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The Fog lifts.—A Whale in Sight.—Craggy Black Mountains capped with Snow.—A Novel Carriage for the Big Rifle.—Mounting the Howitzer.—A Doubtful Shot.—The Lower Savage Isles.—A Deep Inlet.—"Mazard's Bay."—A Desolate Island.—An Ice-Jam.—A Strange Blood-red Light.—Solution of the Mystery.—Going Ashore.—Barren Ledges. Beds of Moss.—A Bald Peak.—An Alarm.—The Schooner in Jeopardy.—The Crash and Thunder of the Ice.—Tremendous Tides.
The rain had now pretty much ceased. Some sudden change took place in the air's density; for the fog, which had all along lain flat on the sea, now rapidly rose up like a curtain, twenty, thirty, fifty feet, leaving all clear below. We looked around us. The dark water was besprinkled with white patches, among which the seals were leaping and frisking about. Half a mile to the left we espied a lazy water-jet playing up at intervals.
"There she blows!" laughed Bonney. "Seems like old times, I declare!"
"What's that, sir?" asked Capt. Mazard, who had been below for the last ten minutes.
"A sperm-whale on the port quarter, sir!"
Two or three miles ahead, another large iceberg was driving grandly down. We could also see our late consort a mile astern,—see and hear it too. Higher and higher rose the fog. The sky brightened through transient rifts in the clouds. Glad enough were we to see it clearing up.
Either the land had fallen off to the north; or else, in our fear of running on the cliffs, we had declined a good deal from our course. The northern shore was now three or four leagues distant. Fog and darkness hung over it. The bases of the mountains were black; but their tops glistened with snow, the snow-line showing distinct two or three hundred feet above the shore. The sails were trimmed, and the helm put round to bear up nearer.
"What a country!" exclaimed Raed, sweeping it with his glass. "Is it possible that people live there? What can be the inducements?"
"Seals, probably," said Kit,—"seals and whales. That's the Esquimaux bill of fare, I've heard, varied with an occasional white bear or a sea-horse."
"A true 'Husky' (Esquimau) won't eat a mouthful of cooked victuals," said Capt. Mazard; "takes every thing raw."
"Should think so much raw meat would make them fierce and savage," remarked Wade: "makes dogs savage to give them raw meat."
"But the Esquimaux are a rather good-natured set, I've heard," replied Kit.
"Not always," said the captain. "The whalers have trouble with them very often; though these whalemen are doubtless anything but angels," he added. "In dealing with them, it is well to have a good show of muskets, or a big gun or two showing its muzzle: makes 'em more civil. Cases have been where they've boarded a scantily-manned vessel; to get the plunder, you see. Hungry for anything of the axe or iron kind."
"It would not be a bad plan to get up our howitzer, and rig a carriage for it," said Wade. "Let's do it."
"And Wash's cannon-rifle," said Kit. "We ought to get that up. I think it's about time to test that rather remarkable arm."
"The problem with me is how to mount it," said I.
"I was thinking of that the other day," remarked the captain. "I've got a big chest below,—an old thing I don't use now: we might make the gun fast to the top of it; then put some trucks on the bottom just high enough to point it out over the bulwarks. Here, Hobbs: come below, and help me fetch it on deck."
While they were getting up the chest, Raed and I brought up the cannon-rifle. It was about as much as we could get up the stairs with easily. It was, as the reader will probably remember, set in a light framework of wrought-iron, adjusted to a swivel, and arranged with a screw for raising or lowering the breech at will. The bed-pieces of the framework had been pierced for screws. It was, therefore, but a few minutes' work to bore holes in the top of the chest and drive the screws. Meanwhile the captain, who enjoyed the scheme as well as any of us, split open a couple of old tackle-blocks, and, getting out the trucks, proceeded to set them on the ends of two stout axles cut from an old ice-pole. These axles were then nailed fast to the bottom of the chest. The gun-carriage was then complete, and could be rolled anywhere on deck with ease.
"Decidedly neat!" exclaimed Capt. Mazard, surveying it with a grin of self-approbation.
"What say to that, Trull?" cried Raed.
The old man-of-war's-man had been watching the progress of the invention with an occasional tug at his waistband.
"Yes; how's that in your eye?" exclaimed the captain. "You're a military character. Give us an opinion on that."
"Wal, sur," cocking his eye at it, "I'm free to confass I naver saw anything like it;" and that was all we could get out of him.
"Bring some ammunition, and let's give it a trial," said Kit.
I brought up the powder-flask, caps, and a couple of bullets. The bullets we had run for it were of lead, about an inch in diameter, and weighed not far from six ounces apiece. The breech was depressed. Raed poured in half a gill of the fine powder by measurement; a wad of paper was rammed down; then a bullet was driven home. There only remained to prime and cap it.
"Fire at one of these seals," suggested Wade, pointing to where a group of three or four lay basking on an ice-cake at a distance of eight or ten hundred yards.
"Who'll take the first shot?" said Kit.
Nobody seemed inclined to seize the honor.
"Come, now, that seal's getting impatient!" cried the captain.
Still no one volunteered to shoot off the big rifle.
"I think Wash had better fire the first shot," remarked Raed. "The honor clearly belongs to him."
Seeing they were a little disposed to rally me on it, I stepped up and cocked it. At that everybody hastily stood back. I took as good aim as the motion of the schooner would permit; though I think I should have done better had not Palmleaf just at that moment sang out, "Dinner, sar!" from behind. I pulled the trigger, however. There was a stunning crack; and so smart a recoil, that I was pushed half round sidewise with amazing spitefulness. The old chest rolled back, whirled round, and upset against the bulwarks on the other side. The reader can imagine what a rattle and racket it made.
"Golly!" exclaimed Palmleaf. "Am crazy!"
"Did it hit the seal?" recovering my equilibrium.
Wade was the only one who had watched the seal.
"I saw him flop off into the water," said he.
"Then of course it hit him," said I.
Nobody disputed it; though I detected an odious wink between the captain and Kit.
The prostrate gun was got up on its legs again; old Trull remarking that we had better trig it behind before we fired, in future: that duty attended to, he thought it might work very well.
We then went to dinner. How to mount the howitzer was the next question.
"We need a regular four-wheeled gun-carriage for that," said Raed.
"I think we can make one out of those planks," remarked Kit.
"The worst trouble will come with the wheels," said Wade.
But Capt. Mazard thought he could saw them out of sections of fifteen-inch plank with the wood-saw.
"I'll undertake that for my part," he added, and, as soon as dinner was over, went about it.
"Now we'll get old man Trull to help us on the body," said Kit.
The planks, with axe, adz, auger, and hammer, were carried on deck. Our old man-of-war's man readily lent a hand; and with his advice, particularly in regard to the cheeks for the trunnions, we succeeded during the afternoon in getting up a rough imitation of the old-fashioned gun-carriage in use on our wooden war-vessels. The captain made the wheels and axles. The body was then spiked to them, and the howitzer lifted up and set on the carriage. By way of testing it, we then charged the piece with half a pint of powder, and fired it. The sharp, brassy report was reverberated from the dark mountains on the starboard side in a wonderfully distinct echo. Hundreds of seals dropped off the ice-cakes into the sea all about,—a fact I observed with some mortification. As the guns would have to remain on deck, exposed to fog and rain, we stopped the muzzles with plugs, and covered them with two of our rubber blankets. They were then lashed fast, and left for time of need.
During the day, we had gradually come up with what we at first had taken for a cape or a promontory from the mainland, but which, by five o'clock, P.M., was discovered to be a group of mountainous islands, the same known on the chart as the "Lower Savage Isles." The course was changed five points, to pass them to the southward. By seven o'clock we were off abreast one of the largest of them. It was our intention to stand on this course during the night. The day had at no time, however, been exactly fair. Foggy clouds had hung about the sun; and now a mist began to rise from the water, much as it had done the previous evening.
"If I thought there might be any tolerable safe anchorage among those islands," muttered the captain, with his glass to his eye, "I should rather beat in there than take the risk of running on to another iceberg in the fog."
This sentiment was unanimous.
"There seems to be a clear channel between this nearest island and the next," remarked Raed, who had been looking attentively for some moments. "We could but bear up there, and see what it looks like."
The helm was set a-port, and the sails swung round to take the wind, which, for the last hour, had been shifting to the south-east. In half an hour we were up in the mouth of the channel. It was a rather narrow opening, not more than thirty-five or forty rods in width, with considerable ice floating about. We were in some doubt as to its safety. The schooner was hove to, and the lead thrown.
"All right! Bring her round!"
The wind was light, or we should hardly have made into an unknown passage with so much sail on: as it was, we did but drift lazily in. On each side, the islands presented black, bare, flinty crags, distant scarcely a pistol shot from the deck. A quarter of a mile in, we sounded a second time, and had forty-three fathoms.
"Never saw a deeper gut for its width!" exclaimed Capt. Mazard. "What a chasm there would be here were the sea out of it!"
Half a mile farther up, a third and smaller island lay at the head of the channel, which was thus divided by it into two narrow arms,—one leading out to the north-east, the other to the north-west. This latter arm was clear of ice, showing a dark line of water crooking off among numerous small islets; but the arm opening up to the north-east was jammed with ice. "The Curlew" went in leisurely to three hundred yards of the foot of the island, where we found thirty-three fathoms, and hove to within a hundred yards of the ledges of the island on the east side. The anchor was now let go, and the sails furled.
"We're snug enough here from anything from the north-east or north," remarked Capt. Mazard; "and even a sou'-wester would hardly affect us much a mile up this narrow inlet."
It seemed a tolerably secure berth. The schooner lay as still as if at her wharf at far-distant Portland. There was no perceptible swell in the channel. Despite the vast mass of ice "packed" into the arm above us, it was not disagreeably chilly. The thermometer stood at fifty-nine degrees in our cabin. Indeed, were it not for the great bodies of ice, these extreme northern summers, where the sun hardly sets for months, would get insufferably hot,—too hot to be endured by man.
The mist steamed silently up, up. Gradually the islands, the crags, and even objects at the schooner's length, grew indistinct, and dimmed out entirely by half-past ten. We heard the "honk, honk," of numerous wild-geese from the islands; and, high overhead, the melancholy screams of "boatswains." Otherwise all was quiet. The watch was arranged among the sailors, and we went to bed. For the last sixty hours we had had not over seven hours of sleep. Now was a good time to make up. Profound breathing soon resounded along the whole line of mattresses.
We had been asleep two or three hours, when a shake aroused me. A strange, reddish glare filled the cabin. Donovan was standing at my head.
"What's up?" I asked. "Fire? It isn't fire, is it?" jumping up.
"No, it's not fire," replied Donovan.
"Oh! morning, then," I said, greatly relieved.
"No; can't be. It's only one o'clock."
"Then what is it, for pity sake?" I demanded in fresh wonder.
"Don't know, sir. Thought I'd just speak to you. Perhaps you'll know what it is. Won't you go up. It's a queer sight on deck."
"Of course I will. Go ahead. No matter about waking the others just yet, though."
The cold mist struck in my face on emerging from the companion-way. It was still very foggy and damp. Such a scene! The sky was of a deep rose-color. The thick fog seemed like a sea of magenta. The deck, the bulwarks, the masts, and even Donovan, standing beside me, looked as if baptized in blood. It was as light as, even lighter than, when we had gone below. The cliffs on the island, drear and black by daylight, showed like mountains of red beef through the crimson fog.
"It was my watch," said Donovan. "I was all alone here. Thought I would just speak to you. Come on quite sudden. I didn't know just what to make of it."
"No wonder you didn't."
"I knew it couldn't be morning," he went on. "There must be a great fire somewhere round: don't you think so, sir?"
I was trying to think. Queer sensations came over me. I looked at my watch. It was four minutes past one. Donovan was right: it couldn't be morning. A sudden thought struck me.
"It's the northern lights, Donovan!" I exclaimed.
"So red as this?"
"Yes: it's the fog."
"Do you really think so?" with a relieved breath.
"There's no doubt of it."
"But it makes a funny noise."
"Yes: I heard it several times before I called you. Hark! There!"
A soft, rushing sound, which was neither the wind (for there was none), nor the waves, nor the touch of ice, could be heard at brief intervals. It seemed far aloft. I am at a loss how to describe it best. It was not unlike the faint rustle of silk, and still more like the flapping of a large flag in a moderate gale of wind. Occasionally there would be a soft snap, which was much like the snapping of a flag. I take the more pains to state this fact explicitly, because I am aware that the statement that the auroral phenomena are accompanied by audible sounds has been disputed by many writers. I have only to add, that, if they could not have heard the "rustlings" from the deck of "The Curlew" that night, they must have been lamentably deaf.
The light wavered visibly, brightening and waning with marvellous swiftness.
"Shall we call the other young gentlemen?" Donovan asked.
"Yes; but don't tell them what it is. See what they will think of it."
In a few moments Kit and Wade and Raed were coming out of the companion-way, rubbing their eyes in great bewilderment. They were followed by the captain.
"Heavens!" he exclaimed. "Is the ship on fire?"
"Fire!" cried Wade excitedly, catching at the last word: "did you say fire?"
"No, no!" exclaimed Kit. "It's nothing—nothing—but daybreak!"
"It's only one o'clock," said Donovan, willing to keep them in doubt.
Capt. Mazard was rushing about, looking over the bulwarks.
"There's no fire," said he, "unless it's up in the sky. But, by Jove! if you aren't a red-looking set!—redder than lobsters!"
"Not redder than yerself, cap'n," laughed Donovan, who greatly enjoyed their mystification.
"The sea is like blood!" exclaimed Wade. "You don't suppose the day of judgment has come and caught us away up here in Hudson's Straits, do you?"
"Not quite so bad as that, I guess," said Raed. "I have it: it's the aurora borealis; nothing worse, nor more dangerous."
I had expected Raed would come to it as soon as he had got his eyes open.
"A red aurora!" said the captain. "Is that the way you explain it?"
"Not a red aurora exactly," returned Raed, "but an aurora shining down through the thick fog. The aurora itself is miles above the fog, up in the sky and probably of the same bright yellow as usual; but the dense mist gives it this red hue."
"I've heard that the northern lights were caused by electricity," said Weymouth. "Is that so?"
"It is thought to be electricity passing through the air high up from the earth," replied Raed. "That's what the scientific men tell us."
"They can tell us that, and we shall be just as wise as we were before," said Kit. "They can't tell us what electricity is."
"Why!" exclaimed the captain, "I thought electricity was"—
"Well, what?" said Kit, laughing.
"Why, the—the stuff they telegraph with," finished the captain a little confusedly.
"Well, what's that?" persisted Kit.
"What is it?" repeated the captain confidently. "Why, it is—well—Hang it! I don't know!"
We all burst out laughing: the captain himself laughed,—his case was so very nearly like everybody's who undertakes to talk about the wondrous, subtle element. By the by, his definition of it—viz., that it is "the stuff we telegraph with"—strikes me as being about the best one I ever heard. Kit and Raed, however, have got a theory,—which they expound very gravely,—to the effect that electricity and the luminiferous ether—that thin medium through which light is propagated from the sun, and which pervades all matter—are one and the same thing; which, of course, is all very fine as a theory, and will be finer when they can give the proof of it.
After watching the aurora for some minutes longer, during which it kept waxing and waning with alternate pale-crimson and blood-red flushes, we went back to our bunks; whence we were only aroused by Palmleaf calling us to breakfast.
If there was any wind that morning it must have been from the east, when the crags of the island under which we lay would have interrupted it. Not a breath reached the deck of "The Curlew;" and we were thus obliged to remain at our anchorage, which, in compliment to the captain, and after the custom of navigators, we named Mazard's Bay. As the inlet bore no name, and was not even indicated on the charts we had with us, we felt at liberty to thus designate it, leaving to future explorers the privilege of rechristening it at their pleasure.
"We shall have a lazy morning of it," Kit remarked, as we stood loitering about the deck.
"I propose that we let down the boat, and go ashore on the island," said Wade. "'Twould seem good to set foot on something firm once more."
"Well, those ledges look firm enough," replied Raed. "See here, captain: here's a chap begging to get ashore. Is it safe to trust him off the ship?"
"Hardly," laughed Capt. Mazard. "He might desert."
"Then I move we all go with him," said Kit. "Let's take some of those muskets along too. May get a shot at those wild-geese we heard last evening."
The boat was lowered. We boys and the captain, with Donovan and Hobbs to row us, got over the rail, and paddled to where a broad jetting ledge formed a natural quay, on which we leaped. The rock was worn smooth by the waves of centuries. To let the sailors go ashore with us, we drew up the boat on the rock several feet, and made it fast with a line knotted into a crevice between two fragments of flinty sienite rock at the foot of the crags. We then, with considerable difficulty and mutual "boosting," clambered up to the top of the cliffs, thirty or forty feet above the boat, and thence made our way up to the summit of a bald peak half a mile from the shore, which promised a good prospect of the surrounding islands. It is hardly possible to give an idea of the desolate aspect of these ledgy islets. There was absolutely no soil, no earth, on them. More than half the surface was bare as black sienite could be. Huge leathery lichens hung to the rocks in patches; and so tough were they, that one might pull on them with his whole strength without tearing them. In the crevices and tiny ravines between the ledges, there were vast beds of damp moss. In crossing these we went knee-deep, and once waist-deep, into it. The only plant I saw was a trailing shrublet, sometimes seen on high mountains in New England, and known to botanists as Andromeda of the heathworts. It had pretty blue-purple flowers, and was growing quite plentifully in sheltered nooks. Not a bird nor an animal was to be seen. Half an hour's climbing took us to the brown, weather-beaten summit of the peak. From this point eleven small islands were in sight, none of them more than a few miles in extent; and, at a distance of seven or eight leagues, the high mountains of the northern main, their tops white with snow, with glittering glaciers extending down the valleys,—the source of icebergs. There was a strong current of air across the crest of the peak. Sweeping down from the wintry mountains, it made us shiver. The sea was shimmering in the sun, and lay in silvery threads amid the brown isles. Below us, and almost at our feet, was the schooner,—our sole connecting link with the world of men,—her cheery pine-colored deck just visible over the shore cliffs. Suddenly, as we gazed, she swung off, showing her bow; and we saw the sailors jumping about the windlass.
"What does that mean?" exclaimed Capt. Mazard. "Possible they've got such a breeze as that down there? Why, it doesn't blow enough here to swing the vessel round like that!"
"But only look down the inlet!" said Donovan. "How wild it seems! See those lines of foam! Hark!"
A rushing noise as of some great river foaming among bowlders began to be heard.
"It's the tide coming in!" shouted the captain, starting to run down the rocks.
The schooner had swung back and round the other way. What we had read of the high and violent tides in these straits flashed into my mind.
The captain was making a bee-line for the vessel: the rest of us followed as fast as we could run. Just what good we any of us expected to be able to do was not very clear. But "The Curlew" was our all: we couldn't see it endangered without rushing to the rescue. Panting, we arrived on the ledges overlooking the boat and the schooner. The tide had already risen ten or a dozen feet. The boat had floated up from the rock, and broken loose from the line. We could see it tossing and whirling half way out to the schooner. The whole inlet boiled like a pot, and roared like a mill-race. Huge eddies as large as a ten-pail kettle came whirling in under the cliffs. The whole bay was filling up. The waters crept rapidly up the rocks. But our eyes were riveted on the schooner. She rocked; she wriggled like a weather-cock; then swung clean round her anchor.
"If it will only hold her!" groaned Capt. Mazard. "But, if it drags, she'll strike!"
Old Trull, Weymouth, and Bonney were at the windlass, easing out the cable as the vessel rose on the tide. Corliss was at the wheel, tugging and turning,—to what purpose was not very evident. But they were doing their level best to save the vessel: that was plain. Capt. Mazard stood with clinched hands watching them, every muscle and nerve tense as wire.
I was hoping the most dangerous crisis had passed, when a tremendous noise, like a thunder-peal low down to the earth, burst from the ice-jammed arm of the inlet to the north-east. We turned instantly in that direction. The whole pack of ice, filling the arm for near a half-mile, was in motion, grating and grinding together. From where we stood, the noise more resembled heavy, near thunder than anything else I can compare it with.
"It's the tide bursting round from the north-east side!" exclaimed Kit.
"Took it a little longer to come in among the islands on the north side," said Raed, gazing intently at the fearful spectacle.
The noise nearly deafened us. The whole vast mass of ice—millions of tons—was heaving and sliding, cake over cake. It had lain piled fifteen or twenty feet above the water; but the tide surging under it and through it caused it to mix and churn together. We could see the water gushing up through crevices, sometimes in fountains of forty or fifty feet, hurling up large fragments of ice. The phenomenon was gigantic in all its aspects. To us, who expected every moment to see it borne forward and crush the schooner, it was appalling. But the sea filling in on the south, added to the narrowness of the arm, prevented the jam from rushing through; though a great deal of ice did float out, and, caught in the swirling currents, bumped pretty hard against the vessel's sides. The schooner swayed about heavily; but the anchor held miraculously, as we thought. Once we fancied it had given way, and held our breath till the cable tightened sharply again. The grating and thundering of the jam gradually dulled, muffled by the water. Our thoughts reverted to our own situation. The sea had risen within five feet of the place where we were standing. To get up here in the morning we had been obliged to scale a precipice.
"It must have risen fully thirty feet," said Kit. "What a mighty tide!"
"Why should it rush in here with so much greater violence than it does down on the coast of Massachusetts or at Long Branch?" questioned Wade. "How do you explain it, captain?"
"It is because the coasts, both above and below the mouth of the straits, converge after the manner of a tunnel. The tidal wave from the Atlantic is thus accumulated, and pours into the straits with much more than ordinary violence. The same thing occurs in the Bay of Fundy, where they have very high tides. But I had no idea of such violence," he added, "or I shouldn't have risked the schooner so near the rocks. Why, that inlet ran like Niagara rapids!"
"What an evidence this gives one of the strength of the moon's attraction!" said Raed. "All this great mass of water—thirty feet high—is drawn in here by the moon. What enormous force!"
"And this vast power is exerted over a distance of two hundred and thirty-eight thousand miles," remarked Kit.
"I can't understand this attraction of gravitation,—how it is exerted," said Wade.
"No more can anyone," replied Raed.
"It is said that this attraction of the moon, or at least the friction of the tides on the ocean-bed which it causes, is exerted in opposition to the revolution of the earth on its axis, and that it will thus at some future time stop that motion altogether," Kit remarked. "That's what Prof. Tyndall thinks."
"Then there would be an end of day and night," said I; "or rather it would be all day on one side of the earth, and all night on the other."
"That would be unpleasant," laughed Wade; "worse than they have it up at the north pole."
"It is some consolation," said Raed, "to know that such a state of things is not likely to come in our time. According to a careful calculation, the length of the day is not thus increased more than a second in a hundred and sixty-eight thousand years."
"But how are we to go aboard, sir?" inquired Hobbs, to whom our present fix was of more interest than the long days of far-distant posterity.
The boat had been tossed about here and there, and was now some twenty or thirty yards astern of the schooner.
"Have to swim for it," said Donovan.
"Not in this icy water, I hope," said Kit. "Can't we devise a plan to capture it?"
"They might tie a belaying-pin to the end of a line, and throw it into the boat," said the captain.
"Or, better still, one of those long cod-lines with the heavy sinker and hook on it," suggested Hobbs.
"Just the thing!" exclaimed Capt. Mazard. "Sing out to them!"
"Unless I'm mistaken, that is just what old Trull is up to now," said Wade. "He's throwing something! see that!"
As Wade said, old man Trull was throwing a line, with what turned out to be one of our small grapnels attached. The first throw fell short, and the line was drawn in; the second and third went aside; but the fourth landed the grapnel in the boat. It was hauled in. Weymouth and Corliss then got aboard, and came off to us.
"Well, boys, what sort of a dry storm have you been having here?" said the captain as they came up under where we stood.
"Never saw such a hole!" exclaimed Weymouth. "You don't know how we were slat about! We went right up on it! Had to pay out six fathoms of extra cable, anyway. D'ye mind what a thundering noise that ice made?"
We went off to the schooner. Trull stood awaiting us, grinning grimly.
"I don't gen'ly give advice to my betters," he began, with a hitch at his trousers; "but"—
"You'd be getting out of this?" finished Raed.
"I wud, sur."
There was a general laugh all round. But the wind had set dead in the south-east again. There was no room for tacking in the narrow inlet. To get out we should have to tow the schooner a mile against the wind,—among ice too. Clearly we must lay here till the wind favored. We concluded, however, to change our position for one a little lower down, and nearer the middle of the cove. The anchor was heaved up preparatory to towing the vessel along. The men had considerable difficulty in starting it off the bottom; and, on getting it up, one of the flukes was found to be chipped off,—bits as large as one's fist, probably from catching among jagged rocks at the bottom. We thought that this might also account for the tenacity with which the anchor held against the tide. Doubtless there were crevices and cracks, with great bowlders, scattered about on the bottom of the cove. Towing "The Curlew" back not far from a hundred yards from our first berth, the anchor was again let go in thirty-seven fathoms; and, for additional security, a second cable was bent to our extra anchor, which we dropped out of the stern. This matter, with arrangements for heaving the anchor up with tackle and fall (for we had no windlass in the stern), took up the time till considerably past noon.