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(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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coast of Novaya Zemlya and reached its northern ex
tremity, Cornelis Nai, who was the admiral of the fleet,
sailed into Yugor Shar on July 25 with the other two
ships and on August 1 entered the Kara Sea, where at
first there was a good deal of ice. But by August 9 the ice
had decreased, and soon they found the Kara Sea almost
ice-free, and thought they had now found the sea-route
open all the way to China. They reached the west coast
of Yamal, and believed they had there passed the mouth
of the Obi. They sailed farther north along the west
coast and perhaps reached latitude 71 J° N. As the sea
was still open and without a sign of ice, they could not doubt
håving discovered the open sea-route to China ; they
therefore turned back and passed through the Yugor
Strait again on August 14.
In the following year, 1595, Cornelis Nai returned, this
time as admiral of a fleet of seven ships, and Willem
Barentsz accompanied him as chief pilot. On August 19
they found Yugor Shar closely packed with ice. Here
they came across some Russian sealers, who told them that
from Kholmogori on the White Sea and "from their
country some smacks sailed annually through the Sea of
Tartary right past the River Obi to another river, the
Gillissy, where they carried on a trade in cloth and other
stuffs ; and that ten small smacks would soon come from
Kholmogori to sail to that river, and would winter there,
as they usually did." The " Gillissy " is, of course, the
Yenisei, and this is, as far as I know, the first mention of
it in literature. They also said that "it had been a long
and hard winter, and that one year was not like another.
Sometimes winter came earlier, sometimes later ; but all
the ice would soon disappear, as it did every year, and it
would be ten weeks before the real winter set in again."
On August 25 the fleet sailed through the Yugor Strait
without meeting ice until they had gone eight sea-miles
into the Kara Sea. Many attempts were made to go
forward along the south coast, but the ice conditions were
very awkward, and they did not go far. Even the in
defatigable Barentsz had to give up at last, and on

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