Antarctic Dictionary




beset adjective

Of a vessel etc.: hemmed in by ice. A vessel which is beset or ice-bound can drift for great distances, but is not in control of its path. Geographical features - mountains, islands - can also be beset, becoming inaccessible when ice surrounds them.

1820 Miers, John in Edinburgh Philosophical Journal 3(6): 370.

Mr Smith on his return to the River Plate in June following, was determined, if possible, to verify what he had seen: he steered in the latitude of 62deg12'S., but when he reached the longitude of 67degW he became so beset with loose pack-ice, that he was alarmed for the safety of his ship and cargo; in a few hours he got clear, and stood off on his course, considering that all attempts in his situation, with the very short days and in the depth of winter, would be extremely indiscreet.

28 Feb 1831 Weddell, James in Murray, George, ed. (1901) The Antarctic manual, for the use of the expedition of 1901 Royal Geographical Society, London: 322.

Latitude 65deg57'S., longitude 47deg20'30"E. P.M., passed to the southward through much broken field-ice. 4 p.m. saw several hummocks to the southward, which much resembled tops of mountains, and at 6 p.m. clearly distinguished it to be land, and to a considerable extent; to my great satisfaction what we had first seen being the black tops of mountains showing themselves through the snow on the lower land, which, however, appeared to be a great distance off, and completely beset with close field-ice and icebergs.

1900 Cook, Frederick A. (1980 repr.) Through the first Antarctic night 1898-1899 McGill-Queen's University Press, Montreal: xiii.

After penetrating ninety miles we found ourselves firmly beset. Unable to extricate the ship, we drifted with the ice to and fro, but generally west, for thirteen long months.

1916 Wild, Frank in Magellan Times 7 Sept (no. 122): 6.

On the 25th of April, the day after the departure of your boat, the island was beset by dense pack.

1917 (Elephant Island) Hurley, Frank, quoted in Millar, David P. (1984) From snowdrift to shellfire: Captain James Francis (Frank) Hurley 1885-1962 David Ell Press, Sydney: 41.

Our recreation to walk up and down the 100-yard path, to admire the sea (or, more frequently, the besetting ice).

1942 Polar Record 3(24) Jul: 581.

Shackleton had ordered the ship to winter north of Glacier Tongue as the Discovery in 1902 had failed to break out from farther south, and this order compelled Stenhouse to moor the Aurora in a precarious position off Cape Evans. In winter darkness on May 6, in 1915, a heavy blizzard snapped the six steel hawsers and chain cable holding the stern, and dragged away the two bower [sic] anchors. Beset in the pack, the ship drifted through the Ross Sea for nine months.

1972 Neethling, D.C. in South African Journal of Antarctic Research: 6.

The RSA was beset for more than 5 weeks in close pack only 180 km from Sanae.

The Antarctic Dictionary, Hince, 2000; 48