Jack Mason's Visit to the North Sea

It's always interesting to read a story from an earlier time when there was yet much exploration to do. One such story is below as this sailor recalls an encounter with an iceberg:

If you should go a great way north, you would find it very cold. The further you go north, the colder it is. I went so far that way one time, that I got almost frozen. The ship I sailed in came close to an iceberg once, and we all thought for a while that the ship would strike the iceberg. If it had struck, it would have been broken all in pieces, and we should have been drowned or frozen, every one of us. God was kind and good to us, though. The wind was blowing very hard, and right toward the iceberg. But just as we had got almost up to it, the wind changed, and blew us away from it.

But I forgot that you do not know what an iceberg is. It is a great hill of ice. In the North Sea, these ice-hills are often as high as your church, and sometimes a great deal higher. These hills of ice are floating along the water there, and when it is foggy or dark, the sailors cannot always see them. So sometimes the ship strikes them, and is dashed to pieces. Sometimes it gets between two of these ice-hills, and gets crushed, as if it was a little boat. Then the men in the ship have to get out, and jump upon one of the ice-hills. But they are pretty likely to be frozen to death then.

Jack Mason - The Old Sailor
By Theodore Thinker
1850

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