- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
50

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - III. Through the ice northward along Yamal

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THROUGH SIBERIA
From nine in the morning we also noticed a marked
slackening in the ice to seaward of us. We therefore
weighed anchor in the forenoon and bore to the west
ward through fairly open channels, in order to go round
to the west of the big floe, which we still saw stretching
away unbroken to the north-west. There was a breeze
from the south-south-west, which freshened a little,
and the air was hazy.
There was some life to be seen here. On a little floe
lay a big, old bull walrus. One of his tusks was entirely
broken off, and of the other only a short piece was left.
Imagine the strength required to break off such tusks !
There was excitement on board and the eyes of
our longing sportsmen brightened when they saw so
much live flesh on the ice. They stood ready with
their rifles ; but the ship was moving to windward,
and as soon as the animal got our smoke, it dived into
the water and made off.
We saw three or four bearded seals on the floes.
Then suddenly Vostrotin, who was standing on the
bridge, called out that there was a whole herd of bearded
seals on the ice to the west of us. Seen through the
glasses they became two walruses ; a third was swim
ming in the water and tried several times to get up to
the other two. A little ahead of us I saw the big heads
of four or five more walruses rise and turn over in
the sea.
Then things were lively on board. Lied and the
Captain thought it would never do to leave such animals
alone. The dinghy was got ready, for Lied was anxious
to be off, and it ended in my going with him, as the
Captain thought he could not leave the ship.
The walruses lay pretty quiet, and we came well up
to them. I begged Lied to aim well for the back of
the head, so that the animal might be killed on the
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