National Geographic : 1897 Apr
A SUMMER VOYAGE TO THE ARCTIC this vicinity one of the ship's anchors was lost, the chain being parted by a moving pan of ice, and a whale-boat was injured by a southeasterly gale driving it on the rocks. There is a tremen dous tidal action in Hudson strait, the rise and fall at Ashe inlet being some 30 feet. On this account the strait does not freeze solid in winter, but becomes filled with an enormous ice-pack, which moves back and forth and forms an impenetrable barrier to navigation the greater part of the year. On the way out of Hudson strait we had our first good view of the Eskimo, although we had seen a few of the race at Turn avik, in Labrador. Our first warning of their approach was a peculiar shrill call, which travels over the water long distances. It was some minutes before the uninitiated could discern the dis tant specks on the water, which we were told were the Eskimo men in their kayaks. They rapidly approached and were taken on board-boats and all. The kayakers were soon followed by an umiak, or large skin boat, filled with the remainder of the set tlement, including women, children, and dogs, as well as nearly all their earthly possessions. Although their wealth seemed very meager, they appeared to be among the happiest of peoples; their round, fat faces simply beamed with good nature. They were very anxious to trade, the objects most highly prized being plugs of tobacco, knives, guns, and copper coins. The last men tioned they took in preference to silver, their only use for either apparently being to sew on to the women's blouses as ornaments. They were dressed in furs, the men and women much alike, ex cept that the women's blouses had a long tail behind and a large hood or sack on the back, in which the baby was carried. Their peculiar appetite was shown by the relish with which they drank the contents of some cans of bear oil which the boys had been saving to grease their shoes with. After passing out of Hudson strait, an attempt was made to enter Cumberland sound, but the entrance was completely blocked with ice, and our course was shaped for Greenland. In crossing Davis strait we also crossed the Arctic Circle. This event was celebrated by the firing of cannon and the hoisting of flags. Neptune came aboard in the person of one of the sailors, who attempted to shave the uninitiated, using a lather of engine grease, and a ship's scraping iron for a razor. Our first view of the Greenland coast was obtained near mid night on August 1, the high, ice-capped mountains in the vicinity of Holstenborg forming a beautiful scene in the Arctic twilight.