QUIT THE IKKERASAK. ACCOUNT OF THE KAUMAYOK MOUNTAINS, AND OF KANGERTLUKSOAK. PUBLIC WORSHIP ON SUNDAY. SAEGLEK AND ITS INHABITANTS DESCRIBED. THE MISSIONARIES VISIT THE ESQUIMAUX AT KIKKERTARSOAK.
JUNE 29th. We rose soon after two o'clock, and rowed out of the Ikkerasak, with a fair wind. The sea was perfectly calm and smooth. Brother Kmoch rowed in the small boat along the foot of the mountains of Kaumayok, sometimes going on shore, while the large boat was making but little way, keeping out at some distance, to avoid the rocks. The outline of this chain of mountains exhibits the most fanciful figures. At various points, the rocks descend abruptly into the sea, presenting horrid precipices. The strand is covered with a black sand. At the height of about fifty feet from the sea, the rocks have veins of red, yellow, and green stone, running horizontally and parallel, and sometimes in an undulated form. Above these, they present the appearance of a magnificent colonade, or rather of buttresses, supporting a gothic building, varying in height and thickness, and here and there intersected by wide and deep chasms and glens, running far inland between the mountains. Loose stones above, have in some places the appearance of statues, and the superior region exhibits all kind of grotesque shapes. It is by far the most singular and picturesque chain of mountains on this coast. To the highest part of it we gave the name /15/ of St. Pauls, as it is not unlike that cathedral when viewed at a distance, with its dome and two towers.
Before we left the Kaumayok, Brother Kohlmeister landed, and found the beach covered in blocks of stone, in colour white and grey, like statuary marble, but very hard. We now steered for KANGERTLUKSOAK, a winter-station of the Esquimaux, where several of our people had pitched their tents.
At noon, we were off an island, called EINGOSIARSUK, (the Little Cup), opposite the ITTIPLEK, (a flat piece of ground joining two headlands) over which the northern Esquimaux pass in sledges to Okkak, round Kaumayok. Farther towards the N.W. lies TUPPERTALIK, a high ridge of mountains, which, from its appearance, we called the Table mountain, having nearly the shape of the mountain so called at the Cape of Good Hope.
To the north lies NELLEKARTOK, the outermost island on leaving the Ikkerasak, and the first of the KANGERTLUKSOAK islands. Behind TUPPERTALIK, a bay opens called NAPPARTOK (a wood), a winter- habitation, with a little wood higher up the country, about eight or ten hours drive from Okkak. A good harbour for large vessels is said to be here, called UMIAKOVITANNAK, (Broad boat-harbour). Before the entrance to NAPPARTOK, lies an island, NAUJARTSIT, (the Little Sea-gull island). Seven or eight miles, north of Nappertok, a long flat point runs out, terminated by a small island. On approaching towards Kangertluksoak, a long island runs parallel with the coast called ILLUEKTALIK, (a burial-place), between which and the main land is a strait, affording good shelter for boats. Into this Jonathan intended to run, but the wind being favourable, we kept on our course, and passed two islands, KINGMIKTOK, (Dog island), and farther north, KIKKERTARSOAK, a great island which defends the entrance into the harbour of KANGERTLUKSOAK, from the sea. At ten P.M. we came to an anchor in the harbour, and were /16/ received by our Esquimaux, of whom several families were stationed here, as well as by the other inhabitants, with demonstrations of great joy. Both the heathen who kept on the right side of the great bay, and our own Christian Esquimaux, on the left, fired numberless shots to welcome us. Several boats were here from KILLINEK and NACHVAK, bound to Okkak.
KANGERTLUKSOAK lies about sixty miles north of Okkak, is an agreeable place, and has a good strand, and safe anchorage.
30th. Being Sunday, the Missionaries went on shore, and visited all the Christian families, by whom they were received with the most lively expressions of affection and gratitude. Many strangers from the opposite coast had joined them, and they all seated themselves in a large circle on the grass.
NIKUPSUK'S wife, Louisa, who had long ago forsaken the believers, was here, and said, with much apparent contrition, that she was unworthy to be numbered with them. She then seated herself at a little distance from the rest.
The number of the congregation, including our boat's company, amounted to about fifty. Brother Kohlmeister first addressed them, by greeting them from their brethren at Okkak, and expressing our joy at finding them well in health, and our hopes, that they were all walking worthy of their Christian profession, as a good example to their heathen neighbours. Then the Litany was read, and a spirit of true devotion pervaded the whole assembly.
Our very hearts rejoiced in this place, which had but lately been a den of murderers, dedicated, as it were, by the angekoks, or sorcerers, to the service of the devil, to hear the cheerful voices of converted heathen, most melodiously sounding forth the praises of God, and giving glory to the name of Jesus their Redeemer. Peace, and cheerful countenances dwelt in the tents of the believing Esquimaux.
/17/ Our people had caught a large white-fish, and pressed us much to be their guests, which we should have accepted of with pleasure, but we thought it prudent to avail ourselves of the favourable wind and weather, to proceed. Instead, therefore, of dining with them, we presented to each tent a quart of pease, which is considered by the Esquimaux as a great luxury, and was received with unbounded thankfulness.
About noon we set sail, with a brisk wind at S.E. for SAEGLEK. The coast presents here, moderately high, barren mountains, without bays or islands. The wind becoming more violent, the rope, by which we kept the skin-boat in tow, suddenly snapt, and set her adrift. She was frequently hid from our view by the height of the waves, but we were in no apprehension about her, as these kind of boats are much safer in a high sea, than a European one.
At seven P.M. we arrived at SAEGLEK, and were saluted by the firing of muskets and bonfires on the hills. The Esquimaux have their dwellings on a small flat island, between two of larger size, but the strand is bad, and full of sharp shingles. There are about five or six winter-houses at Saeglek, containing each about two or three families.
July 1st. Early, two Esquimaux men, JOAS and UIVERUNNA, came in their kayaks to pay us a visit. They, with their families, inhabited some tents we had seen yesterday. Brother Kohlmeister spoke seriously to them on the necessity of conversion, especially to Joas, who had Christian parents, and as a child, was baptized at Okkak. He reminded him of his having been devoted to Jesus from his birth; that he therefore ought not to belong to the unbelievers, but to Him who had created and redeemed him; and that the greatest of all the sins he now committed, was his persisting in his determination not to return. He seemed to listen with some humility to the loving and earnest reproof and exhortations of the Missionary, but at last excused himself by /18/ laying the blame upon his mother, who kept him back, adding, that he still intended to be converted.
Our people had meanwhile made a fire, and put the pot on to boil pease; but the wind changing, Jonathan determined immediately to proceed. The pease had just begun to swell, and as the two Esquimaux had presented us with some fresh meat, they had been asked to partake of our meal; but finding themselves thus disappointed, they fell to, and having greedily devoured a quantity of the half-boiled pease, and filled their gloves with the rest, they took leave, and set sail about 11 A.M.
Hearing from some Esquimaux who made towards us in their kayaks, that the Saeglek people were all on the north side of the island of Kikkertarsoak, we proceeded thither, and having doubled the point, saw seven tents full of people. Two of them contained families from Killinek. But the violence of the wind was such, that we could not stay in this unsheltered place with safety. We therefore worked our way, with the help of the Esquimaux, round another point, into a roadstead, rather more sheltered than the former, though open to the sea. A little tobacco is the reward expected and given for such assistance.
The beach is composed of numberless black pebbles, polished by the sea, and each about the size of an hen's egg.
Brother Kohlmeister immediately landed, and visited the Esquimaux in their tents. Many heathen were at this place, to whom he preached the gospel, and invited them to believe in Jesus, as the Saviour of men, who would deliver them from the love, power, and curse of sin, having shed His blood, and died on the cross, to redeem their souls. He was heard with great attention. A venerable old man, with hair as white as wool, particularly attracted our notice. He called Brother Kohlmeister by name, took hold of both his hands, and begged him to sit down by him. Brother Kohlmeister inquired, whether he knew him. The old man /19/ replied: "Thou art Benjamin, often have I heard thy name at Okkak. I therefore rejoice to see thee." He seemed quite at a loss, what way to express his affection; and at length delivered a strap of seals'-leather to Mr. Kohlmeister, with these words: "I am poor, and have nothing else to give thee, yet I wish to give thee some token of my love." Brother Kohlmeister accepted of his present, and inwardly cried to the Lord, to show mercy to this poor ignorant heathen. "You are old," said he, "and have not much more time to live in this world, will you not turn to that Jesus, who has died for your sins also? It is not His desire that you should perish, and be lost in everlasting darkness, but that you should live with Him in the place of light and immortal bliss." The old man replied: "What shall I do? Thy words are very pleasant, and I would fain hear much more of Jesus. I do not wish to be lost in the place of darkness." Brother Kohlmeister answered, that if he sincerely wished to be saved, and was troubled on account of his sinful life, he should believe in, and call on, the name of Jesus, who would certainly hear and reveal Himself unto him. Many people were present in the tent, who behaved with great decency, and whom Brother Kohlmeister earnestly addressed on the necessity of conversion. He wished to prolong the conversation, especially with the old man, who promised, that he would never forget the words spoken to him, but it was growing late, and we returned to our cabin. The poor old man having sore legs, some medicine was left for him.
The passage from Kangertluksoak to Saeglek is about twenty English miles. Saeglek is a considerable promontory, open to the south.