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    Re: Virgin Rocks.
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2009 Jan 17, 02:51 -0800

    There are some hundreds of references to these rocks in various sources 
    available through Google Books. Here's a couple. From "Harper's" magazine, 
    1861:
    "In our track lay the famous Virgin Rocks, where many a stout, timber-laden 
    ship, bound from St. Johns to England, has perished with all her crew. The 
    surf on these rocks, which we passed close to leeward, was running with 
    inconceivable fury even some days after the gale I have alluded to. From the 
    deck we could see the rollers commencing nearly a mile from the ledge. At ten 
    fathoms the swell began to make, and seeming to increase in speed and power 
    as it rushed onward, reared itself at last into a horrid foam-crested wall of 
    black water, apparently higher than our mast-heads, the whole capped with a 
    feathery wreath of mist. Onward it swept until it reached breaking depth, 
    when, arrested by the bottom, it stopped and toppled over upon the ledge with 
    the noise of distant thunder. It was a sublime and awful sight-
    those lonely breakers rearing their heads at intervals of a few minutes, 
    rising as if by magic from the calm ocean, and spending their giant strength 
    upon the never-yielding rocks."
    
    From "Newfoundland in 1842":
    "off this part of the shore are the dangerous rocks in the Atlantic, called 
    the Virgin Rocks, seldom seen, but fatal if met with unknown. Mr. Jones, 
    master of H.M.S. Hussar, found their bearings to be 46� 26' 15.3" N.L., and 
    52� 55' 33" W.L., and as they are, next to Sable Island, the most terrible of 
    all in this part of the Atlantic, we shall annex extracts from different 
    accounts respecting them.
    
     Virgin Rocks-Geographical position. Observed with a Circle, (by Worthington 
    and Allan,) Admiralty Chronometer (by Grayhurst and Harvey), No. 89, and 
    Chronometer (by Baraud), No. 502, well regulated, in H. M. S. Hussar, by 
    Master J. Jones  [...]
    made during 48 hours. The Inspector lay at anchor 200 yards N.E. of the 
    shoalest part of the Virgin Rocks; the horizon was perfectly defined, and the 
    weather every way favourable for determining their position..
    
     The rocks extend in an irregular chain, or cluster, S.W. by W., and N.E. by 
    E. 800 yards; the breadth varying from 200 to 300 yards. The least water on a 
    white rock in 4J fathoms, with from 5 to 6 fathoms, about 100 yards all round 
    it, the bottom distinctly visible. Towards the extremities of the shoal the 
    soundings are from 7 to 9 fathoms on detached rocks, with deep water "between 
    them; the current setting a mile an hour to the W.S.W., with a confused cross 
    swell. To the S.E., S., S.W., W., and W.N.W. of the shoal, the water deepens 
    gradually to 30 fathoms, half a mile distant; to the N. W., N., and N.E , 
    one-third of a mile, and to the E.N.E., E., and E.S.E. a mile.
    
     The bank upon which the shoal is situated extends E. by N. and W. by S. four 
    miles and a quarter; and two miles and three quarters across its broadest 
    part, with regular soundings of from 28 to 30 fathoms, until they suddenly 
    deepen on its outer edge to 39 and 43 fathoms."
    
     Lieut. Bishop, commanding H.M. Gun-brig, Manly, writes, 9th July, 1829:-
    
    ' The bottom was repeatedly seen by the officers of both ships, in from 7 to 4 
    fathoms, apparently of a very white rock, with large particles of sea-weed on 
    the sand around them. In addition to this, on the morning of the 7th, about 2 
    A.m., when riding with a whole cable and a heavy sea, I observed such violent 
    breakers near the brig as to cause me to batten down the hatches; and I am of 
    opinion that, had there been a little more wind, no vessel could have passed 
    over that spot, or remained there -with safety.'
    
    Latitude 46� 26' 15.3" N.
    
    Longitude from Greenwich 50� 56' 35" W.
    
    The above are the mean of a series of observations"
    
    And in fiction, from Kipling's "Captains Courageous":
    "Next day several boats fished right above the cap of the Virgin; and Harvey, 
    with them, looked down on the very weed of that lonely rock, which rises to 
    within twenty feet of the surface. The cod were there in legions, marching 
    solemnly over the leathery kelp..." 
    
    And two other sources:
    Regarding ice, there is an article in the New York Times noting that 
    "the Virgin Rocks generally are surrounded by ice by the middle or April or the beginning of May." 
    The date of the article is April 16, 1912. Hence the interest in the New York 
    paper in the otherwise technical topic of ice distribution.
    
    Finally from a web page here 
    http://www.icedata.ca/icedb/ice/ice_charts/1876ap.htm, there is this tidbit 
    which I think answers your original question:
    "Apr 20 Ship 'Nevada Kruger' at the Banks reports several bergs grounded on the Virgin Rocks."
    
    -FER
    
    
    
    
    
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