- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
47

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH THE ICE NORTHWARD
47
to about west-north-west ; this must run along the edge
of the fixed ice, and several lånes are to be seen in the
loose ice outside in this direction ; but there can hardly
be a practicable passage at present. If only we could
have a little easterly wind, there would soon be open
sea round there, unless indeed this fixed ice should
break off near the shore, but then, of course, we should
have a channel on that side.
Strangely enough we cannot see land inshore of us,
but only thick ice in that quarter. The land must be
a good way off, and I come to the conclusion that this
unbroken floe must be at least 20 or 25 miles long.
A good noon altitude gave latitude 71° 29’ N.
We took a turn on the ice, and had our ski with us,
but it was extraordinarily rough ice, nowhere level
enough for us to use the ski for any distance ; there
were lumps big and small everywhere, with here and
there great hummocks. It was exhausting to walk
over.
It must consist of old, uneven, small floes and
lumps of ice and hummocks from the year before, that were
lying over this shallow bank last autumn, and that
were then pressed into one mass and frozen together.
For the most part this ice is very dirty, and all the
hummocks and edges are much rounded, so that it
seems most probable that a great deal of it is two
summers old.
It is now so worn that great ponds and holes and
lånes have formed in it in every direction. It seems
as though the first high wind must break it up, and then
all these lumps would float away from each other.
Some of the hummocks are so high that their foot
may be supposed to touch the bottom, and thus it is,
no doubt, that the floe is held fast ; but quite fast
it cannot be, as we can see by the chain-cable that

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