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Title: The Heart of the Antarctic Vol 1
Author: Ernest Shackleton
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------------------------------------------------------------------------

Title: The Heart of the Antarctic Vol 1
Author: Ernest Shackleton

*

THE HEART OF THE ANTARCTIC

BEING THE STORY OF THE BRITISH
ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION 1907-1909

BY E. H. SHACKLETON, C.V.O.

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY HUGH ROBERT
MILL, D.Sc. AN ACCOUNT OF THE FIRST JOURNEY
TO THE SOUTH MAGNETIC POLE BY PROFESSOR
T. W. EDGEWORTH DAVID, F.R.S.



VOLUME I


LONDON
WILLIAM HEINEMANN
1909



_Copyright_ 1909, _London, William Heinemann, and Washington, U.S.A., by
J. B. Lippincott Company._



PREFACE

THE scientific results of the expedition cannot be stated in detail in
this book. The expert members in each branch have contributed to the
appendices articles which summarise what has been done in the domains of
geology, biology, magnetism, meteorology, physics, &c. I will simply
indicate here some of the more important features of the geographical
work.

We passed the winter of 1908 in McMurdo Sound, twenty miles north of the
_Discovery_ winter quarters. In the autumn a party ascended Mount Erebus
and surveyed its various craters. In the spring and summer of 1908-9
three sledging-parties left winter quarters; one went south and attained
the most southerly latitude ever reached by man, another reached the
South Magnetic Pole for the first time, and a third surveyed the
mountain ranges west of McMurdo Sound.

The southern sledge-journey planted the Union Jack in latitude 88° 23'
South, within one hundred geographical miles of the South Pole. This
party of four ascertained that a great chain of mountains extends from
the 82nd parallel, south of McMurdo Sound, to the 86th parallel,
trending in a south-easterly direction; that other great mountain ranges
continue to the south and south-west, and that between them flows one
of the largest glaciers in the world, leading to an inland plateau, the
height of which, at latitude 88° South, is over 11,000 ft. above
sea-level. This plateau presumably continues beyond the geographical
South Pole, and extends from Cape Adare to the Pole. The bearings and
angles of the new southern mountains and of the great glacier are shown
on the chart, and are as nearly correct as can be expected in view of
the somewhat rough methods necessarily employed in making the survey.

The mystery of the Great Ice Barrier has not been solved, and it would
seem that the question of its formation and extent cannot be determined
definitely until an expedition traces the line of the mountains round its
southerly edge. A certain amount of light has been thrown on the
construction of the Barrier, in that we were able, from observations and
measurements, to conclude provisionally that it is composed mainly of
snow. The disappearance of Balloon Bight, owing to the breaking away of
a section of the Great Ice Barrier, shows that the Barrier still
continues its recession, which has been observed since the voyage of
Sir James Boss in 1842. There certainly appears to be a high
snow-covered land on the 163rd meridian, where we saw slopes and peaks,
entirely snow-covered, rising to a height of 800 ft., but we did not see
any bare rocks, and did not have an opportunity to take soundings at
this spot. We could not arrive at any definite conclusion on the point.

The journey made by the Northern Party resulted in the attainment of the
South Magnetic Pole, the position of which was fixed, by observations
made on the spot and in the neighbourhood, at latitude 72° 25' South,
longitude 155° 16' East. The first part of this journey was made along
the coastline of Victoria Land, and many new peaks, glaciers and
ice-tongues were discovered, in addition to a couple of small islands.
The whole of the coast traversed was carefully triangulated, and the
existing map was corrected in several respects.

The survey of the western mountains by the Western Party added to the
information of the topographical details of that part of Victoria Land,
and threw some new light on its geology.

The discovery of forty-five miles of new coastline extending from Cape
North, first in a south-westerly and then in a westerly direction, was
another important piece of geographical work.

During the homeward voyage of the _Nimrod_ a careful search strengthened
that prevalent idea that Emerald Island, the _Nimrod_ Islands and
Dougherty Island do not exist, but I would not advise their removal from
the chart without further investigation. There is a remote possibility
that they lie at some point in the neighbourhood of their charted
positions, and it is safer to have them charted until their
non-existence has been proved absolutely.

I should like to tender my warmest thanks to those generous people who
supported the expedition in its early days. Miss Dawson Lambton and Miss
E. Dawson Lambton made possible the first steps towards the organisation
of the expedition, and assisted afterwards in every way that lay in
their power. Mr. William Beardmore (Parkhead, Glasgow), Mr. G. A. McLean
Buckley (New Zealand), Mr. Campbell McKellar (London), Mr. Sydney
Lysaght (Somerset), Mr. A. M. Fry (Bristol), Colonel Alexander Davis
(London), Mr. William Bell (Pendell Court, Surrey), Mr. H. H. Bartlett
(London), and other friends contributed liberally towards the cost of
the expedition. I wish also to thank the people who guaranteed a large
part of the necessary expenditure, and the Imperial Government for the
grant of £20,000, which enabled me to redeem these guarantees. Sir James
Mills, managing director of the Union Steam Shipping Company of New
Zealand, gave very valuable assistance. The kindness and generosity of
the Governments and people of Australia and New Zealand will remain one
of the happiest memories of the expedition.

I am also indebted to the firms which presented supplies of various
sorts, and to the manufacturers who so readily assisted in the matter
of ensuring the highest quality and purity in our foods.

As regards the production of this book, I am indebted to Dr. Hugh
Robert Mill for the introduction which he has written; to Mr. Edward
Saunders, of New Zealand, who not only acted as my secretary in the
writing of the book, but bore a great deal of the labour, advised me on
literary points and gave general assistance that was invaluable; and to
my publisher, Mr. William Heinemann, for much help and many kindnesses.

I have to thank the members of the expedition who have provided the
scientific appendices. I should like to make special mention of
Professor T. W. Edgeworth David, who has told the story of the Northern
Journey, and Mr. George Marston, the artist of the expedition,
represented in this volume by the colour plates, sketches and some
diagrams.

I have drawn on the diaries of various members of the expedition to
supply information regarding events that occurred while I was absent on
journeys. The photographs with which these volumes are illustrated have
been selected from some thousands taken by Brocklehurst, David, Davis,
Day, Dunlop, Harbord, Joyce, Mackintosh, Marshall, Mawson, Murray and
Wild, secured often under circumstances of exceptional difficulty.

In regard to the management of the affairs of the expedition during my
absence in the Antarctic, I would like to acknowledge the work done for
me by my brother-in-law, Mr. Herbert Dorman, of London; by Mr. J. J.
Kinsey, of Christchurch, New Zealand; and by Mr. Alfred Reid, the
manager of the expedition, whose work throughout has been as arduous as
it has been efficient.

Finally, let me say that to the members of the expedition, whose work
and enthusiasm have been the means of securing the measure of success
recorded in these pages, I owe a debt of gratitude that I can hardly
find words to express. I realise very fully that without their faithful
service and loyal co-operation under conditions of extreme difficulty
success in any branch of our work would have been impossible.

ERNEST H. SHACKLETON
LONDON,
_October_ 1909



INTRODUCTION

SOUTH POLAR EXPLORATION IN THE LAST HUNDRED YEARS
By HUGH ROBERT MILL, D.Sc., LL.D.

AN outline of the history of recent Antarctic exploration is necessary
before the reader can appreciate to the full the many points of
originality in the equipment of the expedition of 1907-1909, and follow
the unequalled advance made by that expedition into the slowly dwindling
blank of the unknown South Polar area.

From the beginning of the sixteenth century it was generally believed
that a great continent, equal in area to all the rest of the land of the
globe, lay around the South Pole, stretching northward in each of the
great oceans far into the tropics. The second voyage of Captain James
Cook in 1773-75 showed that if any continent existed it must lie mainly
within the Antarctic Circle, which he penetrated at three points in
search of the land, and it could be of no possible value for settlement
or trade. He reached his farthest south in 71° 10' South, 1130 miles
from the South Pole.

In 1819 Alexander I, Emperor of all the Russias, resolved of his good
pleasure to explore the North Polar and the South Polar regions
simultaneously and sent out two ships to each destination. The southern
expedition consisted of the two ships _Vostok_ and _Mirni_, under the
command of Captain Fabian von Bellingshausen, with Lieutenant Lazareff
as second in command. They made a circumnavigation of the world in a
high southern latitude, supplementing the voyage of Cook by keeping
south where he went north, but not attempting to reach any higher
latitudes. On leaving Sydney in November 1820, Bellingshausen went south
in 163° East, a section of the Antarctic which Cook had avoided, and
from the eagerness with which the Russian captain apologised for not
pushing into the pack it may be inferred that he found the gate leading
to Ross Sea only barred by the ice, not absolutely locked. The ships
went on in the direction of Cape Horn in order to visit the South
Shetlands, recently discovered by William Smith. On the way
Bellingshausen discovered the first land yet known within the Antarctic
Circle, the little Peter I Island and the much larger Alexander I Land,
which he sighted from a distance estimated at forty miles. A fleet of
American sealers was found at work round the South Shetlands and some of
the skippers had doubtless done much exploring on their own account,
though they kept it quiet for fear of arousing competition in their
trade. Bellingshausen returned to Cronstadt in 1821 with a loss of only
three men in his long and trying voyage. No particulars of this
expedition were published for many years.

In February 1823, James Weddell, a retired Master in the Royal Navy, and
part owner of the brig _Jane_ of Leith, 160 tons, was sealing round the
South Orkneys with the cutter _Beaufoy_, 65 tons, under the command of
Matthew Brisbane, in company, when he decided to push south as far as
the ice allowed in search of new land where seals might be found. Signs
of land were seen in the form of icebergs stained with earth, but
Weddell sailed through a perfectly clear sea, now named after him, to
74° 15' South in 34° 17' West. This point, reached on February 22, 1823,
was 3° South of Cook's farthest and 945 miles from the South Pole. On
his return he brought back to Europe the first specimen of the Weddell
seal to be seen by any naturalist.

Enderby Brothers, a firm of London shipowners doing a large trade in
seal-oil, took a keen interest in discovery, and one of the brothers was
an original Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, founded in 1830.
In that very year the firm despatched John Biscoe, a retired Master in
the Royal Navy, in the brig _Tula_, with the cutter _Lively_ in company,
on a two years' voyage, combining exploration with sealing. Biscoe was a
man of the type of Cook and Weddell, a first-class navigator,
indifferent to comfort, ignorant of fear and keen on exploring the Far
South. In January 1831 he commenced a circumnavigation of the Antarctic
Regions eastward from the South Atlantic in 60° South. At the meridian
of Greenwich he got south of the Circle and pushed on, beating against
contrary winds close to the impenetrable pack which blocked advance to
the south. At the end of February he sighted a coastline in 49° 18'
East and about 66° South, which has since been called Enderby Land, but
it has never been revisited. He searched in vain for the Nimrod Islands,
which had been reported in 56° South, 158° West, and then, crossing the
Pacific Ocean well south of the sixtieth parallel, he, ignorant of
Bellingshausen's voyage, entered Bellingshausen Sea, and discovered the
Biscoe Islands and the coast of Graham Land. On his return in 1833
Biscoe received the second gold medal awarded by the Royal Geographical
Society for his discoveries and for his pertinacity in sailing for
nearly fifty degrees of longitude south of the Antarctic Circle.

In 1838 the Enderbys sent out John Balleny in the sealing schooner
_Eliza Scott_, 154 tons, with the cutter _Sabrina_, 54 tons, and he left
Campbell Island, south of New Zealand, on January 17, 1839, to look for
new land in the south. On the 29th he reached the Antarctic Circle in
178° East, and got to 69° South before meeting with heavy ice. Turning
westward at this point he discovered the group of lofty volcanic islands
which bears his name, and there was no mistake as to their existence, as
one of the peaks rose to a height of 14,000 ft. An excellent sketch was
made of the islands by the mate, and geological specimens were collected
from the beach. Proceeding westward Biscoe reported an "appearance of
land in 65° South, and about 121° East", which Mr. Charles Enderby
claimed as a discovery and called Sabrina Land after the unfortunate
cutter, which was lost with all hands in a gale.

The years 1838 to 1848 saw no fewer than ten vessels bound on
exploration to the ice-cumbered waters of the Antarctic, all ostensibly
bent on scientific research, but all animated, some admittedly, by the
patriotic ambition of each commander to uphold the honour of his flag.

Captain Dumont d'Urville, of the French Navy, was one of the founders of
the Paris Geographical Society. He had been sent out on two scientific
voyages of circumnavigation, which lasted from 1822 to 1825, and from
1826 to 1829, and he became a great authority on the ethnology of the
Pacific Islands. He planned a third cruise to investigate problems
connected with his special studies; but, in granting the vessels for
this expedition, King Louis Philippe added to the commission, possibly
at the suggestion of Humboldt, a cruise to the Antarctic regions in
order to out-distance Weddell's farthest south. It was known that an
American expedition was on the point of starting with this end in view,
and that active steps were also being taken in England to revive
southern exploration. Dumont d'Urville got away first with two
corvettes, the _Astrolabe_, under his command, and the _Zelée_, under
Captain Jacquinot, which sailed from Toulon on September 7, 1887. The
two ships reached the pack-ice on January 22, 1838, but were unable to
do more than sail to and fro along its edge until February 27, when land
was sighted in 63° South and named Louis Philippe Land and Joinville
Island. These were, undoubtedly, part of the Palmer Land of the American
sealers, and a continuation of Biscoe's Graham Land. Though he did not
reach the Antarctic Circle, d'Urville had got to the end of the
Antarctic summer and discharged his debt of duty to his instructions.

It was the avowed intention of the American expedition and of the
British expedition, since fitted out, to find the South Magnetic Pole,
the position of which was believed from the theoretical investigations
of _Gauss_ to be near 66° South and 146° East. In December 1839, when
d'Urville was at Hobart Town, and the air was full of rumours of these
expeditions, he suddenly made up his mind to exceed his instructions and
make a dash for the South Magnetic Pole for the honour of France. He
left Hobart on January 1, 1840, and on the 21st sighted land on the
Antarctic Circle in longitude 138° E. The weather was perfect, the
icebergs shone and glittered in the sun like fairy palaces in the
streets of a strange southern Venice; only wind was wanting to move the
ships. The snow-covered hills rose to a height of about 1500 ft. and
received the name of Adelie Land, after Madame Dumont d'Urville. A
landing was made on one of a group of rocky islets lying off the
icebound shore, and the ships then followed the coast westward for two
days. In 135° 30' West bad weather and a northward bend in the ice drove
the corvettes beyond the Circle, and on struggling south again on
January 28, in the lift of a fog, the _Astrolabe_ sighted a brig flying
the American flag, one of Wilkes' squadron. The ships misunderstood each
other's intentions; each intended to salute and each thought that the
other wished to avoid an interview; and they parted in the fog full of
bitterness towards each other without the dip of a flag. All day on the
30th, d'Urville sailed along a vertical cliff of ice 120 to 130 ft.
high, quite flat on top, with no sign of hills beyond; but sure that so
great a mass of ice could not form except on land he did not hesitate to
name it the Clarie coast, after Madame Jacquinot. On February 1, the
French ships left the Antarctic in longitude 130° West.

An American man of science, Mr. J. N. Reynolds, had gone to Palmer Land
in the early days, and on his return agitated strongly for a national
exploring expedition. An Act of Congress in 1836 provided for such an f
expedition, but there had been controversies giving rise to ill-feeling,
and Mr. Reynolds was not allowed to join "for the sake of harmony".
After one and another of the naval officers designated to command it had
resigned or declined the post. Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, U.S.N., was at
last persuaded to take charge of the squadron of six ill-assorted
vessels manned by half-hearted crews. His instructions were to proceed
to Tierra del Fuego with the sloops-of-war _Vincennes_ and _Peacock_,
the brig _Porpoise_, the store-ship _Relief_ and the pilot-boats _Sea
Gull_ and _Flying Fish_; to leave the larger vessels and the scientific
staff--which they carried--and proceed with the _Porpoise_ and the
tenders "to explore the southern Antarctic to the southward of Powell's
group, and between it and Sandwich Land, following the track of Weddell
as closely as practicable, and endeavouring to reach a high southern
latitude; taking care, however, not to be obliged to pass the winter
there." He was then with all his squadron to proceed southward and
westward as far as Cook's farthest, or 105° West, and then retire to
Valparaiso. After surveying in the Pacific they were to proceed to
Sydney and then the instructions proceeded: "You will make a second
attempt to penetrate within the Antarctic region, south of Van Diemen's
Land, and as far west as longitude 45° East or to Enderby's Land, making
your rendezvous on your return at Kerguelen's Land." Very stringent
orders, dated August 11, 1838, were given to Wilkes not to allow any one
connected with the expedition to furnish any other persons "with copies
of any journal, charts, plan, memorandum, specimen, drawing, painting or
information" concerning the objects and proceedings of the expedition or
as to discoveries made. The ships were not fortified for ice navigation;
they were not even in sound seaworthy condition; the stores were
inadequate and of bad quality; the crews and unhappily some of the
officers were disaffected, disliking their commander, and making things
very uncomfortable for him. The attempt to navigate Weddell Sea proved
abortive; on the side of Bellingshausen Sea one ship reached 68° and
another 70° South, but saw nothing except ice.

At Sydney, Wilkes was most unhappy; his equipment was criticised with
more justice than mercy by his colonial visitors, and in his narrative
he says plainly that he was obliged "to agree with them that we were
unwise to attempt such service in ordinary cruising vessels; we had been
ordered to go and that was enough: and go we should." And they went. On
January 16, 1840, land was sighted by three of the ships in longitudes
about 158° East, apparently just on or south of the Antarctic Circle.
The ships sailed westwards as best they could along the edge of the
pack; sometimes along the face of a barrier of great ice-cliffs,
ignorant of the fact that Balleny had been there the year before, but
very anxious that they should anticipate any discoveries on the part of
the French squadron then in those waters. On January 19, land was
reported on the Antarctic Circle both to the south-east and to the
south-west, Wilkes being then in 154° 30' East, and its height was
estimated at 3000 ft. The ships were involved all the time in most
difficult navigation through drifting floes and bergs, storms were
frequent and fogs made life a perpetual misery, as it was impossible to
see the icebergs until the ships were almost on them. The _Peacock_, the
least seaworthy of the squadron, lay helpless in the ice for three days
while the rudder, which had been smashed, was being repaired on deck,
and on January 25 she was patched up enough to return to Sydney. Wilkes'
ship, the _Vincennes_, got south of the Circle on January 23, and he
hoped to reach the land, but the way was barred by ice. On the 28th,
land appeared very distinctly in 141° East, but the _Vincennes_ was
driven off by a gale, the sea being extraordinarily encumbered with
icebergs and ice-islands. Two days later land was unquestionably found
in 66° 45' South, 140° 2' East, with a depth of thirty fathoms; there
were bare rocks half a mile from the ship, and the hills beyond rose to
3000 ft.; but the weather was too rough to get boats out. This was the
Adelie Land which d'Urville had lighted on nine days before. This also
is the only point of land reported by the American expedition, with the
very doubtful exception of Sabrina Land, which has been confirmed by
another expedition. Against the written remonstrance of the surgeons,
who said that longer exposure to the heavy work of ice navigation in the
severe conditions of the weather would increase the sick-list to such an
extent as to endanger the ships, and in spite of the urgent appeal of a
majority of the officers, Wilkes held on to the westward, reporting land
in the neighbourhood of the Antarctic Circle every day, observing many
earth-stained icebergs and collecting specimens of stones from the
floating ice. On February 16, the ice-barrier which Wilkes had been
following westward turned towards the north and over it there was "an
appearance of land" which he called Termination Land. He was in 97° 37'
East, and on the 21st, having failed to get farther west, he rejoiced
the hearts of all on board by turning northwards and making for Sydney.
Ringgold on the _Porpoise_ had thought of running to the rendezvous in
100° East first, and working his way back to the eastward with a
favouring wind afterwards, and he accomplished the first part of the
programme easily enough, for the wind helped him, passing and disdaining
to salute d'Urville's ships on the way. He added nothing material to the
information obtained by the _Vincennes_.

Considering the deplorable conditions against which he had to contend
both in the seas without and the men within his ships, the voyage of
Wilkes was one of the finest pieces of determined effort on record. He
erred in not being critical enough of appearances of land; and his
charts were certainly faulty, as any charts of land dimly seen through
fog were bound to be. Subsequent explorers have sailed over the
positions where Wilkes showed land between 164° and 154° East, and if
the land he saw there exists, it must be farther south than he supposed.
It is certain that Wilkes saw land farther east, and it seems that he
was as harshly judged by Ross and as unsympathetically treated by some
other explorers and geographers as he was by his own subordinates.

Sir Edward Sabine and other British physicists had been trying from 1835
onward to secure the despatch of a British expedition to study
terrestrial magnetism in the Antarctic regions, and pressure was brought
to bear on the Royal Society to take the initiative but with little
effect. An effort by Captain Washington, the Secretary, to arouse the
Royal Geographical Society early in 1837 also failed. In the following
year the recently founded British Association for the Advancement of
Science memorialised Government on the need for making a series of
simultaneous magnetic observations in all parts of the world,
particularly by means of a special expedition to high southern
latitudes. The Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, was impressed; he
referred the memorial to the Royal Society, which supported it. A naval
expedition was decided on and rapidly fitted out on the _Erebus_ and
_Terror_, two vessels of great strength, designed for firing large bombs
from mortars in siege operations, but clumsy craft to navigate, with
bluff bows that made them move slowly through the water, and sluggish in
answering their helms. The one possible commander was Captain James
Clark Ross, a tried Arctic traveller and an enthusiastic student of
magnetism, who had reached the North Magnetic Pole in 1831, and whose
surpassing fitness for the position had been a potent factor in the
minds of the promoters. Captain Crozier was second in command on board
the _Terror_, and although all the magnetic and other physical work was
to be done by naval officers, the surgeons were appointed with regard to
their proficiency in geology, botany and zoology. One of these
subsequently took rank amongst the greatest men of science of the
nineteenth century, and in 1909 Sir Joseph Hooker retains at the age of
ninety-two the same interest in Antarctic exploration which drew him in
1889, as a youth of twenty-one, to join the Navy, in order to accompany
the expedition. The ships were of 370 and 350 tons respectively, the
whole ship's company of each being seventy-six officers and men, and
they were well provisioned for the period, fresh tinned meats and
vegetables being available. The instructions of the Admiralty left a
good deal of discretion to the commander. He was ordered to land special
parties of magnetic observers at St. Helena, the Cape of Good Hope and
Van Diemen's Land. On the way he was to proceed south from Kerguelen
Land and examine those places where indications of land had been
reported. In the following summer he was to proceed southward from
Tasmania towards the South Magnetic Pole, which he was to reach if
possible, and return to Tasmania. In the following year he was to attain
the highest latitude he could reach and proceed eastward to fix the
position of Graham Land. The _Erebus_ and _Terror_ reached Hobart Town
in August 1840, without doing any Antarctic exploration on the way. At
Hobart, Ross was in constant communication with Sir John Franklin, the
governor of Van Diemen's Land and a great authority on polar exploration
in the north. He heard of d'Urville's and Wilkes' discoveries and was
very angry that others had taken the track marked out for him. He
resolved that he would not, as he somewhat quaintly put it, "interfere
with their discoveries" and in so doing he allowed the haze of
uncertainty to rest over the region south of the Indian Ocean to this
day; but he also resolved to try to get south on the meridian of 170°
East, where Balleny had found open sea in 69° South; and had it not been
for the previous French and American voyages causing him to change his
plans, Ross might conceivably have missed the great chance of his
lifetime. The expedition left Hobart on November 12, 1840, sighted the
sea ice on December 31, lying along the Antarctic Circle, and after
spending some time searching for the best place to enter it, on January
5, 1841, ships for the first time in the southern hemisphere left the
open sea and pushed their way of set purpose into the pack. The vessels
having been strengthened after the manner of the northern whalers to
resist pressure and Ross himself fortified by long experience in
Arctic navigation, the impassable barrier of the earlier explorers had
no terrors for him. The pack which all other visitors to the Antarctic
had viewed as extending right up to some remote and inaccessible land
was found to be a belt about a hundred miles wide, and in four days the
_Erebus_ and _Terror_ passed through it into the open waters of what is
now called Ross Sea. The way seemed to lie open to the magnetic pole
when a mountain appeared on the horizon. Ross called it Mount Sabine,
after the originator of the expedition, and held on until on January 11
he was within a few miles of the bold mountainous coast of South
Victoria Land; in front of him lay Cape Adare in latitude 71° South,
from which one line of mountains, the Admiralty Range, ran north-west
along the coast to Cape North, another, the peaks of which he named
after the members of the Councils of the Royal Society and the British
Association, ran along the coast to the south. Ross went ashore on
Possession Island on January 12 and took possession of the first land
discovered in the reign of Queen Victoria. The sea swarmed with whales,
in the pursuit of which Ross, probably mistaking the species, thought
that a great trade would spring up. On the 22nd the latitude of 74°
South was passed and the expedition was soon nearer the Pole than any
human being had been before. A few days later Franklin Island was seen
and visited; but, as at Possession Island, no trace of vegetation was
found. On the morning of January 28, a new mountain emitting volumes of
smoke appeared ahead; it was Mount Erebus, named after the leading ship,
and on High Island, as Ross called the land from which it sprung,
appeared a lesser and extinct volcano, called Mount Terror after the
second vessel. As the ships drew near, confident of sailing far beyond
the 80th parallel, an ice-barrier appeared similar to that reported by
Wilkes on his cruise, but greater. Vast walls of ice as high as the
cliffs of Dover butted on to the new land at Cape Crozier, its western
limit, and formed an absolute bar to further progress. A range of high
land running south was seen over the barrier and this Ross called the
Parry Mountains; to the west around the shores of an ice-girdled bay
(McMurdo Bay) the land seemed to run continuously with the continent,
and Ross accordingly represented Mount Erebus as being on the mainland,
and the coast as turning abruptly in McMurdo Bay from its southerly to
an easterly direction. The ships cruised eastward for two hundred and
fifty miles parallel with the Great Barrier, the remarkable nature of
which impressed all on board, as they recognised its uniform flat-topped
extension and the vast height of the perpendicular ice-cliffs in which
it terminated, the height being something like 200 ft. on the average,
though at one point it did not exceed 50 ft. On February 2, the highest
latitude of the trip was reached, 78° 4' South, or 3° 48' beyond
Weddell's farthest on the opposite side of the Antarctic Circle. Two
days later the pack became so dense that progress was stopped in 167°
West. Ross struggled for a week to get farther east and then turned to
look for a harbour on the coast of Victoria Land in which he might
winter. Passing by McMurdo Bay without examining it closely, he tried to
get a landing nearer the Magnetic Pole, being possessed by a burning
ambition to hoist the flag which he had displayed at the North Magnetic
Pole in 1831 at the South Magnetic Pole in 1841. It was impossible,
however, to get within twelve or fourteen miles of the land on account
of the freezing of the sea locking the pack into a solid mass; it was
too late to turn back and seek a harbour farther south, and after naming
the headland at the base of Mount Melbourne, Cape Washington, in honour
of the zealous Secretary of the Royal Geographical Society, Ross left
the Antarctic regions after having remained south of the Circle for
sixty-three days. On the way northward he sighted high islands, which
were probably part of the Balleny group, and he sailed across the site
of a range of mountains marked on a chart which Wilkes had given him.
Wilkes afterwards explained that these mountains were not intended to
show one of his discoveries, and an unedifying controversy ensued, which
did credit to neither explorer. Ross returned to Hobart on April 6,
1841, after the greatest voyage of Antarctic discovery ever made. Three
months later the news reached England, and the Royal Geographical
Society at once awarded the Founder's Gold Medal to Captain Ross.

On November 23, 1841, the _Erebus_ and _Terror_ left the Bay of Islands,
New Zealand, which had been declared a British possession the year
before, to make a new effort to get south in a longitude about 150°
West, so as to approach the Great Barrier from a point east of that at
which they had been stopped the previous season. The pack was entered
about 60° South and 146° West on December 18, and it seemed as if the
ships were never to get through it. The Antarctic Circle was reached on
New Year's Day, 1842, every effort being made to work the ships through
the lanes between the floes. For a time when the wind was favourable the
two ships were lashed on each side of a small floe of convenient shape
and with all sail set they were able to give it sufficient way to break
the lighter ice ahead, using it as a battering-ram and as a buffer to
protect their bows. Ross did everything to keep up the spirits of the
crews, by instituting sports and keeping up visits between the two
ships, as in an Arctic wintering. A terrific storm on January 18
buffeted the ships unmercifully, the huge masses of floating ice being
hurled against them in a prodigious swell, and for twenty-four hours the
_Erebus_ and _Terror_ were almost out of control, their rudders having
been smashed by the ice, though the stout timbers of the hulls held
good. On January 26, after being thirty-nine days in the pack, and
boring their way for eight hundred miles through it, the _Erebus_ and
the _Terror_ were only thirty-nine miles farther south than Cook had
been in the Resolution on the same meridian without entering the ice at
all sixty-eight years before. On February 2 the ships escaped from the
pack in 159° East, but only one degree south of the Antarctic Circle.
The Barrier was not sighted until February 22, and on the 28th the ships
at last got within a mile and a half of the face of the ice-wall, which
was found to be 107 ft. high at its highest point and the water 290
fathoms deep, in 161° 27' West and 78° 11' South. This was the highest
latitude reached by Ross, 3° 55' or 235 miles farther south than
Weddell's farthest, and 710 miles from the South Pole. Towards the
south-east he saw that the Barrier surface gradually rose with the
appearance of mountains of great height, but he could not bring himself
to chart this as land, for no sign of bare rock could be seen, and
though he felt that "the presence of land there amounts almost to a
certainty" he would not run the risk of any one in the future proving
that he had been mistaken, and so charted it as an "appearance of land"
only. Any other explorer of that period, or of this, would have called
it land and given it a name without hesitation, and had Ross only known
how to interpret what the numerous rock specimens he dredged up from the
bottom had to tell him, he could have marked the land with an easy mind.

It was now time to leave the Far South; the work had been infinitely
harder than that of the former season and the result was disappointing.
The coast of Victoria Land was not sighted on this cruise, and on March
6, 1842, the _Erebus_ and _Terror_ crossed the Antarctic Circle
northward, after having been sixty-four days within it. Ross Sea was not
furrowed by another keel for more than half a century. Once in open
water the _Erebus_ and _Terror_ held an easterly course through the
Southern Ocean south of the Pacific, farther north than Biscoe,
Bellingshausen or Cook, making passage to the Falkland Islands, by that
time a British possession. The greatest danger of the whole cruise
occurred suddenly on this passage when the two ships came into collision
while attempting to weather an iceberg in a gale and snowstorm during
the night; but though for an hour all gave themselves up for lost they
came through, and they reached Port Louis in the Falklands on April 5,
1842, one hundred and thirty-seven days out from the Bay of Islands.

Having received authority to spend a third summer in south polar
exploration, Ross sailed from the Falklands on December 17, 1842,
intending to survey the coasts discovered by d'Urville and follow the
land south to a high latitude in Weddell Sea; but though several points
on Louis Philippe Land were sighted and mountains named, there was no
open way to the south and it was not until March 1, 1843, that the
Antarctic Circle was reached by coasting the pack to 12° 20' West. Here
a sounding of the vast depth of 4000 fathoms was obtained, but Dr. W. S.
Bruce, with improved and trustworthy apparatus, found sixty years later
that the real depth at this point was only 2660 fathoms. Ross proceeded
southwards in open water to 71° 30' South, thirty miles within the
ice-pack, but there he was stopped nearly halfway between the positions
reached by Bellingshausen in 1820 and by Weddell in 1823; and here his
Antarctic exploration ended. On his way to Cape Town, Ross searched for
Bouvet Island as unsuccessfully as Cook, though he passed within a few
miles of it. Ross' first summer in the Antarctic had brought unexpected
and magnificent discoveries, tearing a great gap in the unknown area,
and fortune smiled without interruption on the expedition; his second
summer brought trouble and danger with but a trifling increase in
knowledge, while the third led only to disappointment. Ross had come
triumphantly through a time of unparalleled stress, his personal
initiative animated the whole expedition and never were honours more
nobly won than those which he received on his return. He was knighted,
feted, and presented with many gold medals; and he was offered and
begged in the most flattering way to accept the command of the
expedition to explore the North-West Passage in his old ships. The
position, when he declined it, was given to Sir John Franklin.

Immediately after Ross' return a supplementary cruise for magnetic
observations was carried out by Lieutenant T. E. L. Moore, R.N., who had
been mate on the Terror. He sailed from Cape Town in the hired barque
_Pagoda_, 360 tons, on January 9, 1845, and, after the usual fruitless
search for Bouvet Island, crossed the Antarctic Circle in 30° 45' East,
but was stopped by the ice in 67° 50' South. He struggled hard against
calms and head winds to reach Enderby Land, but in vain. Moore believed
that he saw land in 64° South and about 50° East; but like Ross he stood
on a pedantic technicality, "there was no doubt about it, but we would
not say it was land without having really landed on it." How much
controversy and ill-feeling would have been avoided if Wilkes and other
explorers had acted on this principle!

In 1850, in one of the Enderbys' ships, the _Brisk_, Captain Tapsell
went to the Balleny Islands looking for seals and sailed westward at a
higher latitude than Wilkes had reached, as far as the meridian of 143°
East, without sighting land; the log of the voyage is lost, and the
exact route is not on record.

Though Ross urged the value of the southern whale fishery in strong
terms, no one stirred to take it up. Polar enterprise was diverted to
the lands within the Arctic Circle by the tragedy of Franklin's fate and
the search expeditions. Efforts were made again and again to reawaken
interest in the south, notably by the great American hydrographer,
Captain Maury, and the eminent German meteorologist, Professor Georg von
Neumayer, but without effect.

In 1875, H.M.S. _Challenger_, on her famous voyage of scientific
investigation with Captain George Nares, R.N., as commander and
Professor Wyville Thomson as scientific director, made a dash south of
Kerguelen Land, and on February 16 she had the distinction of being the
first vessel propelled by steam across the Antarctic Circle. She went to
66° 40' South in longitude 78° 22' East, and pushed eastward in a
somewhat lower latitude to within fifteen miles of Wilkes' Termination
Land as shown on the charts, but nothing resembling land could be seen.
The _Challenger_ saw many icebergs, but being an unprotected vessel and
bent on other service she could make no serious attempt to penetrate the
pack; nevertheless, the researches made on board by sounding and
dredging up many specimens of rocks proved beyond doubt that land lay
within the ice surrounding the Antarctic Circle and that the land was
not insular but a continent.

In the same year a German company sent out the steam whaler _Grönland_,
Captain Dallmann, to try whether anything could be made of whaling or
sealing in the neighbourhood of the South Shetlands, and he went
probably to about 65° South in Bellingshausen Sea on the coast of Graham
Land. In the 'eighties of last century Neumayer continued to urge the
renewal of Antarctic research in Germany, and Sir John Murray, raising
his powerful voice in Great Britain, sketched out a scheme for a fully
equipped naval expedition, but refused to have anything to do with any
expedition not provided at the outset with funds sufficient to ensure
success. The government of Victoria took the matter up and offered to
contribute £5000 to an expedition if the Home Government would support
it; the British Association, the Royal Society, and the Royal
Geographical Society reported in favour of the scheme, but in 1887 the
Treasury definitely declined to participate.

In 1892 a fleet of four Dundee whalers set out for Weddell Sea, in order
to test Ross' belief that the whalebone whale existed there, and two of
them, the _Balaena_ and _Active_, were fitted up with nautical and
meteorological instruments by the Royal Geographical Society and the
Meteorological Office, in the hope that they would fix accurate
positions and keep careful records. Dr. W. S. Bruce, an enthusiastic
naturalist, accompanied the _Balaena_ and Dr. C. W. Donald accompanied
the _Active_, commanded by Captain Thomas Robertson. The ships made
full cargoes of seals in Weddell Sea, but did not go beyond 65° South,
nor did they repeat the venture. A Norwegian whaler, the _Jason_, was
sent out at the same time by a company in Hamburg, and her master,
Captain Larsen, picked up a number of fossils on Seymour Island, and saw
land from Weddell Sea in 64° 40' South. The Hamburg Company sent out
three ships in 1893, the _Jason_ to Weddell Sea, where Captain Larsen
discovered Oscar Land, no doubt the eastern coast of Graham Land, in 66°
South and 60° West, and pushing on farther he discovered Foyn Land, the
_Jason_ being the second steamer to enter the Antarctic regions proper.
On his way home along the coast he charted many new islands and
discovered active volcanoes near the place where Ross' officers had seen
smoke rising from the mountains, though that cautious explorer decided
that as it might be only snowdrift he would not claim the discovery of
volcanoes there. Meanwhile, in Bellingshausen Sea, Captain Evenson, of
the _Hertha_, got beyond 69° 10' South after visiting the Biscoe
Islands, and he sighted Alexander I Land for the first time since its
discovery.

The next visit to the Antarctic was due to the Norwegian whaler, Svend
Foyn, who sent out the _Antarctic_, under Captain Kristensen, with Mr.
Bull as agent, to Ross Sea. They had agreed to take Dr. W. S. Bruce, but
he found it impossible to reach Melbourne in time to join the ship. A
young Norwegian resident in Australia, who was partly English in
ancestry, Carstens Egeberg Borchgrevink, shipped as a sailor, having an
insatiable desire to see the Antarctic regions and being refused a
passage on any other terms. The _Antarctic_ sighted the Balleny Islands
and was nearly six weeks in working through the pack, but on January 14,
1895, she was the first steamer to enter the open water of Ross Sea. A
landing was made on Possession Island, where Borchgrevink discovered a
lichen, the first trace of vegetation found within the Antarctic Circle;
the ship went as far as 74° South looking for whales and on her way back
the first landing on the Antarctic continent was made on a low beach at
Cape Adare.

Mr. Borchgrevink described this voyage at the meeting of the Sixth
International Geographical Congress in London in 1895, where a great
discussion on the possibility of renewing Antarctic exploration had
previously been arranged for. Dr. von Neumayer gave an able historical
paper on Antarctic exploration, Sir Joseph Hooker spoke as a survivor of
Ross' expedition. Sir John Murray as a member of the scientific staff of
the _Challenger_, and Sir Clements Markham as President of the Congress.
The Congress adopted a resolution to the effect that the exploration of
the Antarctic Regions was the greatest piece of geographical exploration
remaining to be undertaken, and that it should be resumed before the
close of the nineteenth century.

The first result was the expedition of the _Belgica_ under the command
of Lieutenant de Gerlache, due to the passionate enthusiasm of the
commander, notably aided by Henryk Arçtowski, a Pole, whose ardour in
the pursuit of physical science has never been surpassed. Dr. Cook, an
American, was surgeon to the expedition; the second in command was
Lieutenant Lecointe, a Belgian, the mate, Roald Amundsen, a Norwegian,
and the crew were half Belgian and half Norwegian. The scientific staff
included, besides Arçtowski, the Belgian magnetician Lieutenant Danco,
the Rumanian Racovitza, and the Pole Dobrowolski. The funds were meagre
and raised by public subscription with enormous difficulty, and the
equipment almost less than the minimum requirement. The ship was small,
only two hundred and fifty tons, but in her this cosmopolitan gathering
experienced first of all men the long darkness of the Antarctic night.
Much valuable time was lost on the outward journey amongst the Fuegian
Islands, and much was occupied in the archipelago into which the
_Belgica_ resolved Palmer Land, between 64° and 65° South. It was
February 12, 1898, before the ship proceeded southward along the coast
of Graham Land. On the 15th she crossed the Antarctic Circle, on the
16th Alexander I Land was sighted, but could not be approached within
twenty miles on account of the ice-pack. The equipment of the ship
hardly seems to have justified wintering; prudence called for a speedy
retreat, but a gale came down of such severity that Gerlache thrust the
ship into the pack for shelter from the heavy breakers on February 28,
and finding wide lanes opening under the influence of wind and swell, he
pushed southward against the advice of the scientific members of the
expedition, determined to make every effort to outdistance all previous
explorers towards the pole. On March 3, 1898, the _Belgica_ found
herself in 71° 30' South and about 85° West. An effort to return was
unavailing; on the 4th she was fast in the floe, unable to move in any
direction, and she remained a prisoner of the ice until February 14,
1899, and then took another month to clear all the pack and reach the
open sea. For a year she had been drifting north, west, south and east,
in Bellingshausen Sea; even in winter the floe was never at rest, and
almost all the time she kept south of the parallel of 70° over water
which shallowed from great depths in the north to about two hundred and
fifty fathoms in the southern stretches of the drift, evidently on the
sloping approach to extensive land. The expedition suffered greatly in
health during the winter from inadequate food, and from the absence of
proper light in the terrible darkness of the long night. Despite all its
difficulties the _Belgica_ had done more to promote a scientific
knowledge of the Antarctic regions than any of the costly expeditions
that went before, and the Belgian Government, coming to the rescue
after her return, provided adequate funds for working out the results.

Bellingshausen Sea was visited again in 1904 by Dr. J. B. Charcot in the
_Français_, which followed the route of the _Belgica_ along the coast of
Graham Land, afterwards wintering in Port Charcot, a harbour on Wandel
Island in 65° South. Returning southward in the summer of 1904-5 he
discovered land, named Terre Loubet, between Graham Land and Alexander I
Land, but its exact position has not been stated. This French cruise was
important as a preliminary to the expedition under Charcot, which left
in 1908 and is now in those waters with the intention of pushing
exploration to the Farthest South, in a ship named with a dash of humour
and a flash of hope the _Pourquoi Pas_?

Two voyages of exploration in Weddell Sea may for convenience be
referred to here. In October 1901, Dr. Otto Nordenskjold left Gothenberg
in the old _Antarctic_, under the command of Captain Larsen, for an
expedition which he had got up by his personal efforts. He arrived at
the South Shetlands in January 1902, but found it impossible even to
reach the Antarctic Circle on the coast of Oscar Land. Allowing the ship
to go north for work among the islands, Nordenskjold wintered for two
years, 1902 and 1903, in a timber house on Snow Hill Island in 64° 25'
South. Only one year's wintering had been contemplated, but the
_Antarctic_ was crushed in the ice and sank, fortunately without loss of
life. A relief ship was despatched from Sweden, but shortly before she
arrived Nordenskjold and his companions had been rescued by the
unprotected Argentine naval vessel _Uruguay_, under Captain Irizar.

Dr. W. S. Bruce, who had been to Weddell Sea in the _Balaena_ in 1892,
and had since then taken part in several Arctic expeditions, succeeded
by dint of hard work and the unceasing advocacy of the further
exploration of Weddell Sea, in enlisting the aid of a number of persons
in Scotland, and notably of Mr. James Coats, Jr., of Paisley, and Major
Andrew Coats, D.S.O., and fitting out an expedition on the _Scotia_. He
left the Clyde in November 1902, with Captain Thomas Robertson in
command of the ship, Mr. R. C. Mossman, the well-known meteorologist,
Mr. Rudmose Brown and Mr. D. W. Wilton as naturalists, and Dr. J. H. H.
Pirie as surgeon and geologist. After calling at the South Orkneys, the
_Scotia_ got south to 70° 25' South in 17° West on February 22, 1903,
not far from the position reached by Ross. Valuable oceanographical work
was done, and on returning to the South Orkneys, Mr. Mossman landed
there with a party to keep up regular meteorological observations while
the ship proceeded to the River Plate. On her return in the following
year the Argentine Government took over the meteorological work in the
South Orkneys, which has been kept up ever since, to the great
advancement of knowledge. The _Scotia_ made another dash to the south on
the same meridian as before, and on March 2, 1904, when in 72° 18' South
and 18° West, a high ice-barrier was seen stretching from north-east to
south-west, the depth of the sea being 1131 fathoms, a marked diminution
from the prevailing depths. The Barrier was occasionally seen in
intervals of mist, and March 6 being a clear day allowed the edge to be
followed to the south-west to a point one hundred and fifty miles from
the place where it was first sighted. The depth, two and a half miles
from the Barrier edge, pack-ice preventing a nearer approach, was 159
fathoms. The description of the appearance of the Barrier given in the
"Cruise of the _Scotia_" is very brief: "The surface of this great
Inland Ice of which the Barrier was the terminal face or sea-front
seemed to rise up very gradually in undulating slopes, and faded away in
height and distance into the sky, though in one place there appeared to
be the outline of distant hills; if so they were entirely ice-covered,
no naked rock being visible." Ross or Moore would certainly have charted
this as an "appearance of land"; Bruce knew from the shoaling water and
the nature of the deposits that he was in the vicinity of land and gave
it the name of Coats Land after his principal supporters. He could get
no farther and returned from 74° 1' South in 22° West, a point almost as
far south as Weddell had got in his attempt one hundred and eighty miles
farther west. The _Scotia_ rendered immense service to science by her
large biological collections, her unique series of deep-sea soundings in
high latitudes and the permanent gain of a sub-Antarctic meteorological
station.

The next step in exploration by way of Ross Sea was the fitting-out by
Sir George Newnes of an expedition under the leadership of Mr. C. E.
Borchgrevink, on board the _Southern Cross_, a stout Norwegian whaler
with Captain Jensen, who had been chief officer in the _Antarctic_ when
she went to Ross Sea in 1895, as master. Lieutenant Colbeck, R.N.R.,
went as magnetic observer, Mr. L. C. Bernacchi, a resident in Tasmania,
who had arranged to join the _Belgica_ if she had gone out by Australia,
as meteorologist, and Mr. Nicolai Hanson, of the British Museum, as
zoologist. The _Southern Cross_ left Hobart on December 19, 1898, and
entered the pack about the meridian of the Balleny Islands, 165° East;
but after being forced out again on the northern side after six weeks'
struggling to get south, she re-entered the pack in 174° East and was
through in the clear waters of Ross Sea in six hours on February 11,
1899. A wooden house and stores for the winter were landed at Cape Adare
in 71° 15' South, and there the shore-party went into winter quarters,
the ship returning to the north. An important series of meteorological
observations was secured during the year of residence, valuable
zoological and geological collections were made, and the habits of the
penguins were studied; but the few attempts at land exploration were
without result. On January 28, 1900, Captain Jensen returned with the
_Southern Cross_ and on February 2, the Cape Adare colony embarked and
set out southward along the coast of Victoria Land. Landings were
effected at various points, including the base of Mount Melbourne, where
reindeer-moss was found growing, and at Cape Crozier. There was much
less ice along the coast than when Ross had visited it. The _Southern
Cross_, after sighting Mount Erebus and Mount Terror, ran eastward along
the Great Barrier far closer to the ice-cliffs than Ross could go in his
sailing ships, and Colbeck's survey showed that the Barrier had receded
on the whole some thirty miles to the south. Parts of the Barrier were
quite low, and Borchgrevink landed in 164° West, the ship being laid
alongside the ice as if it had been a quay, and made a short journey on
ski southward over the surface on February 19, 1900, reaching 78° 50'
South, forty miles beyond Ross' farthest and six hundred and seventy
miles from the Pole, the nearest yet attained. The sea was beginning to
freeze and the _Southern Cross_ made haste for home.

Following on various less weighty efforts set in motion by the
resolution of the International Geographical Congress in 1895, all the
eminent men of science who had the renewal of Antarctic exploration at
heart met in the rooms of the Royal Society in London in February 1898,
when Sir John Murray read a stimulating paper. This was followed by a
discussion in which part was taken by the veteran Antarctic explorer Sir
Joseph Hooker, by the most successful of Arctic explorers Dr. Fridtjof
Nansen, by Dr. von Neumayer, who had never ceased for half a century to
advocate renewed exploration, and by Sir Clements Markham, President of
the Royal Geographical Society. A Joint Committee of the Royal Society
and the Royal Geographical Society undertook the equipment of a British
expedition and carried it through under the constant stimulus and
direction of Sir Clements Markham, while funds were subscribed by
various wealthy individuals, by the Royal Geographical Society, and in
largest measure by Government. In Germany a national expedition was got
up at the same time under the command of Professor Erich von Drygalski
to co-operate by means of simultaneous magnetic and meteorological
observations in a different quarter with the British expedition. For the
present purpose it is enough to say that the German expedition on board
the _Gauss_ descended on the Antarctic Circle by the 90th meridian, and
was caught in the pack at the end of February 1902, not far from Wilkes'
"appearance" of Termination Land, and in sight of a hill called the
Gaussberg on a land discovered by the expedition and named Kaiser
Wilhelm Land. The ship remained fast for a year, and an immense amount
of scientific investigation was carried out with characteristic
thoroughness. On her release in February 1903, the _Gauss_ tried to push
westward in a high latitude, but could not reach the Antarctic Circle
and, failing to get permission for another season's work, she returned
laden with rich scientific collections and voluminous observations.

The Joint Committee in London built the _Discovery_ at an expense of
£52,000, making her immensely strong to resist ice pressure and securing
the absence of any magnetic metal in a large area so that magnetic
observations of high precision might be carried out. Sir Clements
Markham selected as commander Lieutenant Robert F. Scott, R.N., a most
fortunate choice, for no one could have been better fitted by
disposition and training to ensure success. The second in command was
Lieutenant Albert Armitage, R.N.R., who had had Arctic experience, and
the other officers were Lieutenants C. Royds, R.N.; M. Barne, R.N.; E.
H. Shackleton, R.N.R.; Engineer-Lieutenant Skelton, R.N.; Dr. R.
Koettlitz, who had been a comrade of Armitage's in the north, and Dr. E.
A. Wilson, an artist of great ability. The scientific staff included, in
addition to the surgeons who were also zoologists, Mr. L. C. Bernacchi,
who had been on the _Southern Cross_ expedition, as physicist; as
biologist Mr. T. V. Hodgson, and as geologist Mr. H. T. Ferrar.
Meteorological and oceanographical work were undertaken by officers of
the ship. The objects of the expedition were primarily magnetic
observations, the costly construction of the ship being largely due to
the arrangements for this purpose, then meteorological and
oceanographical observations and the collection of zoological and
geological specimens, and of course geographical exploration. Three
pieces of exploration were specified in the instructions, an attempt to
reach the land which Ross believed to exist east of the Barrier, though
he charted it as an appearance only, a journey westward into the
mountains of Victoria Land, and a journey southward. An attempt to reach
the Pole was neither recommended nor forbidden. The Royal Geographical
Society has always deprecated attempts to attain high latitudes north
or south unless as an incident in systematic scientific work. The
_Discovery_ left Lyttelton on December 24, 1901, met the pack on January
1, 1902, and got through it into Ross Sea in a week in 174° East.
Landings were made at Cape Adare, at various points along the coast of
Victoria Land, and on January 22 at the base of Mount Terror, near Cape
Crozier. From this point the Great Barrier was coasted to the east,
close along its edge, and on the 29th in 165° East the depth of water
was found to be less than a hundred fathoms, a strong indication of the
approach to land. The Barrier had receded about thirty miles since Ross
was in those seas, and there was much less pack-ice than during his
visit; the date also was earlier and Scott was able to penetrate almost
to 150° West before being stopped by heavy ice. The land was plainly
seen, its higher summits being 2000 to 3000 ft. above the sea, and bare
rocks projected from the snow covering of the hills. Thus the first
geographical problem set to the expedition was promptly and
satisfactorily solved. Although no landing was made on King Edward VII
Land, the King's first godchild of discovery, as Victoria Land had been
the late Queen's, the _Discovery_ was laid alongside a low part of the
Barrier in 164° West, and the captive balloon was raised for a
comprehensive view. Returning to McMurdo Bay, Scott showed that the
Parry Mountains, running south from Mount Erebus, were not in fact
there; Ross had probably seen the southern range across the Barrier. It
soon became evident that Ross' original impression that Mount Erebus
rose from an island was correct, and this land was named Ross Island.
McMurdo Bay also was found not to be a bay at all, but the opening of a
strait leading southward between Ross Island and the mainland. By the
middle of February 1902, the _Discovery_ had taken up winter quarters on
the extreme south of Ross Island, and a large hut had been erected on
shore, with smaller huts for the magnetic and other instruments. The
winter, four hundred miles farther south than any man had wintered
before, was passed pleasantly by all, a great feature being the
appearance of the _South Polar Times_, which owed much of its
attractiveness to the editorship of E. H. Shackleton and to the art of
E. A. Wilson.

With the spring a new era in Antarctic exploration was inaugurated in
the series of sledge Journeys, for which elaborate preparations had been
made. Here Captain Scott showed himself possessed of all the qualities
of a pioneer, adapting the methods of Sir Leopold McClintock and Dr.
Nansen for Arctic ice travel to the different conditions prevailing in
the Antarctic. In preparation for the great effort towards the south a
depot had been laid out on the ice, and on November 2, 1902, Scott,
Shackleton and Wilson, with four sledges and nineteen dogs, stepped out
into the unknown on the surface of the Barrier. It was necessary at
first to make the journeys by relays, going over the ground three times
to bring up the stores; but the loads were lightened as the food was
used and by leaving a depot in 80° 30' South to be picked up on the
return journey. Snowy weather was experienced but the temperature was
not excessively low. The dogs, however, rapidly weakened, but by
December 30, the little party reached latitude 82° 17' South, after
fifty-nine days' travelling from winter quarters in 77° 49' South. They
had passed over comparatively uniform snow-covered ice, probably afloat,
and their track stretched parallel to a great mountain range which rose
on their right. Whenever they approached the position of the mountains
the surface was always found to be rougher, thrown into ridges or cleft
by great crevasses. Failing provisions compelled them to stop at length,
and a great chasm in the ice prevented them from reaching the land; but
they had made their way to a point 3° 27' or 297 miles farther south
than Borchgrevink and were 463 miles from the Pole. It was the greatest
advance ever made over a previous farthest in poleward progress in
either hemisphere, and the first long land journey in the Antarctic.
Great mountain summits were seen beyond the farthest point reached; one
named Mount Markham rose to about 15,000 ft., another, Mount Longstaff,
was lower but farther south. The range appeared to be trending
south-eastward in the distance. The return journey was made in
thirty-four days, and the ship was reached on February 3, 1903; the dogs
were all dead and had long been useless, the men themselves had been
attacked by scurvy, the ancient scourge of polar explorers, and
Shackleton's health was in a very serious state; but a journey such as
had never been made before had been accomplished, and new methods of
travel had been evolved and tested. Meantime shorter expeditions had
been sent out from winter quarters, and Armitage had pioneered a way up
one of the great glaciers which descended from the western mountains.
The relief ship _Morning_, under Captain Colbeck, who had charted the
Barrier on the _Southern Cross_ expedition, arrived in McMurdo Sound on
January 25, 1903; but unbroken sea ice prevented the ship from reaching
the _Discovery_'s winter quarters by ten miles. On March 3 she sailed
for the north, leaving Lieutenant Mulock, R.N., to take the place of
Lieutenant Shackleton, who was a reluctant passenger, invalided home. In
the second winter the acetylene gas-plant was brought into use, and by
this means the living-rooms were lighted brilliantly, and with the fresh
food brought by the _Morning_, the sufferers from scurvy recovered, and
the health of all remained excellent throughout the winter. Sledge
expeditions set out again early in the spring, the most successful being
that led by Captain Scott into the western mountains. Starting on
October 26, he ascended the Ferrar Glacier to the summit of a great
plateau of which the mountains formed the broken edge, and the party
travelled without dogs, hauling their own sledges over a flat surface of
compacted snow nine thousand feet above sea-level to the longitude of
146° 33' East, a distance of 278 statute miles from the ship. This
journey proved the existence of a surface beyond the mountains which,
although only to be reached by the toilsome and dangerous climbing of a
crevassed glacier, and subject to the intensified cold of high
altitudes, was as practicable as the Barrier surface itself for rapid
travelling, as rapidity is counted in those regions. Thus Scott was able
to demonstrate the facility of both kinds of ice travel, over the
Antarctic continent as over the Antarctic Sea.

On February 19, 1904, the _Discovery_ escaped from the harbour in which
she had been frozen for two years. The _Morning_ had again come south to
meet her with orders to desert the ship if she could not be freed from
the ice; and a larger ship, the Terra Nova, had been sent by the
Admiralty to satisfy the fears of nervous hearts at home. The one thing
wanting to round off the expedition was a supply of coal to enable the
_Discovery_ to follow the track of Wilkes' vessels from the Balleny
Islands westward; but the relief ships were only able to spare a
trifling quantity and the opportunity was lost. Scott carried on to the
west far south of Wilkes' route to 154° East, showing that the land
charted by the American expedition west of that meridian did not exist
in the assigned positions; then with barely coal enough left to carry
her to New Zealand the _Discovery_ left the Antarctic regions and the
great South Polar expedition came to an end. It is interesting to note
that although no catastrophe such as those which darken the pages of
Arctic history has ever happened in the Antarctic, no expedition had
gone out without the loss of some of its members by accident or illness.
On the _Discovery_ the two deaths which occurred were by accident only.

The _Gauss_ and the _Discovery_ were sold soon after the return of the
expeditions; the working up and publication of the scientific results
obtained were for the most part entrusted to museums and public
institutions; the members of the expeditions returned to their former
duties or sought new employments, and the societies which had promoted
the expeditions turned their attention to other things. The South Polar
regions were left as the arena of private efforts, and in this volume
the reader will learn how the enthusiasm and devotion of an individual
has once more vindicated the character of the British nation for going
far and faring well in the face of difficulties before which it would
have been no dishonour to turn back.


CONTENTS

CHAPTER I
   THE INCEPTION AND PREPARATION OF THE EXPEDITION
CHAPTER II
   THE STAFF
CHAPTER III
   THE FIRST STAGE
CHAPTER IV
   LYTTELTON TO THE ANTARCTIC CIRCLE
CHAPTER V
   THE ATTEMPT TO REACH KING EDWARD VII LAND
CHAPTER VI
   THE SELECTION OF THE WINTER QUARTERS
CHAPTER VII
   THE LANDING OF STORES AND EQUIPMENT
CHAPTER VIII
   A BLIZZARD: THE DEPARTURE OF THE _NIMROD_
CHAPTER IX
   AROUND THE WINTER QUARTERS: COMPLETION OF THE HUT
CHAPTER X
   FIRST DAYS IN WINTER QUARTERS
CHAPTER XI
   SLEDGING EQUIPMENT: PONIES AND DOGS
CHAPTER XII
   THE CONQUEST OF MOUNT EREBUS
CHAPTER XIII
   RESULTS OF THE EREBUS JOURNEY
CHAPTER XIV
   LIFE AND WORK IN WINTER QUARTERS
CHAPTER XV
   THE POLAR NIGHT
CHAPTER XVI
   SPRING SLEDGING JOURNEYS
CHAPTER XVII
   SOUTHERN DEPOT JOURNEY
CHAPTER XVIII
   PREPARATION FOR THE SOUTHERN JOURNEY
CHAPTER XIX
   FIRST DAYS OF THE SOUTHERN MARCH
CHAPTER XX
   STEADY PROGRESS: THE SIGHTING OF NEW LAND
CHAPTER XXI
   BEYOND ALL FORMER FOOTSTEPS
CHAPTER XXII
   ON THE GREAT GLACIER
CHAPTER XXIII
   ON THE PLATEAU TO THE FARTHEST SOUTH
CHAPTER XXIV
   THE RETURN MARCH
CHAPTER XXV
   THE FINAL STAGE




CHAPTER I

THE INCEPTION AND
PREPARATION OF THE EXPEDITION

MEN go out into the void spaces of the world for various reasons. Some
are actuated simply by a love of adventure, some have the keen thirst
for scientific knowledge, and others again are drawn away from the
trodden paths by the "lure of little voices", the mysterious fascination
of the unknown. I think that in my own case it was a combination of
these factors that determined me to try my fortune once again in the
frozen south. I had been invalided home before the conclusion of the
_Discovery_ expedition, and I had a very keen desire to see more of the
vast continent that lies amid the Antarctic snows and glaciers. Indeed
the stark polar lands grip the hearts of the men who have lived on them
in a manner that can hardly be understood by the people who have never
got outside the pale of civilisation. I was convinced, moreover, that
an expedition on the lines I had in view could justify itself by the
results of its scientific work. The _Discovery_ expedition had brought
back a great store of information, and had performed splendid service in
several important branches of science. I believed that a second
expedition could carry the work still further. The _Discovery_
expedition had gained knowledge of the great chain of mountains running
in a north and south direction from Cape Adare to latitude 82° 17'
South, but whether this range turned to the south-east or eastward for
any considerable distance was not known, and therefore the southern
limits of the Great Ice Barrier plain had not been defined. The glimpses
gained of King Edward VII Land from the deck of the _Discovery_ had not
enabled us to determine either its nature or its extent, and the mystery
of the Barrier remained unsolved. It was a matter of importance to the
scientific world that information should be gained regarding the
movement of the ice-sheet that forms the Barrier. Then I wanted to find
out what lay beyond the mountains to the south of latitude 82° 17' and
whether the Antarctic continent rose to a plateau similar to the one
found by Captain Scott beyond the western mountains. There was much to
be done in the field of meteorology, and this work was of particular
importance to Australia and New Zealand, for these countries are
affected by weather conditions that have their origin in the Antarctic.
Antarctic zoology, though somewhat limited, as regarded the range of
species, had very interesting aspects, and I wanted to devote some
attention to mineralogy, apart from general geology. The Aurora
Australis, atmospheric electricity, tidal movements, hydrography,
currents of the air, ice formations and movements, biology and geology,
offered an unlimited field for research, and the despatch of an
expedition seemed to be justified on scientific grounds quite apart from
the desire to gain a high latitude.

The difficulty that confronts most men who wish to undertake exploration
work is that of finance, and in this respect I was rather more than
ordinarily handicapped. The equipment and despatch of an Antarctic
expedition means the expenditure of very many thousands of pounds,
without the prospect of any speedy return, and with a reasonable
probability of no return at all. I drew up my scheme on the most
economical lines, as regarded both ship and staff, but for over a year I
tried vainly to raise sufficient money to enable me to make a start. I
secured introductions to a wealthy men, and urged to the best of my
ability the importance of the work I proposed to undertake, but the
money was not forthcoming, and it almost seemed as though I should have
to abandon the venture altogether. I persisted, and towards the end of
1906 I was encouraged by promises of support from one or two personal
friends. Then I made a fresh effort, and on February 12, 1907, I had
enough money promised to enable me to announce definitely that I would
go south with an expedition. As a matter of fact some of the promises of
support made to me could not be fulfilled, and I was faced by financial
difficulties right up to the time when the expedition sailed from
England. It was not till I arrived in New Zealand, and the Governments
of New Zealand and Australia came to my assistance with ready
generosity, that the position became more satisfactory.

In the _Geographical Journal_ for March 1907 I outlined my plan of
campaign, but this had to be changed in several respects at a later date
owing to the exigencies of circumstances. My intention was that the
expedition should leave New Zealand at the beginning of 1908, and
proceed to winter quarters on the Antarctic continent, the ship to land
the men and stores and then return. By avoiding having the ship frozen
in, I would render the use of a relief ship unnecessary, as the same
vessel could come south again the following summer and take us off.
"The shore-party of nine or twelve men will winter with sufficient
equipment to enable three separate parties to start out in the spring,"
I announced. "One party will go east, and, if possible, across the
Barrier to the new land known as King Edward VII Land, follow the
coastline there south, if the coast trends south, or north if north,
returning when it is considered necessary to do so. The second party
will proceed south over the same route as that of the southern
sledge-party of the _Discovery_; this party will keep from fifteen to
twenty miles from the coast, so as to avoid any rough ice. The third
party will possibly proceed westward over the mountains, and, instead of
crossing in a line due west, will strike towards the magnetic pole. The
main changes in equipment will be that Siberian ponies will be taken for
the sledge journeys both east and south, and also a specially designed
motor-car for the southern journey.... I do not intend to sacrifice the
scientific utility of the expedition to a mere record-breaking journey,
but say frankly, all the same, that one of my great efforts will be to
reach the southern geographical pole. I shall in no way neglect to
continue the biological, meteorological, geological and magnetic work
of the _Discovery_. I added that I would endeavour to sail along the
coast of Wilkes Land, and secure definite information regarding that
coastline.

The programme was an ambitious one for a small expedition, no doubt, but
I was confident, and I think I may claim that in some measure my
confidence has been justified. Before we finally left England, I had
decided that if possible I would establish my base on King Edward VII
Land instead of at the _Discovery_ winter quarters in McMurdo Sound, so
that we might break entirely new ground. The narrative will show how
completely, as far as this particular matter was concerned, all my
plans were upset by the demands of the situation. The journey to King
Edward VII Land over the Barrier was not attempted, owing largely to the
unexpected loss of ponies before the winter. I laid all my plans very
carefully, basing them on experience I had gained with the _Discovery_
expedition, and in the fitting out of the relief ships _Terra Nova_ and
_Morning_, and the _Argentine_ expedition that went to the relief of the
Swedes. I decided that I would have no committee, as the expedition was
entirely my own venture, and I wished to supervise personally all the
arrangements.

When I found that some promises of support had failed me and had learned
that the Royal Geographical Society, though sympathetic in its attitude,
could not see its way to assist financially, I approached several
gentlemen and suggested that they should guarantee me at the bank, the
guarantees to be redeemed by me in 1910, after the return of the
expedition. It was on this basis that I secured a sum of £20,000, the
greater part of the money necessary for the starting of the expedition,
and I cannot express too warmly my appreciation of the faith shown in me
and my plans by the men who gave these guarantees, which could be
redeemed only by the proceeds of lectures and the sale of this book
after the expedition had concluded its work. These preliminary matters
settled, I started to buy stores and equipment, to negotiate for a ship,
and to collect round me the men who would form the expedition.

The equipping of a polar expedition is a task demanding experience as
well as the greatest attention to points of detail. When the expedition
has left civilisation, there is no opportunity to repair any omission
or to secure any article that may have been forgotten. It is true that
the explorer is expected to be a handy man, able to contrive dexterously
with what materials he may have at hand, but makeshift appliances mean
increased difficulty and added danger. The aim of one who undertakes to
organise such an expedition must be to provide for every contingency,
and in dealing with this work I was fortunate in being able to secure
the assistance of Mr. Alfred Reid, who had already gained considerable
experience in connection with previous polar ventures. I appointed Mr.
Reid manager of the expedition, and I found him an invaluable
assistant. I was fortunate, too, in not being hampered by committees of
any sort. I kept the control of all the arrangements in my own hands,
and thus avoided the delays that are inevitable when a group of men have
to arrive at a decision on points of detail.

The first step was to secure an office in London, and we selected a
furnished room at 9 Regent Street, as the headquarters of the
expedition. The staff at this period consisted of Mr. Reid, a district
messenger and myself, but there was a typewriting office on the same
floor, and the correspondence, which grew in bulk day by day, could be
dealt with as rapidly as though I had employed stenographers and
typists of my own. I had secured estimates of the cost of
provisioning and equipping the expedition before I made any public
announcement regarding my intentions, so that there were no delays when
once active work had commenced. This was not an occasion for inviting
tenders, because it was Ad tally important that we should have the best
of everything, whether in food or gear, and I therefore selected, in
consultation with Mr. Reid, the firms that should be asked to supply us.
Then we proceeded to interview the heads of these firms, and we found
that in nearly every instance we were met with generous treatment as to
prices, and with ready co-operation in regard to details of manufacture
and packing.

Several very important points have to be kept in view in selecting the
food supplies for a polar expedition. In the first place the food must
be wholesome and nourishing in the highest degree possible. At one time
that dread disease scurvy used to be regarded as the inevitable result
of a prolonged stay in the ice-bound regions, and even the _Discovery_
expedition, during its labours in the Antarctic in the years 1902-4,
suffered from this complaint, which is often produced by eating
preserved food that is not in a perfectly wholesome condition. It is now
recognised that scurvy may be avoided if the closest attention is given
to the preparation and selection of food-stuffs along scientific lines,
and I may say at once that our efforts in this direction were
successful, for during the whole course of the expedition we had not one
case of sickness attributable directly or indirectly to the foods we had
brought with us. Indeed, beyond a few colds, apparently due to germs
from a bale of blankets, we experienced no sickness at all at the winter
quarters.

In the second place the food taken for use on the sledging expeditions
must be as light as possible, remembering always that extreme
concentration renders the food less easy of assimilation and therefore
less healthful. Extracts that may be suitable enough for use in
ordinary climates are little use in the polar regions, because under
conditions of very low temperature the heat of the body can be
maintained only by use of fatty and farinaceous foods in fairly large
quantities. Then the sledging-foods must be such as do not require
prolonged cooking, that is to say, it must be sufficient to bring them
to the boiling-point, for the amount of fuel that can be carried is
limited. It must be possible to eat the foods without cooking at all,
for the fuel may be lost or become exhausted.

More latitude is possible in the selection of foods to be used at the
winter quarters of the expedition, for the ship may be expected to reach
that point, and weight is therefore of less importance. My aim was to
secure a large variety of foods for use during the winter night. The
long months of darkness impose a severe strain on any men unaccustomed
to the conditions, and it is desirable to relieve the monotony in every
way possible. A variety of food is healthful, moreover, and this is
especially important at a period when it is difficult for the men to
take much exercise, and when sometimes they are practically confined to
the hut for days together by bad weather.

All these points were taken into consideration in the selection of our
food-stuffs, and the list that I append shows the more important items
of our provisions. I based my estimates on the requirements of twelve
men for two years, but this was added to in New Zealand when I increased
the staff. Some important articles of food were presented to the
expedition by the manufacturers, and others, such as the biscuits and
pemmican, were specially manufactured to my order. The question of
packing presented some difficulties, and I finally decided to use
"Venesta" cases for the food-stuffs and as much as possible of the
equipment. These cases are manufactured from composite boards prepared
by uniting three layers of birch or other hard wood with waterproof
cement. They are light, weatherproof and strong, and proved to be
eminently suited to our purposes. The cases I ordered measured about two
feet six inches by fifteen inches, and we used about 2500 of them. The
saving of weight, as compared with an ordinary packing-case, was about
four pounds per case, and we had no trouble at all with breakages, in
spite of the rough handling given our stores in the process of landing
at Cape Royds after the expedition had reached the Antarctic regions.


FOOD-SUPPLIES FOB THE SHORE-PARTY FOR TWO YEARS

  6720 lb. Colman's wheaten flour.
  6000 lb. various tinned meats.
  600 lb. ox and lunch tongues.
  800 lb. roast and boiled fowl, roast turkey, curried fowl, chicken
and ham pâté, &c.
  1000 lb. York hams.
  1400 lb. Wiltshire bacon.
  1400 lb. Danish butter.
  1000 lb. milk.
  1000 lb. "Glaxo" milk powder.
  1700 lb. lard, beef suet and beef marrow.
  1000 lb. moist sugar.
  500 lb. granulated sugar.
  260 lb. lump sugar.
  2600 lb. assorted tinned fish: haddocks, herrings, pilchards, salmon,
sardines, mackerel, lobster, whitebait, mullet.
  500 lb. Rowntree's elect cocoa.
  350 lb. Lipton's tea.
  1000 lb. cheese, mainly Cheddar.
  70 lb. coffee.
  1900 lb. assorted jams and marmalade.
  336 lb. golden syrup.
  3600 lb. cereals such as oatmeal, quaker oats, rice, barley, tapioca,
sago, semolina, cornflour, petit pois, haricots verts, marrow-fat
peas, split peas, lentils, dried haricot beans.
  3400 lb. assorted soups in tins.
  660 lb. assorted fruits: apricots, pears and pineapple chunks.
  1150 bottles bottled fruit.
  1000 lb. dried fruit: prunes, peaches, apricots, raisins, sultanas,
currants, apples.
  500 lb. salt.
  80 doz. assorted pickles, relishes, chutneys, sauces, &c. &c.
  120 lb. plum puddings.
  2800 lb. assorted dried vegetables (equivalent to about 30,000 lb.
of fresh vegetables): potatoes, cabbage, carrots, onions,
Brussels-sprouts, cauliflower, celery, spinach, Scotch kale, parsnips,
parsley, mint, rhubarb, mushrooms, beetroot, artichokes.

  1000 lb. pemmican (best beef with 60 per cent. of fat added).

The best pemmican was that supplied by J. D. Beauvais, of
Copenhagen.

  2240 lb. of wholemeal biscuits with 25 per cent, of plasmon added.
  12 doz. tins beef plasmon.
  6 doz. tins plasmon powder.
  6 doz. tins plasmon cocoa.
  448 lb. wholemeal biscuits.
  448 lb. Garibaldi biscuits.
  224 lb. ginger nuts.
  150 lb. whole-egg powder.
  20 lb. albumen.
  200 lb. of Oxo, Lemco and other brands of meat extract.*

[* The following firms presented us with food-stuffs, all of which
proved entirely satisfactory:--Messrs. J. and J. Colman, Ltd., of
Norwich: 9 tons wheat flour, ½ ton self-raising flour, ½ ton wheat meal,
1 cwt. cornflour, 84 lb. best mustard, 1¾ gross mixed mustard. Messrs.
Rowntree and Co., Ltd., York: 1700 lb. elect cocoa (28 per cent, of
fat), 200 lb. Queen's chocolate. Messrs. Alfred Bird and Sons, Ltd.,
Birmingham: 120 doz. custard, baking, egg, crystal jelly, and
blancmange powders, Liebig's Extract of Meat Co., Ltd., London: "Oxo",
"Service oxo emergency food", "Lemco", and Fray Bentos ox tongues.
Evans, Sons, Lescher and Webb, Ltd., London: 27 cases Montserrat
lime-juice. Messrs. Lipton, Ltd.: 350 lb. Ceylon tea.]

Some additions were made to our food-supplies after the arrival of the
_Nimrod_ in New Zealand. Messrs. Nathan and Company, of Wellington,
presented the expedition with sixty-eight cases of "Glaxo" dried milk,
and this preparation, which consists of the solid constituents of fresh
milk, was a valuable addition to our food-stuffs. The same firm
presented us with 192 lb. of New Zealand butter and two cases of New
Zealand cheese. Some farmers generously provided thirty-two live sheep,
which were killed in the Antarctic and allowed to freeze for winter
consumption. Several other acceptable gifts were made to us before the
_Nimrod_ left Lyttelton.

It was arranged that supplies for thirty-eight men for one year should
be carried by the _Nimrod_ when the vessel went south for the second
time to bring back the shore-party. This was a precautionary measure in
case the _Nimrod_ should get caught in the ice and compelled to spend a
winter in the Antarctic, in which case we would still have had one
year's provisions in hand. I append a list showing the principal items
of the relief supplies.

RELIEF FOOD-SUPPLIES, THIRTY-EIGHT MEN FOR ONE YEAR

  3800 lb. assorted New Zealand tinned meats.
  1300 lb. New Zealand butter.
  100 lb. tea.
  60 lb. coffee.
  1000 lb. Rowntree's elect cocoa.
  60 doz, bottles bottled fruit.
  16 doz. jars jam.
  220 lb. assorted tinned fish.
  540 lb. sardines.
  280 lb. New Zealand cheese.
  1440 fresh New Zealand eggs packed in salt.
  250 lb. dried figs.
  11,200 lb. Colman's wheat flour.
  560 lb. Colman's wheat meal.
  28 lb. Colman's mustard.
  1 gross Colman's mixed mustard.
  800 lb. assorted meats.
  1600 lb. York hams.
  2600 lb. bacon.
  560 lb. beef suet
  1600 lb. milk.
  2300 lb. sugar.
  2800 lb. assorted tinned fish.
  450 tins baked beans and tomato sauce.
  3000 lb. assorted jams and marmalade.
  540 lb. golden syrup.
  5800 lb. cereals: oatmeal, quaker oats, rice, barley, sago, tapioca,
semolina, cornflour, haricot verts, marrow-fat peas, split peas,
lentils, dried haricot beans.
  1050 lb. assorted tinned soups.
  1050 lb. pears, apricots, and pineapple chunks in syrup.
  1500 lb. dried fruits.
  80 doz. pints assorted pickles, sauces, chutneys, &c.
  240 lb. plum puddings.
  3700 lb. assorted dried vegetables equal to about 40,000 lb. fresh
   vegetables.

After placing some of the principal orders for food-supplies, I went to
Norway with Mr. Reid in order to secure the sledges, fur boots and mits,
sleeping-bags, ski, and some other articles of equipment. I was
fortunate, on the voyage from Hull to Christiania, in making the
acquaintance of Captain Pepper, the commodore captain of the Wilson Line
of steamers. He took a keen interest in the expedition, and he was of
very great assistance to me in the months that followed, for he
undertook to inspect the sledges in the process of manufacture. He was
at Christiania once in each fortnight, and he personally looked to the
lashings and seizings as only a sailor could. We arrived at Christiania
on April 22, and then learned that Mr. C. S. Christiansen, the maker of
the sledges used on the _Discovery_ expedition, was in the United
States. This was a disappointment, but after consultation with
Scott-Hansen, who was the first lieutenant of the _Fram_ on Nansen's
famous expedition, I decided to place the work in the hands of Messrs.
L. H. Hagen and Company. The sledges were to be of the Nansen pattern,
built of specially selected timber, and of the best possible
workmanship. I ordered ten twelve-foot sledges, eighteen eleven-foot
sledges! and two seven-foot sledges. The largest ones would be suitable
for pony-haulage. The eleven foot ones could be drawn by either ponies
or men, and the small pattern would be useful for work around the winter
quarters and for short journeys such as the scientists of the expedition
were likely to undertake. The timbers used for the sledges were seasoned
ash and American hickory, and in addition to Captain Pepper, Captain
Isaachsen and Lieutenant Scott-Hansen, both experienced Arctic
explorers, watched the work of construction on my behalf. Their interest
was particularly valuable to me, for they were able in many little ways
hardly to be understood by the lay reader to ensure increased strength
and efficiency. I had formed the opinion that an eleven-foot sledge was
best for general work, for it was not so long as to be unwieldy, and at
the same time was long enough to ride over sastrugi and hummocky ice.
Messrs. Hagen and Company did their work thoroughly well, and the
sledges proved all that I could have desired.

The next step was to secure the furs that the expedition would require,
and for this purpose we went to Drammen and made the necessary
arrangements with Mr. W. C. Moller. We selected skins for the
sleeping-bags, taking those of young reindeer, with short thick fur,
less liable to come out under conditions of dampness than is the fur of
the older deer. Our furs did not make a very large order, for after the
experience of the _Discovery_ expedition I decided to use fur only for
the feet and hands and for the sleeping-bags, relying for all other
purposes on woollen garments with an outer covering of wind-proof
material. I ordered three large sleeping-bags, to hold three men each,
and twelve one-man bags. Each bag had the reindeer fur inside, and the
seams were covered with leather, strongly sewn. The flaps overlapped
about eight inches, and the head of the bag was sewn up to the top of
the fly. There were three toggles for fastening the bag up when the man
was inside. The toggles were about eight inches apart. The one-man bags
weighed about ten pounds when dry, but of course the weight increased as
they absorbed moisture when in use.

The foot-gear I ordered consisted of eighty pairs of ordinary finnesko,
or reindeer fur boots, twelve pairs of special finnesko and sixty pairs
of ski boots of various sizes. The ordinary finnesko is made from the
skin of the reindeer stag's head, with the fur outside, and its shape
is roughly that of a very large boot without any laces. It is large
enough to hold the foot, several pairs of socks, and a supply of
sennegrass, and it is a wonderfully comfortable and warm form of
foot-gear. The special finnesko are made from the skin of the reindeer
stag's legs, but they are not easily secured, for the reason that the
native tribes, not unreasonably, desire to keep the best goods for
themselves. I had a man sent to Lapland to barter for finnesko of the
best kind, but he only succeeded in getting twelve pairs. The ski boots
are made of soft leather, with the upper coming right round under the
sole, and a flat piece of leather sewn on top of the upper. They are
made specially for use with ski, and are very useful for summer wear.
They give the foot plenty of play and do not admit water. The heel is
very low, so that the foot can rest firmly on the ski. I bought five
prepared reindeer skins for repairing, and a supply of repairing gear,
such as sinew, needles and waxed thread.

I have mentioned that sennegrass is used in the finnesko. This is a
dried grass of long fibre, with a special quality of absorbing
moisture. I bought fifty kilos (109.37 lb.) in Norway for use on the
expedition. The grass is sold in wisps, bound up tightly, and when the
finnesko are being put on, some of it is teased out and a pad placed
along the sole under the foot. Then when the boot has been pulled on
more grass is stuffed round the heel. The grass absorbs the moisture
that is given off from the skin, and prevents the sock freezing to the
sole of the boot, which would then be difficult to remove at night. The
grass is pulled out at night, shaken loose, and allowed to freeze. The
moisture that has been collected congeals in the form of frost, and the
greater part of it can be shaken away before the grass is replaced on
the following morning. The grass is gradually used up on the march, and
it is necessary to take a fairly large supply, but it is very light and
takes up little room.

I ordered from Mr. Moller sixty pairs of wolfskin and dogskin mits, made
with the fur outside, and sufficiently long to protect the wrists. The
mits had one compartment for the four fingers and another for the thumb,
and they were worn over woollen gloves. They were easily slipped off
when the use of the fingers was required, and they were hung round the
neck with lamp-wick in order that they might not get lost on the march.
The only other articles of equipment I ordered in Norway were twelve
pairs of ski, which were supplied by Messrs. Hagen and Company. They
were not used on the sledging journeys at all, but were useful around
the winter quarters. I stipulated that all the goods were to be
delivered in London by June 15, for the _Nimrod_ was to leave England
on June 30.

At this time I had not finally decided to buy the _Nimrod_, though the
vessel was under offer to me, and before I left Norway I paid a visit to
Sandy fjord in order to see whether I could come to terms with Mr. C.
Christiansen, the owner of the _Bjorn_. This ship was specially built
for polar work, and would have suited my purposes most admirably. She
was a new vessel of about 700 tons burthen and with powerful
triple-expansion engines, better equipped in every way than the
forty-year-old _Nimrod_, but I found that I could not afford to buy her,
much as I would have wished to do so. Finally, I placed orders with some
of the Norwegian food-preserving companies for special tinned foods such
as fish balls, roast reindeer and roast ptarmigan, which were very
attractive luxuries during the winter night in the south.

When I returned to London I purchased the _Nimrod_, which was then
engaged on a sealing venture, and was expected to return to Newfoundland
within a short time. The ship was small and old, and her maximum speed
under steam was hardly more than six knots, but on the other hand, she
was strongly built, and quite able to face rough treatment in the ice.
Indeed, she had already received a good many hard knocks in the course
of a varied career. The _Nimrod_ did not return to Newfoundland as soon
as I had hoped, and when she did arrive she proved to be somewhat
damaged from contact with the ice, which had overrun her and damaged her
bulwarks. She was inspected on my behalf and pronounced sound, and,
making a fairly rapid passage, arrived in the Thames on June 15. I must
confess that I was disappointed when I first examined the little ship, to
which I was about to commit the hopes and aspiration of many years. She
was very dilapidated and smelt strongly of seal-oil, and an inspection
in dock showed that she required caulking and that her masts would have
to be renewed. She was rigged only as a schooner and her masts were
decayed, and I wanted to be able to sail her in the event of the engine
breaking down or the supply of coal running short. There was only a few
weeks to elapse before the date fixed for our departure, and it was
obvious that we would have to push the work ahead very quickly if she
was to be ready in time. I had not then become acquainted with the many
good qualities of the _Nimrod_, and my first impression hardly did
justice to the plucky old ship.

I proceeded at once to put the ship in the hands of Messrs. R. and H.
Green, of Blackwall, the famous old firm that built so many of Britain's
"wooden walls", and that had done fitting and repair work for several
other polar expeditions. She was docked for the necessary caulking, and
day by day assumed a more satisfactory appearance. The signs of former
conflicts with the ice-floes disappeared, and the masts and running-gear
were prepared for the troubled days that were to come. Even the
penetrating odour of seal-oil ceased to offend after much vigorous
scrubbing of decks and holds, and I began to feel that after all the
_Nimrod_ would do the expedition no discredit. Later still I grew really
proud of the sturdy little ship.

In the meantime Mr. Reid and myself had been very busy completing the
equipment of the expedition, and I had been gathering round me the men
who were to compose the staff. As I had indicated when making the first
announcement regarding the expedition, I did not intend that the
_Nimrod_ should remain in the Antarctic during the winter. The ship was
to land a shore-party, with stores and equipment, and then to return to
New Zealand, where she would wait until the time arrived to bring us
back to civilisation. It was therefore very necessary that we should
have a reliable hut in which to live during the Antarctic night until
the sledging journeys commenced. The hut would be our only refuge from
the fury of the blizzards and the intense cold of the winter months. I
thought then that the hut would have to accommodate twelve men, though
the number was later increased to fifteen, and I decided that the
outside measurements should be thirty-three feet by nineteen feet by
eight feet to the eaves. This was not large, especially in view of the
fact that we would have to store many articles of equipment and some of
the food in the hut, but a small building meant economy in fuel. The hut
was specially constructed to my order by Messrs. Humphreys, of
Knightsbridge, and after being erected and inspected in London was
shipped in sections in the _Nimrod_.

It was made of stout fir timbering of best quality in walls, roofs, and
floors, and the parts were all morticed and tenoned to facilitate
erection in the Antarctic. The walls were strengthened with iron cleats
bolted to main posts and horizontal timbering, and the roof principals
were provided with strong iron tie rods. The hut was lined with
match-boarding, and the walls and roof were covered externally first
with strong roofing felt, then with one-inch tongued and grooved
boards, and finally with another covering of felt. In addition to these
precautions against the extreme cold the four-inch space in framing
between the match-boarding and the first covering of felt was packed
with granulated cork, which assisted materially to render the wall
non-conducting. The hut was to be erected on wooden piles let into the
ground or ice, and rings were fixed to the apex of the roof so that guy
ropes might be used to give additional resistance to the gales. The hut
had two doors, connected by a small porch, so that ingress and egress
would not mean the admission of a draught of cold air, and the windows
were double, in order that the warmth of the hut might be retained.
There were two louvre ventilators in the roof, controlled from the
inside. The hut had no fittings, and we took little furniture, only some
chairs. I proposed to use cases for the construction of benches, beds
and other necessary articles of internal equipment. The hut was to be
lit with acetylene gas, and we took a generator, the necessary piping,
and a supply of carbide.

The cooking-range we used in the hut was manufactured by Messrs. Smith
and Wellstead, of London, and was four feet wide by two feet four inches
deep. It had a fire chamber designed to burn anthracite coal
continuously day and night and to heat a large superficial area of outer
plate, so that there might be plenty of warmth given off in the hut. The
stove had two ovens and a chimney of galvanised steel pipe, capped by a
revolving cowl. It was mounted on legs. This stove was erected in the
hut at the winter quarters, and with it we heated the building and did
all our cooking while we were there. We took also a portable stove on
legs, with a hot-water generator at the back of the fire, connected with
a fifteen-gallon tank, but this stove was not erected, as we did not
find that a second stove was required.

For use on the sledging expeditions I took six "Nansen" cookers made of
aluminium, and of the pattern that has been adopted, with slight
modifications, ever since Nansen made his famous journey in 1893-96.
The sledging-tents, of which I bought six, were made of light Willesden
rot-proof drill, with a "spout" entrance of Burberry gaberdine. They
were green in colour, as the shade is very restful to the eyes on the
white snow plains, and weighed thirty pounds each, complete with five
poles and floorcloth.

Each member of the expedition was supplied with two winter suits made of
heavy blue pilot cloth, lined with Jaeger fleece. A suit consisted of a
double-breasted jacket, vest and trousers, and weighed complete
fourteen and three-quarter pounds. The underclothing was secured from
the Dr. Jaeger Sanitary Woollen Company, and I ordered the following
articles:

 48 double-breasted vests. 144 pairs socks.
  48 double-fronted pants.  144 pairs stockings.
  24 pyjama suits.          48 sweaters.
  96 double-breasted shirts 144 pairs fleece wool bed-socks.
  24 colic belts.           48 pairs mits.
  12 cardigans.             48 pairs gloves.
  12 lined slippers.        48 pairs mittens.
  48 travelling-caps lined  12 Buxton fleece boots.
     with zanella.          12 under-waistcoats with
  48 felt mits. sleeves.

An outer suit of windproof material is necessary in the polar regions,
and I secured twenty-four suits of Burberry gaberdine, each suit
consisting of a short blouse, trouser overalls and a helmet cover. For
use in the winter quarters we took four dozen Jaeger camel-hair blankets
and sixteen camel-hair triple sleeping-bags.

I decided to take ponies, dogs, and a motor-car to assist in hauling our
sledges on the long journeys that I had in view, but my hopes were based
mainly on the ponies. Dogs had not proved satisfactory on the Barrier
surface, and I had not expected my dogs to do as well as they actually
did. The use of a motor-car was an experiment which I thought justified
by my experience of the character of the Barrier surface, but I knew
that it would not do to place much reliance on the machine in view of the
uncertainty of the conditions. I felt confident, however, that the hardy
ponies used in Northern China and Manchuria would be useful if they
could be landed on the ice in good condition. I had seen these ponies in
Shanghai, and I had heard of the good work they did on the
Jackson-Harmsworth expedition. They are accustomed to hauling heavy
loads in a very low temperature, and they are hardy, sure-footed and
plucky. I noticed that they had been used with success for very rough
work during the Russo-Japanese War, and a friend who had lived in
Siberia gave me some more information regarding their capabilities.

I therefore got into communication with the London manager of the Hong
Kong and Shanghai Bank (Mr. C. S. Addis), and he was able to secure the
services of a leading firm of veterinary surgeons in Shanghai. A
qualified man went to Tientsin on my behalf, and from a mob of about two
thousand of the ponies, brought down for sale from the northern regions,
he selected fifteen of the little animals for my expedition. The ponies
chosen were all over twelve and under seventeen years in age, and had
spent the early part of their lives in the interior of Manchuria. They
were practically unbroken, were about fourteen hands high, and were of
various colours. They were all splendidly strong and healthy, full of
tricks and wickedness, and ready for any amount of hard work over the
snowfields. The fifteen ponies were taken to the coast and shipped by
direct steamer to Australia. They came through the test of tropical
temperatures unscathed, and at the end of October 1908 arrived in
Sydney, where they were met by Mr. Reid and at once transferred to a New
Zealand bound steamer. The Colonial Governments kindly consented to
suspend the quarantine restrictions, which would have entailed exposure
to summer heat for many weeks, and thirty-five days after leaving China
the ponies were landed on Quail Island in Port Lyttelton, and were free
to scamper about and feed in idle luxury.

I decided to take a motor-car because I thought it possible, from my
previous experience, that we might meet with a hard surface on the Great
Ice Barrier, over which the first part at any rate of the journey
towards the south would have to be performed. On a reasonably good
surface the machine would be able to haul a heavy load at a rapid pace.
I selected a 12-15 horsepower New Arrol-Johnston car, fitted with a
specially designed air-cooled four-cylinder engine and Simms Bosch
magneto ignition. Water could not be used for cooling, as it would
certainly freeze. Round the carburetter was placed a small jacket, and
the exhaust gases from one cylinder were passed through this in order
that they might warm the mixing chamber before passing into the air. The
exhaust from the other cylinders was conveyed into a silencer that was
also to act as a foot-warmer. The frame of the car was of the standard
pattern, but the manufacturers had taken care to secure the maximum of
strength, in view of the fact that the car was likely to experience
severe strains at low temperature. I ordered a good supply of spare
parts in order to provide for breakages, and a special non-freezing oil
was prepared for me by Messrs. Price and Company. Petrol was taken in
the ordinary tins. I secured wheels of several special patterns as well
as ordinary wheels with rubber tyres, and I had manufactured wooden
runners to be placed under the front wheels for soft surfaces, the
wheels resting in chocks on top of the runners. The car in its original
form had two bracket seats, and a large trough behind for carrying
stores. It was packed in a large case and lashed firmly amidships on the
_Nimrod_, in which position it made the journey to the Antarctic
continent in safety.

I placed little reliance on the dogs, as I have already stated, but I
thought it advisable to take some of these animals. I knew that a
breeder in Stewart Island, New Zealand, had dogs descended from the
Siberian dogs used on the Newnes-Borchgrevink expedition, and I cabled
to him to supply as many as he could up to forty. He was only able to
let me have nine, but this team proved quite sufficient for the purposes
of the expedition, as the arrival of pups brought the number up to
twenty-two during the course of the work in the south.

The equipment of a polar expedition on the scientific side involved the
expenditure of a large sum of money and I felt the pinch of necessary
economies in this branch. I approached the Royal Society with a view to
securing the loan of the Eschenhagen magnetic instruments that had been
used by the _Discovery_, but that body was unable to lend them, as they
had been promised in connection with some other work. I was lent three
chronometer watches by the Royal Geographical Society, which very kindly
had them thoroughly overhauled and examined. I bought one chronometer
watch, and three wardens of the Skinners' Company gave me one which
proved the most accurate of all and was carried by me on the journey
towards the Pole.

The Geographical Society was able to send forward an application made by
me for the loan of some instruments and charts from the Admiralty, and
that body generously lent me the articles contained in the following
list:

 3 Lloyd-Creak dip circles.
  3 marine chronometers.
  1 station pointer 6 ft.
  1 set of charts, England to Cape and Cape to New Zealand.
  1 set of Antarctic charts.
  1 set of charts from New Zealand through Indian Ocean to Aden.
  1 set of charts, New Zealand to Europe _viâ_ Cape Horn.
  12 deep-sea thermometers.
  2 marine standard barometers.
  1 navy-pattern ship's telescope.
  1 ship's standard compass.
  2 azimuth mirrors (Lord Kelvin's type).
  1 deep-sea sounding-machine.
  3 heeling error instruments.
  1 3-in, portable astronomical telescope.
  1 Lucas deep sea sounding machine.

I placed an order for further scientific instruments with Messrs. Cary,
Porter and Company, Limited, of London, and amongst other instruments I
took the following:

 1 6-in. theodolite transit with micrometers to circle and
limb, reading to 5".
  1 electric thermometer complete with 440 yards of cable, including
recorder, battery, and 100 recorder sheets, recording-drum to
record every twenty-five hours.
  3 3-in. alt-azimuth theodolites, portable, complete with sliding
leg-stand.
  1 small observing sextant.
  6 explorers' compasses with luminous dial and shifting needle.
  3 3-in. surveying aneroids with altitude scale to 15,000 ft.
  3 pocket aneroids.
  4 standard thermometers.
  12 deep-sea thermometers, Admiralty pattern.
  12 deep-sea registering Admiralty pattern.
  4 prismatic compasses (R.G.S.) pattern.
  1 portable artificial horizon, aluminium.
  2 small plane tables complete with alidade.
  2 barographs.
  2 thermographs.
  1 Oertling balance and one set of weights
  1 Robinson anemometer.
  75 various thermometers.
  1 5-in. transit theodolite reading to 20" with short tripod stand.
  15 magnifiers.
  1 pair night binoculars.
  1 pair high-power binoculars.
  Quantity of special charts, drawing materials and instruments,
steel chains and tapes, levelling staves, ranging poles, &c.
  2 microscopes.

Amongst other instruments that we had with us on the expedition was a
four-inch transit theodolite, with Reeve's micrometers fitted to
horizontal and vertical circles. The photographic equipment included
nine cameras by various makers, plant for the dark-room, and a large
stock of plates, films and chemicals. We took also a cinematograph
machine in order that we might place on record the curious movements and
habits of the seals and penguins, and give the people at home a graphic
idea of what it means to haul sledges over the ice and snow.

The miscellaneous articles of equipment were too numerous to be
mentioned here in any detail. I had tried to provide for every
contingency, and the gear ranged from needles and nails to a Remington
typewriter and two Singer sewing machines. There was a gramophone to
provide us with music, and a printing press, with type, rollers, paper
and other necessaries, for the production of a book during the winter
night. We even had hockey sticks and a football.



CHAPTER II

THE STAFF

THE _personnel_ of an expedition of the character I proposed is a
factor on which success depends to a very large extent. The men selected
must be qualified for the work, and they must also have the special
qualifications required to meet polar conditions. They must be able to
live together in harmony for a long period without outside
communication, and it must be remembered that the men whose desires
lead them to the untrodden paths of the world have generally marked
individuality. It was no easy matter for me to select the staff,
although over four hundred applications arrived from persons wishing to
join the expedition. I wanted to have two surgeons with the shore-party,
and also to have a thoroughly capable biologist and geologist, for the
study of these two branches of science in the Antarctic seemed to me to
be of especial importance. After much consideration I selected eleven
men for the shore-party. Three of them only, Adams, Wild and Joyce, had
been known to me previously, while only Wild and Joyce had previous
experience of polar work, having been members of the _Discovery_
expedition. Every man, however, was highly recommended, and this was the
case also with the officers whom I selected for the _Nimrod_. The names
of the men appointed, with their particular branches of work, were as
follows:

SHORE-PARTY

  LIEUTENANT J. B. ADAMS, R.N.R., meteorologist.

  SIR PHILIP BROCKLEHURST, Bart., assistant geologist,
and in charge of current observations.

  BERNARD DAY, electrician and motor expert.

  ERNEST JOYCE, in charge of general stores, dogs,
sledges and zoological collections.

  DR. A. F. MACKAY, surgeon.

  DR. ERIC MARSHALL, surgeon, cartographer.

  G. E. MARSTON, artist.

  JAMES MURRAY, biologist.

  RAYMOND PRIESTLEY, geologist.

  WILLIAM ROBERTS, cook.

  FRANK WILD, in charge of provisions.


After the expedition had reached New Zealand and the generous assistance
of the Australian and New Zealand Governments had relieved me from some
financial anxiety, I was able to add to the strength of the staff. I
engaged Douglas Mawson, lecturer of mineralogy and petrology at the
Adelaide University, as physicist, and Bertram Armytage as a member of
the expedition for general work. Professor Edgeworth David, F.R.S., of
Sydney University, consented to accompany us as far as the winter
quarters, with the idea of returning in the _Nimrod_, but I persuaded
him eventually to stay in the Antarctic, and his assistance in
connection with the scientific work, and particularly the geology, was
invaluable. Leo Cotton, a young Australian, arranged to come south with
us and help with the preliminary work before the _Nimrod_ returned to
New Zealand, and at the last moment George Buckley, residing in New
Zealand, accompanied us on the voyage south, returning in the steamer
that towed the _Nimrod_. The members of the ship's staff, at the time
when the _Nimrod_ left Great Britain, were as follows:

  LIEUTENANT RUPERT ENGLAND, R.H.R., master.

  JOHN K. DAVIS, first officer.

  A. L. A. MACKINTOSH, second officer.

  DR. W. A. R. MICHELL, surgeon.

  H. J. L. DUNLOP, chief engineer.

  ALFRED CHEETHAM, third officer and boatswain.

Captain England, whom I placed in command of the _Nimrod_, had been
first officer of the _Morning_ when that vessel proceeded to the relief
of the _Discovery_ expedition, and had therefore had previous experience
of work in the Antarctic. Immediately before joining the _Nimrod_ he had
been in the Government service on the west coast of Africa.

Davis, first officer and later captain, had not been in the Antarctic
before, but he was a first-class seaman.

Mackintosh came from the service of the Peninsular and Oriental Steam
Navigation Company. He was transferred to the shore-party at a later
date, but an unfortunate accident finally prevented his remaining in the
Antarctic with us. Dr. Michell, the ship's surgeon, was a Canadian, and
Dunlop the chief engineer, was an Irishman. Cheetham, the third officer
and boatswain had served on the _Morning_ and some of the men had also
Antarctic experience.

After the _Nimrod_ reached New Zealand, A. E. Harbord, an Englishman,
joined as second officer in place of Mackintosh, whom I intended to
transfer to the shore-party.

The following brief notes regarding the members of the shore-party may
be of interest to readers:

ERNEST HENRY SHACKLETON, commander of the expedition. Born 1874, and
educated at Dulwich College. Went to sea in the merchant service at the
age of sixteen, became a lieutenant in the Royal Naval Reserve, and in
1901 joined the British National Antarctic expedition. Was a member of
the party which established a "furthest south" record, and on return
to the winter quarters was invalided. Fitted out the _Discovery_ relief
expeditions under the Admiralty Committee, and also assisted fitting
out the _Argentine_ expedition that went to the relief of the Swedish
Antarctic expedition. Married in 1904, and became secretary and
treasurer of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. Resigned to
contest the Dundee seat as a Unionist at the election of 1906, and after
being defeated became personal assistant to Mr. William Beardmore, head
of the Glasgow firm of battleship builders and armour plate
manufacturers. Then decided to take an expedition to the Antarctic.

JAMESON BOYD ADAMS, born in 1880 at Rippingale, Lincolnshire. Went to
sea in the merchant service in 1893, served three years as a lieutenant
in the Royal Naval Reserve, and joined the expedition in March 1907.
Appointed second in command in February 1908. Unmarried.

BERTRAM ARMYTAGE, born in Australia in 1869. Educated at Melbourne
Grammar School and Jesus College, Cambridge. After serving for several
years with the Victorian Militia and one year with the Victorian
Permanent Artillery, he was appointed to the Carabiniers, 6th Division
Guards, when on active service in South Africa (Queen's medal and three
clasps. King's medal and two clasps). Joined the expedition in
Australia. Married.

SIR PHILIP LEE BROCKLEHURST, Bart., born at Swythamley Park,
Staffordshire, in 1887, educated at Eton and Trinity Hall, Cambridge.
Holds a commission in the Derbyshire Yeomanry, represented Cambridge in
the light weight boxing competitions for 1905 and 1906. Unmarried.

THOMAS W. EDGEWORTH DAVID, F.R.S., Professor of Geology at the Sydney
University, is a Welshman by birth, and is fifty years of age. He was
educated at New College, Oxford, and afterwards studied geology at the
Royal College of Science. He went to Australia to take up the post of
Geological Surveyor to the New South Wales Government, and for the past
eighteen years has held his present appointment. He is an authority on
dynamical geology and glaciation, and has made a study of Australian
coal-fields. Married.

BERNARD C. DAY, born at Wymondham, Leicestershire, in August 1884;
educated at Wellingborough Grammar School. He was connected with
engineering from 1903 until September 1907, when he left the service of
the New Arroll Johnston Motor-Car Company in order to join the
expedition. Unmarried.

ERNEST JOYCE, born in 1875, entered the Navy from the Greenwich Royal
Hospital School in 1891, became a first-class petty officer, and served
in South Africa with the Naval Brigade (medal and clasp). Joined the
_Discovery_ expedition from the Cape, and served in the Antarctic (polar
medal and clasp. Geographical Society's silver medal). Served in the
Whale Island Gunnery School. Left the Navy in December 1905, rejoined in
August 1906, and left by purchase in order to join to expedition in May
1907. Unmarried.

ALISTAIR FORBES MACKAY, born in 1878, son of the late Colonel A. Forbes
Mackay, of the 92nd Gordon Highlanders. Educated in Edinburgh, and then
did biological work under Professors Geddes and D'Arcy Thompson at
Dundee. Served in South Africa as a trooper in the C.I.V. (Queen's medal
and clasps), and later with Baden Powell's police, then returned to pass
his final examinations in medicine, and went to the front again as a
civil surgeon. Entered the Navy as a surgeon, retired after four years'
service, and then joined the expedition. Unmarried.

ÆNEAS LIONEL ACTON MACKINTOSH, born in Tirhoot, Bengal, India, in 1881,
and educated at the Bedford Modern School. Went to sea in 1894 in the
merchant service, and in 1899, entered the service of the Peninsular and
Oriental Steam Navigation Company. Was lent to the expedition in 1907.
Received commission in the Royal Naval Reserve in July 1908. Unmarried.

ERIC STEWART MARSHALL, born in 1879, educated at Monckton Combe School
and at Emmanual College, Cambridge. Represented his college in rowing
and football. Studied for the Church. Entered St. Bartholomew's
Hospital in 1899, and qualified as a surgeon in 1906. Was captain St.
Bartholomew's Hospital Rugby football team, 1903-4, and played for the
Richmond Club; 1903-4-5. Joined the expedition as surgeon and
cartographer. Unmarried.

GEORGE EDWARD MARSTON was born at Portsmouth in 1882, and received the
greater part of his art education at the Regent Street Polytechnic. He
is a qualified art teacher, and joined the expedition as artist.
Unmarried.

DOUGLAS MAWSON was born in Australia in 1880, his parents coming from
the Isle of Man. He was educated in Australia and is lecturer in
mineralogy and petrology at the Adelaide University and honorary curator
of the South Australian Museum. He joined the expedition in Australia.
Unmarried.

JAMES MURRAY was born in Glasgow in 1865. In early life was occupied in
various branches of art work. Was interested in natural history,
especially botany, and in 1901, turned his attention to microscopic
zoology. In 1902 was engaged by Sir John Murray as biologist on Scottish
Lake Survey. Was still engaged in this work when he joined the
expedition as biologist. Married in 1892.

RAYMOND E. PRIESTLEY, born 1886, and educated at Tewkesbury School.
Matriculated in London in 1903, and held mastership at Tewkesbury until
1905. Then became a student at the Bristol University College, and
passed the intermediate examination in science in 1906. He was taking
the final course when appointed geologist to the expedition.

WILLIAM C. ROBERTS, born in London in 1872, and has worked as cook on
sea and land. Engaged as cook for the expedition. Married.

FRANK WILD, born in Yorkshire in 1873. His mother was a direct
descendant of Captain Cook, and one of his uncles was three times in the
Arctic regions. Entered the merchant service in 1889, and in 1900 joined
the Navy. He was a member of the National Antarctic expedition between
1901 and 1904 (polar medal and clasp. Royal Geographical Society's
silver medal). Was at the Sheerness Gunnery School when the Admiralty
consented to his appointment to the British Antarctic expedition.



CHAPTER III

THE FIRST STAGE

THE work of preparing for the expedition made rapid progress towards
completion, and as the end of July approached, the stores and equipment
were stowed away in the holds of the _Nimrod_ in readiness for the
voyage to New Zealand. The final departure for the south was to be made
from Lyttelton, a well-equipped port at which I felt sure, from the
experience of the three vessels of the _Discovery_ expedition, that I
should receive every assistance that lay in the power of the
authorities. Early in July we exhibited in a room in Regent Street
samples of our stores and equipment, and some thousands of people paid
us a visit. The days were all too short, for scores of details demanded
attention and small difficulties of all sorts had to be overcome, but
there were no delays, and on July 30, 1907, the _Nimrod_ was able to
sail from the East India Docks for Torquay, the first stage of the
journey of sixteen thousand miles to New Zealand. Most of the members of
the shore staff, including myself, intended to make this journey by
steamer, but I left the docks with the _Nimrod_, intending to travel as
far as Torquay.

We anchored for the first night at Greenhithe, and on the morning of the
31st continued on our way to Torquay, landing Mr. Reid at Tilbury in
order that he might return to London for letters. When he reached London
that afternoon, he found at the office a telegram from the King's
equerry, commanding the _Nimrod_ to visit Cowes in order to enable their
Majesties the King and Queen to come on board and inspect the ship and
equipment on Sunday, August 4. Mr. Reid had considerable difficulty in
delivering this message to me, but the Admiral Superintendent at
Sheerness kindly despatched a tug which overtook the _Nimrod_ off
Ramsgate, and conveyed the news that an alteration in our plans was
necessary. We sailed in the night for Cowes, and on the morning of
August I stopped for an hour off Eastbourne in order to enable some of
the supporters of the expedition to pay us a farewell visit. On the
Sunday we were anchored at Cowes, and their Majesties the King and
Queen, their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales, the Princess
Victoria, Prince Edward and the Duke of Connaught came on board. The
King graciously conferred upon me the Victorian Order, and the Queen
entrusted me with a Union Jack, to carry on the southern sledge journey.

The _Nimrod_ sailed for Torquay early on the following morning, and
arrived there on August 6. We drank success to the expedition at a
farewell dinner that evening, and on the morning of Wednesday, August 7,
the ship sailed for New Zealand, and after calling at St. Vincent and
Capetown, arrived at Lyttelton on November 23, the voyage having
occupied three months and a half. Mr. Reid reached Australian waters a
month ahead of the _Nimrod_, in order to make the necessary arrangements
and meet the Manchurian ponies, and I arrived early in December, my
intention being to leave Lyttelton on January 1, 1908.

The people of New Zealand and Australia took a keen and sympathetic
interest in the expedition from the first. The Commonwealth Government
gave me £5000 and the New Zealand Government £1000, and this sum of
money placed me in a position to increase the number of the shore-party,
to add to the stores and equipment in certain directions and to
strengthen the ship still further, which I could not afford to do
earlier. The New Zealand Government also agreed to pay half the cost of
towing the _Nimrod_ down to the Antarctic Circle, so that coal might be
saved for the heavy work amongst the ice, and in many other ways
assisted us. The Postmaster-General of the Dominion had printed off for
us a small issue of special stamps, and constituted me a postmaster for
the period of my stay in the Antarctic, an arrangement that much
simplified the handling of the correspondence sent back from the winter
quarters with the _Nimrod_.

The ponies were enjoying their holiday on Quail Island and were becoming
sleek and fat, and it was necessary that they should be broken to
handling and sledge-hauling. Mr. C. Tubman undertook this work, with the
assistance of Dr. Mackay, and there were some exciting moments on the
island. The ponies were very wild, and more than once Mackay and Tubman
had to make a rapid retreat from the animal they were schooling at the
time. The white ponies, which later proved the most hardy, were the
least tractable, and there was one white pony in particular that was
left behind, because, though a splendid specimen physically, it could
not be brought to a reasonable state of docility in the time at our
disposal. I intended to take only ten ponies out of the fifteen, having
allowed a margin for losses on the voyage to New Zealand, and Tubman and
Mackay devoted their attention to the most promising animals. All the
ponies had names, although I do not know from whom they received them,
and we finally left New Zealand with "Socks", "Quan", "Grisi",
"Chinaman", "Billy", "Zulu", "Doctor", "Sandy", "Nimrod", and "Mac".

I had secured in London twenty tons of maize and ten hundredweight of
compressed Maujee ration for the feeding of the ponies in the Antarctic.
The maize was packed in about seven hundred tin-lined, airtight cases,
and the ration was in one-pound, airtight tins. This ration consists of
dried beef, carrots, milk, currants and sugar, and it provides a large
amount of nourishment with comparatively little weight. One pound of the
ration will absorb four pounds of water, and the ponies were very fond
of it. We also secured in Australia ten tons of compressed fodder,
consisting of oats, bran and chaff. This fodder was packed in two
hundred and fifty small bales. I purchased for the dogs one ton and a
half of dog biscuits, and proposed to make up their rations with seal
meat.

The final preparations involved an enormous amount of work, but by
December 31 everything was ready, quarters were provided on the _Nimrod_
for the scientific staff by enclosing a portion of the afterhold, and
constructing cabins which were entered by a steep ladder from the
deckhouse. The quarters were certainly small, in fact there was just
room for the bunks and nothing else, and they were promptly named Oyster
Alley, for some reason not on record. As the day of departure approached
and the scientists brought their personal belongings, the alley reached
a state of congestion that can hardly be imagined. The ponies were to be
carried on deck, and ten stout stalls were built for them. The motor-car
was enclosed in a large case and made fast with chains on the
after-hatch from whence it could be transferred easily on to the ice
when the occasion arose. The deck load was heavy and included cases of
maize, tins of carbide for the manufacture of acetylene gas, a certain
quantity of coal and the sledges. The _Nimrod_ was low in the water as a
result, and when we left Lyttelton the little ship had only three feet
six inches of freeboard. Some live sheep presented to us by New Zealand
farmers were placed on board the _Koonya_, the steamer which was to tow
the _Nimrod_ to the south.

I had been anxious to have the _Nimrod_ towed south in order to save
coal. The ship could not take in a large quantity of coal after our
provisions and equipment had been placed on board, for she was
considerably overloaded, and it was important that there should be
enough coal to take the ship through the ice and back to New Zealand,
and also to provide for the warming of the hut during the winter. The
Government of the Dominion consented to pay half the cost of the tow,
and Sir James Mills, chairman of the Union Steamship Company, offered to
pay the other half. The _Koonya_, a steel-built steamer of about 1100
tons, was chartered and placed under the command of Captain F. P. Evans.
The wisdom of this selection was proved by after events. The pressure of
work was at this time tremendous, and I owed a very great deal to the
assistance and advice I received from Mr. J. J. Kinsey, of Christchurch.
Before my departure I placed the conduct of the affairs of the
expedition in New Zealand in his hands.

December 81 was the last day of our stay in New Zealand, for as I had
stated when announcing the expedition, we were to leave Lyttelton on the
first day of the new year. The stores and equipment were on board and
were as complete as we could make them, and I had written my final
letters, both business and personal. The ponies and the dogs were to be
placed on board the _Nimrod_ early the following morning.



CHAPTER IV

LYTTELTON TO THE ANTARCTIC CIRCLE

JANUARY 1, 1908, arrived at last! Warm, fine, and clear broke the
morning of our last day in civilisation. Before sunset we were to sever
all ties with the outer world and more than a year must elapse ere we
could look again on the scenes familiar to ordinary daily life. For me
this day brought a feeling of relief, after all the strenuous work of
the previous year, though the new work I was entering upon was fraught
with more anxiety and was more exacting than any that had gone before.
We all looked forward eagerly to our coming venture, for the glamour of
the unknown was with us and the South was calling.

My personal belongings were gathered out of the chaos of papers and odds
and ends in my office at the hotel; I knew that the legacy of unanswered
letters, requests for special stamps, and the hundred and one things
that collect under such circumstances would be faithfully administered
by Mr. Reid. Orders had been given to Captain England to have all in
readiness for casting off at 4 p.m., and early in the afternoon most of
us were on board. It was Regatta day and Lyttelton was crowded with
holiday-makers, many thousands of whom had come to see the _Nimrod_. All
day the deck of our little vessel was thronged by the general public,
who evinced the greatest interest in everything connected with the ship
and her equipment. Naturally the ten ponies, now safely housed in their
stalls on the forward deck, were a special attraction. Our nine dogs
also claimed a share of attention, although it was a gymnastic feat to
climb through the supports of the pony structure, stretching across the
decks, in order to reach the forecastle, where the dogs lay panting in
the hot sun. To the uninitiated the number and size of the beams
belonging to the pony structure seemed excessive, but we knew we might
encounter heavy weather which would tax their strength to the utmost.
The _Nimrod_ was deep in the water, for every available corner had been
stowed with stores and coal and, if we could have carried it, we would
have added at least another fifty tons to our two hundred and fifty; but
the risk was too great. Indeed I was somewhat anxious as to the weather
she might make, though I knew she was a good sea boat and had great
confidence in her. There were many whose criticisms were frankly
pessimistic as to our chances of weathering an Antarctic gale; and as I
stood on deck I could hear the remarks of these Job's comforters. Such
criticisms, however, did not disturb us, for we were confident in the
ship.

Oyster Alley was crammed with the personal belongings of at least
fourteen of the shore-party; it was the temporary resting place for many
of the scientific instruments, so that both ingress and egress were
matters of extreme difficulty. The entrance to this twentieth-century
Black Hole was through a narrow doorway and down a ladder, which ushered
one into almost complete darkness, for the doorway was practically
filled up with cases, and the single narrow deck light generally covered
by the feet of sightseers. The shore party's fourteen bunks were crammed
with luggage, which also occupied the whole of the available floor
space. It was in this uncomfortable place that the spirit of romance,
the desire for the wind-whitened Southern Seas, and the still whiter
wastes of the silent Antarctic grew stronger in the heart of George
Buckley, as he sat there talking over the days and doings before us,
longing for a share in the work, even though he might only go as far as
the Antarctic circle. He knew that time would not permit him to do more
than this. Suddenly he jumped up, came to me, and asked if I would take
him as far as the ice. I was only too glad to consent, for his interest
in the expedition showed that his heart was in our venture, and his
personality had already appealed to us all. It was 2 p.m. when the
decision was made, and the _Nimrod_ was to sail at 4 p.m. He managed to
catch a train to Christchurch, dashed into his club, gave his power of
attorney to a friend; slung his toothbrush and some underclothing into
a bag; struggled through one seething crowd at Christchurch Station and
another at the wharf, and arrived on board the _Nimrod_, a few minutes
before sailing time equipped for the most rigorous weather in the world
with only the summer suit he was wearing: surely a record in the way of
joining a Polar expedition.

Time was passing quickly, it was nearing four o'clock and all our party
were on board save Professor David. I had seen him earlier in the
afternoon, struggling along the crowded wharf, bending under the weight
of one end of a long iron pipe, a railway porter attached to the other.
This precious burden, he had informed me, when it was safely on board,
was part of the boring gear to be used in obtaining samples of ice from
the Great Ice Barrier; he had found it at the railway station, where it
had been overlooked. Doubtless he was having a last skirmish round in
case there was anything else that had been left, and just as I was
getting anxious, for I did not want to delay the departure of the ship,
he appeared. His arms were filled with delicate glass apparatus and
other scientific paraphernalia. As he was gingerly crossing the narrow
gangway he was confronted by a stout female, of whom the Professor
afterwards said: "She was for the shore, let who would be for the
Pole." They met in the middle of the gangway. Hampered by the things he
was carrying, the Professor could not move aside; he was simply charged
down by superior weight, and clutching his precious goods, fell off the
gangway on to the heads of some of our party. Wonderful to relate
nothing was broken.

At one minute to four orders were given to stand by the engines, at 4
p.m. the lines were cast off from the wharf and the _Nimrod_ moved
slowly ahead. Cheer after cheer broke from the watching thousands as we
moved towards the harbour entrance, with the Queen's flag flying at the
fore and our ensign dipping farewell at the stern. The cheering broke
out afresh as we passed the United States' magnetic survey ship _Galilee_.
She also was engaged in a scientific mission, but her lines were laid in
warmer climes and calmer seas. Hearty as was this send-off it seemed
mild compared to that which we received on passing the pier-head
lighthouse. The air trembled with the crash of guns, the piercing steam
whistles and sirens of every steamship in the port; and a roar of
cheering from the throats of the thirty thousand people who were
watching the little black-hulled barque moving slowly towards the open
sea. With our powerful ally, the _Koonya_, steaming in front, and on
each side passenger boats of the Union Company carrying some six or
seven thousand persons, we passed down the Roads, receiving such a
farewell and "God-speed" from New Zealand as left no man of us unmoved.
The farewells were not over, for we were to receive one more expression
of goodwill, and one that came nearer to the hearts of those of us who
were sailors than any other could. Lying inside the Heads were three of
his Majesty's ships of the Australian Squadron, the flagship _Powerful_,
the _Pegasus_ and the _Pioneer_. As we steamed past the last-named her
crew mustered on the forecastle head and gave us three hearty cheers; we
received the same from the _Pegasus_ as we came abeam of her, our party
of thirty-nine returning the cheers as we passed each ship in turn. Then
we drew abreast of the flagship and from the throats of the nine hundred
odd bluejackets on board her we got a ringing farewell, and across the
water came the sound of her band playing "Hearts of oak are our ships",
followed by "Auld Lang Syne". We responded with three cheers and gave
another cheer for Lady Fawkes, who had taken a kindly interest in the
expedition.

Shortly after passing the _Powerful_ we stopped to pick up our tow-line
from the _Koonya_, but before doing this we transferred to the tug-boat
_Canterbury_ the few personal friends who had accompanied some of the
members of the expedition down the harbour. We then came close up to the
stern of the _Koonya_ and hauled in the 4-in. wire cable she was to tow
us with. A 4-in. wire is measured not as 4 in. diameter, but 4 in. in
circumference, and is made of the finest steel. We passed a shackle
through the eye at the end of this wire and shackled on to the free ends
of both our chain cables. We then let out thirty fathoms of each cable,
one on each side of the bow, and made the inner ends fast round the
foremast in the 'tween decks. This cable acted as a "spring", to use a
nautical term; that is to say, it lessened the danger of the wire
snapping if a sudden strain were put upon it, for the cable hung down in
the water owing to its weight, even when the ship was being towed at
seven or eight knots. This operation being completed we signalled the
_Koonya_ to go ahead and we were soon in the open sea. There was a
slight breeze and a small choppy sea. Before we had been under way for
an hour water began to come in at the scupper holes and through the wash
ports. This looked ominous to us, for if the _Nimrod_ was going to be
wet in such fine weather, what was she going to be like when we got a
southerly gale! She moved through the water astern of _Koonya_ like a
reluctant child being dragged to school; she seemed to have no vitality
of her own. This was due to her deeply loaded condition, and more
especially to the seven tons of cable and the weight of the wire on her
bows dragging her nose down into the sea. No Antarctic exploring ship
had been towed to the ice before, but it meant the saving of coal to us
for a time when the tons saved in this manner might prove the salvation
of the expedition.

Night came down on us, and the last we saw of New Zealand was a bold
headland growing fainter and fainter in the gathering gloom. The
occupants of Oyster Alley, after a somewhat sketchy meal in the
wardroom, were endeavouring to reduce the chaos of their quarters into
some sort of order. The efforts of some of the scientific staff were
interrupted at times by sudden attacks of seasickness, and indeed one
would not have been surprised if the seafaring portion of the staff had
also succumbed, for the atmosphere of the alley, combined with the
peculiar motion of the ship, was far from pleasant. A few of the
members of the party preferred to sleep on deck in any odd corner they
could find, and one man in particular was so overcome by the sea that
for three days and nights he lay prostrate amongst the vegetables and
cases of butter and carbide, on the unused forebridge of the ship. He
seemed to recover at mealtimes, and as his lair was just above the
galley, he simply appeared from under his sodden blankets, reached down
his hand, and in a plaintive voice asked for something to fill the
yawning cavern that existed in his interior. Professor David was given
Dr. Michell's cabin, the latter taking up his abode in Oyster Alley. The
cabin measured about 5 ft. 10 in. by 3 ft., and as the Professor had
nearly a quarter of a ton of scientific instruments, books and cameras,
one can imagine that he had not much room for himself. The wardroom of
the _Nimrod_ was about 12 ft. long and 9 ft. broad, and as there were
twenty-two mouths to feed there three times a day, difficulties were
present from the beginning of the voyage. Dunlop's cabin came into
service as the largest overflow dining room, for it accommodated three
people. Davis and Mackintosh each found room for another hungry explorer
in his cabin. When the food arrived it was passed along to the outside
dining rooms first. Then people in the main room were served. All went
well that first night out, for there was comparatively little movement,
but later on the story of an ordinary meal became a record of adventure.
I took up my quarters in the captain's cabin, and fluctuated between the
bunk and the settee for a resting-place, until the carpenter made me a
plank bed about four inches off the deck. We did not know that we were
not to take our clothes off for the next two weeks, but were to live in
a constant state of wetness, wakefulness, and watchfulness until the
_Nimrod_ arrived in the neighbourhood of the winter quarters.

Bad weather was not long delayed. As the night of January 1 wore on, the
wind began to freshen from the south-west, and the following morning the
two vessel? were pitching somewhat heavily and steering wildly. The
_Koonya_ signalled us to veer, that is, to slack out thirty more fathoms
on each of our two cables, and with great difficulty we managed to do
this. The ship was pitching and rolling, flinging the cables from one
side of the deck to the other, and with our forty-year-old windlass it
was no light task to handle the heavy chains. Then I felt one of the
first real pinches of the stringent economy that had to be practised
from the inception of the expedition. How I wished for the splendid
modern gear of the _Discovery_ the large, specially built vessel that we
had on the previous expedition. During the afternoon the wind and sea
increased greatly, and the _Nimrod_ pitched about, shifting everything
that could be moved on deck. The seas began to break over her, and we
were soon wet through, not to be properly dry again for the next
fortnight. The decks were flooded with heavy seas, which poured,
white-capped, over the side, and even the topsail yards were drenched
with the spray of breaking waves. Lifelines were stretched along the
deck, and it was a risky thing to go forward without holding on.

Our chief anxiety was the care of the ponies, and looking back now to
those days, it remains a matter of wonder to me how they survived the
hardships that fell to their lot. That night I arranged for a two-hour
watch, 'consisting of two members of the shore staff, to be always in
attendance on the ponies. The pony shelter had five stalls on the port
side and five on the starboard side of the deck, with the fore hatch
between them. The watch-keepers named this place "The Cavalry Club",
and here in the bleak and bitter stormy nights, swept off their feet
every now and then by the seas washing over the fore-hatch, the members
of the shore party passed many a bad quarter of an hour. They bore all
the buffeting and discomfort cheerfully, even as those men of old, who
"ever with a frolic welcome took the thunder and the sunshine". Night in
the pony-stables was a weird experience with inky blackness all round,
save only where the salt-encrusted hurricane lamp, jerking to and fro,
made a glimmer of light. The roar of the tempest rose into a shriek as
the wind struck the rigid rigging, the creaking and swaying of the roof
of the stable and the boat-skids, which partly rested their weight on
it, seemed to threaten a sudden collapse with each succeeding and
heavier roll, and the seas crashed dully as they fell on board. The
swirling waters, foam-white in the dim rays of the lamp, rushed through
the stable and over the hatch, and even from the bridge far aft, we
could hear the frightened whinnies of the animals, as they desperately
struggled to keep their feet in the water that flooded the rolling
stables. Every now and then some wave, larger and fiercer than the one
before, would sweep the decks, tear the mats from under the feet of the
ponies, and wash the watch-keepers almost under the struggling beasts.
When the bulk of the water had passed, the mats were nailed down again
with difficulty, and the two watchers resumed their seats on a bag of
fodder that had been fastened to the hatch. One can imagine that after a
two-hours' watch a rest was welcome. Oyster Alley was wet enough, and
the beds were soaking, while the atmosphere was thick and heavy; but
these conditions did not prevent the wearied men from falling asleep
after wedging themselves into their bunks, lest some extra heavy lurch
should send them to keep company with the miscellaneous collection of
articles careering up and down the deck of the alley.

All during our second night out, the weather was so bad that we kept
going slow, having requested the _Koonya_ to slacken speed late in the
afternoon. Next morning found us plunging, swerving, and rolling in a
high sea, with a dull grey stormy sky overhead, and apparently no
prospect of the weather becoming settled. We were moving little more
than a mile an hour towards the south, and the ship seemed to be
straining herself on account of the heavy pull on her bows, and the
resulting lack of buoyancy. The weather moderated somewhat in the
afternoon, and we signalled the _Koonya_ to "increase speed". By
midnight the improvement in the weather was much more marked. The
following morning, January 4, we set loose the carrier pigeon which one
of the New Zealand sailors had brought with him. We attached a message
to the bird, briefly describing our passage so far, and hoped it would
safely accomplish the three hundred odd miles to the land. On releasing
our messenger it made one or two wide circles round the ship, and then
set off in a bee-line towards its home. We wondered at the time whether
any of the albatrosses, which were now fairly numerous about our stern,
especially at meal times, would attack the stranger, and we heard
afterwards that the pigeon had not reached its home.

The hope that we were going to keep finer weather was dispelled in the
afternoon, for the wind began to increase and the rising sea to break on
board again, and within a couple of hours we were bearing the full brunt
of another furious gale. The sea-going qualities of the _Nimrod_ were
severely taxed, but the little vessel rose to the occasion. As the gale
increased in vehemence, she seemed to throw off the lethargy, one might
almost say the sulkiness, which possessed her when she found herself
outward bound at the end of a tow-line, for the first time in her
strenuous life of forty years. Now that the tow-line, in the fury of the
gale, was but of little use, save to steady us, the _Nimrod_ began to
play her own hand. It was wonderful to see how she rose to the largest
oncoming waves. She was flung to and fro, a tiny speck in this waste of
waters, now poised on the summit of a huge sea, whence we got almost a
bird's-eye view of the gallant _Koonya_ smashing into the turmoil ahead;
now dipping into the wave valleys, from which all we could discern of
our consort was in very truth "just a funnel and a mast lurching
through the spray".

As the afternoon wore on, those of us who were not still in the clutches
of sea-sickness watched the grandeur of the gale. I shall always
remember Buckley, who stood for hour after hour on the _Nimrod_'s poop,
revelling in the clash and strife of the elements. Keen yachtsman that
he was, his admiration was aroused by the way the two ships battled with
the storm. Professor David also, hanging to the dripping rails, was
fascinated by the wild scene, and between the gusts, we spoke of many
things. Somehow or another the conversation turned to one's favourite
poets, and it is but natural that, under these circumstances of stress
and strain. Browning's verse was often the subject of conversation.
Night drew on, sullen and black, our only light the lamp we steered by
on the _Koonya_'s mast. We could imagine the stalwart figure of that
splendid seaman. Captain Evans, as he stood on his spray-drenched
bridge, alert, calm and keen, doing his best to ease the little ship
astern. We had nothing but admiration for the consummate seamanship that
anticipated our every need and wish. All that night it blew harder than
ever; on the morning of the 5th, I told Captain England to signal the
_Koonya_ and ask her to pour oil on the water in the hope that it might
help us. To a certain extent I think it did, but not enough to prevent
the heaviest seas from breaking on board. I thought that the gale had
reached its height on the previous day, but certainly this evening it
was much stronger. The _Nimrod_ rolled over fifty degrees from the
perpendicular to each side; how much more than that I cannot say, for
the indicator recording the roll of the ship was only marked up to fifty
degrees, and the pointer had passed that mark. Let the reader hold a
pencil on end on a table, and then incline it fifty degrees one way, and
back again till it reaches fifty degrees on the other side, and he will
realise the length of arc through which the masts and deck of the
_Nimrod_ swung. It was only natural, under these circumstances, that the
sturdy little ponies had their strength taxed to the utmost to keep
their footing at all. It was impracticable to sling them, for they were
only half broken, and the attempt to put a sling under one drove it
nearly crazy with fright. All we could do was to try and soothe them,
and the animals evidently appreciated the human voice and touch. Buckley
had a wonderful way with them, and they seemed to understand that he was
trying to help them.

Occasionally there were clear patches of sky to the south and east
between the squalls. We had sleet for the first time on January 5, and
the wind, ranging between west, south, and south-west, was chilly for
the height of summer, the temperature being about 46° Fahr. We passed
large masses of floating kelp, which may have torn from the islands to
the south-west of us, for at noon on January 5, we were still north of
the fiftieth parallel, a latitude corresponding to the South of England.
Our course lay practically south, for I wanted to enter the pack-ice
somewhere about the 178th meridian east, previous experience having
shown that the pack is less dense about that meridian than it is further
west. About 9 p.m. that night, during an extra heavy roll, one of the
ponies slipped down in its stall, and when the ship rolled the opposite
way, turned right over on its back, as it could not regain its footing.
We tried everything in our power to get the poor beast up again, but
there was no room to work in the narrow stall, and in the darkness and
rushing water it would have been madness to have tried to shift the
other ponies out of the adjacent stalls in order to take down the
partition, and so give the poor animal room to get up itself. We had
perforce to leave it for the night, trusting that when daylight came the
weather might have moderated, and that with the light we might be able
to do more. It speaks wonders for the vitality of the animal that in
spite of its cramped position and the constant washing of the cold seas
over it during the whole night, it greedily ate the handfuls of hay
which were given it from time to time. Every now and then the pony made
frantic efforts to get on to its feet again, but without avail, and
before the morning its struggles gradually grew weaker and weaker. The
morning of January 6 broke with the gale blowing more strongly than
ever. There was a mountainous sea running, and at ten o'clock, after
having made another futile attempt to get "Doctor", as he was called,
on his legs, and finding that he had no strength of his own, I had
regretfully to give orders to have him shot. One bullet from a heavy
service revolver ended his troubles. During the morning the gale
moderated somewhat, and at noon we were in latitude 50° 58' South, and
longitude 175° 19' East.

During the afternoon of January 6, the wind increased again, the squalls
being of hurricane force, and the wind shifting to between west and
north-west. The _Koonya_ ahead was making bad weather of it, but was
steaming as fast as practicable, for with the wind and sea coming more
abeam she was able to make better headway than when she was plunging
into a head sea with the weight and bulk of the towing cable and the
_Nimrod_ astern of her, factors in the situation that made the handling
and steering of the steamer very difficult.

The temperature of the air that day was up to 49° Fahr., but the sea
temperature had dropped to 44°. This continuous bad weather was
attributed by some on board to the fact that we had captured an
albatross on the second day out. It is generally supposed by seamen to
be unlucky to kill this bird, but as we did it for the purposes of
scientific collections and not with the wantonness of the "Ancient
Mariner", the superstitious must seek for some other reason for the
weather. By this time most of the scientific staff had recovered from
seasickness, so to employ their time when they were not on pony-guard,
meteorological observations were taken every hour. There sometimes was
an inclination to obtain the temperature of the seawater from the
never-failing stream which poured over the deck, but to the observers'
credit this feeling was sternly suppressed, and the more legitimate and
accurate, if less simple means, that of drawing it from over the side,
was adopted. It is not at all an easy operation to draw water in this
way from the sea when a ship is under way, and in our particular
circumstances, the observer often got premature knowledge of the
temperature by the contents of the bucket, or the top of a sea,
drenching him. On this day we began to feel the serious effects of the
towing strain on the ship. For days the sailors' quarters below the
fore-deck had been in a state of constant wetness from the leaking of
the fore-deck, and the inhabitants of Oyster Alley had come to the
conclusion that it might more suitably be named "Moisture Alley". But
when Dunlop, the chief engineer, came on the poop bridge that afternoon
and reported that the ship was making about three feet of water in an
hour, matters assumed a more serious complexion. I had not expected that
we would get off scot free, as the ship had to endure a very severe
strain, and was old, but three feet of water in an hour showed that she
was feeling the effects of the towing very much. It was necessary to rig
the hand-pump to help the steam-pumps to keep the water under, and this
became, as the Professor remarked, the occasion for an additional
scientific instrument to be used by the shore-party. A watch was set to
use this pump, and two members of the staff worked it for two hours, or
as long as occasion demanded, and at the end of that time were relieved
by two more. The weather grew steadily worse, and by midnight the
squalls were of hurricane force. Even the mastheads of the _Koonya_
disappeared from view at times, and the light we were steering by would
only be seen for a few seconds, and would then disappear behind the
mounting wall of waters that separated the two ships. A moderate
estimate of the height of the waves is forty-two feet. During the
squalls, which were accompanied by hail and sleet, the tops of the seas
were cut off by the force of the wind and flung in showers of stinging
spray against our faces, drenching even the topsail yards of the
_Nimrod_. Each green wave rushed at us as though it meant to swamp the
ship, but each time the _Nimrod_ rose bravely, and, riding over the
seemingly overwhelming mass, steadied for a moment on the other side as
it passed on, seething and white, baffled of its prey. All night there
were squalls of terrific force, and the morning of January 7 brought no
abatement of the storm. The seas now came on board with increasing
frequency, finding out any odd article that had escaped our vigilance
and survived the rolling of the ship. A sack of potatoes was washed on
to the deck, and the contents were floating in two or three feet of
water. But standing on the poop bridge I heard one of the crew, in no
way disheartened, singing, as he gathered them up, "Here we go
gathering nuts in May".

At noon we were in latitude 53° 26' South and longitude 127° 42' East.
In the afternoon the weather moderated slightly, though there was a
heavy, lumpy sea. Albatrosses were becoming much more numerous,
especially the sooty species, the death of which, on Shelvoke's voyage,
inspired Coleridge's memorable poem. I noticed one, flying low between
the two ships, strike its wings against the wire tow-line, which had
suddenly emerged from the waves owing to the lift of the _Koonya_'s stern
upon a sea. The weather became fairly moderate during the night and
remained so next morning, with the wind in the north-west. After the
second day out we had shifted the dogs from the forecastle head to the
fore bridge, and one of these in its struggles to get down on to the
main deck, strangled itself before we knew that it was in trouble.

There was constant rain during the morning of January 8, but it did not
beat the sea down much, and during the evening, with the wind shifting
to the south-south-west the gale increased again. It was so bad, owing
to the confused sea, that we had to signal the _Koonya_ to heave to. We
did this with the sea on our starboard quarter. Suddenly one enormous
wave rushed at us, and it appeared as though nothing could prevent our
decks being swept, but the ship rose to it, and missed the greater part,
though to us it seemed as if the full weight of water had come on board.
We clung tightly to the poop rails, and as soon as the water had passed
over us we wiped the salt from our eyes and surveyed the scene. The sea
had smashed in part of the starboard bulwarks and destroyed a small
house on the upper deck, pieces of this house and the bulwarks floating
out to the leeward; the port washport was torn from its hinges, so
that water now surged on board and swept away at its own sweet will, and
the stout wooden rails of the poop deck, to which we had been clinging,
were cracked and displaced, but no vital damage was done. The look of
disgust on the faces of the dripping pony watch-keepers, as they emerged
from the waterlogged "Cavalry Club", was eloquent of their feelings.
The galley was washed out and the fire extinguished. This happened more
than once, but so pluckily did the members of the cooking-department
work, that never during the whole of this very uncomfortable time had we
been without a warm meal. This means far more than one is apt to think,
for the galley was only five feet square, and thirty-nine persons
blessed with extremely hearty appetites had to be provided for.

In a large measure, this unbroken routine of hot meals, the three oases
of what I might call pleasure in the daily desert of discomfort, was due
to Roberts, who besides being assistant zoologist to the expedition, was
going to act as cook. Seeing that the ship's staff would have more work
to do than they could well carry out in providing for the thirty-nine
people on board, he volunteered the first day out to assist the ship's
cook, and the result was that we were always provided with fresh bread
and hot cocoa and tea, Montague, the ship's cook, was ever at work,
though the galley was in a constant state of flood. The stewards,
Handcock and Ansell, worked wonders in getting the food across the
danger zone between the galley and the wardroom. Ansell, with ten plates
in one hand, overlapping one another up his arm, would arrive safely at
his destination, though his boots were often filled with water on the
way aft. Of course there were times when he was not so successful, and
he would emerge from a sea with his clothes, hair, and face plentifully
sprinkled with food. As a rule the accidents occurred in the wardroom,
after the arrival of the food. The tablecloth, after two or three days,
assumed an écru colour, owing to the constant upsetting of tea and
coffee. Some of the staff had perforce to take their meals standing,
from lack of seating accommodation, and the balancing of a plate of
soup when the ship was rolling heavily required skill and experience.
The meal was generally accompanied by the spurting of seawater through
the wardroom door, or through cracks in the skylight, and the water
washed to and fro unheeded until the meal was ended, and the
indefatigable Ansell turned his attention to it. It was in the wardroom
that I salved a small wooden case from the water, and found that it
contained a patent mixture for extinguishing fires. The rooms of the
ship's officers, opening out of the wardroom, were in a similar state of
dampness, and when an officer finished his watch and turned in for a
well-earned sleep, he merely substituted for clothes that were soaked
through, others which were a little less wet.

The water, however, did not damp the spirits of those on board, for
nearly every night extemporary concerts were held, and laughter and
mirth filled the little wardroom. It is usual on Saturday nights at sea
to drink the toasts, "Absent Friends", and "Sweethearts and Wives". I
was generally at this time in the after cabin or on the bridge, and if,
as sometimes happened, I had forgotten that particular day, a gentle
hint was conveyed to me by Wild or Dunlop starting a popular song,
entitled "Sweethearts and Wives", the chorus of which was heartily
rendered by all hands. This hint used to bring my neglect to my mind,
and I would produce the necessary bottle.

On January 10 we had a clear sky during the morning until about ten
o'clock, and then, with a westerly wind, the breeze became heavier, and
rain commenced. Most of us that day, taking advantage of the comparative
steadiness of the ship, managed to wash our salt-encrusted faces and
hair; we had become practically pickled during the past week. About
midnight we had a light wind from the north-north-east, and the almost
continual rain of the previous twelve hours had flattened the sea
considerably.

At noon, on January 11, we were in latitude 57° 38' South, and longitude
178° 39' West, and during the day the wind and sea increased again from
the north-west. The nature of this particular sea made it necessary for
us to keep the ship away, altering our course from south to south-east,
and before midnight the gale had reached its now customary force and
violence. As I was standing on the bridge at 2 a.m., peering out to
windward through a heavy snow-squall that enveloped us, I saw, in the
faint light of breaking day, a huge sea, apparently independent of its
companions, rear itself up alongside the ship. Fortunately only the
crest of the wave struck us, but away went the starboard bulwarks
forward and abreast of the pony stalls, leaving a free run for the water
through the stables. When we left port it was our augean problem how
best to clean out the stables, but after the first experience of the
herculean waves, the difficulty was to try and stop the flushing of them
by every sea that came on board forward, and now not only every wave
that fell on board, but the swell of the ocean itself swept the stables
clean. This particular sea shifted the heavy starboard whaleboat from
its chocks, landing it almost amidships on top of the "Cavalry Club,"
and swept some of our bales of fodder down on to the main deck, where
they mingled with the drums of oil and cases of carbide torn from their
lashings. Our latitude at noon was 59° 8' South, and 179° SO' East. The
squalls of sleet and snow gave place later to clearer weather with a
mackerel sky, which was of special interest to the meteorologists, as
indicating the trend of the upper currents of the air.

During the afternoon the strength of the expedition was increased by
Possum, one of our dogs, giving birth to six fine puppies. The mother
and family were found a warm bed on the engine room skylight, where a
number of our cases were stowed. We signalled the happy event to the
_Koonya_ by flags, and received Captain Evans' congratulations.
Signalling by flags was necessarily a somewhat slow operation,
especially as the commercial code of signals is not exactly adapted for
this particular sort of information, and we could see by the length of
time they took to verify each signal that they were at a loss as to the
subject-matter of our communication, the incident of a birth naturally
being farthest removed from their thoughts at such a time. Whenever the
weather moderated at all the two ships always held short conversations
by flags, and the Commander of the _Koonya_ used to make inquiries in
particular after the health of the scientific staff.

January 13 brought with it a gentle breeze from the eastward, the heavy
leaden sky broke into blue, flecked with light cirrus clouds, and the
day seemed warmer and more pleasant than any we had experienced since we
left Lyttelton, though the temperature of the air and sea water were
down to 34° and 37° Fahr. respectively The warm sun tempted those who
had not before been much in evidence on to the poop deck, and the whole
vessel began to look like a veritable Petticoat Lane. Blankets, coats,
boots, bags that might once have been leather but which now looked like
lumps of dilapidated brown paper; pyjamas that had been intended to be
worn when the owners first came aboard the _Nimrod_; books that had
parted with their covers after sundry adventures in dripping Oyster
Alley, but whose leaves evinced the strongest disinclination to
separate; pillows of pulp that had once been pillows of feathers; carpet
slippers, now merely bits of carpet; in short, all the personal
belongings of each member of the expedition, including their most sacred
Penates and Lares, were lying in a heterogeneous mass on the poop deck,
in order that they might dry. A few of us ventured on baths, but it was
chilly work in the open air, with the temperature only two degrees above
freezing-point.

Some of our party, who were old sailors, had not much impedimenta to
look after and to dry, the hard-won experience of early days having
taught them the lesson that the fewer things you have to get wet, the
fewer you have to get dry. Adams in particular observed this rule, for
he wore the flannel trousers in which he came on board the ship at
Lyttelton through all this weather, allowing them to dry on him after
each successive wetting. He fondly clung to them throughout the period
we were navigating in the ice, and whilst working the ship at winter
quarters, and would doubtless have worn them on the ascent of Erebus if
they had not practically come to pieces.

We were now keeping a sharp lookout for icebergs and pack; we had been
steering a little more to the east, as I felt that our delay owing to
bad weather would give us little time for navigation if we had to pass
through much pack-ice, and a few degrees more easting might perhaps give
us a more open sea. The meeting with the pack-ice was to terminate the
_Koonya_,s tow, and that also meant our parting with Buckley, who had
endeared himself to every man on board, from able seaman upwards, and
had been of the greatest assistance to us in the matter of the ponies.
It was due to his prompt action on one occasion that the life of "Zulu"
was saved. We decided to give a farewell dinner to our friend that
night, and Marston designed special menu cards for the occasion. At noon
this day we were in latitude 61° 29' South, longitude 179° 53' East.
During the afternoon the weather kept fine and we set some square sail.
Occasionally during the bad weather of the previous week we had put
"fore and afters" on to try and steady the ship, but the wind had carried
them away. The _Koonya_ had done the same, with a similar result. Our
dinner that night was a great success, and it was early in the morning
before we turned in.

Next morning, January 14, we sighted our first iceberg, and passed it at
a distance of about two and a half miles. It had all the usual
characteristics of the Antarctic bergs, being practically tabular in
form, and its sides being of a dead white colour. The sight of this, the
first sentinel of the frozen south, increased Buckley's desire to stay
with us, and it was evident that the thought of leaving our little
company was not a pleasant one to him. There was a remarkable belt of
clouds across the sky during the morning, and their direction indicated
the movement of the upper air, so the Professor and Cotton made several
estimates of the height of this belt of cloud to try to determine the
lower limit of the higher current. The mean measurements were taken,
partly with a sextant and partly with an Abney level, to the edge of the
belt of mackerel sky. The result of the observations was that the height
of this belt was fixed at about thirteen thousand feet. The belt of
cloud was travelling in an east-north-east direction at the rate of
about fourteen miles an hour. The surface wind, at this time the
longitude was blowing lightly from the west. Our latitude at noon was
63° 59' South and the longitude 179° 47' West, so we had crossed the
180th meridian.

During the afternoon we passed two more icebergs with their usual tails
of brash ice floating out to leeward. The sea had changed colour from a
leaden blue to a greenish grey. Albatrosses were not nearly so numerous,
and of those following the ship the majority were the sooty species. The
Cape pigeon and Wilson's petrel were occasionally to be seen, also a
small grey-coloured bird, which is generally found near the pack, the
name of which I do not know. We called them "ice-birds". Another sign
of the nearness of the ice was that the temperature of the air and water
had dropped to 32° Fahr. Everything pointed to our proximity to the
pack, so we signalled the _Koonya_ that we were likely to sight the ice
at any moment. I also asked Captain Evans to kill and skin the sheep he
was carrying for our supplies, as they would be much more easily
transported when the time came to cast off. The weather remained fine
with light winds during the night.

Next morning it was fairly thick with occasional light squalls of snow,
and about 9 a.m. we saw the ice looming up through the mist to the
southward. It seemed to stretch from south-west to south-east, and was
apparently the forerunner of the pack. Now had come the time for the
_Koonya_ to drop us, after a tow of 1510 miles--a record in towage for
a vessel not built for the purpose. Before the _Koonya_ finally cast off
from us, she had achieved another record, by being the first steel
vessel to cross the Antarctic Circle.

About 10 a.m. I decided to send Captain England across to the _Koonya_
with Buckley and the mail. Our letters were all stamped with the special
stamp given by the New Zealand Government. The sea was rising again, and
the wind increasing, so we lost no time in making the necessary
communication by boat between the two ships. During a favourable roll
the whale-boat was dropped into the water, and Buckley, with his
weekend handbag, jumped into her. We gave him three cheers as the boat
pushed off on its boisterous journey to the _Koonya_. With his usual
forethought, to make matters lighter for the boat crew, Captain Evans
had floated a line astern, attached to a life-buoy, and after about
twenty-five minutes' hard pulling against wind and sea, the buoy was
picked up, and the boat hauled alongside the steamer. I was glad to see
the boat coming back again shortly afterwards, for the wind kept
increasing and the sea was rising every moment, but in a lull, after
pouring oil on the water, we hauled the boat up safely.

A thin line had been brought back from the _Koonya_, and at a signal from
us Captain Evans paid out a heavier one, which we hauled on board. He
then manoeuvred his ship, so as to get her as near as possible to us, in
order that we might haul the carcases of the sheep on board. Ten of
these were lashed on the line, and by dint of pulling hard, we got them
on board. Meanwhile the greater part of our crew were working the
old-fashioned windlass, getting in slowly, link by link, the port-towing
cable, whilst the _Koonya_ took in as much of her wire hawser as she
conveniently could. Our heavy line was carried away, owing to a sudden
strain, before we received the second instalment of waterlogged mutton.
Captain Evans brought the _Koonya_ round our stern, and a heaving-line,
to which the sheep were attached, was thrown on board, but as soon as we
began to haul on it, it broke, and we had the chagrin of seeing our
fresh mutton floating away on the billows. It was lost to sight shortly
afterwards, but we could locate its position by the albatrosses
hovering above, doubtless surprised and delighted with this feast.

About a quarter to one Captain Evans signalled that he was going to cut
his hawser, for in the rising sea the two vessels were in dangerous
proximity to each other. We saw the axe rise and fall, rise and fall
again, and the tie was severed. The _Koonya_' s work was done, and the
_Nimrod_ was dependent on her own resources at last. Our consort steamed
round us, all hands on both ships cheering, then her bows were set north
and she vanished into a grey, snowy mist, homeward bound. We spent a
long afternoon struggling to get on board the one hundred and forty
fathoms of cable and thirty fathoms of wire that were hanging from our
bows. The windlass was worked by means of levers, and all hands were
divided into two parties, one section manning the port levers, the other
the starboard. All that afternoon, and up to seven o'clock in the
evening, they unremittingly toiled at getting the cable in link by
link. At last we were able to proceed, the ship's head was put due
south, and we prepared to work our way through the floating belt of pack
that guards the approach to the Ross Sea. The weather had cleared, and
we passed the ice which we had seen in the morning. It was a fairly
loose patch of what appeared to be thick land ice. We gradually made our
way through similar streams of ice and small hummocky bergs, most of
them between forty and fifty feet in height, but a few reaching a
hundred feet.

By 2 a.m. on the morning of January 16, the bergs were much more
numerous; perhaps they could hardly be classed as bergs, for their
average height was only about twenty feet, and I am of opinion, from
what I saw later, that this ice originally formed part of an ice-foot
from some coastline. None of the ice that we passed through at this
time had the slightest resemblance to ordinary pack-ice. About 3 a.m.,
we entered an area of tabular bergs, varying from eighty to one hundred
and fifty feet in height, and all the morning we steamed in beautiful
weather with a light northerly wind, through the lanes and streets of a
wonderful snowy Venice. Tongue and pen fail in attempting to describe
the magic of such a scene. As far as the eye could see from the
crow's-nest of the _Nimrod_, the great, white, wall-sided bergs
stretched east, west and south, making a striking contrast with the
lanes of blue-black water between them. A stillness, weird and uncanny,
seemed to have fallen upon everything when we entered the silent water
streets of this vast unpeopled white city. Here there was no sign of
life, except when one of the little snow petrels, invisible when flying
across the glistening bergs, flashed for a moment into sight, as it came
against the dark water, its pure white wings just skimming the surface.
The threshing of our screw raised a small wave astern of the ship, and
at times huge masses of ice and snow from the bergs, disturbed by the
unaccustomed motion, fell thundering in our wake. Some of these bergs
had been weathered into the fantastic shapes more characteristic of the
Arctic regions, and from peak and spire flashed out the new caught rays
of the morning sun. Beautiful as this scene was, it gave rise to some
anxiety in my mind, for I knew that if we were caught in a breeze amidst
this maze of floating ice, it would go hard with us. Already an ominous
dark cloud was sweeping down from the north, and a few flakes of falling
snow heralded the approach of the misty northerly wind. I was
unfeignedly thankful, when, about three in the afternoon, I saw from
the crow's-nest open water ahead. A few more turnings and twistings
through the devious water lanes, and we entered the ice free Ross Sea.
This was the first time that a passage had been made into the Ross Sea
without the vessel having been held up by pack-ice. I think our success
was due to the fact that we were away to the eastward of the pack, which
had separated from the land and the Barrier, and had drifted in a
north-west direction. All my experience goes to prove that the easterly
route is the best. Behind us lay the long line of bergs through which we
had threaded our way for more than eighty miles from north to south, and
which stretched east and west for an unknown distance, but far enough
for me to say without exaggeration that there must have been thousands
of these floating masses of ice. Whence they had come was open to
conjecture; it was possible for them to have drifted from a barrier edge
to the eastward of King Edward VII Land. If that were so, the barrier
must be much lower than the Great Ice Barrier, and also much more even
in height, for the vast majority of the bergs we passed were not more
than one hundred and thirty feet high, and seemed to be of a fairly
uniform thickness. The lights and shadows on the bergs to the eastward
at times almost gave them the appearance of land, but as they were
congregated most thickly in this direction, we did not venture to make
closer acquaintance with them. Of one thing I am certain, this ice had
not long left the parent barrier or coastline, for there was no sign of
weathering or wind action on the sides; and if they had been afloat for
even a short period they must infallibly have shown some traces of
weathering, as the soft snow was at least fifteen to twenty feet thick.
This was apparent when pieces broke off from the bergs, and in one or
two cases, where sections had been sheared off the top of particular
bergs, evidently by collision with their fellows. There were no
indications or signs of embedded rocks or earthy material on the bergs,
so I am led to believe that this great mass of ice must have been set
free only a short time previously from some barrier edge at no great
distance. Our latitude at noon on the 16th was 68° 6' South, and the
longitude 179° 21' West.

Before we entered the actual line of bergs a couple of seals appeared on
the floe-ice. I did not see them myself, but from descriptions I
gathered that one was a crabeater, and the other a Weddell seal. A few
of the Adelie penguins were observed also, and their quaint walk and
insatiable curiosity afforded great amusement to our people, the
surprise of the birds on seeing the ship was so thoroughly genuine.
Marston, our artist, whose sense of the ludicrous is very fully
developed, was in ecstasies at their solemn astonishment and profound
concern, and at the way they communicated their feelings to one another
by flapping their makeshift wings, craning their necks forward with
ruffled feathers, and uttering short squawks. Marston's imitation of the
penguin was perfect, and he and the rest of us always responded eagerly
to the call on deck whenever we were passing a group of these polar
inhabitants.

When we were clear of the icebergs a distinct swell was felt coming from
the south, and for once the movement of the ocean was welcome to us,
for it showed that we might expect open water ahead. I was fairly
confident that we had managed to elude the pack, and without doubt for
a ship, well found and capable of fair speed, the passage between the
bergs on the meridian down which we steered is preferable to the slower
progress through the ordinary pack farther west. I doubt if I would,
except under similar circumstances, when time and coal were very
precious, risk an old vessel like the _Nimrod_, which steams but slowly
in this labyrinth of heavy ice, but a faster vessel could make the
passage with safety. It may be that in future seasons the Antarctic
Ocean in this particular part will be found to be quite ice-free, and a
later expedition may be able to work more to the eastward, and solve the
riddle as to the existence of land in that neighbourhood.

It was fortunate that we cleared the ice that afternoon, for shortly
afterwards the wind increased from the north, and the weather became
thick with falling snow.

The temperature was just at freezing-point, and the snow melted on the
decks when it fell. Altogether about an inch of snow fell between 2 p.m.
and midnight. We saw no ice until eight o'clock next morning (January
17), and then only one small berg. The wind shifted to the south-east,
the sky cleared somewhat, and with an open horizon all round we observed
no sign of ice at all.



CHAPTER V

THE ATTEMPT TO REACH KING EDWARD VII LAND

WE were now in the Ross Sea, and it was evident that we had avoided the
main pack. Our position at noon was 70° 43' South latitude, and 178° 58'
East longitude. We were now steering a little more westerly, so as to
strike the Barrier well to the east of Barrier Inlet, and also to avoid
the heavy pack that previous expeditions had encountered to the east of
meridian 160° West, where the ice has always proved impenetrable. In the
afternoon the wind blew fresh, and the sky became overcast again, and
snow began to fall. This snow differed from that brought by the
northerly wind; the northerly snow had consisted of flakes about a
quarter of an inch in diameter, while that now met with was formed of
small round specks, hard and dry, like sago--the true Antarctic type.
Birds now became more numerous. Large numbers of Antarctic petrels
circled round and round the ship. Their numbers were so great that as
the flights passed close by, the whirring of the wings could be
distinctly heard on board.

Towards evening we began to pass a number of small floe-bergs and
pack-ice. We could not see very far ahead, as the weather was thick, so
we steered more to the west to skirt this mass of ice. One berg had
evidently been overturned, and also showed signs of having been
aground. The Adelie penguins had become much more numerous, and we saw
an occasional seal, but too far off to distinguish the species. During
the early hours of January 18 we passed a few large bergs, and as
morning progressed the wind increased, ranging between south by west and
south by east. The ship was pitching to a short sea, and as the water
coming on board froze on deck, and in the stables, we made shift to keep
it out by nailing canvas over the gaping holes in the bulwarks. Adams
and Mackay were engaged in this very chilly job; Adams, slung in a rope
over the side, every now and then got soaked up to the middle when the
ship dipped into the sea, and as the temperature of the air was four
degrees below freezing-point, his tennis trousers were not of much value
for warmth in the circumstances. When he got too cold to continue
outside, Mackay took his place, and between them they made a very
creditable jury bulwark, which prevented the bulk of the water rushing
into the stable. The wind continued with a force of about forty miles an
hour, up till midday of the 19th, when it began to take off a little,
and the sky broke blue to the north-east; the decks were thickly coated
with soft ice, and the fresh water-pumps had frozen up hard.

We were now revelling in the indescribable freshness of the Antarctic
that seems to permeate one's being, and which must be responsible for
that longing to go again which assails each returned explorer from polar
regions. Our position at noon on January 19 was latitude 73° 44' South
and longitude 177° 19' East. The wind had decreased somewhat by
midnight, and though the air remained thick and the sky overcast during
the whole of the 20th, the weather was better. We passed through
occasional masses of floating ice and large tabular bergs, and at noon
were in latitude 74° 45' South, longitude 179° 21' East.

On the 21st the weather grew clear, the temperature was somewhat higher,
and the wind light. We observed small flights of snow petrels and
Antarctic petrels, and saw a single giant petrel for the first time.
There were also several whales spouting in the distance. The same sort
of weather continued throughout the day, and similar weather, though
somewhat clearer, was experienced on the 22nd. On the morning of the
23rd we saw some very large icebergs, and towards evening these
increased in number. They were evidently great masses broken off the
Barrier. Early in the morning we passed a large tilted berg, yellow with
diatoms. On our port side appeared a very heavy pack, in which a number
of large bergs were embedded. Our course for these three days was about
due south, and we were making good headway under steam.

We were now keeping a sharp look-out for the Barrier, which we expected
to see at any moment. A light south-easterly wind blew cold, warning us
that we could not be very far away from the ice-sheet. The thermometer
registered some twelve degrees of frost, but we hardly felt the cold,
for the wind was so dry. At 9.30 a.m. on the 23rd a low straight line
appeared ahead of the ship. It was the Barrier. After half an hour it
disappeared from view, having evidently been only raised into sight as
an effect of mirage, but by eleven o'clock the straight line stretching
out east and west was in full view, and we rapidly approached it. I had
hoped to make the Barrier about the position of what we call the Western
Bight, and at noon we could see a point on our starboard, from which the
Barrier dropped back. This was evidently the eastern limit of the
Western Bight. Shortly after noon we were within a quarter of a mile of
the ice-face, and exclamations of wonder and astonishment at the
stupendous bulk of the Barrier were drawn from the men who had not seen
it before.

We slowly steamed along, noting the various structures of the ice, and
were thankful that the weather promised to keep fine, for the inlet to
which we were bound could not easily have been picked up in thick
weather. The height of the Barrier about this point ranged from a
hundred and fifty feet to two hundred feet. In the afternoon, about half
past one, we passed an opening in the Barrier trending in a
south-easterly direction, but its depth was only about three-quarters of
a mile. The eastern point had the form of the bows of a gigantic
man-of-war, and reached a height of about two hundred and thirty feet.
It was appropriately called "The Dreadnought."

As we steamed close in to the Barrier, watching carefully for any sign
of an opening, we were able to observe accurately the various changes in
the ice-face. In places the wall was perfectly smooth, clean cut from
the top to the waterline, in other places it showed signs of vertical
cracks, and sometimes deep caverns appeared, which, illuminated by the
reflected light, merged from light translucent blue into the deepest
sapphire. At times great black patches appeared on the sides of the
Barrier in the distance, but as we neared them they were resolved into
huge caverns, some of which cut the waterline. One was so large that it
would have been possible to have steamed the _Nimrod_ through its
entrance without touching either side or its top by mast or yard.
Looking at the Barrier from some little distance, one would imagine it
to be a perfectly even wall of ice; when steaming along parallel with
it, however the impression it gave was that of a series of points, each
of which looked as though it might be the horn of a bay. Then when the
ship came abeam of it, one would see that the wall only receded for a
few hundred yards, and then new points came into view as the ship moved
on. In some places a cornice of snow overhung the Barrier top, and again
in others the vertical cracks had widened so that some portions of the
ice-wall seemed in immediate danger of falling. The vagaries of light
and shadow made appearances very deceptive. One inlet we passed had the
sides thrown up in little hummocks, not more than ten or fifteen feet
high, but until we were fairly close, these irregularities had the
appearance of hills.

The weather continued fine and calm. During the voyage of the
_Discovery_ we always encountered a strong westerly current along the
Barrier, but there was absolutely no sign of this here, and the ship
was making a good five knots. To the northward of us lay a very heavy
pack, interspersed with large icebergs, one of which was over two miles
long and one hundred and fifty feet high. This pack-ice was much heavier
and more rugged than any we had encountered on the previous expedition.
Evidently there must have been an enormous breaking away of ice to the
eastward, for as far as we could see from the crow's-nest, to the north
and east, this ice continued.

About midnight we suddenly came to the end of a very high portion of the
Barrier, and found as we followed round that we were entering a wide
shallow bay. This must have been the inlet where Borchgrevink landed in
1900, but it had greatly changed since that time. He describes the bay
as being a fairly narrow inlet. On our way east in the _Discovery_ in
1902 we passed an inlet somewhat similar, but we did not see the western
end as it was obscured by fog at the time. There seemed to be no doubt
that the Barrier had broken away at the entrance of this bay or inlet,
and so had made it much wider and less deep than it was in previous
years. About half a mile down the bay we reached fast ice. It was now
about half-past twelve at night, and the southerly sun shone in our
faces. Our astonishment was great to see beyond the six or seven miles
of flat bay ice, which was about five or six feet thick, high rounded
ice cliffs, with valleys between, running in an almost east and west
direction. About four miles to the south we saw the opening of a large
valley, but could not say where it led. Due south of us, and rising to a
height of approximately eight hundred feet, were steep and rounded
cliffs, and behind them sharp peaks. The southerly sun being low these
heights threw shadows which, for some time, had the appearance of bare
rocks. Two dark patches in the face of one of the further cliffs had
also this appearance, but a careful observation taken with a telescope
showed them to be caverns. To the east rose a long snow slope which cut
the horizon at the height of about three hundred feet. It had every
appearance of ice-covered land, but we could not stop then to make
certain, for the heavy ice and bergs lying to the northward of us were
setting down into the bay, and I saw that if we were not to be beset it
would be necessary to get away at once. All round us were numbers of
great whales showing their dorsal fins as they occasionally sounded, and
on the edge of the bay-ice half a dozen Emperor penguins stood lazily
observing us. We named this place the Bay of Whales, for it was a
veritable playground for these monsters.

We tried to work to the eastward so as once more to get close to the
Barrier which we could see rising over the top of the small bergs and
pack-ice, but we found this impossible, and so struck northwards through
an open lead and came south to the Barrier again about 2 a.m. on the
24th. We coasted eastward along the wall of ice, always on the lookout
for the inlet. The lashings had been taken off the motor-car, and the
tackle rigged to hoist it out directly we got alongside the ice-foot, to
which the _Discovery_ had been moored; for in Barrier Inlet we proposed
to place our winter quarters.

I must leave the narrative for a moment at this point and refer to the
reasons that made me decide on this inlet as the site for the winter
quarters. I knew that Barrier Inlet was practically the beginning of
King Edward VII Land, and that the actual bare land was within an easy
sledge journey of that place, and it had the great advantage of being
some ninety miles nearer to the South Pole than any other spot that
could be reached with the ship. A further point of importance was that
it would be an easy matter for the ship on its return to us to reach
this part of the Barrier, whereas King Edward VII Land itself might
quite conceivably be unattainable if the season was adverse. Some of my
_Discovery_ comrades had also considered Barrier Inlet a good place at
which to winter. After thinking carefully over the matter I had decided
in favour of wintering on the Barrier instead of on actual land, and on
the _Koonya_'s departure I had sent a message to the headquarters of
the expedition in London to the effect that, in the event of the
_Nimrod_ not returning at the usual time in 1908, no steps were to be
taken to provide a relief ship to search for her in 1909, for it was
only likely under those circumstances that she was frozen in; but that
if she did not turn up with us in 1909, then the relief expedition
should start in December of that year. The point to which they should
first direct their search was to be Barrier Inlet, and if we were not
found there they were to search the coast of King Edward VII Land. I had
added that it would only be by stress of most unexpected circumstances
that the ship would be unable to return to New Zealand.

However, the best-laid schemes often prove impracticable in Polar
Exploration, and within a few hours our first plan was found impossible
of fulfilment. Within thirty-six hours a second arrangement had to be
abandoned. We were steaming along westward close to the Barrier, and
according to the chart we were due to be abreast of the inlet about 6
a.m., but not a sign was there of the opening. We had passed
Borchgrevink's Bight at 1 a.m, and at 8 p.m. were well past the place
where Barrier Inlet ought to have been. The Inlet had disappeared,
owing to miles of the Barrier having calved away, leaving a long wide
bay joining up with Borchgrevink's Inlet, and the whole was now merged
into what we had called the Bay of Whales. This was a great
disappointment to us, but we were thankful that the Barrier had broken
away before we had made our camp on it. It was bad enough to try and
make for a port that had been wiped off the face of the earth, when all
the intending inhabitants were safe on board the ship, but it would
have been infinitely worse if we had landed there whilst the place was
still in existence, and that when the ship returned to take us off she
should find the place gone. The thought of what might have been made me
decide then and there that under no circumstances would I winter on the
Barrier, and that wherever we did land we would secure a solid rock
foundation for our winter home.

We had two strings to our bow, and I decided to use the second at once
and push forward towards King Edward VII Land. Just after 8 a.m. on the
24th we turned a corner in the Barrier, where it receded about half a
mile, before continuing to the eastward again. The line of its coast
here made a right angle, and the ice sloped down to sea-level at the
apex of the angle, but the slope was too steep and too heavily crevassed
for us to climb up and look over the surface if we had made a landing.

We tied the ship up to a fairly large floe, and I went down to England's
cabin to talk the matter over. In the corner where we were lying there
were comparatively few pieces of floe ice, but outside us lay a very
heavy pack, in which several large bergs were locked. Our only chance
was to go straight on, keeping close to the Barrier, as a lane of open
water was left between the Barrier and the edge of the pack to the north
of us. Sights were taken for longitude by four separate observers, and
the positions calculated showed us we were not only well to the eastward
of the place where Barrier Inlet was shown on the chart, but also that
the Barrier had receded at this particular point since January 1902.

About nine o'clock we cast off from the floe and headed the ship to the
eastward, again keeping a few hundred yards off the Barrier, for just
here the cliff overhung, and if a fall of ice had occurred while we were
close in the results would certainly have been disastrous for us. I soon
saw that we would not be able to make much easting in this way, for the
Barrier was now trending well to the north-east, and right ahead of us
lay an impenetrably close pack, set with huge icebergs. By 10 a.m. we
were close to the pack and found that it was pressed hard against the
Barrier edge, and, what was worse, the whole of the northern pack and
bergs at this spot were drifting in towards the Barrier. The
seriousness of this situation can be well realised by the reader if he
imagines for a moment that he is in a small boat right under the
vertical white cliffs of Dover; that detached cliffs are moving in from
seaward slowly but surely, with stupendous force and resistless power,
and that it will only be a question of perhaps an hour or two before the
two masses came into contact with his tiny craft between.

There was nothing for it but to retrace our way and try some other
route. Our position was latitude 78° 20' South and longitude 162° 14'
West when the ship turned. The pack had already moved inside the point
of the cliff where we had lain in open water at eight o'clock, but by
steaming hard and working in and out of the looser floes we just managed
to pass the point at 11.20 a.m. with barely fifty yards of open water to
spare between the Barrier and the pack.

I breathed more freely when we passed this zone of immediate danger, for
there were two or three hundred yards of clear water now between us and
the pack. We were right under the Barrier cliff, which was here over two
hundred and fifty feet high, and our course lay well to the south of
west, being roughly south-west true; so as we moved south more quickly
than the advancing ice we were able to keep close along the Barrier,
which gradually became lower, until about three o'clock we were abreast
of some tilted bergs at the eastern entrance of the Bay of Whales. There
was a peculiar light which rendered distances and the forms of objects
very deceptive, and a great deal of mirage, which made things appear
much higher than they actually were. This was particularly noticeable in
the case of the pack-ice; the whole northern and western sea seemed
crowded with huge icebergs, though in reality there was only heavy pack.
The penguins that we had seen the previous night were still at the same
place, and when a couple of miles away from us they loomed up as if they
were about six feet high. This bay ice, on which many seals were lying,
was cracking, and would soon float away, with one or two large icebergs
embedded in it.

Skirting along the seaward edge we came to the high cliff of ice at the
westerly end, and passed safely out of the bay at ten minutes to four.
We then continued to the westward, still having the heavy pack to the
north. One berg that we passed was a temporary resting-place for
hundreds of Antarctic and snow petrels, and these took flight as we
approached. About 6 p.m. the pack-ice seemed to loosen somewhat, and by
half-past seven, from the crow's-nest, I could see a lead of open water
to the north through the belt of pack, and beyond that there appeared to
be a fairly open sea. About eight o'clock the ship's head was put north,
and we soon gained a fairly open sea, occasionally having to make
_détours_ round the heavier packed floes, though we were able to push
aside the lighter pieces. At midnight, our easterly progress was
arrested by a line of thick conglomerated pack, and we had to steer
north for nearly an hour before we could again set the course easterly.
It is remarkable how limited one's horizon is at sea, for from the
crow's-nest, after passing this belt of pack, there appeared to be open
water for an indefinite distance, yet by two o'clock we were up against
the rigid ice again. Low pack-ice is not visible at any great distance,
and one could not trust an appearance of open water, even with the wide
horizon obtained from the crow's-nest. All night long we followed a
zigzag course in the endeavour to penetrate to the east, at times
steering due west, practically doubling on our tracks, before we could
find an opening which would admit of our pursuing the direction we
desired to follow. During the night it had been somewhat cloudy towards
the south, but about 3 a.m. it became quite clear over the Barrier, and
we saw to our disappointment that we had made hardly any progress to the
eastward, for we were at that hour only just abeam of the Bay of Whales.
About half-past seven in the morning we passed a huge berg, nearly three
miles in length and over two hundred feet in height, and at eight
o'clock the sea became much more open; indeed, there was no ice in sight
to the east at all. It was a bright, sunny morning, and things looked
much more hopeful as I left the bridge for a sleep, after having been on
deck all night.

When I came up again, just before noon on January 25, I found that my
hopes for a clear run were vain. Our noon observations showed that we
were well to the north of the Barrier, and still to the westward of the
point we had reached the previous morning before we had been forced to
turn round. The prospect of reaching King Edward VII Land seemed to
grow more remote every ensuing hour. There was high hummocky pack
interspersed with giant icebergs to the east and south of the ship, and
it was obvious that the whole sea between Cape Colbeck and the Barrier
at our present longitude must be full of ice. To the northward the
strong ice blink on the horizon told the same tale. It seemed as if it
would be impossible to reach the land, and the shortness of coal, the
leaky condition of the ship, and the absolute necessity of landing all
our stores and putting up the hut before the vessel left us made the
situation an extremely anxious one for me. I had not expected to find
Barrier Inlet gone, and, at the same time, the way to King Edward VII
Land absolutely blocked by ice, though the latter condition was not
unusual, for every expedition in this longitude up till 1901 had been
held up by the pack; indeed Ross, in this locality, sailed for hundreds
of miles to the northward along the edge of a similar pack on this
meridian. It is true that we had steam, but the _Discovery_, or even the
_Yermak_, the most powerful ice-breaker ever built, would have made no
impression upon the cemented field of ice.

I decided to continue to try and make a way to the east for at least
another twenty-four hours. We altered the course to the north, skirting
the ice as closely as possible, and taking advantage of the slightest
trend to the eastward, at times running into narrow culs-de-sac in the
main pack, only to find it necessary to retrace our way again. The wind
began to freshen from the west, and the weather to thicken. A little
choppy sea washed over the edges of the floes, and the glass was
falling. About five o'clock some heavy squalls of snow came down, and we
had to go dead slow, for the horizon was limited at times to a radius of
less than one hundred yards. Between the squalls it was fairly clear,
and we could make out great numbers of long, low bergs, one of which was
over five miles in length, though not more than forty feet high. The
waves were splashing up against the narrow end as we passed within a
couple of cables' length of the berg, and almost immediately afterwards
another squall swept down upon us. The weather cleared again shortly,
and we saw the western pack moving rapidly towards us under the
influence of the wind; in some places it had already met the main pack.
As it was most likely that we would be caught in this great mass of ice,
and that days, or even weeks might elapse before we could extricate
ourselves, I reluctantly gave orders to turn the ship and make full
speed out of this dangerous situation. I could see nothing for it except
to steer for McMurdo Sound, and there make our winter quarters. For many
reasons I would have preferred landing at King Edward VII Land, as that
region was absolutely unknown. A fleeting glimpse of bare rocks and high
snow slopes was all that we obtained of it on the _Discovery_
expedition, and had we been able to establish our winter quarters there,
we could have added greatly to the knowledge of the geography of that
region. There would perhaps have been more difficulty in the attempt to
reach the South Pole from that base, but I did not expect that the route
from there to the Barrier surface, from which we could make a fair start
for the Pole, would have been impracticable. I did not give up the
destined base of our expedition without a strenuous struggle, as the
track of the ship given in the sketch-map shows; but the forces of these
uncontrollable ice-packs are stronger than human resolution, and a
change of plan was forced upon us.



CHAPTER VI

THE SELECTION OF THE WINTER QUARTERS

IT was with a heavy heart that I saw our bows swinging round to the
west, and realised that for a year at least we would see nothing of the
land which we had hoped to have made our winter quarters. We turned to
the westward about eight o'clock that night, watching the ice carefully
as we went along, and up to one o'clock on the morning of January 26
there was not a break in the close-set pack to the northward of us. We
then lost sight of the ice in the mist. The glass was unsteady, and the
wind somewhat gusty from the south-west, with a choppy sea. About six
o'clock on the morning of the 26th, the ship's head was put south, for I
wanted to pick up the Barrier and follow it along at least as far as the
Western Bight, before setting the course direct for Mount Erebus. We
passed the inlet we had seen on our way east, and about twelve o'clock
were abreast of the eastern point of Western Bight. We now laid our
course for Mount Erebus, and as I hoped to examine the Barrier more
closely in the following year we made a direct course west, which took
us some distance off the edge of the ice. The weather was fine and
clear, excepting for a low stratus cloud over the Barrier; this lifted
later in the day, but before evening we had entirely lost sight of the
ice-face. There was an extraordinary absence of bird life of any
description, but whales were blowing all round us, some coming right
alongside the ship. We had so far seen fewer of the snow petrels and
many more of the Antarctic petrels than during the previous expedition.
On this day we saw one albatross of the sooty species, and a couple of
giant petrels. The wind was westerly all day, and towards the evening
there were one or two slight snow squalls. Our position at noon on the
26th was latitude 78° 9' South, and longitude 178° 43' West, and the air
temperature had risen to 28° Fahr.

On the 28th, the weather kept fine, though the sky was practically
covered with cloud. A great arch of clear sky rose in the south about
noon; shortly before this a curious whitish appearance gave one the
impression of land, and as the sky cleared this became more distinct,
and proved to be Erebus and Terror, the two huge mountains we were
approaching. By 2 p.m. they had grown much more distinct, and were
evidently raised by mirage to even statelier altitudes than their own.
We could plainly see the smoke from Mount Erebus, which from our point
of view showed to the south of Mount Terror. We altered the course a
little so as to make Cape Crozier. I had some thoughts of placing a
depot there to be handy for any party that might go over from winter
quarters to study penguin life, but on second thoughts decided not to
delay the ship. Our noon position put us in latitude 77° 6' South, and
longitude 175° 35' East. We passed Cape Crozier, where the Barrier meets
the land some distance off, about ten o'clock that night. The weather
was beautifully fine and clear, and except for an occasional berg and a
few pieces of heavy floe, there was no ice visible. We steamed fairly
close in along the coast, and at 3 a.m. were abreast of Erebus Bay. To
the north-west of us was Beaufort Island, showing a precipitous rock
face on its eastern side; Cape Bird was just on our port bow. The
weather was overcast and snowy as we turned Cape Bird at 5.30 a.m. on
January 29. We hoped to reach our new winter quarters without more
opposition from the ice. As we steamed down McMurdo Sound we passed
through occasional loose patches of pack-ice, on which immense numbers
of penguins were congregated.

There was a great deal more ice to the west, and a strong ice blink gave
indication that it must be heavily packed right up to the western shore.
Passing down the sound, and keeping well to the east and close under the
land, we observed a long, low sandy beach, terminating landwards in a
steep slope, the whole place for an area of about two square miles
yellow and pink with penguin guano. It was a large penguin rookery.

We passed but little ice till about ten o'clock, but within an hour
after that we could see the fast ice ahead of us, and by half-past
eleven we were brought up against it. It was now January 29, and some
twenty miles of frozen sea separated us from Hut Point, where we hoped
to make our winter quarters. The ice at the spot at which we were first
stopped by it was very much decayed and covered with about a foot of
snow. We tried to break through it by ramming, but the attempt was not a
success, for the ship entered about half her length into the sludgy
mass, and then stuck, without producing a crack in front. We backed out
again, and, when some little distance away, put on full speed, ramming
the ship up against the ice edge. This second attempt was equally
futile, so the ice anchor was made fast to the floe, while we considered
some better plan of action.

The weather had cleared somewhat, and we were able to see our
surroundings. To the south lay the Delbridge Islands, and beyond
appeared the sharp peak of Observation Hill under which lay the winter
quarters of the last expedition. Castle Rock, towering above other local
heights, seemed like an old friend, and White Island was dimly seen
beneath the rising pall of cloud. To the south-west Black Island and
Brown Island showed up distinctly, and behind the former we could trace
the rounded lines of Mount Discovery. To the west were the gigantic
peaks of the western mountains with their huge amphitheatres and immense
glaciers. About seven miles to the eastward lay a dark mass of rock,
Cape Royds, named after the first lieutenant of the _Discovery_. So
familiar were they that it seemed as though it were only yesterday that
I had looked on the scene, and yet six years had gone by.

During the day we had occasional falls of light, dry snow, and the air
temperature at times went down to 11° Fahr, although this was the height
of summer. The wind continued southerly but with no great force, and now
we would have welcomed even a heavy blizzard to break up the ice. A
northerly swell would have been better still, for a few hours of this
would make short work of the miles of ice that now formed an
impenetrable bar to our ship. When the S.Y. _Morning_, the first relief
ship to the _Discovery_, arrived about January 23, 1902, there was a
similar amount of ice in the sound, and it was not till February 28 that
she got within five miles of Hut Point, and the ice did not break out up
to the Point at all during that year. The following year, both the
_Terra Nova_ and the _Morning_ arrived at the ice-face about January 4,
and found that the sound was frozen over for twenty miles out from Hut
Point. Yet by February 15, the ice had broken away to the south of Hut
Point, and the _Discovery_ was free. With only these two diverse
experiences on which to base any theory as to the probable action of the
ice, it will easily De seen that the problem was a difficult one for me.
If I kept the ship for two weeks in the hope of the ice breaking up, and
it did not do so, we would then be in a very serious position, for it
would take nearly a fortnight to land all the stores and get the hut up,
and this could only be done after selecting new winter quarters
somewhere in the neighbourhood, either on the west coast or on one of
the bare patches of rocks lying to the eastward of us. The outlook to the
west was not promising, for about five or six miles to the west of where
we were lying the ice was heavily packed. To the eastward it seemed more
hopeful.

I decided to lie off the ice-foot for a few days at least, and give
Nature a chance to do what we could not with the ship, that is, to break
up the miles of ice intervening between us and our goal. We seemed fated
to meet with obstacles in every attempt we made to carry out our plans,
but remembered in these somewhat anxious times that obstacles are the
common lot of Polar explorers, and that indeed the game would not be
worth playing if there were not difficulties. My chief anxiety was due
to the fact that each day's delay at the ice-foot would mean a
diminution of our scanty stock of coal, for it was necessary to keep up
steam that we might be ready to move at a moment's notice in the event
of the ice packing down on us from the north, or the breaking away of
the floe to which we were fast. The latter circumstance indeed was a
constant occurrence; either the ice broke bodily away, or a slight
breeze would catch the ship and draw the anchor out of the floe. Then we
had to steam up and get a fresh grip. The plan of sledging the stores
across the distance intervening between us and Hut Point I soon
dismissed as impracticable, for even if the ponies had been in perfect
condition, and it had been possible to use the motor-car, we could never
have shifted the hundred and eighty odd tons of equipment in the time
available.

I was troubled at this time in regard to the health of Captain England.
He did not seem, at all well, and it was evident that the strain of the
bad weather we had encountered, and more especially of the difficulties
in the ice had told upon him. Our circumstances at the time were not
likely to afford him much rest. He was naturally anxious to get the ship
away as soon as possible, as he felt that she could not be much depended
on for sailing, but I could not see my way to fixing an actual date for
the _Nimrod_'s departure, especially in view of the fact that I did not
even know where our winter quarters were to be.

On the evening of January 29 we took the sides and top off the motor-car
case and put the wheels on the car, for I hoped to try it on the floe.
The member of the staff in charge was Day, who soon had the engine
running, and the following morning, the 30th, though the temperature was
low, it seemed to go without any hitch. Its behaviour on the floe, where
the snow was lying deep, had yet to be tested. We put on the light
wheels and Dunlop tyres and the non-skid chains, for we had hopes that
it might be unnecessary to use the heavier wheels, and we wished to have
everything ready.

During the day a fresh breeze sprang up from the south-east with
drifting snow, and the vessel soon assumed a wintry appearance. At meal
times on this day everybody crowded into the wardroom for warmth, as it
was no longer possible to take one's food standing by the galley door.
The ship broke from her anchors two or three times, and the ice to which
she had been attached drifted away to the north, and though the pieces
were only about a hundred yards long our hopes were raised, for we felt
that the ice was beginning to break up, though we realised that if only
a few hundred yards shifted in a day it would take too long for a mass
of ice twenty miles broad to go out, and enable us to get to Hut Point
in time to discharge her stores.

All day long Killer whales in large numbers had been rising and blowing
near the ice. They came right alongside the ship, and every now and then
we could see one rear itself on end and poke its head over the ice-edge
on the lookout for a seal. On one occasion we saw a seal suddenly shoot
out of the water on to the floe-edge and hurry into safety with almost
incredible speed for an animal of such unwieldy proportions. It
travelled at least a quarter of a mile over the firm ice before pausing
for breath. A minute or two later the cause of this extreme haste became
evident, for the huge sinister head of a Killer slowly reared itself out
of the water and gazed round for its intended victim. We have never seen
a seal captured by one of these monsters, but undoubtedly they must fall
victims sometimes, for the Killer is always hanging round the ice,
poking his head up amongst the loose floes, and the manifest alarm of
seals lying there, and their quick retreat to a more secure position
away from the water can only be explained as the struggle to escape from
a known danger. There were many Adelie penguins about, and it was
amusing to watch them forming up in line on the edge of the ice, and
then diving in turn into the sea, like swimmers in a handicap race. A
couple of minutes might elapse before they appeared again.

We unfastened most of the beams of the pony shelter, so that there would
be no difficulty in getting the ponies out at a moment's notice, and
removed a lot of the top hamper from the skids. Most of the poor beasts
were in bad condition. Those which were white all over seemed, for some
reason, to have stood the rough weather better than the parti-coloured
ones, but all were enjoying the steadiness of the ship after the
terrible rolling. The flanks of most of the horses had been skinned by
the constant knocking and rubbing against the sides of their stalls, and
Zulu was in such a bad condition from this cause that I decided to have
him shot at once. This left us with eight ponies, and we considered
ourselves fortunate in reaching winter quarters with the loss of only
two animals.

So far the voyage had been without accident to any of the staff, but on
the morning of the 31st, when all hands were employed getting stores out
of the after hatch, preparatory to landing them, a hook on the tackle
slipped and, swinging suddenly across the deck, struck Mackintosh in
the right eye. He fell on the deck in great pain, but was able, in a few
minutes, to walk with help to England's cabin, where Marshall examined
him. It was apparent that the sight of the eye was completely
destroyed, so he was put under chloroform, and Marshall removed the
eye, being assisted at the operation by the other two doctors, Michell
and Mackay. It was a great comfort to me to know that the expedition had
the services of thoroughly good surgeons. Mackintosh felt the loss of
his eye keenly; not so much because the sight was gone, but because it
meant that he could not remain with us in the Antarctic. He begged to be
allowed to stay, but when Marshall explained that he might lose the
sight of the other eye, unless great care were taken, he accepted his
ill-fortune without further demur, and thus the expedition lost, for a
time, one of its most valuable members.

Whilst we were waiting at the ice I thought it as well that a small
party should proceed to Hut Point, and report on the condition of the
hut left there by the _Discovery_ expedition, for it was possible that,
after five years' disuse, it might be drifted up with snow. I decided to
send Adams, Joyce and Wild, giving Adams instructions to get into the
hut, and then return the next day to the ship. We were then about
sixteen miles from Hut Point, and the party started off the next morning
with plenty of provisions in case of being delayed, and a couple of
spades with which to dig out the hut. It was Adams' first experience of
sledging, and a fifteen or sixteen-mile march with a fairly heavy load
was a stiff proposition for men who had been cooped up in the ship for
over a month. They started at a good swinging pace. The Professor and
Cotton met the party some two or three miles away from the ship, and
accompanied them for another mile. On their return they reported that
the sledge-party had got on to old ice that had not broken out the
previous year. The ice across which the party had started was about four
feet thick, and much more solid than that which stopped the ship on our
first arrival. It was one-year ice, but I think it quite possible that
it had broken out earlier and frozen in again.

During the previous night we had moved somewhat further west and tied up
to the floe, after another ineffectual attempt to break through to the
south. Shortly after the sledge-party started we hoisted the motor-car
over the side and landed it safely on the sea-ice. Day immediately got
in, started the engine, and off the car went with the throbbing sound
which has become so familiar in the civilised world, and was now heard
for the first time in the Antarctic. The run was but a short one, for
within a hundred yards the wheels clogged in the soft snow. With all
hands pushing and pulling we managed to get the car across a crack in
the ice, which we momentarily expected would open out, and allow the
floe to drift away to the north. Once over the crack the engine was
started again, and for a short distance the car went ahead under its own
power, but it was held up again by the snow. By dint of more pushing and
pulling, and with the help of its own engine, the car reached a point
about half a mile south of the ship, but our hopes as to the future
practical utility of the machine were considerably damped. We could not
accurately judge of the merits of the car on this trial, for it had not
been fitted with the proper wheels for travelling in snow, and the
engine was not tuned up to working efficiency. There was no difficulty
with the ignition, for it sparked at once, in spite of there being at
the time 17° of frost. We left the car at one o'clock and went on board
to lunch, and, on coming back, found a couple of Adelie penguins on the
ice solemnly eyeing the strange arrival. More cracks had opened up near
the car, and as there was no prospect of it helping us to reach the land
at this time I decided to have it hauled back to the ship and hoisted on
board at once, to await a more favourable opportunity for a thorough
test. Ignominiously it was hauled through the snow until it got within a
hundred yards of the ship where the ice was harder. Then, with a puff
and a snort, it ran up alongside. In the morning I had had dreams of
mounting the car with Day and gaily overtaking the sledge-party as they
toiled over the ice, but these dreams were short-lived.

In the afternoon we hauled our anchor in and steamed west to have a look
at the situation of the ice on the western coast, but we had not gone
four miles before we were brought up by ice, and we returned to our old
moorings. That evening most of our staff tasted Skua gull for dinner for
the first time, and pronounced it delicious. The method of catching
these birds was simple and efficient, if not exactly sporting. A baited
hook and line was thrown on to the floe, and in a couple of minutes a
Skua would walk up to the bait and swallow it only to find himself being
dragged towards the ship.

His companions did not seem to realise that their comrade was in any
difficulty, but appeared to think rather that he had some particularly
dainty morsel of which they were being deprived, for they at once
proceeded to attack him in the hope of making him disgorge. About ten or
twelve Skuas were caught in this way before they began to suspect that
anything was amiss, but when they did realise the situation, the lure of
the most dainty bits of meat proved ineffectual. In the afternoon we
also killed a couple of Weddell seals and next morning had bacon and
fresh seal liver for breakfast.

There was no perceptible change in the state of the ice on February 2,
though occasional floes were breaking off, and as the weather kept fine
a party consisting of Professor David, Mawson, Cotton, Priestley and
Armytage started off across the ice bound for Inaccessible Island. I
went out with England towards the south on ski to examine the ice for
cracks, but the result of our walk was not at all satisfactory, for the
ice was firm and the only cracks were those alongside the ship. I
therefore decided to wait no longer at the ice-face, but, when the
sledge-party returned, to seek for winter quarters on the east coast of
Ross Island. Early in the afternoon a breeze sprang up from the
eastward, the sky became overcast, and a slight drift blew across the
fast ice. The loose ice drifted rapidly from the eastward, so the ship
was backed into clear water, and it was well that this was done, for
shortly afterwards the loose ice overrode the solid floe and would have
given the ship a nasty squeeze had she been lying at her former
moorings. On the wind springing up in the afternoon, the recall flag had
been hoisted as a signal to the party ashore, but they did not see it,
and it was nearly five o'clock before they turned up. We had, by that
time, remoored the ship about a mile to the eastward of our former
position. The Professor reported that they had been unable to land on
the island, as about fifty yards of water intervened between the ice
and the bare land. They found a sea urchin on the ice, and Murray at
once claimed it for his collection. They had learned the first lesson of
the Antarctic, which is, that distances are very deceptive, and that
land is always much more distant than it appears to be.

This evening we kept a look-out for the return of the sledge travellers,
but there was no sign of them by bedtime. I knew that Adams would be
sure to return unless his party had found much difficulty in effecting
an entrance into the hut. At half-past one in the morning Harbord came
down and reported that he could see the party coming along in the
distance. Of course at this time we had perpetual daylight and there was
practically no difference between day and night. I had some cocoa and
sardines prepared for them, for I knew from experience how comforting
is this fare to a way-worn sledger. Adams, on his arrival, reported that
they had had a very heavy march on the way to the hut, and had not
reached it till a quarter to twelve at night, having been going since 10
a.m. The surface for the last two miles had been smooth ice, clear of
snow, and a large pool of open water lay off the end of Hut Point. The
bay in which the _Discovery_ had been frozen in was covered with clear
blue ice, showing that in the previous season the sea-ice had not broken
out. They were so tired that they turned into their sleeping-bags inside
the hut directly they made an entrance, which was easily done through
one of the lee windows. They found the hut practically clear of snow,
and the structure quite intact. There was a small amount of ice inside
on the walls, evidently the result of a summer thaw, but even after five
years' desertion, the building was in excellent preservation. A few
relics of the last expedition were lying about, including bags
containing remnants of provisions from various sledging-parties. Amongst
these provisions was an open tin of tea, and the following morning the
party made an excellent brew from the contents. It speaks volumes for
the dryness of the climate that the tea should retain its flavour after
exposure to the air for five years. A sledging-tin of petroleum was also
used and was found to be in perfect condition. The ice on the end of Hut
Point was cracked and crevassed, but in all other respects things seemed
to be the same as when the _Discovery_ steamed away to the north in
February 1904. The cross put up in memory of Vince, who lost his life
close by in a blizzard, was still standing, and so were the magnetic
huts. At 1 p.m. the following day the three sledgers set out for the
ship, and though they had the assistance of an extemporised sail, rigged
to take advantage of the southerly wind, they found the travelling very
heavy, and were heartily glad to get on board the _Nimrod_ again.

In the morning we moved close in towards Inaccessible Island, as the
ice seemed to have broken out right up to it, but on getting near we saw
there was still a large amount stretching between the ship and the
island. Soundings here gave us 298 fathoms, with a bottom of volcanic
pebbles. We tied up again to the ice, and during the afternoon the
shore-party filled the little tank on top of the boiler-room grating
with snow, and the resulting water made the tea much more pleasant than
the water from the ship's tanks to which we had been accustomed.

About four o'clock we got under way and started towards Cape Barne on
the look-out for a suitable landing-place. About two miles off the
point, at 6 p.m., a sounding of seventy-nine fathoms was obtained, and
half a mile further in the depth was forty-four fathoms. The arming of
the lead was covered with sponge spicules, suggesting that this place
would be a fine hunting-ground for the biologist. Steaming slowly north
along the coast we saw across the bay a long, low snow-slope, connected
with the bare rock of Cape Royds, which appeared to be a likely place
for winter quarters.

About eight o'clock, accompanied by Adams and Wild in the whale boat,
and taking the hand lead with us, I left the ship and went in towards
the shore. After about ten minutes' pulling, with frequent stops for
soundings, we came up against fast ice. This covered the whole of the
small bay from the corner of Flagstaff Point, as we afterwards named the
seaward cliff at the southern end of Cape Royds, to Cape Barne to the
southward. Close up to the Point the ice had broken out, leaving a
little natural dock. We ran the boat into this, and Adams and I
scrambled ashore, crossing a well-defined tide-crack and going up a
smooth snow-slope about fifteen yards wide, at the top of which was bare
rock. Hundreds of penguins were congregated on the bay ice, and hundreds
more on the top of the slope, and directly we reached the bare land our
nostrils were greeted with the overbearing stench of the rookery where
there were many hundreds of Adelie penguins. These were moving to and
fro, and they greeted us with hoarse squawks of excitement. Above them
were flying many of their natural enemies, the rapacious Skua gulls.
These birds had young, for as we walked along, evidently nearing the
nestlings, they began to swoop down on us, almost touching our heads,
and the sharp whirr of their rapidly moving wings told us how strongly
they resented our intrusion.

A very brief examination of the vicinity of the ice-foot was sufficient
to show us that Cape Royds would make an excellent place on which to
land our stores. We therefore shoved off in the boat again, and,
skirting along the ice-foot to the south, sounded the bay, and found
that the water deepened from two fathoms close in shore to about twenty
fathoms four hundred yards further south. After completing these
soundings we pulled out towards the ship, which had been coming in very
slowly. We were pulling along at a good rate when suddenly a heavy body
shot out of the water, struck the seaman who was pulling stroke, and
dropped with a thud into the bottom of the boat. The arrival was an
Adelie penguin. It was hard to say who was the most astonished--the
penguin, at the result of its leap on to what it had doubtless thought
was a rock, or we, who so suddenly took on board this curious
passenger. The sailors in the boat looked upon this incident as an omen
of good luck. There is a tradition amongst seamen that the souls of old
sailors, after death, occupy the bodies of penguins, as well as of
albatrosses; this idea, however, does not prevent the mariners from
making a hearty meal off the breasts of the former when opportunity
offers. We arrived on board at 9 p.m., and by 10 p.m. on February 3 the
_Nimrod_ was moored to the bay ice, ready to land the stores.

Immediately after securing the ship I went ashore, accompanied by the
Professor, England and Dunlop, to choose a place for building the hut.
We passed the penguins, which were marching solemnly to and fro, and on
reaching the level land, made for a huge boulder of kenyte, the most
conspicuous mark in the locality. I thought that we might build the hut
under the lee of this boulder, sheltered from the south-east wind, but
the situation had its drawbacks, as it would have entailed a large
amount of levelling before the foundation of the hut could have been
laid. We crossed a narrow ridge of rock just beyond the great boulder,
and, turning a little to the right up a small valley, found an ideal
spot for our winter quarters. The floor of this valley was practically
level and covered with a couple of feet of volcanic earth; at the sides
the bed rock was exposed, but a rough eye measurement was quite
sufficient to show that there would be not only ample room for the hut
itself, but also for all the stores, and for a stable for the ponies. A
hill right behind this little valley would serve as an excellent shelter
to the hut from what we knew was the prevailing strong wind, that is,
the south-easter. A glance at the illustrations will give the reader a
much better idea of this place than will a written description, and he
will see how admirably Nature had provided us with a protection against
her own destructive forces.

After deciding on this place as our home for the winter we went round a
ridge to the south, and on a level piece of ground overlooking the bay
we came across the camp where Captain Scott and Dr. Wilson spent some
days in January 1904 whilst they were waiting for the arrival of the
relief ship. The camp had been placed in a splendid position, with an
uninterrupted view of the sea to the north and the great panorama of the
western mountains. We found all the camp gear and cooking utensils just
as they had been left, and, considering the exposed position of the
camp, it appeared as though this spot could not have been subjected to
very violent storms, otherwise the tent cloths, empty boxes, and other
things lying about would have been blown away. From the top of the ridge
we could see a small bay inside the wide one in which the ship was
lying, and a little more to the eastward was a smaller bay, the end of
which formed the sea limit to this part of the coast. A number of seals
lying on the bay ice gave promise that there would be no lack of fresh
meat.

With this ideal situation for a camp, and everything else satisfactory,
including a supply of water from a lake right in front of our little
valley, I decided that we could not do better than start getting our
gear ashore at once. There was only one point that gave me any anxiety,
and that was as to whether the sea would freeze over between this place
and Hut Point in ample time for us to get across for the southern and
western journeys in the following spring. It was also obvious that
nothing could be done in the way of laying out depots for the next
season's work, as directly the ship left we would be cut off from any
communication with the lands to the south of us, by sea and by land, for
the heavily crevassed glaciers fringing the coast were an effectual bar
to a march with sledges. However, time was pressing, and we were
fortunate to get winter quarters as near as this to our starting-point
for the south.



CHAPTER VII

THE LANDING OF STORES AND EQUIPMENT

WE returned to the ship to start discharging our equipment, and with
this work commenced the most uncomfortable fortnight, and the hardest
work, full of checks and worries, that I or any other member of the
party had ever experienced. If it had not been for the whole-hearted
devotion of our party, and their untiring energy, we would never have
got through the long toil of discharging. Day and night, if such terms
of low latitudes can be used in a place where there was no night, late
and early, they were always ready to turn to, in face of most trying
conditions, and always with a cheerful readiness. If a fresh obstacle
appeared there was no time lost in bemoaning the circumstance, but they
all set to work at once to remove the obstruction. The first thing to be
landed was the motor-car, and after that came the ponies, for it was
probable that any day might see the breakup of the bay ice, and there
being only two fathoms of water along the shore, as we had ascertained
by sounding down the tide crack, the ship could not go very close in. It
would have been practically impossible to have landed the ponies in
boats, for they were only half-broken in, and all in a highly strung,
nervous condition. At 10.30 p.m. on February 3 we swung the motor over
on to the bay ice, and all hands pulled it up the snow slope across the
tide-crack and left it safe on the solid ground. This done, we next
landed one of the lifeboats, which we intended to keep down there with
us. Joyce ran the dogs ashore and tied them up to rocks, all except
Possum, who was still engaged with her little puppies. Then followed the
foundation pieces of the hut, for it was desirable that we should be
safely housed before the ship went north. Meanwhile, the carpenter was
busily engaged in unbolting the framework of the pony-stalls, and the
animals became greatly excited, causing us a lot of trouble. We worked
till 3 a.m., landing pony fodder and general stores, and then knocked
off and had some cocoa and a rest, intending to turn to at 6 a.m.

We had hardly started work again when a strong breeze sprung up with
drifting snow. The ship began to bump heavily against the ice-foot and
twice dragged her anchors out, so, as there seemed no possibility of
getting ahead with the landing of the stores under these conditions, we
steamed out and tied up at the main ice-face, about six miles to the
south, close to where we had lain for the past few days. It blew fairly
hard all day and right through the evening, but the wind went down on
the afternoon of the 5th, and we returned to the bay that evening. The
poor dogs had been tied up all this time, without any shelter or food,
so directly we made fast, Joyce was off ashore with a steaming hot feed
for them. Scamp came running down to meet him, and Queenie had got loose
and played havoc amongst the penguins. They had killed over a hundred,
and the skuas were massed in great numbers, taking full advantage of
this disaster. We never saw Queenie again. She must have fallen over a
cliff into the sea.

We lost no time in getting the ponies ashore. This was by no means an
easy task, for some of the animals were very restive, and it required
care to avoid accident to themselves or to us. Some time before we had
thought of walking them down over a gangplank on to the ice, but
afterwards decided to build a rough horse-box, get them into this, and
then sling it over the side by means of the main gaff. We covered the
decks with ashes and protected all sharp projections with bags and bales
of fodder. The first pony went in fairly quietly, and in another moment
or two had the honour of being the pioneer horse on the Antarctic ice.
One after another the ponies were led out of the stalls into the
horse-box and were slung over on to the ice. Presently it came to
Grisi's turn, and we looked for a lively time with this pony, for he was
the most spirited and in the best condition of all. Our anticipations
proved correct, and there were a few lively minutes before he was
secured in the horse-box, the door of which was fastened with a rope. It
was only by Mackay exerting all his strength at the most critical moment
that we got the pony in. As the box was being hoisted up, his violent
kicking threatened to demolish the somewhat frail structure, and it was
with a devout feeling of thankfulness that I saw him safe on the ice.
They all seemed to feel themselves at home, for they immediately
commenced pawing at the snow as they are wont to do in their own
faraway Manchurian home, where, in the winter, they scrape away the
snow to get out the rough tussocky grass that lies underneath. It was
3.30 a.m. on the morning of the 6th before we got all the ponies off the
ship, and they were at once led up on to the land. The poor beasts were
naturally stiff after the constant buffeting they had experienced in
their narrow stalls on the rolling ship for over a month, and they
walked very stiffly ashore. They negotiated the tide-crack all right,
the fissure being narrow, and were soon picketed out on some bare earth
at the entrance to a valley which lay about fifty yards from the site of
our hut. We thought that this would be a good place, but the selection
was to cost us dearly in the future. The tide-crack played an important
part in connection with the landing of the stores. In the polar regions,
both north and south, when the sea is frozen over, there always appears
between the fast ice, which is the ice attached to the land, and the sea
ice, a crack which is due to the sea ice moving up and down with the
rise and fall of the tide. When the bottom of the sea slopes gradually
from the land, sometimes two or three tide cracks appear running
parallel to each other. When no more tide-cracks are to be seen
landwards, the snow or ice-foot has always been considered as being a
permanent adjunct to the land, and in our case this opinion was further
strengthened by the fact that our soundings in the tide-crack showed
that the ice-foot on the landward side of it must be aground. I have
explained this fully, for it was after taking into consideration these
points that I, for convenience sake, landed the bulk of the stores just
below the bare rocks on what I considered to be the permanent
snow-slope.

About 9 a.m. on the morning of February 6 we started work with sledges,
hauling provisions and pieces of the hut to the shore. The previous
night the foundation posts of the hut had been sunk and frozen into the
ground with a cement composed of volcanic earth and water. The digging
of the foundation holes, on which job Dunlop, Adams, Joyce, Brocklehurst
and Marshall were engaged, proved hard work, for in some cases where the
hole had to be dug the bedrock was found a few inches below the coating
of the earth, and this had to be broken through or drilled with chisel
and hammer. Now that the ponies were ashore it was necessary to have a
party living ashore also, for the animals would require looking after if
the ship were forced to leave the ice-foot at any time, and, of course,
the building of the hut could go on during the absence of the ship. The
first shore party consisted of Adams, Marston, Brocklehurst, Mackay and
Murray, and two tents were set up close to the hut, with the usual
sledging requisites, sleeping-bags, cookers, &c. A canvas cover was
rigged on some oars to serve as a cooking-tent, and this, later on, was
enlarged into a more commodious house, built out of bales of fodder.

The first things landed this day were bales of fodder for the ponies,
and sufficient petroleum and provisions for the shore party in the event
of the ship having to put to sea suddenly owing to bad weather. For
facility in landing the stores, the whole party was divided into two
gangs. Some of the crew of the ship hoisted the stores out of the hold
and slid them down a wide plank on to the ice, others of the ship's crew
loaded the stores on to the sledges, and these were hauled to land by
the shore party, each sledge having three men harnessed to it. The road
to the shore consisted of hard, rough ice, alternating with very soft
snow, and as the distance from where the ship was lying at first to the
tide-crack was nearly a quarter of a mile, it was strenuous toil,
especially when the tide-crack was reached and the sledges had to be
pulled up the slope. After the first few sledge-loads had been hauled
right up on to the land, I decided to let the stores remain on the snow
slope beyond the tide-crack, where they could be taken away at leisure.
The work was so heavy that we tried to substitute mechanical haulage in
place of man haulage, and to achieve this end we anchored a block in the
snow slope just over the tide-crack, and having spliced together
practically all the running gear and all the spare line in the ship, we
rove one end of the rope through the block and brought it back to the
ship. The other end was brought round the barrel of the steam winch, and
after the first part had been made fast to the loaded sledges, orders
were given to heave away on the winch, and the sledges were, in this
manner, hauled ashore. This device answered well enough in principle,
but in actual practice we found that the amount of time that would be
occupied in doing the work would be too great, especially because of the
necessity for hauling back the rope to the ship each time, as in our
present position we could not make an endless haulage. We therefore
reverted to our original plan, and all that morning did the work by man
haulage. During the lunch hour we shifted the ship about a hundred yards
nearer the shore alongside the ice-face, from which a piece had broken
out during the morning, leaving a level edge where the ship could be
moored easily.

Just as we were going to commence work at 2 p.m. a fresh breeze sprung
up from the south-east, and the ship began to bump against the ice-foot,
her movement throwing the water over the ice. We were then lying in a
rather awkward position in the apex of an angle in the bay ice, and as
the breeze threatened to become stronger, I sent the shore-party on to
the ice, and, with some difficulty, we got clear of the ice-foot. The
breeze freshening we stood out to the fast ice in the strait about six
miles to the south and anchored there. It blew a fresh breeze with drift
from the south-east all that afternoon and night, and did not ease up
till the following afternoon. During this time. Cape Royds, Mount
Erebus, and Mount Bird were quite obscured, and from where we were lying
there appeared to be bad weather ashore, but when we returned to the bay
the following night at 10 p.m. we heard that, except for a little
falling snow, the weather had been quite fine, and that the wind which
had sprung up at two o'clock had not continued for more than an hour.
Thus, unfortunately, two valuable working days were lost.

When I went ashore I found that the little party left behind had not
only managed to get up to the site of the hut all the heavy timber that
had been landed, but had also stacked on the bare land the various cases
of provisions which had been lying on the snow slope by the tide-crack.
We worked till 2 a.m. on the morning of the 9th, and then knocked off
till 9 a.m. Then we commenced again, and put in one of the hardest day's
work one could imagine, pulling the sledges to the tide-crack and then
hauling them bodily over. Hour after hour all hands toiled on the work,
the crossing of the tide-crack becoming more difficult with each
succeeding sledge-load, for the ice in the bay was loosening, and it was
over floating, rocking pieces of floe with gaps several feet wide
between them that we hauled the sledges. In the afternoon the ponies
were brought into action, as they had had some rest, and their arrival
facilitated the discharge, though it did not lighten the labours of the
perspiring staff. None of our party were in very good condition, having
been cooped up in the ship, and the heavy cases became doubly heavy to
their arms and shoulders by midnight.

Next day the work continued, the ice still holding in, but threatening
every minute to go out. If there had been sufficient water for the ship
to lie right alongside the shore we would have been pleased to see the
ice go out, but at the place where we were landing the stores there was
only twelve feet of water, and the _Nimrod_ at this time, drew fourteen.
We tried to anchor one of the smaller loose pieces of bay ice to the
ice-foot, and this answered whilst the tide was setting in. As a result
of the tidal movement, the influx of heavy pack in the bay where we were
lying caused some anxiety, and more than once we had to shift the ship
away from the landing place because of the heavy floes and hummocky ice
which pressed up against the bay ice. One large berg sailed in from the
north and grounded about a mile to the south of Cape Royds, and later
another about the same height, not less than one hundred and fifty feet,
did the same, and these two bergs were frozen in when they grounded and
remained in that position through the winter. The hummocky pack that
came in and out with the tide was over fifteen feet in height, and,
being of much greater depth below water, had ample power and force to
damage the ship if a breeze sprang up.

When we turned to after lunch, and before the first sledge-load reached
the main landing place, we found that it would be impossible to continue
working there any longer, for the small floe which we had anchored to
the ice had dragged out the anchor and was being carried to sea by the
ebbing tide. Some three hundred and fifty yards further along the shore
of the bay was a much steeper ice-foot at the foot of the cliffs, and a
snow slope narrower than the one on which we had been landing the
provisions. This was the nearest available spot at which to continue
discharging. We hoped that when the ship had left we could hoist the
stores up over the cliff; they would then be within a hundred yards of
the hut, and, after being carried for a short distance, they could be
rolled down the steep snow slope at the head of the valley where it was
being built. All this time the hut-party were working day and night,
and the building was rapidly assuming an appearance of solidity. The
uprights were in, and the brace ties were fastened together, so that if
it came on to blow there was no fear of the structure being destroyed.

The stores had now to be dragged a distance of nearly three hundred
yards from the ship to the landing place, but this work was greatly
facilitated by our being able to use four of the ponies, working two of
them for an hour, and then giving these a spell whilst two others took
their place. The snow was very deep, and the ponies sank in well above
the knees; it was heavy going for the men who were leading them. A large
amount of stores were landed in this way, but a new and serious
situation arose through the breaking away of the main ice-foot.

On the previous day an ominous-looking crack had been observed to be
developing at the end of the ice-foot nearest to Flagstaff Point, and it
became apparent that if this crack continued to widen, it would cut
right across the centre of our stores, with the result that, unless
removed, they would be irretrievably lost in the sea. Next day (the
10th) there was no further opening of the crack, but at seven o'clock
that night another crack formed on the ice-foot inside of Derrick Point
where we were now landing stores. There was no immediate danger to be
apprehended at this place, for the bay ice would have to go out before
the ice-foot could fall into the sea. Prudence suggested that it would
be better to shift the stores already landed to a safer place before
discharging any more from the ship, so at 8 p.m. on the 10th we
commenced getting the remainder of the wood for the hut and the bales of
cork for the lining up on to the bare land. This took till about
midnight, when we knocked off for cocoa and a sleep.

We turned to at six o'clock next morning, and I decided to get the
stores up the cliff face at Derrick Point before dealing with those at
Front Door Bay, the first landing place, for the former ice-foot seemed
in the greater peril of collapse than did the latter. Adams, Joyce and
Wild soon rigged up a boom and tackle from the top of the cliff, making
the heel of the boom fast by placing great blocks of volcanic rocks on
it. A party remained below on the ice-foot to shift and hook on the
cases, whilst another party on top, fifty feet above, hauled away when
the word was given from below, and on reaching the top of the cliff, the
cases were hauled in by means of a guy rope. The men were hauling on the
thin rope of the tackle from eight o'clock in the morning till one
o'clock the following morning with barely a spell for a bit to eat.

We now had to find another and safer place on which to land the rest of
the coal and stores. Further round the bay from where the ship was lying
was a smaller bight where a gentle slope led on to bare rocks, and Back
Door Bay, as we named this place, became our new depot. The ponies were
led down the hill, and from Back Door Bay to the ship. This was a still
longer journey than from Derrick Point, but there was no help for it,
and we started landing the coal, after laying a tarpaulin on the rocks
to keep the coal from becoming mixed with the earth. By this time there
were several ugly looking cracks in the bay ice, and these kept opening
and closing having a play of seven or eight inches between the floes. We
improvised bridges out of the bottom and sides of the motor-car case so
that the ponies could cross the cracks, and by eleven o'clock were well
under way with the work. Mackay had just taken ashore a load with a
pony, Armytage was about to hook on another pony to a loaded sledge at
the ship, and a third pony was standing tied to our stern anchor rope
waiting its turn for sledging, when suddenly, without the slightest
warning, the greater part of the bay ice opened out into floes, and the
whole mass that had opened started to drift slowly out to sea. The
ponies on the ice were now in a perilous position. The sailors rushed to
loosen the one tied to the stern rope, and got it over the first crack,
and Armytage also got the pony he was looking after off the floe nearest
the ship on to the next floe. Just at that moment Mackay appeared round
the corner from Back Door Bay with a third pony attached to an empty
sledge, on his way back to the ship to load up. Orders were shouted to
him not to come any further, but he did not at first grasp the
situation, for he continued advancing over the ice, which was now
breaking away more rapidly. The party working on the top of Derrick
Point, by shouting and waving, made him realise what had occurred. He
accordingly left his sledge and pony and rushed over towards where the
other two ponies were adrift on the ice, and, by jumping the widening
cracks, he reached the moving floe on which they were standing. This
piece of ice gradually drew closer to a larger piece, from which the
animals would be able to gain a place of safety. Mackay started to try
and get the pony Chinaman across the crack when it was only about six
inches wide, but the animal suddenly took fright, reared up on his hind
legs, and backing towards the edge of the floe, which had at that moment
opened to a width of a few feet, fell bodily into the ice-cold water. It
looked as if it was all over with poor Chinaman, but Mackay hung on to
the head rope, and Davis, Mawson, Michell and one of the sailors who
were on the ice close by, rushed to his assistance. The pony managed to
get his fore feet on to the edge of the ice floe. After great difficulty
a rope sling was passed underneath him, and then by tremendous exertion
he was lifted up far enough to enable him to scramble on to the ice.
There he stood, wet and trembling in every limb. A few seconds later the
floe closed up against the other one. It was providential that it had
not done so during the time that the pony was in the water, for in that
case the animal would inevitably have been squeezed to death between the
two huge masses of ice. A bottle of brandy was thrown on to the ice from
the ship, and half its contents were poured down Chinaman's throat. The
ship was now turning round with the object of going bow on to the floe,
in order to push it ashore, so that the ponies might cross on to the
fast ice, and presently, with the engine at full speed, the floe was
slowly but surely moved back against the fast ice. Directly the floe was
hard up against the unbroken ice, the ponies were rushed across and
taken straight ashore, and the men who were on the different floes took
advantage of the temporary closing of the crack to get themselves and
the stores into safety. I decided, after this narrow escape, not to risk
the ponies on the sea ice again. The ship was now backed out, and the
loose floes began to drift away to the west.

By 1 p.m. most of the ice had cleared out, and the ship came in to the
edge of the fast ice, which was now abreast of Back Door Bay. Hardly
were the ice-anchors made fast before new cracks appeared, and within a
quarter of an hour the ship was adrift again. As it was impossible to
discharge under these conditions, the _Nimrod_ stood off. We had now
practically the whole of the wintering party ashore, so when lunch was
over, the main party went on with the work at Derrick Point, refreshed
by the hot tea and meat, which they hastily swallowed.

I organised that afternoon a small party to shift the main stores into
safety. We had not been long at work before I saw that it would need the
utmost despatch and our most strenuous endeavours to save the valuable
cases; for the crack previously observed opened more each hour.
Perspiration poured down our faces and bodies as we toiled in the hot
sun. After two hours' work we had shifted into a place of safety all our
cases of scientific instruments, and a large quantity of fodder, and
hardly were they secured when, with a sharp crack, the very place where
they had been lying fell with a crash into the sea. Had we lost these
cases the result would have been very serious, for a great part of our
scientific work could not have been carried out, and if the fodder had
been lost, it would have meant the loss of the ponies also. The breaking
of this part of the ice made us redouble our efforts to save the rest of
the stores, for we could not tell when the next piece of ice might break
off, though no crack was yet visible. The breaking up of the bay ice
that morning turned out to be after all for the best, for I would not
otherwise have gone on so early with this work. I ran up the hill to the
top of Flagstaff Point, as we called the cliff at the southern extremity
of Cape Royds, to call the ship in, in order to obtain additional help
from the crew; she had been dodging about outside of the point since one
o'clock, but she was beyond hailing distance, and it was not till about
seven o'clock that I saw her coming close in again. I at once hailed
England and told him to send every available man ashore immediately. In
a few minutes a boat came off with half a dozen men, and I sent a
message back by the officer in charge for more members of the ship's
crew to be landed at once, and only enough men left on board to steer
the ship and work the engines. I had previously knocked off the party
working on the hut, and with the extra assistance we "smacked things
about" in a lively fashion. The ice kept breaking off in chunks, but we
had the satisfaction of seeing every single package safe on the rocks by
midnight.

Our party then proceeded to sledge the heavier cases and the tins of oil
at the foot of Derrick Point round the narrow causeway of ice between
the perpendicular rocks and the sea to the depot at Back Door Bay. I was
astonished and delighted on arriving at the derrick to find the immense
amount of stores that had been placed in safety by the efforts of the
Derrick Point party, and by 1 a.m. on February 13 all the stores landed
were in safety. About a ton of flour in cases remained to be hauled up,
but as we already had enough ashore to last us for a year, and knowing
that at Hut Point there were large quantities of biscuit left by the
last expedition, which would be available if needed, we just rolled the
cases on the ice-foot into a hollow at the foot of the cliff, where they
were in comparative safety, as the ice there would not be likely to
break away immediately. We retrieved these after the ship left.

As I stated in the chapter on the equipment of the expedition, I tried
to get the bulk of the stores into cases of uniform size and weight,
averaging fifty to sixty pounds gross, and thus allow of more easy
handling than would have been the case if the stores were packed in the
usual way. The goods packed in Venesta cases could withstand the
roughest treatment without breakage or damage to the contents. These
Venesta cases are made of three thin layers of wood, fastened together
by a patent process; the material is much tougher than ordinary wood,
weighs much less than a case of the same size made of the usual deal,
and being thinner, takes up much less room, a consideration of great
moment to a Polar expedition. The wood could not be broken by the direct
blow of a heavy hammer, and the empty cases could be used for the making
of the hundred and one odds and ends that have to be contrived to meet
requirements in such an expedition as this.

At 1 a.m. on the morning of February 13 I signalled the ship to come in
to take off the crew, and a boat was sent ashore. There was a slight
breeze blowing, and it took them some time to pull off to the _Nimrod_
which lay a long way out. We on shore turned in, and we were so tired
that it was noon before we woke up. A glance out to sea showed that we
had lost nothing by our sleep, for there was a heavy swell running into
the bay and it would have been quite impossible to have landed any
stores at all. In the afternoon the ship came in fairly close, but I
signalled England that it was useless to send the boat. This northerly
swell, which we could hear thundering on the ice-foot, would have been
welcome a fortnight before, for it would have broken up a large amount
of fast ice to the south, and I could not help imagining that probably
at this date there was open water up to Hut Point. Now, however, it was
the worst thing possible for us, as the precious time was slipping by,
and the still more valuable coal was being used up by the continual
working of the ship's engines. Next day the swell still continued, so at
4 p.m. I signalled England to proceed to Glacier Tongue and land a depot
there. Glacier Tongue is a remarkable formation of ice which stretches
out into the sea from the south-west slopes of Mount Erebus. About five
miles in length, running east and west, tapering almost to a point at
its seaward end, and having a width of about a mile where it descends
from the land, cracked and crevassed all over and floating in deep
water, it is a phenomenon which still remains a mystery. It lies about
eight miles to the northward of Hut Point, and about thirteen to the
south-ward of Cape Royds, and I thought this would be a good place at
which to land a quantity of sledging stores, as by doing so we would be
saved haulage at least thirteen miles, the distance between the spot on
the southern route and Cape Royds. The ship arrived there in the early
evening, and landed the depot on the north side of the Tongue. The
Professor took bearings so that there might be no difficulty in finding
the depot when the sledging season commenced. The sounding at this spot
gave a depth of 157 fathoms. From the seaward end of the glacier it was
observed that the ice had broken away only a couple of miles further
south, so the northerly swell had not been as far reaching in its effect
as I had imagined. The ship moored at the Tongue for the night.

During this day we, ashore at Cape Royds, were variously employed; one
party continued the building of the hut, whilst the rest of us made a
more elaborate temporary dwelling and cook house than we had had up to
that time. The walls were constructed of bales of fodder, which lent
themselves admirably for this purpose, the cook-tent tarpaulin was
stretched over these for a roof and was supported on planks, and the
outer walls were stayed with uprights from the pony-stalls. As the roof
was rather low and people could not stand upright, a trench was dug at
one end, where the cook could move about without bending his back the
whole time. In this corner were concocted the most delicious dishes that
ever a hungry man could wish for. Wild acted as cook till Roberts came
ashore permanently, and it was a sight to see us in the dim light that
penetrated through the door of the fodder hut as we sat in a row on
cases, each armed with a spoon manufactured out of tin and wood by the
ever-inventive Day, awaiting with eagerness our bowl of steaming hoosh
or rich dark-coloured penguin breast, followed by biscuit, butter and
jam; tea and smokes ended up the meal, and, as we lazily stretched
ourselves out for the smoke, regardless of a temperature of 16 or 18
degrees of frost, we felt that things were not so bad.

The same day that we built the fodder hut we placed inside it some cases
of bottled fruit, hoping to save them from being cracked by the severe
frost outside. The bulk of the cases containing liquid we kept on board
the ship till the last moment so that they could be put into the main
hut when the fire was lighted. We turned in about midnight, and got up
at seven next morning. The ship had just come straight in, and I went
off on board. Marshall also came off to attend to Mackintosh, whose
wound was rapidly healing. He was now up and about. He was very anxious
to stay with us, but Marshall did not think it advisable for him to risk
it. During the whole of this day and the next, the 15th, the swell was
too great to admit of any stores being landed, but early on the morning
of the 16th we found it possible to get ashore at a small ice-foot to
the north of Flagstaff Point, and here, in spite of the swell, we
managed to land six boatloads of fruit, some oil, and twenty-four bags
of coal. The crew of the boat, whilst the stores were being taken out,
had to keep to their oars, and whenever the swell rolled on the
shelving beach, they had to back with all their might to keep the bow of
the boat from running under the overhanging ice-foot and being crushed
under the ice by the lifting wave. Davis, the chief officer of the
_Nimrod_, worked like a Titan. A tall, red-headed Irishman, typical of his
country, he was always working and always cheerful, having no time limit
for his work. He and Harbord, the second officer, a quiet, self-reliant
man, were great acquisitions to the expedition. These two officers were
ably supported by the efforts of the crew. They had nothing but hard
work and discomfort from the beginning of the voyage, and yet they were
always cheerful, and worked splendidly. Dunlop, the chief engineer, not
only kept his department going smoothly on board but was the principal
constructor of the hut. A great deal of the credit for the work being so
cheerfully performed was due to the example of Cheetham, who was an old
hand in the Antarctic, having been boatswain of the Morning on both the
voyages she made for the relief of the _Discovery_. He was third mate and
boatswain on this expedition.

When I had gone on board the previous day I found that England was still
poorly and that he was feeling the strain of the situation. He was
naturally very anxious to get the ship away and concerned about the
shrinkage of the coal supply. I also would have been glad to have seen
the _Nimrod_ on her way north, but it was impossible to let her leave
until the wintering party had received their coal from her. In view of
the voyage home, the ship's main topmast was struck to lessen her
rolling in bad weather. It was impossible to ballast the ship with rock,
as the time needed for this operation would involve the consumption of
much valuable coal, and I was sure that the heavy ironbark and oak
hull? and the weight of the engine and boiler filled with water would be
sufficient to ensure the ship's safety.

We found it impossible to continue working at Cliff Point later on in
the day, so the ship stood off whilst those on shore went on with the
building of the hut. Some of the shore-party had come off in the last
boat to finish writing their final letters home, and during the night we
lay to waiting for the swell to decrease. The weather was quite fine,
and if it had not been for the swell we could have got through a great
deal of work. February is by no means a fine month in the latitude we
were in, and up till now we had been extremely fortunate, as we had not
experienced a real blizzard.

The following morning, Monday, February 17, the sea was breaking heavily
on the ice-foot at the bottom of Cliff Point. The stores that had been
landed the previous day had been hoisted up the overhanging cliff and
now formed the fourth of our scattered depots of coal and stores. The
swell did not seem so heavy in Front Door Bay, so we commenced landing
the stores in the whaleboat at the place where the ice-foot had broken
away, a party on shore hauling the bags of coal and the cases up the
ice-face, which was about fourteen feet high. The penguins were still
round us in large numbers. We had not had any time to make observations
on them, being so busily employed discharging the ship, but just at this
particular time our attention was called to a couple of these birds
which suddenly made a spring from the water and landed on their feet on
the ice-edge, having cleared a vertical height of twelve feet. It seemed
a marvellous jump for these small creatures to have made, and shows the
rapidity with which they must move through the water to gain the impetus
that enables them to clear a distance in vertical height four times
greater than their own, and also how unerring must be their judgment in
estimation of the distance and height when performing this feat. The
work of landing stores at this spot was greatly hampered by the fact
that the bay was more or less filled with broken floes, through which
the boat had to be forced. It was impossible to use the oars in the
usual way, so, on arriving at the broken ice, they were employed as
poles. The bow of the boat was entered into a likely looking channel,
and then the crew, standing up, pushed the boat forward by means of the
oars, the ice generally giving way on each side, but sometimes closing
up and nipping the boat, which, if it had been less strongly built,
would assuredly have been crushed. The Professor, Mawson, Cotton,
Michell and a couple of seamen formed the boat's crew, and with Davis or
Harbord in the stern, they dodged the ice very well, considering the
fact that the swell was rather heavy at the outside edge of the floes.
When alongside the ice-foot one of the crew hung on to a rope in the
bow, and another did the same in the stern, hauling in the slack as the
boat rose on top of the swell, and easing out as the water swirled
downwards from the ice-foot. There was a sharp-pointed rock, which, when
the swell receded, was almost above water, and the greatest difficulty
was experienced in preventing the boat from crashing down on the top of
this. The rest of the staff in the boat and on shore hauled up the cases
and bags of coal at every available opportunity. The coal was weighed
at the top of the ice-foot, and the bags emptied on to a heap which
formed the main supply for the winter months. We had now three depots of
coal in different places round the winter quarters. In the afternoon the
floating ice at this place became impassable, but fortunately it had
worked its way out of Back Door Bay, where, in spite of the heavy swell
running against the ice-foot, we were able to continue adding to the
heap of coal until nearly eight tons had been landed. It was a dull and
weary job except when unpleasantly enlivened by the imminent danger of
the boat being caught between heavy pieces of floating ice and the solid
ice-foot. These masses of ice rose and fell on the swell, the water
swirling round them as they became submerged, and pouring off their top
and sides as they rose to the surface. It required all Harbord's
watchfulness and speediness of action to prevent damage to the boat. It
is almost needless to observe that all hands were as grimy as
coal-heavers, especially the boat's crew, who were working in the
half-frozen slushy coaldust and sea spray. The Professor, Mawson,
Cotton, and Michell still formed part of the crew. They had, by
midnight, been over twelve hours in the boat, excepting for about ten
minutes' spell for lunch, and after discharging each time had a long
pull back to the ship. When each boatload was landed, the coal and
stores had to be hauled up on a sledge over a very steep gradient to a
place of safety, and after this was accomplished, there was a long wait
for the next consignment.

Work was continued all night, though every one was nearly dropping with
fatigue; but I decided that the boat returning to the ship at 5 a.m.
(the 18th) should take a message to England that the men were to knock
off for breakfast and turn to at 7 a.m. Meanwhile Roberts had brewed
some hot coffee in the hut, where we now had the stove going, and, after
a drink of this, our weary people threw themselves down on the
sleeping-bags in order to snatch a short rest before again taking up the
weary work. At 7 a.m. I went to the top of Flagstaff Point, but instead
of seeing the ship close in, I spied her hull down on the horizon, and
could see no sign of her approaching the winter quarters to resume
discharging. After watching her for about half an hour, I returned to
the hut, woke up those of the staff who from utter weariness had
dropped asleep, and told them to turn into their bags and have a proper
rest. I could not imagine why the ship was not at hand, but at a quarter
to eleven Harbord came ashore and said that England wanted to see me on
board; so, leaving the others to sleep, I went off to the _Nimrod_. On
asking England why the ship was not in at seven to continue discharging,
he told me that all hands were so dead-tired that he thought it best to
let them have a sleep. The men were certainly worn out. Davis' head had
dropped on the wardroom table, and he had gone sound asleep with his
spoon in his mouth, to which he had just conveyed some of his
breakfast. Cotton had fallen asleep on the platform of the engine-room
steps, whilst Mawson, whose lair was a little store-room in the
engine-room, was asleep on the floor. His long legs, protruding through
the doorway, had found a resting place on the crosshead of the engine,
and his dreams were mingled with a curious rhythmical motion which was
fully accounted for when he woke up, for the ship having got under way,
the up-and-down motion of the piston had moved his limbs with every
stroke. The sailors also were fast asleep; so, in the face of this
evidence of absolute exhaustion, I decided not to start work again till
after one o'clock, and told England definitely that when the ship had
been reduced in coal to ninety-two tons as a minimum I would send her
north. According to our experiences on the last expedition, the latest
date to which it would be sale to keep the _Nimrod_ would be the end of
February, for the young ice forming about that time on the sound would
seriously hamper her getting clear of the Ross Sea. Later observations
of the ice conditions of McMurdo Sound at our winter quarters showed us
that a powerfully engined ship could have gone north later in the year,
perhaps even in the winter, for we had open water close to us all the
time.

About 2 p.m. the _Nimrod_ came close in to Flagstaff Point to start
discharging again. I decided that it was time to land the more delicate
instruments, such as watches, chronometers, and all personal gear. The
members of the staff who were on board hauled their things out of Oyster
Alley, and, laden with its valuable freight, we took the whale boat into
Front Door Bay. Those who had been ashore now went on board to collect
their goods and finish their correspondence. This party consisted of
Day, Wild, Adams and Marshall. Mackintosh and the carpenter were
ashore, the latter being still busily engaged on the construction of the
hut, which was rapidly approaching completion. During the afternoon we
continued boating coal to Front Door Bay, which was again free of ice,
and devoted our attention almost entirely to this work.



CHAPTER VIII

A BLIZZARD: THE DEPARTURE OF THE _NIMROD_

ABOUT five o'clock on the afternoon of February 18, snow began to fall,
with a light wind from the north, and as at times the boat could hardly
be seen from the ship, instructions were given to the boat's crew that
whenever the _Nimrod_ was not clearly visible they were to wait
alongside the shore until the snow squall had passed and she appeared in
sight again. At six o'clock, just as the boat had come alongside for
another load, the wind suddenly shifted to the south-east and freshened
immediately. The whaler was hoisted at once, and the _Nimrod_ stood off
from the shore, passing between some heavy ice-floes, against one of
which her propeller struck, but fortunately without sustaining any
damage. Within half an hour it was blowing a furious blizzard, and every
sign of land, both east and west, was obscured in the scudding drift. I
was aboard the vessel at the time. We were then making for the fast-ice
to the south, but the _Nimrod_ was gaining but little headway against the
terrific wind and short, rising sea; so to save coal I decided to keep
the engines just going slow and maintain our position in the sound as
far as we could judge, though it was inevitable that we should drift
northward to a certain extent. All night the gale raged with great fury.
The speed of the gusts at times must have approached a force of a
hundred miles an hour. The tops of the seas were cut off by the wind,
and flung over the decks, mast, and rigging of the ship, congealing at
once into hard ice, and the sides of the vessel were thick with the
frozen sea water. "The masts were grey with the frozen spray, and the
bows were a coat of mail." Very soon the cases and sledges lying on deck
were hard and fast in a sheet of solid ice, and the temperature had
dropped below zero. Harbord, who was the officer on watch, on whistling
to call the crew aft, found that the metal whistle stuck to his lips, a
painful intimation of the low temperature. I spent most of the night on
the bridge, and hoped that the violence of the gale would be of but
short duration. This hope was not realised, for next morning, February
19, at 8 a.m., it was blowing harder than ever. During the early hours
of the day the temperature was minus 16° Fahr., and consistently kept
below minus 12° Fahr. The motion of the ship was sharp and jerky, yet,
considering the nature of the sea and the trim of the vessel, she was
remarkably steady. To a certain extent this was due to the fact that the
main topmast had been lowered. We had constantly to have two men at the
wheel, for the rudder, being so far out of the water, received the blows
of the sea as they struck the quarter and stern; and the steersman
having once been flung right over the steering-chains against the side
of the ship, it was necessary to have two always holding on to the
kicking wheel. At times there would be a slight lull, the seas striking
less frequently against the rudder, and the result would be that the
rudder well soon got filled with ice, and it was found impossible to
move the wheel at all. To overcome this dangerous state of things the
steersmen had to keep moving the wheel alternately to port and
starboard, after the ice had been broken away from the well. In spite of
this precaution, the rudder well occasionally became choked, and one of
the crew, armed with a long iron bar, had to stand by continually to
break the frozen sea water off the rudder. In the blinding drift it was
impossible to see more than a few yards from the ship, and once a large
iceberg suddenly loomed out of the drift close to the weather bow of the
_Nimrod_; fortunately the rudder had just been cleared, and the ship
answered her helm, thus avoiding a collision.

All day on the 20th, through the night, and throughout the day and
night of the 21st, the gale raged. Occasionally the drift ceased, and
we saw dimly bare rocks, sometimes to the east and sometimes to the
west, but the upper parts of them being enveloped in snow clouds, it was
impossible to ascertain exactly what our position was. At these times we
were forced to wear ship; that is, to turn the ship round, bringing the
wind first astern and then on to the other side, so that we could head
in the opposite direction. It was impossible in face of the storm to
tack, _i.e._, to turn the ship's head into the wind, and round, so as to
bring the wind on the other side. About midnight on the 21st, whilst
carrying out this evolution of wearing ship, during which the _Nimrod_
always rolled heavily in the trough of the waves, she shipped a heavy
sea, and, all the release-water ports and scupper holes being blocked
with ice, the water had no means of exit, and began to freeze on deck,
where, already, there was a layer of ice over a foot in thickness. Any
more weight like this would have made the ship unmanageable. The ropes,
already covered with ice, would have been frozen into a solid mass, so
we were forced to take the drastic step of breaking holes in the
bulwarks to allow the water to escape. This had been done already in the
forward end of the ship by the gales we experienced on our passage down
to the ice, but as the greater part of the weight in the holds was aft,
the water collected towards the middle and stern, and the job of
breaking through the bulwarks was a tougher one than we had imagined; it
was only by dint of great exertions that Davis and Harbord accomplished
it. It was a sight to see Harbord, held by his legs, hanging over the
starboard side of the _Nimrod_, and wielding a heavy axe, whilst Davis,
whose length of limb enabled him to lean over without being held, did
the same on the other side. The temperature at this time was several
degrees below zero. Occasionally on this night, as we approached the
eastern shore, the coast of Ross Island, we noticed the sea covered with
a thick yellowish-brown scum. This was due to the immense masses of snow
blown off the mountain sides out to sea, and this scum, to a certain
extent, prevented the tops of the waves from breaking. Had it not been
for this unexpected protection we would certainly have lost our
starboard boat, which had been unshipped in a sea and was hanging in a
precarious position for the time being. It was hard to realise that so
high and so dangerous a sea could possibly have risen in the
comparatively narrow waters of McMurdo Sound. The wind was as strong as
that we experienced in the gales that assailed us after we first left
New Zealand, but the waves were not so huge as those which had the whole
run of the Southern Ocean in which to gather strength before they met
us. At 2 a.m. the weather suddenly cleared, and though the wind still
blew strongly and gustily, it was apparent that the force of the gale
had been expended. We could now see our position clearly. The wind and
current, in spite of our efforts to keep our position, had driven us
over thirty miles to the north, and at this time we were abeam of Cape
Bird. The sea was rapidly decreasing in height, enabling us to steam for
Cape Royds.

We arrived there in the early morning, and I went ashore at Back Door
Bay, after pushing the whale boat through pancake ice and slush, the
result of the gale. Hurrying over to the hut I was glad to see that it
was intact, and then I received full details of the occurrences of the
last three days on shore. The report was not very reassuring as regards
the warmth of the hut, for the inmates stated that, in spite of the
stove being alight the whole time, no warmth was given off. Of course
the building was really not at all complete. It had not been lined, and
there were only makeshift protections for the windows, but what seemed a
grave matter was the behaviour of the stove, for on the efficiency of
this depended not only our comfort but our very existence. The
shore-party had experienced a very heavy gale indeed. The hut had
trembled and shaken the whole time, and if the situation had not been so
admirable I doubt whether there would have been a hut at all after the
gale. A minor accident had occurred, for our fodder hut had failed to
withstand the gale, and one of the walls had collapsed, killing one of
Possum's pups. The roof had been demolished at the same time.

On going down to our main landing place, the full effect of the blizzard
became apparent. There was hardly a sign to be seen of the greater part
of our stores. At first it appeared that the drifting snow had covered
the cases and bales and the coal, but a closer inspection showed that
the real disappearance of our stores from view was due to the sea. Such
was the force of the wind blowing straight on to the shore from the
south that the spray had been flung in sheets over everything and had
been carried by the wind for nearly a quarter of a mile inland, and
consequently in places, our precious stores lay buried to a depth of
five or six feet in a mass of frozen sea water. The angles taken up by
the huddled masses of cases and bales had made the surface of this mass
of ice assume a most peculiar shape, as may be seen from the
illustrations. We feared that it would take weeks of work to get the
stores clear of the ice. It was probable also that the salt water would
have damaged the fodder, and worked its way into cases that were not
tin-lined or made of Venesta wood, and that some of the things would
never be seen again. No one would have recognised the landing place as
the spot on which we had been working during the past fortnight, so
great was the change wrought by the furious storm. Our heap of coal had
a sheet of frozen salt water over it, but this was a blessing in
disguise, for it saved the smaller pieces of coal from being blown away.

There was no time then to do anything about releasing the stores from
the ice; the main thing was to get the remainder of the coal ashore and
send the ship north. We immediately started landing coal at the extreme
edge of Front Door Bay. The rate of work was necessarily very slow, for
the whole place was both rough and slippery from the newly formed ice
that covered everything. In spite of the swell we worked all the
morning, and in the early afternoon, as the bay became full of ice,
instructions were sent to the ship to proceed to Glacier Tongue, deposit
five tons of coal there, and then report at Flagstaff Point. The sea
went down greatly about half an hour after the ship left, and we were
much pleased, about 6 p.m., to see the _Nimrod_ returning, for it was
greatly to our advantage to land the coal at winter quarters instead of
having to sledge it thirteen miles from Glacier Tongue.

On the _Nimrod_' s return, England reported that loose floe-ice surrounded
Glacier Tongue, so that it was impossible to make a depot there. We now
proceeded to continue discharging, and shortly before 10 p.m. on
February 22, the final boatload of coal arrived. We calculated that we
had in all only about eighteen tons, so that the strictest economy would
be required to make this amount spin out until the sledging commenced in
the following spring. I should certainly have liked more coal, but the
delays that had occurred in finding winter quarters, and the
difficulties encountered in landing the stores had caused the _Nimrod_ to
be kept longer than I had intended already. We gave our final letters
and messages to the crew of the last boat, and said good-bye. Cotton,
who had come south just for the trip, was among them, and never had we a
more willing worker. At 10 p.m. the _Nimrod_'s bows were pointed to the
north, and she was moving rapidly away from the winter quarters with a
fair wind. Within a month I hoped she would be safe in New Zealand, and
her crew enjoying a well-earned rest. We were all devoutly thankful that
the landing of the stores had been finished at last, and that the state
of the sea would no longer be a factor in our work, but it was with
something of a pang that we severed our last connection with the world
of men. We could hope for no word of news from civilisation until the
_Nimrod_ came south again in the following summer, and before that we had
a good deal of difficult work to do, and some risks to face.

There was scant time for reflection, even if we had been moved that way.
We turned in for a good night's rest as soon as possible after the
departure of the ship, and the following morning we started digging the
stores out of the ice, and transporting everything to the vicinity of
the hut. It was necessary that the stores should be close by the
building, partly in order that there might be no difficulty in getting
what goods we wanted during the winter, and partly because we would
require all the protection that we could get from the cold, and the
cases would serve to keep off the wind when piled around out little
dwelling. We hoped, as soon as the stores had all been placed in
position, to make a start with the scientific observations that were to
be an important part of the work of the expedition.

The next four or five days were spent in using pick and shovel and iron
crowbars on the envelope of ice that covered our cases, corners of which
only peeped out from the mass. The whole had the appearance of a piece
of the sweet known as almond rock, and there was as much difficulty in
getting the cases clear of the ice as would be experienced if one tried
to separate almonds from that sticky conglomerate without injury.
Occasionally the breaking out of a case would disclose another which
could be easily extracted, but more often each case required the pick or
crowbars. A couple of earnest miners might be seen delving and hewing
the ice off a case, of which only the corner could be seen, and after
ten minutes' hard work it would be hauled up, and the stencilled mark of
its contents exposed to view. Brocklehurst took great interest in the
recovery of the chocolate, and during this work took charge of one
particular case which had been covered by the ice. He carried it himself
up to the hut so as to be sure of its safety, and he was greeted with
joy by the Professor, who recognised in the load some of his scientific
instruments which were playing the part of the cuckoo in an old
chocolate box. Needless to say Brocklehurst's joy was not as heartfelt
as the Professor's.

After about four days' hard work at the Front Door Bay landing place,
the bulk of the stores was recovered, and I think we may say that there
was not much lost permanently, though, as time went on, and one or two
cases that were required did not turn up, we used to wonder whether they
had been left on board the ship, or were buried under the ice. We do
know for certain that our only case of beer lies to this day under the
ice, and it was not until a few days before our final departure that one
of the scientists of the expedition dug out some volumes of the
Challenger reports, which had been intended to provide us with useful
reading matter during the winter nights. A question often debated during
the long, dark days was which of these stray sheep, the Challenger
reports or the case of beer, any particular individual would dig for if
the time and opportunity were available. In moving up the recovered
stores, as soon as a load arrived within fifteen yards of the hut,
where, at this time of the year, the snow ended, and the bare earth lay
uncovered, the sledges were unpacked, and one party carried the stuff up
to the south side of the hut, whilst the sledges returned to the
landing place for more We were now utilising the ponies every day, and
they proved of great assistance in moving things to and fro. The stores
on the top of the hill at Derrick Point were fortunately quite clear of
snow, so we did not trouble to transport them, contenting ourselves
with getting down things that were of immediate importance. Day by day
we continued collecting our scattered goods, and within ten days after
the departure of the ship we had practically everything handy to the
hut, excepting the coal. The labour had been both heavy and fertile in
minor accidents. Most of us at one time or another had wounds and
bruises to be attended to by Marshall, who was kept busy part of every
day dressing the injuries. Adams was severely cut in handling some
iron-bound cases, and I managed to jamb my fingers in the motor-car. The
annoying feature about these simple wounds was the length of time it
took for them to heal in our special circumstances. The irritation
seemed to be more pronounced if any of the earth got into the wound, so
we always took care after our first experiences to go at once to
Marshall for treatment, when the skin was broken. The day after the
ship left we laid in a supply of fresh meat for the winter, killing
about a hundred penguins and burying them in a snowdrift close to the
hut. By February 28 we were practically in a position to feel contented
with ourselves, and to look further afield and explore the neighbourhood
of our winter quarters.



CHAPTER IX

AROUND THE WINTER QUARTERS: COMPLETION OF THE HUT

FROM the door of our hut, which faced the north-west, we commanded a
splendid view of the sound and the western mountains. Right in front of
us, at our door, lay a small lake, which came to be known as Pony Lake;
to the left of that was another sheet of ice that became snow-covered in
the autumn, and it was here in the dark months that we exercised the
ponies, and also ourselves. Six times up and down the "Green Park", as
it was generally called, made a mile, and it was here, before darkness
came on, that we played hockey and football. To the left of Green Park
was a gentle slope leading down between two cliffs to the sea, and
ending in a little bay known as Dead Horse Bay. On either side of this
valley lay the penguin rookery, the slopes being covered with guano,
and during the fairly high temperatures that held sway up to April, the
smell from these deserted quarters of the penguins was extremely
unpleasant. On coming out of the hut one had only to go round the corner
of the building in order to catch a glimpse of Mount Erebus, which lay
directly behind us. Its summit was about fifteen miles from our winter
quarters, but its slopes and foothills commenced within three-quarters
of a mile of the hut. Our view was cut off in all directions from the
east to the south-west by the ridge at the head of the valley where the
hut stood. On ascending this ridge, one looked over the bay to the
south-east, where lay Cape Barne. To the right was Flagstaff Point, and
to the left lay, at the head of the Bay, the slopes of Erebus. There
were many localities which became favourite places for walks, and these
are shown on the accompanying map. Sandy Beach, about a mile away to the
north-west of the hut, was generally the goal of any one taking
exercise, when the uncertainty of the weather warned us against
venturing further afield, and while the dwindling light still permitted
us to go so far. It was here that we sometimes exercised the ponies, and
they much enjoyed rolling in the soft sand. The beach was formed of
black volcanic sand, blown from the surrounding hills, and later on the
pressed-up ice, which had been driven ashore by the southward movement
of the pack, also became covered with the windborne dust and sand. The
coastline from Flagstaff Point right round to Horse Shoe Bay, on the
north side of Cape Royds, was jagged and broken up. At some points
ice-cliffs, in others bare rocks, jutted out into the sea, and here and
there small beaches composed of volcanic sand were interposed. Our local
scenery, though not on a grand scale, loomed large in the light of the
moon as the winter nights lengthened. Fantastic shadows made the heights
appear greater and the valleys deeper, casting a spell of unreality
around the place, which never seemed to touch it by day. The greatest
height of any of the numerous sharp-pointed spurs of volcanic rock was
not more than three hundred feet, but we were infinitely better off as
regards the interest and the scenery of our winter quarters than the
expedition which wintered in McMurdo Sound between 1901 and 1904. Our
walks amongst the hills and across the frozen lakes were a great source
of health and enjoyment, and as a field of work for geologists and
biologists, Cape Royds far surpassed Hut Point. The largest lake, which
lay about half a mile to the north-east, was named Blue Lake, from the
intensely vivid blue of the ice. This lake was peculiarly interesting to
Mawson, who made the study of ice part of his work. Beyond Blue Lake, to
the northward, lay Clear Lake, the deepest inland body of water in our
vicinity. To the left as one looked north, close to the coast, was a
circular basin which we called Coast Lake, where, when we first arrived,
hundreds of skua gulls were bathing and flying about. Following the
coast from this point back towards winter quarters was another body of
water called Green Lake. In all these various lakes something of
interest to science was discovered, and though they were quite small,
they were very important to our work and in our eyes, and were a source
of continuous interest to us during our stay in the vicinity. Beyond
Blue Lake, to the east, rose the lower slopes of Mount Erebus, covered
with ice and snow. After passing one or two ridges of volcanic rocks,
there stretched a long snow plain, across which sledges could travel
without having their runners torn by gravel. The slope down to Blue Lake
was picked out for skiing and it was here, in the early days, when work
was over, that some of our party used to slide from the top of the slope
for about two hundred feet, arriving at the bottom in a few seconds, and
shooting out across the frozen surface of the Lake, until brought up by
the rising slope on the other side. To the north of Clear Lake the usual
hills of volcanic rock separated by valleys filled more or less with
snow-drifts, stretched for a distance of about a mile. Beyond this lay
the coast, to the right of which, looking north, was Horse Shoe Bay,
about four miles from our winter quarters; further to the right of the
northern end of Cape Royds the slopes of Erebus were reached again. From
the northern coast a good view could be obtained of Cape Bird, and from
the height we could see Castle Rock to the south, distant about eighteen
miles from the winter quarters. The walk from Hut Point to Castle Rock
was familiar to us on the last expedition. It seemed much nearer than it
really was, for in the Antarctic the distances are most deceptive,
curiously different effects being produced by the variations of light
and the distortion of mirage.

As time went on we felt more and more satisfied with our location, for
there was work of interest for every one. The Professor and Priestley
saw open before them a new chapter of geological history of great
interest, for Cape Royds was a happier hunting ground for the geologist
than was Hut Point. Hundreds of erratic boulders lay scattered on the
slopes of the adjacent hills, and from these the geologists hoped to
learn something of the past conditions of Ross Island. For Murray, the
lakes were a fruitful field for new research. The gradually deepening
bay was full of marine animal life, the species varying with the depth,
and here also an inexhaustible treasure-ground stretched before the
biologist. Adams, the meteorologist, could not complain, for Mount
Erebus was in full view of the meteorological station, and this
fortunate proximity to Erebus and its smoke-cloud led, in a large
measure, to important results in this branch. For the physicist the
structure of the ice, varying on various lakes, the different salts in
the earth, and the magnetic conditions of the rocks claimed
investigation, though, indeed, the magnetic nature of the rocks proved
a disadvantage in carrying out magnetic observations, for the delicate
instruments were often affected by the local attraction. From every
point of view I must say that we were extremely fortunate in the winter
quarters to which we had been led by the state of the sea ice, for no
other spot could have afforded more scope for work and exercise.

Before we had been ten days ashore the hut was practically completed,
though it was over a month before it had been worked up from the state
of an empty shell to attain the fully furnished appearance it assumed
after every one had settled down and arranged his belongings. It was not
a very spacious dwelling for the accommodation of fifteen persons, but
our narrow quarters were warmer than if the hut had been larger. The
coldest part of the house when we first lived in it was undoubtedly the
floor, which was formed of inch tongue-and-groove boarding, but was not
double-lined. There was a space of about four feet under the hut at the
north-west end, the other end resting practically on the ground, and it
was obvious to us that as long as this space remained we would suffer
from the cold, so we decided to make an airlock of the area under the
hut. To this end we decided to build a wall round the south-east and
southerly sides, which were to windward, with the bulk of the provision
cases. To make certain that no air would penetrate from these sides we
built the first two or three tiers of cases a little distance out from
the walls of the hut, pouring in volcanic earth until no gaps could be
seen, and the earth was level with the cases; then the rest of the
stores were piled up to a height of six or seven feet. This accounted
for one side and one end. On either side of the porch two other
buildings were gradually erected. One, built out of biscuit cases, the
roof covered with felt and canvas, was a store-room for Wild, who looked
after the issue of all foodstuffs. The building on the other side of
the porch was a much more ambitious affair, and was built by Mawson, to
serve as a chemical and physical laboratory. It was destined, however,
to be used solely as a store-room, for the temperature within its walls
was practically the same as that of the outside air, and the warm, moist
atmosphere rushing out from the hut covered everything inside this
store-room with fantastic ice crystals.

The lee side of the hut ultimately became the wall of the stables, for
we decided to keep the ponies sheltered during the winter. During the
blizzard we experienced on February 18, and for the three following
days, the animals suffered somewhat, mainly owing to the knocking about
they had received whilst on the way south in the ship. We found that a
shelter, not necessarily warmed to a high temperature, would keep the
ponies in better condition than if they were allowed to stand in the
open, and by February 9 the stable building was complete. A double row
of cases of maize, built at one end to a height of five feet eight
inches, made one end, and then the longer side of the shelter was
composed of bales of fodder. A wide plank at the other end was cemented
into the ground, and a doorway left. Over all this was stretched the
canvas tarpaulin which we had previously used in the fodder hut, and
with planks and battens on both side to make it windproof, the stable
was complete. A wire rope was stretched from one end to the other on the
side nearest to the hut, and the ponies' head-ropes were made fast to
this. The first night that they were placed in the stable there was
little rest for any of us, and during the night some of the animals
broke loose and returned to their valley. Shortly afterwards Grisi, one
of the most high-spirited of the lot, pushed his head through a window,
so the lower halves of the but windows had to be boarded up. The first
strong breeze we had shook the roof of the stable so much that we
expected every moment it would blow away, so after the gale all the
sledges except those which were in use were laid on the top of the
stable, and a stout rope passed from one end to the other. The next
snowfall covered the sledges and made a splendid roof, upon which no
subsequent wind had any effect. Later, another addition was made to the
dwellings outside the hut in the shape of a series of dog-houses for
those animals about to pup, and as that was not an uncommon thing down
there, the houses were constantly occupied.

On the south-east side of the hut a store-room was built, constructed
entirely of cases, and roofed with hammocks sewn together. Here we kept
the tool chest, shoemakers' outfit, which was in constant requisition,
and any general stores that had to be issued at stated times. The first
heavy blizzard found this place out, and after the roof had been blown
off, the wall fell down, and we had to organise a party, when the
weather got fine, to search for anything that might be lost, such as
mufflers, woollen helmets, and so on. Some things were blown more than a
mile away. I found a Russian felt boot, weighing five pounds, lying
three-quarters of a mile from the crate in which it had been stowed, and
it must have had a clear run in the air for the whole of this distance,
for there was not a scratch on the leather; if it had been blown along
the rocks, which lay in the way, the leather would certainly have been
scratched all over. The chimney, which was an iron pipe, projecting two
or three feet above the roof of the hut, and capped by a cowl, was let
through the roof at the south-east end, and secured by numerous rope
stays supporting it at every point from which the wind could blow.

We were quite free from the trouble of down draughts or choking with
snow, such as had been of common occurrence in the large hut on the
_Discovery_ expedition. Certainly the revolving cowl blew off during the
first blizzard, and this happened again in the second, so we took the
hint and left it off for good, without detriment, as it happened, to
the efficiency of the stove.

The dog kennels were placed close to the porch of the hut, but only
three of the dogs were kept constantly chained up. The meteorological
station was on the weather side of the hut on the top of a small ridge,
about twenty feet above the hut and forty feet above sea-level, and a
natural path led to it. Adams laid it out, and the regular readings of
the instruments began on March 22. The foundation of the thermometer
screen consisted of a heavy wooden case resting on rocks. The case was
three-quarters filled with rock, and round the outside were piled more
blocks of kenyte; the crevices between them were filled with volcanic
earth on to which water was poured, the result being a structure as
rigid as the ground itself. On each side of the box a heavy upright was
secured by the rocks inside the case and by bolts at the sides, and to
these uprights the actual meteorological screen, one of the Stevenson
pattern and of standard size, was bolted. As readings of the
instruments were to be taken day and night at intervals of two hours,
and as it was quite possible that the weather might be so thick that a
person might be lost in making his way between the screen and the hut, a
line was rigged up on posts which were cemented into the ground by ice,
so that in the thickest weather the observer could be sure of finding
his way by following this very substantial clue.



CHAPTER X

FIRST DAYS IN WINTER QUARTERS

THE inside of the hut was not long in being fully furnished, and a great
change it was from the bare shell of our first days of occupancy. The
first thing done was to peg out a space for each individual, and we saw
that the best plan would be to have the space allotted in sections,
allowing two persons to share one cubicle. This space for two men
amounted to six feet six inches in length and seven feet in depth from
the wall of the hut towards the centre. There were seven of these
cubicles, and a space for the leader of the expedition; thus providing
for the fifteen who made up the shore-party. The accompanying
photographs will give an idea of the hut as finished. One of the most
important parts of the interior construction was the darkroom for the
photographers. We were very short of wood, so cases of bottled fruit,
which had to be kept inside the hut to prevent them freezing, were
utilised for building the walls. The darkroom was constructed in the
left-hand corner of the hut as one entered, and the fruit cases were
turned with their lids facing out, so that the contents could be removed
without demolishing the walls of the building. These cases, as they were
emptied, were turned into lockers, where we stowed our spare gear and so
obtained more room in the little cubicles. The interior of the darkroom
was fitted up by Mawson and the Professor. The sides and roof were lined
with the felt left over after the hut was completed. Mawson made the
fittings complete in every detail, with shelves, tanks, &c., and the
result was as good as any one could desire in the circumstances.

On the other side of the doorway, opposite the darkroom, was my room,
six feet long, seven feet deep, built of boards and roofed, the roof
being seven feet above the floor. I lined the walls inside with canvas,
and the bed-place was constructed of fruit boxes, which, when emptied,
served, like those outside, for lockers. My room contained the bulk of
our library, the chronometers, the chronometer watches, barograph, and
the electric-recording thermometer; there was ample room for a table,
and the whole made a most comfortable cabin. On the roof we stowed those
of our scientific instruments which were not in use, such as
theodolites, spare thermometers, dip circles, &c. The gradual
accumulation of weight produced a distinct sag in the roof, which
sometimes seemed to threaten collapse as I sat inside, but no notice
was taken, and nothing happened. On the roof of the darkroom we stowed
all our photographic gear and our few cases of wine, which were only
drawn upon on special occasions, such as Midwinter Day. The acetylene
gas-plant was set up on a platform between my room and the darkroom. We
had tried to work it from the porch, but the temperature was so low
there that the water froze and the gas would not come, so we shifted it
inside the hut, and had no further trouble. Four burners, including a
portable standard light in my room, gave ample illumination. The
simplicity and portability of the apparatus and the high efficiency of
the light represented the height of luxury under polar conditions and
did much to render our sojourn more tolerable than would have been
possible in earlier days. The particular form that we used was supplied
by Mr. Morrison, who had been chief engineer on the Morning on her
voyage to the relief of the _Discovery_. The only objectionable feature,
due to having the generating-plant in our living room, was the
unpleasant smell given off when the carbide tanks were being recharged,
but we soon got used to this, though the daily changing always drew down
strong remarks on the unlucky head of Day--who had the acetylene plant
especially under his charge. He did not have a hitch with it all the
time. Flexible steel tubes were carried from the tank, and after being
wound round the beams of the roof, served to suspend the lights at the
required positions.

A long ridge of rope wire was stretched from one end of the hut to the
other on each side, seven feet out from the wall; then at intervals of
six feet another wire was brought out from the wall of the hut, and made
fast to the fore and aft wire. These lines marked the boundaries of the
cubicles, and sheets of duck sewn together hung from them, making a good
division. Blankets were served out to hang in the front of the cubicle,
in case the inhabitants wanted at any time to "sport their oak". As
each of the cubicles had distinctive features in the furnishing and
general design, especially as regards beds, it is worth while to
describe them fully. This is not so trivial a matter as it may appear to
some readers, for during the winter months the inside of the hut was the
whole inhabited world to us. The wall of Adams' and Marshall's cubicle,
which was next to my room, was fitted with shelves made out of Venesta
cases, and there was so much neatness and order about this apartment
that it was known by the address, "No. 1 Park Lane". In front of the
shelves hung little gauze curtains, tied up with blue ribbon, and the
literary tastes of the occupants could be seen at a glance from the
bookshelves. In Adams' quarter the period of the French Revolution and
the Napoleonic era filled most of his bookshelves, though a complete
edition of Dickens came in a good second. Marshall's shelves were
stocked with bottles of medicine, medical works, and some general
literature. The dividing curtain of duck was adorned by Marston with
life-sized coloured drawings of Napoleon and Joan of Arc. Adams and
Marshall did Sandow exercises daily, and their example was followed by
other men later on, when the darkness and bad weather made open-air work
difficult. The beds of this particular cubicle were the most comfortable
in the hut, but took a little longer to rig up at night than most of the
others. This disadvantage was more than compensated for by the free
space gained during the day, and by permission of the owners it was used
as consulting-room, dispensary, and operating theatre. The beds
consisted of bamboos lashed together for extra strength, to which strips
of canvas were attached, so that each bed looked like a stretcher. The
wall end rested on stout cleats screwed on to the side of the hut, the
other ends on chairs, and so supported, the occupants slept soundly and
comfortably.

The next cubicle on the same side was occupied by Marston and Day, and
as the former was the artist and the latter the general handy man of the
expedition, one naturally found an ambitious scheme of decoration. The
shelves were provided with beading, and the Venesta boxes were stained
brown. This idea was copied from No. 1 Park Lane, where they had stained
all their walls with Condy's Fluid. Marston's and Day's cubicle was
known as "The Gables", presumably from the gabled appearance of the
shelves. Solid wooden beds, made out of old packing-cases and
upholstered with wood shavings covered with blankets, made very
comfortably couches, one of which could be pushed during meal times out
of the way of the chairs. The artist's curtain was painted to represent
a fireplace and mantelpiece in civilisation; a cheerful fire burned in
the grate, and a bunch of flowers stood on the mantelpiece. The dividing
curtain between it and No. 1 Park Lane, on the other side of the
cubicle, did not require to be decorated, for the colour of Joan of Arc,
and also portions of Napoleon, had oozed through the canvas. In The
Gables was set up the lithographic press, which was used for producing
pictures for the book which was printed at our winter quarters.

The next cubicle on the same side belonged to Armytage and
Brocklehurst. Here everything in the way of shelves and fittings was
very primitive. I lived in Brocklehurst's portion of the cubicle for
two months, as he was laid up in my room, and before I left it I
constructed a bed of empty petrol cases. The smell from these for the
first couple of nights after rigging them up was decidedly unpleasant,
but it disappeared after a while. Next to Brocklehurst's and Armytage's
quarters came the pantry. The division between the cubicle and the
pantry consisted of a tier of cases, making a substantial wall between
the food and the heads of the sleepers. The pantry, bakery, and
store-room, all combined, measured six feet by three, not very spacious,
certainly, but sufficient to work in. The far end of the hut constituted
the other wall of the pantry, and was lined with shelves up to the slope
of the roof. These shelves were continued along the wall behind the
stove, which stood about four feet out from the end of the house, and an
erection of wooden battens and burlap or sacking concealed the
biological laboratory. The space taken up by this important department
was four feet by four, but lack of ground area was made up for by the
shelves, which contained dozens of bottles soon to be filled with
Murray's biological captures.

Beyond the stove, facing the pantry, was Mackay's and Roberts' cubicle,
the main feature of which was a ponderous shelf, on which rested mostly
socks and other light articles, the only thing of weight being our
gramophone and records. The bunks were somewhat feeble imitations of
those belonging to No. 1 Park Lane, and the troubles that the owners
went through before finally getting them into working order afforded the
rest of the community a good deal of amusement. I can see before me now
the triumphant face of Mackay, as he called all hands round to see his
design. The inhabitants of No. 1 Park Lane pointed out that the bamboo
was not a rigid piece of wood, and that when Mackay's weight came on it
the middle would bend and the ends would jump off the supports unless
secured. Mackay undressed before a critical audience, and he got into
his bag and expatiated on the comfort and luxury he was experiencing, so
different to the hard boards he had been lying on for months. Roberts
was anxious to try his couch, which was constructed on the same
principle, and the audience were turning away disappointed at not
witnessing a catastrophe, when suddenly a crash was heard, followed by
a strong expletive. Mackay's bed was half on the ground, one end of it
resting at a most uncomfortable angle. Laughter and pointed remarks as
to his capacity for making a bed were nothing to him; he tried three
times that night to fix it up, but at last had to give it up for a bad
job. In due time he arranged fastenings, and after that he slept in
comfort.

Between this cubicle and the next there was no division, neither party
troubling about the matter. The result was that the four men were
constantly at war regarding alleged encroachments on their ground.
Priestley, who was long-suffering, and who occupied the cubicle with
Murray, said he did not mind a chair or a volume of the "Encyclopaedia
Britannica" being occasionally deposited on him while he was asleep,
but that he thought it was a little too strong to drop wet boots, newly
arrived from the stables, on top of his belongings. Priestley and Murray
had no floor-space at all in their cubicle, as their beds were built of
empty dog-biscuit boxes. A division of boxes separated the two
sleeping-places, and the whole cubicle was garnished on Priestley's side
with bits of rock, ice-axes, hammers and chisels, and on Murray's with
biological requisites.

Next came one of the first cubicles that had been built. Joyce and Wild
occupied the "Rogues' Retreat", a painting of two very tough
characters drinking beer out of pint mugs, with the inscription The
Rogues' Retreat painted underneath, adorning the entrance to the den.
The couches in this house were the first to be built, and those of the
opposite dwelling, The Gables, were copied from their design. The first
bed had been built in Wild's store-room for secrecy's sake; it was to
burst upon the view of every one, and to create mingled feelings of
admiration and envy, admiration for the splendid design, envy of the
unparalleled luxury provided by it. However, in building it, the
designer forgot the size of the doorway he had to take it through, and
it had ignominiously to be sawn in half before it could be passed out of
the store-room into the hut. The printing press and type case for the
polar paper occupied one corner of this cubicle.

The next and last compartment was the dwelling-place of the Professor
and Mawson. It would be difficult to do justice to the picturesque
confusion of this compartment; one hardly likes to call it untidy, for
the things that covered the bunks by daytime could be placed nowhere
else conveniently. A miscellaneous assortment of cameras, spectroscopes,
thermometers, microscopes, electrometers and the like lay in profusion
on the blankets. Mawson's bed consisted of his two boxes, in which he
had stowed his scientific apparatus on the way down, and the Professor's
bed was made out of kerosene cases. Everything in the way of tin cans or
plug-topped, with straw wrappers belonging to the fruit bottles, was
collected by these two scientific men. Mawson, as a rule, put his
possessions in his store-room outside, but the Professor, not having
any retreat like that, made a pile of glittering tins and coloured
wrappers at one end of his bunk, and the heap looked like the nest of
the Australian bower bird. The straw and the tins were generally cleared
away when the Professor and Priestley went in for a day's packing of
geological specimens; the straw wrappers were utilised for wrapping
round the rocks, and the tins were filled with paper wrapped round the
more delicate geological specimens. The name given, though not by the
owners, to this cubicle was "The Pawn Shop", for not only was there
always a heterogeneous mass of things on the bunks, but the wall of the
darkroom and the wall of the hut at this spot could not be seen for the
multitude of cases ranged as shelves and filled with a varied assortment
of notebooks and instruments.

In order to give as much free space as possible in the centre of the hut
we had the table so arranged that it could be hoisted up over our heads
after meals were over. This gave ample room for the various carpentering
and engineering efforts that were constantly going on. Murray built the
table out of the lids of packing-cases, and though often scrubbed, the
stencilling on the cases never came out. We had no tablecloth, but this
was an advantage, for a well-scrubbed table had a cleaner appearance
than would be obtained with such washing as could be done in an
Antarctic laundry. The legs of the table were detachable, being after
the fashion of trestles, and the whole affair, when meals were over, was
slung by a rope at each end about eight feet from the floor. At first we
used to put the boxes containing knives, forks, plates and bowls on top
of the table before hauling it up, but after these had fallen on the
unfortunate head of the person trying to get them down, we were content
to keep them on the floor.

I had been very anxious as regards the stove, the most important part of
the hut equipment, when I heard that, after the blizzard that kept me on
board the _Nimrod_, the temperature of the hut was below zero, and that
socks put to dry in the baking-ovens came out as damp as ever the
following morning. My anxiety was dispelled after the stove had been
taken to pieces again, for it was found that eight important pieces of
its structure had not been put in. As soon as this omission was
rectified the stove acted splendidly, and the makers deserve our thanks
for the particular apparatus they picked out as suitable for us. The
stove was put to a severe test, for it was kept going day and night for
over nine months without once being out for more than ten minutes, when
occasion required it to be cleaned. It supplied us with sufficient heat
to keep the temperature of the hut sixty to seventy degrees above the
outside air. Enough bread could be baked to satisfy our whole hungry
party of fifteen every day; three hot meals a day were also cooked, and
water melted from ice at a temperature of perhaps twenty degrees below
zero in sufficient quantity to afford as much as we required for
ourselves, and to water the ponies twice a day, and all this work was
done on a consumption not exceeding five hundredweight of coal per week.
After testing the stove by running it on an accurately measured amount
of coal for a month, we were reassured about our coal supply being
sufficient to carry us through the winter right on to sledging time.

As the winter came on and the light grew faint outside, the hut became
more and more like a workshop, and it seems strange to me now, looking
back to those distant days, to remember the amount of trouble and care
that was taken to furnish and beautify what was only to be a temporary
home. One of our many kind friends had sent us a number of pictures,
which were divided between the various cubicles, and these brightened
up the place wonderfully. During our first severe blizzard, the hut
shook and trembled so that every moment we expected the whole thing to
carry away, and there is not the slightest shadow of a doubt that if we
had been located in the open, the hut and everything in it would have
been torn up and blown away. Even with our sheltered position I had to
lash the chronometers to the shelf in my room, for they were apt to be
shaken off when the walls trembled in the gale. When the storm was over
we put a stout wire cable over the hut, burying the ends in the ground
and freezing them in, so as to afford additional security in case
heavier weather was in store for us in the future.



CHAPTER XI

SLEDGING EQUIPMENT: PONIES AND DOGS

AT the commencement of this narrative I gave some general information
regarding our equipment and provisioning, but it will now be necessary
to describe more fully the sledging outfits used by the various
expeditions that left our winter quarters. The first, and one of the
most important of the items was, of course, the sledge, though, indeed,
everything taken on a sledge journey is absolutely essential; one does
not load up odds and ends on the chance of their proving useful, for the
utmost reduction of weight compatible with efficiency is the first and
last thing for the polar explorer to aim at. The sledge which we used
is the outcome of the experience of many former explorers, but it is
chiefly due to Nansen that it has become the very useful vehicle that it
is at the present day. On the _Discovery_ expedition we had sledges of
various lengths, seven feet, nine feet, eleven feet and twelve feet. Our
experience on that occasion showed that the eleven-foot sledge was the
best for all-round use, but I had taken with me a certain number of
twelve-foot sledges as being possibly more suitable for pony traction. A
good sledge for Antarctic or Arctic travelling must be rigid in its
upright and crossbars, and yet give to uneven surfaces, so that in
travelling over sastrugi the strain will not come on the whole of the
sledge. A well-constructed sledge, travelling over an uneven surface,
appears to have an undulating, snake-like movement, and the attainment
of this suppleness without interfering with the strength of the
structure as a whole, is the main point to be aimed at; in our case
there was nothing wanting in this respect.

The wooden runners were about four inches wide and made of hickory,
split from the tree with the grain of the wood and not sawn. Many pieces
were inspected and rejected and only those passed as perfect were used.
This method of preparing the runners, it can easily be seen, allows much
greater scope for bending than would be the case if the wood were sawn
regardless of the run of the grain. In pulling the sledge the direction
of the grain on the snow surface has to be observed, and it is wonderful
what a difference it makes whether one is pulling with or against the
grain of the runner. The second point to consider is the height of the
framework of the sledge above the surface of the snow. Naturally, with a
low framework there is less chance of the sledge-load capsizing when
passing over rough ground, and the aim of the explorer is therefore to
keep the load as low as possible on the sledge. It has been found that a
clearance of six inches is ample in all ordinary circumstances, so the
uprights of our sledges were only about six inches high. These uprights
were fastened at intervals into holes on the upper side of the runners,
and instead of being fastened on the underside of the latter, other
holes were bored in the ridge on the upper side and raw hide lashings
passed through them and through the upright. Crosspieces were fastened
by a sort of dovetailing process, supplemented by marlin lashings, and
the angle made by the vertical upright and horizontal crosspiece was
crossed by a short iron stay. This junction of crosspiece and upright
was the only absolutely rigid part of the whole sledge. Every other
portion of a good sledge gives somewhat as it takes up the various
strains, and it entirely depends on good workmanship and sailor-like
lashings whether, on the strain being removed, the sledge returns to
its normal shape or is permanently distorted. Two long runners or
bearers, about an inch square, rested on the uprights, and crosspieces
projecting the whole length of the sledge and fastened by extra strong
marlin lashings, covered with leather to protect them from the chafing
of the equipment stowed on top, formed a sort of platform on which the
stores were placed. The fore end of the sledge had a bow of wood,
forming practically a semi-circle, the two ends being fastened to the
slightly upturned ends of the runners. The upper bearers were pressed
down, and also lashed to this bow. This upturning at the forward end of
the sledge allowed for the meeting of unequal surfaces, and the shape of
the bow was intended to prevent the ends of the sledge being driven into
snow or ice obstructions. The rear end of the sledge was also slightly
turned up, and the top bearers bent down and lashed to the bare ends. Of
course, a bow was not necessary at that end. At each end of the sledge,
made fast round the first two uprights and the last two on both sides,
were two pieces of alpine rope, which combines strength with lightness.
The bight of this rope was formed into a bucket, and by this means a
toggle attached to the sledge harness could be readily put in. When
sledges are running in line, one behind the other, particular care has
to be taken with these ropes, so that the tracks of the second sledge
coincide with the first. By doing this the amount of friction on the
runners of the second sledge is greatly reduced, for the forward sledge
does practically all the work of breaking the trail, and the following
ones run lightly over the made track. An eleven-foot sledge, fully
loaded, is at its best working weight with about 650 lb. on it, but this
by no means represents its actual strength capacity, for we tested ours
most rigorously during the unloading of the ship, often placing over a
thousand pounds' weight on a sledge without it sustaining the slightest
damage. After our experience on the Barrier surface during the
_Discovery_ expedition, I had decided to dispense with metal runners, so
only a few sets of detachable steel under-runners were provided, to be
used for work on ground bare of snow or on rough glacier ice. In order
to fasten the stores on the sledge we riveted straps on to the bearers,
and thus formed a handy and trustworthy means of fastening things with
the least possible loss of time.



Another vitally important article of equipment for the polar explorer is
the cooker and cooking-stove. Here again we were indebted to the
practical genius of Nansen, who designed the form of cooker that is now
invariably used in polar work. The stove was the ordinary "primus",
burning kerosene, vapourised in the usual way. This stove is highly
efficient, and, with strict economy, one gallon of oil will last three
men for ten days, allowing three hot meals per day. This economy is due,
in a large measure, to the qualities of the cooker. The form we used
consisted of an outer cover of aluminium drawn out of one piece, inside
which was a ring-shaped vessel so designed that the heated air could
circulate round it. Inside this vessel was the centre cooking-pot, and
these pots were all mounted on a concave plate of aluminium which fitted
over the top of the primus lamp. The middle cooker was first filled with
snow or ice, pressed tightly down, the lid was put on and this vessel
placed inside the outer, ring-shaped cooker, which was also filled with
snow; over all this apparatus the aluminium outside cover was placed,
inverted. The heated gases from the stove, after heating the bottom of
the centre cooker, mounted into the space between the two vessels, and
were then forced down the outside of the ring-shaped cooker by the
cover, finally escaping at the lower edge. Experiments showed that
about 92 per cent, of the heat generated by the lamp was used in the
cooker, a most satisfactory result, for economy in fuel is of great
importance when the oil has to be carried on sledges. I did not have
draw-off taps on the cookers, but they were so arranged that the
boiling-pot in the centre lifted in and out easily. Such was the
efficiency of the cooker and stove that, in a temperature of forty or
fifty degrees below zero, the snow or ice, which would be at this
temperature, could be melted and a hot meal prepared within half an
hour from the time the cooker was first placed on the primus. The whole
apparatus, including the primus, did not weigh more than fifteen pounds.
When the cooker was empty after meals, our feeding utensils were placed
inside. They consisted of pannikins and spoons only. The former were
made of aluminium in pairs, and fitted one into another. The outer
pannikin, for holding the hot tea or cocoa, was provided with handles,
and the other fitted over the top of this and was used for the more
solid food. There was no "washing up" on the march, for spoons were
licked clean and pannikins scraped assiduously when sledging appetites
had been developed.

The next important item was the tent. The usual unit for sledging
consists of three men, and our tents were designed to contain that
number. The tent cloth was thin Willesden duck, with a "snow cloth" of
thicker material round the lower edge. This snow cloth was spread out on
the ground and snow or ice piled on it so that the form of the tent was
like that of an inverted convolvulus. Instead of a single tent pole we
used five male bamboo rods, eight feet six inches in length, fastened
together at one end in a cap, over which the apex of the tent fitted.
The bamboos were stretched out, and the tent was slung over the top,
with the door, which took the form of a sort of spout of Burberry
material, on the lee side. This Burberry spout was loose and could be
tied up by being gathered together when the occupants were inside the
tent, or could be left open when desired. Inside the tent was placed on
the snow a circle of thick Willesden waterproof canvas to protect the
sleeping-bags from actual contact with the ground. The material of which
the tents were constructed appeared flimsy and the bamboos were light,
but one could trust them with absolute confidence to encounter
successfully the fiercest blizzards of this exceptionally stormy part of
the world. There was no instance of damage to a tent owing to bad
weather during the expedition.

The next important item of our equipment was the sleeping-bag. It has
been generally assumed by polar explorers, despite our experience with
the _Discovery_ expedition, that it is absolutely necessary for sledge
travellers to wrap themselves up in furs. We have found this to be quite
unnecessary, and I think that I am justified, from my experience during
two expeditions in what is, undoubtedly, a more rigorous climate than
exists in the north polar regions, in stating that, except for the hands
and feet, in the way of personal clothing, and the sleeping-bags for
camping, furs are entirely unnecessary. Our sleeping-bags, as I have
already stated, were made of hides of young reindeer. The hide of the
young reindeer is the most comfortable fur that can be used for this
purpose, being very close and thick. The term "bag" literally
describes this portion of the sledging-gear. It is a long bag, with
closely sewn seams, and is entered by means of a slit at the upper end.
A flap comes down over the head of the occupant, and a toggle on the
flap fastens into an eye at the mouth of the bag; thus secured, one can
sleep in more or less comfort, according to the temperature.

The clothing usually worn for sledging-work consisted of thick Jaeger
underclothing, heavy blue pilot-cloth trousers, a Jaeger pyjama jacket
for coat, and over this, as our main protection against cold and wind,
the Burberry blouse and trousers. On the hands we wore woollen gloves
and then fur mits, and on the feet several pair of heavy woollen socks
and then finnesko. Any one feeling the texture and lightness of the
Burberry material would hardly believe that it answers so well in
keeping out the cold and wind and in offering, during a blizzard, a
complete protection against the fine drifting snow that permeates almost
everything. Some of our party wore a pair of Burberry trousers over the
Jaeger underclothing throughout the winter, and did not feel the need of
the cloth trousers at all. The headgear, which is another item of one's
equipment, especially important as regards comfort, was a matter upon
which there were marked differences of opinion. The most general method
of keeping the head and ears warm was to wrap a woollen muffler twice
round the chin and head, thus forming protection for the ears, which are
the first part of the body to show signs of frostbite; the muffler was
then brought round one's neck, and over the muffler was pulled what is
known as a fleecy travelling cap, a woollen helmet, in appearance
something like an old-time helmet without the visor. If a blizzard were
blowing the muffler was discarded, the helmet put on, and over this the
Burberry helmet, which has a stiff flap in front that can be buttoned
into a funnel shape. The helmet and the fur mits were made fast to a
length of lampwick, which was tied round the neck, so that they could
be removed temporarily without fear of being lost. The sledge traveller
wearing this gear could be assured that his features and body would be
exempt from frostbite under all ordinary circumstances. Of course, in
very low temperatures, or with a moderately low temperature and a
breeze blowing, it was necessary occasionally to inspect each others'
faces for the sign of frostbite, and if the white patch which denotes
this was visible, it had to be attended to at once.

Having considered the clothing, camping and cooking-equipment of a
sledge-party we now come to the important item of food. The appetite of
a man who has just come to camp after a five hours' march in a low
temperature is a thing that the ordinary individual at home would
hardly understand, and, indeed, the sledger himself has moments of
surprise when, after finishing his ration, he feels just about as hungry
as when he started. Much has been written on the subject of food in most
books on polar exploration, and in Captain Scott's account of the
_Discovery_ expedition this matter is dealt with in an interesting and
exhaustive manner. In selecting our supplies I had based my plans on the
experience gained by the previous expedition, and for the sledging
journeys I had tried to provide the maximum amount of heat-giving and
flesh-forming materials, and to avoid as far as possible foods
containing a large amount of moisture, which means so much dead weight
to be carried. Our cuisine was not very varied, but a voracious appetite
has no nice discernment and requires no sauce to make the meal
palatable; indeed, all one wants is more, and this is just what cannot
be allowed if a party is to achieve anything in the way of distance
whilst confined to man-haulage. It is hard for a hungry man to rest
content with the knowledge that the particular food he is eating
contains so much nourishment and is sufficient for his needs, if at the
same time he does not feel full and satisfied after the meal and if,
within an hour or so, the aching void again makes itself felt, and he
has to wait another five hours before he can again temporarily satisfy
the craving. One of the main items of our food supply was pemmican,
which consisted of the finest beef powdered with 60 per cent, of fat
added. This is one of the staple foods in polar work, and the fat has
properties specially tending to promote heat. Our pemmican for use on
the long sledge journeys was obtained from Messrs. Beauvais, of
Copenhagen, and was similar to the pemmican we had on the _Discovery_
expedition. Biscuits are a standard food also, and in this matter I had
made a departure from the example of the previous expedition. We found
then that the thin wholemeal biscuits which we used in sledging work
were apt to break, and it was difficult to make out the exact allowance
for each day, the result being that sometimes we used up our supply for
the week too early. I secured thicker biscuits, but the principal change
was in the composition itself. The Plasmon Company supplied a ton of the
best wholemeal biscuit, containing 25 per cent, of plasmon; the plasmon
tended to harden the biscuit, and, as is well known, it is an excellent
food. These biscuits were specially baked, and, with an allowance of one
pound for each man per day, were a distinct advance on the farinaceous
food of the previous expedition. This allowance, I may mention, was
reduced very considerably when food began to run short on the southern
and northern journeys, but we had no fault to find with the quality of
the biscuits. The addition of the plasmon certainly increased their
food value. Tea and cocoa were selected as our beverages for use on the
march. We used tea for breakfast and lunch, and cocoa, which tends to
produce sleepiness, for dinner at night. Sugar is a very valuable
heat-forming substance, and our allowance of this amounted to about a
third of a pound for each man for a day. We also took chocolate, cheese
and oatmeal, so that, though there was not very much variety, we felt we
were getting the most nutritious food possible. We had a much more
varied selection of foods at the winter quarters, and the supplies taken
on the sledging journeys could be varied to some extent according to the
necessities of the occasion.

In considering the various methods of haulage in the Antarctic the
experience of the National Antarctic Expedition proved of very great
value. Until the _Discovery_ wintered at the head of McMurdo Sound no
sledge journey had been made over the surface of the Great Ice Barrier,
and, indeed, when the _Discovery_ left England there was an idea amongst
many of the best authorities that very little sledging would be
necessary. It was thought that the main part of the exploration would be
undertaken by the ship itself. Preparations had been made in the event
of a landing, and the equipment, as far as the sledges, harness, and so
on, were concerned, was excellent. The expedition was dependent,
however, on dogs for haulage purposes, and the use of these animals on
the Barrier was not at all successful. Only twenty dogs were taken with
the _Discovery_ and the trouble they gave and their eventual collapse and
failure are matters of common knowledge amongst those interested in
Antarctic exploration. The knowledge I gained of the Barrier surface on
that occasion suggested to me the feasibility of using ponies for
traction purposes, for I had heard that in Siberia and Northern
Manchuria ponies of a peculiarly hardy and sturdy stock did excellent
work in hauling sledges and carrying packs over snow and ice at very low
temperatures and under very severe weather conditions.

It seems to be generally assumed that a Manchurian pony can drag a
sledge over a broken trail at the rate of twenty to thirty miles a day,
pulling not less than twelve hundred pounds. Some authorities even put
the weight to be hauled at eighteen hundred pounds, but this is, I
think, far too heavy a load. It was a risk to take ponies from the far
north through the tropics and then across two thousand miles of stormy
sea on a very small ship, but I felt that if it could be done it would
be well worth the trouble, for, compared with the dog, the pony is a far
more efficient animal, one pony doing the work of at least ten dogs on
the food allowance for ten dogs, and travelling a longer distance in a
day.

We established ourselves at the winter quarters with eight ponies, but
unfortunately we lost four of them within a month of our arrival. The
loss was due, in the case of three of the four, to the fact that they
were picketed when they first landed on sandy ground, and it was not
noticed that they were eating the sand. I had neglected to see that the
animals had a supply of salt given to them, and as they found a saline
flavour in the volcanic sand under their feet, due to the fact that the
blizzards had sprayed all the land near the shore with sea water, they
ate it at odd moments. All the ponies seem to have done this, but some
were more addicted to the habit than the others. Several of them became
ill, and we were quite at a loss to account for the trouble until Sandy
died. Then a post-mortem examination revealed the fact that his stomach
contained many pounds of sand, and the cause of the illness of the other
ponies became apparent. We shifted them at once from the place where
they were picketed, so that they could get no more sand, and gave them
what remedial treatment lay in our power, but two more died in spite of
all our efforts. The loss of the fourth pony was due to poisoning. The
Manchurian ponies will eat anything at all that can be chewed, and this
particular animal seems to have secured some shavings in which chemicals
had been packed. The post-mortem examination showed that there were
distinct signs of corrosive poisoning. The losses were a matter of deep
concern to us.

We were left with four ponies, Quan, Socks, Grisi and Chinaman, and it
is a rather curious fact that the survivors were the white or
light-coloured animals, while disaster had befallen all the dark
animals.

The four ponies were very precious in our eyes, and they were watched
and guarded with keen attention. At first we exercised them daily by
walks across the hills, and later in the season, when it became too dark
to go across the rough ground with safety, they were exercised up and
down the snow-covered lake known as Green Park close to the hut. Before
daylight grew faint the usual morning walk was over the hills along the
sea-coast to Sandy Beach, where they always had a roll on the soft
volcanic sand, and after this a circuit was made homewards round the
further side of Blue Lake and Back Door Bay. For a change sometimes they
were taken on to the snow slopes and foothills of Mount Erebus, on the
level stretches of which they were ridden, but this was stopped as soon
as there was any fear of them stumbling in the fading daylight.

During the winter months those of us who generally took the ponies out
for exercise got to learn the different traits and character of each
individual animal. Every one of them seemed to possess more cunning and
sense than the ordinary broken-in horse at home, and this cunning, when
put into practice to gain any end of their own, was a constant source of
petty annoyance to us. Quan was the worst offender, his particular
delight being to bite through his head rope and attack the bales of
fodder stacked behind him; then, when we put a chain on to prevent this,
he deliberately rattled it against the side of the hut, which kept us
awake. The wall of the hut was sheathed with galvanised iron, and
shortly after the ponies entered the stable, as they started to gnaw the
ropes, a line of wire had been stretched fore and aft along the stables
to which to make fast the head rope. Quan used to take this line between
his teeth and pull back as far as possible and then let it go with a
bang. We tried keeping his nose-bag on, but within a few hours he would
have worked a hole in this and started again on the rope. On going into
the stables to try and stop his mischief, one's annoyance invariably
passed away on seeing the intelligent look on the delinquent's face, as
he rolled his eye round and leered at one as though to say: "Ha! Got the
best of you again." At last old Quan was tethered by his fore and hind
legs, the ridge rope was taken away, and peace reigned, as a rule, in
the stables. He had at first suffered from eating sand, and we had to
use great care to prevent him getting at it again, he being greatly
addicted to the practice; if he were given the smallest opportunity down
would go his head and he would be crunching a mouthful of the loose
volcanic material.

Grisi was our best-looking pony, with a very pretty action and in colour
a dapple grey; his conduct in the stables, however, was not friendly to
the other ponies and we had to build him a separate stall in the far
corner, as on the slightest provocation he would lash out with his hind
feet. He became rather nervous and high-strung during the dark months,
though we kept a lamp continually burning in the ponies' quarters. Socks
was a pretty little pony, shaped something like a miniature Clydesdale,
very willing to work and always very fiery. After leading him along when
out walking, it seemed a great change to take great raw-boned
good-natured old Quan, who, in spite of his ugly appearance, was a
general favourite. The last of our remaining ponies. Chinaman, was a
strong beast, sulky in appearance, but in reality one of the best of the
horses; he also had a penchant for biting through his head rope, but a
chain stopped this. When we first landed we had an idea of not building
a stable, as information from people in Siberia suggested that the
ponies were able to resist cold unsheltered, but after the first
blizzard it was quite obvious that if they were to keep any sort of
condition it would be necessary to stable them. It was not till nearly
August that we were forced to take away part of their house to feed them
with. Our windows on that side of the hut where the stable stood had
been planked over last, the weather side of the hut having been done
much earlier. The lower half of the lee-side windows had been boarded
up, when Grisi put his head through, but the tops had been left. Amongst
the duties of the night watchman was a two-hourly inspection of the
stables, and if he heard any suspicious noises between inspection time,
he had to go out and investigate the cause. After a couple of months
these precautions became unnecessary, for a little army of pups used to
sleep in the stables during the cold weather, and if by any means a pony
got adrift, they at once surrounded him, barking furiously, and the
noise conveyed to the watchman that the outside watchers had observed
something wrong. I remember one night that Grisi got free and dashed out
of the stables, followed by the whole party of pups, who rounded him up
on the Green Park, and after a struggle Mackay secured the truant and
brought him back, the dogs following with an air of pride as though
conscious of having done their duty.

We had been able to obtain only nine dogs, five bitches and four dogs,
but so prolific were they that before mid-winter we had a young family
of nine pups, five of these being born on the _Nimrod_. There were many
more births, but most of the puppies came to an untimely end, there
being a marked difference between the mothers as regards maternal
instincts. Gwendoline, known as the "mad bitch", took no care at all
of her pups, whilst Daisy not only mothered her own but also a surviving
puppy belonging to Gwen, which was taken from her when the culpable
carelessness she had exhibited in the rearing of her offspring had
resulted in the death of the remainder. The younger pups born at winter
quarters did not attain the same size when grown up as did Possum's
pups, born on the _Nimrod_. This may be due either to the very cold world
they were born into or to the fact that their mothers were much smaller
than Possum. The old dogs that we brought were kept tied up except when
out for exercise or training in a sledge, for not only did they chase
and kill penguins when we had these birds with us, and hunt placid,
stupid Weddell seals, but two of the best dogs had a violent antipathy
towards each other, and more than once fierce fights took place in
consequence. Tripp, one of our dogs, was pure white in colour, and was
a fine upstanding beast of a very affectionate disposition. Adams
looked after Tripp, taking him for his sledge-training, whilst Marshall
fancied Scamp, who was an older dog, more set in his bones and with a
black-and-white coat. It was between these two that the battles raged,
and I think there was little to choose between them as far as strength
and courage were concerned. On the occasion of a fight the combatants
were surrounded by all the puppies and a couple of the bitches, the
latter observing the fight with the keenest interest, and I think some
of these battles must be put down to the desire to gain the approval of
the females.

The presence of the dogs around winter quarters and on our walks was
very cheerful, and gave a home-like feeling to the place, and our
interest in the pups was always fresh, for as they gradually grew up
each one developed characteristics and peculiarities of its own. Names
were given to them regardless of their sex. Roland, for example, did not
belong to the sterner sex, and was in her earlier days a very general
favourite. She had a habit of watching for the door to be opened, and
then launching herself, a white furry ball, into the midst of the party
in the hut. Ambrose, a great big sleepy dog, was so named by Adams,
perhaps owing to his portly proportions, which might bear resemblance
to the well-favoured condition of a monk. Somehow or another the name
Ambrose seemed to suit him. He had a trick of putting his head between
one's legs whenever we were standing about outside, so when in the dark
we felt a dog about our knees, we knew it was Ambrose. Ambrose had a
brother and sister, but they were nameless, shining only in the
reflected glory of the great Ambrose, being known as "Ambrose's brother"
or "Ambrose's sister". Another white dog was called Sissy, and this
particular animal affected the company of Priestley during his
ice-digging expeditions. Sissy would lie on the ice alongside the hole
that was being dug and was generally rewarded by getting a biscuit when
the scientist did not return to the hut for lunch, taking it in the open
instead. Another popular puppy, also a female, was called Mercury,
because of its rapidity of movement.

All the pups were white or would have been white if some of them had not
elected to sleep in the dustbin where the warm ashes were thrown at
night time; indeed, the resting places these little creatures found were
varied and remarkable. In cold weather they always gravitated to the
light and heat of the stables but if the temperature was not much below
zero, they slept outside, three or four bundled together inside a cork
bale, another squeezed into an empty tin, another in the dustbin, and
so on. Most of them learnt by sad experience the truth of the ancient
words:

Such are the perils that environ
The man who meddles with cold iron,

for sometimes an agonising wail would proceed from a puppy and the poor
little beast would be found with its tongue frozen fast to a tin in
which it had been searching for some succulent remains. I have mentioned
the puppies' usefulness in keeping watch on the ponies. They did the
same service as regards the older dogs, which were tied up, for if by
chance one of these dogs got adrift, he was immediately pursued by a
howling mob of puppies; when the larger puppies were eventually chained
up, the smaller ones watched them, too, with jealous eye. After enjoying
some months of freedom, it seemed to be a terrible thing to the young
dogs when first a collar was put on and their freedom was taken from
them, and even less did they enjoy the experience of being taken to the
sledge and there taught to pull. I remember that on the first day the
dogs simply lay down in front of the sledge, so another method was
adopted, Ambrose and his brother being made fast to the rear of the
sledge, and pulled willy-nilly after it. After the training had gone on
some time on Green Park, the dogs were taken further afield and a
favourite run was to Cape Barne and back. The Cape lay about two miles
and a quarter to the south-east of our winter quarters, and with a light
load the dogs would traverse this distance and back again in an hour.

Our experience on the _Discovery_ expedition, specially during the long
southern journey when we had so much trouble with our mixed crowd of
dogs, rather prejudiced me against these animals as a means of traction,
and we only took them as a standby in the event of the ponies breaking
down. Since we were reduced to four ponies, it became necessary to
consider the dogs as a possible factor in our work, and so their
training was important. Peary's account of his expeditions show that in
the Arctic regions dogs have been able to traverse long distances very
quickly. In one instance over ninety miles were accomplished in
twenty-three hours, but this evidently had been done on smooth sea ice
or on the smooth glaciated surface of the land, for it would be
impossible to accomplish such a feat on the Antarctic Barrier surface,
where the travelling alternates between hard sastrugi and soft snow. We
were agreeably surprised with the dogs, for it must be remembered that
their forebears had not lived under polar conditions since 1899 and
that none of the animals had experienced Arctic weather nor were they
trained for the work they had to perform on the ice. Scamp, indeed, had
been a sheepdog, and when out for a walk with the other animals it was
interesting to watch how he retained the habits learnt in civilisation.
He was always "rounding up" the other dogs, and I think that they
enjoyed their walks much more when Scamp was absent.

I have described our first attempt to make the motor-car go on the sea
ice. After that we made similar experiments ashore, and there was no
difficulty in starting the engine at a temperature of ten degrees below
zero, but the driving wheels were a great source of trouble, and the
weight of the car itself made it almost impossible to travel over the
snow; the heavy rear wheels sank into even the hardest snow and then
spun round in the hole they had made for themselves. The car went
splendidly on the bare earth, even up the steep gradient of Pony Glen,
and we decided that when the spring came we would try an alteration of
the wheels. If the car had only been able to travel over the Barrier
surface all our difficulties would have been solved, for a hundred miles
a day would not have been too much to have expected of it.



CHAPTER XII

THE CONQUEST OF MOUNT EREBUS

THE arrangement of all the details relating to settling in our winter
quarters, the final touches to the hut, the building of the pony
stables, and the meteorological screen, and the collection of stores,
engaged our attention up to March 3 Then we began to seek some outlet
for our energies that would be useful in advancing the cause of science,
and the work of the expedition. I was very anxious to make a depot to
the south for the furtherance of our southern journey in the following
summer, but the sheet of open water that intervened between us and Hut
Point forbade all progress in that direction, neither was it possible
for us to make a journey towards the western mountains, where the
geology might have been studied with the probability of most interesting
results.

There was one journey possible, a somewhat difficult undertaking
certainly, yet gaining an interest and excitement from that very reason,
and this was an attempt to reach the summit of Mount Erebus. For many
reasons the accomplishment of this work seemed to be desirable. In the
first place, the observations of temperature and wind currents at the
summit of this great mountain would have an important bearing on the
movements of the upper air, a meteorological problem as yet but
imperfectly understood. From a geological point of view the mountain
ought to reveal some interesting facts, and apart from scientific
considerations, the ascent of a mountain over 13,000 ft. in height,
situated so far south, would be a matter of pleasurable excitement both
to those who were selected as climbers and to the rest of us who wished
for our companions' success. After consideration I decided that
Professor David, Mawson and Mackay should constitute the party that was
to try to reach the summit, and they were to be provisioned for ten
days. A supporting-party, consisting of Adams, Marshall and
Brocklehurst, was to assist the main party as far as feasible. The whole
expedition was to be under Adams' charge until he decided that it was
time for his party to return, and the Professor was then to be in charge
of the advance-party. In my written instructions to Adams, he was given
the option of going on to the summit if he thought it feasible for his
party to push on, and he actually did so, though the supporting-party
was not so well equipped for the mountain work as the advance-party, and
was provisioned for six days only. Instructions were given that the
supporting-party was not to hamper the main party, especially as
regarded the division of provisions, but, as a matter of fact, instead
of hampering, the three men became of great assistance to the advance
division, and lived entirely on their own stores and equipment during
the whole trip. No sooner was it decided to make the ascent, which was
arranged for, finally, on March 4, than the winter quarters became busy
with the bustle of preparation. There were crampons to be made,
food-bags to be prepared and filled, sleeping-bags to be overhauled,
ice-axes to be got out and a hundred and one things to be seen to; yet
such was the energy thrown into this work that the men were ready for
the road and made a start at 8.30 a.m. on the 5th.

In a previous chapter I have described the nature and extent of
equipment necessary for a sledging trip, so that it is not necessary now
to go into details regarding the preparations for this particular
journey, the only variation from the usual standard arrangement being
in the matter of quantity of food. In the ascent of a mountain such as
Erebus it was obvious that a limit would soon be reached beyond which it
would be impossible to use a sledge. To meet these circumstances the
advance-party had made an arrangement of straps by which their single
sleeping-bags could be slung in the form of a knapsack upon their backs,
and inside the bags the remainder of their equipment could be packed.
The men of the supporting-party, in case they should journey beyond ice
over which they could drag the sledge, had made the same preparations
for transferring their load to their shoulders. When they started I must
confess that I saw but little prospect of the whole party reaching the
top, yet when, from the hut, on the third day out, we saw through
Armytage's powerful telescope six tiny black spots slowly crawling up
the immense deep snowfield to the base of the rugged rocky spurs that
descended to the edge of the field, and when I saw next day out on the
skyline the same small figures, I realised that the supporting-party
were going the whole way. On the return of this expedition Adams and the
Professor made a full report, with the help of which I will follow the
progress of the party, the members of which were winning their spurs not
only on their first Antarctic campaign, but in their first attempt at
serious mountaineering.

Mount Erebus bears a name that has loomed large in the history of polar
exploration both north and south. Sir James Clark Ross, on January 28,
1841, named the great volcano at whose base our winter quarters were
placed after the leading ship of his expedition. The final fate of that
ship is linked with the fate of Sir John Franklin and one of the most
tragic stories of Arctic exploration, but though both the Erebus and
Terror have sunk far from the scenes of their first exploration, that
brilliant period of Antarctic discovery will ever be remembered by the
mountains which took their names from those stout ships. Standing as a
sentinel at the gate of the Great Ice Barrier, Erebus forms a
magnificent picture. The great mountain rises from sea-level to an
altitude of over 13,000 ft., looking out across the Barrier, with its
enormous snow-clad bulk towering above the white slopes that run up from
the coast. At the top of the mountain an immense depression marks the
site of the old crater, and from the side of this rises the active cone,
generally marked by steam or smoke. The ascent of such a mountain would
be a matter of difficulty in any part of the world, hardly to be
attempted without experienced guides, but the difficulties were
accentuated by the latitude of Erebus, and the party started off with
the full expectation of encountering very low temperatures. The men all
recognised, however, the scientific value of the achievement at which
they were aiming, and they were determined to do their utmost to reach
the crater itself. How they fared and what they found will be told best
by extracts from the report which was made to me.

Erebus, as seen from our winter quarters, showed distinctly the traces
of the three craters observed from a distance by the scientific staff of
the _Discovery_ expedition. From sea-level up to an altitude of about
5500 ft. the lower slopes ascend in a gentle but gradually steepening
curve to the base of the first crater; they are largely covered with
snow and glacier ice down to the shore, where the ice either breaks off
to form a cliff or, as at Glacier Tongue, spreads out seawards in the
form of a narrow blue pier about five miles in length. Near Cape Royds,
however, there are long smooth ridges of brown glacial gravels and
moraines, mostly bare of snow. These are interspersed with masses of
black volcanic rock, and extend to an altitude of about 1000 ft. Above
this and up to about 5000 ft. above the sea, all is snow and ice, except
for an occasional outcrop of dark lava or a black parasitic cone sharply
silhouetted against the light background of snow or sky. At a level of
about 6000 ft. and just north of the second or main crater, rises a huge
black fang of rock, the relic of the oldest and lowest crater.
Immediately south of this the principal cone sweeps upwards in that
graceful double curve, concave below, convex above, so characteristic
of volcanoes. Rugged buttresses of dark volcanic rock, with steep snow
slopes between, jut out at intervals and support the rim of this second
crater, which reaches an altitude of fully 11,400 ft. From the north
edge of this crater the ground ascends, at first gradually, then
somewhat abruptly, to the third crater, further south. It is above this
last crater that there continually floats a huge steam cloud. At the
time of Ross' expedition this cloud was reddened with the glow of molten
lava, and lava streams descending from the crater are also described. On
the _Discovery_ expedition we saw a glow once or twice during the winter
months, but we were then situated about twenty-eight miles from the
summit, so that possibly there were at times faint glows which we did
not see, and, besides, it was necessary to go two or three hundred
yards from the ship before the mountain, which was hidden by the local
foothills, appeared in view. In our winter quarters on the present
occasion we had a far better opportunity for observing the summit of the
volcano, for we were only about fifteen miles off and from our point of
view the slope of the mountain was more gentle towards the summit.
Immediately we stepped outside the door of the hut we were in full view
of the greater part of the mountain. The observer taking the
meteorological observations every two hours had the mountain in sight,
and as Erebus was our high-level meteorological observatory, to the
crown of which we always looked for indications of wind currents at that
elevation, we naturally saw every phase of activity produced by the
fires within. It was for this reason, no doubt, that during the period
of our stay in these regions, more especially through the winter months,
we were able to record a fairly constant condition of activity on the
mountain. It became quite an ordinary thing to hear reports from men who
had been outside during the winter that there was a "strong glow on
Erebus". These glows at times were much more vivid than at others. On
one particular occasion, when the barometer showed a period of extreme
depression, the glow was much more active, waxing and waning at
intervals of a quarter of an hour through the night, and at other times
we have seen great bursts of flame crowning the crater.

The huge steam column that rises from the crater into the cold air shot
up at times to a height of 3000 or 4000 ft. before spreading out and
receiving its line direction from the air currents at that particular
hour holding the upper atmosphere. There were occasions when the view of
this steam cloud became much more vivid, and we found that the best view
that could be obtained was when the moon, rising in the eastern sky,
passed behind the summit of the mountain. Then, projected on the disc of
the moon, we could see the great cloud travelling upwards, not quietly,
but impelled by force from below. There were times also when it was
obvious that the molten lava in the crater could not have been very far
from the lip of the cup, for we could see the deep-red glow reflected
strongly on the steam cloud. We often speculated as to the course of the
lava stream would take and its probable effect on the great glaciers and
snowfields flanking the sides of the mountain, should it ever overflow.
These sudden uprushes were obviously the result of a vast steam
explosion in the interior of the volcano and were sufficient proofs that
Erebus still possesses considerable activity.

On March 5, after the busy day and night of preparation, the start was
made. Breakfast was served at 6 a.m., and one of the eleven-foot sledges
was packed and lashed, the total weight of the load and sledge being 560
lb. I took a photograph of the party as they started off. They got under
way from the hut at a quarter to nine, all hands accompanying them
across the rocky ridge at the back of the hut, lifting the sledge and
load bodily over this, and then helping the party to pull along the
slopes of Back Door Bay across Blue Lake up the eastern slope to the
first level. There we said farewell to the mountain party. They first
steered straight up a snow slope and skirted closely some rocky ridges
and moraines in order to avoid crevassed glaciers. About a mile out and
four hundred feet above sea-level a glacial moraine barred their path,
and they had to portage the sledge over it by slipping ice-axes under
the load between the runners and bearers of the sledge and lifting it
over the obstruction. On the further side of the moraine was a sloping
surface of ice and névé on which the sledge capsized for the first time.
Light snow was falling, and there was a slight wind. The report supplied
to me by Professor David and Adams depicts in a graphic manner these
first experiences of this party in sledging.

Pulling the sledge proved fairly heavy work in places; at one spot, on
the steep slope of a small glacier, the party had a hard struggle,
mostly on their hands and knees, in their efforts to drag the sledge up
the surface of smooth blue ice thinly coated with loose snow. This
difficulty surmounted, they encountered some sastrugi, which impeded
their progress somewhat. "Sastrugi" means wind furrow, and is the name
given to those annoying obstacles to sledging, due to the action of the
wind on the snow. A blizzard has the effect of scooping out hollows in
the snow, and this is especially the case when local currents are set up
owing to some rock or point of land intercepting the free run of the
wind. These sastrugi vary in depth from two or three inches to three or
four feet, according to the position of any rock masses that may be
near and to the force of the wind forming them. The raised masses of
snow between the hollows are difficult to negotiate with a sledge,
especially when they run more or less parallel to the course of the
traveller. Though they have many disadvantages, still there are times
when their presence is welcome; especially is this the case when the sky
is overcast and the low stratus cloud obliterates all landmarks. At
these times a dull grey light is over everything, and it is impossible
to see the way to steer unless one takes the line of sastrugi and notes
the angle it makes with the compass course, the compass for the moment
being placed on the snow to obtain the direction. In this way one can
steer a fairly accurate course, occasionally verifying it by calling a
halt and laying off the course again with the compass, a precaution that
is very necessary, for at times the sastrugi alter in direction.

The sledgers, at this particular juncture, had much trouble in keeping
their feet, and the usual equanimity of some of the men was disturbed,
their remarks upon the subject of sastrugi being audible above the soft
pad of the finnesko, the scrunch of the ski boots, and the gentle sawing
sound of the sledge-runners on the soft snow. About 6 p.m. the party
camped at a small nunatak of black rock, about 2750 ft. above sea-level
and a distance of seven miles from winter quarters. After a good hot
dinner they turned into their sleeping-bags in the tents and were soon
sound asleep. The following morning, when the men got up for breakfast,
the temperature was 10° below zero Fahr., whilst at our winter quarters
at the same time it was zero. They found, on starting, that the gradient
was becoming much steeper, being 1 in 5, and sastrugi, running
obliquely to their course, caused the sledge to capsize frequently. The
temperature was 8° below zero Fahr., but the pulling was heavy work and
kept the travellers warm. They camped that night, March 6, at an
altitude of 5630 ft., having travelled only three miles during the whole
day, but they had ascended over 2800 ft. above their previous camp. The
temperature that night was 28° below zero Fahr. The second camp was in
a line with the oldest crater of Erebus, and from the nature of the
volcanic fragments lying around, the Professor was of the opinion that
Erebus had been producing a little lava within its crater quite
recently.

On the following morning Adams decided that the supporting-party should
make the attempt with the forward-party to reach the summit. I had left
the decision in this matter to his discretion, but I myself had not
considered there would be much chance of the three men of the
supporting-party gaining the summit, and had not arranged their
equipment with that object in view. They were thus handicapped by having
a three-man sleeping-bag, which bulky article one man had to carry; they
also were not so well equipped for carrying packs, bits of rope having
to act as substitutes for the broad straps provided for the original
advance-party. The supporting-party had no crampons, and so found it
more difficult, in places, to get a grip with their feet on the slippery
surface of the snow slopes. However, the Professor, who had put bars of
leather on his ski boots, found that these answered as well as crampons,
and lent the latter to Marshall. Both Adams and the Professor wore
ski boots during the whole of the ascent. Ski could not be used for such
rough climbing, and had not been taken. All the men were equipped with
both finnesko and ski boots and with the necessaries for camping, and
individual tastes had been given some latitude in the matter of the
clothing worn and carried.

The six men made a depot of the sledge, some of the provisions and part
of the cooking utensils at the second camp, and then resumed the climb
again. They started off with tent poles amongst other equipment, but
after going for half a mile they realised it would be impossible to
climb the mountain with these articles, which were taken back to the
depot. Each man carried a weight of about 40 lb., the party's gear
consisting chiefly of sleeping-bags, two tents, cooking apparatus, and
provisions for three days. The snow slopes became steeper, and at one
time Mackay, who was cutting steps on the hard snow with his ice-axe,
slipped and glissaded with his load for about a hundred feet, but his
further downward career was checked by a projecting ledge of snow, and
he was soon up again. On the third evening, March 7, the party camped
about 8750 ft. above sea-level, the temperature at that time being 20°
below zero Fahr.

Between 9 and 10 p.m. that night a strong wind sprang up, and when the
men awoke the following morning they found a fierce blizzard blowing
from the south-east. It increased in fury as the day wore on, and swept
with terrific force down the rocky ravine where they were camped. The
whirling snow was so dense and the roaring wind so loud that, although
the two sections were only about ten yards apart, they could neither see
nor hear each other. Being without tent poles, the tents were just
doubled over the top ends of the sleeping-bags so as to protect the
openings from the drifting snow, but, in spite of this precaution, a
great deal of snow found its way into the bags. In the afternoon
Brocklehurst emerged from the three-man sleeping-bag, and instantly a
fierce gust whirled away one of his wolfskin mits; he dashed after it,
and the force of the wind swept him some way down the ravine. Adams, who
had left the bag at the same time as Brocklehurst, saw the latter vanish
suddenly, and in endeavouring to return to the bag to fetch Marshall to
assist in finding Brocklehurst he also was blown down by the wind.
Meanwhile, Marshall, the only remaining occupant of the bag, had much
ado to keep himself from being blown, sleeping-bag and all, down the
ravine. Adams had just succeeded in reaching the sleeping-bag on his
hands and knees when Brocklehurst appeared, also on his hands and knees,
having, by desperate efforts, pulled himself back over the rocks. It was
a close call, for he was all but completely gone, so biting was the
cold, before he reached the haven of the sleeping-bag. He and Adams
crawled in, and then, as the bag had been much twisted up and drifted
with snow while Marshall had been holding it down, Adams and Marshall
got out to try and straighten it out. The attempt was not very
successful, as they were numb with cold and the bag, with only one
person inside, blew about, so they got into it again. Shortly afterwards
Adams made another attempt, and whilst he was working at it the wind got
inside the bag, blowing it open right way up. Adams promptly got in
again, and the adventure thus ended satisfactorily. The men could do
nothing now but lie low whilst the blizzard lasted. At times they munched
a plasmon biscuit or some chocolate. They had nothing to drink all that
day, March 8, and during the following night, as it would have been
impossible to have kept a lamp alight to thaw out the snow. They got
some sleep during the night in spite of the storm. On awaking at 4 a.m.
the following day, the travellers found that the blizzard was over, so,
after breakfast, they started away again at about 5.30 a.m.

The angle of ascent was now steeper than ever, being thirty-four
degrees, that is, a rise of 1 in 1½. As the hard snow slopes were much
too steep to climb without cutting steps with an ice-axe, they kept as
much as possible to the bare rocks. Occasionally the arête would
terminate upwards in a large snow slope, and when this was the case they
cut steps across the slope to any other bare rocks which seemed to
persist for some distance in an upward direction. Brocklehurst, who was
wearing ski boots began to feel the cold attacking his feet, but did not
think it was serious enough to change into finnesko. At noon they found
a fair camping ground, and made some tea. They were, at this time, some
800 ft. below the rim of the old crater and were feeling the effects of
the high altitude and the extreme cold. Below them was a magnificent
panorama of clouds, coast and Barrier snow, but they could not afford to
spend much time admiring it. After a hasty meal they tackled the ascent
again. When they were a little distance from the top of the rim of the
main crater, Mackay elected to work his way alone with his ice-axe up a
long and very steep névé slope instead of following the less difficult
and safer route by the rocks where the rest of the party were
proceeding. He passed out of sight, and then the others heard him call
out that he was getting weak and did not think he could carry on much
longer. They made haste to the top of the ridge, and Marshall and the
Professor dropped to the point where he would be likely to be. Happily,
they found him coming toward them, and Marshall took his load, for he
looked very done up. It appeared that Mackay had found the work of
cutting steps with his heavy load more difficult than he had
anticipated, and he only just managed to reach safety when he fell and
fainted. No doubt this was due, in part, to mountain sickness, which,
under the severe conditions and at the high altitude the party had
attained, also affected Brocklehurst.

Having found a camping place, they dropped their loads, and the members
of the party were at leisure to observe the nature of their
surroundings. They had imagined an even plain of névé or glacier ice
filling the extinct crater to the brim and sloping up gradually to the
active cone at its southern end, but instead of this they found
themselves on the very brink of a precipice of black rock, forming the
inner edge of the old crater. This wall of dark lava was mostly
vertical, while, in some places, it overhung, and was from eighty to a
hundred feet in height. The base of the cliff was separated from the snow
plain beyond by a deep ditch like a huge dry moat, which was evidently
due to the action of blizzards. These winds, striking fiercely from the
south-east against the great inner wall of the old crater, had given
rise to a powerful back eddy at the edge of the cliff, and it was this
eddy which had scooped out the deep trench in the hard snow. The trench
was from thirty to forty feet deep, and was bounded by more or less
vertical sides. Around our winter quarters any isolated rock or cliff
face that faced the south-east blizzard wind exhibited a similar
phenomenon, though, of course, on a much smaller scale. Beyond the wall
and trench was an extensive snowfield with the active cone and crater
at its southern end, the latter emitting great volumes of steam, but
what surprised the travellers most were the extraordinary structures
which rose here and there above the surface of the snowfield. They were
in the form of mounds and pinnacles of the most varied and fantastic
appearance. Some resembled beehives, others were like huge ventilating
cowls, others like isolated turrets, and others again in shape resembled
various animals. The men were unable at first sight to understand the
origin of these remarkable structures, and as it was time for food, they
left the closer investigation for later in the day.

As they walked along the rampart of the old crater wall to find a
camping ground, their figures were thrown up against the skyline, and
down at our winter quarters they were seen by us, having been sighted by
Armytage with his telescope. He had followed the party for the first two
days with the glasses, but they were lost to view when they began to
work through the rocky ground, and it was just on the crater edge that
they were picked up by the telescope again.

The camp chosen for the meal was in a little rocky gully on the
north-west slope of the main cone, and about fifty feet below the rim of
the old crater. Whilst some cooked the meal, Marshall examined
Brocklehurst's feet, as the latter stated that for some time past he had
lost all feeling in them. When his ski boots and socks had been taken
off, it was found that both his big toes were black, and that four more
toes, though less severely affected, were also frost-bitten. From their
appearance it was evident that some hours must have elapsed since this
had occurred. Marshall and Mackay set at work at once to restore
circulation in the feet by warming and chafing them. Their efforts were,
under the circumstances, fairly successful, but it was clear that
ultimate recovery from so severe a frostbite would be both slow and
tedious. Brocklehurst's feet, having been thoroughly warmed, were put
into dry socks and finnesko stuffed with sennegrass, and then all hands
went to lunch at 3.30 p.m. It must have required great pluck and
determination on his part to have climbed almost continuously for nine
hours up the steep and difficult track they had followed with his feet
so badly frost-bitten. After lunch Brocklehurst was left safely tucked
up in the three-man sleeping-bag, and the remaining five members of the
party started off to explore the floor of the old crater. Ascending to
the crater rim, they climbed along it until they came to a spot where
there was a practicable breach in the crater wall and where a narrow
tongue of snow bridged the névé trench at its base.

They all roped up directly they arrived on the hard snow in the crater
and advanced cautiously over the snow plain, keeping a sharp lookout
for crevasses. They steered for some of the remarkable mounds already
mentioned, and when the nearest was reached and examined, they noticed
some curious hollows, like partly roofed-in drains, running towards the
mound. Pushing on slowly, they reached eventually a small parasitic
cone, about 1000 ft. above the level of their camp and over a mile
distant from it. Sticking out from under the snow were lumps of lava,
large felspar crystals, from one to three inches in length, and
fragments of pumice; both felspar and pumice were in many cases coated
with sulphur. Having made as complete an examination as time permitted,
they started to return to camp, no longer roped together, as they had
not met any definite crevasses on their way out. They directed their
steps towards one of the ice mounds, which bore a whimsical resemblance
to a lion couch ant, and from which smoke appeared to be issuing. To the
Professor the origin of these peculiar structures was now no longer a
mystery, for he recognised that they were the outward and visible signs
of fumaroles. In ordinary climates, a fumarole, or volcanic vapour-well,
may be detected by the thin cloud of steam above it, and usually one can
at once feel the warmth by passing one's hand into the vapour column,
but in the rigour of the Antarctic climate the fumaroles of Erebus have
their vapour turned into ice as soon as it reaches the surface of the
snow plain. Thus ice mounds, somewhat similar in shape to the sinter
mounds formed by the geysers of New Zealand, of Iceland and of
Yellowstone Park, are built up round the orifices of the fumaroles of
Erebus. Whilst exploring one of these fumaroles, Mackay fell suddenly up
to his thighs into one of its concealed conduits, and only saved
himself from falling in deeper still by means of his ice-axe. Marshall
had a similar experience at about the same time.

The party arrived at camp shortly after 6 p.m., and found Brocklehurst
progressing as well as could be expected. They sat on the rocks after
tea admiring the glorious view to the west. Below them was a vast
rolling sea of cumulus cloud, and far away the western mountains glowed
in the setting sun. Next morning, when they got up at 4 a.m., they had a
splendid view of the shadow of Erebus projected on the field of cumulus
cloud below them by the rising sun. Every detail of the profile of the
mountain as outlined on the clouds could be readily recognised. After
breakfast, while Marshall was attending to Brocklehurst's feet, the
hypsometer, which had become frozen on the way up, was thawed out and a
determination of the boiling-point made. This, when reduced and combined
with the mean of the aneroid levels, made the altitude of the old crater
rim, just above the camp, 11,400 ft. At 6 a.m. the party left the camp
and made all speed to reach the summit of the present crater. On their
way across the old crater, Mawson photographed the fumarole that
resembled the lion and also took a view of the active crater about one
and a half miles distant, though there was considerable difficulty in
taking photographs owing to the focal plane shutter having become jammed
by frost. Near the furthest point reached by the travellers on the
preceding afternoon they observed several patches of yellow ice and
found on examination that the colour was due to sulphur. They next
ascended several rather steep slopes formed of alternating beds of hard
snow and vast quantities of large and perfect felspar crystals, mixed
with pumice. A little further on they reached the base of the volcano's
active cone. Their progress now was painfully slow, as the altitude and
cold combined to make respiration difficult. The cone of Erebus is
built up chiefly of blocks of pumice, from a few inches to a few feet in
diameter. Externally these were grey or often yellow owing to
incrustations of sulphur, but when broken they were of a resinous brown
colour. At last, a little after 10 a.m., on March 10, the edge of the
active crater was reached, and the little party stood on the summit of
Erebus, the first men to conquer perhaps the most remarkable summit in
the world. They had travelled about two and a half miles from the last
camp, and had ascended just 2000 ft., and this journey had taken them
over four hours. The report describes most vividly the magnificent and
awe-inspiring scene before them.

"We stood on the verge of a vast abyss, and at first could see neither
to the bottom nor across it on account of the huge mass of steam filling
the crater and soaring aloft in a column 500 to 1000 ft. high. After a
continuous loud hissing sound, lasting for some minutes, there would
come from below a big dull boom, and immediately great globular masses
of steam would rush upwards to swell the volume of the snow-white cloud
which ever sways over the crater. This phenomenon recurred at intervals
during the whole of our stay at the crater. Meanwhile, the air around us
was extremely redolent of burning sulphur. Presently a pleasant
northerly breeze fanned away the steam cloud, and at once the whole
crater stood revealed to us in all its vast extent and depth. Mawson's
angular measurement made the depth 900 ft. and the greatest width about
half a mile. There were at least three well-defined openings at the
bottom of the cauldron, and it was from these that the steam explosions
proceeded. Near the south-west portion of the crater there was an
immense rift in the rim, perhaps 300 to 400 ft. deep. The crater wall
opposite the one at the top of which we were standing presented features
of special interest. Beds of dark pumiceous lava or pumice alternated
with white zones of snow. There was no direct evidence that the snow was
bedded with the lava, though it was possible that such may have been the
case. From the top of one of the thickest of the lava or pumice beds,
just where it touched the belt of snow, there rose scores of small steam
jets all in a row. They were too numerous and too close together to have
been each an independent fumarole; the appearance was rather suggestive
of the snow being converted into steam by the heat of the layer of rock
immediately below it."

While at the crater's edge the party made a boiling-point determination
by the hypsometer, but the result was not so satisfactory as that made
earlier in the morning at the camp. As the result of averaging aneroid
levels, together with the hypsometer determination at the top of the
old crater, Erebus may be calculated to rise to a height of 13,370 ft.
above sea-level. As soon as the measurements had been made and some
photographs had been taken by Mawson, the party returned to the camp, as
it had been decided to descend to the base of the main cone that day, a
drop of 8000 ft.

On the way back a traverse was made of the main crater and levels taken
for constructing a geological section. Numerous specimens of the unique
felspar crystals and of the pumice and sulphur were collected. On
arriving in camp the travellers made a hasty meal, packed up, shouldered
their burdens once more and started down the steep mountain slope.
Brocklehurst insisted on carrying his own heavy load in spite of his
frost-bitten feet. They followed a course a little to the west of the
one they took when ascending. The rock was rubbly and kept slipping
under their feet, so that falls were frequent. After descending a few
hundred feet they found that the rubbly spur of rock down which they
were floundering ended abruptly in a long and steep névé slope. Three
courses were now open to them: they could retrace their steps to the
point above them where the rocky spur had deviated from the main arête;
cut steps across the névé slope; or glissade down some five or six
hundred feet to a rocky ledge below. In their tired state preference was
given to the path of least resistance, which was offered by the
glissade, and they therefore rearranged their loads so that they would
roll down easily. They were now very thirsty, but they found that if
they gathered a little snow, squeezed it into a ball and placed it on
the surface of a piece of rock, it melted at once almost on account of
the heat of the sun and thus they obtained a makeshift drink. They
launched their loads down the slope and watched them as they bumped and
bounded over the wavy ridges of neve. Brocklehurst's load, which
contained the cooking utensils, made the noisiest descent, and the
aluminium cookers were much battered when they finally fetched up
against the rocks below. Then the members of the party, grasping their
ice-axes firmly, followed their gear. As they gathered speed on the
downward course and the chisel-edge of the ice-axe bit deeper into the
hard neve, their necks and faces were sprayed with a shower of ice. All
reached the bottom of the slope safely, and they repeated this glissade
down each succeeding snow slope towards the foot of the main cone. Here
and there they bumped heavily on hard sastrugi and both clothes and
equipment suffered in the rapid descent; unfortunately, also, one of the
aneroids was lost and one of the hypsometer thermometers broken. At
last the slope flattened out to the gently inclined terrace where the
depot lay, and they reached it by walking. Altogether they had dropped
down 5000 ft. between three in the afternoon and seven in the evening.

Adams and Marshall were the first to reach the depot, the rest of the
party, with the exception of Brocklehurst, having made a _détour_ to the
left in consequence of having to pursue some lost luggage in that
direction. At the depot they found that the blizzard of the 8th had
played havoc with their gear, for the sledge had been overturned and
some of the load scattered to a distance and covered partly with
drift snow. After dumping their packs, Adams and Marshall went to meet
Brocklehurst, for they noticed that a slight blizzard was springing up.
Fortunately, the wind soon died down, the weather cleared, and the three
were able to regain the camp. Tea was got ready, and the remainder of
the party arrived about 10 p.m. They camped that night at the depot and
at 3 a.m. next day got up to breakfast. After breakfast a hunt was made
for some articles that were still missing, and then the sledge was
packed and the march homewards commenced at 5.30 a.m. They now found
that the sastrugi caused by the late blizzard were very troublesome, as
the ridges were from four to five feet above the hollows and lay at an
oblique angle to the course. Rope brakes were put on the sledge-runners,
and two men went in front to pull when necessary, while two steadied the
sledge, and two were stationed behind to pull back when required. It was
more than trying to carry on at this juncture, for the sledge either
refused to move or suddenly it took charge and overran those who were
dragging it, and capsizes occurred every few minutes. Owing to the
slippery nature of the ground, some members of the party who had not
crampons or barred ski boots were badly shaken up, for they sustained
numerous sudden falls. One has to experience a surface like this to
realise how severe a jar a fall entails. The only civilised experience
that is akin to it is when one steps unknowingly on a slide which some
small street boy has made on the pavement. Marshall devised the best
means of assisting the progress of the sledge. When it took charge he
jumped on behind and steered it with his legs as it bumped and jolted
over the sastrugi, but he found sometimes that his thirteen-stone weight
did not prevent him from being bucked right over the sledge and flung on
the névé on the other side.

They reached the nunatak where they had made their first camp on the way
up, six miles distant from Cape Royds, at about 7.30 a.m. By this time
there was every symptom of the approach of a blizzard, and the snow was
beginning to drift before a gusty south-easterly wind. This threatened
soon to cut them off from all view of the winter quarters. They were
beginning to feel very tired, one of the tents had a large hole burnt in
it, the oil supply was almost done, and one of the primus stoves had
been put out of action as the result of the glissade; so, in the
circumstances, they decided to make a dash for Cape Royds, leaving their
sledge and equipment to be picked up later. In the grey uncertain light
the sastrugi did not show up in relief, and every few feet some member
of the party stumbled and fell, sprawling over the snow. At last their
eyes were gladdened by the shining surface of the Blue Lake only half a
mile distant from winter quarters. Now that the haven was at hand, and
the stress and strain over, their legs grew heavy and leaden, and that
last half-mile seemed one of the hardest they had covered. It was
fortunate that the weather did not become worse.

Meanwhile, at winter quarters, we had been very busy opening cases and
getting things shipshape outside, with the result that the cubicles of
the absentees were more or less filled with a general accumulation of
stores. When Armytage reported that he saw the party on their way down
the day before they arrived at the hut, we decided to make the cubicles
tidy for the travellers. We had just begun on the Professor's cubicle
when, about 11 a.m., I left the hut for a moment and was astonished to
see within thirty yards of me, coming over the brow of the ridge by the
hut, six slowly moving figures. I ran towards them shouting: "Did you
get to the top?" There was no answer, and I asked again. Adams pointed
with his hand upwards, but this did not satisfy me, so I repeated my
question. Then Adams said: "Yes", and I ran back to the hut and shouted
to the others, who all came streaming out to cheer the successful
venturers. We shook hands all round and opened some champagne, which
tasted like nectar to the wayworn people. Marshall prescribed a dose
to us stay-at-home ones, so that we might be able to listen quietly to
the tale the party had to tell.

Except to Joyce, Wild and myself, who had seen similar things on the
former expedition, the eating and drinking capacity of the returned
party was a matter of astonishment. In a few minutes Roberts had
produced a great saucepan of Quaker oats and milk, the contents of which
disappeared in a moment, to be followed by the greater part of a
fresh-cut ham and homemade bread, with New Zealand fresh butter. The
six had evidently found on the slopes of Erebus six fully developed,
polar sledging appetites. The meal at last ended, came more talk, smokes
and then bed for the weary travellers.

After some days' delay on account of unfavourable weather, a party
consisting of Adams, the Professor, Armytage, Joyce, Wild and Marshall,
equipped with a seven-foot sledge, tent and provisions, as a precaution
against possible bad weather, started out to fetch in the eleven-foot
sledge with the explorers' equipment. After a heavy pull over the soft,
new-fallen snow, in cloudy weather, with the temperature at midday 20°
below zero Fahr., and with a stiff wind blowing from the south-east,
they sighted the nunatak, recovered the abandoned sledge and placing the
smaller one on top, pulled them both back as far as Blue Lake. I went
out to meet the party, and we left the sledge at Blue Lake until the
following day, when two of the Manchurian ponies were harnessed to the
sledges and the gear was brought into winter quarters.



CHAPTER XIII

RESULTS OF THE EREBUS JOURNEY

IN closing the report the Professor and Adams mention the impression
made upon them by the scenes that unfolded themselves during the
journey. "The glorious sunsets, the magic of the sunrise seen from our
camp above the clouds when the great shadow of Erebus swept across
McMurdo Sound, and touched the far-off western mountains; the weird
shapes of the green and white ice mounds built around the fumaroles of
the old crater, with its pavement of sparkling crystals interspersed
with snow and pumice; the hissing and booming cauldron of the modern
crater with its long line of steam jets and its snow-white pillow of
steam, are all memories that will never fade from our minds."

It must be said that, considering the time of year, the party were
extremely fortunate in the weather encountered on their journey. In the
first place the route followed proved satisfactory, for while it gave a
good snow surface for the sledge it kept the party entirely free from
any dangerously crevassed ice. Next, the blizzard, though very trying
while it lasted on account of its violence and low temperature,
commencing at 30° below zero Fahr., really proved a blessing in
disguise, for it lasted just long enough to raise the temperature
considerably, as well as to check the high-level south-westerly wind,
and so produce a calm. Naturally I was much pleased to have all our
party back after so fine a piece of work and without any serious
accident, though, indeed, Brocklehurst's foot did not look at all
promising, for two of the toes on the right foot were very much swollen
and discoloured, whilst the big toe remained black, and Marshall was of
the opinion that part would have to be amputated later. Except for this
accident every one was in the best of health. I asked the Professor to
give me a short summary of the scientific results of the ascent, and I
think they will not be out of place in this narrative, for the object of
the ascent was mainly to gather scientific information, though, of
course, there was a strong desire to reach the summit of a hitherto
unclimbed mountain, of great height and unknown nature.

"Among the scientific results", wrote Professor David, "may be mentioned
in the first place the calculation of the height of the mountain. Sir
James Clark Ross, in 1841, estimated the height to be 12,367 ft. The
National Antarctic Expedition of 1901 determined its height at first to
be 13,120 ft., but this was subsequently altered to 12,922 ft., the
height now given on the Admiralty chart of the region. Our observations
for altitude were made partly with aneroids and partly with a
hypsometer. All the aneroid levels and hypsometer observations have been
calculated by means of simultaneous readings of the barometer taken at
our winter quarters. Cape Royds. These observations show that the rim of
the second or main crater of Erebus is about 11,350 ft. above sea-level,
and that the height of the summit of the active crater is about 13,350
ft. above sea-level. The fact may be emphasised that in both the methods
adopted by us for estimating the altitude of the mountain, atmospheric
pressure was the sole factor on which we relied. The determination
arrived at by the _Discovery_ expedition was based on measurements made
with a theodolite from sea-level. It is, of course, quite possible that
Ross' original estimate of the height of Erebus may have been correct,
and this active volcano may have gained in height by about a thousand
feet during the sixty-seven years which have elapsed since the time of
his expedition. In the next place among features of geological interest
may be mentioned the fact that the old moraines left by a former
gigantic ancestor of the Great Ice Barrier, ascend the western slopes of
Erebus to a height of fully 1000 ft. above sea-level. As the adjacent
McMurdo Sound is at least three hundred fathoms deep, this ice sheet
when at its maximum development must have been at least 2800 ft. in
thickness. We noticed that in addition to these old ice barrier
moraines, there were moraines newer than the period of greatest
glaciation. They had evidently been formed by glaciers radiating from
Erebus.

"As regards the geological structure of Erebus, we have concluded
provisionally that there is evidence of the existence of four
superimposed craters. The oldest and lowest and, at the same time, the
largest of these attained an altitude of between 6000 and 7000 ft. above
sea-level, and was fully six miles in diameter. The second rises to a
height of 11,350 ft. and has a diameter of over two miles; its rim is
bounded inwards by a vertical cliff, which no doubt descended originally
into a crater of vast depth. This second crater has now been filled up
almost to the brim, partly with snow, partly with large crystals of
felspar and fragments of pumice, and partly with the numerous
funnel-shaped ice mounds already described. The third crater rises to a
height of fully 12,200 ft. above sea-level, and its former outline has
now been almost obliterated by the material of the modern active cone
and crater. The latter, which rises about 800 ft. above the former, is
composed chiefly of fragments of pumice. These vary in size from an inch
or so up to a yard in diameter. Quantities of felspar crystals are
interspersed with them, and both are incrusted with sulphur. The fumes
rising from the crater at the time of our visit smelt strongly of
sulphur, and this fact, considered in conjunction with the yellow
coating of sulphur round the rim of the active crater, shows that the
volcano is partly in a solfataric stage. At the same time the frequent
glows on the steam cloud above the crater, and at the actual edge, as
seen from our winter quarters during the winter months, prove that
molten lava still wells up into the crater. The fresh volcanic bombs
picked up by us at spots four miles distant from the crater and lying on
the surface of comparatively new snow are evidence that Erebus has
recently been projecting lava to great heights.

"As regards size, as already mentioned, the active crater measures about
half a mile by one-third of a mile in diameter, and is about 900 ft. in
depth. If the active crater of Erebus be compared with that of Vesuvius
it will be found that the former is about three times as deep as that of
the latter. One of the most striking features observed at the summit was
the long row of steam jets about 300 ft. below the inside rim of the
crater. There were many scores of these developed at the upper surface
of a thick bed of dark lava or pumice, which projected slightly into the
crater. Possibly the horizon of the steam jets represented a high-water
mark, so to speak, of lava within the crater, and the steam may have
been due to the vapourising of snow in contact with the hot rock;
certainly there was a white band of snow above the zone of dark rock
which gave origin to the steam jets, but whether this snow formed a
definite bed intercalated in the pumice beds or whether it was a
superficial layer caught in the projecting ledge of dark rock is
uncertain. It is evident from the mineralogical character of the
recently erupted pumice of the active crater that Erebus is still
producing that rare type of lava known as kenyte. Two features on the
geology of Erebus which are specially distinctive are the vast
quantities of large and perfect felspar crystals, and the ice fumaroles.
The crystals are from two to three inches in length. Many of them have
had their angles and edges slightly rounded by attrition, through
clashing against one another when they were originally projected from
the funnel of the volcano, but numbers of them are beautifully perfect.
The fluid lava which once surrounded them has been blown away in the
form of fine dust by the force of steam explosions, and the crystals
have been left behind intact.

"The ice fumaroles are specially remarkable. About fifty of these were
visible to us on the track which we followed to and from the crater, and
doubtless there were numbers that we did not see. These unique
ice-mounds have resulted from the condensation of vapour around the
orifices of the fumaroles. It is only under conditions of very low
temperature that such structures could exist. No structures like them
are known in any other part of the world.

"It would be hard to overestimate the scientific importance of knowledge
of the meteorological conditions obtaining at Erebus. Erebus is the
Pisgah of the meteorologist. The details of the phenomena observed there
will, of course, be given in the meteorological memoirs of this
expedition, and they are too bulky to quote here. Mention, however, may
be made of four phenomena which specially impressed themselves upon us
during our ascent of Erebus. In the first place we noticed that the
whole of the snow-field lying within the rim of the second crater is
strongly ridged with sastrugi, which trend from west by south to east by
north. These sastrugi have a sharp edge directed towards the west. The
latter is the quarter from which the prevalent wind blows near the
summit of Erebus. This is the return current of air blowing back from
the South Pole towards the Equator. Next our experience on Erebus showed
that the south-easterly blizzard sometimes extends from sea-level up to
at least as high as the top of the second crater, that is, to over
11,000 ft. in height. Thirdly, it may be noticed that on the day we
reached the summit of Erebus, March 10, we found ourselves, at a level
of 13,300 ft., within the lower limit of the upper wind which at that
time was blowing gently from a northerly direction. It may be remembered
that this date was one and a half days after a strong south-east
blizzard. These conditions seem to indicate that after a blizzard, and
probably during its later phases, the great middle air current normally
travelling from near the South Pole towards the Equator, is temporarily
abolished, having become absorbed into the immense stream of the
blizzard.

"Fourthly, it may be recorded that the temperatures taken by us
demonstrate the following fact, obviously of considerable importance:
From sea-level at Cape Royds up to the summit of Erebus, for the first
6000 ft., the temperature falls at the rate of about 4° Fahr. per
thousand feet, but above the altitude the fall is much less rapid, being
at the rate of less than 1° Fahr. per thousand feet, and in one case the
temperature curve on Erebus was found to be inverted.

"Finally, we had an opportunity, when in our camp on Erebus on the
morning of March 10, of seeing an explanation of the remarkable
phenomena called 'earth shadows' by Captain Scott. On that occasion we
saw that the rising sun projected across McMurdo Sound a great conical
shadow of Erebus, some forty miles wide, on to the western mountains. If
now an observer were to stand within, or near to the base of this
shadow, and looking towards the apex of it westwards, he would see a
conic section like that of a slightly inverted cone, seen very
obliquely. We noticed subsequently when viewing the earth shadows from
our winter quarters at Cape Royds that the two barbs of the broad arrow
of the earth shadows were not equally inclined to the vertical, but that
their relative angles of slope were directly proportional to the angles
of slope of the north and south side respectively of Erebus. It is
evident, therefore, that these dark barbs are a shadow projection of
the cone of Erebus. The central vertical dark beam figured by Captain
Scott has not yet been definitely observed by us.

"From the above brief notes it will be obvious that Erebus is very
interesting geologically on account of its unique fumaroles, its
remarkable felspar crystals and rare lavas, as well as on account of its
having served as a gigantic tide gauge to record the flood level of the
greatest recent glaciation of Antarctica, when the whole of Ross Island
was but a nunatak in a gigantic field of ice. From a meteorological
point of view, its situation between the belt of polar calms and the
South Pole; its isolation from the disturbing influence of large land
masses; its great height, which enables it to penetrate the whole system
of atmospheric circulation, and, above all, the constant steam cloud at
its summit, swinging to and fro like a huge wind vane, combine to make
Erebus one of the most interesting places on earth to the
meteorologist."



CHAPTER XIV

LIFE AND WORK IN WINTER QUARTERS

AFTER the journey to the summit of Erebus we began to settle down and
prepare for the long winter months that were rapidly approaching.
Already the nights were lengthening and stars becoming familiar objects
in the sky. Our main work was to secure the hut firmly against possible
damage from the south-east blizzards. After everything had been made
safe as far as it lay in our power, we felt that if anything untoward
happened it would not be our fault, so we turned our attention to the
scientific studies that lay to our hand. As we were only a small party,
it was impossible for all of us to carry on scientific work and, at the
same time, attend to what I might call the household duties. It was
most important for the geologists of the expedition to get as far afield
as practicable before the winter night closed in on us, so every day
both the Professor and Priestley were out early and late, with their
collecting-bags and geological hammers, finding on every successive trip
they made within a radius of three or four miles of the winter quarters
new and interesting geological specimens, the examination of which
would give them plenty of work in the winter months. Scattered around
Cape Royds were large numbers of granite boulders of every size and
colour, deposited there by the great receding ice-sheet that once filled
McMurdo Sound and covered the lower slopes of Erebus. The geologists
were full of delight that circumstances should have placed our winter
quarters at a spot so fruitful for their labours. Murray was equally
pleased at the prospect of the biological work which lay before him, for
hardly a day passed without some one bringing in a report of the
existence of another lake or tarn, and soon we realised that around us
lay more than a dozen of these lakelets, which might possibly prove a
fruitful field for biological study. To Mawson the many varied forms of
ice and snow, both in the lakes and on the surrounding hills, gave
promise of encouraging results in that branch of physics in which he was
particularly interested. The lengthening nights also gave us indications
that the mysterious Aurora Australis would soon be waving its curtains
and beams over our winter quarters, and as information on this
phenomenon was greatly needed, Mawson made preparations for recording
the displays.

I have already stated that the meteorological screen had been set up and
observations begun before the Erebus party left. Now that all hands were
back at the hut, a regular system of recording the observations was
arranged. Adams, who was the meteorologist of the expedition, took all
the observations from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The night-watchman took them from
10 p.m. to 6 a.m. These observations were taken every two hours, and it
may interest the reader to learn what was done in this way, though I do
not wish to enter here into a lengthy dissertation on meteorology. The
observations on air temperature, wind and direction of cloud have an
important bearing on similar observations taken in more temperate
climes, and in a place like the Antarctic, where up till now our
knowledge has been so meagre, it was most essential that every bit of
information bearing on meteorological phenomena should be noted. We
were in a peculiarly favourable position for observing not only the
changes that took place in the lower atmosphere but also those which
took place in the higher strata of the atmosphere. Erebus, with steam
and smoke always hanging above it, indicated by the direction assumed by
the cloud what the upper air currents were doing, and thus we were in
touch with an excellent high-level observatory.

The instruments under Adams' care were as complete as financial
considerations had permitted. The meteorological screen contained a
maximum thermometer, that is, a thermometer which indicates the highest
temperature reached during the period elapsing between two observations.
It is so constructed that when the mercury rises in the tube it remains
at its highest point, though the temperature might fall greatly shortly
afterwards. After reading the recorded height, the thermometer is
shaken, and this operation causes the mercury to drop to the actual
temperature obtaining at the moment of observation; the thermometer is
then put back into the screen and is all ready for the next reading
taken two hours later. A minimum thermometer registered the lowest
temperature that occurred between the two-hourly readings, but this
thermometer was not a mercury one, as mercury freezes at a temperature
of about 39° below zero, and we therefore used spirit thermometers. When
the temperature drops the surface of the column of spirit draws down a
little black indicator immersed in it, and if the temperature rises and
the spirit advances in consequence, the spirit flows past the indicator,
which remains at the lowest point, and on the observations being taken
its position is read on the graduated scale. By these instruments we
were always able to ascertain what the highest temperature and what the
lowest temperature had been throughout the two hours during which the
observation screen had not been visited. In addition to the maximum and
minimum thermometers, there were the wet and dry bulb thermometers. The
dry bulb records the actual temperature of the air at the moment, and we
used a spirit thermometer for this purpose. The wet bulb consisted of an
ordinary thermometer, round the bulb of which was tied a little little
piece of muslin that had been dipped in water and of course froze at
once on exposure to the air. The effect of the evaporation from the ice
which covered the bulb was to cause the temperature recorded to be lower
than that recorded by the dry bulb thermometer in proportion to the
amount of water present in the atmosphere at the time. To ensure
accuracy the wet bulb thermometers were changed every two hours, the
thermometer which was read being brought back to the hut and returned to
the screen later freshly sheathed in ice. It was, of course, impossible
to wet the exposed thermometer with a brush dipped in water, as is the
practice in temperate climates, for water could not be carried from the
hut to the screen without freezing into solid ice. To check the
thermometers there was also kept in the screen a self-recording
thermometer, or thermograph. This is a delicate instrument fitted with
metal discs, which expand or contract readily with every fluctuation of
the temperature. Attached to these discs is a delicately poised lever
carrying a pen charged with ink, and the point of this pen rests against
a graduated roll of paper fastened to a drum, which is revolved by
clockwork once in every seven days. The pen thus draws a line on the
paper, rising and falling in sympathy with the changes in the
temperature of the air.

All these instruments were contained inside the meteorological screen,
which was so constructed that while there was free access of air, the
wind could not strike through it with any violence, neither could the
sun throw its direct beams on the sensitive thermometers inside. On the
flat top of the screen were nailed two pieces of wood in the form of a
cross, the long axis of which lay in the true meridian, that is, one end
pointing due south, the other end due north. On a small rod attached to
the fore end of the screen was a vane that floated out in the opposite
direction to that from which the wind was blowing, and by reference to
the vane and the cross the direction of the wind was ascertained and
noted when the other observations were taken. To record the force of the
wind and the number of miles it travelled between each observation,
there was an instrument called an anemometer, which rested on one of the
uprights supporting the meteorological screen; the type of anemometer
used by the expedition is known as the "Robinson". It consists of four
cups or hemispheres revolving on a pivot which communicates by a series
of cogs with a dial having two hands like the hands of a watch. The long
hand makes one revolution and records five miles, and the smaller hand
records up to five hundred miles. At a glance we could thus tell the
number of miles the wind had blown during the time elapsing between
successive observations. In ordinary climates the work of reading these
instruments was a matter of little difficulty and only took a few
minutes, but in the Antarctic, especially when a blizzard was blowing,
the difficulty was much increased and the strong wind often blew out the
hurricane lamp which was used to read the instruments in the darkness.
On these occasions the unfortunate observer had to return to the hut,
relight the lamp and again struggle up the windy ridge to the screen. In
order to try and facilitate the reading of the various instruments
during the long polar night the dry cells from the motor-car were
connected with a cable from the hut to the screen, but the power was not
sufficient to give a satisfactory light.

In addition to the meteorological screen, there was another erection
built on the top of the highest ridge by Mawson, who placed there an
anemometer of his own construction to register the strength of the
heaviest gusts of wind during a blizzard. We found that the squalls
frequently blew with a force of over a hundred miles an hour. There
remained still one more outdoor instrument connected with weather
observation, that was the snow gauge. The Professor, by utilising some
spare lengths of stove chimney, erected a snow gauge into which was
collected the falling snow whenever a blizzard blew. The snow was
afterwards taken into the hut in the vessel into which it had been
deposited, and when it was melted down we were able to calculate fairly
accurately the amount of the snowfall. This observation was an important
one, for much depends on the amount of precipitation in the Antarctic
regions. It is on the precipitation in the form of snow, and on the rate
of evaporation, that calculations regarding the formation of the huge
snow-fields and glaciers depend. We secured our information regarding
the rate of evaporation by suspending measured cubes of ice and snow
from rods projecting at the side of the hut, where they were free from
the influence of the interior warmth. Inside the hut was kept a standard
mercurial barometer, which was also read every two hours, and in
addition to this there was a barograph which registered the varying
pressure of the atmosphere in a curve for a week at a time. Every Monday
morning Adams changed the paper on both thermograph and barograph, and
every day recorded the observations in the meteorological log. It will
be seen that the meteorologist had plenty to occupy his time, and
generally when the men came in from a walk they had some information as
to the movement of the smoke cloud on Erebus or the observation of a
parhelion or parselene to record. As soon as the ice was strong enough
to bear in the bay, Murray commenced his operations there. His object
was the collection of the different marine creatures that rest on the
bottom of the sea or creep about there, and he made extensive
preparations for their capture. A hole was dug through the ice, and a
trap let down to the bottom; this trap was baited with a piece of
penguin or seal, and the shellfish, Crustacea and other marine animals
found their way in through the opening in the top, and the trap was
usually left down for a couple of days. When it was hauled up, the
contents were transferred to a tin containing water, and then taken to
the hut and thawed out, for the contents always froze during the quarter
of a mile walk homeward. As soon as the animals thawed out they were
sorted into bottles and then killed by various chemicals, put into
spirits and bottled up for examination when they reached England. Later
on Murray found that the trap business was not fruitful enough, so
whenever a crack opened in the bay ice, a line was let down, one end
being made fast at one end of the crack, and the length of the line
allowed to sink in the water horizontally for a distance of sixty yards.
A hole was dug at each end of the line and a small dredge was let down
and pulled along the bottom, being hauled up through the hole at the far
end. By this means much richer collections were made, and rarely did the
dredge come up without some interesting specimens. When the crack froze
over again, the work could still be continued so long as the ice was
broken at each end of the line, and Priestley for a long time acted as
Murray's assistant, helping him to open the holes and pull the dredge.

When we took our walks abroad, every one kept their eyes open for any
interesting specimen of rock or any signs of plant life, and Murray was
greatly pleased one day when we brought back some moss. This was found
in a fairly sheltered spot beyond Back Door Bay and was the only
specimen that we obtained in the neighbourhood of the winter quarters
before the departure of the sun. Occasionally we came across a small
lichen and some curious algae growing in the volcanic earth, but these
measured the extent of the terrestrial vegetation in this latitude. In
the north polar regions, in a corresponding latitude, there are eighteen
different kinds of flowering plants, and there even exists a small
stunted tree, a species of willow.

Although terrestrial vegetation is so scanty in the Antarctic, the same
cannot be said of the sub-aqueous plant life. When we first arrived and
some of us walked across the north shore of Cape Royds, we saw a great
deal of open water in the lakes, and a little later, when all these
lakes were frozen over, we walked across them, and looking down through
the clear ice, could see masses of brilliantly-coloured algæ and fungi.
The investigation of the plant life in the lakes was one of the
principal things undertaken by Murray, Priestley and the Professor
during the winter months. The reader has the plan of our winter quarters
and can follow easily the various places that are mentioned in the
course of this narrative.

After the Erebus party returned, a regular winter routine was arranged
for the camp. Brocklehurst took no part in the duties at this time, for
his frost-bitten foot prevented his moving about, and shortly after his
return Marshall saw that it would be necessary to amputate at least part
of the big toe. The rest of the party all had a certain amount of work
for the common weal, apart from their own scientific duties. From the
time we arrived we always had a night-watchman, and now took turns to
carry out this important duty. Roberts was exempt from night-watchman's
duties, as he was busy with the cooking all day, so for the greater part
of the winter every thirteenth night each member took the night watch.
The ten-o'clock observations was the night-watchman's first duty, and
from that hour till nine o'clock next morning he was responsible for the
well-being and care of the hut, ponies and dogs. His most important
duties were the two-hourly meteorological observations, the upkeep of
the fire and the care of the acetylene gas plant. The fire was kept
going all through the night, and hot water was ready for making the
breakfast when Roberts was called at 7.30 in the morning. The night
watch was by no means an unpleasant duty, and gave us each an
opportunity, when our turn came round, of washing clothes, darning
socks, writing and doing little odd jobs which could not receive much
attention during the day. The night-watchman also generally took his
bath either once a fortnight, or once a month as his inclination
prompted him.

Some individuals had a regular programme which they adhered to strictly.
For instance, one member, directly the rest of the staff had gone to
bed, cleared the small table in front of the stove, spread a rug on it
and settled down to a complicated game of patience, having first armed
himself with a supply of coffee against the wiles of the drowsy god.
After the regulation number of games had been played, the despatch box
was opened and letters, private papers and odds and ends were carefully
inspected and replaced in their proper order, after which the journal
was written up. These important matters over, a ponderous book on
historical subjects received its share of attention.

Socks were the only articles of clothing that had constantly to be
repaired and various were the expedients used to replace the heels,
which, owing to the hard foot-gear, were always showing gaping holes.
These holes had to be constantly covered, for we were not possessed of
an unlimited number of any sort of clothes, and many and varied were the
patches. Some men used thin leather, others canvas, and others again a
sort of coarse flannel to sew on instead of darning the heels of the
socks. Towards the end of the winter, the wardrobes of the various
members of the expedition were in a very patched condition.

During the earlier months the night-watchman was kept pretty busy, for
the ponies took a long time to get used to the stable and often tried to
break loose and upset things out there generally. These sudden noises
took the watchman out frequently during the night, and it was a comfort
to us when the animals at last learned to keep fairly quiet in their
stable. Every two hours the observations and the fire and acetylene gas
required attention. The individual was fortunate who obtained a good bag
of coal for his night watch, with plenty of lumps in it, for there was
then no difficulty in keeping the temperature of the hut up to 40°
Fahr., but a great deal of our coal was very fine and caused much
trouble during the night. To meet this difficulty we had recourse to
lumps of seal blubber, the watchman generally laying in a stock for
himself before his turn came for night duty. When placed on top of the
hot coal the blubber burned fiercely, and it was a comfort to know that
with the large supply of seals that could easily be obtained in these
latitudes, no expedition need fear the lack of emergency fuel. There was
no perceptible smell from the blubber in burning, though fumes came from
the bit of hairy hide generally attached to it. The thickness of the
blubber varied from two to four inches. Some watchmen during the night
felt disinclined to do anything but read and take the observations, and
I was amongst this number, for though I often made plans and
resolutions as to washing and other necessary jobs, when the time came
these plans fell through, with the exception of the bath.

Towards the middle of winter some of our party stayed up later than
during the time when there was more work outside, and there gradually
grew into existence an institution known as eleven o'clock tea. The
Professor was greatly attached to his cup of tea and generally undertook
the work of making it for men who were still out of bed. Some of us
preferred a cup of hot fresh milk, which was easily made from the
excellent dried milk of which we had a large quantity. By one o'clock in
the morning, however, nearly all the occupants of the hut were wrapped
in deep and more or less noisy slumber. Some had a habit of talking in
their sleep, and their fitful phrases were carefully treasured up by the
night-watchman for retailing at the breakfast table next morning;
sometimes also the dreams of the night before were told by the dreamer
to his own great enjoyment, if not to that of his audience. About five
o'clock in the morning came the most trying time for the watchman. Then
one's eyes grew heavy and leaden, and it took a deal of effort to
prevent oneself from falling fast asleep. Some of us went in for
cooking more or less elaborate meals. Marshall, who had been to a school
of cookery before we left England, turned out some quite respectable
bread and cakes. Though people jeered at the latter when placed on the
table, one noticed that next day there were never any left. At 7.30 a.m.
Roberts was called, and the watchman's night was nearly over. At this
hour also Armytage or Mackay was called to look after the feeding of the
ponies, but before mid-winter day Armytage had taken over the entire
responsibility of the stables and ponies, and he was the only one to get
up. At 8.30 a.m. all hands were called, special attention being paid to
turning out the messman for the day, and after some minutes of luxurious
half-wakefulness, people began to get up, expressing their opinions
forcibly if the temperature of the hut was below freezing point, and
informing the night-watchman of his affinity to Jonah if his report was
that it was a windy morning. Dressing was for some of the men a very
simple affair, consisting merely in putting on their boots and giving
themselves a shake; others, who undressed entirely, got out of their
pyjamas into their cold underclothing. At a quarter to nine the call
came to let down the table from its position near the roof, and the
messman then bundled the knives, forks and spoons on to the board, and
at nine o'clock sharp every one sat down to breakfast.

The night-watchman's duties were over for a fortnight, and the messman
took on his work. The duties of the messman were more onerous than those
of the night-watchman. He began, as I have stated, by laying the
table--a simple operation owing to the primitive conditions under which
we lived. He then garnished this with three or four sorts of hot sauces
to tickle the tough palates of some of our party. At nine o'clock, when
we sat down, the messman passed up the bowls of porridge and the big jug
of hot milk, which was the standing dish every day. Little was heard in
the way of conversation until this first course had been disposed of.
Then came the order from the messman, "up bowls", and reserving our
spoons for future use, the bowls were passed along. If it were a "fruit
day", that is a day when the second course consisted of bottled fruit,
the bowls were retained for this popular dish.

At twenty-five minutes to ten breakfast was over and we had had our
smokes. All dishes were passed up, the table hoisted out of the way, and
the messman started to wash up the breakfast things, assisted by his
cubicle companion and by one or two volunteers who would help him to dry
up. Another of the party swept out the hut; and this operation was
performed three times a day, so as to keep the building in a tidy state.
After finishing the breakfast things, the duty of the man in the house
was to replenish the melting-pots with ice, empty the ashes and tins
into the dust-box outside and get in a bag of coal. By half-past ten the
morning work was accomplished and the messman was free until twenty
minutes to one, when he put the water on for the midday tea. At one
o'clock tea was served and we had a sort of counter lunch. This was a
movable feast, for scientific and other duties often made some of our
party late, and after it was over there was nothing for the messman to
do in the afternoon except to have sufficient water ready to provide tea
at four o'clock. At a quarter past six the table was brought down again
and dinner, the longest meal of the day, was served sharp at 6.30. One
often heard the messman anxiously inquiring what the dinner dishes were
going to consist of, the most popular from his point of view being those
which resulted in the least amount of grease on the plates. Dinner was
over soon after seven o'clock and then tea was served. Tobacco and
conversation kept us at table until 7.80, after which the same routine
of washing up and sweeping out the hut was gone through. By 8.80 the
messman had finished his duties for the day, and his turn did not come
round again for another thirteen days. The state of the weather made the
duties lighter or heavier, for if the day happened to be windy, the
emptying of dishwater and ashes and the getting in of fresh ice was an
unpleasant job. In a blizzard it was necessary to put on one's
Burberries even to walk the few yards to the ice-box and back.

In addition to the standing jobs of night-watchman and messman there
were also special duties for various members of the expedition who had
particular departments to look after. Adams every morning, directly
after breakfast, wound up the chronometers and chronometer watches, and
rated the instruments. He then attended to the meteorological work and
took out his pony for exercise. If he were going far afield he
delegated the readings to some members of the scientific staff who were
generally in the vicinity of winter quarters. Marshall, as surgeon,
attended to any wounds, and issued necessary pills, and then took out
one of the ponies for exercise. Wild, who was store-keeper, was
responsible for the issuing of all stores to Roberts, and had to open
the cases of tinned food and dig out of the snow drifts in which it was
buried the meat required for the day, either penguin, seal or mutton.
Joyce fed the dogs after breakfast, the puppies getting a dish of scraps
over from our meals after breakfast and after dinner. When daylight
returned after our long night, he worked at training the dogs to pull a
sledge every morning. The Professor generally went off to "geologise"
or to continue the plane-table survey of our winter quarters, whilst
Priestley and Murray worked on the floe dredging or else took the
temperatures of the ice in shafts which the former had energetically
sunk in the various lakes around us. Mawson was occupied with his
physical work, which included auroral observations and the study of the
structure of the ice, the determination of atmospheric electricity and
many other things. In fact, we were all busy, and there was little cause
for us to find the time hang heavy on our hands; the winter months sped
by and this without our having to sleep through them, as has often been
done before by polar expeditions. This was due to the fact that we were
only a small party and that our household duties, added to our
scientific work, fully occupied our time. In another chapter the reader
will find a short summary of the scientific work of each department, and
will see from this that in a practically unknown country and under such
peculiar weather conditions, there were many things of interest in
natural science to be studied.

It would only be repetition to chronicle our doings from day to day
during the months that elapsed from the disappearance of the sun until
the time arrived when the welcome daylight came back to us. We lived
under conditions of steady routine, affected only by short spells of bad
weather, and found amply sufficient to occupy ourselves in our daily
work, so that the spectre known as "polar ennui" never made its
appearance. Mid-winter's day and birthdays were the occasions of
festivals, when our teetotal regime was broken through and a sort of
mild spree indulged in. Before the sun finally went hockey and football
were the outdoor games, while indoors at night some of us played bridge,
poker and dominoes. Joyce, Wild, Marston and Day during the winter
months spent much time in the production of the "Aurora Australis", the
first book ever written, printed, illustrated and bound in the
Antarctic. Through the generosity of Messrs. Joseph Causton and Sons,
Limited, we had been provided with a complete printing outfit and the
necessary paper for the book, and Joyce and Wild had been given
instruction in the art of type-setting and printing, Marston being
taught etching and lithography. They had hardly become skilled
craftsmen, but they had gained a good working knowledge of the branches
of the business. When we had settled down in the winter quarters, Joyce
and Wild set up the little hand-press and sorted out the type, these
preliminary operations taking up all their spare time for some days, and
then they started to set and print the various contributions that were
sent in by members of the expedition. The early days of the printing
department were not exactly happy, for the two amateur typesetters
found themselves making many mistakes, and when they had at last "set
up" a page, made all the necessary corrections, and printed off the
necessary required number of copies, they had to undertake the laborious
work of "dissing", that is, of distributing the type again. They plodded
ahead steadily, however, and soon became more skilful, until at the end
of a fortnight or three weeks they could print two pages in a day. A
lamp had to be placed under the type-rack to keep it warm, and a lighted
candle was put under the inking-plate, so that the ink would keep
reasonably thin in consistency. The great trouble experienced by the
printers at first was in securing the right pressure on the
printing-plate and even inking of the page, but experience showed them
where they had been at fault. Day meanwhile prepared the binding by
cleaning, planing, and polishing wood taken from the Venesta cases in
which our provisions were packed. Marston reproduced the illustrations
by algraphy, or printing from aluminium plates. He had not got a proper
lithographing press, so had to use an ordinary etching press, and he was
handicapped by the fact that all our water had a trace of salt in it.
This mineral acted on the sensitive plates, but Marston managed to
produce what we all regarded as creditable pictures. In its final form
the book had about one hundred and twenty pages, and it had at least
assisted materially to guard us from the danger of lack of occupation
during the polar night.




CHAPTER XV

THE POLAR NIGHT

ON March 13 we experienced a very fierce blizzard. The hut shook and
rocked in spite of our sheltered position, and articles that we had left
lying loose outside were scattered far and wide. Even cases weighing
from fifty to eighty pounds were shifted from where they had been
resting, showing the enormous velocity of the wind. When the gale was
over we put everything that was likely to blow away into positions of
greater safety. It was on this day also that Murray found living
microscopical animals on some fungus that had been thawed out from a
lump of ice taken from the bottom of one of the lakes. This was one of
the most interesting biological discoveries that had been made in the
Antarctic, for the study of these minute creatures occupied our
biologist for a great part of his stay in the south, and threw a new
light on the capability of life to exist under conditions of extreme
cold and in the face of great variations of temperature. We all became
vastly interested in the rotifers during our stay, and the work of the
biologist in this respect was watched with keen attention. From our
point of view there was an element of humour in the endeavours of Murray
to slay the little animals he had found. He used to thaw them out from a
block of ice, freeze them up again, and repeat this process several
times without producing any result as far as the rotifers were
concerned. Then he tested them in brine so strongly saline that it would
not freeze at a temperature above minus 7° Fahr., and still the animals
lived. A good proportion of them survived a temperature of 200° Fahr. It
became a contest between rotifers and scientist, and generally the
rotifers seemed to triumph. The biologist will tell his own story in
another chapter. I noted in my diary that in the middle of March, when
daylight lasted eight hours, we still had the skua gulls with us. The
young birds were now nearly all flying, but in some cases there were
backward youngsters that had not yet gained the use of their wings and
were still under the protection of their parents. The Adelie penguins
had practically deserted us, only about thirty remaining in the rookery
at this time. These birds had been moulting, but all except six had
finished the operation. We observed that when moulting the penguin does
not enter the sea for food, and seems to live on its own blubber, taking
no food but eating large quantities of snow. On March 17, after snow had
been falling all night, Murray walked over to the rookery and saw only
half the penguins remaining, as he thought, but suddenly the others rose
up from under his feet. They had been lying down and had been covered
with snow, their bills only protruding. There were large numbers of
Weddell seals about at this time, and from the top of the cliff we saw
one lying asleep in the water, with his nostrils just showing above the
surface. There was still open water close to our winter quarters, but
young ice was beginning to form in the bay again, and beautiful ice
flowers appeared on the surface of this young ice. About this time on
the slopes of Erebus, a mile and a half from the hut, a most interesting
find of marine serpulæ was made on a moraine about 320 ft. above
sea-level and near this deposit was some yellow earth containing
diatoms. We could not at the time determine the cause of this peculiar
deposit, but it was certainly not what one might expect on such a place
as Ross Island, and both to geologists and biologists was a matter of
interest. So far we had not had any dearth of animal life when viewed
from the standpoint of the replenishing of our larder, but towards the
end of March the seals became less numerous and the appearance of one
of these was generally followed by its death. Towards the end of the
month Erebus became very active, shooting out huge clouds of steam,
which rose to the height of 2000 ft. above the crater and were then
caught by the upper winds, giving us very definite information as to the
trend of the upper air-currents.

About the same time we began to see the aurora, and night after night,
except when the moon was at its full or the sky overcast, the waving
mystic lines of light were thrown across the heavens, waxing and waning
rapidly, falling into folds and curtains, spreading out into great
arches and sometimes shooting vertical beams almost to the zenith.
Sometimes, indeed often, the aurora hovered over Mount Erebus, attracted
no doubt by this great isolated mass of rock, sometimes descending to
the lower slopes and always giving us an interest that never failed.
When the familiar cry of "aurora" was uttered by some one who had been
outside, most of us rushed out to see what new phase this mysterious
phenomenon would take, and we were indeed fortunate in the frequency and
brilliancy of the displays. Mawson, as physicist, obtained a number of
interesting notes which throw new light on this difficult subject.

At the end of March there was still open water in the bay and we
observed a killer whale chasing a seal. About this time we commenced
digging a trench in Clear Lake and obtained, when we came to water,
samples of the bottom mud and fungus, which was simply swarming with
living organisms. The sunsets at the beginning of April were wonderful;
arches of prismatic colours, crimson and golden-tinged clouds, hung in
the heavens nearly all day, for time, was going on and soon the sun
would have deserted us. The days grew shorter and shorter, and the
twilight longer. During these sunsets the western mountains stood out
gloriously and the summit of Erebus was wrapped in crimson when the
lower slopes had faded into grey. To Erebus and the western mountains
our eyes turned when the end of the long night grew near in the month of
August, for the mighty peaks are the first to catch up and tell the tale
of the coming glory and the last to drop the crimson mantle from their
high shoulders as night draws on. Tongue and pencil would sadly fail in
attempting to describe the magic of the colouring in the days when the
sun was leaving us. The very clouds at this time were iridescent with
rainbow hues. The sunsets were poems. The change from twilight into
night, sometimes lit by a crescent moon, was extraordinarily beautiful,
for the white cliffs gave no part of their colour away, and the rocks
beside them did not part with their blackness, so the effect of
deepening night over these contrasts was singularly weird. In my diary
I noted that throughout April hardly a day passed without an auroral
display. On more than one occasion the auroral showed distinct lines of
colour, merging from a deep red at the base of the line of light into a
greenish hue on top. About the beginning of April the temperature began
to drop considerably, and for some days in calm, still weather the
thermometer often registered 40° below zero.

On April 6, Marshall decided that it was necessary to amputate
Brocklehurst's big toe, as there was no sign of it recovering like the
other toes from the frost-bite he had received on the Erebus journey.
The patient was put under chloroform and the operation was witnessed by
an interested and sympathetic audience. After the bone had been removed,
the sufferer was shifted into my room, where he remained till just
before Mid-winter's day, when he was able to get out and move about
again. We had about April 8 one of the peculiar southerly blizzards so
common during our last expedition, the temperature varying rapidly from
minus 23° to plus 4° Fahr. This blizzard continued till the evening of
the 11th, and when it had abated we found the bay and sound clear of ice
again. I began to feel rather worried about this and wished for it to
freeze over, for across the ice lay our road to the south. We observed
occasionally about this time that peculiar phenomenon of McMurdo Sound
called "earth shadows". Long dark bars, projected up into the sky from
the western mountains, made their appearance at sunrise. These lines are
due to the shadow of the giant Erebus being cast across the western
mountains. Our days were now getting very short and the amount of
daylight was a negligible quantity. We boarded up the remainder of the
windows, and depended entirely upon the artificial light in the winter
quarters. The light given by the acetylene gas was brilliant, the four
burners lighting the whole of the hut.

We saw only two sea leopards during the whole period of our stay in the
Antarctic, and both these specimens were secured. The first was killed
soon after the sun left us. A seal was reported to have been seen on the
ice near the winter quarters, and Joyce went down to kill it, as we
wanted fresh meat and blubber. When he got close he found that the
animal was a sea leopard. He was armed only with a club, and came
running for a pistol, for the sea leopards are savage and aggressive,
and can move very rapidly on the ice. When he got back, carrying a heavy
revolver, the animal was still in the same position, and he shot it
twice through the heart, and then twice through the skull. It had
remarkable tenacity of life, for it still struggled, and even after a
fifth ball had been put through its brain some minutes elapsed before it
turned over and lay still. Joyce skinned the carcase, and he found that
the first two bullets had actually gone through the heart. He also
reported that it seemed to have two hearts, one of which had not been
injured, but unfortunately the organs that he brought back to the hut
were found and promptly devoured by some of the dogs, so that it is not
possible to produce evidence on the point. The specimen was a very fine
one, and was a welcome addition to our zoological collection. Soon after
the sun returned in the spring I sighted a seal that seemed to be out of
the ordinary off Cape Barne, about two miles and a half from the hut. I
found that it was a young sea leopard, apparently suffering from
starvation and I sent Joyce down to kill it. I fancy that it had got on
to the ice and had been unable to find its way into the water again.
Joyce killed it, and found that the stomach was quite empty. When
daylight returned and sledging began about the middle of August, on one
of our excursions on the Cape Royds peninsula, we found growing under
volcanic earth a large quantity of fungus. This was of great interest to
Murray, as plant life of any sort is extremely rare in the Antarctic.
Shortly after this a strong blizzard cast up a quantity of seaweed on
our ice-foot; this was another piece of good fortune, for on the last
expedition we obtained very little seaweed.



CHAPTER XVI

SPRING SLEDGING JOURNEYS

WHEN Midwinter's Day had passed and the twilight that presaged the
return of the sun began to be more marked day by day, I set on foot the
arrangements for the sledging work in the forthcoming spring. It was
desirable that, at as early a date as possible, we should place a depot
of stores at a point to the south, in preparation for the departure of
the Southern Party, which was to march towards the Pole. I hoped to make
this depot at least one hundred miles from the winter quarters. Then it
was desirable that we should secure some definite information regarding
the condition of the snow surface on the Barrier, and I was also anxious
to afford the various members of the expedition some practice in
sledging before the serious work commenced. Some of us had been in the
Antarctic before, but the majority of the men had not yet had any
experience of marching and camping on snow and ice in low temperatures.

The ponies had been kept in good training by means of regular exercise
and constant attention during the winter, but although they were
thoroughly fit, and, indeed, apparently anxious for an opportunity to
work off some of their superfluous energy, I did not propose to take
them on the preliminary sledging journeys. It seemed to be unwise to
take any unnecessary risk of further loss now that we had only four
ponies left, few enough for the southern journey later in the season.
Sledging work in the spring, when the temperature is very low, the light
bad, and the weather uncertain, is a rather severe strain on man and
beast. For this reason, man-hauling was the order for the first
journeys.

During the winter I had given a great deal of earnest consideration to
the question of the date at which the party that was to march towards
the Pole should start from the hut. The goal that we hoped to attain lay
over 880 statute miles to the south, and the brief summer was all too
short a time in which to march so far into the unknown and return to
winter quarters. The ship would have to leave for the north about the
end of February, for the ice would then be closing in, and, moreover, we
could not hope to carry on our sledges much more than a three months'
supply of provisions, on anything like full rations. I finally decided
that the Southern Party should leave the winter quarters about October
28, for if we started earlier it was probable that the ponies would
suffer from the severe cold at nights, and we would gain no advantage
from getting away early in the season if, as a result, the ponies were
incapacitated before we had made much progress. The ponies would be sure
to sweat when pulling their heavy loads during the day, and a very low
temperature when they were resting would be dangerous in view of the
fact that we could not hope to provide them with shelter from the winds.

The date for the departure of the Southern Party having been fixed, it
became necessary to arrange for the laying of the depot during the early
spring, and I thought that the first step towards this should be a
preliminary journey on the Barrier surface, in order to gain an idea of
the conditions that would be met with, and to ascertain whether the
motor-car would be of service, at any rate for the early portion of the
journey. The sun had not yet returned and the temperature was very low
indeed, but we had proved in the course of the _Discovery_ expedition that
it is quite possible to travel under these conditions. I therefore
started on this preliminary journey on August 12, taking with me
Professor David, who was to lead the Northern Party towards the South
Magnetic Pole, and Bertram Armytage, who was to take charge of the
party that was to make a journey into the mountains of the west later in
the year. The reader can imagine that it was not with feelings of
unalloyed pleasure that we turned our backs on the warm, well-found hut
and faced our little journey out into the semi-darkness and intense
cold, but we did get a certain amount of satisfaction from the thought
that at last we were actually beginning the work we had come south to
undertake.

We were equipped for a fortnight with provisions and camp gear, packed
on one sledge, and had three gallons of petroleum in case we should
decide to stay out longer. A gallon of oil will last a party of three
men for about ten days under ordinary conditions, and we could get more
food at Hut Point if we required it. We took three one-man
sleeping-bags, believing that they would be sufficiently warm in spite
of the low temperature. The larger bags, holding two or three men,
certainly give greater warmth, for the occupants warm one another, but,
on the other hand, one's rest is very likely to be disturbed by the
movements of a companion. We were heavily clothed for this trip, because
the sun would not rise above the horizon until another ten days had
passed.

Our comrades turned out to see us off, and the pony Quan pulled the
sledge with our camp gear over the sea ice until we got close to the
glacier south of Cape Barne, about five miles from the winter quarters.
Then he was sent back, for the weather was growing thick, and, as
already explained, I did not want to run any risk of losing another pony
from our sadly diminished team. We proceeded close in by the skuary, and
a little further on pitched camp for lunch. Professor David, whose
thirst for knowledge could not be quenched, immediately went off to
investigate the geology of the neighbourhood. After lunch we started to
pull our sledge round the coast towards Hut Point, but the weather
became worse, making progress difficult, and at 6 p.m. we camped close
to the tide-crack at the south side of Turk's Head. We slept well and
soundly, although the temperature was about forty degrees below zero,
and the experience made me more than ever convinced of the superiority
of one-man sleeping-bags.

On the following morning, August 13, we marched across to Glacier
Tongue, having to cross a wide crack that had been ridged up by
ice pressure between Tent Island and the Tongue. As soon as we had
crossed we saw the depot standing up clear against the skyline on the
Tongue. This was the depot that had been made by the ship soon after our
first arrival in the sound. We found no difficulty in getting on to the
Tongue, for a fairly gentle slope led up from the sea-ice to the glacier
surface. The snow had blown over from the south during the winter and
made a good way. We found the depot intact, though the cases, lying on
the ice, had been bleached to a light yellow colour by the wind and sun.
We had lunch on the south side of the Tongue, and found there another
good way down to the sea ice. There is a very awkward crack on the south
side, but this can hardly be called a tide-crack. I think it is due to
the fact that the tide has more effect on the sea ice than on the heavy
mass of the Tongue, though there is no doubt this also is afloat; the
rise and fall of the two sections of ice are not coincident, and a crack
is produced. The unaccustomed pulling made us tired, and we decided to
pitch a camp about four miles off Hut Point, before reaching Castle
Rock. Castle Rock is distant three miles and a half from Hut Point, and
we had always noticed that after we got abeam of the rock the final
march on to the hut seemed very long, for we were always weary by that
time. The temperature was now about forty-five degrees below zero Fahr.,
and my two companions were feeling for the first time the discomfort of
using metal utensils in this extreme cold. The Professor's fingers
seemed to have a wonderful power of resisting frost-bite. We were
travelling in a light that resembled broad twilight, but as the sun was
still below the horizon there were no shadows, and we stumbled a great
deal amongst the rough ice.

We reached the old _Discovery_ winter quarters at Hut Point on the morning
of August 14, and after a good breakfast I took the Professor and
Armytage over all the familiar ground. It was very interesting to me to
revisit the old scenes. There was the place where, years before, when
the _Discovery_ was lying fast in the ice close to the shore, we used to
dig for the ice that was required for the supply of fresh water. The
marks of the picks and shovels were still to be seen. I noticed an old
case bedded in the ice, and remembered the day when it had been thrown
away. Round the hut was collected a very large amount of _débris_,
including seal-skins and the skeletons of seals and penguins. Some of
the seal-skins had still blubber attached, though the skuas had
evidently been at work on them. We went up towards the Gap and had a
look at the only lake, or rather pool, that lay near these winter
quarters. It was quite a tiny sheet of water in comparison with the
large lakes at Cape Royds, and I realised more fully the special
advantages we had at our winter quarters as far as biological and
zoological work were concerned. Through the Gap we saw the Barrier
stretched out before us--the long white road that we were shortly to
tread. The fascination of the unknown was strong upon me, and I longed
to be away towards the south on the journey that I hoped would lay bare
the mysteries of the place of the pole.

We climbed to the top of Crater Hill with a collecting-bag and the
Professor's camera, and here we took some photographs and made an
examination of the cone. Professor David expressed the opinion that the
ice-sheet had certainly passed over this hill, which is about 1100 ft.
high, for there was distinct evidence of glaciation. We climbed along
the ridge to Castle Rock, about four miles to the north, and made an
examination of the formation there. Then we returned to the hut to have
a square meal and get ready for our journey across the Barrier.

The old hut had never been a very cheerful place, even when we were
camped alongside it in the _Discovery_ and it looked doubly inhospitable
now, after having stood empty and neglected for six years. One side was
filled with cases of biscuit and tinned meat, and the snow that had
found its way in was lying in great piles around the walls. There was no
stove, for this had been taken away with the _Discovery_ and coal was
scattered about the floor with other _débris_ and rubbish. Besides the
biscuits and the tinned beef and mutton there was some tea and coffee
stored in the hut. We cleared a spot on which to sleep, and decided that
we would use the cases of biscuit and meat to build another hut inside
the main one, so that the quarters would be a little more cosy. I
proposed to use this hut as a stores depot in connection with the
southern journey, for if the ice broke out in the Sound unexpectedly
early, it would be difficult to convey provisions from Cape Royds to the
Barrier, and, moreover. Hut Point was twenty miles further south than
our winter quarters. We spent that night on the floor of the hut, and
slept fairly comfortably, though not as well as on the previous night in
the tent, because we were not so close to one another.

On the morning of the following day (August 15) we started away about 9
a.m., crossed the smooth ice to Winter Harbour, and passed close round
Cape Armitage. We there found cracks and pressed-up ice, showing that
there had been Barrier movement, and about three miles further on we
crossed the spot at which the sea ice joins the Barrier, ascending a
slope about eight feet high. Directly we got on to the Barrier ice we
noticed undulations on the surface. We pushed along and got to a
distance of about twelve miles from Hut Point in eight hours. The
surface generally was hard, but there were very marked sastrugi, and at
times patches of soft snow. The conditions did not seem favourable for
the use of the motor-car because we had already found that the machine
could not go through soft snow for more than a few yards, and I foresaw
that if we brought it out on to the Barrier it would not be able to do
much in the soft surface that would have to be traversed. The condition
of the surface varied from mile to mile, and it would be impracticable
to keep changing the wheels of the car in order to meet the requirements
of each new surface.

The temperature was very low, although the weather was fine. At 6 p.m.
the thermometer showed fifty-six degrees below zero, and the petroleum
used for the lamp had become milky in colour and of a creamy
consistency, That night the temperature fell lower still, and the
moisture in our sleeping-bags, from our breath and Burberries, made us
very uncomfortable when the bags had thawed out with the warmth of our
bodies. Everything we touched was appallingly cold, and we got no sleep
at all. The next morning (August 16) the weather was threatening, and
there were indications of the approach of a blizzard, and I therefore
decided to march back to Hut Point, for there was no good purpose to be
served by taking unnecessary risks at that stage of the expedition. We
had some warm food, of which we stood sorely in need after the severe
night, and then started at 8 a.m. to return to Hut Point. By hard
marching, which had the additional advantage of warming us up, we
reached the old hut again at three o'clock that afternoon, and we were
highly delighted to get into its shelter. The sun had not yet returned,
and though there was a strong light in the sky during the day, the
Barrier was not friendly under winter conditions.

We reached the hut none too soon, for a blizzard sprang up, and for some
days we had to remain in shelter. We utilised the time by clearing up
the portion of the hut that we proposed to use, even sweeping it with an
old broom we found, and building a shelter of the packing-cases, piling
them right up to the roof round a space about twenty feet by ten; and
thus we made comparatively cosy quarters. We rigged a table for the
cooking-gear, and put everything neatly in order. My two companions
were, at this time, having their first experience of polar life under
marching conditions as far as equipment was concerned, and they were
gaining knowledge that proved very useful to them on the later journeys.

On the morning of August 22, the day on which the sun once more appeared
above the horizon, we started back for the winter quarters, leaving Hut
Point at 5 a.m. in the face of a bitterly cold wind from the north-east,
with low drift. We marched without a stop for nine miles, until we
reached Glacier Tongue, and then had an early lunch. An afternoon march
of fourteen miles took us to the winter quarters at Cape Royds, where we
arrived at 5 p.m. We were not expected at the hut, for the weather was
thick and windy, but our comrades were delighted to see us, and we had a
hearty dinner and enjoyed the luxury of a good bath.

The chief result of this journey was to convince me that we could not
place much reliance on the motor-car for the southern journey. Professor
David and Armytage had received a good baptism of frost, and as it was
very desirable that all the members of the expedition should have
personal experience of travelling over the ice and snow in low
temperatures before the real work began, I arranged to despatch a small
party every week to sledge stores and equipment south to Hut Point.
These journeys were much alike in general character, though they all
gave rise to incidents that were afterwards related in the winter
quarters, and it will be sufficient if I describe briefly one trip as a
specimen.

On September 1, Wild, Day and Priestley started for Hut Point _viâ_
Glacier Tongue with 450 lb. of gear and provisions, their instructions
being to leave 280 lb. of provisions at the _Discovery_ hut in readiness
for the southern journey. They made a start at 10.20 a.m., being
accompanied by Brocklehurst with a pony for the first five miles. The
weather was fine, but a very low barometer gave an indication that bad
weather was coining. I did not hesitate to let these parties face bad
weather, because the road they were to travel was well known, and a
rough experience would be very useful to the men later in the
expedition's work. The party camped for lunch at Inaccessible Island,
with a temperature at seventeen degrees below zero Fahr., and a fresh
wind blowing from the north, with light drift. At 2.30 p.m. they left
the island and started for Glacier Tongue, the weather growing thicker,
but they had no trouble with the tide-cracks, and at the Tongue depot
had a short rest, breaking a bottle of frozen preserved cherries. Then
they crossed the Tongue, but as the drift was obscuring all landmarks,
decided to camp in the snow close to the south side of the Tongue.

Next morning the weather was still bad, and they were not able to make a
start until after noon. At 1.20 p.m. they ran out of the northerly wind
into light southerly airs with intervals of calm, and they noticed that
at the meeting of the two winds the clouds of drift were formed into
whirling columns, some of them over forty feet high. They reached the
_Discovery_ hut at 4.30 p.m., and soon turned in, the temperature being
forty degrees below zero. When they dressed at 5.30 a.m. the next day
they found that a southerly wind with heavy drift rendered a start on
the return journey inadvisable. After breakfast they walked over to
Observation Hill, where they examined a set of stakes which Ferrar and
Wild had placed in the Gap glacier in 1902. The stakes showed that the
movement of the glacier during the six years since the stakes had been
put into position had amounted to a few inches only. The middle stake
had advanced eight inches and those next it on either side about six
inches. At noon the wind dropped, and although the drift was still
thick, the party started back, steering by the sastrugi till the Tongue
was reached. At the point at which they had run out of the north wind on
the outward journey, they again picked up a strong northerly breeze.
They did not sight Glacier Tongue till they were close to it, and they
found that owing to their fear of going outside it, they had got too far
east, and were about a mile and a half from the depot. They started to
march alongside the Tongue towards the depot, but a strong
south-easterly wind came up, with heavy drift, so they decided to cross
the Tongue, and managed to climb up a drift after just missing a
twenty-foot drop into a hollow scooped out by the wind in the snow. By
this time the men could not see more than a yard or two before them, and
they hurried across the Tongue, taking the small crevasses in their
stride, and after travelling three-quarters of a mile pulled up the
sledge within half a dozen yards of the other edge of the Tongue, at a
point where they afterwards found there was a forty-foot precipice. Wild
felt his way along the edge with the ice-axe until he came to a steep
slope that seemed to promise a means of descent, and then all three
tobogganed down on the sledge and camped for the night in the lee of the
glacier, with a blizzard blowing over them and the temperature rising,
the result being that everything was uncomfortably wet. They managed to
sleep, however, and when they awoke the next morning the weather was
clear, and they had an easy march in, being met beyond Cape Barne by
Joyce, Brocklehurst and the dogs. They had been absent four days.

Each party came back with adventures to relate, experiences to compare,
and its own views on various matters of detail connected with
sledge-travelling. The conversation in the hut after the return of a
party would become very animated, for each man had definite opinions,
born of experience, on such important questions as how to dress and how
to get into a sleeping-bag with the minimum of discomfort. Curiously
enough, everyone of the parties encountered bad weather, but there were
no accidents, and all the men seemed to enjoy the work.

Early in September a party consisting of Adams, Marshall and myself
started for Hut Point, and we decided to make one march of the
twenty-three miles, and not camp on the way. We started at 8 a.m., and
when we were nearly at the end of the journey, and were struggling
slowly through bad snow towards the hut, close to the end of Hut Point,
a strong blizzard came up. Fortunately I knew the bearings of the hut,
and how to get over the ice-foot. We abandoned the extra weights we were
pulling for the depot, and managed to get to the hut at 10 p.m. in a
sorely frost-bitten condition, almost too tired to move. We were able to
get ourselves some hot food, however, and were soon all right again. I
mention the incident merely to show how constantly one has to be on
guard against the onslaughts of the elements in the inhospitable regions
of the south.



CHAPTER XVII

SOUTHERN DEPOT JOURNEY

BY the middle of September a good supply of provisions, oil, and gear
had been stored at Hut Point in preparation for the sledge journeys.
All the supplies required for the southern journey had been taken there,
in order that the start might be made from the most southern base
available. During this period, while the men were gaining experience and
getting into training, the ponies were being exercised regularly along
the sea ice from winter quarters across to Cape Barne, and I was more
than satisfied with the way in which they did their work. I felt that
the little animals were going to justify the confidence I had reposed in
them when I had brought them all the way from Manchuria to the bleak
Antarctic. I tried the ponies with loads of varying weights in order to
ascertain as closely as possible how much they could haul with maximum
efficiency, and after watching the results of the experiments very
carefully came to the conclusion that a load of 650 lb. per pony should
be the maximum. It was obvious that if the animals were overloaded their
speed would be reduced, so that there would be no gain to us, and if we
were to accomplish a good journey to the south it was important that
they should not be tired out in the early stages of the march over the
Barrier surface. The weight I have mentioned was to include that of the
sledge itself, which I have already stated was about 60 lb. When I came
to consider the question of weight, I realised the full seriousness of
the loss the expedition had sustained when the other four ponies were
lost during the winter, for I saw that we would not be able to take with
us towards the Pole as much food as I should have liked.

The dogs, whose numbers had been increased by births until we had a
fairly large team, were trained, but I did not see much scope for them
on the southern journey. I knew from past experience that dogs would not
travel when low drift was blowing in their faces, and such drift was to
be expected fairly often on the Barrier surface, even in the sunnier.

During the month of May, Day had taken the engine out of the motor-car,
a task of no little difficulty in a temperature below zero, and after
cleaning every part thoroughly, had packed it away in a case for the
winter. On September 14, when the light was beginning to get stronger,
he got the engine back into the car, working in a temperature of minus
10° Fahr., and began preparations for the journeys over the ice. The
car made its first journey of importance on September 19, and by that
time experiments had proved that an extensive reduction in weight was
necessary if the machine was to accomplish anything at all. Day
therefore proceeded to strip it of every bit of wood or metal not
absolutely essential to running efficiency. In its final form the bare
chassis carried the engine and one seat for the driver. No great
difficulties were experienced in connection with the engine, even when
the temperature was many degrees below zero. The mixing chamber and
inlet pipes were warmed up by burning petrol in a small dish rigged
round the carburetter just below the throttle, the carburetter being
flooded at the same time. By the time the petrol had burned out the
engine would start with a few turns of the crank. The petrol tank
carried twenty-three gallons, and fed the carburetter by pressure from a
small hand-pump. Accumulator ignition was found to be impossible, as the
acid and water froze solid, but the magneto gave no trouble. A second
petrol tank, which fed the carburetter by gravity, was taken off in
order to save weight. The car had a drip-feed lubricator for oiling the
crank-case, but as the oil got frozen in the pipes it was not at all
reliable, so oil was poured into the case through holes every five miles
or so. Ordinary heavy oil got thick at a temperature of 20° Fahr., and
solid at zero Fahr., but a special Antarctic oil supplied by Messrs.
Price and Co. gave good results even at a temperature of minus 30° Fahr.

The power was transmitted to the gearbox through a leather-faced case
clutch, and the gears, which were specially low, were four speeds
forward and one reverse. When Day first tried to get the car under way
he found that he could not de-clutch, as the leather had frozen to the
metal, and it was necessary to warm up the parts and dry them off with a
sponge. We had wheels of several types, but soon found that ordinary
wheels with rubber tyres and non-skid chains gave the best results. At a
temperature of minus 30° Fahr. the tyres became quite hard, with no
spring in them, but we had no tyre troubles at all, even when the ice
was very rough.

On September 19 the motor-car took Day, Brocklehurst and Adams, with a
sledge on which were packed 750 lb. of stores, to lay a depot at Glacier
Tongue for the southern journey. There was a stiff breeze blowing, with
a temperature of minus 23° Fahr., but the car ran well for eight miles
as far as Inaccessible Island over the sea ice. Then it got into the
heavy sastrugi caused by the wind blowing between Inaccessible Island
and Tent Island, and was stopped by soft snow, into which it ploughed
deeply. An easier route was found about a mile further north, at a point
where the sastrugi were less marked. The car reached a point a quarter
of a mile distant from the Tongue, and the sledge was hauled the rest of
the way by the men, as the surface was very soft. The return journey
presented fewer difficulties, for Day was able to drive in the outward
tracks. The total distance covered by the car that day was at least
thirty miles, and the speed had ranged from three to fifteen miles an
hour. The three men left the winter quarters at 9.30 a.m., and arrived
back at 6.45 p.m., having accomplished an amount of work that would have
occupied six men for two or three days without the assistance of the
car.

It was always a matter of difficulty to get the car from the hut to the
sea ice, and this was often the most formidable part of a journey. A
short slope, at an angle of about forty-five degrees, led down to the
large tide-crack, and beyond this were some smaller cracks and one large
crack with hummocky ice on either side of it and big drifts. Sometimes
the car got stuck altogether, and then the assistance of all hands would
be required to pull and push. The car could not be left on the sea ice
because no shelter could be provided there, and a blizzard might sweep
down at very short notice.

About September 14 we started to make active preparations for the depot
journey. I decided to place a depot one hundred geographical miles south
of the _Discovery_ winter quarters, the depot to consist of pony maize. If
by any chance we were not able to pick it up when going south on our
attempt to reach the Pole, the loss of the maize would be a less serious
matter than the loss of any portion of the provisions for our own
consumption. I did not anticipate that there would be much difficulty in
picking up the depot again, but there was the possibility that severe
weather might bury the stores and obliterate any marks set up for our
guidance. I picked a depot party consisting of Adams, Marshall, Wild,
Joyce and Marston, with myself as the sixth man. I did not propose to
take either ponies or dogs, for reasons I have already explained. We
took two tents, three men going in each, and two three-man
sleeping-bags, for we expected to meet with very low temperatures. The
disadvantages of these bags, as I have already stated, is that one's
sleep is liable to be disturbed, but this would not matter so much on a
comparatively short journey, and we would probably need the additional
warmth derived from one another's bodies. There is no doubt in my mind
that for extended journeys in the polar regions the use of one-man bags
is desirable. Apart from all other considerations, it is a great comfort
to have a little home of one's own into which to retire when the day's
work is done, secure from all interruptions. The opening can be
adjusted just as the occupant pleases, whereas if there are two or three
men in the one bag, one may think the atmosphere suffocating, while
another objects to the draught.

The depot party left Cape Royds on September 22, with a load of about
170 lb. per man, and made the first part of the journey in the
motor-car. Day was able to get the machine, with the sledges towed
behind and all the members of the party either on the car or the
sledges, as far as Inaccessible Island, moving at a speed of about six
miles an hour. I heard afterwards that the car ran back to the hut, a
distance of eight miles, in twenty minutes. We took the sledges on
ourselves over a fairly good surface, and spent the first night at the
_Discovery_ hut. Three of the puppies had followed the car when we started
away from the winter quarters, and they had firmly refused to go back
with it, apparently because Joyce had been in the habit of feeding
them, and they were not willing to leave him. They followed us right to
Hut Point, the first long march of their short lives, and after
devouring all the meat and biscuits we would give them, they settled
down in a corner of the hut for the night. We could not take the poor
little animals out on to the Barrier with us, though they would have
followed us readily enough, and we decided that the only thing to do was
to shut them up in the hut until we came back. There was plenty of snow
there, so that they would not want for water, and we opened a box of
biscuits and some tinned meat, and left the food where they could reach
it. Their anxious barks and whines followed us as we moved off
southwards.

The journey was a severe one, for the temperature got down to fifty-nine
degrees below zero Fahr., with blizzard winds, but as we travelled over
ground that had become fairly familiar in the course of the previous
expedition, I will not deal with our experiences in any great detail.
The first blizzard struck us when we were south of White Island. We
started off in the morning, though there was a stiff breeze blowing and
the weather looked threatening, and marched until about 10.30 a.m. Then
the gusts became more fierce, and the drift got so thick that we had to
camp. We only put up one tent at first, in the hope that we would be
able to start again in a few hours, but the wind continued, so we
erected the other tent and abandoned hope of marching farther that day.
We were able to make an early start on the following morning, the 26th.
The petroleum for our stoves was practically frozen at times, refusing
to run at all. We got into pressure ridges when some distance north of
Minna Bluff, but fortunately we were having good weather at this time.
Most of us had the experience at one time or other of dropping into a
crevasse to the length of our harness. Adams, Marshall and Marston had
not yet become accustomed to the little misadventures incidental to
travel in the Antarctic, but it did not take them long to become inured.
I remember one night hearing Marston asking whether it would be safe to
have a look round outside. "Well, you can play 'perhaps' if you
like", remarked some one. Marston did not understand, and the other man
explained that the "game" was played on the basis of "perhaps you go
down and perhaps you don't". Marston was making sketches and taking
notes of colours, and his work was rendered very difficult by the
extreme cold. There were wonderful lights in the sky at dawn and dusk,
and the snow and ice presented the gradations of delicate colour that
can hardly be realised by those who have never seen a polar landscape,
but heavy mits, with one compartment for the four fingers and another
for the thumb, are hardly designed for the handling of pencil or
crayons, and the use of bare hands was out of the question. Marston
persisted in the face of his various troubles, and managed to secure a
good deal of interesting and valuable material.

We left one bag of maize at a depot on the way out, but we never picked
this up again. The main depot was laid in latitude 79.36° South,
longitude 168° East, a distance of about one hundred and twenty
geographical miles from the winter quarters. We reached it on October 6.
This depot was out of sight of land, and was marked with an upturned
sledge and a black flag on a bamboo rod. We left there a gallon tin of
oil and 167 lb. of pony maize, so that our load would be lightened
considerably for the first portion of the journey when we started south.
This southern depot we called Depot A.

The weather was bad and the temperature low on the journey back, and I
decided to take the outside course in order to avoid the crevasses as
much as possible. The disturbed condition of the ice in this
neighbourhood is caused by the Barrier impinging on the Bluff, and by
the glaciers coming down from Mount Discovery. As had been the case on
the outward journey, we were delayed a good deal by blizzards, and owing
to this fact we had to make very long marches when the weather was fine,
for we had brought food for twenty days only. We experienced a very
severe blizzard before we reached White Island. We had got away from
camp at 4 a.m. that morning, and had been marching for about an hour and
a half when the wind that was following us began to approach blizzard
strength. Four men kept the traces taut while two men held the sledge
from behind, but even then the sledge sometimes caught up to the men in
front. As the wind increased the drifting snow got thicker and finer,
and after a short time we could not see more than ten or fifteen yards
ahead. Then we found that we were amongst crevasses, for first one man
and then another put his foot through a snow lid, and we therefore
stopped and camped. The wind increased rapidly, and it took about an
hour and a half of hard work to get the tents pitched. The snow blew
into our faces and formed masks of ice, and several members of the party
got bad frost-bites. When we finally got the tents up, we had to lie in
them for thirty hours. As a result of such delays, we did not reach the
old _Discovery_ winter quarters until October 13. We had been twenty-one
days out, and our food was finished, though we had been able to keep on
full rations until the last day. We had been able to march only on
fourteen and a half days, but we had made some good journeys on the way
back, having covered as much as twenty-five miles in a day.

We found our little friends, the puppies, safe and sound in the hut, and
their delight at seeing us again was simply huge. Directly they heard us
approaching they started to make every effort in their power to attract
attention, and the moment the door was opened they rushed out and fairly
threw themselves upon us. They twined their fat little bodies round our
boots and yelped in an ecstasy of welcome. Poor little dogs, they had,
no doubt, been lonely and frightened during the three weeks they had
spent in the hut, though physically they seemed to have been comfortable
enough. They had eaten all the meat left for them, but they still had
biscuits, and they had put on flesh. Their coats were quite black owing
to their having lain amongst the fragments of coal on the floor.

The next day we started for Cape Royds, and had the good fortune to meet
the motor-car, driven by Day, at a point about a mile and a half south
of Cape Barne. The sledges were soon hitched on behind, and we drove back
triumphantly to the winter quarters. It was October 18 and we had
travelled 320 statute miles since we left the hut twenty-two days
before. We arrived hungry and rather tired, and were able to appreciate
at their full value the warmth and comfort of our little hut. The
adventurous puppies were outside doing their best to convince their
friends and relatives that they were not three strangers trying to force
their way into the community.

During our absence the Northern Party, consisting of Professor David,
Mawson and Mackay, had started on the journey that was to result in the
attainment of the South Magnetic Pole. I had instructed the Professor,
who was in command of this party, to get away on October 1, or as soon
after that date as weather and other circumstances would permit. On
September 25 Professor David, Priestley and Day took 850 lb. of stores
for the northern journey out into the middle of the sound, a distance of
about fourteen miles, by means of the motor-car. Day had intended to go
to Dinley Isles, but sastrugi that stretched right across the ice of the
sound prevented this. The sastrugi were in places two feet deep, and the
wheels could get no grip in the soft snow, into which they sank deeply.
Some very bad cracks were encountered, including one two feet wide, but
the machine bumped over without damage. A second load of stores was
taken out by the car on October 3, some bad weather having intervened.
Professor David, Day, Priestley and Mackay went out on this occasion,
and the journey produced a larger crop of minor accidents than usual,
though men were always liable to sustain cuts and bruises when handling
the car at a low temperature and in difficult situations. Priestley got
a nail torn off, the Professor jammed a finger in the front wheel, and
Mackay suffered a Collis fracture of the wrist from the starting handle.
One crack that lay across the course delayed the party for two hours,
and the front axle was bent by another crack, into which the wheels
dropped when the car was travelling at a speed of about twelve miles an
hour.

The Northern Party finally left the winter quarters on October 5, picked
up their stores where the motor-car had deposited them, and began their
long journey over the sea ice along the coast. Day carried them in the
car for the first three miles, but then had to return as the weather was
becoming very thick and the temperature was falling. Mackay's wrist was
troublesome, but it did not prevent him hauling in harness. I had said
good-bye to Professor David and his two companions on September 22,
1908, and I did not see them again until March 1, 1909. In another
chapter the Professor himself tells the story of the northern journey.



CHAPTER XVIII

PREPARATION FOR THE SOUTHERN JOURNEY

THE southern sledging-party was to leave the winter quarters on October
29, and immediately on the return of the depot party we started to make
the final preparations for the attempt to reach the South Pole. I
decided that four men should go south, I myself to be one of them, and
that we should take provisions for ninety-one days; this amount of food,
with the other equipment, would bring the load per pony up to the weight
fixed as a result of experiments as the maximum load. It will be
remembered that in outlining the scheme of the expedition in the early
part of 1907 I had proposed that a party should travel to the east
across the Barrier surface towards King Edward VII Land, with the object
of solving, if possible, the mystery of the Barrier itself, and securing
some information about the land on the other side of it. The accidents
that had left us with only four ponies caused me to abandon this
project. The ponies would have to go south, the motor-car would not
travel on the Barrier, and the dogs were required for the southern depot
journey. I deemed it best to confine the efforts of the sledging-parties
to the two Poles, Geographical and Magnetic, and to send a third party
into the western mountains with the object of studying geological
conditions and, in particular, of searching for fossils.

The men selected to go with me on the southern journey were Adams,
Marshall and Wild. A supporting-party was to accompany us for a certain
distance in order that we might start fairly fresh from a point beyond
the rough ice off Minna Bluff, and we would take the four ponies and
four sledges. It was with some regret that I decided that the motor-car
would have to stay behind. The trials that we had made in the
neighbourhood of the winter quarters had proved that the car could not
travel over a soft snow surface, and the depot journey had shown me that
the surface of the Barrier was covered with soft snow, much softer and
heavier than it had been in 1902, at the time of the _Discovery_
expedition. In fact I was satisfied that, with the Barrier in its then
condition, no wheeled vehicle could travel over it. The wheels would
simply sink in until the body of the car rested on the snowy surface. We
had made alterations in the wheels and we had reduced the weight of the
car to an absolute minimum by the removal of every unnecessary part, but
still it could do little on a soft surface, and it would certainly be
quite useless with any weight behind, for the driving wheels would
simply scoop holes for themselves. The use of sledge-runners under the
front wheels, with broad, spiked driving-wheels, might have enabled us
to get the car over some of the soft surfaces, but this equipment would
not have been satisfactory on hard, rough ice, and constant changes
would occupy too much time. I had confidence in the ponies, and I
thought it best not to attempt to take the car south from the winter
quarters.

The provisioning of the Southern Party was a matter that received long
and anxious consideration. Marshall went very carefully into the
question of the relative food values of the various supplies, and we
were able to derive much useful information from the experience of
previous expeditions. We decided on a daily ration of 34 oz. per man;
the total weight of food to be carried, on the basis of supplies for
ninety-one days, would therefore be 773½ lb. The staple items were to be
biscuits and pemmican. The biscuits, as I have stated, were of wheatmeal
with 25 per cent, of plasmon added, and analysis showed that they did
not contain more than 3 per cent, of water. The pemmican had been
supplied by Beauvais, of Copenhagen, and consisted of the finest beef,
dried and powdered, with 60 per cent, of beef fat added. It contained
only a small percentage of water. The effort of the polar explorer is
to get his foods as free from water as possible, for the moisture
represents so much useless weight to be carried.

The daily allowance of food for each man on the journey, as long as full
rations were given, was to be as follows:

                        Oz.
Pemmican                7.5
Emergency ration        1.5
Biscuit                16.0
Cheese or chocolate     2.0
Cocoa                    .7
Plasmon                 1.0
Sugar                   4.3
Quaker Oats             1.0
                       34.0

Tea, salt and pepper were extras not weighed in with the daily
allowance. We used about two ounces of tea per day for the four men. The
salt and pepper were carried in small bags, each bag to last one week.
Some of the biscuit had been broken up, and 1 lb. per week for each man
was intended to be used for thickening the hoosh, the amount so used to
be deducted from the ordinary allowance of biscuit.

It may be interesting to compare this allowance with the scale used on
the _Discovery_ sledging journey over the Barrier. The daily allowance of
food for each man on that journey was as follows:


                                                Oz.
Pemmican                                        7.6
Red ration (corresponding to emergency ration)  1.1
Biscuit                                        12.0
Cheese                                          2.0
Chocolate                                       1.1
Cocoa                                            .7
Plasmon                                         2.0
Sugar                                           3.8
Oatmeal                                         1.5
Pea flour                                       1.5
                                               33.3

The following list shows the provisions taken for the southern journey,
tea, salt and pepper being omitted:


                      Lb.  Oz.
Pemmican               170  10
Emergency ration        34   2
Biscuit                364   0
Cheese                  22  12
Chocolate               22  12
Cocoa                   15  14.8
Plasmon                 22  12
Sugar                   97  13.2
Quaker Oats             22  12
                       773   8

We left the winter quarters with ten pounds of tea, but took an
additional pound from the _Discovery_ hut before we moved on to the
Barrier. The allowance of salt amounted to two ounces per week per man,
and that of pepper to two ounces per fortnight for the four men.

The biscuits were packed in 25 lb. tins, and they weighed about fourteen
to the pound. All the other foods we packed in calico bags, each bag
holding one week's supply of the particular article. Larger bags in turn
contained a fortnight's rations, from which a week's food would be taken
as required. The weight of one of the fortnightly bags, which did not
include the biscuit, was 98 lb.

The clothing worn by each man when we started on the southern journey
was very light. We had experimented on the spring sledging journey, and
had proved that it was quite possible, even in very low temperatures, to
abandon the heavy pilot cloth garments, which tire the wearer by their
own weight, and to march in woollen undergarments and windproof
overalls. The personal equipment of the members of the Southern Party
was as follows:

Woollen pyjama trousers.
Woollen singlet.
Woollen shirt.
Woollen guernsey.
Two pairs thick socks.
One pair finnesko.
Burberry overalls.
Balaclava.
Burberry head covering.
Woollen mits.
Fur mits.

Each man had his spare clothing and his personal belongings in a bag,
the total weight of which was about seventeen pounds. The contents of
each of these bags, in addition to diaries, letters and similar personal
possessions, was as follows:

Pyjama sleeping-jacket.
Pyjama trousers, spare.
Eight pairs woollen socks.
Three pairs finnesko.
Supply sennegrass.
Three pairs mittens.
Spare woollen helmet.
One pair spiked ski-boots.
Woollen muffler.
Two pairs goggles, one smoked, one coloured.
Roll lamp-wick, for tying on mits and finnesko.
Sledge flag.
Tobacco and matches.

There was also a small repair bag, with spare pieces of Burberry cloth
for patching our wind clothes, needles, thread and buttons.

The other items of our equipment were as follows:

Two tents, with poles and floorcloths,
each weighing complete 30 lb.
Four sleeping-bags, each weighing 10 lb. when dry.
One cooker, with spare
inner pot. Two primus lamps, with spare parts.
Thirteen gallons paraffin oil.
One gallon methylated spirits.
Two heavy knives.
One •450 revolver, with twelve cartridges, weighing 4 lb.
Four ice-axes (each 3 lb.).
Two shovels (each 6 lb.).
Eight 12 ft. bamboos.
Eight depot flags.
Two sledge-meters.
Four pony rugs.
Wire tether.
Four nose-bags.
Spare straps and rivets for repairing harness.
Roll of creosoted hemp rope.
Charts.
Ten fathoms of alpine rope.
Two Union Jacks (Queen's flag and another).
Brass cylinder containing small Union Jack stamps and documents,
for furthest south point.

Adams, Marshall and myself each carried a large pocket-knife.

The scientific equipment had to be cut down as far as was reasonably
possible in order to save weight, but we were not badly off in this
respect. We had:

One 3-in. theodolite on stand.
Three chronometer watches.
Three compasses (pocket).
Six thermometers.
One hypsometer and two thermometers.
One camera and three dozen plates (quarter-plate by Newman
and Guardia).
One case surveying instruments, dividers, &c.
Two prismatic compasses.
One sextant and artificial horizon.
Two volumes of "Hints to Travellers".
One chart and spare paper.

The medical chest took the form of a small brown leather bag, and it
contained the following items, the chemicals being in compressed forms:

One tube laxative pills.
" boric acid.
" perchloride of mercury
" iron and arsenic composition.
" quinine bisulphate.
" eye soloids.
" hemesins (adrenalin).
Two tubes cocaine hydrochloride.
" zinc sulphate.
One tube aloin compound.
" Crete aromat cum opio.
" chlorodyne.
" sulphonal.
" soda mint.
" bismuth pepsin charcoal.
" potassium chlorate.
" ammonium bromide.
" ginger essence.
" sodium salicylate.
" morphine sulphate.
Two clinical thermometers.

We had also the following medical stores:

Four first field dressings.
Two compressed bandages.
Two triangular bandages.
Two ounces compressed absorbent wool.
Two ounces compressed cyanide gauge.
Two pieces wood splinting.
One reel adhesive plaster.
Packet court plaster.
One tube gold-beaters' skin.
One pocket surgical dressing-case.
Two pairs spare goggles and spare glasses.
One pair molar dental forceps.
Two bottles "Newskin".
Six hundred tabloids Easton's syrup (1 dr.).
Six ounces Emergency Oxo.

The total weight of the drugs and medical stores was seven pounds.

Four eleven-foot sledges were to be taken, one for each pony. Each
sledge was fitted with straps, five placed at intervals along its
length, so that the stores and equipment might be made fast. The buckle
end of a strap was on one side and the hauling end on the other
alternately. At either end of each sledge was fixed a box. These boxes
contained the instruments, burning oil, primus lamps, medical stores
and other small articles, and on top of one of them was lashed the
cooker. The sledge harness for man-hauling was attached to a becket at
the bow of the sledge.

The harness for the ponies was made with a broad leather band round the
chest and traces of alpine rope running from this. There was a strap
over the neck to support the hauling band and a strap across the back,
with a girth. The traces were toggled to a swingle-tree, which was
attached to the sledge bow in the centre. Our great fear was that the
ponies would chafe from the rubbing of the harness when they perspired
and the moisture congealed from the cold, but we had very little trouble
from this cause. All the buckles were leather-covered in order that no
metal might touch the ponies, and we took great care to keep the harness
free from ice and dirt.

The food for the ponies on the march consisted of maize and Maujee
ration, with a little of the Australian compressed fodder. Each pony was
to have 10 lb. of food per day, and we took in all 900 lb. of food for
the animals. The maize was carried in linen bags weighing about eighty
pounds each, as was also the Maujee ration.

I had decided that Murray should be in charge of the expedition during
the absence of the Southern Party, and I left with him instructions
covering, as far as I could see, all possible contingencies. Priestley
was to be given facilities for examining the geological conditions on
the north slope of Erebus, and at the beginning of December Armitage,
Priestley and Brocklehurst were to be sent to lay a depot for the
Northern Party and then to proceed into the western mountains. All the
routine scientific work was to be carried on, and stores were to be
transported to Glacier Tongue and Hut Point in case the ice broke up in
the sound and cut off the winter quarters from the points further south.
On January 15 a depot party was to proceed south in order to place at a
point off Minna Bluff sufficient stores to provide for the return
journey of the Southern Party from that point. The depot party, which
was to be under the command of Joyce, was to return to Hut Point, reload
its sledge, and march out to the depot a second time, to await the
arrival of the Southern Party there until February 10. If we had then
not arrived, they were to go back to Hut Point and thence to the ship.

If the ice in the sound broke out, the ship, which should reach the
winter quarters late in December or early in January, was to watch for
the Northern and Western Parties, which would signal from Butter Point.
If nothing had been heard of Professor David, Mawson and Mackay by
February 1, the _Nimrod_ was to proceed to Granite Harbour and search for
record on the north side of the entrance to the harbour. If there was no
record the ship was to proceed north as far as the low beach on the
north side of the Drygalski Barrier, keeping as close as practicable to
the shore and making a thorough search for the party. The _Nimrod_ was to
return to winter quarters not later than February 10. In the event of
the non-return of the Southern Party, the _Nimrod_ was to make another
search for the Northern Party, examining the coast as thoroughly as was
compatible with the safety of the ship. The return of the Southern
Party was to be expected after the first week in February, and the men
at the winter quarters were to watch for a flash signal from Glacier
Tongue between noon and 1 p.m. each day. If the ice had broken out south
of the Tongue, the ship was to be sent down to Hut Point occasionally to
look for the party. In the meantime all the collections and gear were to
be placed on board the ship in preparation for the final departure. It
was necessary to prepare for the non-return of the Southern Party,
although we were taking no gloomy view of our prospects, and I therefore
left full instructions for the conduct of the expedition in the event
of accident. My instructions to Murray on this point were as follows:

"In the event of the non-arrival of the Southern Party by February 25
you are to land sufficient coal and provisions to support a party of
seven men for one year at Cape Royds. You are then to pick three men to
stay behind, and you will pick these men from volunteers. If there are
no volunteers, which is highly improbable, you are to select three men
and order them to stay. You will give these three men instructions to
proceed at once to the south on the 168th meridian in search of the
Southern Party, the leader using discretion as to the time they should
take over the search. You are to leave all the dogs ashore to assist
this party. You will instruct them to search for the remains of the
Southern Party in the following summer. You are to use your discretion
as to any other orders you may think it desirable to issue. The _Nimrod_
is to land as much sugar, fruit and jam as possible. There are ample
provisions otherwise, but anything in the way of dainties or special
vegetables should be landed. There are sufficient ordinary vegetables.
The _Nimrod_ is also to land any clothing that you may think necessary
for the party of three men remaining behind. . . . In the event of J. B.
Adams returning and my non-return, he is in full command of the whole
expedition, and has my instructions in the matter. The ship must on the
1st of March steam to the entrance of McMurdo Sound to see the ice
conditions, and if there is no heavy pack likely to hold her up, she can
return to Cape Royds again; but I think that the utmost limit for the
date to which you should remain is the 10th of March, 1909, as if we
have not returned by then something very serious must have happened."

My instructions provided for the conclusion of the work of the
expedition in its various branches, and for the steps to be taken for
the relief of the men left in the Antarctic in the case of the
non-return of the Southern Party. Everything was ready for the start of
the journey towards the Pole as the end of October approached, and we
looked forward with keen anticipation to the venture. The
supporting-party was to consist of Joyce, Marston, Priestley, Armytage
and Brocklehurst, and was to accompany us for ten days. Day was to have
been a member of this party, but he damaged his foot while tobogganing
down a slope at the winter quarters, and had to stay behind. The weather
was not very good during our last days at the hut, but there were signs
that summer was approaching. The ponies were in good condition. We
spent the last few days overhauling the sledges and equipment, and
making sure that everything was sound and in its right place. In the
evenings we wrote letters for those at home, to be delivered in the
event of our not returning from the unknown regions into which we hoped
to penetrate.



CHAPTER XIX

FIRST DAYS OF THE SOUTHERN MARCH

THE events of the southern journey were recorded day by day in the diary
I wrote during the long march. I read this diary when we had got back to
civilisation, and arrived at the conclusion that to rewrite it would be
to take away the special flavour which it possesses. It was written
under conditions of much difficulty, and often of great stress, and
these conditions I believe it reflects. I am therefore publishing the
diary with only such minor amendments to the phraseology as were
necessary in order to make it easily understood. The reader will
understand that when one is writing in a sleeping-bag, with the
temperature very low and food rather short, a good proportion of the
"of's," "and's" and "the's" get left out. The story will probably seem
bald, but it is at any rate a faithful record of what occurred. I will
deal more fully with some aspects of the journey in a later chapter. The
altitudes given in the diary were calculated at the time, and were not
always accurate. The corrected altitudes are given on the map and in a
table at the end of the book. The distances were calculated by means of
a sledge-meter, checked by observations of the sun, and are
approximately accurate.

_October_ 29, 1908. A glorious day for our start; brilliant sunshine and a
cloudless sky, a fair wind from the north, in fact, everything that
could conduce to an auspicious beginning. We had breakfast at 7 a.m.,
and at 8.30 the sledges that the motor was to haul to Glacier Tongue
were taken down by the penguin rookery and over to the rough ice. At
9.30 a.m. the supporting-party started and was soon out of sight, as the
motor was running well. At 10 a.m. we four of the Southern Party
followed. As we left the hut where we had spent so many months in
comfort, we had a feeling of real regret that never again would we all
be together there. It was dark inside, the acetylene was feeble in
comparison with the sun outside, and it was small compared to an
ordinary dwelling, yet we were sad at leaving it. Last night as we were
sitting at dinner the evening sun entered through the ventilator and a
circle of light shone on the picture of the Queen. Slowly it moved
across and lit up the photograph of his Majesty the King. This seemed an
omen of good luck, for only on that day and at that particular time
could this have happened, and today we started to strive to plant the
Queen's flag on the last spot of the world. At 10 a.m. we met Murray and
Roberts, and said good-bye, then went on our way. Both of these, who
were to be left, had done for me all that men could do in their own
particular line of work to try and make our little expedition a success.
A clasp of the hands means more than many words, and as we turned to
acknowledge their cheer and saw them standing on the ice by the familiar
cliffs, I felt that we must try to do well for the sake of every one
concerned in the expedition.

Hardly had we been going for an hour when Socks went dead lame. This was
a bad shock, for Quan had for a full week been the same. We had thought
that our troubles in this direction were over. Socks must have hurt
himself on some of the sharp ice. We had to go on, and I trust that in a
few days he will be all right. I shall not start from our depot at Hut
Point until he is better or until I know actually what is going to
happen. The lameness of a pony in our present situation is a serious
thing. If we had eight, or even six, we could adjust matters more
easily, but when we are working to the bare ounce it is very serious.

At 1 p.m. we halted and fed the ponies. As we sat close to them on the
sledge Grisi suddenly lashed out, and striking the sledge with his hoof,
struck Adams just below the knee. Three inches higher and the blow would
have shattered his kneecap and ended his chance of going on. As it was
the bone was almost exposed, and he was in great pain, but said little
about it. We went on and at 2.30 p.m. arrived at the sledges which had
gone on by motor yesterday, just as the car came along after having
dragged the other sledges within a quarter of a mile of the Tongue. I
took on one sledge, and Day started in rather soft snow with the other
sledges, the car being helped by the supporting party in the worst
places. Pressure ridges and drift just off the Tongue prevented the car
going further, so I gave the sledge Quan was dragging to Adams, who was
leading Chinaman, and went back for the other. We said good-bye to Day,
and he went back, with Priestley and Brocklehurst helping him, for his
foot was still very weak.

We got to the south side of Glacier Tongue at 4 p.m., and after a cup of
tea started to grind up the maize in the depot. It was hard work, but we
each took turns at the crusher, and by 8 p.m. had ground sufficient
maize for the journey. It is now 11 p.m., and a high warm sun is shining
down, the day calm and clear. We had hoosh at 9 p.m. Adams' leg is very
stiff and sore. The horses are fairly quiet, but Quan has begun his old
tricks and is biting his tether. I must send for wire rope if this goes
on.

At last we are out on the long trail, after four years' thought and
work. I pray that we may be successful, for my heart has been so much in
this.

There are numbers of seals lying close to our camp. They are nearly all
females, and will soon have young. Erebus is emitting three distinct
columns of steam today, and the fumaroles on the old crater can be seen
plainly. It is a mercy that Adams is better tonight. I cannot imagine
what he would have done if he had been knocked out for the southern
journey, his interest in the expedition has been so intense. Temperature
plus 2° Fahr., distance for the day, 14½ miles.

October 30. At Hut Point. Another gloriously fine day. We started away
for Hut Point at 10.30 a.m., leaving the supporting-party to finish
grinding the maize. The ponies were in good fettle and went away well.
Socks walking without a sledge, while Grisi had 500 lb., Quan 430 lb.,
and Chinaman 340 lb. Socks seems better today. It is a wonderful change
to get up in the morning and put on ski boots without any difficulty,
and to handle cooking vessels without "burning" one's fingers on the
frozen metal. I was glad to see all the ponies so well, for there had
been both wind and drift during the night. Quan seems to take a delight
in biting his tether when any one is looking, for I put my head out of
the tent occasionally during the night to see if they were all right,
and directly I did so Quan started to bite his rope. At other times they
were all quiet.

We crossed one crack that gave us a little trouble, and at 1.30 p.m.
reached Castle Rock, travelling at one mile and three-quarters per hour.
There I changed my sledge, taking on Marshall's sledge with Quan, for
Grisi was making hard work of it, the surface being very soft in places.
Quan pulled 500 lb. just as easily and at 3 p.m. we reached Hut Point,
tethered the ponies, and had tea. There was a slight north wind. At 5
p.m. the supporting-party came up. We have decided to sleep in the hut,
but the supporting party are sleeping in the tent at the very spot where
the _Discovery_ wintered six years ago. Tomorrow I am going back to the
Tongue for the rest of the fodder. The supporting-party elected to sleep
out because it is warmer, but we of the southern party will not have a
solid roof over our heads for some months to come, so will make the most
of it. We swept the _débris_ out. Wild killed a seal for fresh meat and
washed the liver at the seal hole, so tomorrow we will have a good
feed. Half a tin of jam is a small thing for one man to eat when he has
a sledging appetite, and we are doing our share, as when we start there
will be no more of these luxuries. Adams' leg is better, but stiff. Our
march was nine and a half miles today. It is now 10 p.m.

_October_ 31. This day started with a dull snowy appearance, which soon
developed into a snowstorm, but a mild one with little drift. I wanted
to cross to Glacier Tongue with Quan, Grisi and Chinaman.

During the morning we readjusted our provision weights and unpacked the
bags. In the afternoon it cleared, and at 3.30 p.m. we got under way,
Quan pulling our sleeping equipment. We covered the eight miles and a
half to Glacier Tongue in three hours, and as I found no message from
the hut, nor the gear I had asked to be sent down, I concluded it was
blowing there also, and so decided to walk on after dinner. I covered
the twelve miles in three hours, arriving at Cape Royds at 11.30, and
had covered the twenty-three miles between Hut Point and Cape Royds in
six hours, marching time. They were surprised to see me, and were glad
to hear that Adams and Socks were better. I turned in at 2 a.m. for a
few hours' sleep. It had been blowing hard with thick drift, so the
motor had not been able to start for Glacier Tongue. On my way to Cape
Royds I noticed several seals with young ones, evidently just born.
Murray tells me that the temperature has been plus 22° Fahr.

_November_ 1. Had breakfast at 6 a.m., and Murray came on the car with me,
Day driving. There was a fresh easterly wind. We left Cape Royds at 8
a.m., and arrived off Inaccessible Island at twenty minutes past eight,
having covered a distance of eight miles. The car was running very well.
Then off Tent Island we left the car, and hauled the sledge, with the
wire rope, &c., round to our camp off Glacier Tongue. Got under way at
10 a.m., and reached Hut Point at 2 p.m., the ponies pulling 500 and 550
lb. each. Grisi bolted with his sledge, but soon stopped. The ponies
pulled very well, with a bad light and a bad surface. We arranged the
packing of the sledges in the afternoon, but we are held up because of
Socks. His foot is seriously out of order. It is almost a disaster, for
we want every pound of hauling power. This evening it is snowing hard,
with no wind. Adams' leg is much better. Wild noticed a seal giving
birth to a pup. The baby measured 3 ft. 10 in. in length, and weighed 50
lb. I turned in early tonight, for I had done thirty-nine miles in the
last twenty-four hours.

_November_ 2. Dull and snowy during the early hours of today. When we
awoke we found that Quan had bitten through his tether and played havoc
with the maize and other fodder. Directly he saw me coming down the
ice-foot, he started off, dashing from one sledge to another, tearing
the bags to pieces and trampling the food out. It was ten minutes before
we caught him. Luckily, one sledge of fodder was untouched. He pranced
round, kicked up his heels, and showed that it was a deliberate piece of
destructiveness on his part, for he had eaten his fill. His distended
appearance was obviously the result of many pounds of maize.

In the afternoon three of the ponies hauled the sledges with their full
weights across the junction of the sea and the Barrier ice, and in spite
of the soft snow they pulled splendidly. We are now all ready for a
start the first thing tomorrow. Socks seems much better, and not at all
lame. The sun is now (9 p.m.) shining gloriously, and the wind has
dropped, all auguring for a fine day tomorrow. The performance of the
ponies was most satisfactory, and if they will only continue so for a
month, it will mean a lot to us. Adams' leg is nearly all right.

_November_ 3. Started at 9.30 from Hut Point, Quan pulling 660 lb., Grisi
615 lb., Socks 600 lb., and Chinaman 600 lb. Five men hauled 660 lb.,
153 lb. of this being pony feed for our party. It was a beautifully fine
day, but we were not long under way when we found that the surface was
terribly soft, the ponies at times sinking in up to their bellies and
always over their hocks.

We picked up the other sledges at the Barrier junction, and Brocklehurst
photographed us all, with our sledge-flags flying and the Queen's Union
Jack. At 10.50 we left the sea ice, and instead of finding the Barrier
surface better, discovered that the snow was even softer than earlier in
the day. The ponies pulled magnificently, and the supporting-party
toiled on painfully in their wake. Every hour the pony leaders changed
places with the sledge haulers. A 1 p.m. the advance-party with the
ponies pitched camp and tethered out the ponies, and soon lunch was
under way, consisting of tea with plasmon, plasmon biscuits and cheese.
At 2.30 we struck camp, the supporting-party with the man-sledge going
on in advance, while the others with the ponies did the camp work. By 4
p.m. the surface had improved in places, so that the men did not break
through the crust so often, but it was just as hard work as ever for the
ponies. The weather kept beautifully fine, with a slight south-east
wind. The weather sides of the ponies were quite dry, but their lee
sides were frosted with congealed sweat. Whenever it came to our turn to
pull, we perspired freely. As the supporting-party are not travelling as
fast as the ponies, we have decided to take them on only for two more
days, and then we of the Southern Party will carry the remainder of the
pony feed from their sledge on our backs. So tomorrow morning we will
depot nearly 100 lb. of oil and provisions, which will lighten the load
on the supporting-party's sledge a good deal.

We camped at 6 p.m., and, after feeding the ponies, had our dinner,
consisting of pemmican, emergency ration, plasmon biscuits and plasmon
cocoa, followed by a smoke, the most ideal smoke a man could wish for
after a day's sledging. As there is now plenty of biscuit to spare, we
gave the gallant little ponies a good feed of them after dinner. They
are now comfortably standing in the sun, with the temperature plus 14°
Fahr., and occasionally pawing the snow. Grisi has dug a large hole
already in the soft surface. We have been steering a south-east course
all day, keeping well to the north of White Island to avoid the
crevasses. Our distance for the day is 12 miles (statute) 300 yards.

_November_ 4. Started at 8.30 this morning; fine weather, but bad light.
Temperature plus 9° Fahr. We wore goggles, as already we are feeling the
trying light. The supporting-party started first, and with an improved
surface during the morning they kept ahead of the ponies, who constantly
broke through the crust. As soon as we passed the end of White Island,
the surface became softer, and it was trying work for both men and
ponies. However, we did 9 miles 500 yards, statute, up to 1 p.m., the
supporting-party going the whole time without being relieved. Their
weights had been reduced by nearly 100 lb., as we depoted that amount of
oil and provisions last night. In the afternoon the surface was still
softer, and when we came to camp at 6 p.m. the ponies were plainly
tired. The march for the day was 16 miles 500 yards (statute), over
fourteen miles geographical, with a bad surface, so we have every reason
to be pleased with the ponies. The supporting-party pulled hard. The
cloud rolled away from Erebus this evening, and it is now warm, clear
and bright to the north, but dark to the south. I am steering about
east-south-east to avoid the crevasses off White Island, but tomorrow
we go south-east. We fixed our position tonight from bearings, and find
that we are thirty-four miles south of Cape Royds. Every one is fit and
well.

_November_ 5. On turning out this morning, we found the weather
overcast, with slight snow falling and only a few landmarks visible to
the north, nothing to the south. We got under way at 8.15 a.m., steering
by compass. The light was so bad that the sastrugi could not be seen,
though of the latter there was not much, for there was a thick coating
of fallen snow. The surface was very bad for ponies and men. The ponies
struggled gamely on through the tiring morning, and we camped for lunch
at 1 p.m., having done 8 miles 1200 yards. After lunch we started at
2.15 p.m. in driving snow, but our steering was very wild. We had been
making a south-east course all the morning, but in the afternoon the
course was a devious one. Suddenly Marshall, who was leading Grisi, got
his legs into a crevasse, and Grisi also; they recovered themselves, and
Marshall shouted out to me. I stopped my horse and went to his
assistance in getting the sledge off the snow-bridge covering the chasm.
The crevasse was about 3 ft. wide, with the sides widening out below. No
bottom could be seen. The line of direction was north-west by
south-east. I at once altered the course to east, but in about a quarter
of an hour Wild, Adams and Marshall got into a narrow crevasse, so I
stopped and pitched camp, to wait until the weather cleared and we could
get some idea of our actual position. This was at 3 p.m., the sledge
meter recording 9 miles 1200 yards (statute) for the day. At 4 p.m. it
commenced to drift and blow, and it is blowing hard and gustily now. It
is very unfortunate to be held up like this, but I trust that it will
blow itself out tonight and be fine tomorrow. The ponies will be none
the worse for the rest. We wore goggles today, as the light was so bad
and some of us got a touch of snow-blindness.

_November_ 6. Lying in our sleeping-bags all day except when out feeding
the ponies, for it has been blowing a blizzard, with thick drift, from
south by west. It is very trying to be held up like this, for each day
means the consumption of 40 lb. of pony feed alone. We only had a couple
of biscuits each for lunch, for I can see that we must retrench at every
setback if we are going to have enough food to carry us through. We
started with ninety-one days' food, but with careful management we can
make it spin out to 110 days. If we have not done the job in that time
it is God's will. Some of the supporting-party did not turn out for any
meal during the last twenty-four hours. Quan and Chinaman have gone
their feeds constantly, but Socks and Grisi not so well. They all like
Maujee ration and eat that up before touching the maize. They have been
very quiet, standing tails to the blizzard, which has been so thick that
at times we could not see them from the peep-holes of our tents. There
are great drifts all round the tents, and some of the sledges are
buried. This evening about 5.30 the weather cleared a bit and the wind
dropped. When getting out the feed-boxes at 6 p.m. I could see White
Island and the Bluff, so I hope that tomorrow will be fine. The
barometer has been steady all day at 28.60 in., with the temperature up
to 18° Fahr., so it is quite warm, and in our one-man sleeping-bags each
of us has a little home, where he can read and write and look at the
penates and lares brought with him. I read _Much Ado About Nothing_ during
the morning. The surface of the Barrier is better, for the wind has
blown away a great deal of the soft snow, and we will, I trust, be able
to see any crevasses before we are on to them. This is our fourth day
out from Hut Point, and we are only twenty miles south. We must do
better than this if we are to make much use of the ponies. I would not
mind the blizzard so much if we had only to consider ourselves, for we
can save on the food, whereas the ponies must be fed full.

_November_ 7. Another disappointing day. We got up at 5 a.m. to breakfast,
so as to be in time to start at 8 a.m. We cleared all the drift off our
sledges, and, unstowing them, examined the runners, finding them to be
in splendid condition. This work, with the assistance of the
supporting-party, took us till 8.30 a.m. Shortly afterwards we got under
way, saying good-bye to the supporting-party, who are to return today.
As we drew away, the ponies pulling hard, they gave us three cheers. The
weather was thick and overcast, with no wind. Part of White Island could
be seen, and Observation Hill, astern, but before us lay a dead white
wall, with nothing, even in the shape of a cloud, to guide our steering.
Almost immediately after we left we crossed a crevasse, and before we
had gone half a mile we found ourselves in a maze of them, only
detecting their presence by the ponies breaking through the crust and
saving themselves, or the man leading a pony putting his foot through.
The first one Marshall crossed with Grisi was 6 ft. wide, and when I
looked down, there was nothing to be seen but a black yawning void. Just
after this, I halted Quan on the side of one, as I thought in the
uncertain light, but I found that we were standing on the crust in the
centre, so I very gingerly unharnessed him from the sledge and got him
across. Then the sledge, with our three months' provisions, was pulled
out of danger. Following this, Adams crossed another crevasse, and
Chinaman got his fore-foot into the hole at the side. I, following with
Quan, also got into difficulties, and so I decided that it was too risky
to proceed, and we camped between two large crevasses. We picketed the
ponies out and pitched one tent, to wait till the light became better,
for we were courting disaster by proceeding in that weather. Thus ended
our day's march of under a mile, for about 1 p.m. it commenced to snow,
and the wind sprang up from the south-west with drift. We pitched our
second tent and had lunch, consisting of a pot of tea, some chocolate
and two biscuits each. The temperature was plus 12° Fahr. at noon.

It blew a little in the afternoon, and I hope to find it clear away this
pall of dead white stratus that stops us. The ponies were in splendid
trim for pulling this morning, but, alas! we had to stop. Grisi and
Socks did not eat up their food well at lunch or dinner. The temperature
this evening is plus 9° Fahr., and the ponies feel chilly. Truly this
work is one demanding the greatest exercise of patience, for it is more
than trying to have to sit here and watch the time going by, knowing
that each day lessens our stock of food. The supporting-party got under
way about 9.30 a.m., and we could see them dwindling to a speck in the
north. They will, no doubt, be at Hut Point in a couple of days. We are
now at last quite on our own resources, and as regards comfort in the
tents are very well off, for with only two men in each tent, there is
ample room. Adams is sharing one with me, whilst Marshall and Wild have
the other. Wild is cook this week, so they keep the cooker and the
primus lamp in their tent, and we go across to meals, after first
feeding the ponies. Next week Adams will be cook, so the cooking will be
done in the tent I am in. We will also shift about so that we will take
turns with each other as tent-mates. On the days on which we are held up
by weather we read, and I can only trust that these days may not be
many. I am just finishing reading _The Taming of the Shrew_. I have
Shakespeare's Comedies, Marshall has Borrow's "The Bible in Spain",
Adams has Arthur Young's "Travels in France", and Wild has "Sketches by
Boz". When we have finished we will change round. Our allowance of
tobacco is very limited, and on days like these it disappears rapidly,
for our anxious minds are relieved somewhat by a smoke. In order to
economise my cigarettes, which are my luxury, I whittled out a holder
from a bit of bamboo today, and so get a longer smoke, and also avoid
the paper sticking to my lips, which have begun to crack already from
the hot metal pot and the cold air.

Note. The difficulties of travelling over snow and ice in a bad light
are very great. When the light is diffused by clouds or mist, it casts
no shadows on the dead white surface, which consequently appears to the
eye to be uniformly level. Often as we marched the sledges would be
brought up all standing by a sastrugus, or snow mound, caused by the
wind, and we would be lucky if we were not tripped up ourselves. Small
depressions would escape the eye altogether, and when we thought that we
were marching along on a level surface, we would suddenly step down two
or three feet. The strain on the eyes under these conditions is very
great, and it is when the sun is covered and the weather is thickish
that snow-blindness is produced. Snow-blindness, with which we all became
acquainted during the southern journey, is a very painful complaint. The
first sign of the approach of the trouble is running at the nose; then
the sufferer begins to see double, and his vision gradually becomes
blurred. The more painful symptoms appear very soon. The blood vessels
of the eyes swell, making one feel as though sand had got in under the
lids, and then the eyes begin to water freely and gradually close up.
The best method of relief is to drop some cocaine into the eye, and then
apply a powerful astringent, such as sulphate of zinc, in order to
reduce the distended blood vessels. The only way to guard against an
attack is to wear goggles the whole time, so that the eyes may not be
exposed to the strain caused by the reflection of the light from all
quarters. These goggles are made so that the violet rays are cut off,
these rays being the most dangerous, but in warm weather, when one is
perspiring on account of exertion with the sledges, the glasses fog, and
it becomes necessary to take them off frequently in order to wipe them.
The goggles we used combined red and green glasses, and so gave a yellow
tint to everything and greatly subdued the light. When we removed them,
the glare from the surrounding whiteness was intense, and the only
relief was to get inside one of the tents, which were made of green
material, very restful to the eyes. We noticed that during the spring
journey, when the temperature was very low and the sun was glaring on
us, we did not suffer from snow-blindness. The glare of the light
reflected from the snow on bright days places a very severe strain on
the eyes, for the rays of the sun are flashed back from millions of
crystals. The worst days, as far as snow-blindness was concerned, were
when the sun was obscured, so that the light came equally from every
direction, and the temperature was comparatively high.

_November_ 8. Drawn blank again! In our bags all day, while outside the
snow is drifting hard and blowing freshly at times. The temperature was
plus 8° Fahr. at noon. The wind has not been really strong; if it had
been I believe that this weather would have been over sooner. It is a
sore trial to one's hopes and patience to lie and watch the drift on the
tent-side, and to know that our valuable pony food is going, and this
without benefiting the animals themselves. Indeed, Socks and Grisi have
not been eating well, and the hard maize does not agree with them. At
lunch we had only a couple of biscuits and some chocolate, and used our
oil to boil some Maujee ration for the horses, so that they had a hot
hoosh. They all ate it readily, which is a comfort. This standing for
four days in drift with 24° of frost is not good for them, and we are
anxiously looking for finer weather. Tonight it is clearer, and we
could see the horizon and some of the crevasses. We seem to be in a
regular nest of them. The occupants of the other tent have discovered
that it is pitched on the edge of a previously unseen one. We had a hot
hoosh tonight, consisting of pemmican, with emergency ration and the
cocoa. This warmed us up, for to lie from breakfast time at 6 a.m. for
twelve or thirteen hours without hot food in this temperature is chilly
work. If only we could get under way and put some good marches in, we
would feel more happy. It is 750 miles as the crow flies from our winter
quarters to the Pole, and we have done only fifty-one miles as yet. But
still the worst will turn to the best, I doubt not. That a polar
explorer needs a large stock of patience in his equipment there is no
denying. The sun is showing thin and pale through the drift this
evening, and the wind is more gusty, so we may have it really fine
tomorrow. I read some of Shakespeare's comedies today.

_November_ 9. A different story today. When we woke up at 4.30 a.m. it
was fine, calm and clear, such a change from the last four days. We got
breakfast at 5 a.m., and then dug the sledges out of the drift. After
this we four walked out to find a track amongst the crevasses, but
unfortunately they could only be detected by probing with our ice-axes,
and these disclosed all sorts, from narrow cracks to great ugly chasms
with no bottom visible. A lump of snow thrown down one would make no
noise, so the bottom must have been very far below. The general
direction was south-east and north-west, but some curved round to the
south and some to the east. There was nothing for it but to trust to
Providence, for we had to cross them somewhere. At 8.30 a.m. we got
under way, the ponies not pulling very well, for they have lost
condition in the blizzard and were stiff. We got over the first few
crevasses without difficulty, then all of a sudden Chinaman went down a
crack which ran parallel to our course. Adams tried to pull him out and
he struggled gamely, and when Wild and I, who were next, left our
sledges and hauled along Chinaman's sledge, it gave him more scope, and
he managed to get on to the firm ice, only just in time, for three feet
more and it would have been all up with the southern journey. The
three-foot crack opened out into a great fathomless chasm, and down that
would have gone the horse, all our cooking gear and biscuits and half
the oil, and probably Adams as well. But when things seem the worst they
turn to the best, for that was the last crevasse we encountered, and
with a gradually improving surface, though very soft at times, we made
fair headway. We camped for lunch at 12.40 p.m., and the ponies ate
fairly well. Quan is pulling 660 lb., and had over 700 lb. till lunch;
Grisi has 590 lb., Chinaman 570 lb., and Socks 600 lb. In the afternoon
the surface further improved, and at 6 p.m. we camped, having done 14
miles 600 yards, statute. The Bluff is showing clear, and also Castle
Rock miraged up astern of us. White Island is also clear, but a stratus
cloud overhangs Erebus, Terror and Discovery. At 6.20 p.m. we suddenly
heard a deep rumble, lasting about five seconds, that made the air and
the ice vibrate. It seemed to come from the eastward, and resembled the
sound and had the effect of heavy guns firing. We conjecture that it was
due to some large mass of the Barrier breaking away, and the distance
must be at least fifty miles from where we are. It was startling, to say
the least of it. Tonight we boiled some Maujee ration for the ponies,
and they took this feed well. It has a delicious smell, and we ourselves
would have enjoyed it. Quan is now engaged in the pleasing occupation of
gnawing his tether rope. I tethered him up by the hind leg to prevent
him attacking this particular thong, but he has found out that by
lifting his hind-leg he can reach the rope, so I must get out and put a
nose-bag on him. The temperature is now plus 5° Fahr., but it feels much
warmer, for there is a dead calm and the sun is shining.

 Note. On my return to the winter quarters I made inquiries as to
whether the rumbling sound we had heard had been noticed at Cape Royds,
but I found that no member of the party there had remarked anything out
of the ordinary. Probably Mounts Erebus and Terror had intercepted the
sound. There is no doubt that the Barrier ice breaks away in very large
masses. We had an illustration of that fact in the complete
disappearance of Barrier Inlet, the spot at which I had proposed to
place the winter quarters. It is from the edge of the Barrier, not only
in our quadrant locality, but also on the other side of the Antarctic
area, that the huge tabular bergs found in the Antarctic waters are
calved off. Fractures develop as the ice is influenced by the open
water, and these fractures extend until the breaking-point is reached.
Then a berg, or perhaps a series of bergs, is left free to float
northwards. At the time when we heard and felt the concussion of a
break, we were some fifty miles from the Barrier edge, so that the
disturbance in the ice must have been very extensive.



CHAPTER XX


STEADY PROGRESS: THE SIGHTING OF NEW LAND

NOVEMBER 10. Got up to breakfast at 6 a.m., and under way at 8.15 a.m.
During the night we had to get out to the ponies. Quan had eaten away
the straps on his rug, and Grisi and Socks were fighting over it. Quan
had also chewed Chinaman's tether, and the latter was busy at one of the
sledges, chewing rope. Happily he has not the same mischievous
propensities as Quan, so the food-bags were not torn about. All these
things mean work for us when the day's march is over, repairing the
damage done. The ponies started away well, with a good hard surface to
travel on, but a bad light, so we, being in finnesko, had frequent falls
over the sastrugi. I at last took my goggles off, and am paying the
penalty tonight, having a touch of snow-blindness. During the morning
the land to the west became more distinct, and the going still better,
so that when we camped for lunch, we had covered nine and a half statute
miles. All the ponies, except Quan, showed the result of the Maujee
ration, and are quite loose. Directly we started after lunch, we came
across the track of an Adelie penguin. It was most surprising, and one
wonders how the bird came out here. It had evidently only passed a short
time before, as its tracks were quite fresh. It had been travelling on
its stomach a good way, and its course was due east towards the sea, but
where it had come from was a mystery, for the nearest water in the
direction from which it came was over fifty miles away, and it had at
least another fifty miles to do before it could reach food and water.
The surface in the afternoon became appallingly soft, the ponies sinking
in up to their hocks, but there was hard snow underneath. At 6 p.m. we
camped, with a march for the day of 15 miles 1550 yards statute. The sun
came out in the afternoon, so we turned our sleeping-bags inside out and
dried them. Today's temperature ranged from plus 3° Fahr. in the
morning to plus 12° Fahr. at noon. At 8 p.m. it was plus 5° Fahr. There
is now a light north wind, and I expect Erebus will be clear soon;
bearings and angles put us sixty miles from our depot, where lies 167
lb. of pony food.

_November_ 11. It was 8.40 before we got under way this morning, for
during the night the temperature dropped well below zero, and it was
minus 12° when we got up and found our finnesko and all our gear frozen
hard, just like spring sledging times. We had to unpack the sledges and
scrape the runners, for the sun had melted the snow on the upper
surfaces, and the water had run down and frozen hard during the night on
the under sides. The surface was again terribly soft, but there were
patches of hard sastrugi beneath, and on one of these Quan must have
stepped, for to our great anxiety, he suddenly went lame about 11 a.m. I
thought it was just the balling of the snow on his feet, but on scraping
this off, he still was lame. Fortunately, however, he improved greatly
and was practically all right after lunch. During the night, the snow
always balls on the ponies' feet, and it is one of our regular jobs to
scrape it off, before we harness up in the morning. The snow was not so
thick on the surface in the afternoon, only about 5 in., and we got on
fairly well. The Bluff is now sixteen miles to the north-west of us, and
all the well-known land is clear, Erebus sending out a huge volume of
steam, that streams away to the south-west right past Mount Discovery,
fifty miles from its crater. Again this afternoon we passed an Adelie
penguin track. The bird was making the same course as the one we had
passed before. At 6.30 p.m. we camped, having done fifteen statute
miles. After dinner we got bearings which put us forty-seven miles from
our depot. I do trust that the weather will hold up till we reach it. It
is cold tonight writing, the temperature being minus 9° Fahr. The land
to the south-south-west is beautifully clear.

_November_ 13. No diary yesterday, for I had a bad attack of
snow-blindness, and am only a bit better tonight. We did a good march
yesterday of over fifteen miles over fair surface, and again today did
fifteen miles, but the going was softer. The ponies have been a trouble
again. I found Quan and Chinaman enjoying the former's rug. They have
eaten all the lining. The weather has been beautifully fine, but the
temperature down to 12° below zero. The others' eyes are all right.
Wild, who has been suffering, has been better today. Snow-blindness is
a particularly unpleasant thing. One begins by seeing double, then the
eyes feel full of grit; this makes them water and eventually one cannot
see at all. All yesterday afternoon, though I was wearing goggles, the
water kept running out of my eyes, and, owing to the low temperature, it
froze on my beard. However, the weather is beautiful, and we are as
happy as can be, with good appetites, too good in fact for the amount of
food we are allowing ourselves. We are on short rations, but we will
have horse meat in addition when the ponies go under. We have saved
enough food to last us from our first depot into the Bluff, where, on
the way back, we will pick up another depot that is to be laid out by
Joyce during January next. I trust we will pick up the depot tomorrow
night and it will be a relief, for it is a tiny speck in this snowy
plain, and is nearly sixty miles from the nearest land. It is much the
same as picking up a buoy in the North Sea with only distant mountains
for bearings. We are now clear of the pressure round the Bluff, and the
travelling should be good until we reach the depot. On the spring
journey we got into the crevasses off the Bluff, these crevasses being
due to the movement of the ice-sheet impinging against the long arm of
the Bluff reaching out to the eastward. Close in the pressure is much
more marked, the whole surface of the Barrier rising into hillocks and
splitting into chasms. When the summer sun plays on these and the wind
sweeps away the loose snow, a very slippery surface is presented, and
the greatest care has to be exercised to prevent the sledges skidding
into the pits, often over 100 ft. deep. As one gets further away from
the area of disturbance the ridges flatten out, the pits disappear, and
the crevasses become cracks. We are now on to level going, clear of any
dangers.

_November_ 14. Another beautiful day, but with a low temperature (minus
7° Fahr. at 6 p.m.). During the morning there was a wind from the
west-south-west, bitterly cold on our faces and burst lips, but the sun
was warm on our backs. The ponies pulled well, and in spite of somewhat
deep snow they got on very well. We stopped at noon for bearings, and to
get the sun's altitude for latitude, and at lunch worked out our
position. We expected to see the depot tonight or tomorrow morning,
but during the afternoon, when we halted for a spell, we found that our
"ready use" tin of kerosene had dropped off a sledge, so Adams ran back
three miles and found it. This caused a delay, and we camped at 6 p.m.
We were just putting the position on the chart after dinner when Wild,
who was outside looking through the Goertz glasses, shouted out that he
could see the depot, and we rushed out. There were the flag and sledge
plainly to be seen through the glasses. It is an immense relief to us,
for there is stored at the depot four days' pony feed and a gallon of
oil. We will sleep happily tonight. The Barrier surface now is covered
with huge sastrugi, rounded off and running west-south-west and
east-north-west, with soft snow between. We have never seen the surface
alike for two consecutive days. The Barrier is as wayward and as
changeful as the sea.

_November_ 15. Another beautiful day. We broke camp at 8 a.m., and
reached our depot at 9.20 a.m. We found everything intact, the flag
waving merrily in the breeze, the direction of which was about
west-south-west. We camped there and at once proceeded to redistribute
weights and to parcel our provisions to be left there. We found that we
had saved enough food to allow for three days' rations, which ought to
take us into the Bluff on our return, so we made up a bag of provisions
and added a little oil to the tin we had been using from, leaving half a
gallon to take us the fifty odd miles to the Bluff on the way back. We
then depoted our spare gear and finnesko, and our tin of sardines and
pot of black currant jam. We had intended these provisions for
Christmas Day, but the weight is too much; every ounce is of importance.
We took on the maize, and the ponies are now pulling 449 lb. each. Quan
was pulling 469 lb. before the depot was reached, so he had nothing
added to his load. All this arranging took time, and it was nearly noon
before we were finished. We took an observation for latitude and
variation, and found the latitude to be 79° 36' South, and the variation
155° East. Had lunch at noon and started due south at 1.15 p.m., the
ponies pulling well. As the afternoon went on the surface of the Barrier
altered to thick, crusty snow, with long rounded sastrugi about 4 ft.
high, almost looking like small undulations, running south-west to
north-west, with small sastrugi on top running west and east. Camped at
6 p.m., having done 12 miles 1500 yards (statute) today. There are some
high, stratified, light clouds in the sky, the first clouds we have had
for nearly a week. The sun now, at 9 p.m., is beautifully warm, though
the air temperature is minus 2° Fahr. It is dead calm. We are going to
build a snow mound at each camp as a guide to our homeward track, and as
our camps will only be seven miles apart, these marks ought to help us.
The mystery of the Barrier grips us, and we long to know what lies in
the unknown to the south. This we may do with good fortune in another
fortnight.

Note. I wrote that the provisions left at the depot would suffice for
three days, but as a matter of fact there was not more than a two days'
supply. We felt that we ought to take on every ounce of food that we
could, and that if we got back to the depot we would be able to manage
as far as the Bluff all right. During the winter we had thought over
the possibility of making the mounds as a guide for the return march, and
had concluded that though they would entail extra work, we might be well
repaid if we picked up only one or two of them at critical times. We had
with us two shovels, and ten minutes' work was sufficient to raise a
mound 6 or 7 ft. high. We wondered whether the mounds would disappear
under the influence of wind and sun, and our tracks remain, whether the
tracks would disappear and the mounds remain, whether both tracks and
mounds would disappear, or whether both would remain. As we were not
keeping in towards the land, but were making a bee-line for the south,
it was advisable to neglect no precaution, and as events turned out, the
mounds were most useful. They remained after the sledge tracks had
disappeared, and they were a very great comfort to us during the journey
back from our furthest south point.

_November_ 16. We started again this morning in gloriously fine weather,
the temperature minus 15° Fahr. (down to minus 25° Fahr. during the
night). The ponies pulled splendidly. All the western mountains stood
up, miraged into the forms of castles. Even the Bluff could be seen in
the far distance, changed into the semblance of a giant keep. Before
starting, which we did at 7.40 a.m., we made a mound of snow, 6 ft.
high, as a guide to us on our homeward way, and as it was built on a
large sastrugi, we saw it for two and a half statute miles after
starting. At twenty minutes to twelve, we halted for latitude
observations, and found that we had reached 79° 50' South. After lunch
the surface changed somewhat, but the going was fairly good, in fact we
covered 17 miles 200 yards (statute), a record day for us. This evening
it is cloudy, high cumulus going from south-east to north-west. The
temperature tonight is minus 5° Fahr., but it being dead calm we feel
quite warm. A hot sun during the day dried our reindeer skin
sleeping-bags, the water, or rather ice, all drying out of them, so we
sleep in dry bags again. It has been a wonderful and successful week, so
different to this time six years ago, when I was toiling along five
miles a day over the same ground. Tonight one can see the huge mountain
range to the south of Barne Inlet. In order to further economise food we
are saving three lumps of sugar each every day, so in time we will have
a fair stock. The great thing is to advance our food-supply as far south
as possible before the ponies give out. Every one is in splendid health,
eyes all right again, and only minor troubles, such as split lips, which
do not allow us to laugh. Wild steered all day, and at every hourly halt
I put the compass down to make the course we are going straight as a die
to the south. Chinaman, or "The Vampire", as Adams calls him, is not so
fit; he is stiff in the knees and has to be hauled along. Quan, _alias_
"Blossom", is Al, but one cannot leave him for a moment, otherwise he
would have his harness chewed up. Within the last week he has had the
greater part of a horse-cloth, about a fathom of rope, several pieces of
leather, and odds and ends such as a nose-bag buckle, but his digestion
is marvellous, and he seems to thrive on his strange diet. He would
rather eat a yard of creosoted rope than his maize and Maujee, indeed he
often, in sheer wantonness, throws his food all over the snow.

_November_ 17. A dull day when we started at 9.50 a.m., but the
mountains abeam were in sight till noon. The weather then became
completely overcast, and the light most difficult to steer in; a dead
white wall was what we seemed to be marching to, and there was no direct
light to cast even the faintest shadow on the sastrugi. I steered from
noon to 1 p.m., and from lunch till 6 p.m., but the course was most
erratic, and we had to stop every now and then to put the compass down
to verify our course and alter it if necessary. Our march for the day
was 16 miles 200 yards (statute) through a bad surface, the ponies
sinking in up to their hocks. This soft surface is similar to that we
experienced last trip south, for the snow had a crust easily broken
through and about 6 in. down an air-space, then similar crusts and
air-spaces in layers. It was trying work for the ponies, but they all
did splendidly in their own particular way. Old "Blossom" plods stolidly
through it; Chinaman flounders rather painfully, for he is old and stiff
nowadays; Grisi and Socks take the soft places with a rush; but all get
through the day's work and feed up at night, though Quan evinces disgust
at not having more Maujee ration and flings his maize out of his
nose-bag. One wonders each night what trouble they will get into. This
morning on turning out, we found Grisi lying down unable to get up. He
had got to the end of his tether, and could not draw back his leg. He
was shivering with cold, though the temperature was only minus 5°. Today
we had a plus temperature, for the first time since leaving-- plus
9° Fahr. at noon, and plus 5° Fahr. at 6 p.m. The pall of cloud no doubt
acts as a blanket, and so we were warm, too warm in fact for marching.

_November_ 18. Started at 8 a.m. in clearer weather, and the sun
remained visible all day, though during the morning it was snowing from
the south, and made the steering very difficult. The surface has been
simply awful. We seem to have arrived at a latitude where there is no
wind and the snow remains where it falls, for we were sinking in well
over our ankles, and the poor ponies are having a most trying time. They
break through the crust on the surface and flounder up to their hocks,
and at each step they have to pull their feet out through the brittle
crust. It is telling more on Chinaman than on the others, and he is
going slowly. The chafing of the snow crust on his fetlocks has galled
them, so we will have to shoot him at the next depot in about three
days' time. The ponies are curious animals. We give them full meals, and
yet they prefer to gnaw at any odd bits of rope. Quan got my jacket in
his teeth this morning as I was scraping the snow off his hind feet, and
I had to get out last night to stop Socks biting and swallowing lumps
out of Quan's tail. If we had thought that they would have been up to
these games, we would have had a longer wire to tether them, so as to
keep them apart. It is possible that we have reached the windless area
around the Pole, for the Barrier is a dead, smooth, white plain, weird
beyond description, and having no land in sight, we feel such tiny
specks in the immensity around us. Overhead this afternoon, when the
weather cleared, were wonderful lines of clouds, radiating from the
south-west, travelling very fast to the north-east. It seems as though
we were in some other world, and yet the things that concern us most for
the moment are trivial, such as split lips and big appetites. Already
the daily meals seem all too short, and we wonder what it will be like
later on, when we are really hungry. I have had that experience once,
and my companions will soon have it again with me. All the time we are
moving south to our wished-for goal, and each day we feel that another
gain has been made. We did 15 miles 500 yards today.

_November_ 19. Started at 8.15 this morning with a fresh southerly
breeze and drift. The temperature was plus 2° Fahr., and this was the
temperature all day, making it cold travelling, but good for the ponies,
who, poor beasts, had to plough through a truly awful surface, sinking
in 8 or 10 in. at every step. This does not seem very deep, but when one
goes on hour after hour it is a strain on man and horse, for we have to
hold the ponies up as they stumble along. In spite of the surface and
the wind and drift, we covered 15 miles 200 yards (statute) by 6 p.m.,
and were glad to camp, for our beards and faces were coated in ice, and
our helmets had frozen stiff on to our faces. We got sights for latitude
at noon, and found that we were in latitude 80° 32' South. On the last
journey I was not in that latitude till December 16, though we left Hut
Point on November 2, a day earlier than we did this time. The ponies
have truly done well. I wrote yesterday that we seemed to be in a
windless area, but today alters that opinion. The sastrugi are all
pointing clearly due south, and if we have the wind on our way back it
will be a great help. The same radiant points in the clouds south-east
to north-west were visible again today, and at times when it cleared
somewhat a regular nimbus cloud, similar to the rain clouds in the
"doldrums", could be seen. At the base of the converging point of the
south-east part of cloud there seemed to rise other clouds to meet the
main body. The former trended directly from the horizon at an angle of
30° to meet the main body, and did not seem to be more than a few miles
off. The drift on the Barrier surface was piled up into heaps of very
fine snow, with the smallest grains, and on encountering these the
sledges ran heavily. The crust that has formed, when broken through,
discloses loose-grained snow, and the harder crust, about 8 in. down, is
almost even. I suppose that the top 8 in. represents the year's
snowfall.

_November_ 20. Started at 8.55 a.m. in dull, overcast weather again,
but the sun broke through during the morning, so we had something to
steer by. The surface has been the worst we have encountered so far,
terribly soft, but we did 15 miles 800 yards (statute) for the day. The
latter part of the afternoon was better. It seems to savour of
repetition to write each day of the heavy going and the soft surface,
but these factors play a most important part in our daily work, and it
causes us a great deal of speculation as to what we will eventually find
as we get further south. The whole place and conditions seem so strange
and so unlike anything else in the world in our experience, that one
cannot describe them in fitting words. At one moment one thinks of
Coleridge's "Ancient Mariner": "Alone, alone; all, all alone, alone on a
wide, wide sea", and then when the mazy clouds spring silently from
either hand and drift quickly across our zenith, not followed by any
wind, it seems uncanny. There comes a puff of wind from the north,
another from the south, and anon one from the east or west, seeming to
obey no law, acting on erratic impulses. It is as though we were truly
at the world's end, and were bursting in on the birthplace of the clouds
and the nesting home of the four winds, and one has a feeling that we
mortals are being watched with a jealous eye by the forces of nature. To
add to these weird impressions that seem to grow on one in the
apparently limitless waste, the sun tonight was surrounded by mock suns
and in the zenith was a bow, turning away from the great vertical circle
around the sun. These circles and bows were the colour of the rainbow.
We are all fairly tired tonight, and Wild is not feeling very fit, but
a night's rest will do him good. The ponies are all fit except poor old
Chinaman, and he must go tomorrow. He cannot keep up with the others,
and the bad surface has played him out. The temperature is zero Fahr.

_November_ 21. Started at 7.30 a.m. as we had to come to camp early
tonight, and we wanted to get a good latitude observation at noon.
Although we got away early, however, all morning we were steering
through thick weather with driving ice crystals, and at noon there was
no chance of getting the sun for latitude. We came to camp at 12.30
p.m., just as the weather cleared a little, and we could see land on our
right hand, but only the base of the mountains, so could not identify
them. Chinaman came up at last, struggling painfully along, so when we
made our depot this evening he was shot. We will use the meat to keep us
out longer, and will save on our dried stores. The temperature at noon
was only plus 8° Fahr., and the little wind that there was has been
extremely cold. The wind veers round and round the compass, and the
clouds move in every direction. The surface of the Barrier was better
today, but still the ponies sank in 8 in. at least. The sastrugi point
towards the south-east, this being the direction of the most usual wind
here. This evening it cleared, and we could see land almost ahead, and
the great mass of land abaft the beam to the north of Barne Inlet. Our
day's march was 15 miles 450 yards. We are now south of the 81st
parallel, and feel that we are well on the road to our wished-for goal.
This is now our second depot, and we intend to leave about 80 lb. of
pony meat, one tin of biscuits (27 lb.), some sugar and one tin of oil
to see us back to Depot A. It is late now, for all arrangements for the
depot took time. There was a lot of work in the arranging of the sledges
for the remaining three ponies: packing stores, skinning Chinaman and
cutting him up, all in a low temperature.

Note. The killing of the ponies was not pleasant work, but we had the
satisfaction of knowing that the animals had been well fed and well
treated up to the last, and that they suffered no pain. When we had to
kill a pony, we threw up a snow mound to leeward of the camp, so that no
smell of blood could come down wind, and took the animal behind this,
out of sight of the others. As a matter of fact, the survivors never
displayed any interest at all in the proceedings, even the report of
the revolver used in the killing failing to attract their attention. The
sound did not travel far on the wide open plain. The revolver was held
about 3 in. from the forehead of the victim and one shot was sufficient
to cause instant death. The throat of the animal was cut immediately and
the blood allowed to run away. Then Marshall and Wild would skin the
carcase, and we took the meat off the legs, shoulders and back. In the
case of Chinaman the carcase was opened and the liver and undercut
secured, but the job was such a lengthy one that we did not repeat it in
the case of the other animals. Within a very short time after killing
the carcase would be frozen solid, and we always tried to cut the meat
up into as small pieces as possible before this occurred, for the
cutting became very much more difficult after the process of freezing
was complete. On the following days, whenever there was time to spare,
we would proceed with the cutting until we had got all the meat ready
for cooking. It was some time before we found out that it was better
merely to warm the meat through when we wanted to eat it, and not
attempt to cook it properly. It was fairly tender when only warmed, but
if it were boiled it became very tough, and we would not spare enough
oil to stew it in order to soften it thoroughly. Our supply of oil had
been cut down very fine in order to save weight. The only meat that we
cooked thoroughly was that from Grisi, because we found, at a later
stage of the journey, that this meat was not good, and we thought that
cooking might make it less liable to cause attacks of dysentery. We used
the harness from the dead pony to make stays for the sledge which would
be left at the depot. The sledge was reared on to its end, about 3 ft.
being sunk into the snow, and a bamboo with a black flag stuck on the
top, so that we might be able to find the little "cache" of food on the
return journey. Stays were required lest a blizzard should blow down the
whole erection.

_November_ 22. A beautiful morning. We left our depot with its black
flag flying on the bamboo lashed to a discarded sledge, stuck upright in
the snow, at 8.20 a.m. We have now three ponies dragging 500 lb. each,
and they did splendidly through the soft snow. The going, I am thankful
to say, is getting better, and here and there patches of harder surface
are to be met with. The outstanding feature of today's march is that we
have seen new land to the south--land never seen by human eyes before.
The land consists of great snow-clad heights rising beyond Mount
Longstaff, and also far inland to the north of Mounts Markham. These
heights we did not see on our journey south on the last expedition, for
we were too close to the land or, rather, foothills, but now at the
great distance we are out they can be seen plainly. It has been a
beautifully clear day, and all the well-known mountains are clearly
visible. The coast trends about south by east, so that we are safe for a
good long way south. We camped at noon and got a good meridian altitude
and azimuth. We found our latitude to be 81° 8' South. In the afternoon
we steered a little to the east of south, and camped at 6 p.m. with 15
miles 250 yards (statute) to the credit of the day. This is good, for
the ponies have a heavy load, but they are well fed. We were rather long
at lunch camp, for we tried to pull out Adams' tooth, which has given
him great pain, so much that he has not slept at night at all. But the
tooth broke, and he has a bad time now. We were not equipped on this
trip for tooth-pulling. Wild is better today, but fatty food is not to
his taste just now, so he had a good feed of horseflesh. We all liked
it, for it filled us well, in spite of being somewhat tough. The flavour
was good and it means a great saving of our other food. The temperature
has risen to plus 7° Fahr., and the surface of the Barrier is good for
sledge-hauling.

_November_ 23. Our record march today, the distance being 17 miles 1650
yards statute. It has been a splendid day for marching, with a cool
breeze from the south and the sun slightly hidden. The horses did very
well indeed, and the surface has improved, there being fairly hard
sastrugi from the south. We are gradually rising the splendid peaks of
Longstaff and Markham. The former, from our present bearing, has several
sharp peaks, and the land fades away in the far distance to the south,
with numbers of peaks showing, quite new to human eyes. All the old
familiar mountains, towards which I toiled so painfully last time I was
here, are visible, and what a difference it is now! Tonight there is a
fresh wind from what appears at this distance to be a strait between
Longstaff and Markham, and a low drift is flying along. Wild is better
tonight, but he was tired after the long march. We made him a cup of
our emergency Oxo for lunch, and that bucked him up for the afternoon.
He has not eaten much lately, but says that he feels decidedly better
tonight. Marshall has just succeeded in pulling out Adams' tooth, so
now the latter will be able to enjoy horse-meat. This evening we had it
fried, and so saved all our other food except biscuits and cocoa. It is
my week as cook now, and Wild is my tent companion.

_November_ 24. Started this morning at 7.55, and made a good march of 10
miles 600 yards (statute) up to 1 p.m., when we camped for lunch. We
marched from 2.30 to 6 p.m., and camped then for the night. When we
started there was a searching breeze in our faces, which gradually
increased during the day with low drift, and it was blowing a summer
blizzard when we camped this evening, the temperature up to plus 17°
Fahr., and the drift melting in the tent and on all our gear. The ponies
did splendidly again, in spite of soft surface, our day's run being 17
miles 680 yards statute. The Barrier surface is still as level as a
billiard table, with no sign of any undulation or rise; but if the
Barrier shows no sign of change it is otherwise with the mountains. Each
mile shows us new land, and most of it consists of lofty mountains,
whose heights at present we cannot estimate. They are well over 10,000
ft. The great advantage of being out from the coast is now obvious, for
we can see a long range of sharp-peaked mountains running to the
westward from Mounts Markham, and forming the south side of Shackleton
Inlet on the east side of Mounts Markham, and other peaks and one
table-topped mountain standing away to the south between Longstaff and
Markham. There appears to be a wide strait or inlet between Longstaff
and the new land east of Markham. Then trending about south-east from
Longstaff is a lofty range of mountains which we will see more closely
as we move south. I trust that the blizzard will blow itself out
tonight, so that we may have easy going tomorrow. Wild is much better
today, and went his ordinary food. We had fried pony for dinner
tonight, and raw pony frozen on the march. The going is very good, but
we can only afford a little oil to cook up the meat for meals.

_November_ 25. Started at 8 a.m. this morning in fairly good weather.
The wind has gone during the night, leaving our tents drifted up with
fine snow. The land was obscured nearly all day, but towards the evening
it cleared and we could see the details of the coast. There appears to
be a series of inlets and capes opening at all angles, and with no fixed
coastline, though the lofty range of mountains continues to the south
with a very slight trend to the eastward. The surface of the Barrier was
very trying today, for the snow had no consistency and slipped away as
one trod on it. It was not so trying for the ponies, and they did 17
miles 1600 yards. We had frozen raw pony meat to eat on the march, and a
good hoosh of pony meat and pemmican for dinner. Wild is practically all
right, and Adams finds a wisdom tooth growing in place of the one he
lost. Our eyes are not too comfortable just now. It is a wonderful
place we are in, all new to the world, and yet I feel that I cannot
describe it. There is an impression of limitless solitude about it all
that makes us feel so small as we trudge along, a few dark specks on the
snowy plain, and watch the new land appear.



CHAPTER XXI

BEYOND ALL FORMER FOOTSTEPS

NOVEMBER 26. A day to remember, for we have passed the "farthest South"
previously reached by man. Tonight we are in latitude 82° 18½' South,
longitude 168° East, and this latitude we have been able to reach in
much less time than on the last long march with Captain Scott, when we
made latitude 82° 16½' our "farthest South." We started in lovely
weather this morning, with the temperature plus 19° Fahr., and it has
been up to plus 20° Fahr. during the day, giving us a chance to dry our
sleeping-bags. We were rather anxious at starting about Quan, who had a
sharp attack of colic, the result no doubt of his morbid craving for
bits of rope and other odds and ends in preference to his proper food.
He soon got well enough to pull, and we got away at 7.40 a.m., the
surface still very soft. There are abundant signs that the wind blows
strongly from the south-south-east during the winter, for the sastrugi
are very marked in that direction. There are extremely large circular
crystals of snow on the Barrier surface, and they seem hard and brittle.
They catch the light from the sun, each one forming a reflector that
dazzles the eyes as one glances at the million points of light. As each
hour went on today, we found new interest to the west, where the land
lies, for we opened out Shackleton Inlet, and up the inlet lies a great
chain of mountains, and far in to the west appear more peaks; to the
west of Cape Wilson appears another chain of sharp peaks about 10,000
ft. high, stretching away to the north beyond the Snow Cape, and
continuing the land on which Mount A. Markham lies. To the
south-south-east ever appear new mountains. I trust that no land will
block our path. We celebrated the breaking of the "farthest South"
record with a four-ounce bottle of Curaçao, sent us by a friend at home.
After this had been shared out into two tablespoonfuls each, we had a
smoke and a talk before turning in. One wonders what the next month will
bring forth. We ought by that time to be near our goal, all being well.

Note. It falls to the lot of few men to view land not previously seen by
human eyes, and it was with feelings of keen curiosity, not unmingled
with awe, that we watched the new mountains rise from the great unknown
that lay ahead of us. Mighty peaks they were, the eternal snows at their
bases, and their rough-hewn forms rising high towards the sky. No man of
us could tell what we would discover in our march south, what wonders
might not be revealed to us, and our imaginations would take wings until
a stumble in the snow, the sharp pangs of hunger, or the dull ache of
physical weariness brought back our attention to the needs of the
immediate present. As the days wore on, and mountain after mountain came
into view, grimly majestic, the consciousness of our insignificance
seemed to grow upon us. We were but tiny black specks crawling slowly
and painfully across the white plain, and bending our puny strength to
the task of wresting from nature secrets preserved inviolate through all
the ages. Our anxiety to learn what lay beyond was none the less keen,
however, and the long days of marching over the Barrier surface were
saved from monotony by the continued appearance of new land to the
south-east.

_November_ 27. Started at 8 a.m., the ponies pulling well over a bad
surface of very soft snow. The weather is fine and clear save for a
strong mirage, which throws ail the land up much higher than it really
is. All day we have seen new mountains arise, and it is causing us some
anxiety to note that they trend more and more to the eastward, for that
means an alteration of our course from nearly due south. Still they are
a long way off, and when we get up to them we may find some strait that
will enable us to go right through them and on south. One speculates
greatly as we march along, but patience is what is needed. I think that
the ponies are feeling the day-in, day-out drudgery of pulling on this
plain. Poor beasts, they cannot understand, of course, what it is all
for, and the wonder of the great mountains is nought to them, though one
notices them at times looking at the distant land. At lunchtime I took
a photograph of our camp, with Mount Longstaff in the background. We had
our sledge flags up to celebrate the breaking of the southern record.
The long snow cape marked on the chart as being attached to Mount
Longstaff is not really so. It is attached to a lower bluff mountain to
the north of Mount Longstaff. The most northerly peak of Mount Longstaff
goes sheer down into the Barrier, and all along this range of mountains
are very steep glaciers, greatly crevassed. As we pass along the
mountains the capes disappear, but there are several well-marked ones of
which we have taken angles. Still more mountains appeared above the
horizon during the afternoon, and when we camped tonight some were
quite clearly defined, many, many miles away. The temperature has been
up to plus 22° Fahr. today, and we took the opportunity of drying our
sleeping-bags, which we turned inside out and laid on the sledges.
Tonight the temperature is plus 13° Fahr. We find that raw frozen pony
meat cools one on the march, and during the ten minutes' spell after an
hour's march we all cut up meat for lunch or dinner; in the hot sun it
thaws well. This fresh meat ought to keep away scurvy from us. Quan
seems much better today, but Grisi does not appear fit at all. He seems
to be snow-blind. Our distance today was 16 miles 1200 yards.

_November_ 28. Started at 7.50 a.m. in beautiful weather, but with a
truly awful surface, the ponies sinking in very deeply. The sledges ran
easily, as the temperature was high, plus 17° to plus 20° Fahr., the hot
sun making the snow surface almost melt. We halted at noon for a
latitude observation, and found our latitude to be 82° 38' South. The
land now appears more to the east, bearing south-east by south, and some
very high mountains a long way off, with lower foothills, can be seen in
front, quite different to the land abeam of us, which consists of huge
sharp-pointed mountains with crevassed glaciers moving down gullies in
their sides. Marshall is making a careful survey of all the principal
heights. All day we have been travelling up and down long undulations,
the width from crest to crest being about one and a half miles, and the
rise about 1 in 100. We can easily see the line by our tracks sometimes
being cut off sharp when we are on the down gradient and appearing again
a long way astern as we rise. The first indication of the undulation was
the fact of the mound we had made in the morning disappearing before we
had travelled a quarter of a mile. During the afternoon the weather was
very hot. A cool breeze had helped us in the forenoon, but it died away
later. Marshall has a touch of snow-blindness, and both Grisi and Socks
were also affected during the day. When we camped tonight Grisi was
shot. He had fallen off during the last few days, and the snow-blindness
was bad for him, putting him off his feed. He was the one chosen to go
at the depot we made this evening. This is Depot C, and we are leaving
one week's provisions and oil, with horse-meat, to carry us back to
Depot B. We will go on tomorrow with 1200 lb. weight (nine weeks'
provisions), and we four will pull with the ponies, two on each sledge.
It is late now, 11 p.m., and we have just turned in. We get up at 5.30
a.m. every morning. Our march for the day was 15 miles 1500 yards
statute.

_November_ 29. Started at 8.45 a.m. with adjusted loads of 630 lb. on
each sledge. We harnessed up ourselves, but found that the ponies would
not pull when we did, and as the loads came away lightly, we untoggled
our harness. The surface was very soft, but during the morning there
were occasional patches of hard sastrugi, all pointing south-south-east.
This is the course we are now steering, as the land is trending about
south-east by east. During the day still more great mountains appeared
to the south-east, and to the west we opened up several huge peaks,
10,000 to 15,000 ft. in height. The whole country seems to be made up of
range after range of mountains, one behind the other. The worst feature
of today's march was the terribly soft snow in the hollows of the great
undulations we were passing. During the afternoon one place was so bad
that the ponies sank in right up to their bellies, and we had to pull
with might and main to get the sledges along at all. When we began to
ascend the rise on the southern side of the undulation it got better.
The ponies were played out by 5.45 p.m., especially old Quan, who nearly
collapsed, not from the weight of the sledge, but from the effort of
lifting his feet and limbs through the soft snow. The weather is calm
and clear, but very hot, and it is trying to man and beast. We are on a
short allowance of food, for we must save all we can, so as to help the
advance as far as possible. Marshall has taken the angles of the new
land today. He does this regularly. The hypsometer readings at 1 p.m.
are very high now if there is no correction, and it is not due to
weather. We must be at about sea-level. The undulations run about east
by south, and west by west, and are at the moment a puzzle to us. I
cannot think that the feeding of the glaciers from the adjacent
mountains has anything to do with their existence. There are several
glaciers, but their size is inconsiderable compared to the vast extent
of Barrier affected. The glaciers are greatly crevassed. There are
enormous granite cliffs at the foot of the range we are passing, and
they stand vertically about 4000 to 6000 ft. without a vestige of snow
upon them. The main bare rocks appear to be like the schists of the
western mountains opposite our winter quarters, but we are too far away,
of course, to be able to tell with any certainty. Down to the south are
mountains entirely clear of snow, for their sides are vertical, and they
must be not less than 8000 or 9000 ft. in height. Altogether it is a
weird and wonderful country. The only familiar thing is the broad
expanse of Barrier to the east, where as yet no land appears. We did 14
miles 900 yards (statute) today, and are tired. The snow came well
above our ankles, and each step became a labour. Still we are making our
way south, and each mile gained reduces the unknown. We have now done
over 300 miles due south in less than a month.

_November_ 30. We started at 8 a.m. this morning. Quan very shaky and
seemingly on his last legs, poor beast. Both he and Socks are
snow-blind, so we have improvised shades for their eyes, which we trust
will help them a little. We took turns of an hour each hauling at Quan's
sledge, one at each side, to help him. Socks, being faster, always gets
ahead and then has a short spell, which eases him considerably. We
advanced very slowly today, for the surface was as bad as ever till the
afternoon, and the total distance covered was 12 miles 150 yards. Quan
was quite played out, so we camped at 5.45 p.m. We give the ponies ample
food, but they do not eat it all, though Quan whinnies for his every
meal-time. He is particularly fond of the Maujee ration, and neglects
his maize for it. Again today we saw new land to the south, and
unfortunately for our quick progress in that direction, we find the
trend of the coast more to the eastward. A time is coming, I can see,
when we will have to ascend the mountains, for the land runs round more
and more in an easterly direction. Still after all we must not expect to
find things cut and dried and all suited to us in such a place. We will
be thankful if we can keep the ponies as far as our next depot, which
will be in latitude 84° South. They are at the present moment lying down
in the warm sun. It is a beautifully calm, clear evening; indeed as
regards weather we have been wonderfully fortunate, and it has given
Marshall the chance to take all the necessary angles for the survey of
these new mountains and coastline. Wild is cook this week, and my week
is over, so I am now living in the other tent. We are all fit and well,
but our appetites are increasing at an alarming rate. We noticed this
tonight after the heavy pulling today. A great deal of the land we are
passing seems to consist of granite in huge masses, and here and there
are much crevassed glaciers, pouring down between the mountains, perhaps
from some inland ice-sheet similar to that in the north of Victoria
Land. The mountains show great similarity in outline, and there is no
sign of any volcanic action at all so far. The temperature for the day
has ranged between plus 16° and plus 12° Fahr., but the hot sun has made
things appear much warmer.

_December_ 1. Started at 8 a.m. today. Quan has been growing weaker
each hour, and we practically pulled the sledge. We passed over three
undulations, and camped at 1 p.m. In the afternoon we only did four
miles, Quan being led by Wild. He also led Socks with one sledge, whilst
Adams, Marshall and I hauled 200 lb. each on the other sledge over a
terribly soft surface. Poor old Quan was quite finished when we came to
camp at 6 p.m., having done 12 miles 200 yards, so he was shot. We all
felt losing him, I particularly, for he was my special horse ever since
he was ill last March. I had looked after him, and in spite of all his
annoying tricks he was a general favourite. He seemed so intelligent.
Still it was best for him to go, and like the others he was well fed to
the last. We have now only one pony left, and are in latitude 83° 16'
South. Ahead of us we can see the land stretching away to the east, with
a long white line in front of it that looks Uke a giant Barrier, and
nearer a very crusted-up appearance, as though there were great
pressure ridges in front of us. It seems as though the Barrier end had
come, and that there is now going to be a change in some gigantic way in
keeping with the vastness of the whole place. We fervently trust that we
will not be delayed in our march south. We are living mainly on
horse-meat now, and on the march, to cool our throats when pulling in
the hot sun, we chew some raw frozen meat. There was a slight breeze for
a time today, and we felt chilly, as we were pulling stripped to our
shirts. We wear our goggles all the time, for the glare from the snow
surface is intense and the sky is cloudless. A few wisps of fleecy cloud
settle on the tops of the loftiest mountains, but that is all. The
surface of the Barrier still sparkles with the million frozen crystals
which stand apart from the ordinary surface snow. One or two new peaks
came in sight today, so we are ever adding to the chain of wonderful
mountains that we have found. At one moment our thoughts are on the
grandeur of the scene, the next on what we would have to eat if only we
were let loose in a good restaurant. We are very hungry these days, and
we know that we are likely to be for another three months. One of the
granite cliffs we are nearing is over 6000 ft. sheer, and much bare rock
is showing, which must have running water on it as the hot sun plays
down. The moon was visible in the sky all day and it was something
familiar, yet far removed from these days of hot sunshine and wide white
pathways. The temperature is now plus 16° Fahr., and it is quite warm in
the tent.

_December_ 2. Started at 8 a.m., all four of us hauling one sledge, and
Socks following behind with the other. He soon got into our regular
pace, and did very well indeed. The surface during the morning was
extremely bad and it was heavy work for us. The sun beat down on our
heads and we perspired freely, though we were working only in shirts and
pyjama trousers, whilst our feet were cold in the snow. We halted for
lunch at 1 p.m., and had some of Quan cooked, but he was very tough
meat, poor old beast. Socks, the only pony left now, is lonely. He
whinnied all night for his lost companion. At 1 p.m. today we had got
close enough to the disturbance ahead of us to see that it consisted of
enormous pressure ridges, heavily crevassed and running a long way east,
with not the slightest chance of our being able to get southing that way
any longer on the Barrier. So after lunch we struck due south in toward
the land, which is now running in a south-east direction, and at 6 p.m.
we were close to the ridges off the coast. There is a red hill about
3000 ft. in height, which we hope to ascend tomorrow, so as to gain a
view of the surrounding country. Then we will make our way, if possible,
with the pony up a glacier ahead of us on to the land ice, and on to the
Pole if all goes well. It is an anxious thing for us, for time is
precious and food more so; we will be greatly relieved if we find a good
route through the mountains. Now that we are close to the land we can
see more clearly the nature of the mountains. From Mount Longstaff in a
south-east direction, the land appears to be far more glaciated than
further north, and since the valleys are very steep, the glaciers that
they contain are heavily crevassed. These glaciers bear out in a
north-east direction into the Barrier. Immediately opposite our camp the
snow seems to have been blown off the steep mountain sides. The mountain
ahead of us, which we are going to climb tomorrow, is undoubtedly
granite, but very much weathered. In the distance it looked like
volcanic rock, but now there can be no doubt that it consists of
granite. Evidently the great ice sheet has passed over this part of the
land, for the rounded forms could not have been caused by ordinary
weathering. Enormous pressure ridges that run out from the south of the
mountain ahead must be due to a glacier far greater in extent than any
we have yet met. The glacier that comes out of Shackleton Inlet makes a
disturbance in the Barrier ice, but not nearly as great as the
disturbance in our immediate neighbourhood at the present time. The
glacier at Shackleton Inlet is quite a short one. We have now closed in
to the land, but before we did so we could see the rounded tops of great
mountains extending in a south-easterly direction. If we are fortunate
enough to reach the summit of the mountain tomorrow, we should be able
to see more clearly the line of these mountains to the south-east. It
would be very interesting to follow along the Barrier to the south-east,
and see the trend of the mountains, but that does not enter into our
programme. Our way lies to the south. How one wishes for time and
unlimited provisions! Then indeed we could penetrate the secrets of this
great lonely continent. Regrets are vain, however, and we wonder what is
in store for us beyond the mountains if we are able to get there. The
closer observation of these mountains ought to give geological results
of importance. We may have the good fortune to discover fossils, or at
any rate to bring back specimens that will determine the geological
history of the country and prove a connection between the granite
boulders lying on the slopes of Erebus and Terror and the land lying to
the far south. Our position tonight is latitude 83° 28' South,
longitude 171° 30' East. If we can get on the mountain tomorrow it will
be the pioneer landing in the far south. We travelled 11 miles 1450
yards (statute) today, which was not bad, seeing that we were pulling
180 lb. per man on a bad surface. We got a photograph of the wonderful
red granite peaks close to us, for now we are only eight miles or so off
the land. The temperature is plus 20°, with a high barometer. The same
fine weather continues, but the wind is cold in the early morning, when
we turn out at 5.30 a.m. for breakfast.

_December_ 4. Unable to write yesterday owing to bad attack of
snow-blindness, and not much better tonight, but I must record the
events of the two most remarkable days that we have experienced since
leaving the winter quarters. After breakfast at 5.30 a.m. yesterday, we
started off from camp, leaving all camp gear standing and a good feed by
Socks to last him the whole day. We got under way at 9 a.m., taking four
biscuits, four lumps of sugar and two ounces of chocolate each for
lunch. We hoped to get water at the first of the rocks when we landed.
Hardly had we gone one hundred yards when we came to a crevasse, which
we did not see very distinctly, for the light was bad, and the sun
obscured by clouds. We roped up and went on in single file, each with
his ice-pick handy. I found it very difficult to see clearly with my
goggles, and so took them off, and the present attack of snow-blindness
is the result, for the sun came out gloriously later on. We crossed
several crevasses filled with snow except at the sides, the gaps being
about 2 ft. wide, and the whole crevasses from 10 to 20 ft. across. Then
we were brought up all standing by an enormous chasm of about 80 ft.
wide and 300 ft. deep which lay right across our route. This chasm was
similar to, only larger than the one we encountered in latitude 80° 30'
South when on the southern journey with Captain Scott during the
_Discovery_ expedition. By making a _détour_ to the right we found that it
gradually pinched out and became filled with snow, and so were able to
cross and resume our line to the land, which very deceptively appeared
quite close but was really some miles away.

Crossing several ridges of ice-pressure and many more crevasses, we
eventually at 12.30 p.m. reached an area of smooth blue ice in which
were embedded several granite boulders, and here we obtained a drink of
delicious water formed by the sun playing on the rock face and heating
the ice at the base. After travelling for half a mile, we reached the
base of the mountain which we hoped to climb in order to gain a view of
the surrounding country. This hill is composed of granite, the red
appearance being no doubt due to iron. At 1 p.m. we had a couple of
biscuits and some water, and then started to make our way up the
precipitous rock face. This was the most difficult part of the whole
climb, for the granite was weathered and split in every direction, and
some of the larger pieces seemed to be just nicely balanced on smaller
pieces, so that one could almost push them over by a touch. With great
difficulty we clambered up this rock face, and then ascended a gentle
snow slope to another rocky bit, but not so difficult to climb. From the
top of this ridge there burst upon our view an open road to the south,
for there stretched before us a great glacier running almost south and
north between two huge mountain ranges. As far as we could see, except
towards the mouth, the glacier appeared to be smooth, yet this was not a
certainty, for the distance was so great. Eagerly we clambered up the
remaining ridges and over a snow-slope, and found ourselves at the top
of the mountain, the height being 3350 ft. according to aneroid and
hypsometer. From the summit we could see the glacier stretching away
south inland till at last it seemed to merge in high inland ice. Where
the glacier fell into the Barrier about north-east bearing, the pressure
waves were enormous, and for miles the surface of the Barrier was broken
up. This was what we had seen ahead of us the last few days, and we now
understood the reason of the commotion on the Barrier surface. To the
south-east we could see the lofty range of mountains we had been
following still stretching away in the same direction, and we can
safely say that the Barrier is bounded by a chain of mountains extending
in a south-easterly direction as far as the 86th parallel South. The
mountains to the west appear to be more heavily glaciated than the ones
to the eastward. There are some huge granite faces on the southern sides
of the mountains, and these faces are joined up by cliffs of a very dark
hue. To the south-south-east, towards what is apparently the head of the
glacier, there are several sharp cones of very black rock, eight or nine
in all. Beyond these are red granite faces, with sharp, needle-like
spurs, similar in appearance to the "cathedral" rocks described by
Armitage in connection with the _Discovery_ expedition to the western
mountains. Further on to the south the mountains have a bluff
appearance, with long lines of stratification running almost
horizontally. This bluff mountain range seems to break about sixty
miles away, and beyond can be seen dimly other mountains. Turning to the
west, the mountains on that side appeared to be rounded and covered with
huge masses of ice, and glaciers showing the lines of crevasses. In the
far distance there is what looked like an active volcano. There is a big
mountain with a cloud on the top, bearing all the appearance of steam
from an active cone. It would be very interesting to find an active
volcano so far south. After taking bearings of the trend of the
mountains, Barrier and glacier, we ate our frugal lunch and wished for
more, and then descended. Adams had boiled the hypsometer and taken the
temperature on the top, whilst Marshall, who had carried the camera on
his back all the way up, took a couple of photographs. How we wished we
had more plates to spare to get a record of the wonderful country we
were passing through. At 4 p.m. we began to descend, and at 5 p.m. we
were on the Barrier again. We were rather tired and very hungry when, at
7 p.m., we reached our camp. After a good dinner, and a cupful of Maujee
ration in the hoosh as an extra, we turned in.

Today, December 4, we got under way at 8 a.m. and steered into the
land, for we could see that there was no question as to the way we
should go now. Though on the glacier, we might encounter crevasses and
difficulties not to be met with on the Barrier, yet on the latter we
could get no further than 86° South, and then would have to turn in
towards the land and get over the mountains to reach the Pole. We felt
that our main difficulty on the glacier route would be with the pony
Socks, and we could not expect to drag the full load ourselves as yet
without relay work. Adams, Marshall and I pulled one sledge with 680 lb.
weight, and Wild followed with Socks directly in our wake, so that if we
came to a crevasse he would have warning. Everything went on well except
that when we were close in to land, Marshall went through the snow
covering of a crevasse. He managed to hold himself up by his arms. We
could see no bottom to this crevasse. At 1 p.m. we were close to the
snow-slope up which we hoped to reach the interior of the land and
thence get on to the glacier. We had lunch and then proceeded, finding,
instead of a steep, short slope, a long, fairly steep gradient. All the
afternoon we toiled at the sledge. Socks pulling his load easily enough,
and eventually, at 5 p.m., reached the head of the pass, 2000 ft. above
sea-level. From that point there was a gentle descent towards the
glacier, and at 6 p.m. we camped close to some blue ice with granite
boulders embedded in it, round which were pools of water. This water
saves a certain amount of our oil, for we have not to melt snow or ice.
We turned in at 8 p.m., well satisfied with the day's work. The weather
now is wonderfully fine, with not a breath of wind, and a warm sun
beating down on us. The temperature was up to plus 22° Fahr. at noon,
and is now plus 18° Fahr. The pass through which we have come is flanked
by great granite pillars at least 2000 ft. in height and making a
magnificent entrance to the "Highway to the South". It is all so
interesting and everything is on such a vast scale that one cannot
describe it well. We four are seeing these great designs and the play of
nature in her grandest moods for the first time, and possibly they may
never be seen by man again. Poor Marshall had another four miles' walk
this evening, for he found that he had lost his Jaeger jacket off the
sledge. He had therefore to tramp back uphill for it, and found it two
miles away on the trail. Socks is not feeding well. He seems lonely
without his companions. We gave him a drink of thaw water this evening,
but he did not seem to appreciate it, preferring the snow at his feet.




CHAPTER XXII

ON THE GREAT GLACIER

DECEMBER 5. Broke camp sharp at 8 a.m. and proceeded south down an icy
slope to the main glacier. The ice was too slippery for the pony, so
Wild took him by a circuitous route to the bottom on snow. At the end of
our ice slope, down which the sledge skidded rapidly, though we had put
on rope brakes and hung on to it as well as we could, there was a patch
of soft snow running parallel with the glacier, which here trended about
south-west by south. Close ahead of us were the massed-up, fantastically
shaped and split masses of pressure across which it would have been
impossible for us to have gone, but, fortunately, it was not necessary
even to try, for close into the land was a snow slope free from all
crevasses, and along this gentle rise we made our way. After a time,
this snow slope gave place to blue ice, with numberless cracks and small
crevasses across which it was quite impossible for the pony to drag the
sledge without a serious risk of a broken leg in one of the many holes,
the depth of which we could not ascertain. We therefore unharnessed
Socks, and Wild took him over this bit of ground very carefully, whilst
we others first hauled our sledge and then the pony sledge across to a
patch of snow under some gigantic granite pillars over 2000 ft. in
height, and here, close to some thaw water, we made our lunch camp. I
was still badly snow-blind, so stayed in camp whilst Marshall and Adams
went on to spy out a good route to follow after lunch was over. When
they returned they informed me that there was more cracked-up blue ice
ahead, and that the main pressure of the glacier came in very close to
the pillar of granite that stood before us, but that beyond that there
appeared to be a snow slope and good going. The most remarkable thing
they reported was that as they were walking along a bird, brown in
colour with a white line under each wing, flew just over their heads and
disappeared to the south. It is, indeed, strange to hear of such an
incident in latitude 83° 40' South. They were sure it was not a skua
gull, which is the only bird I could think of that would venture down
here, and the gull might have been attracted by the last dead pony, for
when in latitude 80° 30' South, on my last southern trip, a skua gull
arrived shortly after we had killed a dog.

After lunch we started again, and by dint of great exertions managed, at
6 p.m., to camp after getting both sledges and then the pony over
another couple of miles of crevassed blue ice. We then went on and had a
look ahead, and saw that we are going to have a tough time tomorrow to
get along at all. I can see that it will, at least, mean relaying three
or four times across nearly half a mile of terribly crevassed ice,
covered in places with treacherous snow, and razor-edged in other
places, all of it sloping down towards the rock _débris_ strewn shore on
the cliff side. We are camped under a wonderful pillar of granite that
has been rounded by the winds into a perfectly symmetrical shape, and is
banded by lines of gneiss. There is just one little patch of snow for
our tents, and even that bridges some crevasses. Providence will look
over us tonight, for we can do nothing more One feels that at any
moment some great piece of rock may come hurtling down, for all round us
are pieces of granite, ranging from the size of a hazelnut to great
boulders twenty to forty tons in weight, and on one snow slope is the
fresh track of a fallen rock. Still we can do no better, for it is
impossible to spread a tent on the blue ice, and we cannot get any
further tonight. We are leaving a depot here. My eyes are my only
trouble, for their condition makes it impossible for me to pick out the
route or do much more than pull. The distance covered today was 9 miles
with 4 miles relay. December 6. Started at 8 a.m. today in fine weather
to get our loads over the half-mile of crevassed ice that lay between us
and the snow slope to the south-south-west. We divided up the load and
managed to get the whole lot over in three journeys, but it was an awful
job, for every step was a venture, and I, with one eye entirely blocked
up because of snow-blindness, felt it particularly uncomfortable work.
However, by 1 p.m. all our gear was safely over, and the other three
went back for Socks. Wild led him, and by 2 p.m. we were all camped on
the snow again. Providence has indeed looked after us. At 3 p.m. we
started south-south-west up a long slope to the right of the main
glacier pressure. It was very heavy going, and we camped at 5 p.m. close
to a huge crevasse, the snow bridge of which we crossed. There is a
wonderful view of the mountains, with new peaks and ranges to the
south-east, south and south-west. There is a dark rock running in
conjunction with the granite on several of the mountains. We are now
over 1700 ft. up on the glacier, and can see down on to the Barrier. The
cloud still hangs on the mountain ahead of us; it certainly looks as
though it were a volcano cloud, but it may be due to condensation. The
lower current clouds are travelling very fast from south-south-east to
north-north-west. The weather is fine and clear, and the temperature
plus 17° Fahr.

_December_ 7. Started at 8 a.m., Adams, Marshall and self pulling one
sledge. Wild leading Socks behind. We travelled up and down slopes with
very deep snow, into which Socks sank up to his belly, and we plunged in
and out continuously, making it very trying work. Passed several
crevasses on our right hand and could see more to the left. The light
became bad at 1 p.m., when we camped for lunch, and it was hard to see
the crevasses, as most were more or less snow covered. After lunch the
light was better, and as we marched along we were congratulating
ourselves upon it when suddenly we heard a shout of "help" from Wild.
We stopped at once and rushed to his assistance, and saw the pony sledge
with the forward end down a crevasse and Wild reaching out from the side
of the gulf grasping the sledge. No sign of the pony. We soon got up to
Wild, and he scrambled out of the dangerous position, but poor Socks had
gone. Wild had a miraculous escape. He was following up our tracks, and
we had passed over a crevasse which was entirely covered with snow, but
the weight of the pony broke through the snow crust and in a second all
was over. Wild says he just felt a sort of rushing wind, the leading
rope was snatched from his hand, and he put out his arms and just caught
the further edge of the chasm. Fortunately for Wild and us. Socks'
weight snapped the swingle-tree of the sledge, so it was saved, though
the upper bearer is broken. We lay down on our stomachs and looked over
into the gulf, but no sound or sign came to us; a black bottomless pit
it seemed to be. We hitched the pony sledge to ourselves and started off
again, now with a weight of 1000 lb. for the four of us. Camped at 6.20
p.m., very tired, having to retreat from a maze of crevasses and rotten
ice on to a patch where we could pitch our tents. We are indeed thankful
for Wild's escape. When I think over the events of the day I realise
what the loss of the sledge would have meant to us. We would have had
left only two sleeping-bags for the four of us, and I doubt whether we
could have got back to winter quarters with the short equipment. Our
chance of reaching the Pole would have been gone. We take on the maize
to eat ourselves. There is one ray of light in this bad day, and that is
that anyhow we could not have taken Socks on much further. We would have
had to shoot him tonight, so that although his loss is a serious matter
to us, for we had counted on the meat, still we know that for traction
purposes he would have been of little further use. When we tried to camp
tonight we stuck our ice-axes into the snow to see whether there were
any more hidden crevasses, and everywhere the axes went through. It
would have been folly to have pitched our camp in that place, as we
might easily have dropped through during the night. We had to retreat a
quarter of a mile to pitch the tent. It was very unpleasant to turn
back, even for this short distance, but on this job one must expect
reverses.

_December_ 8. Started at 8 a.m. and immediately began dodging crevasses
and pits of unknown depth. Wild and I were leading, for, thank heaven,
my eyes are fit and well again. We slowly toiled up a long crevassed
slope, and by lunch time were about 1900 ft. up the glacier and had
covered 6 miles 150 yards of an uphill drag, with about 250 lb. per man
to haul. After lunch we still travelled up, but came on to blue glacier
ice almost free from crevasses, so did much better, the sledges running
easily. We camped at 6 p.m., the day's journey having been 12 miles 150
yards. The slope we went up in the morning was not as bad as we had
anticipated, but quite bad enough for us to be thankful that we are out,
at any rate for a time, from the region of hidden crevasses. The
hypsometer tonight gave our height as 2300 ft. above sea-level. It is
beautifully fine still. We have been wonderfully fortunate in this,
especially in view of the situation we are in.

_December_ 9. Another splendid day as far as the weather is concerned,
and much we needed it, for we have had one of our hardest day's work and
certainly the most dangerous so far. We started at 7.45 a.m. over the
blue ice, and in less than an hour were in a perfect maze of crevasses,
some thinly bridged with snow and others with a thicker and therefore
more deceptive covering. Marshall went through one and was only saved by
his harness. He had quite disappeared down below the level of the ice,
and it was one of those crevasses that open out from the top, with no
bottom to be seen, and I daresay there was a drop of at least 1000 ft.
Soon after, Adams went through, then I did. The situation became
momentarily more dangerous and uncertain. The sledges, skidding about,
came up against the sheer, knife-like edges of some of the crevasses,
and thus the bow of the second sledge, which had been strained when
Socks fell, gave way. We decided to relay our gear over this portion of
the glacier until we got on to safer ground, and it was well past eleven
o'clock before we had got both sledges on to better ice. We camped at
11.45 a.m. to get the sun's meridian altitude, and, to save time while
watching the sun's rise and fall, decided to lunch at noon. The latitude
we found to be 84° 2' South, which is not so bad considering that we
have been hauling our heavy load of 250 lb. per man uphill for the last
two days. At noon we were nearly 2500 ft. above sea-level. In the
afternoon we had another heavy pull, and now are camped between two huge
crevasses, but on a patch of hard snow. We pitched camp at 6 p.m., very
tired and extremely hungry after dragging uphill all the afternoon for
over five hours. It is 8 p.m. now, and we are nearly 3000 ft. above
sea-level. Low cumulus clouds are hanging to the south of us, as they
have done for many days past, obscuring any view in that direction. We
are anxiously hoping to find soon a level and inland ice-sheet so that
we can put on more speed. The distance today was 11 miles 1450 yards
plus two miles relay. The talk now is mainly about food and the things
we would like to eat, and at mealtimes our hoosh disappears with far
too great speed. We are all looking forward to Christmas Day, for then,
come what may, we are going to be full of food.

_December_ 10. Falls, bruises, cut shins, crevasses, razor-edged ice,
and a heavy upward pull have made up the sum of the day's trials, but
there has been a measure of compensation in the wonderful scenery, the
marvellous rocks and the covering of a distance of 11 miles 860 yards
towards our goal. We started at 7.30 a.m. amongst crevasses, but soon
got out of them and pulled up a long slope of snow. Our altitude at noon
was 3250 ft. above sea-level. Then we slid down a blue ice slope, after
crossing crevasses. Marshall and I each went down one. We lunched at 1
p.m. and started at 2 p.m. up a long ridge by the side moraine of the
glacier. It was heavy work, as the ice was split and presented
knife-like edges between the cracks, and there were also some crevasses.
Adams got into one. The going was terribly heavy, as the sledges brought
up against the ice-edges every now and then, and then there was a
struggle to get them started again. We changed our foot-gear,
substituting ski-boots for the finnesko, but nevertheless had many
painful falls on the treacherous blue ice, cutting our hands and shins.
We are all much bruised. We camped on a patch of snow by the land at 6
p.m. The rocks of the moraine are remarkable, being of every hue and
description. I cannot describe them, but we will carry specimens back
for the geologists to deal with. The main rocks of the "Cloudmaker",
the mountain under which we are camped, appear to be slates, reef quartz
and a very hard, dark brown rock, the name of which I do not know. The
erratics of marble, conglomerate and breccia are beautiful, showing a
great mass of wonderful colours, but these rocks we cannot take away. We
can only take with us small specimens of the main rocks, as weight is of
importance to us, and from these small specimens the geologists must
determine the general character of the land. This mountain is the one we
thought might be an active volcano when we saw it from the mountain at
the foot of the glacier, but the cloud has blown away from its head
today, and we can see definitely that it is not a volcano. It is a
remarkable sight as it towers above us with the snow clinging to its
sides. Tonight there is a cold north wind. I climbed about 600 ft. up
the mountain and got specimens of the main rocks _in situ_. The glacier is
evidently moving very slowly and not filling as much of the valley as it
did at some previous date, for the old moraines lie higher up in
terraces. Low cumulus clouds to the south are hiding some of the new
land in that direction. We are all very hungry and tired tonight after
the day's fight with glacier. Whilst I went up the mountain to spy out
the land the others ground up the balance of the maize, brought for pony
feed, between flat stones, in order that we may use it ourselves to eke
out our supply of food. The method of preparation was primitive, but it
represented the only way of getting it fit to cook without the necessity
of using more oil than we can spare for lengthy boiling. The temperature
was plus 12° Fahr. at noon today, and is plus 14° now at 8 p.m. We are
getting south, and we hope to reach the inland ice in a couple of days;
then our marching will be faster. The weather is still fine.

_December_ 11. A heavy day. We started away at 7.40 a.m. and tried to
keep alongside the land, but the ice of the glacier sloped so much that
we had to go on to the ridge, where the sledges could run without
side-slipping. This slipping cuts the runners very badly. We crossed the
medial moraine, and found rock there with what looked like plant
impressions. We collected some specimens.

In the afternoon we found the surface better, as the cracks were nearly
all filled up with water turned to ice. We camped for lunch on rubbly
ice. After lunch we rounded some pressure ridges fairly easily, and then
pulled up a long ice-slope with many sharp points. All the afternoon we
were passing over ice in which the cracks had been closed up, and we
began to have great hopes that the end of the glacier was in sight, and
that we would soon be able to put in some good marches on the plateau.
At 5 p.m. we found more cracks and a mass of pressure ice ahead, and
land appeared as the clouds ahead lifted. I cannot tell what it means,
but the position makes us anxious. The sledges will not stand much more
of this ice work, and we are still 340 geographical miles away from the
Pole. Thank God the weather is fine still. We camped at 6 p.m. on hard
ice between two crevasses. There was no snow to pack round the tents, so
we had to put the sledges and the provision bags on the snow cloths. We
made the floor level inside by chipping away the points of ice with our
ice-axes. We were very hungry after hoosh tonight. An awkward feature
about the glacier are the little pits filled with mud, of which I
collected a small sample.* It seems to be ground-down rock material, but
what the action has been I cannot tell. The hot sun, beating down on
this mud, makes it gradually sink into the body of the glacier, leaving
a rotten ice covering through which we often break. It is like walking
over a cucumber frame, and sometimes the boulders that have sunk down
through the ice can be seen 3 or 4 ft. below the surface. The ice that
has formed above the sunken rocks is more clear than the ordinary
glacier ice. We are 8700 ft. up, and made 8 miles 900 yards to the good
today. We have the satisfaction of feeling that we are getting south,
and perhaps tomorrow may see the end of all our difficulties.
Difficulties are just things to overcome after all. Every one is very
fit.

[* These pits are known as "cryoconite holes".]

_December_ 12. Our distance--three miles for the day--expresses more
readily than I can write it the nature of the day's work. We started at
7.40 a.m. on the worst surface possible, sharp-edged blue ice full of
chasms and crevasses, rising to hills and descending into gullies; in
fact, a surface that could not be equalled in any polar work for
difficulty in travelling. Our sledges are suffering greatly, and it is a
constant strain on us both to save the sledges from breaking or going
down crevasses, and to save ourselves as well. We are a mass of bruises
where we have fallen on the sharp ice, but, thank God, no one has even a
sprain. It has been relay work today, for we could only take on one
sledge at a time, two of us taking turns at pulling the sledge whilst
the others steadied and held the sledge to keep it straight. Thus we
would advance one mile, and then return over the crevasses and haul up
the other sledge. By repeating this today for three miles we marched
nine miles over a surface where many times a slip meant death. Still we
have advanced three miles to the south, and tonight we are camped on a
patch of névé. By using our ice-axes we made a place for the tent. The
weather is still splendidly fine, though low clouds obscure our horizon
to the south. We are anxiously hoping to cross the main pressure
tomorrow, and trust that we will then have better travelling. Given
good travelling, we will not be long in reaching our goal. Marshall is
putting in the bearings and angles of the new mountains. They still keep
appearing to the west and east. Distance 3 miles 500 yards, with relays
9 miles 1500 yards.

_December_ 13. We made a start at 8 a.m. and once again went up hill and
down dale, over crevasses and blue, ribbed ice, relaying the sledges. We
had covered about a mile when we came to a place where it seemed almost
impossible to proceed. However, to our right, bearing about south-west
by south, there seemed to be better surface and we decided to make a
_détour_ in that direction in order, if possible, to get round the
pressure. While returning for one of the sledges I fell on the ice and
hurt my left knee, which was a serious matter, or rather might have
been. I have had a bandage on all the afternoon while pulling, and the
knee feels better now, but one realises what it would mean if any member
of our party were to be damaged under these conditions and in this
place. This afternoon we came on to a better surface, and were able to
pull both sledges instead of relaying. We are still gradually rising,
and tonight our hypsometer gives 203.7, or 4370 feet up. There is a
cool southerly wind; indeed, more than we have had before, and as we
have only a patch of névé on the glacier for our tents, we had to take
the provision bags and gear off the sledges to keep the tent cloths
down. The temperature is plus 19° Fahr. New mountains are still
appearing to the west-south-west as we rise. We seem now to be going up
a long yellow track, for the ice is not so blue, and we are evidently
travelling over an old moraine, where the stones have sunk through the
ice when its onward movement has been retarded. I am sure that the bulk
of the glacier is growing less, but the onward movement still continues,
though at a much slower pace than at some previous period. The gain for
the day was five miles, and in addition we did four miles relay work.

_December_ 14. This has been one of our hardest day's work so far. We
have been steering all day about south-south-west up the glacier, mainly
in the bed of an ancient moraine, which is full of holes through which
the stones and boulders have melted down long years ago. It has been
snowing all day with a high temperature, and this has made everything
very wet. We have ascended over 1000 ft. today, our altitude at 6 p.m.
being 5600 ft. above sea-level, so the mountains to the west must be
from 10,000 to 15,000 ft. in height, judging from their comparative
elevation. My knee is better today. We have had a heavy pull and many
falls on the slippery ice. Just before camping, Adams went through some
snow, but held up over an awful chasm. Our sledges are much the worse
for wear, and the one with the broken bow constantly strikes against the
hard, sharp ice, pulling us up with a jerk and often flinging us down.
At this high altitude the heavy pulling is very trying, especially as we
slip on the snow covering the blue ice. There has evidently been an
enormous glaciation here, and now it is dwindling away. Even the
mountains show signs of this. Tonight our hopes are high that we are
nearly at the end of the rise and that soon we will reach our longed-for
plateau. Then southward indeed! Food is the determining factor with us.
We did 7½ miles today.

_December_ 15. Started at 7.40 a.m. in clear weather. It was heavy going
uphill on the blue ice, but gradually we rose the land ahead, and it
seemed as though at last we were going to have a change, and that we
would see something new. At lunchtime we were on a better surface, with
patches of snow, and we could see stretching out in front of us what
was apparently a long, wide plain. It looked as though now really we
were coming to the level ground for which we have longed, especially as
the hypsometer gave us an altitude of 7230 ft., but this altitude at
night came down to 5830 ft., so the apparent height may be due to
barometric pressure and change of weather, for in the afternoon a stiff
breeze from the south-west sprang up. The temperature was plus 18° Fahr.
at noon, and when the wind came up it felt cold, as we were pulling in
our pyjama trousers, with nothing underneath. We have been going
steadily uphill all the afternoon, but on a vastly improved surface,
consisting of hard névé instead of blue ice and no cracks, only
covered-in crevasses, which are easily seen. Ahead of us really lies the
plateau. We can also see ahead of us detached mountains, piercing
through the inland ice, which is the road to the south for us. Huge
mountains stretch out to the east and west. After last week's toil and
anxiety the change is delightful. The distance covered today was 13
miles 200 yards.

_December_ 16. We started at 7 a.m., having had breakfast at 5.80 a.m.
It was snowing slightly for the first few hours, and then the weather
cleared. The surface was hard and the going good. We camped at noon and
took sights for latitude, and ascertained that our position was 84° 50'
South. Ahead of us we could see a long slope, icy and crevassed, but we
did 13 miles 1650 yards for the day. We camped at 5.30 p.m., and got
ready our depot gear. We have decided to travel as lightly as possible,
taking only the clothes we are wearing, and we will leave four days'
food, which I calculate should get us back to the last depot on short
ration. We have now traversed nearly one hundred miles of crevassed ice,
and risen 6000 ft. on the largest glacier in the world. One more
crevassed slope, and we will be on the plateau, please God. We are all
fit and well. The temperature tonight is plus 15° Fahr., and the wind
is blowing freshly from the south-west. There are splendid ranges of
mountains to the west-south-west, and we have an extended view of
glacier and mountains. Ahead of us lie three sharp peaks, connected up
and forming an island in what is apparently inland ice or the head of
the glacier. The peaks lie due south of us. To the eastward and westward
of this island the ice bears down from the inland ice-sheet, and joins
the head of the glacier proper. To the westward the mountains along the
side of the glacier are all of the bluff type, and the lines of
stratification can be seen plainly. Still further to the westward,
behind the frontal range, lie sharper peaks, some of them almost perfect
cones. The trend of the land from the "Cloudmaker" is about
south-south-west. We are travelling up the west side of the glacier. On
the other side, to the east, there is a break in the bluff mountains,
and the land beyond runs away more to the south-east. The valley is
filled with pressure ice, which seems to have come from the inland
ice-sheet. The mountains to the south-east also show lines of
stratification. I hope that the photographs will be clear enough to give
an idea of the character of this land. These mountains are not beautiful
in the ordinary acceptance of the term, but they are magnificent in
their stern and rugged grandeur. No foot has ever trod on their mighty
sides, and until we reached this frozen land no human eyes had seen
their forms.

_December_ 17. We made a start at 7.20 a.m. and had an uphill pull all
the morning over blue ice with patches of snow, which impeded our
progress until we learned that the best way was to rush the sledges over
them, for it was very difficult to keep one's footing on the smooth ice,
and haul the sledges astern over the snow. By 1 p.m. we had done eight
miles of this uphill work, and in the afternoon we did four more. We had
worked from 7.23 a.m. until 6.40 p.m. with one hour's rest for lunch
only and it seems as though twelve miles was not much, but the last two
hours' going was very stiff. We had to take on one sledge at a time up
the icy slope, and even then we had to cut steps with our ice-axes as we
went along. The work was made more difficult by the fact that a strong
southerly wind was dead in our faces. The second sledge we hauled up the
rise by means of the alpine rope. We made it fast to the sledge, went on
with the first sledge till the rope was stretched out to its full
length, then cut a place to stand on, and by our united efforts hauled
the sledge up to where we stood. We repeated this until we had managed
to reach a fairly level spot with both the sledges, and we pitched our
tents on a small patch of snow. There was not enough of the snow to make
fast the snow-cloths of the tents, and we had to take the gear off the
sledges and pile that round to supplement the snow. We have burned our
boats behind us now as regards warm clothing, for this afternoon we made
a depot in by the rocks of the island we are passing, and there left
everything except the barest necessaries. After dinner tonight Wild
went up the hillside in order to have a look at the plateau. He came
down with the news that the plateau is in sight at last, and that
tomorrow should see us at the end of our difficulties. He also brought
down with him some very interesting geological specimens, some of which
certainly look like coal. The quality may be poor, but I have little
doubt that the stuff is coal. If that proves to be the case, the
discovery will be most interesting to the scientific world. Wild tells
me that there are about six seams of this dark stuff, mingled with
sandstone, and that the seams are from 4 in. to 7 or 8 ft. in thickness.
There are vast quantities of it lying on the hillside. We took a
photograph of the sandstone, and I wish very much that we could spare
time to examine the rocks more thoroughly. We may be able to do this on
the way back. We have but little time for geological work, for our way
is south and time is short, but we found that the main rock is sandstone
and on our way back we will collect some. I expect that this will be the
most southerly rock that we shall obtain, for we ought to reach the
plateau tomorrow, and then there will be no more land close to us. It
is gusty tonight, but beautifully clear. The altitude, according to the
hypsometer, is 6100 ft.

Note. When I showed the specimens to Professor David after our return to
the _Nimrod_, he stated definitely that some of them were coal and
others "mother of coal". The notes on geological matters in another
chapter will deal more fully with this very interesting discovery.



CHAPTER XXIII

ON THE PLATEAU TO THE FARTHEST SOUTH

DECEMBER 18. Almost up! The altitude tonight is 7400 ft. above
sea-level. This has been one of our hardest days, but worth it, for we
are just on the plateau at last. We started at 7.30 a.m., relaying the
sledges, and did 6 miles 600 yards, which means nearly 19 miles for the
day of actual travelling. All the morning we worked up loose, slippery
ice, hauling the sledges up one at a time by means of the alpine rope,
then pulling in harness on the less stiff rises. We camped for lunch at
12.45 p.m. on the crest of a rise close to the pressure and in the midst
of crevasses, into one of which I managed to fall, also Adams. Whilst
lunch was preparing I got some rock from the land, quite different to
the sandstone of yesterday. The mountains are all different just here.
The land on our left shows beautifully clear stratified lines, and on
the west side sandstone stands out, greatly weathered. All the afternoon
we relayed up a long snow slope, and we were hungry and tired when we
reached camp. We have been saving food to make it spin out, and that
increases our hunger; each night we all dream of foods. We save two
biscuits per man per day, also pemmican and sugar, eking out our food
with pony maize, which we soak in water to make it less hard. All this
means that we have now five weeks' food, while we are about 300
geographical miles from the Pole, with the same distance back to the
last depot we left yesterday, so we must march on short food to reach
our goal. The temperature is plus 16° Fahr. tonight, but a cold wind
all the morning cut our faces and broken lips. We keep crevasses with us
still, but I think that tomorrow will see the end of this. When we
passed the main slope today, more mountains appeared to the west of
south, some with sheer cliffs and others rounded off, ending in long
snow slopes. I judge the southern limit of the mountains to the west to
be about latitude 86° South.

_December_ 19. Not on the plateau level yet, though we are tonight 7888
ft. up, and still there is another rise ahead of us. We got breakfast at
5 a.m. and started at 7 a.m. sharp, taking on one sledge. Soon we got to
the top of a ridge, and went back for the second sledge, then hauled
both together all the rest of the day. The weight was about 200 lb. per
man, and we kept going until 6 p.m., with a stop of one hour for lunch.
We got a meridian altitude at noon, and found that our latitude was 85°
5' South. We seem unable to get rid of the crevasses, and we have been
falling into them and steering through them all day in the face of a
cold southerly wind, with a temperature varying from plus 15° to plus 9°
Fahr. The work was very heavy, for we were going uphill all day, and our
sledge runners, which have been suffering from the sharp ice and rough
travelling, are in a bad way. Soft snow in places greatly retarded our
progress, but we have covered our ten miles, and now are camped on good
snow between two crevasses. I really think that tomorrow will see us on
the plateau proper. This glacier must be one of the largest if not the
largest in the world. The sastrugi seem to point mainly to the south, so
we may expect head winds all the way to the Pole. Marshall has a cold
job tonight, taking the angles of the new mountains to the west, some
of which appeared today. After dinner we examined the sledge runners
and turned one sledge end for end, for it had been badly torn while we
were coming up the glacier, and in the soft snow it clogged greatly. We
are still favoured with splendid weather, and that is a great comfort to
us, for it would be almost impossible under other conditions to travel
amongst these crevasses, which are caused by the congestion of the ice
between the headlands when it was flowing from the plateau down between
the mountains. Now there is comparatively little movement, and many of
the crevasses have become snow-filled. Tonight we are 290 geographical
miles from the Pole. We are thinking of our Christmas dinner. We will be
full that day, anyhow.

_December_ 20. Not yet up, but nearly so. We got away from camp at 7
a.m., with a strong head wind from the south, and this wind continued
all day, with a temperature ranging from plus 7° to plus 5°. Our beards
coated with ice. It was an uphill pull all day around pressure ice, and
we reached an altitude of over 8000 ft. above sea-level. The weather was
clear, but there were various clouds, which were noted by Adams.
Marshall took bearings and angles at noon, and we got the sun's
meridian altitude, showing that we were in latitude 85° 17' South. We
hope all the time that each ridge we come to will be the last, but each
time another rises ahead, split up by pressure, and we begin the same
toil again. It is trying work and as we have now reduced our food at
breakfast to one pannikin of hoosh and one biscuit, by the time the
lunch hour has arrived, after five hours' hauling in the cold wind up
the slope, we are very hungry. At lunch we have a little chocolate, tea
with plasmon, a pannikin of cocoa and three biscuits. Today we did 11
miles 950 yards (statute) having to relay the sledges over the last bit,
for the ridge we were on was so steep that we could not get the two
sledges up together. Still, we are getting on; we have only 279 more
miles to go, and then we will have reached the Pole. The land appears to
run away to the south-east now, and soon we will be just a speck on this
great inland waste of snow and ice. It is cold tonight. I am cook for
the week, and started tonight. Every one is fit and well.

_December_ 21.--Midsummer Day, with 28° of frost! We have frostbitten
fingers and ears, and a strong blizzard wind has been blowing from the
south all day, all due to the fact that we have climbed to an altitude
of over 8000 ft. above sea-level. From early morning we have been
striving to the south, but six miles is the total distance gained, for
from noon, or rather from lunch at 1 p.m., we have been hauling the
sledges up, one after the other, by standing pulls across crevasses and
over great pressure ridges. When we had advanced one sledge some
distance, we put up a flag on a bamboo to mark its position, and then
roped up and returned for the other. The wind, no doubt, has a great
deal to do with the low temperature, and we feel the cold, as we are
going on short commons. The altitude adds to the difficulties, but we
are getting south all the time. We started away from camp at 6.45 a.m.
today, and except for an hour's halt at lunch, worked on until 6 p.m.
Now we are camped in a filled-up crevasse, the only place where snow to
put round the tents can be obtained, for all the rest of the ground we
are on is either névé or hard ice. We little thought that this
particular pressure ridge was going to be such an obstacle; it looked
quite ordinary, even a short way off, but we have now decided to trust
nothing to eyesight, for the distances are so deceptive up here. It is a
wonderful sight to look down over the glacier from the great altitude we
are at, and to see the mountains stretching away east and west, some of
them over 15,000 ft. in height. We are very hungry now, and it seems as
cold almost as the spring sledging. Our beards are masses of ice all day
long. Thank God we are fit and well and have had no accident, which is a
mercy, seeing that we have covered over 130 miles of crevassed ice.

_December_ 22. As I write of today's events, I can easily imagine I am
on a spring sledging journey, for the temperature is minus 5° Fahr. and
a chilly south-easterly wind is blowing and finds its way through the
walls of our tent, which are getting worn. All day long, from 7 a.m.,
except for the hour when we stopped for lunch, we have been relaying the
sledges over the pressure mounds and across crevasses. Our total
distance to the good for the whole day was only four miles southward,
but this evening our prospects look brighter, for we must now have come
to the end of the great glacier. It is flattening out, and except for
crevasses there will not be much trouble in hauling the sledges
tomorrow. One sledge today, when coming down with a run over a
pressure ridge, turned a complete somersault, but nothing was damaged,
in spite of the total weight being over 400 lb. We are now dragging 400
lb. at a time up the steep slopes and across the ridges, working with
the alpine rope all day, and roping ourselves together when we go back
for the second sledge, for the ground is so treacherous that many times
during the day we are saved only by the rope from falling into
fathomless pits. Wild describes the sensation of walking over this
surface, half ice and half snow, as like walking over the glass roof of
a station. The usual query when one of us falls into a crevasse is:
"Have you found it?" One gets somewhat callous as regards the immediate
danger, though we are always glad to meet crevasses with their coats
off, that is, not hidden by the snow covering. Tonight we arc camped in
a filled-in crevasse. Away to the north down the glacier a thick cumulus
cloud is lying, but some of the largest mountains are standing out
clearly. Immediately behind us lies a broken sea of pressure ice. Please
God, ahead of us there is a clear road to the Pole.

_December_ 23. Eight thousand eight hundred and twenty feet up, and
still steering upwards amid great waves of pressure and ice-falls, for
our plateau, after a good morning's march, began to rise in higher
ridges, so that it really was not the plateau after all. Today's
crevasses have been far more dangerous than any others we have crossed,
as the soft snow hides all trace of them until we fall through.
Constantly today one or another of the party has had to be hauled out
from a chasm by means of his harness, which had alone saved him from
death in the icy vault below. We started at 6.40 a.m. and worked on
steadily until 6 p.m., with the usual lunch hour in the middle of the
day. The pony maize does not swell in the water now, as the temperature
is very low and the water freezes. The result is that it swells inside
after we have eaten it. We are very hungry indeed, and talk a great deal
of what we would like to eat. In spite of the crevasses, we have done
thirteen miles today to the south, and we are now in latitude 85° 41'
South. The temperature at noon was plus 6° Fahr. and at 6 p.m. it was
minus 1° Fahr., but it is much lower at night. There was a strong
south-east to south-south-east wind blowing all day, and it was cutting
to our noses and burst lips. Wild was frostbitten. I do trust that
tomorrow will see the end of this bad travelling, so that we can
stretch out our legs for the Pole.

_December_ 24. A much better day for us; indeed, the brightest we have
had since entering our Southern Gateway. We started off at 7 a.m. across
waves and undulations of ice, with some one or other of our little party
falling through the thin crust of snow every now and then. At 10.30 a.m.
I decided to steer more to the west, and we soon got on to a better
surface, and covered 5 miles 250 yards in the forenoon. After lunch, as
the surface was distinctly improving, we discarded the second sledge,
and started our afternoon's march with one sledge. It has been blowing
freshly from the south and drifting all day, and this, with over 40° of
frost, has coated our faces with ice. We get superficial frostbites
every now and then. During the afternoon the surface improved greatly,
and the cracks and crevasses disappeared, but we are still going uphill,
and from the summit of one ridge saw some new land, which runs
south-south-east down to latitude 86° South. We camped at 6 p.m., very
tired and with cold feet. We have only the clothes we stand up in now,
as we depoted everything else, and this continued rise means lower
temperatures than I had anticipated. Tonight we are 9095 ft. above
sea-level, and the way before us is still rising. I trust that it will
soon level out, for it is hard work pulling at this altitude. So far
there is no sign of the very hard surface that Captain Scott speaks of
in connection with his journey on the Northern Plateau. There seem to be
just here regular layers of snow, not much windswept, but we will see
better the surface conditions in a few days. Tomorrow will be Christmas
Day, and our thoughts turn to home and all the attendant joys of the
time. One longs to hear "the hansoms slurring through the London mud."
Instead of that we are lying in a little tent, isolated high on the roof
of the end of the world, far, indeed, from the ways trodden of men.
Still, our thoughts can fly across the wastes of ice and snow and across
the oceans to those whom we are striving for and who are thinking of us
now. And, thank God, we are nearing our goal. The distance covered
today was 11 miles 250 yards.

_December_ 25. Christmas Day. There has been from 45° to 48° of frost,
drifting snow and a strong biting south wind, and such has been the
order of the day's march from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. up one of the steepest
rises we have yet done, crevassed in places. Now, as I write, we are
9500 ft. above sea-level, and our latitude at 6 p.m. was 85° 55' South.
We started away after a good breakfast, and soon came to soft snow,
through which our worn and torn sledge-runners dragged heavily. All
morning we hauled along, and at noon had done 5 miles 250 yards. Sights
gave us latitude 85° 51' South. We had lunch then, and I took a
photograph of the camp with the Queen's flag flying and also our tent
flags, my companions being in the picture. It was very cold, the
temperature being minus 16° Fahr., and the wind went through us. All the
afternoon we worked steadily uphill, and we could see at 6 p.m. the new
land plainly trending to the south-east. This land is very much
glaciated. It is comparatively bare of snow, and there are well-defined
glaciers on the side of the range, which seems to end up in the
south-east with a large mountain like a keep. We have called it "The
Castle." Behind these the mountains have more gentle slopes and are more
rounded. They seem to fall away to the south-east, so that, as we are
going south, the angle opens and we will soon miss them. When we camped
at 6 p.m. the wind was decreasing. It is hard to understand this soft
snow with such a persistent wind, and I can only suppose that we have
not yet reached the actual plateau level, and that the snow we are
travelling over just now is on the slopes, blown down by the south and
south-east wind. We had a splendid dinner. First came hoosh, consisting
of pony ration boiled up with pemmican and some of our emergency Oxo and
biscuit. Then in the cocoa water I boiled our little plum pudding, which
a friend of Wild's had given him. This, with a drop of medical brandy,
was a luxury which Lucullus himself might have envied; then came cocoa,
and lastly cigars and a spoonful of _creme de menthe_ sent us by a
friend in Scotland. We are full tonight, and this is the last time we
will be for many a long day. After dinner we discussed the situation,
and we have decided to still further reduce our food. We have now nearly
500 miles, geographical, to do if we are to get to the Pole and back to
the spot where we are at the present moment. We have one month's food,
but only three weeks' biscuit, so we are going to make each week's food
last ten days. We will have one biscuit in the morning, three at midday,
and two at night. It is the only thing to do. Tomorrow we will throw
away everything except the most absolute necessities. Already we are, as
regards clothes, down to the limit, but we must trust to the old
sledge-runners and dump the spare ones. One must risk this. We are very
far away from all the world, and home thoughts have been much with us
today, thoughts interrupted by pitching forward into a hidden crevasse
more than once. Ah, well, we shall see all our own people when the work
here is done. Marshall took our temperatures tonight. We are all two
degrees sub normal, but as fit as can be. It is a fine open-air life and
we are getting south.

_December_ 26. Got away at 7 a.m. sharp, after dumping a lot of gear. We
marched steadily all day except for lunch, and we have done 14 miles 480
yards on an uphill march, with soft snow at times and a bad wind. Ridge
after ridge we met, and though the surface is better and harder in
places, we feel very tired at the end of ten hours' pulling. Our height
tonight is 9590 ft. above sea-level according to the hypsometer. The
ridges we meet with are almost similar in appearance. We see the sun
shining on them in the distance, and then the rise begins very
gradually. The snow gets soft, and the weight of the sledge becomes more
marked. As we near the top the soft snow gives place to a hard surface,
and on the summit of the ridge we find small crevasses. Every time we
reach the top of a ridge we say to ourselves: "Perhaps this is the
last", but it never is the last; always there appears away ahead of us
another ridge. I do not think that the land lies very far below the
ice-sheet, for the crevasses on the summits of the ridges suggest that
the sheet is moving over land at no great depth. It would seem that the
descent towards the glacier proper from the plateau is by a series of
terraces. We lost sight of the land today, having left it all behind
us, and now we have the waste of snow all around. Two more days and our
maize will be finished. Then our hooshes will be more woefully thin than
ever. This shortness of food is unpleasant, but if we allow ourselves
what, under ordinary circumstances, would be a reasonable amount, we
would have to abandon all idea of getting far south.

_December_ 27. If a great snow plain, rising every seven miles in a
steep ridge, can be called a plateau, then we are on it at last, with an
altitude above the sea of 9820 ft. We started at 7 a.m. and marched till
noon, encountering at 11 a.m. a steep snow ridge which pretty well
cooked us, but we got the sledge up by noon and camped. We are pulling
150 lb. per man. In the afternoon we had good going till 5 p.m. and then
another ridge as difficult as the previous one, so that our backs and
legs were in a bad way when we reached the top at 6 p.m., having done 14
miles 930 yards for the day. Thank heaven it has been a fine day, with
little wind. The temperature is minus 9° Fahr. This surface is most
peculiar, showing layers of snow with little sastrugi all pointing
south-south-east. Short food make us think of plum puddings, and hard
half-cooked maize gives us indigestion, but we are getting south. The
latitude is 86° 19' South tonight. Our thoughts are with the people at
home a great deal.

_December_ 28. If the Barrier is a changing sea, the plateau is a
changing sky. During the morning march we continued to go up hill
steadily, but the surface was constantly changing. First there was soft
snow in layers, then soft snow so deep that we were well over our
ankles, and the temperature being well below zero, our feet were cold
through sinking in. No one can say what we are going to find next, but
we can go steadily ahead. We started at 6.55 a.m., and had done 7 miles
200 yards by noon, the pulling being very hard. Some of the snow is
blown into hard sastrugi, some that looks perfectly smooth and hard has
only a thin crust through which we break when pulling; all of it is a
trouble. Yesterday we passed our last crevasse, though there are a few
cracks or ridges fringed with shining crystals like diamonds, warning us
that the cracks are open. We are now 10,199 ft. above sea-level, and the
plateau is gradually flattening out, but it was heavy work pulling this
afternoon. The high altitude, and a temperature of 48° of frost made
breathing and work difficult. We are getting south&mdashlatitude 86° 31'
South tonight. The last sixty miles we hope to rush, leaving everything
possible, taking one tent only and using the poles of the other as marks
every ten miles, for we will leave all our food sixty miles off the Pole
except enough to carry us there and back. I hope with good weather to
reach the Pole on January 12, and then we will try and rush it to get to
Hut Point by February 28. We are so tired after each hour's pulling that
we throw ourselves on our backs for a three minutes' spell. It took us
over ten hours to do 14 miles 450 yards today, but we did it all right.
It is a wonderful thing to be over 10,000 ft. up at the end of the world
almost. The short food is trying, but when we have done the work we will
be happy. Adams had a bad headache all yesterday, and today I had the
same trouble, but it is better now. Otherwise we are all fit and well. I
think the country is flattening out more and more, and hope tomorrow to
make fifteen miles, at least.

_December_ 29. Yesterday I wrote that we hoped to do fifteen miles
today, but such is the variable character of this surface that one
cannot prophesy with any certainty an hour ahead. A strong southerly
wind, with from 44° to 49° of frost, combined with the effect of short
rations, made our distance 12 miles 600 yards instead. We have reached
an altitude of 10,310 ft., and an uphill gradient gave us one of the
most severe pulls for ten hours that would be possible. It looks
serious, for we must increase the food if we are to get on at all, and
we must risk a depot at seventy miles off the Pole and dash for it then.
Our sledge is badly strained, and on the abominably bad surface of soft
snow is dreadfully hard to move. I have been suffering from a bad
headache all day, and Adams also was worried by the cold. I think that
these headaches are a form of mountain sickness, due to our high
altitude. The others have bled from the nose, and that must relieve
them. Physical effort is always trying at a high altitude, and we are
straining at the harness all day, sometimes slipping in the soft snow
that overlies the hard sastrugi. My head is very bad. The sensation is
as though the nerves were being twisted up with a corkscrew and then
pulled out. Marshall took our temperatures tonight, and we are all at
about 94°, but in spite of this we are getting south. We are only 198
miles off our goal now. If the rise would stop the cold would not
matter, but it is hard to know what is man's limit. We have only 150 lb.
per man to pull, but it is more severe work than the 250 lb. per man up
the glacier was. The Pole is hard to get.

_December_ 30. We only did 4 miles 100 yards today. We started at 7
a.m., but had to camp at 11 a.m., a blizzard springing up from the
south. It is more than annoying. I cannot express my feelings. We were
pulling at last on a level surface, but very soft snow, when at about 10
a.m. the south wind and drift commenced to increase, and at 11 a.m. it
was so bad that we had to camp. And here all day we have been lying in
our sleeping-bags trying to keep warm and listening to the threshing
drift on the tent-side. I am in the cooking-tent, and the wind comes
through, it is so thin. Our precious food is going and the time also,
and it is so important to us to get on. We lie here and think of how to
make things better, but we cannot reduce food now, and the only thing
will be to rush all possible at the end. We will do, and are doing all
humanly possible. It is with Providence to help us.

_December_ 31. The last day of the old year, and the hardest day we have
had almost, pushing through soft snow uphill with a strong head wind and
drift all day. The temperature is minus 7° Fahr., and our altitude is
10,4.77 ft. above sea-level. The altitude is trying. My head has been
very bad all day, and we are all feeling the short food, but still we
are getting south. We are in latitude 86° 54' South tonight, but we
have only three weeks' food and two weeks' biscuit to do nearly 500
geographical miles. We can only do our best. Too tired to write more
tonight. We all get iced-up about our faces, and are on the verge of
frostbite all the time. Please God the weather will be fine during the
next fourteen days. Then all will be well. The distance today was
eleven miles.

Note. If we had only known that we were going to get such cold weather
as we were at this time experiencing, we would have kept a pair of
scissors to trim our beards. The moisture from the condensation of
one's breath accumulated on the beard and trickled down on to the
Burberry blouse. Then it froze into a sheet of ice inside, and it became
very painful to pull the Burberry off in camp. Little troubles of this
sort would have seemed less serious to us if we had been able to get a
decent feed at the end of the day's work, but we were very hungry. We
thought of food most of the time. The chocolate certainly seemed better
than the cheese, because the two spoonfuls of cheese per man allowed
under our scale of diet would not last as long as the two sticks of
chocolate. We did not have both at the same meal. We had the bad luck at
this time to strike a tin in which the biscuits were thin and overbaked.
Under ordinary circumstances they would probably have tasted rather
better than the other biscuits, but we wanted bulk. We soaked them in
our tea so that they would swell up and appear larger, but if one soaked
a biscuit too much, the sensation of biting something was lost, and the
food seemed to disappear much too easily.

_January_ 1. Head too bad to write much. We did 11 miles 900 yards
(statute) today, and the latitude at 6 p.m. was 87° 6½' South, so we
have beaten North and South records. Struggling uphill all day in very
soft snow. Every one done up and weak from want of food. When we camped
at 6 p.m. fine warm weather, thank God. Only 172½ miles from the Pole.
The height above sea-level, now 10,755 ft., makes all work difficult.
Surface seems to be better ahead. I do trust it will be so tomorrow.

_January_ 2. Terribly hard work today. We started at 6.45 a.m. with a
fairly good surface, which soon became very soft. We were sinking in
over our ankles, and our broken sledge, by running sideways, added to
the drag. We have been going uphill all day, and tonight are 11,034 ft.
above sea-level. It has taken us all day to do 10 miles 450 yards,
though the weights are fairly light. A cold wind, with a temperature of
minus 14° Fahr., goes right through us now, as we are weakening from
want of food, and the high altitude makes every movement an effort,
especially if we stumble on the march. My head is giving me trouble all
the time. Wild seems the most fit of us. God knows we are doing all we
can, but the outlook is serious if this surface continues and the
plateau gets higher, for we are not travelling fast enough to make our
food spin out and get back to our depot in time. I cannot think of
failure yet. I must look at the matter sensibly and consider the lives
of those who are with me. I feel that if we go on too far it will be
impossible to get back over this surface, and then all the results will
be lost to the world. We can now definitely locate the South Pole on the
highest plateau in the world, and our geological work and meteorology
will be of the greatest use to science; but all this is not the Pole.
Man can only do his best, and we have arrayed against us the strongest
forces of nature. This cutting south wind with drift plays the mischief
with us, and after ten hours of struggling against it one pannikin of
food with two biscuits and a cup of cocoa does not warm one up much. I
must think over the situation carefully tomorrow, for time is going on
and food is going also.

_January_ 3. Started at 6.55 a.m., cloudy but fairly warm. The
temperature was minus 8° Fahr. at noon. We had a terrible surface all
the morning, and did only 5 miles 100 yards. A meridian altitude gave us
latitude 87° 22' South at noon. The surface was better in the afternoon,
and we did six geographical miles. The temperature at 6 p.m. was minus
11° Fahr. It was an uphill pull towards the evening, and we camped at
6.20 p.m., the altitude being 11,220 ft. above the sea. Tomorrow we
must risk making a depot on the plateau, and make a dash for it, but
even then, if this surface continues, we will be two weeks in carrying
it through.

_January_ 4. The end is in sight. We can only go for three more days at
the most, for we are weakening rapidly. Short food and a blizzard wind
from the south, with driving drift, at a temperature of 47° of frost
have plainly told us today that we are reaching our limit, for we were
so done up at noon with cold that the clinical thermometer failed to
register the temperature of three of us at 94°. We started at 7.40 a.m.,
leaving a depot on this great wide plateau, a risk that only this case
justified, and one that my comrades agreed to, as they have to every one
so far, with the same cheerfulness and regardlessness of self that have
been the means of our getting as far as we have done so far.
Pathetically small looked the bamboo, one of the tent poles, with a bit
of bag sown on as a flag, to mark our stock of provisions, which has to
take us back to our depot, one hundred and fifty miles north. We lost
sight of it in half an hour, and are now trusting to our footprints in
the snow to guide us back to each bamboo until we pick up the depot
again. I trust that the weather will keep clear. Today we have done 12|
geographical miles, and with only 70 lb. per man to pull it is as hard,
even harder, work than the 100 odd lb. was yesterday, and far harder
than the 250 lb. were three weeks ago, when we were climbing the
glacier. This, I consider, is a clear indication of our failing
strength. The main thing against us is the altitude of 11,200 ft. and
the biting wind. Our faces are cut, and our feet and hands are always on
the verge of frostbite. Our fingers, indeed, often go, but we get them
round more or less. I have great trouble with two fingers on my left
hand. They have been badly jammed when we were getting the motor up over
the ice face at winter quarters, and the circulation is not good. Our
boots now are pretty well worn out, and we have to halt at times to pick
the snow out of the soles. Our stock of sennegrass is nearly exhausted,
so we have to use the same frozen stuff day after day. Another trouble
is that the lamp-wick with which we tie the finnesko is chafed through,
and we have to tie knots in it. These knots catch the snow under our
feet, making a lump that has to be cleared every now and then. I am of
the opinion that to sledge even in the height of summer on this plateau,
we should have at least forty ounces of food a day per man, and we are
on short rations of the ordinary allowance of thirty-two ounces. We
depoted our extra underclothing to save weight about three weeks ago,
and are now in the same clothes night and day. One suit of
underclothing, shirt and guernsey, and our thin Burberries, now all
patched. When we get up in the morning, out of the wet bag, our
Burberries become like a coat of mail at once, and our heads and beards
get iced-up with the moisture when breathing on the march. There is half
a gale blowing dead in our teeth all the time. We hope to reach within
100 geographical miles of the Pole; under the circumstances we can
expect to do very little more. I am confident that the Pole lies on the
great plateau we have discovered, miles and miles from any outstanding
land. The temperature tonight is minus 24° Fahr.

_January_ 5. Today head wind and drift again, with 50° of frost, and a
terrible surface. We have been marching through 8 in. of snow, covering
sharp sastrugi, which plays hell with our feet, but we have done 13 1/3
geographical miles, for we increased our food, seeing that it was
absolutely necessary to do this to enable us to accomplish anything. I
realise that the food we have been having has not been sufficient to
keep up our strength, let alone supply the wastage caused by exertion,
and now we must try to keep warmth in us, though our strength is being
used up. Our temperatures at 5 a.m. were 94° Fahr. We got away at 7 a.m.
sharp and marched till noon, then from 1 p.m. sharp till 6 p.m. All
being in one tent makes our camp-work slower, for we are so cramped for
room, and we get up at 4.40 a.m. so as to get away by 7 a.m. Two of us
have to stand outside the tent at night until things are squared up
inside, and we find it cold work. Hunger grips us hard, and the
food-supply is very small. My head still gives me great trouble. I began
by wishing that my worst enemy had it instead of myself, but now I don't
wish even my worst enemy to have such a headache; still, it is no use
talking about it. Self is a subject that most of us are fluent on. We
find the utmost difficulty in carrying through the day, and we can only
go for two or three more days. Never once has the temperature been above
zero since we got on to the plateau, though this is the height of
summer. We have done our best, and we thank God for having allowed us to
get so far.

_January_ 6. This must be our last outward march with the sledge and
camp equipment. Tomorrow we must leave camp with some food, and push as
far south as possible, and then plant the flag. Today's story is 57° of
frost, with a strong blizzard and high drift; yet we marched 13¼
geographical miles through soft snow, being helped by extra food. This
does not mean full rations, but a bigger ration than we have been having
lately. The pony maize is all finished. The most trying day we have yet
spent, our fingers and faces being frostbitten continually. Tomorrow
we will rush south with the flag. We are at 88° 7' South tonight. It is
our last outward march. Blowing hard tonight. I would fail to explain
my feelings if I tried to write them down, now that the end has come.
There is only one thing that lightens the disappointment, and that is
the feeling that we have done all we could. It is the forces of nature
that have prevented us from going right through. I cannot write more.

_January_ 7. A blinding, shrieking blizzard all day, with the
temperature ranging from 60° to 70° of frost. It has been impossible to
leave the tent, which is snowed up on the lee side. We have been lying
in our bags all day, only warm at food time, with fine snow making
through the walls of the worn tent and covering our bags. We are greatly
cramped. Adams is suffering from cramp every now and then. We are eating
our valuable food without marching. The wind has been blowing eighty to
ninety miles an hour. We can hardly sleep. Tomorrow I trust this will
be over. Directly the wind drops we march as far south as possible, then
plant the flag, and turn homeward. Our chief anxiety is lest our tracks
may drift up, for to them we must trust mainly to find our depot; we
have no land bearings in this great plain of snow. It is a serious risk
that we have taken, but we had to play the game to the utmost, and
Providence will look after us.

_January_ 8. Again all day in our bags, suffering considerably
physically from cold hands and feet, and from hunger, but more mentally,
for we cannot get on south, and we simply lie here shivering. Every now
and then one of our party's feet go, and the unfortunate beggar has to
take his leg out of the sleeping-bag and have his frozen foot nursed
into life again by placing it inside the shirt, against the skin of his
almost equally unfortunate neighbour. We must do something more to the
south, even though the food is going, and we weaken lying in the cold,
for with 72° of frost, the wind cuts through our thin tent, and even the
drift is finding its way in and on to our bags, which are wet enough as
it is. Cramp is not uncommon every now and then, and the drift all round
the tent has made it so small that there is hardly room for us at all.
The wind has been blowing hard all day; some of the gusts must be over
seventy or eighty miles an hour. This evening it seems as though it were
going to ease down, and directly it does we shall be up and away south
for a rush. I feel that this march must be our limit. We are so short of
food, and at this high altitude, 11,600 ft., it is hard to keep any
warmth in our bodies between the scanty meals. We have nothing to read
now, having depoted our little books to save weight, and it is dreary
work lying in the tent with nothing to read, and too cold to write much
in the diary.

_January_ 9. Our last day outwards. We have shot our bolt, and the tale
is latitude 88° 23' South, longitude 162° East. The wind eased down at 1
a.m., and at 2 a.m. were up and had breakfast. At 4 a.m. started south,
with the Queen's Union Jack, a brass cylinder containing stamps and
documents to place at the furthest south point, camera, glasses and
compass. At 9 a.m. we were in 88° 23' South, half running and half
walking over a surface much hardened by the recent blizzard. It was
strange for us to go along without the nightmare of a sledge dragging
behind us. We hoisted her Majesty's flag and the other Union Jack
afterwards, and took possession of the plateau in the name of his
Majesty. While the Union Jack blew out stiffly in the icy gale that cut
us to the bone, we looked south with our powerful glasses, but could see
nothing but the dead white snow plain. There was no break in the plateau
as it extended towards the Pole, and we feel sure that the goal we have
failed to reach lies on this plain. We stayed only a few minutes, and
then, taking the Queen's flag and eating our scanty meal as we went, we
hurried back and reached our camp about 3 p.m. We were so dead tired
that we only did two hours' march in the afternoon and camped at 5.30
p.m. The temperature was minus 19° Fahr. Fortunately for us, our tracks
were not obliterated by the blizzard; indeed, they stood up, making a
trail easily followed. Homeward bound at last. Whatever regrets may be,
we have done our best.



CHAPTER XXIV

THE RETURN MARCH

JANUARY 10. We started at 7.30 a.m. with a fair wind, and marched all
day, with a stop of one hour for lunch, doing over 18½ geographical
miles to the north. It has, indeed, been fortunate for us that we have
been able to follow our outward tracks, for the force of the gale had
torn the flags from the staffs. We will be all right when we pick up our
depot. It has been a big risk leaving our food on the great white plain,
with only our sledge tracks to guide us back. Tonight we are all tired
out, but we have put a good march behind us. The temperature is minus 9°
Fahr.

_January_ 11. A good day. We have done nearly 17 geographical miles. We
have picked up our depot and now are following the sledge tracks to the
north. The temperature has been minus 15° Fahr. There has been
tremendous wind here, and the sastrugi are enormous.

_January_ 12. We did 14 miles 100 yards today with little wind to help
us. The surface was very heavy and we found enormous sastrugi. The wind
is getting up tonight. I hope for a good breeze behind us tomorrow.

_January_ 13. It was heavy pulling all day, but we did a good distance
in spite of it, getting 15 miles 1650 yards to the north. We have the
sail up continually, but I cannot say that it has been very much help
today.

The temperature, minus 18° Fahr. nearly all the time, makes things very
cold, and we ourselves slept badly last night. I did not sleep at all,
for both my heels are frostbitten and have cracked open, and I also
have cracks under some of my toes; but we can march all right, and are
moving over the ground very fast. We must continue to do so, for we have
only about 20 lb. of biscuit to last us over 140 miles, and I expect
there will be little in the locker by the time we strike our glacier
head depot. The surface has been very severe today.

_January_ 14. A strong following blizzard all day gave us our best day's
run of the whole trip, 20 miles 1600 yards in ten hours. We decided to
cut down the rations by another biscuit, as we have only six days'
biscuit left on short ration, and 120 miles to go before we reach the
depot, so we feel very hungry, and with the temperature minus 18° Fahr.
to minus 21° Fahr. all day in the wind, one easily gets frostbitten.

_January_ 15. Started in a strong blizzard at 7.30 a.m. with a
temperature of minus 23° Fahr., and marched steadily till noon, doing 9½
miles; then marched from 1.30 p.m. till 6 p.m., making a total distance
for the day of 20 miles, statute. It has been thick, with a pale sun
only shining through, but we are still able to follow our old sledge
tracks, though at times they are very faint. Unfortunately, when we
halted at 3.30 p.m. for a spell, we found that the sledge meter had
disappeared, and discovered that it had broken off short at the brass
fitting. This is a serious loss to us, for all our Barrier distances
between depots are calculated on it, and although we have another
depoted at the foot of the glacier we do not know the slip. We now must
judge distance till we get a sight of land.

_January_ 16. With a strong following blizzard, we did 18½ miles to the
north today. My burst heels gave me great pain all day. Marshall
dressed them tonight. We saw the land again today after being out of
sight of it for three weeks nearly.

_January_ 17. Started sharp at 7 a.m., and in a fresh blizzard wind,
with a temperature of minus 23° Fahr., we did our best march, for it was
mainly downhill and we covered 22½ miles. At 10 a.m. we came up to our
Christmas camp, and there took on a bamboo we had left, and which now
comes in useful for our sail. This sail is now our great help. We
dropped over 500 ft. today, and in three days ought to reach our depot
at this rate.

_January_ 18. Our best day, 26½ miles downhill, with a strong following
wind. We have nearly got to the end of the main icefall. The temperature
has risen sensibly, it being minus 14° Fahr. tonight, and the
hypsometer, 196.5°, shows a good rise. With luck we may reach our depot
tomorrow night. With food now in hand, we had a decent feed tonight. I
have been very unlucky today, falling into many crevasses and hurting
my shoulder badly. I have also had many falls, besides the trouble with
the bad heels on the hard stuff.

_January_ 19. Another record day, for we have done about twenty-nine
miles to the north, rushing under sail down icefalls and through
crevasses, till, at 6 p.m., we picked up our sledge tracks of December
18 outwards. We camped, dead beat, at 6.30 p.m., and had a good hoosh.
We have descended to 7500 ft., and the temperature tonight is minus 14°
Fahr. We are now only 8½ miles from our depot, which we will reach
tomorrow morning, all being well. This strong blizzard wind has been an
immense help this way, though not outwards for us.

_January_ 20. Although we have not covered so much ground today, we
have had an infinitely harder time. We started at 7 a.m. on our tracks
of December 19, and at 7.30 passed the camp of the evening of the 18th.
For two hours we were descending a snow-slope, with heavy sastrugi, and
then struck a patch of badly crevassed névé, about half a mile across.
After that we got on to blue slippery ice, where our finnesko had no
hold. A gale was blowing, and often fierce gusts came along, sweeping
the sledge sideways, and knocking us off our feet. We all had many
falls, and I had two specially heavy ones which shook me up severely.
When we reached the steep slopes where we had roped the sledges up on
our outward journey, we lowered the sledge down by means of the alpine
rope, using an ice-axe as a bollard to lower by. On several occasions
one or more of us lost our footing, and were swept by the wind down the
ice-slope, with great difficulty getting back to our sledge and
companions. We arrived at our depot at 12.30 p.m. with sore and aching
bodies. The afternoon was rather better, as, after the first hour, we
got off the blue ice on to snow. However bad as the day has been, we
have said farewell to that awful plateau, and are well on our way down
the glacier.

_January_ 21. Started at 7.45 a.m. with a fresh southerly breeze, so we
still have valuable assistance from our sail. The heavy falls I had
yesterday have so shaken me that I have been very ill today. I
harnessed up for a while, but soon had to give up pulling and walk by
the sledge; but, as the course has been downhill nearly all day and a
fair wind has been assisting, the others have had no difficulty in
getting along at a good pace, and we have covered seventeen miles. The
weather is much warmer, the temperature tonight being about minus 1°
Fahr.

_January_ 22. Started at 7.30 a.m. on a good surface that changed to
crevassed ice slopes in the afternoon, down which we made fair progress.
Am still too ill to harness up, but as the pull was not much it did not
matter. Indeed, we had another man out of harness guiding the sledge.
The distance today was 15½ miles.

_January_ 23. Similar weather, surface and work. Fine and warm;
temperature plus 8° Fahr.

_January_ 24. One of our hardest day's work, and certainly the longest,
for we started at 6.45 a.m., went on till 12.50 p.m., had lunch, started
at 2 p M., went on till 6 p.m., had a cup of tea, and went on till 9
p.m. Then we had our single pot of hoosh and one biscuit, for we have
only two days' food left and one day's biscuit on much reduced ration,
and we have to cover forty miles of crevasses to reach our depot before
we can get any more food. I am now all right again, though rather weak.
We had a terribly hard time in the crevassed ice this morning, and now
our sledge has not much more than half a runner on one side, and is in a
very shaky state. However, I believe we are safe now. The distance
today was sixteen miles, statute.

_January_ 25. We started away from camp at 6.45 a.m., marched till noon,
when we had a cup of tea, and then marched till 3 p.m., when we had
lunch, consisting of a cup of tea, two biscuits, two spoonsful of
cheese. Then we marched till 9 p.m., when we had one pot of hoosh and
one biscuit. We did twenty-six miles; fine weather. The food is all
finished but one meal. No biscuit, only cocoa, tea, salt and pepper
left, very little of these also. Must reach depot tomorrow. It was
fairly good going today till the last two hours, and then we were
falling into most dangerous crevasses and were saved only by our
harness. Very tired indeed. Thank God warm and fine weather. We can see
our depot rock in the distance, so hope to reach it tomorrow. Turning
in now, 11 p.m.; breakfast as usual 5 a.m. The temperature is plus 12°
Fahr.

_January_ 26 and 27. Two days written up as one, and they have been the
hardest and most trying we have ever spent in our lives, and will ever
stand in our memories. Tonight (the 27th) we have had our first solid
food since the morning of the 26th. We came to the end of all our
provisions except a little cocoa and tea, and from 7 a.m. on the 26th
till 2 p.m. on the 27th we did sixteen miles over the worst surfaces and
most dangerous crevasses we have ever encountered, only stopping for tea
or cocoa till they were finished, and marching twenty hours at a
stretch, through snow 10 to 18 in. thick as a rule, with sometimes 2½
ft. of it. We fell into hidden crevasses time after time, and were saved
by each other and by our harness. In fact, only an all-merciful
Providence has guided our steps to tonight's safety at our depot. I
cannot describe adequately the mental and physical strain of the last
forty-eight hours. When we started at 7 a.m. yesterday, we immediately
got into soft snow, an uphill pull with hidden crevasses. The biscuit
was all finished, and with only one pannikin of hoosh, mostly pony
maize, and one of tea, we marched till noon. Then we had one pannikin of
tea and one ounce of chocolate, and marched till 4.45 p.m. We had one
pannikin of tea. There was no more food. We marched till 10 p.m., then
one small pannikin of cocoa. Marched till 2 a.m., when we were played
out. We had one pannikin of cocoa, and slept till 8 a.m. Then a pannikin
of cocoa, and we marched till 1 p.m. and camped, about half a mile from
the depot. Marshall went on for food, and we got a meal at 2 p.m. We
turned in and slept. Adams fell exhausted in his harness, but recovered
and went on again. Wild did the same the night before.

_January_ 28. Thank God we are on the Barrier again at last. We got up
at 1 a.m. this morning, had breakfast, consisting of tea and one
biscuit, and got under way at 3 a.m. We reached the depot in half an
hour without any difficulty. The snow here was deep enough to carry us
over the crevasses that had impeded our progress so much on the outward
march. We had proper breakfast at 5 a.m. then dug out our depot. The
alternate falls of snow and thaws had frozen solidly in a great deal of
our gear, and our spare sledge meter was deeply buried. We marched along
till we were close to the Gap, then had lunch. At 1 p.m. we were through
the Gap and on to the crevassed and ridged Barrier surface. We are now
safe, with six days' food and only fifty miles to the depot, but Wild
has developed dysentery. We are at a loss to know what is the cause of
it. It may possibly be due to the horse-meat. The weather has been
fairly fine all day, though clouding up from the south towards noon, and
we were assisted by a fresh southerly breeze up the slope to the head of
the Gap. Indeed, we needed it, for the heavy surface and our dilapidated
sledge made the hauling extremely hard. Just before we left the glacier
I broke through the soft snow, plunging into a hidden crevasse. My
harness jerked up under my heart, and gave me rather a shake up. It
seemed as though the glacier were saying: "There is the last touch for
you; don't you come up here again." It was with a feeling of intense
relief that we left this great glacier, for the strain has been hard,
and now we know that except for blizzards and thick weather, which two
factors can alone prevent us from finding our depots in good time, we
will be all right. The light became bad this evening when we were on the
last hour before camping, and we cannot say for certain whether we are
clear of the main chasm by the land or not, so must give its line of
direction a wide berth. The temperature is well up, plus 26° Fahr., and
it is warm indeed after the minus temperatures which have been our lot
for the last month or so.

_January_ 29. We are having a most unfriendly greeting from the Barrier.
We got up as usual and had breakfast at 5.30 a.m., the weather thick and
overcast, but the land showing enough for us to steer by. We got away
at 7.20 a.m., and soon after it began to snow, which in a temperature of
plus 30° Fahr. melted on the sledge and all our gear, making everything
into a miserably wet state. We had to put the compass down every now and
then, for it became too thick to see any landmarks, and at 9.30 the wind
suddenly sprang up from the east, cold and strong, freezing solid all our
wet clothes, and the various things on the sledge. It was blowing a
blizzard with snow and heavy drift in less than five minutes from the
time the wind started, and with difficulty we managed to get up one tent
and crawl into it, where we waited in the hope that the weather would
clear. As there was no sign of an improvement at noon we pitched the
other tent, had food, and lay in our bags patching our worn-out clothes.
All day the blizzard has continued to blow hard, with extra violent
gusts at times. Our tents get snowed up, and we have to clear them by
kicking at the snow every now and then.

_January_ 30. We made a start at 8.15 a.m., after spending
three-quarters of an hour digging out our sledges and tents from the
drift of the blizzard, which stopped at 1 a.m. It was clear over part of
the land as we started, but soon snow began to fall again and the
weather became very thick; yet, steering on a course, we came through
the crevasses and drift without even touching one, though before, in
good light, we have had to turn and twist to avoid them. The surface was
heavy for pulling on, owing to the fine snow from the blizzard, but we did
thirteen miles for the day, working a full ten hours till 7.50 p.m. The
weather cleared right up in the afternoon, and we made a good course.
Wild is seedy today, but we hope that as soon as he reaches Grisi depot
he will be better. We have no variety of food, and only have four
miserably thin biscuits a day to eke out the horse-meat. The plasmon is
all finished and so are we ourselves by the end of the day's march. The
sledge also is in a terribly bad state, but as soon as we reach the
depot all will be well. The surface in the afternoon improved, and is
much better than we had hoped for. The temperature is plus 24° Fahr.,
fine and warm. A heavy day's pull, but we were assisted by the wind in
the afternoon. Wild is still seedy, just walking in harness. The surface
is good, and we are rapidly nearing the depot. Short of food, down to
twenty ounces a day. Very tired. Good weather.

_January_ 31. Started at 7 a.m., Wild bad with dysentery. Picked up
mound 4 p.m., and camped at 6 p.m. Very bad surface. Did 13| miles.

_February_ 1. Started 7 a.m.; awful surface at times. Wild very bad.
Picked up mound. Camped 6 p.m., having done nearly fourteen miles.

_February_ 2. Started at 6.40 a.m. and camped 7 p.m. at depot. Wild and
self dysentery; dead tired, bad surface, with undulations. Did 13|
miles. Ray's birthday, celebrated with two lumps of sugar, making five
each in cocoa.

_February_ 3. Started with new sledge and 150 lb., more weight at 8.40
a.m.; camped 5.30 p.m. Only five miles; awfully soft snow surface. All
acute dysentery due to meat. Trust that sleep will put us right. Could
go no further tonight. Wild very bad, sell weaker, others assailed
also. Bad light, short food, surface worse than ever. Snow one foot
deep. Got up 4.30 a.m. after going to bed 11 p.m. No more tonight.
Temperature plus 5° Fahr. Dull.

_February_ 4. Cannot write more. All down with acute dysentery; terrible
day. No march possible; outlook serious.... Fine weather.

_February_ 5. Eight miles today; dead tired. Dysentery better, but
Adams not too right. Camped at 5.30 p.m. We are picking up the mounds
well. Too weak on half ration to write much. Still hanging on to
geological specimens. Please God we will get through all right. Great
anxiety.

_February_ 6. Did ten miles today. All better and a better surface.
Terribly hungry. Six biscuits per day and one pannikin horse-meat each
meal. Picked up November 28 mound and made camp. I do trust this hunger
will not weaken us too much. It has been great anxiety. Thank God the
dysentery stopped and the surface better. We may do more tomorrow, as
there are signs of wind from the south-east. Temperature plus 9° Fahr.

_February_ 7. Blowing hard blizzard. Kept going till 6 p.m. Adams and
Marshall renewed dysentery. Dead tired. Short food; very weak.

_February_ 8. Did twelve miles. We had fine weather after 10 a.m.
Started from camp in blizzard. Adams and Marshall still dysentery; Wild
and I all right. Feel starving for food. Talk of it all day. Anyhow,
getting north, thank God. Sixty-nine miles to Chinaman depot.

_February_ 9. Strong following blizzard, and did 14½ miles to north.
Adams not fit yet. All thinking and talking of food.

_February_ 10. Strong following wind. Did 20 miles 300 yards.
Temperature plus 22° Fahr. All thinking and talking of food.

_February_ 11. We did 161 miles today, and continued to pick up the
mounds, which is a great comfort. The temperature is plus 20° Fahr.
tonight. All our thoughts are of food. We ought to reach the depot in
two days. Now we are down to half a pannikin of meat and five biscuits a
day. Adams not all right yet, and Wild shaky tonight. Good surface and
following wind. We were up at 4.45 a.m. and camped at 6 p.m.

_February_ 12. Fine day, with no wind. We were up at 4.30 a.m., and
marched till 6 p.m., doing 141 miles. Adams sighted the depot flag at 6
p.m. The temperature has ranged from plus 5° to plus 20° Fahr. Passed
sastrugi running south-south-east in the afternoon. Slight westerly
wind. Very tired.

_February_ 13. Breakfast at 4.40 a.m. We packed up, with a cold wind
blowing, and reached the depot, with all our food finished, at 11.30
a.m. There we got Chinaman's liver, which we have had tonight. It
tasted splendid. We looked round for any spare bits of meat, and while I
was digging in the snow I came across some hard red stuff. Chinaman's
blood frozen into a solid core. We dug it up, and found it a welcome
addition to our food. It was like beef tea when boiled up. The distance
today was twelve miles, with a light wind.

_February_ 14. A good surface today, but no wind. The pulling was hard,
and the temperature plus 10° to plus 18° Fahr. We did ll¾ miles. We are
still weak, but better, the horse-blood helps. Burst lips are our
greatest trouble.

_February_ 15. My birthday today. I was given a present of a cigarette
made out of pipe tobacco and some coarse paper we had with us. It was
delicious. A hard pull today, and my head is very bad again. The
distance was 12¼ miles, with a fairly good surface and fine weather. We
are picking up our mounds with great regularity. The land can be seen
faintly through the haze in the distance. We have found undulations even
out here, but not very marked, running in the usual direction.
Temperature minus 3° Fahr. at noon.

_February_ 16. A fair surface today, but no wind. The sastrugi are
disappearing. We are appallingly hungry. We are down to about half a
pannikin of half-cooked horse-meat a meal and four biscuits a day. We
covered thirteen miles today, with the temperature from zero to minus
7° Fahr. There are appearances of wind from the south, long windy
streamers of torn stratus. We are so weak now that even to lift our
depleted provision bag is an effort. When we break camp in the morning
we pull the tent off the poles and take it down before we move the
things inside, for the effort of lifting the sleeping-bags, &c., through
the doorway is too great. At night when we have come to camp we
sometimes have to lift our legs one at a time with both hands in getting
into the tent. It seems a severe strain to lift one's feet without aid
after we have stiffened from the day's march. Our fingers are extremely
painful. Some of us have big blisters that burst occasionally.

_February_ 17. I thought we were in for it and was not wrong. Today we
have been marching in a blinding blizzard, with 42° of frost, but,
thank heaven, the wind was behind us and we have done nineteen miles,
the sledge with the sail up often overrunning us, and then at other
times getting into a patch of soft snow and bringing us up with a jerk.
The harness round our weakened stomachs gives us a good deal of pain
when we are brought up suddenly. We started at 6.40 a.m. and marched
till 6 p.m., and today we had three pannikins of semi-cooked
horse-meat and six biscuits on the strength of the good march. We all
have tragic dreams of getting food to eat, but rarely have the
satisfaction of dreaming that we are actually eating. Last night I did
taste bread and butter. We look at each other as we eat our scanty meals
and feel a distinct grievance if one man manages to make his hoosh last
longer than the rest of us. Sometimes we do our best to save a bit of
biscuit for the next meal, but it is a much debated question whether it
is best to eat all the food at once or to save. I eat all my lunch
biscuit, but keep a bit from dinner to eat in the bag so as to induce
sleep. The smaller the quantity of biscuits grows the more delicious
they taste.

_February_ 18. The wind dropped during the night, and at 4.40 a.m. we
got up, picked our buried sledge out of the drift, and were under way by
7 a.m. There was little wind, and the temperature was minus 20° Fahr. at
noon. This afternoon we sighted old Discovery. What a home-like
appearance it has. Its big, bluff form showed out in the north-west, and
we felt that the same mountain might at that very moment be drawing the
eyes of our own people at winter quarters. It seemed to be a connecting
link. Perhaps they will be wondering whether we are in sight of it.

_February_ 19. A very cold south wind today, but we turned out at 4.40
a.m., with a temperature of minus 20° Fahr. We have been hungry and cold
all day, but did 14¼ miles on a good surface. We sighted Mount Erebus in
the morning. The old landmarks are so pleasant. Camped at 6 p.m.,
temperature minus 10° Fahr. We ought to reach Depot A tomorrow. We have
picked up the last mound except one. If we had food all would be well,
but we are now at the end of our supplies again, except for some scraps
of meat scraped off the bones of Grisi after they had been lying on the
snow in the sun for all these months. We dare not risk it until the
worst comes. Still in five days more we ought to be in the land of
plenty.

_February_ 20. Started to get up at 4.40 a.m. It is almost a farce to
talk of getting up to "breakfast" now, and there is no call of "Come
on, boys; good hoosh". No good hoosh is to be had. In less time than it
has taken me to write this the food is finished, and then our hopes and
thoughts lie wholly in the direction of the next feed, so called from
force of habit. It was dull and overcast today, and we could see only a
little way. Still we made progress, and at 4 p.m. we reached Depot A.
The distance for the day was fourteen miles, with 52° of frost. We
sighted the depot at 2.30 p.m., and now we have enough food to carry us
to the Bluff Depot. We had run out of food when we reached the depot
today, and we have had a good hoosh tonight. The unaccustomed pemmican
fat made me feel quite queer, but I enjoyed the pudding we made out of
biscuits and the tin of jam which we originally intended to have for
Christmas Day, but which we left behind when on the way south in order
to save weight. Our depoted tobacco and cigarettes were here, and it is
difficult to describe the enjoyment and luxury of a good smoke. I am
sure that the tobacco will make up for the shortage of food. I do not
doubt but that the Bluff Depot will have been laid all right by Joyce.
Anyhow we must stake on it, for we have not enough food to carry us to
the ship. Joyce knows his work well, and we talk now of nothing but the
feeds that we will have when we reach the Bluff. That depot has been the
bright beacon ahead through these dark days of hunger. Each time we took
in another hole in our belts we have said that it will be all right when
we get to the Bluff Depot, and now we are getting towards it.

_February_ 21. We got up at 4.40 a.m., just as it commenced to blow, and
the wind continued all day, a blizzard with as low as 67° of frost. We
could not get warm, but we did twenty miles. In ordinary polar work one
would not think of travelling in such a severe blizzard, but our need is
extreme, and we must keep going. It is neck or nothing with us now. Our
food lies ahead, and death stalks us from behind. This is just the time
of the year when the most bad weather may be expected. The sun now
departs at night, and the darkness is palpable by the time we turn in,
generally about 9.30 p.m. We are so thin that our bones ache as we lie
on the hard snow in our sleeping-bags, from which a great deal of the
hair has gone. Tonight we stewed some of the scraps of Grisi meat, and
the dish tasted delicious. Too cold to write more. Thank God, we are
nearing the Bluff.

_February_ 22. A splendid day. We did 20½ miles, and on the strength of
the distance had a good feed. About 11 a.m. we suddenly came across the
tracks of a party of four men, with dogs. Evidently the weather has been
fine and they have been moving at a good pace towards the south. We
could tell that the weather has been fine, for they were wearing ski
boots instead of finnesko, and occasionally we saw the stump of a
cigarette. The length of the steps showed that they were going fast. We
are now camped on the tracks, which are fairly recent, and we will try
to follow them to the Bluff, for they must have come from the depot.
This assures us that the depot was laid all right. I cannot imagine who
the fourth man can be, unless it was Buckley, who might be there now
that the ship is in. We passed their noon camp, and I am certain that
the ship is in, for there were tins lying round bearing brands different
from those of the original stores. We found three small bits of
chocolate and a little bit of biscuit at the camp after carefully
searching the ground for such unconsidered trifles, and we "turned
backs" for them. I was unlucky enough to get the bit of biscuit, and a
curious unreasoning anger took possession of me for a moment at my bad
luck. It shows how primitive we have become, and how much the question of
even a morsel of food affects our judgment. We are near the end of our
food, but as we have staked everything on the Bluff Depot, we had a
good feed tonight. If we do not pick up the depot there will be
absolutely no hope for us.



CHAPTER XXV

THE FINAL STAGE

FEBRUARY 23. Started at 6.45 a.m. in splendid weather, and at 11 a.m.,
while halting for a spell, Wild saw the Bluff Depot miraged up. It
seemed to be quite close, and the flags were waving and dancing as
though to say, "Come, here I am, come and feed." It was the most
cheerful sight our eyes have ever seen, for we had only a few biscuits
left. These we at once devoured. The Grisi meat had given Wild renewed
dysentery. After a short camp we pushed on. A flashing light appeared to
be on the depot, and when we reached it at 4 p.m., this turned out to be
a biscuit tin, which had been placed in the snow so as to catch the
light of the sun. It was like a great cheerful eye twinkling at us. The
depot had appeared much closer than it really was, because we were
accustomed to judging from the height of an ordinary depot, whereas this
one was built on a snow mound over 10 ft. high, with two bamboos lashed
together on top, and three flags. It was a splendid mark. Joyce and his
party have done their work well. Now we are safe as regards food, and it
only remains for us to reach the ship. I climbed up on top of the depot,
and shouted out to those below of the glorious feeds that awaited us.
First I rolled down three tins of biscuits, then cases containing
luxuries of every description, many of them sent by friends. There were
Carlsbad plums, eggs, cakes, plum puddings, gingerbread and crystallised
fruit, even fresh boiled mutton from the ship. After months of want and
hunger, we suddenly found ourselves able to have meals fit for the gods,
and with appetites that the gods might have envied. Apart from the
luxuries there was an ample supply of ordinary sledging rations.
Tonight we improvised a second cooking-stand out of a biscuit tin, and
used our second primus to cook some of the courses. Our dream of food
has come true, and yet after we had eaten biscuits and had two pannikins
of pemmican, followed by cocoa, our contracted bodies would not stand
the strain of more food, and reluctantly we had to stop. I cannot tell
what a relief it has been to us. There is nothing much in the way of
news from the ship, only just a letter saying that she had arrived on
January 5, and that all was well. This letter, dated January 20, is
signed by Evans, who evidently is the Evans who towed us down in the
Koonya. We now only have to catch the ship, and I hope we will do that.
Wild is better tonight. The temperature is plus 10° Fahr., fine and
warm. I am writing in my bag with biscuits beside me, and chocolate and
jam.

_February_ 24. We got up at 5 a.m., and at 7 a.m. had breakfast,
consisting of eggs, dried milk, porridge and pemmican, with plenty of
biscuits. We marched until 1 p.m., had lunch and then marched until 8
p.m., covering a distance of fifteen miles for the day. The weather was
fine. Though we have plenty of weight to haul now we do not feel it so
much as we did the smaller weights when we were hungry. We have good
food inside us, and every now and then on the march we eat a bit of
chocolate or biscuit. Warned by the experience of Scott and Wilson on
the previous southern journey, I have taken care not to overeat. Adams
has a wonderful digestion, and can go on without any difficulty. Wild's
dysentery is a bit better today. He is careful of his feeding and has
only taken things that are suitable. It is a comfort to be able to pick
and choose. I cannot understand a letter I received from Murray about
Mackintosh getting adrift on the ice, but no doubt this will be cleared
up on our return. Anyhow every one seems to be all right. There was no
news of the Northern Party or of the Western Party. We turned in full of
food tonight.

_February_ 25. We turned out at 4 a.m. for an early start, as we are in
danger of being left if we do not push ahead rapidly and reach the ship.
On going into the tent for breakfast I found Marshall suffering from
paralysis of the stomach and renewed dysentery, and while we were eating
a blizzard came up. We secured everything as the Bluff showed masses of
ragged cloud, and I was of opinion that it was going to blow hard.

I did not think Marshall fit to travel through the blizzard. During the
afternoon, as we were lying in the bags, the weather cleared somewhat,
though it still blew hard. If Marshall is not better tonight, I must
leave him with Adams and push on, for time is going on, and the ship may
leave on March 1, according to orders, if the Sound is not clear of ice.
I went over through the blizzard to Marshall's tent. He is in a bad way
still, but thinks that he could travel tomorrow.

_February_ 27 (1 a.m.). The blizzard was over at midnight, and we got up
at 1 a.m., had breakfast at 2, and made a start at 4. At 9.80 a.m. we
had lunch, at 3 p.m. tea, at 7 p.m. hoosh, and then marched till 11 p.m.
Had another hoosh, and tinned in at 1 a.m. We did twenty-four miles.
Marshall suffered greatly, but stuck to the march. He never complains.

_March_ 5. Although we did not turn in until 1 a.m. on the 27th, we were
up again at 4 a.m. and after a good hoosh, we got under way at 6 a.m.
and marched until 1 p.m. Marshall was unable to haul, his dysentery
increasing, and he got worse in the afternoon, after lunch. At 4 p.m. I
decided to pitch camp, leave Marshall under Adams' charge, and push
ahead with Wild, taking one day's provisions and leaving the balance for
the two men at the camp. I hoped to pick up a relief party at the ship
We dumped everything off the sledge except a prismatic compass, our
sleeping-bags and food for one day, and at 4.30 p.m. Wild and I started,
and marched till 9 p.m. Then we had a hoosh, and marched until 2 a.m. of
the 28th, over a very hard surface. We stopped for one hour and a half
off the north-east end of White Island, getting no sleep, and marched
till 11 a.m., by which time our food was finished. We kept flashing the
heliograph in the hope of attracting attention from Observation Hill,
where I thought that a party would be on the lookout, but there was no
return flash, The only thing to do was to push ahead, although we were
by this time very tired. At 2.30 p.m. we sighted open water ahead, the
ice having evidently broken out four miles south of Cape Armitage, and
an hour and a half later a blizzard wind started to blow, and the
weather got very thick. We thought once that we saw a party coming over
to meet us, and our sledge seemed to grow lighter for a few minutes, but
the "party" turned out to be a group of penguins at the ice-edge. The
weather was so thick that we could not see any distance ahead, and we
arrived at the ice edge suddenly. The ice was swaying up and down, and
there was grave risk of our being carried out. I decided to abandon the
sledge, as I felt sure that we would get assistance at once when we
reached the hut, and time was becoming important. It was necessary that
we should get food and shelter speedily. Wild's feet were giving him a
great deal of trouble. In the thick weather we could not risk making
Pram Point, and I decided to follow another route seven miles round by
the other side of Castle Rock. We clambered over crevasses and snow
slopes, and after what seemed an almost interminable struggle reached
Castle Rock, from whence I could see that there was open water all round
the north. It was indeed a different homecoming from what we had
expected. Out on the Barrier and up on the plateau our thoughts had
often turned to the day when we would get back to the comfort and plenty
of the winter quarters, but we had never imagined fighting our way to
the back door, so to speak, in such a cheerless fashion. We reached the
top of Ski Slope at 7.45 p.m., and from there we could see the hut and
the bay. There was no sign of the ship, and no smoke or other evidence
of life at the hut. > We hurried on to the hut, our minds busy with
gloomy possibilities, and found not a man there. There was a letter
stating that the Northern Party had reached the Magnetic Pole, and that
all the parties had been picked up except ours. The letter added that
the ship would be sheltering under Glacier Tongue until February 26. It
was now February 28, and it was with very keen anxiety in our minds that
we proceeded to search for food. If the ship was gone, our plight, and
that of the two men left out on the Barrier, was a very serious one.

We improvised a cooking vessel, found oil and a Primus lamp, and had a
good feed of biscuit, onions and plum pudding, which were amongst the
stores left at the hut. We were utterly weary, but we had no
sleeping-gear, our bags having been left with the sledge, and the
temperature was very low. We found a piece of roofing felt, which we
wrapped round us, and then we sat up all night, the darkness being
relieved only when we occasionally lighted the lamp in order to secure a
little warmth. We tried to burn the magnetic hut in the hope of
attracting attention from the ship, but we were not able to get it
alight. We tried, too, to tie the Union Jack to Vince's cross, on the
hill, but we were so played out that our cold fingers could not manage
the knots. It was a bad night for us, and we were glad indeed when the
light came again. Then we managed to get a little warmer, and at 9 a.m.
we got the magnetic hut alight, and put up the flag. All our fears
vanished when in the distance we saw the ship, miraged up. We signalled
with the heliograph, and at 11 a.m. on March 1 we were on board the
_Nimrod_ and once more safe amongst friends. I will not attempt to
describe our feelings. Every one was glad to see us, and keen to know
what we had done. They had given us up for lost, and a search-party had
been going to start that day in the hope of finding some trace of us. I
found that every member of the expedition was well, that the plans had
worked out satisfactorily, and that the work laid down had been carried
out. The ship had brought nothing but good news from the outside world.
It seemed as though a great load had been lifted from my shoulders.

The first thing was to bring in Adams and Marshall, and I ordered out a
relief party at once. I had a good feed of bacon and fried bread, and
started at 2.30 p.m. from the Barrier edge with Mackay, Mawson and
McGillan, leaving Wild on the _Nimrod_. We marched until 10 p.m., had
dinner and turned in for a short sleep. We were up again at 2 a.m. the
next morning (March 2), and travelled until 1 p.m., when we reached the
camp where I had left the two men. Marshall was better, the rest having
done him a lot of good, and he was able to march and pull. After lunch
we started back again, and marched until 8 p.m. in fine weather. We were
under way again at 4 a.m. the next morning, had lunch at noon, and
reached the ice-edge at 3 p.m. There was no sign of the ship, and the
sea was freezing over. We waited until 5 p.m., and then found that it
was possible to strike land at Pram Point. The weather was coming on
bad, clouding up from the south-east, and Marshall was suffering from
renewed dysentery, the result of the heavy marching. We therefore
abandoned one tent and one sledge at the ice-edge, taking on only the
sleeping-bags and the specimens. We climbed up by Crater Hill, leaving
everything but the sleeping-bags, for the weather was getting worse, and
at 9.35 p.m. commenced to slide down towards Hut Point. We reached the
winter quarters at 9.50, and Marshall was put to bed. Mackay and I
lighted a carbide flare on the hill by Vince's cross, and after dinner
all hands turned in except Mackay and myself. A short time after Mackay
saw the ship appear. It was now blowing a hard blizzard, but Mackintosh
had seen our flare from a distance of nine miles. Adams and I went on
board the _Nimrod_, and Adams, after surviving all the dangers of the
interior of the Antarctic continent, was nearly lost within sight of
safety. He slipped at the ice-edge, owing to the fact that he was
wearing new finnesko, and he only just saved himself from going over. He
managed to hang on until he was rescued by a party from the ship.

A boat went back for Marshall and the others, and we were all safe on
board at 1 a.m. on March 4.

Note. Subsequent calculations have shown that the distances given in my
diary of the southern journey were not always quite accurate. The
calculations were made under circumstances of special difficulty, and
were not checked until after my return to civilisation. The reader will
notice that some of the distances are given in statute miles and others
in geographical miles. After the last meridian altitude was taken at the
plateau depot and until the return to the same depot the distances were
noted in geographical miles. I have thought it best to let the diary
figures stand, but in the construction of the map certain corrections
have been made, and at the end of the book will be found a table showing
the actual distances travelled day by day.



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END OF VOLUME I



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