Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Icebergs 1834

As I continued reading "Narrative of a Whaling Voyage Round the globe, from the year 1833 to 1836 by Frederick Bennett ©1840 I found another interesting tidbit to pass along. Icebergs had long been and continue to be something that sailors need to watch for.

On the 4th of January, 1834, the ship passed within six miles of an iceberg floating on the sea, in lat. 4/° S., long. 57£° W. It was of square form, and had a small conical hummock attached to its base. The summit was level; but in some points of view the effects of refraction caused it to appear as an inclined plane. It had a dazzling whiteness, and seemed to be covered with snow. The circumference of the berg was estimated at between three and four hundred feet, and its height at fifty; but, to judge from its shape, it is probable that little more than a sixth of its actual bulk was visible above the surface of the ocean.

Floating ice-islands are not unfrequently seen in this latitude, and the uncertainty of their situation requires that ships should keep a strict night-watch to avoid them. During the winter season they remain consolidated with the frozen lands whence they originate; and it is not until the summer of the south that they drift into the lower latitudes, and intrude upon the ordinary tracks of shipping. Many penguins, and divers, were at the same time observed swimming on the water; their home being either the iceberg, or, with more probability, the Falkland Islands, from which we were now distant about a day's sail.

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