A second argument, bearing upon this, is found in the fact that a large area of open water exists, between the months of June and October, in the upper parts of Baffin's Bay. This mediterranean Polynya is called by the whalers the North Water. After working through the clogging ice of the intermediate drift, you pass suddenly into an open sea, washing the most northern known shores of our continent, and covering an area of 90,000 square miles.
The iceless interval is evidently caused by the drift having traveled to the south without being re-enforced by fresh supplies of ice; and the latest explorations from the upper waters of this bay speak of avenues thirty-six miles wide extending to the north and east, and free.
The temperature of this water is sometimes 12° above the freezing point; and the open bays or sinuosities, which often indent the Spitzbergen ice as high as 81° north latitude, have been observed to give a sea-water temperature as high as 38° and 40°, while the atmosphere indicates but 16° above zero.