The Open Polar Sea
The Open Polar Sea was one of the most prevalent myths of nineteenth-century Arctic exploration. Several explorers had hypothesised a stretch of ice-free sea between Greenland and the North Pole, and several expeditions set out in search of it. One of these was planned and led by Isaac Israel Hayes (1832-81), an American physician and explorer. This account of the expedition, first published in 1866, was compiled from his journals. Having left Boston in a small schooner so overloaded with equipment that a passenger could lean over the deck rail and touch the sea, Hayes and his crew almost faced shipwreck off Nova Scotia and regularly saw their cabins flooded on their way to Greenland, where, in calmer weather, they encountered the first palatial ice floes. Written for the general reader rather than for scientific purposes, this book still serves as an accessible, entertaining guide to the voyage.