Yachting in the Arctic Seas or Notes of Five Voyages of Sport and Discovery in the Neighbourhood of Spitzbergen and Novaya Zemlya

p. 4: In an unpretending little work, descriptive of my former voyages, I had enunciated most strongly the opinion that it would for ever prove impossible to approach the Pole of the earth in ships; but, from reading the accounts of the subsequent voyages of Norwegian walrus-hunters, from an attentive study of the ever-increasing mass of Arctic literature, and from muchconversation and correspondence with those learned theorists who, without ever having left their own firesides, stoutly maintain that there is ‘no difficulty whatever in sailing to the North Pole,’ I was induced to consider whether my own opinion—however practically formed—might not have been too hastily adopted after all.

p. 34: We had not gone through any ceremony in honour of crossing the Arctic Circle—I fancy we were mostly all too old sailors—nor did we now keep any ‘ fast’ or ‘feast’ of the midnight sun, seen for the first time three quarters of a degree above the horizon on the night of May 18th. This phenomenon hardly strikes the observer, because, in his voyage north, the twilight has lengthened so gradually that at ten, eleven, and twelve o’clock at night reading on deck has become, without sudden warning, a matter of course.

p. 91: Finally, after much writing in the newspapers, much agitation in the scientific world, and much contemptuous criticism of the opinions of whalers (who alone really know something about the matter), an Arctic expedition under Government auspices is resolved on. Double pay, liberal rations, and the chance of excitement, attract crowds of voluneers—a Royal personage or two wave their hands as the ships, gay with flags, weigh anchor—a great many guns are fired, and the nation for a year or two forgets all about the Arctic expedition. Meanwhile the ships, if so far successful, alternately drag about and winter in ice docks for two or three seasons, become proficient in amateur theatricals, and cache out vast masses of provisions, which are unhesitatingly appropriated by the first whaler, who, in the open season which perhaps immediately follows the return of the expedition, probably runs over in a few favourable weeks the ground so laboriously traversed under more adverse circumstances. The result being limited almost to meteorological readings, geodetic surveys, magnetic observations, and the correction of older charts, no Government who values its popularity will dare to sanction another Arctic expedition for a quarter of a century.

p. 248: Without books, pens, ink, or paper, nothing could relieve the monotony of the long dark winter, nor divert their minds from the recital of other fatal wintering attempts.

p. 265: All the books on board, including some heavy standard works had been read twice through.