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into the sea in the same manner as it rose a year ago."
While engaged in preparing this part of my work for the press, Sir Joseph Banks has been kind enough to send me a valuable Danish publication on the coasts and harbors of Iceland. It was printed at Copenhagen, 1788, and is entitled Beskrivelse over den Islandske Kyst og alle Havne fra Fugleskiærene og til Stikkelsholm i Bredebugten med Forklaring over deres Indseiling, ved P. de Lowenorn. From this I shall extract not only that part which concerns the New Island, mentioned by Mr. Stephensen in the beginning of the last section of his pamphlet, but also that which relates to the whole of the Fugle-Skiærene, as I consider the account of them too interesting, and the nautical information relative to them too important, to allow either of these to be omitted.
"From Cape Reykenes five single rocks, rising above the water, stretch out to the s. w. by w., by the true compass, and are called Fugle-Skiaerene (or the Bird-rocks). The one which is nearest the land, and lies close under Reykanes, is called Carls-klippe: it is very dark, and has much the appearance of a church with pointed steeples. The distance between this and the second rock, called Eld-Ey * (or the Flour-bag), is one and a half Danish miles. Between these islands is the best channel and that which is most generally used. One may likewise pass between the other Fugle-Skiaers, if there is a tolerably fresh breeze; but the sea breaks very heavily, especially in spring tides, and may cause broken seas and put the vessel to great danger.
* Eld-Ey, or lid Oe. The Icelanders call these rocks by the general appellation of El-Eyranne, or Ild-oerne (Fire islands), probably thereby intending to intimate that they have formerly been volcanoes, and have been produced by revolutions similar to those that have happened in the East Indies, in the Archipelago, at Sicily, and many other places, and very lately in Iceland 1783, with the Blinde Fugle-Skicer, as it is called; which, although it afterwards sank again and therefore justly bears the name of the Blinde Skiar (that is, sunken rock), may probably by some future convulsion again raise itself high above the water. More will presently be said concerning this Blinde FugleSkiar.
If opportunity offers I should always consider it safest to go between Carls-klippe and the Flour-bag, whether in coming from the eastward to the western harbors in Iceland, or in going from Iceland to the southward; both because the course is shorter and there are more certain sea marks. When clear of the Fugle-Skiaers, you must be on your guard, more especially if you turn to windward, against a dangerous sunken rock, called the Blinde Fugle-Skiaer, of which I shall immediately have occasion to make mention.
I have laid down the Fugle-Skiaerene, with regard to their situation between themselves and from Reikanes, according to Minor's description, with a few inconsiderable corrections from M. de Verdun's observations, and from a great number of bearings which 1 had the opportunity of taking, both when going to Iceland and on my return.
The outermost of the Fugle-Skiaers, which is called in the Icelandic language, Gier Fugla-Skiaerdrange, and by Minor, Grenadeer-Huen (the Grenadier's-cap), lies, as nearly as can be ascertained by bearings taken from the sea, five and three-quarters Danish miles s. w. by w. by the true compass from the point of Reikanes, and consequently in 63° 44' 40' latitude and in the longitude of 25° 35' 407.
Lieutenant Grove has, near this place, had an observation in the latitude of 63° 44' 20" and on my homeward voyage, in sailing past it, I likewise had an observation of latitude and longitude, which answered very correctly to it. It is true that by my observation it lay a couple of minutes more to the southward in latitude, and the difference in longitude was likewise a couple of minutes, as it appeared to have been laid down too far to the eastward: but I have nevertheless left it unaltered with regard to the distance it is found to be from Reikanes, which must otherwise be corrected accordingly. It cannot be expected that observations taken at sea should correspond to so great a nicety, especially as the weather was not very favorable; but nevertheless I would not omit making this remark.
During the time that I remained at Holmens-Havn, Lieutenant Grove went out with a vessel under his command, for the purpose of navigating about that spot where the volcano island had made its appearance, in the year 1783, in order to discover if it still existed, or if any vestiges of it remained: but he found nothing but that which is called the Blinde FugleSkiaer.
According to several very probable and well-founded suppositions, we have concluded that this is precisely the same rock which, in the year before mentioned, threw out fire, and cast up so much pumice-stone, that the navigators who passed the place found the sea covered with it. So long as it continued burning, it appeared above the water like a small island, which, as we learn from the statements given by mariners, who saw it that year, frequently altered its appearance; a circumstance undoubtedly occasioned by the lava and pumice-stone issuing from it; though it is probable that these substances have not been able to fix themselves firmly, but