“The ‘Fox’ on a Rock Near Buchan Island” [May]

June 8th [1858]. Yesterday morning we passed close outside Buchan Island; it is small but lofty, its north side is almost precipitous, yet notwithstanding this strong indication of deep water, a reef of rocks lies about a mile off it. I happened to be aloft with the look-out man at half-past eight o'clock as we were steaming through a narrow lead in the ice, when I saw a rock close ahead; it was capped with ice, therefore was hardly distinguishable from the floating masses around; the engines were stopped and reversed, but there was neither time nor room to avoid the reef, which now extended upon each side of us, and upon which the ship's bow stuck fast whilst her stern remained in 36 feet water; the tide had just commenced to fall, and all our efforts to haul off from the rocks were ineffectual. . . . The ship continued to fall over to starboard; at dead low water her inclination was 35 ; the water covered the starboard gunwale from the mainmast aft, and reached almost up to the after hatchway; at this time the slightest shake must have caused her to fall over upon her side, when she would instantly have filled and sunk. . . . To me the moments seemed lengthened out beyond anything I could have imagined; but at length the water began to rise, and the ship resumed her upright position. Boats, anchors, hawsers, &c., were got on board again with the utmost alacrity, and the ship floated off unhurt after having been eleven hours upon the reef. [M'Clintock, pp. 128-129.]