RETURN TO OKKAK.
SEPTEMBER 1st. At ten A.M. we fell down the river with the ebb-tide, and about noon anchored near its mouth. The Esquimaux showed great attachment to us, and could hardly resolve to take a final leave. They called after us, "Come again soon, we shall always be wishing for you." Several of them, and among them our friend Uttakiyok, followed us in their kayaks to the mouth of the river.
We erected here, on the promontory Kernerauyak, a board with an inscription similar to that put up at George river, but with the day of our departure inserted, viz. Sept. 1st, /78/ instead of the day of our arrival, Aug. 7th. The same solemnities took place as on the former occasion. Our faithful pilot Uttakiyok, who had rendered us such important and essential services, now took leave of us, as he intends to spend the winter in this neighbourhood. He repeated his assurance, that if we settled here, he would be the first to join us, and to turn with his whole heart to God. Not willing to be any longer incumbered with the skin-boat, we added it to other useful articles given to Uttakiyok, as a reward for his faithful attention to us. He was very highly gratified, and thankful for this species of remuneration.
2d. Left the Koksoak, called by us, SOUTH RIVER, and steered to the N. of KERNERAUYAK and KIKKERTORSOAK. In the evening we cast anchor in an open road, among the NACHORUTSIT islands, with fine weather.
3d. Set sail at sun-rise, wind and tide in our favour, and proceeded rapidly. About noon, however, a fog came on, which obliged us to come to an anchor at PITSIOLAK. When it cleared up, we proceeded, steering between ALLUKPALAK and NIPKOTOK, and cast anchor in the open sea, near KERNERTUT, where, on our first arrival, we encountered such a tremendous storm. The night proved quite calm and fair.
4th. A gentle breeze brought us pleasantly as far as the island NAUYET, at the mouth of the KANGERTLUALUKSOAK, where we cast anchor, having performed the same voyage in three days, which took us twelve on our former passage. The distance may be about 100 English miles.
5th. Landed, and erected a species of landmark, on the highest point of NAUYET, as a ship entering the river must keep near this island, the shore on the other side being very foul. Contrary winds now obliged us to enter the bay, and cast anchor in the same place where we had lain on the 9th of August.
6th. Storm and rain prevented our proceeding. The Esquimaux went on shore, and pitched their tent. Of late they generally spent the night on board the boat.
7th. Wind at W. but a heavy swell from the sea prevented our sailing. Our men went out to hunt, and Paul returned in the evening with a deer.
8th. Snow had fallen during the night, and the whole country had the appearance of the middle of winter. We dropped down with the ebb-tide, but were obliged to anchor again near the entrance of the bay. When the tide turned we proceeded, and, leaving KIKKERTORSOAK to the right, made for cape KATTAKTOK, where we spent the night at anchor among some low islands. The night was clear, and a comet appeared N. by W.
9th. Wind favourable and strong. We set sail at sunrise, and steered for UIBVAKSOAK, and so rapidly did our boat make way through the waves, that we arrived there already at four in the afternoon, passing swiftly by the Dragon's dwelling, (TORNGETS). A thunder-storm was approaching. The wind, which felt quite warm, was in our rear, and violent gusts assailed us now and then, which made us shorten sail; yet the boat seemed to fly from island to island. We were unable to find a safe anchorage till 8 P.M. when it was already dark. We had sailed, in fourteen hours, about 100 English miles, and were all completely wet with the spray of the sea and frequent showers. Our Esquimaux were obliged, in this condition, to lie down either on deck or on shore.
10th. Reached OMANEK, about 40 or 50 miles sail.
11th. Wind contrary, with much rain. We were confined to our narrow cabin, and shut in all day, with a lamp burning.
12th. Clear weather: set sail at noon. In the afternoon we were saluted by some shots from KILLINEK Esquimaux, who were halting not far from the Ikkerasak, or straits, at the entrance of which we cast anchor about 7 P.M. /80/ 13th. Though we wished to have some conversation with the KILLINEK people, as they cannot often come to Okkak, yet we thought it advisable to lose no time, and, with the ebb-tide, passed through the IKKERASAK in perfect safety. When, about 1 P.M. the tide turned, we ran into a cove on the south side, and at 5 P.M. anchored in the lagoon above described, (See page 43 of original), the entrance to which will only admit a boat.
14th. Reached OPPERNAVIK, where we first met Uttakiyok.
15th. Set sail with a gentle breeze, which permitted us to have our Sunday's service on deck. The wind, however, soon turning against us, we were compelled to return to our former anchorage.
16th and 17th. We were unpleasantly detained by wind and rain, and on the latter day much snow fell.
18th. Reached KIKKERTARSOAK about 1 P.M. Our men went out in their kayaks, and returned in the evening with three seals. The night was fair, with beautiful appearances of the Aurora Borealis.
19th. The morning was calm: some indications of approaching storm made us anxious to proceed. We set out early; but a fog coming on, we came again to an anchor off a barren island. After staying here two hours, hoping for a favourable change, Jonathan proposed to proceed, and steered S.W. not knowing rightly where we were. On this occasion, we could not help admiring the composure of the Esquimaux. But having last night made a hearty meal of the provisions they had acquired, they seemed to take things easy, and thought it would be all right in the end. So it turned out; for by and by we saw the continent, and kept along shore, till we got to the promontory KAKKEVIAK, where, on our passage, we had nearly suffered shipwreck. (See page 38 of original). Here we cast anchor in a wide shallow bay, and spent a quiet night.
20th. The fog had dispersed, and the wind was favourable, /81/ though shifting from W. to N.W.N. and N.E. At 7 P.M. we reached KUMAKTORVIK, and found good anchorage close to the Esquimaux winter-houses; but we were disappointed by finding them empty, the people being probably out on the reindeer-hunt. There were four houses standing, apparently not old, and the traces of eight others, situated on a low point of land, well covered with grass, and surrounded by high mountains.
21st. Wind N.W. set sail by break of day; reached NENNOKTOK about noon, and steered across SANGMIYOK bay, for the northern promontory of NACHVAK bay. Sangmiyok bay is full of breakers, and the sea running pretty high, they appeared very distinctly. The wind dying away in the afternoon, we got no farther than the steep rocks under which we had spent the night of July the 18th, where we came to an anchor. A heavy swell from the sea, and violent gusts of wind assailing us in all directions from the mountains, gave us much uneasiness; but, by the protecting care of God, we suffered no harm.
22d. It blew hard from the N.W. and prevented our running into Nachvak bay. Our situation being highly dangerous, and the wind favouring our proceeding, we determined to pass by Nachvak. But having sailed across the bay, our captain found it impossible to proceed, and thought proper to come to an anchor. The truth was, that he had left some articles here in a cove, which he wished to secure. We therefore went on shore, and found many fragments of the bones of whales, whence we inferred that whales are sometimes cast on shore in this place.
23d. A heavy storm came on from the N.W. Today we caught the first cod-fish, which proved a very acceptable change of diet for us and our people.
24th. The morning was calm. Wind E. left the cove and steered for Nachvak, and came, accidentally, to the very place where Jonathan's goods were deposited. Not perceiving /82/ any Esquimaux on shore, Jonathan and Thukkekina went up the bay in their kayaks in search of them. Meanwhile we landed, and on the declivity of a hill found a great quantity of green soapstone. In the evening Jonathan and Thukkekina returned with ten other Esquimaux, who rejoiced to see us again.
25th. Brother Kohlmeister was engaged all day with the Esquimaux. Brother Kmoch went up the mountain, and brought some fine specimens of steatite.
26th. Wind strong at N.W. we set sail; but the wind failing, we could not reach SAEGLEK, as proposed, but spent the night in the open sea. It passed, however, without any unpleasant occurrences.
27th. The want of wind prevented our getting today as far as the Saeglek islands. Having passed through a very narrow Ikkerasak, with hardly sufficient depth of water for so large a boat, we cast anchor near our former station at KIKKERTARSOAK.
28th. Wind cold and changeable, and towards evening stormy.
29th. Set sail about 6 A.M. with a strong wind at W. and in the evening had reached the KANGERTLUKSOAK islands.
30th. It blew hard, with snow, and we were obliged to spend the day shut up in our small cabin by lamp-light. The land was covered with snow. We were detained here very unpleasantly for three days, by the violence of the wind and weather.
OCTOBER 3d. We steered for the promontory of KAUMAYOK, but the wind dying away, and at length turning to the South, we could not gain any safe harbour, and were obliged to tack about all night in the open sea. The weather, however, was mild, and we had the advantage of moon-light.
4th. At 7 A.M. we succeeded in passing the Northern Ikkerasak near cape MUGFORD with the tide, and the wind becoming fair, soon brought us among the Okkak islands. /83/ About noon we doubled cape UIVAK, and perceived Esquimaux on shore, who ran up the hills, shouted for joy, and gave us signs to understand, that the ship (the brig Jemima, sent annually with provisions to the settlements) was still at Okkak.
We cannot describe the inexpressible pleasure and gratitude to God our Saviour which we felt, when we again beheld the neighbourhood of Okkak, after an absence of fifteen weeks. As soon as the captain descried our boat approaching, he hoisted his colours, and fired some guns to give notice of our arrival. As we were obliged to tack, to gain the entrance to the harbour, he came to meet us in the ship's boat, and about one o'clock we landed. The Missionaries and the Esquimaux met us with tears of joy and thankfulness, when we all joined in praise to God, who had so wonderfully kept His protecting hand over us during this perilous voyage, and granted us to return home in safety.
Our voyage lasted from the 24th of June to the 4th of October, and we calculated it to be a distance of from 1200 to 1300 miles.
BENJAMIN GOTTLIEB KOHLMEISTER