“Canoe Broaching To, In a Gale of Wind at Sunrise, Aug. 23, 1821” [George Back]


At 2h20m AM we embarked when the tents were so hard frozen that we could not sit on them in the canoe. The sails were reefed and we steered for the opposite shore a distance of 5 or 6 leagues—with a fresh breeze and heavy sea—both of which increased as we got from under the land. When we were about mid-channel—a sudden squall came on—it rained hard—and the rays of the sun, which by this time had attained some altitude—cast a beautiful yellow tinge over the white foam of the dark green sea. We were admiring this spectacle with delight when a huge wave in spite of the efforts of the steerman—broached our canoe to and we narrowly escaped sinking—indeed this must have been the case—had not the following sea wave been quite spent. The men were not a little alarmed and of course blamed the steerman....The bowman was obliged to assist with his paddle during the rest of the passage—the sea being excessively high—such as I am tolerably certain no NW canoe was ever in before. [Back, p. 163.]