caught a large white-fish, and pressed us much to be their guests, which we should have accepted of with pleasure, but we thought it prudent to avail ourselves of the favourable wind and weather, to proceed. Instead, therefore, of dining with them, we presented to each tent a quart of pease, which is considered by the Esquimaux as a great luxury, and was received with unbounded thankfulness.
About noon we set sail, with a brisk wind at S.E. for Saeglek. The coast presents here, moderately high, barren mountains, without bays or islands. The wind becoming more violent, the rope, by which we kept the skin-boat in tow, suddenly snapt, and set her adrift. She was frequently hid from our view by the height of the waves, but we were in no apprehension about her, as these kind of boats are much safer in a high sea, than a European one.
At seven P.M. we arrived at Saeglek, and were saluted by the firing of muskets and bonfires on the hills. The Esquimaux have their dwellings on a small flat island, between two of larger size, but the strand is bad, and full of sharp shingles. There are about five or six winter-houses at Saeglek, containing each about two or three families.
July 1st. Early, two Esquimaux men, Joas and Uiverunna, came in their kayaks to pay us a visit. They, with their families, inhabited some tents we had seen yesterday. Brother Kohlmeister spoke seriously to them on the necessity of conversion, especially to Joas, who had Christian parents, and as a child, was baptized at Okkak. He reminded him of his having been devoted to Jesus from his birth; that he therefore ought not to belong to the unbelievers, but to Him who had created and redeemed him; and that the greatest of all the sins he now committed, was his persisting in his determination not to return. He seemed to listen with some humility to the loving and earnest reproof and exhortations of the Missionary, but at last excused himself by laying the blame upon his mother, who kept him back, adding, that he still intended to be converted.
Our people had meanwhile made a fire, and put the pot on to boil pease; but the wind changing, Jonathan determined immediately to proceed. The pease had just begun to swell, and as the two Esquimaux had presented us with some fresh meat, they had been asked to partake of our meal; but finding themselves thus disappointed, they fell to, and having greedily devoured a quantity of the half-boiled pease, and filled their gloves with the rest, they took leave, and set sail about 11, A.M.
Hearing from some Esquimaux who made towards us in their kayaks, that the Saeglek people were all on the north side of the island of Kikkertarsoak, we proceeded thither, and having doubled the point, saw seven tents full of people. Two of them contained families from Killinek. But the violence of the wind was such, that we could not stay in this unsheltered place with safety. We therefore worked our way, with the help of the Esquimaux, round another point, into a roadstead, rather more sheltered than the former, though open to the sea. A little tobacco is the reward expected and given for such assistance.
The beach is composed of numberless black pebbles, polished by the sea, and each about the size of an hen's egg.
Brother Kohlmeister immediately landed, and visited the Esquimaux in their tents. Many heathen were at this place, to whom he preached the gospel, and invited them to believe in Jesus, as the Saviour of men, who would deliver them from the love, power, and curse of sin, having shed His blood, and died on the cross, to redeem their souls. He was heard with great attention. A venerable old man, with hair as white as wool, particularly attracted our notice. He called Brother Kohlmeister by name, took hold of both his hands, and begged him to sit down by him. Brother Kohlmeister inquired, whether he knew him. The old man replied: "Thou art Benjamin, often have I heard thy name at Okkak. I therefore rejoice to see thee." He seemed quite at a loss, what way to express his affection; and at length delivered a strap of seals'-leather to Mr. Kohlmeister, with these words: "I am poor, and have nothing else to give thee, yet I wish to give thee some token of my love." Brother Kohlmeister accepted of his present, and inwardly cried to the Lord, to show mercy to this poor ignorant heathen. "You are old," said he, "and have not much more time to live in this world, will you not turn to that Jesus, who has died for your sins also? It is not His desire that you should perish, and be lost in everlasting darkness, but that you should live with Him in the place of light and immortal bliss." The old man replied: "What shall I do? thy words are very pleasant, and I would fain hear much more of Jesus. I do not wish to be lost in the place of darkness." Brother Kohlmeister answered, that if he sincerely wished to be saved, and was troubled on account of his sinful life he should believe in, and call on the name of Jesus, who would certainly hear and reveal Himself unto him. Many people were present in the tent, who behaved with great decency, and whom Brother Kohlmeister earnestly addressed on the necessity of conversion. He wished to prolong the conversation especially with the old man, who promised, that he would never forget the words spoken to him, but it was growing late, and we returned to our cabin. The poor old man having sore legs, some medicine was left for him.
The passage from Kangertluksoak to Saeglek is about twenty English miles. Saeglek is a considerable promontory, open to the south.
Departure from Saeglek. Fruitless attempt to reach Nachvak. Retreat into Nullatartok Inlet. Slate Bay. Detention on account of the Ice. Arrive at Nachvak.
July 2d.—At one A.M. we set sail, steering for Nachvak, a distance of about thirty miles. Here a chain of mountains runs north and south, nearly parallel with the coast. The coast itself is of moderate height, but very steep, and not being defended by any island, the approach to it as a lee-shore, is very dangerous. It runs generally in a pretty strait line about forty miles, when a wide bay opens, in which lies, towards the north, an island called Karngalersiorvik, where there is said to be a good harbour for boats. The rocks, of which the mountains are composed, are of a white grey colour, streaked almost perpendicularly with veins of black stone, about two feet broad. The intermediate strata may be about eight times as broad. We had hoped to reach Nachvak in the morning, by continuing our course through the following night, though the wind was weak and variable, but in the evening we got into drift-ice: yet as the shoals were not close together, we worked our way through them; and stood on with the little wind we had at S.E.
3d. At dawn of day, and being still four miles distant from Nachvak, we perceived both in the open sea, and all along the shore, that our passage was completely occupied with floating ice, which drove towards us, and forced us back. We then endeavoured to find shelter in a bay bounded by high mountains, but found none, the wind driving the ice after us into it, and soon filling it. Jonathan frequently cried out with a plaintive voice: "Alas, alas, we shall soon be without a boat!" We now hastened to the opposite shore to find some cove or inlet, but getting more and more entangled among the ice, were at last obliged, some to land, and haul the boat with ropes round the points, and others with boat-hooks and spars, to keep her off the rocks. Two or three times she stuck fast on sunken rocks, but by God's mercy always got off again without damage. At length we discovered three narrow inlets, the middlemost forming a bay, being the estuary of a river, which runs W.S.W. about eight or ten miles up the country, and is called Nullatartok. Into this we pushed, when shortly after our entrance, the ice entirely filled up the passage, and we were compelled to retreat to the uppermost part, choosing the shallowest possible spot to anchor in. The bay itself is about two miles in breadth, and only in the middle deep enough to admit the larger fields of drift ice to float into it. The strand is broad, and slopes off gently. It is covered with large tables of slate. The mountains on each side are high, and seem to consist of ferruginous slate, the lamina or plates of which are of such immense size, that they might serve for entire walls. Towards the sea, there exudes from these rocks, a yellowish white substance, which has a strong sulphureous smell. It was so powerful, that if a drop fell on a piece of tinned iron, it removed the tin in a few minutes.
The vallies in the neighbourhood were green and full of flowers.
Not far from the spot where we had pitched our tents, (which rested upon a carpet of potentilla aurea, in full bloom, bringing to our minds the European meadows, full of butter-cups), the river, which is of considerable breadth, falls into the bay. It abounds with fine salmon-trout. Farther to the westward, two other rivers flow into it, one of which is much broader than the other, and has a large cataract at some distance from its mouth. The upper parts of the mountains are covered partly with moss, and partly with low brush-wood, birch, and alder, and many berry-bearing shrubs and plants, but no high trees. We found here both arnica and colts-foot in great plenty. Brother Kohlmeister gathered and dried a quantity of each, as they are used in medical cases, and the former cannot be procured from England.
The slate is extremely shivery, and is found in slabs, either lying or standing upright from four to eight feet square, most easily splitting into thin plates. Ascending the mountain, they are soon dislodged, by the tread of a man's foot, and glide down towards the beach with a rattling, tinkling noise. At low water, we noticed a bed of stone resembling cast iron, of a reddish hue, and polished by the friction of the water. After supping on salmon-trout, caught in the first-mentioned river, we retired to rest; but had some fears even here for the safety of our boat, the ice pushing in towards us, and our people being employed day and night in warding off the large shoals with their boat-hooks.
4th. The weather being fair, Brother Kmoch ascended to the top of the highest part of the mountain near us, from whence he could see nothing but drift-ice, powerfully in motion towards the bay. Four of our Esquimaux went up the country to hunt reindeer; saw eight head and two fawns; but got none.
Perceiving that our abode in this place might be of some duration, we for the first time pitched our tents on shore. Our morning and evening devotion was attended by the whole party; and on Sundays we read the Litany, and conducted the service in the usual way, which proved to us and our Esquimaux of great comfort and encouragement in all difficulties. We were detained here, by the ice, from the 3d to the 15th, and our faith and patience were frequently put to the trial. Meanwhile we found much pleasure in walking up the declivities of the hills, and into the fine green and flowery vallies around us.
5th. We went up the western extremity of the bay, but found nothing worth notice. Here the rocks appeared to be of a species of freestone.
6th. In the evening we met in Jonathan's tent. Brother Kohlmeister addressed the company, and reminded them, that to-day the holy communion would be celebrated in our congregations, which we could not do in this place, under present circumstances. Then kneeling down, he offered up a fervent prayer, entreating the Lord not to forget us in this wilderness, but to give us to feel His all-reviving presence, and to feed our hungry and thirsty souls, out of the fulness of His grace. A comfortable sense of His love and peace filled all our hearts on this occasion.
In the evening, Paul began to read out of the Harmony of the four Evangelists, which we shall continue as often as circumstances will admit of it. Jonathan and Jonas generally conduct the daily morning and evening worship.
7th. We were so hard pressed by the ice driving towards us, that we were obliged in part to unload the boat, to be able to bring it into a safer situation in shallow water; and took our turns, three relieving three, to watch and guard off the larger shoals with boat-hooks, by day and night. We were glad to have reached a place, sheltered on all sides from the wind.
8th. Our people went out to look for reindeer, and no prospect of our proceeding to sea appearing, they resolved to stay out all night.
9th. Jonas returned and reported, that they had seen reindeer, but were not able to shoot any. Paul and Thukkekina went to-day to the western mountains, and staid over night.
10th. Brother Kmoch went to the westward to look for birds. He saw a large flight of sea-fowl, but they were extremely shy, and would not permit him to get near them. From the hills around us, we perceived that the entrance into the bay was completely blocked up with ice; and towards the sea, nothing but one continued field of ice appeared. We sighed and prayed to the Lord to help us in this time of need. Jonas went out in his kayak, and shot an ugsuk, not far from our tent. Towards evening, we saw a fire made by our reindeer-hunters, at the western extremity of the bay, and they fired their pieces to give us notice, that they had got some game, and that we should fetch it with the small boat.
Okkiksuk therefore went, and found them completely overcome with fatigue, having dragged their game, across the mountains for a considerable distance. The Esquimaux are indeed able to carry burdens up and down hill, under which most Europeans would sink, but when they kill a deer far inland, it is hard-earned food, by the trouble of carrying it home. Paul had shot two reindeer, of which we received a portion. Brother Kohlmeister had been on the other side of the bay, and returned with a large parcel of plants and flowers, the examination of which afforded him much amusement.
The Esquimaux now boiled a large kettle full of seal's flesh, of which we were invited to partake. This we did, and thought it a very palatable mess, particularly as we had tasted no fresh meat since we had left the North Ikkerasak. The prejudice of the Europeans against seal's flesh, consists mostly in imagination. The dirty kettle in which the Esquimaux boil it, is indeed not calculated to excite an appetite, but the meat, when eaten fresh, tastes much like beef; when cold, it acquires an oily taste; nor durst a person, not accustomed to it from his childhood, make a practice of eating it, as it is of a very heating nature, and would soon bring on serious disorders. It generally prevents sleep, if eaten at supper.
12th. The wind became West, and cleared the bay of the ice. Brother Kmoch and Jonathan went to the opposite shore and found winter-houses, one of which had been inhabited last winter; two others were in ruins. They climbed the highest eminence towards Nachvak, but saw nothing but drift-ice, covering the sea, with but few spots of open water, to the north.
13th. It blew hard from the West. David and Okkiksuk crossed the bay to explore the state of the ice from the hills. In the evening they returned with intelligence, that the sea was cleared of ice to the northward. David had caught a netsek, (a small species of seal), and we had taken a good draught of trout in the net before our tent.
14th. Jonathan roused us at four in the morning, the wind being in our favour, and we immediately made preparations to depart. After breakfast, as we were praying the Litany, a sudden storm arose. We were assembled in Jonathan's tent, and the stones and pegs, with which it had been fastened down to the ground, being already removed, the tent-skins were soon blown about our heads by the violence of the wind, and we were now obliged patiently to wait till the storm abated. In the midst of our deliberations, accompanied with expressions of our disappointment, Thukkekina gravely observed, that we might very likely get away this summer, and need not be dismayed. Towards evening, it fell calm, and the musquitoes teazed us unmercifully. We supped on fresh salmon, filled our tents with smoke, to keep off our winged tormentors, shut ourselves in, and forgot our grievances and Thukkekina's consolations in sound sleep.
15th. In the morning at three o'clock, we took a final leave of Nullatartok bay, and got under way with a favourable, though rather boisterous wind at S.W. having been detained here for twelve days by the ice. After about an hour's sail, we were near the entrance of the inlet, when a sudden gust from the mountains carried away our after-top-mast, with sail and tackle. It fell with great noise on the deck, and into the sea. By God's mercy no one was hurt, and we were more particularly thankful, that of the five children on board, none were just then on deck.
It once happened, that the main-yard fell down, and but narrowly missed striking two children, who with a third were sitting and playing together. They must inevitably have lost their lives, had it fallen upon them. We praised God for their preservation during the whole voyage. By the above-mentioned disaster, we were obliged to run into a small cove, where we repaired the mast with all speed, and proceeded with a gentle wind towards Nachvak. A calm ensued, and as there is no anchorage between Nullatartok and Nachvak, we rowed all night, and felt the advantage of the great length of days, at this season of the year.
16th. The view we had of the magnificent mountains of Nachvak, especially about sun-rise, afforded us and our Esquimaux great gratification. Their south-east extremity much resembles Saddle island near Okkak, being high, steep, and of singular shape. These mountains in general are not unlike those of Kaumayok for picturesque outline. In one place, tremendous precipices form a vast amphitheatre, surmounted by a ledge of green sod, which seemed to be the resort of an immense number of sea-gulls and other fowls, never interrupted by the intrusion of man. They flew with loud screams backwards and forwards over our heads, as if to warn off such unwelcome visitors. In another place, a narrow chasm opens into the mountain, widening into a lagoon, the surrounding rocks resembling the ruins of a large Gothic building, with the green ocean for its pavement, and the sky for its dome. The weather being fine, and the sun cheering us with his bright rays, after a cold and sleepless night, we seemed to acquire new vigour, by the contemplation of the grand features of nature around us. We now perceived some Esquimaux with a woman's boat, in a small bay, preparing to steer for Nachvak. They fired their pieces, and called to us to join them, as they had discovered a stranded whale. Going on shore to survey the remains of this huge animal, we found it by no means a pleasant sight. It lay upon the rocks, occupying a space about thirty feet in diameter, but was much shattered, and in a decaying state. Our people, however, cut off a quantity of blubber from its lips. The greater part of the blubber of this fish was lost, as the Esquimaux had no means of conveying it to Okkak.
The Esquimaux stationed here showed great willingness to assist us; and as our party was much fatigued with rowing all night, they towed us into Nachvak, where we arrived about 2 P.M. Old Kayaluk and a young man, Parnguna, and his wife, were here. The latter called on Brother Kohlmeister, and thanked him for having saved her life. He had forgotten that he had once given her medicine at Okkak in a dangerous illness, but her gratitude was still unbounded.
Reception at Nachvak. Description of the bay. The Esquimaux manner of spearing salmon and trout. Christian deportment of the Okkak and Hopedale Esquimaux. Jonas's address to the Heathen. Love of music general among these Indians. Departure from Nachvak. Danger in doubling the North Cape. Arrival at Sangmiyok bay.
July 16th.—After two or three hours sleep in our cabin, we went on shore. The Esquimaux, who had here a temporary station, about fifty in number, received us with every mark of attention. Loud shouts of joy resounded from all quarters, and muskets were fired in every direction. They could scarcely wait with patience for our landing, and when we pitched our tent, were all eager to assist; thus we were soon at home among them. Seven tents were standing on the strand, and we found the people here differing much in their manners from the people at Saeglek. Their behaviour was modest and rather bashful, nor were we assailed by beggars and importunate intruders, as at the latter place, where beggary seemed quite the fashion, and proved very troublesome to us. But we had no instance of stealing. Thieves are considered by the Esquimaux in general with abhorrence, and with a thief no one is willing to trade. We have discovered, however, that that propensity is not altogether wanting in the northern Esquimaux, who, now and then, if they think that they can do it without detection, will make a little free with their neighbour's property.
The Esquimaux not only gave us a most hearty welcome, but attended our morning and evening prayers with great silence and apparent devotion. Indeed, to our great surprise, they behaved altogether with uncommon decorum and regularity during our stay.
17th. Being detained with drift-ice at the mouth of the bay, we pitched our tent on shore. We examined the bay more minutely. It extends to the West to a considerable depth, and is not protected by any islands, except a few rocks, at some distance in the sea. The surrounding mountains are very high, steep, and barren, and verdure is found only in the vallies. Here the arnica montana, which the Missionaries have found of great use among the Esquimaux, grows in great abundance. Salmon-trout are caught in every creek and inlet.
Like the salmon, they remain in the rivers and fresh-water lakes during the winter, and return to the sea in spring. The Esquimaux about Okkak and Saeglek, catch them in winter under the ice by spearing. For this purpose, they make two holes in the ice, about eight inches in diameter, and six feet asunder, in a direction from north to south. The northern hole they screen from the sun, by a bank of snow about four feet in height, raised in a semicircle round its southern edge, and form another similar bank on the north-side of the southern hole, sloped in such a manner as to reflect the rays of the sun into it. The Esquimaux then lies down, with his face close to the northern aperture, beneath which the water is strongly illuminated by the sunbeams entering at the southern. In his left hand he holds a red string, with which he plays in the water, to allure the fish, and in his right a spear, ready to strike them as they approach. In this manner they soon take as many as they want.
The salmon-trout on this coast are from twelve to eighteen inches long, and in August and September so fat, that the Esquimaux collect from them a sufficient quantity of oil for their lamps. The immense abundance of these fish on all parts of the coast, would almost at any time save the Esquimaux from starving with hunger; but as seals furnish them both with food and clothing, it is of most consequence to them to attend to this branch of supply. At Hopedale and Nain, however, salmon-trout are caught only in the summer.
We were much pleased with the behaviour of our own Esquimaux, during their stay at Nachvak. In every respect they conducted themselves, in word and deed, as true Christian people. Their conversation with their heathen countrymen, was free and unreserved, and "to the use of edifying." Jonathan and Jonas in particular, gave us great satisfaction.
The people having assembled in Jonathan's tent, those who had no room in it, standing without and listening with great order and stillness, Brother Kohlmeister addressed them, explaining the aim of our voyage; that we were going, out of love to their nation, to the northern Esquimaux, and to those of Ungava bay, to make known to them the love of God our Saviour; and, by the gospel, to point out to them the way to obtain life everlasting. We knew that they were heathen, who, being ignorant of the way to God, were in bondage to the devil, and would be lost for ever, unless God had mercy upon them and sent them his word, to lead them to Jesus Christ their only Saviour, who shed His blood, and died on the cross to redeem their souls.
They received the discourses and exhortations of the Missionary with reverential attention, but those of their own countrymen, with still greater eagerness, and we hope not without benefit. Jonas once addressed them thus; "We were but lately as ignorant as you are now: we were long unable to understand the comfortable words of the gospel: we had neither ears to hear, nor hearts to receive them, till Jesus, by his power, opened our hearts and ears. Now we know what Jesus has done for us, and how great the happiness of those souls is, who come unto Him, love Him as their Saviour, and know, that they shall not be lost, when this life is past. Without this we live in constant fear of death. You will enjoy the same happiness, if you turn to and believe in Jesus. We are not surprised that you do not yet understand us. We were once like you, but now thank Jesus our Redeemer, with tears of joy, that He has revealed Himself unto us," Thus, with cheerful countenances and great energy, did these Christian Esquimaux praise and glorify the name of Christ our Saviour, and declare, what he had done for their souls, exhorting the heathen likewise to believe.
The above address seemed to make a deep impression on the minds of all present. One of their leaders, or captains, exclaimed with great eagerness, in presence of them all: "I am determined to be converted to Jesus." His name is Onalik. He afterwards called upon Brother Kohlmeister, and inquired, whether it was the same, to which of the three settlements he removed, as it was his firm determination to become a true believer. Brother Kohlmeister answered: "That it was indifferent where he lived, if he were only converted and became a child of God, and an heir of life eternal." Another, named Tullugaksoak, made the same declaration, and added: "That he would no longer live among the heathen."
Though the very fickle disposition of the heathen Esquimaux, might cause some doubts to arise in our minds, as to their putting these good resolutions into practice, yet we hope, that the seed of the word of God, sown in this place, may not have altogether fallen upon barren ground.
In the evening, our people met in Jonathan's tent, and sang hymns. Almost all the inhabitants were present. They afterwards spent a long time in pleasant and edifying conversation. It may here be observed, that the Esquimaux delight in singing and music. As to national songs, they have nothing deserving of that name; and the various collectors of these precious morsels in our day, would find their labour lost in endeavouring to harmonize the incantations of their sorcerers and witches, which more resemble the howlings of wolves and growlings of bears, than any thing human. But though the hymn and psalm-tunes of the Brethren's Church are mostly of antient construction, and, though rich in harmony, have no airy melodies to make them easily understood by unmusical ears, yet the Esquimaux soon learn to sing them correctly; and the voices of the women are remarkably sweet and well-tuned. Brother Kohlmeister having given one of the children a toy-flute, Paul took it, and immediately picked out the proper stops in playing several psalm-tunes upon it, as well as the imperfect state of the instrument would admit. Brother Kmoch having taken a violin with him, the same Esquimaux likewise took it up, and it was not long before he found out the manner of producing the different notes.
18th. At 8 A.M. Brother Kohlmeister having delivered a farewell-discourse to the Esquimaux, (during which they were much affected), we took leave of these goodnatured people, and set sail with a fair and strong West-wind, but met with much drift-ice at the entrance of the bay. It made less way than our boat, and the wind becoming more violent, we found ourselves in an unpleasant situation. After tacking all day, and a great part of the night, the ice preventing our proceeding, and the wind, our returning to our former station, we were obliged to make for the Eastern point of the bay, where we at length succeeded in gaining a small cove, and cast anchor.
Our situation was singular; the rocks rose in a semicircle around us, towering perpendicularly to an amazing height, like an immense wall.
After a few hours stay, two Nachvak Esquimaux joined us, and prevailed on Jonathan to return to the tents, but we had scarcely reached the centre of the bay, before the violence of the wind drove us out to sea, and we were compelled to push for the northern promontory, from which all the ice had now retreated. Under the mountains we found shelter from the wind, which had by this time risen to a storm. It was late, and as it appeared dangerous to remain here, we rowed towards the point, but there beheld, with terror, the raging of the sea and dashing of the waves against the rocks, the spray flying like clouds into the air, and returned into smooth water, where, however, we were long in finding a place to anchor in. The night was spent quietly under shelter of the high rocks. They form the base of mountains higher than the Kiglapeyd, rise perpendicularly, in some places impending, with fragments, apparently loose, hanging over their edge, and forming all kinds of grotesque figures.
19th. At sun-rise we still saw and heard the storm which threatened us with destruction, if we ventured to double the cape.
At nine the wind abated, and we set sail, got safe round the point, and glided, with a gentle wind, into a broad, shallow bay, called Sangmiyok, full both of hidden and visible rocks, in which we cast anchor about five P.M. While Brother Kmoch superintended the concerns of the kitchen, Brother Kohlmeister and Jonathan went on shore, and to the highest mountain on the promontory. From the top of this mountain they could plainly discern the four principal headlands between Cape Mugford and Cape Chudleigh. The former situated in latitude 58 deg. N. the latter in 61 deg. Between these are four promontories, in a line from S.E. to N.W. The first is Uivak, at the entrance into Saeglek Bay, outside of which a small island lies, in form of a pyramid or sugar-loaf. Next follow the two forming Nachvak Bay, another Uivak to the south of Nennoktok, upon which we stood. The fourth is Kakkeviak, not far from Killinek, or Cape Chudleigh, in form of a tent, called in the charts Blackhead. Nennoktok is called False Blackhead.
Pass Cape Nennoktok. Visit the Esquimaux families at Kummaktorvik and Amitok. Description of an Esquimaux travelling bed. Mountains seen at Ungava. Netsek seal described. Greenland houses. Danger of being shipwrecked near Kakkeviak.
July 20th.—We proceeded with little or no wind, and taking to our oars, doubled the great Cape of Nennoktok. Here a strong swell from the sea met us, and tossed our boat violently about, and, having no wind, it drove us nearer to the shore than was perfectly safe. We remained about an hour in this unpleasant situation, when a breeze sprung up, which carried us out to the open sea among islands. It now began to rain very hard, and the wind rose. While Brother Kmoch was assisting the people on deck, Brother Kohlmeister had enough to do below, to keep peace among the furniture of our cabin, and sometimes found himself defeated in his attempts, pots and pans, and boxes, and every thing that was not a fixture, tumbling upon him. Several of our people were in the skin-boat, and the fury of the wind and sea would not permit them to come to our assistance. The weather also became so thick and foggy between the islands, that we were unable to see to any distance. Jonathan was therefore glad to have been yesterday on shore, when from the mountain he discovered the situation of the promontory, the coast, and the islands before us, and now contrived to steer in the proper direction. We soon found ourselves in smoother water, and among islands, where a vast number of seals and birds made their appearance. At six in the evening we reached Kummaktorvik, and came to an anchor.
Having landed, Brother Kmoch shot a hare, close to the beach. These creatures are white in winter, and grey in summer, and in winter so numerous, that though, when roasted, they are excellent food, we were almost tired of them last year at Okkak.
The rain continuing during the whole of the night and forenoon of the 21st, we found it necessary by sufficient rest to strengthen ourselves for future watchfulness.
An Esquimaux travelling bed consists of a large bag of reindeer-skin, with the hair turned inward, covered with seal-skin, the hair turned outward. It is furnished with a broad flap to cover the mouth, and a strap to fasten down the flap. This bag comprehends the whole apparatus and furniture of an Esquimaux bed-room. Having undressed, the traveller creeps into it, and a kind neighbour having shut him up close by fastening the strap, he leaves him to sleep on till morning, when he helps him out again. In summer the flap is dispensed with. The invention, however, is of European origin, and a luxury introduced by the Missionaries; for an Esquimaux lies down in his clothes, without further preparation.
In the morning we landed, and had the usual Sunday's service with our people on shore; after which Brother Kohlmeister visited the Esquimaux in their tents, and had some religious conversation with them, to which they seemed to pay attention. Afterwards Kuttaktok, John, Nukkapiak, and Kajulik, with their wives, came to see us on board. They are the winter inhabitants of this bay. John was baptized in infancy at Okkak, but afterwards left the settlement, and not only associates with the heathen Esquimaux, but has even been guilty of murder. All of them, however, come occasionally to Okkak. They had two tents about four miles from our landing place.
22d. The contrary wind forbidding our departure, Brother Kohlmeister, accompanied by Jonathan, Jonas, and Thukkekina, walked across the country to the N.W. bay, to return their visit. When they saw them coming at a distance, they fired their pieces, to direct them to the tents, and came joyfully to meet the Missionary and his party. Nothing could exceed the cordiality with which they received them. A kettle was immediately put on the fire to cook salmon-trout, and all were invited to partake, which was the more readily accepted, as the length of the walk had created an appetite, the keenness of which overcame all squeamishness. To do these good people justice, their kettle was rather cleaner than usual, the dogs having licked it well, and the fish were fresh and well dressed. To honour the Missionary, a box was placed for him to sit upon, and the fish were served up to each upon a flat stone instead of a plate. After dinner, Brother Kohlmeister, in acknowledgment for their civility, gave to each of the women two needles, and a small portion of tobacco to each man, with which they were highly delighted.
All of them being seated, a very lively and unreserved conversation took place concerning the only way of salvation, through Jesus Christ, and the necessity of conversion. With John and his mother Mary, Brother Kohlmeister spoke very seriously, and represented to them the danger of their state, as apostates from the faith; but they seem blinded by Satan, and determined to persist in their heathenish life. The Esquimaux now offered to convey the party across the bay in their skin-boat, which was accepted. Almost all of them accompanied the boat, and met with a very friendly reception from our boat's company. In the evening, after some hymns had been sung by our people, Jonas addressed them and the heathen Esquimaux in a short, nervous discourse, on the blessedness of being reconciled unto God.
Kummaktorvik bay runs N.E. and S.W. and is defended by some islands from the sea. It is about four or five miles long, and surrounded by high mountains, with some pleasant plains at their foot, covered with verdure. It's distance from Nachvak is about twelve miles. This chain of mountains, as will be hereafter mentioned, may be seen from Kangertlualuksoak, in Ungava Bay, which is a collateral proof, that the neck of land, terminated to the N. by Cape Chudleigh, is of no great width. Both the Nain and Okkak Esquimaux frequently penetrate far enough inland to find the rivers taking a westerly direction, consequently towards the Ungava country. They even now and then have reached the woods skirting the estuaries of George and South rivers.
23d. We set sail at sun-rise, but the wind being too high to suffer us to proceed with safety, we again anchored in a commodious harbour in Amitok island. Our people were here busily employed in repairing the damaged rigging and sails. Towards evening Jonas caught a seal, to the great gratification of our party. It was dressed immediately, and we joined them in their repast with a good appetite.
The Netsek is the only species of seal which remains during the winter under the ice. They form in it large caverns, in which they bring forth their young, two at a time, in March. More than one cavern belongs to one seal, that he may, if disturbed in the first, take shelter in the second. No other kind of seal is caught in winter by the Esquimaux.
24th. Brother Kmoch rose at two, and went on shore to examine the island more minutely. The morning was beautiful, and the sun rose with great splendour. Amitok lies N.W. from Kummaktorvik, is of an oblong shape, and stretches out pretty far towards the sea. The hills are of moderate height, the land is in many places flat, but in general destitute of grass. On the other side are some ruins of Greenland houses.
The Esquimaux have a tradition, that the Greenlanders came originally from Canada, and settled on the outermost islands of this coast, but never penetrated into the country, before they were driven eastward to Greenland. This report gains some credit, from the state in which the abovementioned ruins are found. They consist in remains of walls and graves, with a low stone enclosure round the tomb, covered with a slab of the same material. They have been discovered on islands near Nain, and though sparingly, all along the whole eastern coast, but we saw none in Ungava bay. The rocks on Amitok contain large masses of a crumbly, semi-transparent garnet, of a reddish hue. (From some specimens sent out, it rather appears to be a rose red quartz, or beryllite).
As it appeared as if we should be detained here, Brother Kmoch had made a fire, and was leisurely cooking a savoury mess of birds for breakfast, when Jonathan returned from the hills, with intelligence that the wind was abating in violence, and he therefore would proceed. The tent was struck, and all hurried on board: yet we had long to combat both an unfavourable wind and a strong current, which compelled us to double the East point of the island, and seek shelter among some small islands, steering for Niakungu point. From hence we got the first sight of Tikkerarsuk, (the Esquimaux name for a low point stretching from the continent into the sea), of the island Aulatzevik, and the high promontory of Kakkeviak. The whole country to the west of Niakungu is called Serliarutsit. It fell calm as we doubled the point, and we took to our oars, and came to an anchor in an open bay, south of Tikkerarsuk.
25th. At 6 P.M. we got under weigh with a fine S.E. wind, and made for the island of Aulatzevik, which is about the same size as an island of the same name, near Kiglapeyd. The passage between the island and the main is too shallow for an European boat like ours. The wind rising we sailed towards Kakkeviak at a great rate. To the right lay a chain of small islands called by the Esquimaux Pikkiulits, (the habitation of young eider-ducks). Having nearly doubled Kakkeviak cape, we perceived two tents on shore, which occasioned loud rejoicings on board. They belonged to Kumiganna of Saeglek, with his party, who being bound to Killinek, had promised to accompany us thither. The wind was very high, and the Cape encircled with numerous visible and invisible rocks, but there was a clear passage to the shore, keeping outside of the breakers. But whether from the violence of the wind, or from the eagerness with which our trusty captain wished soon to join his countrymen, he steered right through the midst of them, when suddenly the boat struck with great violence upon a sunken rock. The shock was so great, that all on board were thrown down, and every thing tumbled about. Poor Agnes, Jonas's wife, got a severe wound in her head. We immediately took in all our sails, and after hard labour, succeeded in pushing the boat off the rock. On examination we found that all was safe, and thanked God, with hearts filled with humble acknowledgments of His mercy, for preserving us from danger and death. The boat had struck in such a manner, that the keel, which was new and strong, being constructed of one solid piece of timber, sustained the whole shock. Had she taken the rock with her bottom, she would most likely have bilged, or upset, and it is a great question, whether our lives, but particularly the lives of the little children, could have been saved, the sea running very high. The skin-boat was thrown right over the rocks on shore, by the violence of the surf.
Kumiganna soon came off in his kayak, and advised us to steer for the land right before us, where he thought we should find Uttakiyok; nor was there any safe anchorage in this place. We therefore took a young Esquimaux on board as pilot, and steered between the main land and the islands, for Oppernavik, twenty English miles off. Having left the skin-boat to follow us, we cut swiftly through the water, and soon reached the place of our destination.
Arrival at Oppernavik. Account of Uttakiyok. His perseverance in waiting for the arrival of the Missionaries. Islands and bays between Kakkeviak and Killinek. Danger in the ice at Ammitok. Want of fuel supplied by robbing old graves.
When we arrived at Oppernavik, we found Uttakiyok, with his two wives and youngest brother, waiting to receive us. He and his family are from the Ungava bay, and had been upon the watch in this place during the whole spring. They welcomed us with shouts of joy, and firing of their pieces, and we had indeed the greatest reason to thank God, that he had sent us this man, to conduct us on our way to an unknown country, and through unfrequented seas.
For this service Uttakiyok was eminently qualified, and without such a steady, faithful guide, we should have been wandering in the most painful and dangerous uncertainty in the desert regions to the West of Cape Chudleigh, where, on a coast of 100 miles in length, we did not meet with a single inhabitant. He was so anxiously intent upon meeting us, that he had erected signals on all the heights surrounding his tent, to prevent our missing him. Among his countrymen he is much respected, on account of his superior sense, and skill in all Esquimaux arts, and possesses great influence among them.
Uttakiyok was one of the two Esquimaux, from whom, in the year 1800, we received the first distinct information respecting the Ungava country and its inhabitants, by which the desire, excited both at home and here in Labrador, to visit the northern Esquimaux, was greatly strengthened, and led to a resolution, if possible, to take early steps to accomplish this object, (See page 3).
Two years ago, he had been on a trading voyage to Okkak, from Killinek, where he then dwelt, and intended to return, in the summer following, to Ungava, his native country, but an illness, which befel his son, detained him. This intelligence was received at Okkak during last winter, when we sent him word, that as we purposed paying his countrymen a visit, we wished him to wait for us, that he might conduct us through the straits of Killinek. But having heard nothing further concerning him, we remained in uncertainty respecting his intentions. We were the more thankful to God, who had disposed the heart of this man cheerfully to accept of the commission, and wait to be our guide, an office which he performed with a degree of faithfulness and disinterested kindness, which claims our admiration and gratitude.
While we were here waiting for a favourable opportunity to pass the straits, which were yet filled with ice, he behaved in the kindest manner to us and our Esquimaux. Though a heathen, he regularly attended our morning and evening worship, and declared to Jonathan, that he also intended to be converted to Jesus, and if we would form a settlement in his country, would come and live with us, and was sure, that many of his countrymen would do the same.
Around his tent, a considerable extent of rock was covered with seal's flesh, and in the hollows were pools of oil. Ten bags of blubber were standing ready for sale; and with a view to shew him our good-will, Brother Kohlmeister bartered with him for three of them, which were hid under the stones, to take them with us, if practicable, on our return.
26th. We put up our three tents; Uttakiyok's people had three more. Wind N.W. We were now near the entrance into the Ikkerasak, (or straits), which separate the island of Killinek and two or three other large islands from the continent. They stretch to the N. to the distance of about 12 or 15 English miles, the outer one forming Cape Chudleigh. To the N.W. of the cape lie some other small islands, called by the Esquimaux Tutsaets, and N.N.E. of these, the great island Resolution, called Igloarsuk, on which, as we were informed, many Esquimaux reside. The Tutsaets were discernible from this place, but not the latter, which however, as the Esquimaux say, may be seen from the Tutsaets. We guessed at its situation, from the clouds hanging over it in the North quarter. The weather was, as might be expected on the northern coast of America, foggy, rainy, and cold, and our small stove, which we brought into the tent, was of great use to us during our stay in this place.
27th. Rain and wind violent, and prevented our proceeding. We caught some Pitsiolaks, (awks), and a brace of young puffins, which, with the addition of some salt meat, made excellent broth.
28th. The weather was fair, but the wind still blowing hard at N.W. Brother Kmoch went to Uttakiyok's tent, and sitting down with him at the point of Oppernavik, and looking down the coast as far as Kakkeviak, got him to name all the bays, points, and islands, from Kakkeviak to Oppernavik, of which he made minutes. The distance between the two points or headlands may be guessed at, by the time of sailing with a strong leading wind, namely three hours and a half. Coming up from Kakkeviak, to the E. lie three islands, Kikkertorsoak, Imilialuk, rather less in view, and Nessetservik. Having passed these, there follows a chain of small, naked islands, not very high, stretching towards Killinek. To the W. near Kakkeviak lies Uglek; then a bay, Nulluk, and farther to the left another bay, Tellek, (right arm). The country along these bays is called Attanarsuk. Now follow the bay Ikkorliarsuk, the lower point of Tikkerarsuk, the bay Annivagtok, and Kakkeviak, a high promontory, (not to be confounded with the other Kakkeviak, where we struck on the rock. This promontory is only about four miles from Oppernavik to the S.E.). Then follow two small bays, Anniovariktok and Sangmiyok, then the promontory Ukkuliakartok, (meaning a headland between two bays), and the bay Tunnusuksoak. Next, the last point on the continent, forming the south entrance to the Ikkerasak. The abovementioned chain of barren islands is called by the Esquimaux Naviarutsit, and besides them some low rocks, Nuvurutsit. The island of Killinek is about nine miles long, and five broad, high, and forming the north side of the straits. Another Ikkerasak, (or strait), divides it from an island called Kikkertorsoak, (a common name for an island), of considerable height, but not so long as Killinek: one, or perhaps more islands follow, narrowing E. and W. and forming Cape Chudleigh.
To-day there was much ice both in the strait and at sea. We went to the nearest island, where Brother Kohlmeister took an observation, and found our situation to be 60 deg. 16'.
30th. It blew a hard gale from the N.E., rained hard, and as the ice now began to enter our harbour, we were busily engaged in keeping it off the boat.
31st. Imagining to-day that the straits would be free from ice, we resolved to attempt to pass them, and set sail. But it soon became evident, that there was still plenty of ice in the neighbourhood, and the wind setting to the N.E. with fogs, we were obliged to return. Suspecting also that the easterly wind would again drive the ice into our former harbour at Oppernavik, we ran into a short pass, between that and a small island called Ammitok, where we anchored under shelter of the island. The sequel proved, that we had for once acted with sound judgment and foresight, for our former anchoring-ground was soon filled with ice; and during the night large flakes entered even into our present place of refuge.
August 1st. At day break we found ourselves completely surrounded by floating ice, a strong N.W. wind driving the large shoals from the W. side of the little pass in which we lay, with much force towards us, insomuch that our boat was in the greatest danger of being crushed to pieces by them. We were all day long hard at work with poles, boat-hooks, and hatchets, to ward off the larger shoals, but when the tide fell, they hung upon our cables and anchors, of which we had three out, closing in also on all sides of the boat, so that we were every moment in fearful expectation of her being carried away, and our anchors lost, which would have reduced us to the most distressing situation. Indeed we all cried to the Lord to help us in this dangerous situation, and not to suffer us to perish here, but by His almighty aid, to save us and our boat. With great and unremitting exertions we had laboured all day, from the morning early, till seven in the evening, when the Lord heard our prayers, and sent relief. We now succeeded in working the boat out of the ice, the rising of the tide having opened a passage through it, just as we were almost exhausted with fatigue. It also became quite calm, and we felt as if we had passed from death to life.
Having anchored again on the opposite side of the little pass or strait, we gave thanks to God, for the deliverance we had experienced through His mercy, in which our Esquimaux, young and old, most fervently joined.
During our stay at Oppernavik, our whole stock of fire-wood was expended, and we were obliged to purchase of our companions, what they had to spare. We likewise robbed some old Esquimaux graves of the wooden utensils, which it is the superstitious practice of the heathen to lay beside the corpses of their owners, with old tent-poles, &c. and thus obtained fuel sufficient for our cookery.
Wood will not decay by mere exposure to the air in Labrador, but wastes away gradually; and after forty or more years, the wood found at the graves is still fit for use.
Departure from Oppernavik. Pass the Ikkerasak of Killinek. Whirlpools. The coast takes a southerly direction. Meeting with Esquimaux from the Ungava country, who had never seen an European. Anchor at Omanek. High tides. Drift-wood. Double Cape Uibvaksoak. Distant view of Akpatok.
August 2d.—Having made all needful preparations for the voyage, a gentle but favourable wind, and occasional rowing, brought us, about nine in the morning, to the entrance of the much dreaded Ikkerasak. The weather was pleasant and warm, not a flake of ice was to be seen, and all our fear and anxiety had subsided. Our minds were attuned to praise and thanksgiving for the providential preservation we had experienced yesterday. We performed our morning devotions on deck, and all joined in a joyful hallelujah to God our Saviour, which was sweetly repeated by echoes among the mountains and precipices on either side. The scripture-text appointed in the Church of the United Brethren for this day being read, it seemed as if addressed particularly to us, separated as we felt ourselves, in these lonely regions, from the rest of the inhabitants of the earth: "See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no God with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal." Deut. 32, 39. We rejoiced, that we were in the hands of a gracious and merciful God and Father, who would not forsake us, but deal with us according to his wonted mercy and favour.
The Ikkerasak, (or strait), is about ten miles in length; the land on each side high and rocky, and in some places precipitous, but there appeared no rocks in the strait itself. The water is deep and clear. Its mouth is wide, and soon after entering, a bay opens to the left, which by an inlet only just wide enough to admit a boat, communicates with a lagoon of considerable magnitude, in which lies an island on its western bank. Beyond this bay, the passage narrows and consequently the stream, always setting from N. to S. grows more rapid. Here the mountains on both sides rise to a great height. Having proceeded for two miles in a narrow channel, the strait opens again, but afterwards contracts to about 1000 yards across; immediately beyond which, the left coast turns to the south. As the tide ebbs regularly with the current from N. to S. along the whole coast of Labrador, the current through the strait is most violent during its fall, and less, when resisted by its influx on rising.
We were taught to expect much danger in passing certain eddies or whirlpools in the narrow parts of the straits, and were therefore continually upon the look-out for them. When we passed the first narrow channel, at 12 P.M. it being low water, no whirlpool was perceptible. Having sailed on for little more than half an hour, with wind and tide in our favour, we reached the second. Here, indeed, we discovered a whirlpool, but of no great magnitude at this state of the tide. Near the north-shore the water was, indeed, whirled round in the manner of a boiling cauldron of ten or twelve feet diameter, with considerable noise and much foam; but we passed without the smallest inconvenience, within thirty or forty feet of the outer circle. Our skin-boat, however, which we had in tow, with a man in it, was seized by the vortex, and received a rapid twist; but as the towing-rope did not break, she was immediately rescued from danger by the swiftness of our course, and the affair afforded us more diversion than anxiety. The motion of the water in these eddies is so great, that they never freeze in the severest winter. The ice being drawn towards them with great force, the largest shoals are carried under water, and thrown up again, broken into numerous fragments. The Ikkerasak is at that season utterly impassable for boats. The Killinek people inhabit an island to the right, after leaving the strait.
When we quitted the Ikkerasak, and entered the ocean on the western side of Cape Chudleigh, it seemed as if we were transported to a new world. Hitherto the coast to our left had always taken a northerly direction. It now turned to the S.S.W. and is low, with gently sloping hills, the sea being full of small islands, abounding in sea-fowl.
To the N. and N.W. we saw the open sea in Hudson's Straits, which, compared to the turbulent Atlantic, seemed calm and peaceful. We sailed briskly amidst the islands, and overtook the inhabitants of Saeglek, whom we had seen at Kakkeviak, where they had got the start of us. The wind being favourable, we did not hail them, but kept on our course. We now saw with pleasure the Ungava country to the South before us, but had first to pass the low point of Uivarsuk, the bay of Arvavik, in which the people from Saeglek had their summer stations, and the mountain Omanek, of moderate height, and surrounded by many small islets, called by the Esquimaux Erngavinget, (bowels). We now discovered three skin-boats full of people standing towards us from the shore. They were inhabitants of Ungava, and welcomed our approach with loud shouts of joy and firing their pieces, which was answered by our party. They followed us to Omanek, a round island rising like a loaf among the rest, where they pitched their tents on shore.
Some of them had formerly dwelt in different places north of Okkak, and were known to the Missionaries in former times, the rest were perfect strangers. They declared their intention of coming over to the North of Okkak, to remain some time in that country, for the sake of trade. It has been mentioned, that some of the Ungava people have come to Okkak, and carry on a trade between their countrymen and that place. They are a kind of middle men, bring fox and bear-skins, and exchange them for European goods. These they carry back, and sell at a very advanced price in the Ungava country. They spend two years on such a trading voyage.
Brother Kohlmeister visited the people in their tents. They were about fifty in number, men, women, and children. He informed them, that nothing could induce the Missionaries to come into this country, but love to the poor heathen, and an ardent desire to make them acquainted with their Creator and Redeemer, that through Him they might attain to happiness in time and eternity. Some seemed to listen with great attention, but the greater part understood nothing of what was said. This, of course, did not surprise us, as most of them were quite ignorant heathen, who had never before seen an European. They, however, raised a shout of joy, when we informed them, that we would come and visit them in their own country. Many were not satisfied with viewing us on every side with marks of great astonishment, but came close up to us, and pawed us all over. At taking leave we presented them with a few trifles, which excited among them the greatest pleasure and thankfulness.
We recommend these heathen to the mercy of God, and pray, that the day may soon dawn, when the light of the saving gospel of Jesus may shine into their hearts.
3d. Several of them came on board, once more to see us, and, in their way, to express their regard and gratitude. They also got some useful articles from our people, in exchange for their goods. We now set sail, passed a point called Oglarvik, and the bay Takpangayok, and arrived at Tuktusiovik, (a place where reindeer are seen), where we cast anchor for the night. Already at Omanek we had discovered a great difference between the rise and fall of the tides there and about Killinek. In the latter place it rose to four fathoms, but here still higher. The country looked pleasant, with many berry-bearing plants and bushes. There was, likewise, plenty of drift-wood all along the coast; not the large Greenland timber, but small trees and roots, evidently carried out of the great rivers of the Ungava by the ice. We had, of course, fire-wood enough, without robbing the graves of their superstitious furniture. Our Esquimaux pitched their tent on shore, and we supped with them on a mess of seal's flesh and eider-ducks. The musquitoes were extremely troublesome during our repast, after which we retired to sleep on board the boat.
4th. Wind fair. We passed numerous low rocks; a point, by name unknown to Uttakiyok; the bay Ikpigitok, two miles broad, and the cape called Uibvaksoak, the northern boundary of the great bay or gulf of Abloriak. This cape is surrounded by many bare and sunken rocks, which caused us to stand out pretty far to the westward. While we were off the point, we descried, at a very great distance to the N.W. a large island, called by the Esquimaux Akpatok. They say, that it encloses the whole bay or gulf towards the sea, and consists of high land: also, that it is connected with the western continent at low water by an isthmus. The north coast of this island appears to be the line laid down in maps and charts as the coast of America, to the south of Hudson's Straits. But the district of Ungava is separated from the island by a large inland bay, extending southward to the 58 deg. N.L. North of Akpatok, the Esquimaux speak of islands well peopled by their countrymen, who have never seen Europeans.
Having safely doubled the point or cape of Uibvaksoak, we came to an anchor near a small island to the south, where we spent the night.
5th. Calm weather, and proceeded gently. About 9 A.M. the wind turned against us, and we ran into a small bay, about five miles from our former anchoring-place. Here we found the Andromeda tetragona growing in tolerable quantity, on the banks of a lagoon of fresh water. The face of the country was unpleasant, with many steep rocks. On a precipice behind our tent we perceived nests of birds of prey. The naked rocks had singular shapes, and presented to the imagination the ruins of a destroyed town. In the vallies we saw many small lagoons, but little grass, and the excrements of geese. It was about full moon, and the tide rising here five or six fathom, occasioned the most strange alterations in the prospect towards the sea, which, being smooth and clear of rocks at high water, exhibited, after its fall, an archipelago of rugged islands and black flats.
Chain of black mountains. The Dragon's dwelling. Changes occasioned by rise and fall of the tides, and dangers attending them. Uttakiyok's superstitious customs. Singular effect of the tide in the bay of Ittimnekoktok. Arrive at Kangertlualuksoak bay and river. Its situation. Transactions there.
August 6th.—We crossed the bay Abloriak, which is large and wide, with many small islands and rocks towards the sea, and high black mountains inland, called Torngaets. Uttakiyok, who was always very eager to make us attentive to every object and its name, shewed us here a wide and deep cavern, in shape like the gable end of an house, situated at the top of a precipice, in a black mountain, of a very horrid and dark appearance. This, he informed us, was the dwelling place of Torngak, the evil spirit. The scenery was, indeed, extremely wild and terrible, and the beforementioned prospect of the rocks and islands at low water gave to the whole country a most singularly gloomy character. Nor is this change, occasioned by the tide in the state of the sea, merely in appearance terrific, it is so in reality: for we never durst cast anchor in less than eight or nine fathoms water, lest at ebb-tide we should find ourselves aground, or even high and dry.
The cavern just spoken of, connected with the chain of black mountains in which it is situated, we called the Dragon's dwelling, but had no time to examine the place, though it did not appear inaccessible. Whether Uttakiyok would have ventured to accompany us into it, is another question, for he was, with all his good sense, strongly attached to the superstitious notions and ceremonies of his countrymen. Thus, on passing dangerous places he always hung the claw of a raven to his breast, and carried the blown paunch of a seal upon a tent-pole fixed to one side of his boat. The latter is a common practice among the northern Esquimaux, and probably considered by them all as a very efficient charm.
We passed Sioralik, and many small and flat rocky islands: the bay Issorkitok, (a grassy place), a nameless headland; and the larger bay Nappartolik, (a woody country). The wood is said to commence at the interior point of this bay, and to continue throughout the whole of the Ungava country, which, as we afterwards discovered, extends to a considerable distance to the southward. Then follows Tunnuyalik, a point, or perhaps an island, on which lies a huge white stone, twenty or thirty feet high, by which it is distinguished from other similar headlands. A chain of low, flat islands, runs out into the sea to a considerable distance, and appearing at a distance as continued land, they are mistaken for a cape. Farther on is the bay Ittimnekoktok, where it grew dark before we found a suitable anchorage. The wind was high, and some of our company went on shore in the skin-boat, in order to pitch their tent, and spend the night.
7th. On rising, to our great surprise, we found ourselves left by the tide in a shallow pool of water, surrounded by rocky hills; nor could we at all discover the situation of our skin-boat, till after the water had begun to rise, and raised us above the banks of our watery dungeon, when, with great astonishment, not having been able to find it on the surface of the sea, and accidentally directing our eyes upwards, we saw it perched upon the top of a considerable eminence, and apparently on shore. We then landed, and ascending a rising ground, beheld with some terror, the wonderful changes occasioned by the tides. Our course was visible to the extent of two or three English miles, but the sea had left it, and we were obliged to remain in this dismal place, till about noon, before the water had risen sufficiently to carry us out. We now began to entertain fears, lest we might not always be able to find proper harbours, so as to avoid being left high and dry at low water; for having anchored in nine fathoms last night, we were left in one and a half this morning. Uttakiyok and Thukkekina were with us on shore. The eminence on which we stood was overgrown with vaccinia and other plants, and we saw among them marks of its being visited by hares. Near the summit was a spot, covered with red sand, which stained one's fingers, and among it were fragments of a substance resembling cast iron. We seemed here to stand on a peninsula connected by an isthmus with another island, or with the continent; but probably at high water it may be a separate island.
As soon as the tide would permit, we set out, and proceeded towards a cape called Kattaktok, surrounded by small islands. Between the cape and our anchoring place, we passed, on the left, the following objects; Keglo, a broad deep bay; Katarusialik, a headland, probably of the continent; Ukkasiksalik, (meaning a place where soap stone is found), a peninsula; and to the right of the latter place, an island, Kikkertarsoak, which lies at the entrance of the Great Bay, or estuary of the great river Kangertlualuksoak. We sailed with a strong, but favourable wind, with some rain, between the peninsula and the island; and not trusting to the depth of the water at ebb-tide, sent two kayaks forward to sound. They soon brought us into a good harbour, where we cast anchor about half past five P.M.
Kangertlualuksoak river was the spot to which we had principally directed our views. It lies about 140 miles S.S.W. of Cape Chudleigh. By an observation at its mouth its latitude appeared to be 58 deg. 57'. But we had no means of finding the longitude. At its entrance the bay runs rather S.S.E. for about ten or twelve English miles, then turns due S.E. for six or eight more, and after that S.W. At the second turn towards the S.E. there is the greatest quantity of wood, chiefly Larch, but of moderate size. We particularly noticed a fine slope facing the south, which appeared the most pleasant part of the bay, to which a vessel might approach and anchor with convenience, there being from 24 to 30 fathoms water. We also imagined that the entrance from the sea would be free from obstructions, as no islands are seen in that direction. Uttakiyok likewise declared, that there was no bar or sunken rocks near the mouth of the bay.