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SCOTT'S LAST EXPEDITION
IN TWO VOLUMES
VOL. I. BEING THE JOURNALS OF
CAPTAIN R. F. SCOTT, R.N., C.V.O.
VOL. II. BEING THE REPORTS OF THE JOURNEYS AND THE SCIENTIFIC WORK
UNDERTAKEN BY DR. E. A. WILSON AND THE SURVIVING MEMBERS OF THE
WITH A PREFACE BY
SIR CLEMENTS R. MARKHAM, K.C.B., F.R.S.
WITH PHOTOGRAVURE FRONTISPIECES, 6 ORIGINAL SKETCHES IN PHOTOGRAVURE BY
DR. E. A. WILSON, 18 COLOURED PLATES (10 FROM DRAWINGS BY DR. WILSON),
260 FULL PAGE AND SMALLER ILLUSTRATIONS FROM PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN BY
HERBERT G. PONTING AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE EXPEDITION, PANORAMAS
Fourteen years ago Robert Falcon Scott was a rising naval officer,
able, accomplished, popular, highly thought of by his superiors,
and devoted to his noble profession. It was a serious responsibility
to induce him to take up the work of an explorer; yet no man living
could be found who was so well fitted to command a great Antarctic
Expedition. The undertaking was new and unprecedented. The object was
to explore the unknown Antarctic Continent by land. Captain Scott
entered upon the enterprise with enthusiasm tempered by prudence
and sound sense. All had to be learnt by a thorough study of the
history of Arctic travelling, combined with experience of different
conditions in the Antarctic Regions. Scott was the initiator and
founder of Antarctic sledge travelling.
His discoveries were of great importance. The survey and soundings
along the barrier cliffs, the discovery of King Edward Land, the
discovery of Ross Island and the other volcanic islets, the examination
of the Barrier surface, the discovery of the Victoria Mountains--a
range of great height and many hundreds of miles in length, which had
only before been seen from a distance out at sea--and above all the
discovery of the great ice cap on which the South Pole is situated,
by one of the most remarkable polar journeys on record. His small but
excellent scientific staff worked hard and with trained intelligence,
their results being recorded in twelve large quarto volumes.
The great discoverer had no intention of losing touch with his
beloved profession though resolved to complete his Antarctic
work. The exigencies of the naval service called him to the command
of battleships and to confidential work of the Admiralty; so that
five years elapsed before he could resume his Antarctic labours.
The object of Captain Scott's second expedition was mainly scientific,
to complete and extend his former work in all branches of science. It
was his ambition that in his ship there should be the most completely
equipped expedition for scientific purposes connected with the polar
regions, both as regards men and material, that ever left these
shores. In this he succeeded. He had on board a fuller complement
of geologists, one of them especially trained for the study of
physiography, biologists, physicists, and surveyors than ever before
composed the staff of a polar expedition. Thus Captain Scott's objects
were strictly scientific, including the completion and extension
of his former discoveries. The results will be explained in the
second volume of this work. They will be found to be extensive and
important. Never before, in the polar regions, have meteorological,
magnetic and tidal observations been taken, in one locality, during
five years. It was also part of Captain Scott's plan to reach the
South Pole by a long and most arduous journey, but here again his
intention was, if possible, to achieve scientific results on the
way, especially hoping to discover fossils which would throw light
on the former history of the great range of mountains which he had
made known to science.
The principal aim of this great man, for he rightly has his niche
among the polar Dii Majores, was the advancement of knowledge. From
all aspects Scott was among the most remarkable men of our time, and
the vast number of readers of his journal will be deeply impressed
with the beauty of his character. The chief traits which shone forth
through his life were conspicuous in the hour of death. There are few
events in history to be compared, for grandeur and pathos, with the
last closing scene in that silent wilderness of snow. The great leader,
with the bodies of his dearest friends beside him, wrote and wrote
until the pencil dropped from his dying grasp. There was no thought
of himself, only the earnest desire to give comfort and consolation
to others in their sorrow. His very last lines were written lest he
who induced him to enter upon Antarctic work should now feel regret
for what he had done.
'If I cannot write to Sir Clements, tell him I thought much of him,
and never regretted his putting me in command of the _Discovery_.'
CLEMENTS R. MARKHAM.
Contents of the First Volume
THROUGH STORMY SEAS
General Stowage--A Last Scene in New Zealand--Departure--On Deck with
the Dogs--The Storm--The Engine-room Flooded--Clearing the Pumps--Cape
Crozier as a Station--Birds of the South--A Pony's Memory--Tabular
Bergs--An Incomparable Scene--Formation of the Pack--Movements of
the Floes ... 1
IN THE PACK
A Reported Island--Incessant Changes--The Imprisoning Ice--Ski-ing
and Sledging on the Floes--Movement of Bergs--Opening of the
Pack--A Damaged Rudder--To Stop or not to Stop--Nicknames--Ski
Exercise--Penguins and Music--Composite Floes--Banked Fires--Christmas
in the Ice--The Penguins and the Skua--Ice Movements--State of the
Ice-house--Still in the Ice--Life in the Pack--Escape from the Pack--A
Calm--The Pack far to the North--Science in the Ice ... 20
Land at Last--Reach Cape Crozier--Cliffs of Cape Crozier--Landing
Impossible--Penguins and Killers--Cape Evans as Winter Station--The
Ponies Landed--Penguins' Fatuous Conduct--Adventure with Killer
Whales--Habits of the Killer Whale--Landing Stores--The Skuas
Nesting--Ponies and their Ways--Dangers of the Rotting Ice ... 53
Loss of a Motor--A Dog Dies--Result of Six Days' Work--Restive
Ponies--An Ice Cave--Loading Ballast--Pony Prospects--First Trip
to Hut Point--Return: Prospects of Sea Ice--A Secure Berth--The
Hut--Home Fittings and Autumn Plans--The Pianola--Seal Rissoles--The
Ship Stranded--Ice begins to go. ... 73
DEPOT LAYING TO ONE TON CAMP
Dogs and Ponies at Work--Stores for Depots--Old Stores at Discovery
Hut--To Encourage the Pony--Depot Plans--Pony Snowshoes--Impressions
on the March--Further Impressions--Sledging Necessities and
Luxuries--A Better Surface--Chaos Without; Comfort Within--After the
Blizzard--Marching Routine--The Weakest Ponies Return--Bowers and
Cherry-Garrard--Snow Crusts and Blizzards--A Resented Frostbite--One
Ton Camp. ... 96
ADVENTURE AND PERIL
Dogs' and Ponies' Ways--The Dogs in a Crevasse--Rescue Work--Chances
of a Snow Bridge--The Dog Rations--A Startling Mail--Cross the Other
Party--The End of Weary Willy--The Ice Breaks--The Ponies on the
Floe--Safely Back. ... 122
AT DISCOVERY HUT
Fitting up the Old Hut--A Possible Land Route--The Geological Party
Arrives--Clothing--Exceptional Gales--Geology at Hut Point--An Ice
Foot Exposed--Stabling at Hut Point--Waiting for the Ice--A Clear
Day--Pancake Ice--Life at Hut Point--From Hut Point to Cape Evans--A
Blizzard on the Sea Ice--Dates of the Sea Freezing. ... 138
HOME IMPRESSIONS AND AN EXCURSION
Baseless Fears about the Hut--The Death of 'Hackenschmidt'--The Dark
Room--The Biologists' Cubicle--An Artificer Cook--A Satisfactory
Organisation--Up an Ice Face--An Icy Run--On getting Hot ... 158
THE WORK AND THE WORKERS
Balloons--Occupations--Many Talents--The Young Ice goes out--Football:
Inverted Temperatures--Of Rainbows--Football: New Ice--Individual
Scientific Work--Individuals at Work--Thermometers on the Floe--Floe
Temperatures--A Bacterium in the Snow--Return of the Hut Point
Party--Personal Harmony ... 171
IN WINTER QUARTERS: MODERN STYLE
On Penguins--The Electrical Instruments--On Horse Management--On
Ice Problems--The Aurora--The Nimrod Hut--Continued Winds--Modern
Interests--The Sense of Cold--On the Floes--A Tribute to Wilson ... 190
TO MIDWINTER DAY
Ventilation--On the Meteorological Instruments--Magnesium
Flashlight--On the Beardmore Glacier--Lively Discussions--Action of
Sea Water on Ice--A Theory of Blizzards--On Arctic Surveying--Ice
Structure--Ocean Life--On Volcanoes--Daily Routine--On Motor
Sledging--Crozier Party's Experiments--Midwinter Day Dinner--A
Christmas Tree--An Ethereal Glory ... 205
AWAITING THE CROZIER PARTY
Threats of a Blizzard--Start of the Crozier Party--Strange Winds--A
Current Vane--Pendulum Observations--Lost on the Floe--The Wanderer
Returns--Pony Parasites--A Great Gale--The Ways of Storekeepers--A
Sick Pony--A Sudden Recovery--Effects of Lack of Light--Winds of
Hurricane Force--Unexpected Ice Conditions--Telephones at Work--The
Cold on the Winter Journey--Shelterless in a Blizzard--A Most Gallant
Story--Winter Clothing Nearly Perfect. 228
THE RETURN OF THE SUN
The Indomitable Bowers--A Theory of Blizzards--Ponies' Tricks--On
Horse Management--The Two Esquimaux Dogs--Balloon Records--On
Scurvy--From Tent Island--On India--Storms and Acclimatisation--On
Physiography--Another Lost Dog Returns--The Debris Cones--On Chinese
Adventures--Inverted Temperature. ... 255
PREPARATIONS: THE SPRING JOURNEY
On Polar Clothing--Prospects of the Motor Sledges--South Polar Times,
II--The Spring Western Journey--The Broken Glacier Tongue--Marching
Against a Blizzard--The Value of Experience--General Activity--Final
Instructions ... 276
THE LAST WEEKS AT CAPE EVANS
Clissold's Accident--Various Invalids--Christopher's Capers--A Motor
Mishap--Dog Sickness--Some Personal Sketches--A Pony Accident--A
Football Knee--Value of the Motors--The Balance of Heat and Cold--The
First Motor on the Barrier--Last Days at Cape Evans. ... 290
SOUTHERN JOURNEY: THE BARRIER STAGE
Midnight Lunches--A Motor Breaks Down--The Second Motor Fails--Curious
Features of the Blizzard--Ponies Suffer in a Blizzard--Ponies go
Well--A Head Wind--Bad Conditions Continue--At One Ton Camp--Winter
Minimum Temperature--Daily Rest in the Sun--Steady Plodding--The First
Pony Shot--A Trying March--The Second Pony Shot--Dogs, Ponies, and
Driving--The Southern Mountains Appear--The Third Blizzard--A Fourth
Blizzard--The Fifth and Long Blizzard--Patience and Resolution--Still
Held Up--The End of the Barrier Journey. ... 308
ON THE BEARDMORE GLACIER
Difficulties with Deep Snow--With Full Loads--After-Effects of the
Great Storm--A Fearful Struggle--Less Snow and Better Going--The Valley
of the Beardmore--Wilson Snow Blind--The Upper Glacier Basin--Return
of the First Party--Upper Glacier Depot. ... 340
THE SUMMIT JOURNEY TO THE POLE
Pressures Under Mount Darwin--A Change for the Better--Running of a
Sledge--Lost Time Made Up--Comfort of Double Tent--Last Supporting
Party Returns--Hard Work on the Summit--Accident to Evans--The Members
of the Party--Mishap to a Watch--A Chill in the Air--A Critical
Time--Forestalled--At the Pole. ... 354
THE RETURN FROM THE POLE
A Hard Time on the Summit--First Signs of Weakening--Difficulty in
Following Tracks--Getting Hungrier--Accidents Multiply--Accident
to Scott--The Ice-fall--End of the Summit Journey--Happy Moments on
Firm Land--In a Maze of Crevasses--Mid-Glacier Depot Reached--A Sick
Comrade--Death of P.O. Evans. ... 377
THE LAST MARCH
Snow Like Desert Sand--A Gloomy Prospect--No Help from the Wind--The
Grip of Cold--Three Blows of Misfortune--From Bad to Worse--A
Sick Comrade--Oates' Case Hopeless--The Death of Oates--Scott
Frostbitten--The Last Camp--Farewell Letters--The Last Message. ... 396
APPENDIX ... 419
ILLUSTRATIONS IN THE FIRST VOLUME
Portrait of Captain Robert F. Scott, R.N., C.V.O. _Frontispiece_
From a Painting by Harrington Mann
From Sketches by Dr. Edward A. Wilson
A Lead in the Pack 26
On the Way to the Pole 364
'Black Flag Camp'--Amundsen's Black Flag within a Few Miles of the
South Pole 367
Amundsen's Tent at the South Pole 371
Cairn left by the Norwegians S.S.W. from Black Flag Camp and Amundsen's
South Pole Mark 376
Mount Buckley, One of the Last of Many Pencil Sketches made on the
Return Journey from the Pole 386
From Water-colour Drawings by Dr. Edward A. Wilson
The Great Ice Barrier, looking east from Cape Crozier _Facing p_. 51
Hut Point, Midnight, March 27, 1911 138
A Sunset from Hut Point, April 2, 1911 150
Mount Erebus 169
Lunar Corona 176
Paraselene, June 15, 1911 178
'Birdie' Bowers reading the Thermometer on the Ramp, June 6,
Iridescent Clouds. Looking North from Cape Evans 257
Exercising the Ponies 288
Mr. Ponting Lecturing on Japan 202
From Photographs by Herbert G. Ponting
The Western Mountains as seen from Captain Scott's Winter Quarters
at Cape Evans _Facing p._ 126
Mount Terror and its Glaciers 126
The Royal Society Mountains of Victoria Land--Telephoto Study from
Cape Evans 284
Mount Erebus and Glaciers to the Turk's Head 284
Full Page Plates
The Full Page Plates are from photographs by Herbert G. Ponting,
except where otherwise stated
The Crew of the 'Terra Nova' _Facing p._ 2
Captain Oates and Ponies on the 'Terra Nova' 6
'Stareek' Malingering 8
Manning the Pumps 10
The First Iceberg 10
Albatross Soaring 12
Albatrosses Foraging in the Wake of the 'Terra Nova' 12
Dr. Wilson and Dr. Atkinson loading the Harpoon Gun 14
A. B. Cheetham--the Boatswain of the 'Terra Nova' 14
Evening Scene in the Pack 17
Lieut. Evans in the Crow's Nest 20
Furling Sail in the Pack 20
A Berg breaking up in the Pack 23
Moonlight in the Pack 29
Christmas Eve (1910) in the Pack 36
'I don't care what becomes of Me' 44
An Adelie about to Dive 44
Open Water in the Ross Sea 46
In the Pack--a Lead opening up 48
Cape Crozier: the End of the Great Ice Barrier 54
Ice-Blink over the Barrier 56
The Barrier and Mount Terror 56
The Midnight Sun in McMurdo Sound 58
Entering McMurdo Sound--Cape Bird and Mount Erebus 60
Surf breaking against Stranded Ice at Cape Evans 60
The 'Terra Nova' in McMurdo Sound 62
Disembarking the Ponies 64
Ponies tethered out on the Sea Ice Facing p. 64
Lieut. H. E. de P. Rennick 66
Lieut. Rennick and a Friendly Penguin 66
The Arch Berg from Within 68
Something of a Phenomenon--A Fresh Water Cascade 71
The Arch Berg from Without 74
Ponting Cinematographs the Bow of the 'Terra Nova' Breaking through
the Ice-floes 76
Landing a Motor-Sledge 76
Lieut. Evans and Nelson Cutting a Cave for Cold Storage 78
The Condition of Affairs a Week after Landing 78
Killer Whales Rising to Blow 82
Hut Point and Observation Hill 82
The Tenements 84
Plan of Hut Page 85
The Point of the Barne Glacier Facing p. 90
Winter Quarters at Cape Evans 94
Lillie and Dr. Levick Sorting a Trawl Catch 101
Seals Basking on Newly-formed Pancake Ice off Cape Evans 106
Lieut. Tryggve Gran 112
Captain Scott on Skis 118
Summer Time: the Ice opening up 133
Spray Ridges of Ice after a Blizzard 145
A Berg Drifting in McMurdo Sound 155
Pancake Ice Forming into Floes off Cape Evans 155
Ponting Developing a Plate in the Dark Room 160
The Falling of the Long Polar Night 164
Depot Laying and Western Parties on their Return to Cape Evans 166
A Blizzard Approaching across the Sea Ice 171
The Barne Glacier: a Crevasse with a Thin Snow Bridge 174
Dr. Wilson Working up the Sketch which is given at p. 178 180
Dr. Simpson at the Unifilar Magnetometer 182
Dr. Atkinson in his Laboratory 182
Winter Work 184
Dr. Atkinson and Clissold hauling up the Fish Trap 186
The Freezing up of the Sea 188
Whale-back Clouds over Mount Erebus 190
(Photo by F. Debenham)
The Hut and the Western Mountains from the Top of the Ramp 194
Cape Royds, looking North 199
The Castle Berg Facing p. 205
Captain Scott's Last Birthday Dinner 210
Captain Scott in his 'Den' 218
Dr. Wilson and Lieut Bowers reading the Ramp Thermometer in the Winter
Night, -40 deg. Fahrenheit--a Flashlight Photograph 221
Ski-shoes for use with Finnesko 228
Finnesko fitted with the Ski-shoes 228
Finnesko with Crampons 228
Dr. Atkinson's Frostbitten Hand 232
Petty Officer Evans Binding up Dr. Atkinson's Hand 232
Pony takes Whisky 234
The Stables in Winter 234
Oates and Meares at the Blubber Stove in the Stables 238
Petty Officers Crean and Evans Exercising their Ponies in the
Oates and Meares out Skiing in the Night 240
Remarkable Cirrus Clouds over the Barne Glacier 244
Lieut. Evans Observing an Occultation of Jupiter 247
Dr. Simpson in the Hut at the Other End of the Telephone Timing the
'Birdie' (Lieut. H. R. Bowers) 252
The Summit of Mount Erebus 254
Capt. L. E. G. Oates by the Stable Door 260
Debenham, Gran, and Taylor in their Cubicle 264
Nelson and his Gear 264
Dr. Simpson sending up a Balloon 266
The Polar Party's Sledging Ration 266
An Ice Grotto--Tent Island in Distance 269
Dr. Wilson Watching the First Rays of Sunlight being Recorded after
the long Winter Night 271
The Return of the Sun 271
C. H. Meares and 'Osman,' the Leader of the Dogs 274
Meares and Demetri at 'Discovery' Hut 277
The Main Party at Cape Evans after the Winter, 1911 280
The Castle Berg at the End of the Winter 282
Mount Erebus over a Water-worn Iceberg 290
On the Summit of an Iceberg 290
Dr. Wilson and Pony 'Nobby' 292
Cherry-Garrard giving his Pony 'Michael' a roll in the Snow 292
Surveying Party's Tent after a Blizzard Facing p 294
(Photo by Lieut T Gran)
Dogs with Stores about to leave Hut Point 296
Dogs Galloping towards the Barrier 296
Meares and Demetri with their Dog-teams leaving Hut Point 296
Dr. Wilson 298
Preparing Sledges for Polar Journey 300
Day's Motor under Way 302
One of the Motor Sledges 302
Meares and Demetri at the Blubber Stove in the 'Discovery' Hut 305
The Motor Party 308
H. G. Ponting and one of his Cinematograph Cameras 311
Members of the Polar Party having a Meal in Camp 316
(Enlarged from a cinematograph film)
Members of the Polar Party getting into their Sleeping-bags 322
(Enlarged from a cinematograph film)
Ponies behind their Shelter in Camp on the Barrier 328
(Photo by Capt. R. F. Scott)
Ponies on the March 334
(Photo by F. Debenham)
Captain Scott wearing the Wallet in which he carried his Sledging
Pressure on the Beardmore below the Cloudmaker Mountain 340
(Photo by C. S. Wright)
Mount Kyffin 342
(Photo by Lieut. H. R. Bowers)
Camp under the Wild Range 345
(Photo by Capt. R. F. Scott)
Dr. Wilson Sketching on the Beardmore 348
(Photo by Capt. R. F. Scott)
Some Members of the Supporting Parties as they appeared on their
Return from the Polar Journey 350
Camp at Three Degree Depot 352
(Photo by Lieut. H. R. Bowers)
Chief Stoker Lashly 355
Petty Officer Crean 355
Pitching the Double Tent on the Summit 358
(Photo by Lieut H R Bowers)
The Polar Party on the Trail 360
(Photo by Lieut. H. R. Bowers)
At the South Pole 374
(Photo by Lieut. H. R. Bowers)
Amundsen's Tent at the South Pole Facing p. 380
(Photo by Lieut. H. R. Bowers)
The Cloudmaker Mountain 390
(Photo by Lieut. H. R. Bowers)
Petty Officer Edgar Evans, R.N. 392
Facsimile of the Last Words of the Journal 403
Facsimile of Message to the Public 414
British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913--Track Chart of Main Southern
Journey At end of text
British Antarctic Expedition, 1910
Name. Rank, &c.
Robert Falcon Scott Captain, R.N., C.V.O.
Edward R. G. R. Evans Commander, R.N.
Victor L. A. Campbell Lieutenant, R.N. (Emergency List).
Henry R. Bowers Lieutenant, R.N.
Lawrence E. G. Oates Captain 6th Inniskilling Dragoons.
G. Murray Levick Surgeon, R.N.
Edward L. Atkinson Surgeon, R.N., Parasitologist.
Edward Adrian Wilson M.A., M.B., Chief of the Scientific
Staff, and Zoologist.
George C. Simpson D.Sc., Meteorologist.
T. Griffith Taylor B.A., B.Sc., B.E., Geologist.
Edward W. Nelson Biologist.
Frank Debenham B.A., B.Sc., Geologist.
Charles S. Wright B.A., Physicist.
Raymond E. Priestley Geologist.
Herbert G. Ponting F.R.G.S., Camera Artist.
Cecil H. Meares In Charge of Dogs.
Bernard C. Day Motor Engineer.
Apsley Cherry-Garrard B.A., Asst. Zoologist.
Tryggve Gran Sub-Lieutenant, Norwegian N.R.,
W. Lashly Chief Stoker.
W. W. Archer Chief Steward.
Thomas Clissold Cook, late R.N.
Edgar Evans Petty Officer, R.N.
Robert Forde Petty Officer, R.N.
Thomas Crean Petty Officer, R.N.
Thomas S. Williamson Petty Officer, R.N.
Patrick Keohane Petty Officer, R.N.
George P. Abbott Petty Officer, R.N.
Frank V. Browning Petty Officer, 2nd Class, R.N.
Harry Dickason Able Seaman, R.N.
F. J. Hooper Steward, late R.N.
Anton Omelchenko Groom.
Demetri Gerof Dog Driver.
Harry L. L. Pennell Lieutenant, R.N.
Henry E. de P. Rennick Lieutenant, R.N.
Wilfred M. Bruce Lieutenant, R.N.R.
Francis R. H. Drake Asst. Paymaster, R.N. (Retired),
Secretary & Meteorologist in Ship.
Dennis G. Lillie M.A., Biologist in Ship.
James R. Denniston In Charge of Mules in Ship.
Alfred B. Cheetham R.N.R., Boatswain.
William Williams, O.N. Chief Engine-room Artificer, R.N., Engineer.
William A. Horton, O.N. Eng. Rm. Art., 3rd Cl., R.N., 2nd Engr.
Francis E. C. Davies, O.N. Shipwright, R.N., Carpenter.
Frederick Parsons Petty Officer, R.N.
William L. Heald Late P.O., R.N.
Arthur S. Bailey Petty Officer, 2nd Class, R.N.
Albert Balson Leading Seaman, R.N.
Joseph Leese, O.N. Able Seaman, R.N.
John Hugh Mather, O.N. Petty Officer, R.N.V.R.
Robert Oliphant Able Seaman.
Thomas F. McLeon ,, ,,
Mortimer McCarthy ,, ,,
William Knowles ,, ,,
Charles Williams ,, ,,
James Skelton ,, ,,
William McDonald ,, ,,
James Paton ,, ,,
Robert Brissenden Leading Stoker, R.N.
Edward A. McKenzie ,, ,, ,,
William Burton Leading Stoker, R.N.
Bernard J. Stone ,, ,, ,,
Angus McDonald Fireman.
Thomas McGillon ,,
Charles Lammas ,,
W. H. Neale Steward.
_Barrier_. The immense sheet of ice, over 400 miles wide and of
still greater length, which lies south of Ross Island to the west of
_Brash_. Small ice fragments from a floe that is breaking up.
_Drift_. Snow swept from the ground like dust and driven before
_Finnesko_. Fur boots.
_Flense, flence_. To cut the blubber from a skin or carcase.
_Frost_ _smoke_. A mist of water vapour above the open leads, condensed
by the severe cold.
_Hoosh_. A thick camp soup with a basis of pemmican.
_Ice-foot_. Properly the low fringe of ice formed about Polar lands
by the sea spray. More widely, the banks of ice of varying height
which skirt many parts of the Antarctic shores.
_Piedmont_. Coastwise stretches of the ancient ice sheet which once
covered the Antarctic Continent, remaining either on the land, or
wholly or partially afloat.
_Pram_. A Norwegian skiff, with a spoon bow.
_Primus_. A portable stove for cooking.
_Ramp_. A great embankment of morainic material with ice beneath,
once part of the glacier, on the lowest slopes of Erebus at the
landward end of C. Evans.
_Saennegras_. A kind of fine Norwegian hay, used as packing in the
finnesko to keep the feet warm and to make the fur boot fit firmly.
_Sastrugus_. An irregularity formed by the wind on a snowplain. 'Snow
wave' is not completely descriptive, as the sastrugus has often a
fantastic shape unlike the ordinary conception of a wave.
_Skua_. A large gull.
_Working_ _crack_. An open crack which leaves the ice free to move
with the movement of the water beneath.
Passages enclosed in inverted commas are taken from home letters of
A number following a word in the text refers to a corresponding note
in the Appendix to this volume.
SCOTT'S LAST EXPEDITION
Through Stormy Seas
The Final Preparations in New Zealand
The first three weeks of November have gone with such a rush that I
have neglected my diary and can only patch it up from memory.
The dates seem unimportant, but throughout the period the officers
and men of the ship have been unremittingly busy.
On arrival the ship was cleared of all the shore party stores,
including huts, sledges, &c. Within five days she was in dock. Bowers
attacked the ship's stores, surveyed, relisted, and restowed them,
saving very much space by unstowing numerous cases and stowing the
contents in the lazarette. Meanwhile our good friend Miller attacked
the leak and traced it to the stern. We found the false stem split, and
in one case a hole bored for a long-stem through-bolt which was much
too large for the bolt. Miller made the excellent job in overcoming
this difficulty which I expected, and since the ship has been afloat
and loaded the leak is found to be enormously reduced. The ship still
leaks, but the amount of water entering is little more than one would
expect in an old wooden vessel.
The stream which was visible and audible inside the stern has been
entirely stopped. Without steam the leak can now be kept under with
the hand pump by two daily efforts of a quarter of an hour to twenty
minutes. As the ship was, and in her present heavily laden condition,
it would certainly have taken three to four hours each day.
Before the ship left dock, Bowers and Wyatt were at work again in the
shed with a party of stevedores, sorting and relisting the shore party
stores. Everything seems to have gone without a hitch. The various
gifts and purchases made in New Zealand were collected--butter,
cheese, bacon, hams, some preserved meats, tongues.
Meanwhile the huts were erected on the waste ground beyond the
harbour works. Everything was overhauled, sorted, and marked afresh
to prevent difficulty in the South. Davies, our excellent carpenter,
Forde, Abbott, and Keohane were employed in this work. The large
green tent was put up and proper supports made for it.
When the ship came out of dock she presented a scene of great
industry. Officers and men of the ship, with a party of stevedores,
were busy storing the holds. Miller's men were building horse stalls,
caulking the decks, resecuring the deckhouses, putting in bolts and
various small fittings. The engine-room staff and Anderson's people
on the engines; scientists were stowing their laboratories; the cook
refitting his galley, and so forth--not a single spot but had its
band of workers.
We prepared to start our stowage much as follows: The main hold
contains all the shore party provisions and part of the huts;
above this on the main deck is packed in wonderfully close fashion
the remainder of the wood of the huts, the sledges, and travelling
equipment, and the larger instruments and machines to be employed by
the scientific people; this encroaches far on the men's space, but
the extent has been determined by their own wish; they have requested,
through Evans, that they should not be considered: they were prepared
to pig it anyhow, and a few cubic feet of space didn't matter--such
is their spirit.
The men's space, such as it is, therefore, extends from the fore
hatch to the stem on the main deck.
Under the forecastle are stalls for fifteen ponies, the maximum the
space would hold; the narrow irregular space in front is packed tight
Immediately behind the forecastle bulkhead is the small booby hatch,
the only entrance to the men's mess deck in bad weather. Next comes
the foremast, and between that and the fore hatch the galley and winch;
on the port side of the fore hatch are stalls for four ponies--a very
stout wooden structure.
Abaft the fore hatch is the ice-house. We managed to get 3 tons of ice,
162 carcases of mutton, and three carcases of beef, besides some boxes
of sweetbreads and kidneys, into this space. The carcases are stowed
in tiers with wooden battens between the tiers--it looks a triumph
of orderly stowage, and I have great hope that it will ensure fresh
mutton throughout our winter.
On either side of the main hatch and close up to the ice-house are
two out of our three motor sledges; the third rests across the break
of the poop in a space formerly occupied by a winch.
In front of the break of the poop is a stack of petrol cases; a
further stack surmounted with bales of fodder stands between the main
hatch and the mainmast, and cases of petrol, paraffin, and alcohol,
arranged along either gangway.
We have managed to get 405 tons of coal in bunkers and main hold,
25 tons in a space left in the fore hold, and a little over 30 tons
on the upper deck.
The sacks containing this last, added to the goods already mentioned,
make a really heavy deck cargo, and one is naturally anxious concerning
it; but everything that can be done by lashing and securing has
The appearance of confusion on deck is completed by our thirty-three
dogs_1_ chained to stanchions and bolts on the ice-house and on the
main hatch, between the motor sledges.
With all these stores on board the ship still stood two inches
above her load mark. The tanks are filled with compressed forage,
except one, which contains 12 tons of fresh water, enough, we hope,
to take us to the ice.
_Forage_.--I originally ordered 30 tons of compressed oaten hay from
Melbourne. Oates has gradually persuaded us that this is insufficient,
and our pony food weight has gone up to 45 tons, besides 3 or 4 tons
for immediate use. The extra consists of 5 tons of hay, 5 or 6 tons
of oil-cake, 4 or 5 tons of bran, and some crushed oats. We are not
taking any corn.
We have managed to wedge in all the dog biscuits, the total weight
being about 5 tons; Meares is reluctant to feed the dogs on seal,
but I think we ought to do so during the winter.
We stayed with the Kinseys at their house 'Te Han' at Clifton. The
house stands at the edge of the cliff, 400 feet above the sea, and
looks far over the Christchurch plains and the long northern beach
which limits it; close beneath one is the harbour bar and winding
estuary of the two small rivers, the Avon and Waimakariri. Far away
beyond the plains are the mountains, ever changing their aspect, and
yet farther in over this northern sweep of sea can be seen in clear
weather the beautiful snow-capped peaks of the Kaikouras. The scene is
wholly enchanting, and such a view from some sheltered sunny corner
in a garden which blazes with masses of red and golden flowers tends
to feelings of inexpressible satisfaction with all things. At night
we slept in this garden under peaceful clear skies; by day I was off
to my office in Christchurch, then perhaps to the ship or the Island,
and so home by the mountain road over the Port Hills. It is a pleasant
time to remember in spite of interruptions--and it gave time for many
necessary consultations with Kinsey. His interest in the expedition
is wonderful, and such interest on the part of a thoroughly shrewd
business man is an asset of which I have taken full advantage. Kinsey
will act as my agent in Christchurch during my absence; I have given
him an ordinary power of attorney, and I think have left him in
possession of all facts. His kindness to us was beyond words.
The Voyage Out
_Saturday, November 26_.--We advertised our start at 3 P.M., and
at three minutes to that hour the _Terra Nova_ pushed off from
the jetty. A great mass of people assembled. K. and I lunched with
a party in the New Zealand Company's ship _Ruapehu_. Mr. Kinsey,
Ainsley, the Arthur and George Rhodes, Sir George Clifford, &c._2_
K. and I went out in the ship, but left her inside the heads after
passing the _Cambrian_, the only Naval ship present. We came home in
the Harbour Tug; two other tugs followed the ship out and innumerable
small boats. Ponting busy with cinematograph. We walked over the
hills to Sumner. Saw the Terra Nova, a little dot to the S.E.
_Monday, November_ 28.--Caught 8 o'clock express to Port Chalmers,
Kinsey saw us off. Wilson joined train. Rhodes met us Timaru. Telegram
to say _Terra Nova_ had arrived Sunday night. Arrived Port Chalmers
at 4.30. Found all well.
_Tuesday, November_ 29.--Saw Fenwick _re Central News_ agreement--to
town. Thanked Glendenning for handsome gift, 130 grey jerseys. To
Town Hall to see Mayor. Found all well on board.
We left the wharf at 2.30--bright sunshine--very gay scene. If anything
more craft following us than at Lyttelton--Mrs. Wilson, Mrs. Evans,
and K. left at Heads and back in Harbour Tug. Other tugs followed
farther with Volunteer Reserve Gunboat--all left about 4.30. Pennell
'swung' the ship for compass adjustment, then 'away.'
_Evening_.--Loom of land and Cape Saunders Light blinking.
_Wednesday, November_ 30.--Noon no miles. Light breeze from northward
all day, freshening towards nightfall and turning to N.W. Bright
sunshine. Ship pitching with south-westerly swell. All in good spirits
except one or two sick.
We are away, sliding easily and smoothly through the water, but
burning coal--8 tons in 24 hours reported 8 P.M.
_Thursday, December_ 1.--The month opens well on the whole. During
the night the wind increased; we worked up to 8, to 9, and to 9.5
knots. Stiff wind from N.W. and confused sea. Awoke to much motion.
The ship a queer and not altogether cheerful sight under the
Below one knows all space is packed as tight as human skill can
devise--and on deck! Under the forecastle fifteen ponies close side
by side, seven one side, eight the other, heads together and groom
between--swaying, swaying continually to the plunging, irregular
One takes a look through a hole in the bulkhead and sees a row
of heads with sad, patient eyes come swinging up together from the
starboard side, whilst those on the port swing back; then up come the
port heads, whilst the starboard recede. It seems a terrible ordeal
for these poor beasts to stand this day after day for weeks together,
and indeed though they continue to feed well the strain quickly drags
down their weight and condition; but nevertheless the trial cannot be
gauged from human standards. There are horses which never lie down,
and all horses can sleep standing; anatomically they possess a ligament
in each leg which takes their weight without strain. Even our poor
animals will get rest and sleep in spite of the violent motion. Some 4
or 5 tons of fodder and the ever watchful Anton take up the remainder
of the forecastle space. Anton is suffering badly from sea-sickness,
but last night he smoked a cigar. He smoked a little, then had an
interval of evacuation, and back to his cigar whilst he rubbed his
stomach and remarked to Oates 'no good'--gallant little Anton!
There are four ponies outside the forecastle and to leeward of the
fore hatch, and on the whole, perhaps, with shielding tarpaulins,
they have a rather better time than their comrades. Just behind
the ice-house and on either side of the main hatch are two enormous
packing-cases containing motor sledges, each 16 x 5 x 4; mounted as
they are several inches above the deck they take a formidable amount
of space. A third sledge stands across the break of the poop in the
space hitherto occupied by the after winch. All these cases are covered
with stout tarpaulin and lashed with heavy chain and rope lashings,
so that they may be absolutely secure.
The petrol for these sledges is contained in tins and drums protected
in stout wooden packing-cases which are ranged across the deck
immediately in front of the poop and abreast the motor sledges. The
quantity is 2 1/2 tons and the space occupied considerable.
Round and about these packing-cases, stretching from the galley forward
to the wheel aft, the deck is stacked with coal bags forming our deck
cargo of coal, now rapidly diminishing.
We left Port Chalmers with 462 tons of coal on board, rather a
greater quantity than I had hoped for, and yet the load mark was
3 inches above the water. The ship was over 2 feet by the stern,
but this will soon be remedied.
Upon the coal sacks, upon and between the motor sledges and upon
the ice-house are grouped the dogs, thirty-three in all. They must
perforce be chained up and they are given what shelter is afforded
on deck, but their position is not enviable. The seas continually
break on the weather bulwarks and scatter clouds of heavy spray over
the backs of all who must venture into, the waist of the ship. The
dogs sit with their tails to this invading water, their coats wet and
dripping. It is a pathetic attitude, deeply significant of cold and
misery; occasionally some poor beast emits a long pathetic whine. The
group forms a picture of wretched dejection; such a life is truly
hard for these poor creatures.
We manage somehow to find a seat for everyone at our cabin table,
although the wardroom contains twenty-four officers. There are
generally one or two on watch, which eases matters, but it is a
squash. Our meals are simple enough, but it is really remarkable to
see the manner in which our two stewards, Hooper and Neald, provide
for all requirements, washing up, tidying cabin, and making themselves
generally useful in the cheerfullest manner.
With such a large number of hands on board, allowing nine seamen in
each watch, the ship is easily worked, and Meares and Oates have their
appointed assistants to help them in custody of dogs and ponies, but
on such a night as the last with the prospect of dirty weather, the
'after guard' of volunteers is awake and exhibiting its delightful
enthusiasm in the cause of safety and comfort--some are ready to
lend a hand if there is difficulty with ponies and dogs, others in
shortening or trimming sails, and others again in keeping the bunkers
filled with the deck coal.
I think Priestley is the most seriously incapacitated by
sea-sickness--others who might be as bad have had some experience
of the ship and her movement. Ponting cannot face meals but sticks
to his work; on the way to Port Chalmers I am told that he posed
several groups before the cinematograph, though obliged repeatedly
to retire to the ship's side. Yesterday he was developing plates with
the developing dish in one hand and an ordinary basin in the other!
We have run 190 miles to-day: a good start, but inconvenient in one
respect--we have been making for Campbell Island, but early this
morning it became evident that our rapid progress would bring us to
the Island in the middle of the night, instead of to-morrow, as I had
anticipated. The delay of waiting for daylight would not be advisable
under the circumstances, so we gave up this item of our programme.
Later in the day the wind has veered to the westward, heading us
slightly. I trust it will not go further round; we are now more
than a point to eastward of our course to the ice, and three points
to leeward of that to Campbell Island, so that we should not have
fetched the Island anyhow.
_Friday, December_ 1.--A day of great disaster. From 4 o'clock last
night the wind freshened with great rapidity, and very shortly we were
under topsails, jib, and staysail only. It blew very hard and the sea
got up at once. Soon we were plunging heavily and taking much water
over the lee rail. Oates and Atkinson with intermittent assistance from
others were busy keeping the ponies on their legs. Cases of petrol,
forage, etc., began to break loose on the upper deck; the principal
trouble was caused by the loose coal-bags, which were bodily lifted by
the seas and swung against the lashed cases. 'You know how carefully
everything had been lashed, but no lashings could have withstood the
onslaught of these coal sacks for long'; they acted like battering
rams. 'There was nothing for it but to grapple with the evil,
and nearly all hands were labouring for hours in the waist of the
ship, heaving coal sacks overboard and re-lashing the petrol cases,
etc., in the best manner possible under such difficult and dangerous
circumstances. The seas were continually breaking over these people
and now and again they would be completely submerged. At such times
they had to cling for dear life to some fixture to prevent themselves
being washed overboard, and with coal bags and loose cases washing
about, there was every risk of such hold being torn away.'
'No sooner was some semblance of order restored than some exceptionally
heavy wave would tear away the lashing and the work had to be done
all over again.'
The night wore on, the sea and wind ever rising, and the ship ever
plunging more distractedly; we shortened sail to main topsail and
staysail, stopped engines and hove to, but to little purpose. Tales
of ponies down came frequently from forward, where Oates and Atkinson
laboured through the entire night. Worse was to follow, much worse--a
report from the engine-room that the pumps had choked and the water
risen over the gratings.
From this moment, about 4 A.M., the engine-room became the centre
of interest. The water gained in spite of every effort. Lashley,
to his neck in rushing water, stuck gamely to the work of clearing
suctions. For a time, with donkey engine and bilge pump sucking,
it looked as though the water would be got under; but the hope was
short-lived: five minutes of pumping invariably led to the same
result--a general choking of the pumps.
The outlook appeared grim. The amount of water which was being made,
with the ship so roughly handled, was most uncertain. 'We knew that
normally the ship was not making much water, but we also knew that a
considerable part of the water washing over the upper deck must be
finding its way below; the decks were leaking in streams. The ship
was very deeply laden; it did not need the addition of much water
to get her water-logged, in which condition anything might have
happened.' The hand pump produced only a dribble, and its suction
could not be got at; as the water crept higher it got in contact
with the boiler and grew warmer--so hot at last that no one could
work at the suctions. Williams had to confess he was beaten and must
draw fires. What was to be done? Things for the moment appeared very
black. The sea seemed higher than ever; it came over lee rail and poop,
a rush of green water; the ship wallowed in it; a great piece of the
bulwark carried clean away. The bilge pump is dependent on the main
engine. To use the pump it was necessary to go ahead. It was at such
times that the heaviest seas swept in over the lee rail; over and over
[again] the rail, from the forerigging to the main, was covered by a
solid sheet of curling water which swept aft and high on the poop. On
one occasion I was waist deep when standing on the rail of the poop.
The scene on deck was devastating, and in the engine-room the water,
though really not great in quantity, rushed over the floor plates
and frames in a fashion that gave it a fearful significance.
The afterguard were organised in two parties by Evans to work buckets;
the men were kept steadily going on the choked hand pumps--this
seemed all that could be done for the moment, and what a measure to
count as the sole safeguard of the ship from sinking, practically an
attempt to bale her out! Yet strange as it may seem the effort has not
been wholly fruitless--the string of buckets which has now been kept
going for four hours,  together with the dribble from the pump,
has kept the water under--if anything there is a small decrease.
Meanwhile we have been thinking of a way to get at the suction of
the pump: a hole is being made in the engine-room bulkhead, the coal
between this and the pump shaft will be removed, and a hole made in
the shaft. With so much water coming on board, it is impossible to
open the hatch over the shaft. We are not out of the wood, but hope
dawns, as indeed it should for me, when I find myself so wonderfully
served. Officers and men are singing chanties over their arduous
work. Williams is working in sweltering heat behind the boiler to
get the door made in the bulkhead. Not a single one has lost his
good spirits. A dog was drowned last night, one pony is dead and two
others in a bad condition--probably they too will go. 'Occasionally
a heavy sea would bear one of them away, and he was only saved by
his chain. Meares with some helpers had constantly to be rescuing
these wretched creatures from hanging, and trying to find them better
shelter, an almost hopeless task. One poor beast was found hanging
when dead; one was washed away with such force that his chain broke
and he disappeared overboard; the next wave miraculously washed him
on board again and he is now fit and well.' The gale has exacted
heavy toll, but I feel all will be well if we can only cope with the
water. Another dog has just been washed overboard--alas! Thank God,
the gale is abating. The sea is still mountainously high, but the
ship is not labouring so heavily as she was. I pray we may be under
sail again before morning.
_Saturday, December_ 3.--Yesterday the wind slowly fell towards
evening; less water was taken on board, therefore less found its way
below, and it soon became evident that our baling was gaining on the
engine-room. The work was steadily kept going in two-hour shifts. By
10 P.M. the hole in the engine-room bulkhead was completed, and
(Lieut.) Evans, wriggling over the coal, found his way to the pump
shaft and down it. He soon cleared the suction 'of the coal balls
(a mixture of coal and oil) which choked it,' and to the joy of all
a good stream of water came from the pump for the first time. From
this moment it was evident we should get over the difficulty, and
though the pump choked again on several occasions the water in the
engine-room steadily decreased. It was good to visit that spot this
morning and to find that the water no longer swished from side to
side. In the forenoon fires were laid and lighted--the hand pump was
got into complete order and sucked the bilges almost dry, so that
great quantities of coal and ashes could be taken out.
Now all is well again, and we are steaming and sailing steadily south
within two points of our course. Campbell and Bowers have been busy
relisting everything on the upper deck. This afternoon we got out
the two dead ponies through the forecastle skylight. It was a curious
proceeding, as the space looked quite inadequate for their passage. We
looked into the ice-house and found it in the best order.
Though we are not yet safe, as another gale might have disastrous
results, it is wonderful to realise the change which has been wrought
in our outlook in twenty-four hours. The others have confessed
the gravely serious view of our position which they shared with me
yesterday, and now we are all hopeful again.
As far as one can gather, besides the damage to the bulwarks of
the ship, we have lost two ponies, one dog, '10 tons of coal,' 65
gallons of petrol, and a case of the biologists' spirit--a serious
loss enough, but much less than I expected. 'All things considered we
have come off lightly, but it was bad luck to strike a gale at such
a time.' The third pony which was down in a sling for some time in
the gale is again on his feet. He looks a little groggy, but may pull
through if we don't have another gale. Osman, our best sledge dog,
was very bad this morning, but has been lying warmly in hay all day,
and is now much better. 'Several more were in a very bad way and
needed nursing back to life.' The sea and wind seem to be increasing
again, and there is a heavy southerly swell, but the glass is high;
we ought not to have another gale till it falls._3_
_Monday, December_ 5.--Lat. 56 deg. 40'.--The barometer has been almost
steady since Saturday, the wind rising and falling slightly, but
steady in direction from the west. From a point off course we have
crept up to the course itself. Everything looks prosperous except
the ponies. Up to this morning, in spite of favourable wind and sea,
the ship has been pitching heavily to a south-westerly swell. This has
tried the animals badly, especially those under the forecastle. We had
thought the ponies on the port side to be pretty safe, but two of them
seem to me to be groggy, and I doubt if they could stand more heavy
weather without a spell of rest. I pray there may be no more gales. We
should be nearing the limits of the westerlies, but one cannot be
sure for at least two days. There is still a swell from the S.W.,
though it is not nearly so heavy as yesterday, but I devoutly wish it
would vanish altogether. So much depends on fine weather. December
ought to be a fine month in the Ross Sea; it always has been, and
just now conditions point to fine weather. Well, we must be prepared
for anything, but I'm anxious, anxious about these animals of ours.
The dogs have quite recovered since the fine weather--they are quite
in good form again.
Our deck cargo is getting reduced; all the coal is off the upper
deck and the petrol is re-stored in better fashion; as far as that
is concerned we should not mind another blow. Campbell and Bowers
have been untiring in getting things straight on deck.
The idea of making our station Cape Crozier has again come on the
tapis. There would be many advantages: the ease of getting there at an
early date, the fact that none of the autumn or summer parties could
be cut off, the fact that the main Barrier could be reached without
crossing crevasses and that the track to the Pole would be due south
from the first:--the mild condition and absence of blizzards at the
penguin rookery, the opportunity of studying the Emperor penguin
incubation, and the new interest of the geology of Terror, besides
minor facilities, such as the getting of ice, stones for shelters,
&c. The disadvantages mainly consist in the possible difficulty of
landing stores--a swell would make things very unpleasant, and might
possibly prevent the landing of the horses and motors. Then again
it would be certain that some distance of bare rock would have to
be traversed before a good snow surface was reached from the hut,
and possibly a climb of 300 or 400 feet would intervene. Again,
it might be difficult to handle the ship whilst stores were being
landed, owing to current, bergs, and floe ice. It remains to be seen,
but the prospect is certainly alluring. At a pinch we could land the
ponies in McMurdo Sound and let them walk round.
The sun is shining brightly this afternoon, everything is drying,
and I think the swell continues to subside.
_Tuesday, December_ 6.--Lat. 59 deg. 7'. Long. 177 deg. 51' E. Made good
S. 17 E. 153; 457' to Circle. The promise of yesterday has been
fulfilled, the swell has continued to subside, and this afternoon
we go so steadily that we have much comfort. I am truly thankful
mainly for the sake of the ponies; poor things, they look thin and
scraggy enough, but generally brighter and fitter. There is no doubt
the forecastle is a bad place for them, but in any case some must
have gone there. The four midship ponies, which were expected to be
subject to the worst conditions, have had a much better time than their
fellows. A few ponies have swollen legs, but all are feeding well. The
wind failed in the morning watch and later a faint breeze came from the
eastward; the barometer has been falling, but not on a steep gradient;
it is still above normal. This afternoon it is overcast with a Scotch
mist. Another day ought to put us beyond the reach of westerly gales.
We still continue to discuss the project of landing at Cape Crozier,
and the prospect grows more fascinating as we realise it. For
instance, we ought from such a base to get an excellent idea of the
Barrier movement, and of the relative movement amongst the pressure
ridges. There is no doubt it would be a tremendous stroke of luck to
get safely landed there with all our paraphernalia.
Everyone is very cheerful--one hears laughter and song all day--it's
delightful to be with such a merry crew. A week from New Zealand
_Wednesday, December_ 7.--Lat. 61 deg. 22'. Long. 179 deg. 56' W. Made good
S. 25 E. 150; Ant. Circle 313'. The barometer descended on a steep
regular gradient all night, turning suddenly to an equally steep up
grade this morning. With the turn a smart breeze sprang up from the
S.W. and forced us three points off our course. The sea has remained
calm, seeming to show that the ice is not far off; this afternoon
temperature of air and water both 34 deg., supporting the assumption. The
wind has come fair and we are on our course again, going between 7
and 8 knots.
Quantities of whale birds about the ship, the first fulmars and the
first McCormick skua seen. Last night saw 'hour glass' dolphins
about. Sooty and black-browed albatrosses continue, with Cape
chickens. The cold makes people hungry and one gets just a tremor on
seeing the marvellous disappearance of consumables when our twenty-four
young appetites have to be appeased.
Last night I discussed the Western Geological Party, and explained to
Ponting the desirability of his going with it. I had thought he ought
to be in charge, as the oldest and most experienced traveller, and
mentioned it to him--then to Griffith Taylor. The latter was evidently
deeply disappointed. So we three talked the matter out between us, and
Ponting at once disclaimed any right, and announced cheerful agreement
with Taylor's leadership; it was a satisfactory arrangement, and shows
Ponting in a very pleasant light. I'm sure he's a very nice fellow.
I would record here a symptom of the spirit which actuates the
men. After the gale the main deck under the forecastle space in
which the ponies are stabled leaked badly, and the dirt of the
stable leaked through on hammocks and bedding. Not a word has been
said; the men living in that part have done their best to fend
off the nuisance with oilskins and canvas, but without sign of
complaint. Indeed the discomfort throughout the mess deck has been
extreme. Everything has been thrown about, water has found its way
down in a dozen places. There is no daylight, and air can come only
through the small fore hatch; the artificial lamplight has given much
trouble. The men have been wetted to the skin repeatedly on deck,
and have no chance of drying their clothing. All things considered,
their cheerful fortitude is little short of wonderful.
_First Ice_.--There was a report of ice at dinner to-night. Evans
corroborated Cheetham's statement that there was a berg far away to
the west, showing now and again as the sun burst through the clouds.
_Thursday, December_ 8.--63 deg. 20'. 177 deg. 22'. S. 31 E. 138'; to
Circle 191'. The wind increased in the first watch last night to
a moderate gale. The ship close hauled held within two points of
her course. Topgallant sails and mainsail were furled, and later in
the night the wind gradually crept ahead. At 6 A.M. we were obliged
to furl everything, and throughout the day we have been plunging
against a stiff breeze and moderate sea. This afternoon by keeping a
little to eastward of the course, we have managed to get fore and aft
sail filled. The barometer has continued its steady upward path for
twenty-four hours; it shows signs of turning, having reached within
1/10th of 30 inches. It was light throughout last night (always a
cheerful condition), but this head wind is trying to the patience,
more especially as our coal expenditure is more than I estimated. We
manage 62 or 63 revolutions on about 9 tons, but have to distil every
three days at expense of half a ton, and then there is a weekly half
ton for the cook. It is certainly a case of fighting one's way South.
I was much disturbed last night by the motion; the ship was pitching
and twisting with short sharp movements on a confused sea, and with
every plunge my thoughts flew to our poor ponies. This afternoon
they are fairly well, but one knows that they must be getting weaker
as time goes on, and one longs to give them a good sound rest with
the ship on an even keel. Poor patient beasts! One wonders how far
the memory of such fearful discomfort will remain with them--animals
so often remember places and conditions where they have encountered
difficulties or hurt. Do they only recollect circumstances which are
deeply impressed by some shock of fear or sudden pain, and does the
remembrance of prolonged strain pass away? Who can tell? But it would
seem strangely merciful if nature should blot out these weeks of slow
but inevitable torture.
The dogs are in great form again; for them the greatest circumstance
of discomfort is to be constantly wet. It was this circumstance
prolonged throughout the gale which nearly lost us our splendid leader
'Osman.' In the morning he was discovered utterly exhausted and only
feebly trembling; life was very nearly out of him. He was buried in
hay, and lay so for twenty-four hours, refusing food--the wonderful
hardihood of his species was again shown by the fact that within
another twenty-four hours he was to all appearance as fit as ever.
Antarctic petrels have come about us. This afternoon one was caught.
Later, about 7 P.M. Evans saw two icebergs far on the port beam; they
could only be seen from the masthead. Whales have been frequently
seen--Balaenoptera Sibbaldi--supposed to be the biggest mammal that
has ever existed._4_
_Friday, December_ 9.--65 deg. 8'. 177 deg. 41'. Made good S. 4 W. 109';
Scott Island S. 22 W. 147'. At six this morning bergs and pack were
reported ahead; at first we thought the pack might consist only of
fragments of the bergs, but on entering a stream we found small worn
floes--the ice not more than two or three feet in thickness. 'I had
hoped that we should not meet it till we reached latitude 66 1/2 or
at least 66.' We decided to work to the south and west as far as the
open water would allow, and have met with some success. At 4 P.M.,
as I write, we are still in open water, having kept a fairly straight
course and come through five or six light streams of ice, none more
than 300 yards across.
We have passed some very beautiful bergs, mostly tabular. The heights
have varied from 60 to 80 feet, and I am getting to think that this
part of the Antarctic yields few bergs of greater altitude.
Two bergs deserve some description. One, passed very close on port
hand in order that it might be cinematographed, was about 80 feet in
height, and tabular. It seemed to have been calved at a comparatively
The above picture shows its peculiarities, and points to the
desirability of close examination of other berg faces. There seemed
to be a distinct difference of origin between the upper and lower
portions of the berg, as though a land glacier had been covered by
layer after layer of seasonal snow. Then again, what I have described
as 'intrusive layers of blue ice' was a remarkable feature; one
could imagine that these layers represent surfaces which have been
transformed by regelation under hot sun and wind.
This point required investigation.
The second berg was distinguished by innumerable vertical cracks. These
seemed to run criss-cross and to weaken the structure, so that the
various seracs formed by them had bent to different angles and shapes,
giving a very irregular surface to the berg, and a face scarred with
immense vertical fissures.
One imagines that such a berg has come from a region of ice disturbance
such as King Edward's Land.
We have seen a good many whales to-day, rorquals with high black
The birds with us: Antarctic and snow petrel--a fulmar--and this
morning Cape pigeon.
We have pack ice farther north than expected, and it's impossible to
interpret the fact. One hopes that we shall not have anything heavy,
but I'm afraid there's not much to build upon. 10 P.M.--We have made
good progress throughout the day, but the ice streams thicken as we
advance, and on either side of us the pack now appears in considerable
fields. We still pass quantities of bergs, perhaps nearly one-half
the number tabular, but the rest worn and fantastic.
The sky has been wonderful, with every form of cloud in every condition
of light and shade; the sun has continually appeared through breaks
in the cloudy heavens from time to time, brilliantly illuminating some
field of pack, some steep-walled berg, or some patch of bluest sea. So
sunlight and shadow have chased each other across our scene. To-night
there is little or no swell--the ship is on an even keel, steady,
save for the occasional shocks on striking ice.
It is difficult to express the sense of relief this steadiness gives
after our storm-tossed passage. One can only imagine the relief and
comfort afforded to the ponies, but the dogs are visibly cheered and
the human element is full of gaiety. The voyage seems full of promise
in spite of the imminence of delay.
If the pack becomes thick I shall certainly put the fires out and wait
for it to open. I do not think it ought to remain close for long in
this meridian. To-night we must be beyond the 66th parallel.
_Saturday, December_ 10.--Dead Reckoning 66 deg. 38'. Long. 178 deg.
47'. Made good S. 17 W. 94. C. Crozier 688'. Stayed on deck till
midnight. The sun just dipped below the southern horizon. The scene
was incomparable. The northern sky was gloriously rosy and reflected
in the calm sea between the ice, which varied from burnished copper to
salmon pink; bergs and pack to the north had a pale greenish hue with
deep purple shadows, the sky shaded to saffron and pale green. We gazed
long at these beautiful effects. The ship made through leads during the
night; morning found us pretty well at the end of the open water. We
stopped to water ship from a nice hummocky floe. We made about 8 tons
of water. Rennick took a sounding, 1960 fathoms; the tube brought up
two small lumps of volcanic lava with the usual globigerina ooze.
Wilson shot a number of Antarctic petrel and snowy petrel. Nelson
got some crustaceans and other beasts with a vertical tow net, and
got a water sample and temperatures at 400 metres. The water was
warmer at that depth. About 1.30 we proceeded at first through fairly
easy pack, then in amongst very heavy old floes grouped about a big
berg; we shot out of this and made a detour, getting easier going;
but though the floes were less formidable as we proceeded south,
the pack grew thicker. I noticed large floes of comparatively thin
ice very sodden and easily split; these are similar to some we went
through in the _Discovery_, but tougher by a month.
At three we stopped and shot four crab-eater seals; to-night we had
the livers for dinner--they were excellent.
To-night we are in very close pack--it is doubtful if it is worth
pushing on, but an arch of clear sky which has shown to the southward
all day makes me think that there must be clearer water in that
direction; perhaps only some 20 miles away--but 20 miles is much
under present conditions. As I came below to bed at 11 P.M. Bruce
was slogging away, making fair progress, but now and again brought up
altogether. I noticed the ice was becoming much smoother and thinner,
with occasional signs of pressure, between which the ice was very thin.
'We had been very carefully into all the evidence of former voyages
to pick the best meridian to go south on, and I thought and still
think that the evidence points to the 178 W. as the best. We entered
the pack more or less on this meridian, and have been rewarded by
encountering worse conditions than any ship has had before. Worse, in
fact, than I imagined would have been possible on any other meridian
of those from which we could have chosen.
'To understand the difficulty of the position you must appreciate
what the pack is and how little is known of its movements.
'The pack in this part of the world consists (1) of the ice which has
formed over the sea on the fringe of the Antarctic continent during
the last winter; (2) of very heavy old ice floes which have broken
out of bays and inlets during the previous summer, but have not had
time to get north before the winter set in; (3) of comparatively
heavy ice formed over the Ross Sea early in the last winter; and (4)
of comparatively thin ice which has formed over parts of the Ross
Sea in middle or towards the end of the last winter.
'Undoubtedly throughout the winter all ice-sheets move and twist,
tear apart and press up into ridges, and thousands of bergs charge
through these sheets, raising hummocks and lines of pressure and
mixing things up; then of course where such rents are made in the
winter the sea freezes again, forming a newer and thinner sheet.
'With the coming of summer the northern edge of the sheet decays
and the heavy ocean swell penetrates it, gradually breaking it into
smaller and smaller fragments. Then the whole body moves to the north
and the swell of the Ross Sea attacks the southern edge of the pack.
'This makes it clear why at the northern and southern limits the
pieces or ice-floes are comparatively small, whilst in the middle the
floes may be two or three miles across; and why the pack may and does
consist of various natures of ice-floes in extraordinary confusion.
'Further it will be understood why the belt grows narrower and the
floes thinner and smaller as the summer advances.
'We know that where thick pack may be found early in January, open
water and a clear sea may be found in February, and broadly that the
later the date the easier the chance of getting through.
'A ship going through the pack must either break through the floes,
push them aside, or go round them, observing that she cannot push
floes which are more than 200 or 300 yards across.
'Whether a ship can get through or not depends on the thickness and
nature of the ice, the size of the floes and the closeness with which
they are packed together, as well as on her own power.
'The situation of the main bodies of pack and the closeness with
which the floes are packed depend almost entirely on the prevailing
winds. One cannot tell what winds have prevailed before one's arrival;
therefore one cannot know much about the situation or density.
'Within limits the density is changing from day to day and even
from hour to hour; such changes depend on the wind, but it may
not necessarily be a local wind, so that at times they seem almost
mysterious. One sees the floes pressing closely against one another
at a given time, and an hour or two afterwards a gap of a foot or
more may be seen between each.
'When the floes are pressed together it is difficult and sometimes
impossible to force a way through, but when there is release of
pressure the sum of many little gaps allows one to take a zigzag path.'
In the Pack
_Sunday, December_ ll.--The ice grew closer during the night, and
at 6 it seemed hopeless to try and get ahead. The pack here is very
regular; the floes about 2 1/2 feet thick and very solid. They are
pressed closely together, but being irregular in shape, open spaces
frequently occur, generally triangular in shape.
It might be noted that such ice as this occupies much greater space
than it originally did when it formed a complete sheet--hence if the
Ross Sea were wholly frozen over in the spring, the total quantity
of pack to the north of it when it breaks out must be immense.
This ice looks as though it must have come from the Ross Sea, and
yet one is puzzled to account for the absence of pressure.
We have lain tight in the pack all day; the wind from 6 A.M. strong
from W. and N.W., with snow; the wind has eased to-night, and for some
hours the glass, which fell rapidly last night, has been stationary. I
expect the wind will shift soon; pressure on the pack has eased,
but so far it has not opened.
This morning Rennick got a sounding at 2015 fathoms from bottom
similar to yesterday, with small pieces of basic lava; these two
soundings appear to show a great distribution of this volcanic rock
by ice. The line was weighed by hand after the soundings. I read
Service in the wardroom.
This afternoon all hands have been away on ski over the floes. It
is delightful to get the exercise. I'm much pleased with the ski and
ski boots--both are very well adapted to our purposes.
This waiting requires patience, though I suppose it was to be expected
at such an early season. It is difficult to know when to try and push
_Monday, December_ 12.--The pack was a little looser this morning;
there was a distinct long swell apparently from N.W. The floes were
not apart but barely touching the edges, which were hard pressed
yesterday; the wind still holds from N.W., but lighter. Gran, Oates,
and Bowers went on ski towards a reported island about which there
had been some difference of opinion. I felt certain it was a berg,
and it proved to be so; only of a very curious dome shape with very
low cliffs all about.
Fires were ordered for 12, and at 11.30 we started steaming with plain
sail set. We made, and are making fair progress on the whole, but it
is very uneven. We escaped from the heavy floes about us into much
thinner pack, then through two water holes, then back to the thinner
pack consisting of thin floes of large area fairly easily broken. All
went well till we struck heavy floes again, then for half an hour we
stopped dead. Then on again, and since alternately bad and good--that
is, thin young floes and hoary older ones, occasionally a pressed up
berg, very heavy.
The best news of yesterday was that we drifted 15 miles to the S.E.,
so that we have not really stopped our progress at all, though it has,
of course, been pretty slow.
I really don't know what to think of the pack, or when to hope for
We tried Atkinson's blubber stove this afternoon with great
success. The interior of the stove holds a pipe in a single coil
pierced with holes on the under side. These holes drip oil on to an
asbestos burner. The blubber is placed in a tank suitably built around
the chimney; the overflow of oil from this tank leads to the feed pipe
in the stove, with a cock to regulate the flow. A very simple device,
but as has been shown a very effective one; the stove gives great heat,
but, of course, some blubber smell. However, with such stoves in the
south one would never lack cooked food or warm hut.
Discussed with Wright the fact that the hummocks on sea ice always
yield fresh water. We agreed that the brine must simply run down
out of the ice. It will be interesting to bring up a piece of sea
ice and watch this process. But the fact itself is interesting as
showing that the process producing the hummock is really producing
fresh water. It may also be noted as phenomenon which makes _all_
the difference to the ice navigator._5_
Truly the getting to our winter quarters is no light task; at first the
gales and heavy seas, and now this continuous fight with the pack ice.
8 P.M.--We are getting on with much bumping and occasional 'hold ups.'
_Tuesday, December_ 13.--I was up most of the night. Never have I
experienced such rapid and complete changes of prospect. Cheetham
in the last dog watch was running the ship through sludgy new ice,
making with all sail set four or five knots. Bruce, in the first,
took over as we got into heavy ice again; but after a severe tussle
got through into better conditions. The ice of yesterday loose with
sludgy thin floes between. The middle watch found us making for an
open lead, the ice around hard and heavy. We got through, and by
sticking to the open water and then to some recently frozen pools
made good progress. At the end of the middle watch trouble began
again, and during this and the first part of the morning we were
wrestling with the worst conditions we have met. Heavy hummocked
bay ice, the floes standing 7 or 8 feet out of water, and very deep
below. It was just such ice as we encountered at King Edward's Land
in the _Discovery_. I have never seen anything more formidable. The
last part of the morning watch was spent in a long recently frozen
lead or pool, and the ship went well ahead again.
These changes sound tame enough, but they are a great strain on
one's nerves--one is for ever wondering whether one has done right
in trying to come down so far east, and having regard to coal, what
ought to be done under the circumstances.
In the first watch came many alterations of opinion; time and again it
looks as though we ought to stop when it seemed futile to be pushing
and pushing without result; then would come a stretch of easy going and
the impression that all was going very well with us. The fact of the
matter is, it is difficult not to imagine the conditions in which one
finds oneself to be more extensive than they are. It is wearing to have
to face new conditions every hour. This morning we met at breakfast
in great spirits; the ship has been boring along well for two hours,
then Cheetham suddenly ran her into a belt of the worst and we were
held up immediately. We can push back again, I think, but meanwhile
we have taken advantage of the conditions to water ship. These big
floes are very handy for that purpose at any rate. Rennick got a
sounding 2124 fathoms, similar bottom _including_ volcanic lava.
_December_ 13 (_cont_.).--67 deg. 30' S. 177 deg. 58' W. Made good S. 20
E. 27'. C. Crozier S. 21 W. 644'.--We got in several tons of ice,
then pushed off and slowly and laboriously worked our way to one of
the recently frozen pools. It was not easily crossed, but when we came
to its junction with the next part to the S.W. (in which direction I
proposed to go) we were quite hung up. A little inspection showed that
the big floes were tending to close. It seems as though the tenacity of
the 6 or 7 inches of recent ice over the pools is enormously increased
by lateral pressure. But whatever the cause, we could not budge.
We have decided to put fires out and remain here till the conditions
change altogether for the better. It is sheer waste of coal to make
further attempts to break through as things are at present.
We have been set to the east during the past days; is it the normal
set in the region, or due to the prevalence of westerly winds? Possibly
much depends on this as concerns our date of release. It is annoying,
but one must contain one's soul in patience and hope for a brighter
outlook in a day or two. Meanwhile we shall sound and do as much
biological work as is possible.
The pack is a sunless place as a rule; this morning we had bright
sunshine for a few hours, but later the sky clouded over from the
north again, and now it is snowing dismally. It is calm.
_Wednesday, December_ 14.--Position, N. 2', W. 1/2'. The pack still
close around. From the masthead one can see a few patches of open
water in different directions, but the main outlook is the same
scene of desolate hummocky pack. The wind has come from the S.W.,
force 2; we have bright sunshine and good sights. The ship has swung
to the wind and the floes around are continually moving. They change
their relative positions in a slow, furtive, creeping fashion. The
temperature is 35 deg., the water 29.2 deg. to 29.5 deg.. Under such conditions
the thin sludgy ice ought to be weakening all the time; a few inches
of such stuff should allow us to push through anywhere.
One realises the awful monotony of a long stay in the pack, such as
Nansen and others experienced. One can imagine such days as these
lengthening into interminable months and years.
For us there is novelty, and everyone has work to do or makes work,
so that there is no keen sense of impatience.
Nelson and Lillie were up all night with the current meter; it is not
quite satisfactory, but some result has been obtained. They will also
get a series of temperatures and samples and use the vertical tow net.
The current is satisfactory. Both days the fixes have been good--it
is best that we should go north and west. I had a great fear that we
should be drifted east and so away to regions of permanent pack. If
we go on in this direction it can only be a question of time before
we are freed.
We have all been away on ski on the large floe to which we anchored
this morning. Gran is wonderfully good and gives instruction well. It
was hot and garments came off one by one--the Soldier  and Atkinson
were stripped to the waist eventually, and have been sliding round
the floe for some time in that condition. Nearly everyone has been
wearing goggles; the glare is very bad. Ponting tried to get a colour
picture, but unfortunately the ice colours are too delicate for this.
To-night Campbell, Evans, and I went out over the floe, and each in
turn towed the other two; it was fairly easy work--that is, to pull
310 to 320 lbs. One could pull it perhaps more easily on foot, yet
it would be impossible to pull such a load on a sledge. What a puzzle
this pulling of loads is! If one could think that this captivity was
soon to end there would be little reason to regret it; it is giving
practice with our deep sea gear, and has made everyone keen to learn
the proper use of ski.
The swell has increased considerably, but it is impossible to tell
from what direction it comes; one can simply note that the ship and
brash ice swing to and fro, bumping into the floe.
We opened the ice-house to-day, and found the meat in excellent
condition--most of it still frozen.
_Thursday, December_ 15.--66 deg. 23' S. 177 deg. 59' W. Sit. N. 2', E. 5
1/2'.--In the morning the conditions were unaltered. Went for a ski
run before breakfast. It makes a wonderful difference to get the
blood circulating by a little exercise.
After breakfast we served out ski to the men of the landing party. They
are all very keen to learn, and Gran has been out morning and afternoon
Meares got some of his dogs out and a sledge--two lots of seven--those
that looked in worst condition (and several are getting very fat) were
tried. They were very short of wind--it is difficult to understand
how they can get so fat, as they only get two and a half biscuits
a day at the most. The ponies are looking very well on the whole,
especially those in the outside stalls.
Rennick got a sounding to-day 1844 fathoms; reversible thermometers
were placed close to bottom and 500 fathoms up. We shall get a very
good series of temperatures from the bottom up during the wait. Nelson
will try to get some more current observations to-night or to-morrow.
It is very trying to find oneself continually drifting north, but
one is thankful not to be going east.
To-night it has fallen calm and the floes have decidedly opened;
there is a lot of water about the ship, but it does not look to extend
far. Meanwhile the brash and thinner floes are melting; everything
of that sort must help--but it's trying to the patience to be delayed
We have seen enough to know that with a north-westerly or westerly
wind the floes tend to pack and that they open when it is calm. The
question is, will they open more with an easterly or south-easterly
wind--that is the hope.
Signs of open water round and about are certainly increasing rather
_Friday, December_ 16.--The wind sprang up from the N.E. this morning,
bringing snow, thin light hail, and finally rain; it grew very thick
and has remained so all day.
Early the floe on which we had done so much ski-ing broke up, and
we gathered in our ice anchors, then put on head sail, to which she
gradually paid off. With a fair wind we set sail on the foremast,
and slowly but surely she pushed the heavy floes aside. At lunch
time we entered a long lead of open water, and for nearly half an
hour we sailed along comfortably in it. Entering the pack again,
we found the floes much lighter and again pushed on slowly. In all
we may have made as much as three miles.
I have observed for some time some floes of immense area forming a
chain of lakes in this pack, and have been most anxious to discover
their thickness. They are most certainly the result of the freezing
of comparatively recent pools in the winter pack, and it follows
that they must be getting weaker day by day. If one could be certain
firstly, that these big areas extend to the south, and, secondly,
that the ship could go through them, it would be worth getting up
steam. We have arrived at the edge of one of these floes, and the
ship will not go through under sail, but I'm sure she would do so
under steam. Is this a typical floe? And are there more ahead?
One of the ponies got down this afternoon--Oates thinks it was probably
asleep and fell, but the incident is alarming; the animals are not
too strong. On this account this delay is harassing--otherwise we
should not have much to regret.
_Saturday, December_ 17.--67 deg. 24'. 177 deg. 34'. Drift for 48 hours S. 82
E. 9.7'. It rained hard and the glass fell rapidly last night with
every sign of a coming gale. This morning the wind increased to force
6 from the west with snow. At noon the barograph curve turned up and
the wind moderated, the sky gradually clearing.
To-night it is fairly bright and clear; there is a light south-westerly
wind. It seems rather as though the great gales of the Westerlies must
begin in these latitudes with such mild disturbances as we have just
experienced. I think it is the first time I have known rain beyond
the Antarctic circle--it is interesting to speculate on its effect
in melting the floes.
We have scarcely moved all day, but bergs which have become quite
old friends through the week are on the move, and one has approached
and almost circled us. Evidently these bergs are moving about in an
irregular fashion, only they must have all travelled a little east in
the forty-eight hours as we have done. Another interesting observation
to-night is that of the slow passage of a stream of old heavy floes
past the ship and the lighter ice in which she is held.
There are signs of water sky to the south, and I'm impatient to
be off, but still one feels that waiting may be good policy, and I
should certainly contemplate waiting some time longer if it weren't
for the ponies.
Everyone is wonderfully cheerful; there is laughter all day
long. Nelson finished his series of temperatures and samples to-day
with an observation at 1800 metres.
Series of Sea Temperatures
Metres Temp. (uncorrected)
Dec. 14 0 -1.67
,, 10 -1.84
,, 20 -1.86
,, 30 -1.89
,, 50 -1.92
,, 75 -1.93
,, 100 -1.80
,, 125 -1.11
,, 150 -0.63
,, 200 0.24
,, 500 1.18
,, 1500 0.935
Dec. 17 1800 0.61
,, 2300 0.48
Dec. 15 2800 0.28
,, 3220 0.11
,, 3650 -0.13 no sample
,, 3891 bottom
Dec. 20 2300 (1260 fms.) 0.48 deg. C.
,, 3220 (1760 fms.) 0.11 deg. C.
,, 3300 bottom
A curious point is that the bottom layer is 2 tenths higher on the
20th, remaining in accord with the same depth on the 15th.
_Sunday, December_ 18.--In the night it fell calm and the floes
opened out. There is more open water between the floes around us,
yet not a great deal more.
In general what we have observed on the opening of the pack means a
very small increase in the open water spaces, but enough to convey
the impression that the floes, instead of wishing to rub shoulders
and grind against one another, desire to be apart. They touch lightly
where they touch at all--such a condition makes much difference to
the ship in attempts to force her through, as each floe is freer to
move on being struck.
If a pack be taken as an area bounded by open water, it is evident
that a small increase of the periphery or a small outward movement
of the floes will add much to the open water spaces and create a
The opening of this pack was reported at 3 A.M., and orders were given
to raise steam. The die is cast, and we must now make a determined
push for the open southern sea.
There is a considerable swell from the N.W.; it should help us to
_Evening_.--Again extraordinary differences of fortune. At first
things looked very bad--it took nearly half an hour to get started,
much more than an hour to work away to one of the large area floes to
which I have referred; then to my horror the ship refused to look at
it. Again by hard fighting we worked away to a crack running across
this sheet, and to get through this crack required many stoppages
and engine reversals.
Then we had to shoot away south to avoid another unbroken floe of
large area, but after we had rounded this things became easier; from 6
o'clock we were almost able to keep a steady course, only occasionally
hung up by some thicker floe. The rest of the ice was fairly recent
and easily broken. At 7 the leads of recent ice became easier still,
and at 8 we entered a long lane of open water. For a time we almost
thought we had come to the end of our troubles, and there was much
jubilation. But, alas! at the end of the lead we have come again to
heavy bay ice. It is undoubtedly this mixture of bay ice which causes
the open leads, and I cannot but think that this is the King Edward's
Land pack. We are making S.W. as best we can.
What an exasperating game this is!--one cannot tell what is going
to happen in the next half or even quarter of an hour. At one moment
everything looks flourishing, the next one begins to doubt if it is
possible to get through.
_New Fish_.--Just at the end of the open lead to-night we capsized
a small floe and thereby jerked a fish out on top of another one. We
stopped and picked it up, finding it a beautiful silver grey, genus
_Notothenia_--I think a new species.
Snow squalls have been passing at intervals--the wind continues in
the N.W. It is comparatively warm.
We saw the first full-grown Emperor penguin to-night.
_Monday, December_ 19.--On the whole, in spite of many bumps, we made
good progress during the night, but the morning (present) outlook is
the worst we've had. We seem to be in the midst of a terribly heavy
screwed pack; it stretches in all directions as far as the eye can see,
and the prospects are alarming from all points of view. I have decided
to push west--anything to get out of these terribly heavy floes. Great
patience is the only panacea for our ill case. It is bad luck.
We first got amongst the very thick floes at 1 A.M., and jammed
through some of the most monstrous I have ever seen. The pressure
ridges rose 24 feet above the surface--the ice must have extended
at least 30 feet below. The blows given us gave the impression of
irresistible solidity. Later in the night we passed out of this into
long lanes of water and some of thin brash ice, hence the progress
made. I'm afraid we have strained our rudder; it is stiff in one
direction. We are in difficult circumstances altogether. This morning
we have brilliant sunshine and no wind.
Noon 67 deg. 54.5' S., 178 deg. 28' W. Made good S. 34 W. 37'; C. Crozier
606'. Fog has spread up from the south with a very light southerly
There has been another change of conditions, but I scarcely know
whether to call it for the better or the worse. There are fewer heavy
old floes; on the other hand, the one year's floes, tremendously
screwed and doubtless including old floes in their mass, have now
enormously increased in area.
A floe which we have just passed must have been a mile across--this
argues lack of swell and from that one might judge the open water to be
very far. We made progress in a fairly good direction this morning,
but the outlook is bad again--the ice seems to be closing. Again
patience, we must go on steadily working through.
5.30.--We passed two immense bergs in the afternoon watch, the first
of an irregular tabular form. The stratified surface had clearly
faulted. I suggest that an uneven bottom to such a berg giving unequal
buoyancy to parts causes this faulting. The second berg was domed,
having a twin peak. These bergs are still a puzzle. I rather cling
to my original idea that they become domed when stranded and isolated.
These two bergs had left long tracks of open water in the pack. We came
through these making nearly 3 knots, but, alas! only in a direction
which carried us a little east of south. It was difficult to get from
one tract to another, but the tracts themselves were quite clear of
ice. I noticed with rather a sinking that the floes on either side
of us were assuming gigantic areas; one or two could not have been
less than 2 or 3 miles across. It seemed to point to very distant
But an observation which gave greater satisfaction was a steady
reduction in the thickness of the floes. At first they were still much
pressed up and screwed. One saw lines and heaps of pressure dotted over
the surface of the larger floes, but it was evident from the upturned
slopes that the floes had been thin when these disturbances took place.
At about 4.30 we came to a group of six or seven low tabular
bergs some 15 or 20 feet in height. It was such as these that we
saw in King Edward's Land, and they might very well come from that
region. Three of these were beautifully uniform, with flat tops and
straight perpendicular sides, and others had overhanging cornices,
and some sloped towards the edges.
No more open water was reported on the other side of the bergs,
and one wondered what would come next. The conditions have proved a
pleasing surprise. There are still large floes on either side of us,
but they are not much hummocked; there are pools of water on their
surface, and the lanes between are filled with light brash and only an
occasional heavy floe. The difference is wonderful. The heavy floes and
gigantic pressure ice struck one most alarmingly--it seemed impossible
that the ship could win her way through them, and led one to imagine
all sorts of possibilities, such as remaining to be drifted north
and freed later in the season, and the contrast now that the ice all
around is little more than 2 or 3 feet thick is an immense relief. It
seems like release from a horrid captivity. Evans has twice suggested
stopping and waiting to-day, and on three occasions I have felt my
own decision trembling in the balance. If this condition holds I need
not say how glad we shall be that we doggedly pushed on in spite of
the apparently hopeless outlook.
In any case, if it holds or not, it will be a great relief to feel
that there is this plain of negotiable ice behind one.
Saw two sea leopards this evening, one in the water making short,
lazy dives under the floes. It had a beautiful sinuous movement.
I have asked Pennell to prepare a map of the pack; it ought to give
some idea of the origin of the various forms of floes, and their
general drift. I am much inclined to think that most of the pressure
ridges are formed by the passage of bergs through the comparatively
young ice. I imagine that when the sea freezes very solid it carries
bergs with it, but obviously the enormous mass of a berg would need
a great deal of stopping. In support of this view I notice that
most of the pressure ridges are formed by pieces of a sheet which
did not exceed one or two feet in thickness--also it seems that the
screwed ice which we have passed has occurred mostly in the regions
of bergs. On one side of the tabular berg passed yesterday pressure
was heaped to a height of 15 feet--it was like a ship's bow wave on a
large scale. Yesterday there were many bergs and much pressure; last
night no bergs and practically no pressure; this morning few bergs
and comparatively little pressure. It goes to show that the unconfined
pack of these seas would not be likely to give a ship a severe squeeze.
Saw a young Emperor this morning, and whilst trying to capture it
one of Wilson's new whales with the sabre dorsal fin rose close to