Part 5 out of 10
gone out again in places. The wind dropped as suddenly as it had
arisen soon after midnight.
In the evening Simpson gave us his first meteorological lecture--the
subject, 'Coronas, Halos, Rainbows, and Auroras.' He has a remarkable
power of exposition and taught me more of these phenomena in the hour
than I had learnt by all previous interested inquiries concerning them.
I note one or two points concerning each phenomenon.
_Corona_.--White to brown inside ring called Aureola--outside
are sometimes seen two or three rings of prismatic light in
addition. Caused by diffraction of light round drops of water or ice
crystals; diameter of rings inversely proportionate to size of drops
or crystals--mixed sizes of ditto causes aureola without rings.
_Halos_.--Caused by refraction and reflection through and from ice
crystals. In this connection the hexagonal, tetrahedonal type of
crystallisation is first to be noted; then the infinite number of
forms in which this can be modified together with result of fractures:
two forms predominate, the plate and the needle; these forms falling
through air assume definite position--the plate falls horizontally
swaying to and fro, the needle turns rapidly about its longer axis,
which remains horizontal. Simpson showed excellent experiments to
illustrate; consideration of these facts and refraction of light
striking crystals clearly leads to explanation of various complicated
halo phenomena such as recorded and such as seen by us on the Great
Barrier, and draws attention to the critical refraction angles of 32 deg.
and 46 deg., the radius of inner and outer rings, the position of mock
suns, contra suns, zenith circles, &c.
Further measurements are needed; for instance of streamers from mock
suns and examination of ice crystals. (Record of ice crystals seen
on Barrier Surface.)
_Rainbows_.--Caused by reflection and refraction from and through
_drops of water_--colours vary with size of drops, the smaller the
drop the lighter the colours and nearer to the violet end of the
spectrum--hence white rainbow as seen on the Barrier, very small drops.
Double Bows--diameters must be 84 deg. and 100 deg.--again from laws of
refraction--colours: inner, red outside; outer, red inside--i.e. reds
Wanted to see more rainbows on Barrier. In this connection a good
rainbow was seen to N.W. in February from winter quarters. Reports
should note colours and relative width of bands of colour.
_Iridescent Clouds_.--Not yet understood; observations required,
especially angular distance from the sun.
_Auroras_.--Clearly most frequent and intense in years of maximum
sun spots; this argues connection with the sun.
Points noticed requiring confirmation:
Arch: centre of arch in magnetic meridian.
Shafts: take direction of dipping needle.
Bands and Curtains with convolutions--not understood.
Corona: shafts meeting to form.
Notes required on movement and direction of movement--colours
seen--supposed red and possibly green rays preceding or accompanying
movement. Auroras are sometimes accompanied by magnetic storms,
but not always, and vice versa--in general significant signs of
some connection--possible common dependents on a third factor. The
phenomenon further connects itself in form with lines of magnetic
force about the earth.
(Curious apparent connection between spectrum of aurora and that of
a heavy gas, 'argon.' May be coincidence.)
Two theories enunciated:
_Arrhenius_.--Bombardments of minute charged particles from the sun
gathered into the magnetic field of the earth.
_Birkeland_.--Bombardment of free negative electrons gathered into
the magnetic field of the earth.
It is experimentally shown that minute drops of water are deflected
It is experimentally shown that ions are given off by dried calcium,
which the sun contains.
Professor Stoermer has collected much material showing connection of
the phenomenon with lines of magnetic force.
_Thursday, May_ 4.--From the small height of Wind Vane Hill (64 feet)
it was impossible to say if the ice in the Strait had been out after
yesterday's wind. The sea was frozen, but after twelve hours' calm it
would be in any case. The dark appearance of the ice is noticeable, but
this has been the case of late since the light is poor; little snow has
fallen or drifted and the ice flowers are very sparse and scattered.
We had an excellent game of football again to-day--the exercise is
delightful and we get very warm. Atkinson is by far the best player,
but Hooper, P.O. Evans, and Crean are also quite good. It has been
calm all day again.
Went over the sea ice beyond the Arch berg; the ice half a mile beyond
is only 4 inches. I think this must have been formed since the blow
of yesterday, that is, in sixteen hours or less.
Such rapid freezing is a hopeful sign, but the prompt dissipation of
the floe under a southerly wind is distinctly the reverse.
I am anxious to get our people back from Hut Point, mainly on account
of the two ponies; with so much calm weather there should have been
no difficulty for the party in keeping up its supply of blubber;
an absence of which is the only circumstance likely to discomfort it.
The new ice over which I walked is extraordinarily slippery and
free from efflorescence. I think this must be a further sign of
_Friday, May_ 5.--Another calm day following a quiet night. Once
or twice in the night a light northerly wind, soon dying away. The
temperature down to -12 deg.. What is the meaning of this comparative
warmth? As usual in calms the Wind Vane Hill temperature is 3 deg. or 4 deg.
higher. It is delightful to contemplate the amount of work which is
being done at the station. No one is idle--all hands are full, and one
cannot doubt that the labour will be productive of remarkable result.
I do not think there can be any life quite so demonstrative of
character as that which we had on these expeditions. One sees a
remarkable reassortment of values. Under ordinary conditions it is so
easy to carry a point with a little bounce; self-assertion is a mask
which covers many a weakness. As a rule we have neither the time nor
the desire to look beneath it, and so it is that commonly we accept
people on their own valuation. Here the outward show is nothing,
it is the inward purpose that counts. So the 'gods' dwindle and the
humble supplant them. Pretence is useless.
One sees Wilson busy with pencil and colour box, rapidly and steadily
adding to his portfolio of charming sketches and at intervals filling
the gaps in his zoological work of _Discovery_ times; withal ready
and willing to give advice and assistance to others at all times;
his sound judgment appreciated and therefore a constant referee.
Simpson, master of his craft, untiringly attentive to the working
of his numerous self-recording instruments, observing all changes
with scientific acumen, doing the work of two observers at least
and yet ever seeking to correlate an expanded scope. So the current
meteorological and magnetic observations are taken as never before
by Polar expeditions.
Wright, good-hearted, strong, keen, striving to saturate his mind
with the ice problems of this wonderful region. He has taken the
electrical work in hand with all its modern interest of association
Evans, with a clear-minded zeal in his own work, does it with all the
success of result which comes from the taking of pains. Therefrom
we derive a singularly exact preservation of time--an important
consideration to all, but especially necessary for the physical
work. Therefrom also, and including more labour, we have an accurate
survey of our immediate surroundings and can trust to possess the
correctly mapped results of all surveying data obtained. He has Gran
Taylor's intellect is omnivorous and versatile--his mind is unceasingly
active, his grasp wide. Whatever he writes will be of interest--his
pen flows well.
Debenham's is clearer. Here we have a well-trained, sturdy worker, with
a quiet meaning that carries conviction; he realises the conceptions
of thoroughness and conscientiousness.
To Bowers' practical genius is owed much of the smooth working of our
station. He has a natural method in line with which all arrangements
fall, so that expenditure is easily and exactly adjusted to supply,
and I have the inestimable advantage of knowing the length of time
which each of our possessions will last us and the assurance that
there can be no waste. Active mind and active body were never more
happily blended. It is a restless activity, admitting no idle moments
and ever budding into new forms.
So we see the balloons ascending under his guidance and anon he is
away over the floe tracking the silk thread which held it. Such a task
completed, he is away to exercise his pony, and later out again with
the dogs, the last typically self-suggested, because for the moment
there is no one else to care for these animals. Now in a similar
manner he is spreading thermometer screens to get comparative readings
with the home station. He is for the open air, seemingly incapable
of realising any discomfort from it, and yet his hours within doors
spent with equal profit. For he is intent on tracking the problems
of sledging food and clothing to their innermost bearings and is
becoming an authority on past records. This will be no small help to
me and one which others never could have given.
Adjacent to the physicist's corner of the hut Atkinson is quietly
pursuing the subject of parasites. Already he is in a new world. The
laying out of the fish trap was his action and the catches are
his field of labour. Constantly he comes to ask if I would like to
see some new form and I am taken to see some protozoa or ascidian
isolated on the slide plate of his microscope. The fishes themselves
are comparatively new to science; it is strange that their parasites
should have been under investigation so soon.
Atkinson's bench with its array of microscopes, test-tubes, spirit
lamps, &c., is next the dark room in which Ponting spends the greater
part of his life. I would describe him as sustained by artistic
enthusiasm. This world of ours is a different one to him than it is
to the rest of us--he gauges it by its picturesqueness--his joy is to
reproduce its pictures artistically, his grief to fail to do so. No
attitude could be happier for the work which he has undertaken, and one
cannot doubt its productiveness. I would not imply that he is out of
sympathy with the works of others, which is far from being the case,
but that his energies centre devotedly on the minutiae of his business.
Cherry-Garrard is another of the open-air, self-effacing, quiet
workers; his whole heart is in the life, with profound eagerness
to help everyone. 'One has caught glimpses of him in tight places;
sound all through and pretty hard also.' Indoors he is editing our
Polar journal, out of doors he is busy making trial stone huts and
blubber stoves, primarily with a view to the winter journey to Cape
Crozier, but incidentally these are instructive experiments for any
party which may get into difficulty by being cut off from the home
station. It is very well to know how best to use the scant resources
that nature provides in these regions. In this connection I have
been studying our Arctic library to get details concerning snow hut
building and the implements used for it.
Oates' whole heart is in the ponies. He is really devoted to their
care, and I believe will produce them in the best possible form for the
sledging season. Opening out the stores, installing a blubber stove,
&c., has kept _him_ busy, whilst his satellite, Anton, is ever at
work in the stables--an excellent little man.
Evans and Crean are repairing sleeping-bags, covering felt boots,
and generally working on sledging kit. In fact there is no one idle,
and no one who has the least prospect of idleness.
_Saturday, May_ 6.--Two more days of calm, interrupted with occasional
Yesterday, Friday evening, Taylor gave an introductory lecture on
his remarkably fascinating subject--modern physiography.
These modern physiographers set out to explain the forms of
land erosion on broad common-sense lines, heedless of geological
support. They must, in consequence, have their special language. River
courses, they say, are not temporary--in the main they are archaic. In
conjunction with land elevations they have worked through _geographical
cycles_, perhaps many. In each geographical cycle they have advanced
from _infantile_ V-shaped forms; the courses broaden and deepen, the
bank slopes reduce in angle as maturer stages are reached until the
level of sea surface is more and more nearly approximated. In _senile_
stages the river is a broad sluggish stream flowing over a plain with
little inequality of level. The cycle has formed a _Peneplain._
Subsequently, with fresh elevation, a new cycle is commenced. So much
for the simple case, but in fact nearly all cases are modified by
unequal elevations due to landslips, by variation in hardness of rock,
&c. Hence modification in positions of river courses and the fact of
different parts of a single river being in different stages of cycle.
Taylor illustrated his explanations with examples: The Red River,
Canada--Plain flat though elevated, water lies in pools, river flows in
'V' 'infantile' form.
The Rhine Valley--The gorgeous scenery from Mainz down due to infantile
form in recently elevated region.
The Russian Plains--Examples of 'senility.'
Greater complexity in the Blue Mountains--these are undoubted earth
folds; the Nepean River flows through an offshoot of a fold, the
valley being made as the fold was elevated--curious valleys made by
erosion of hard rock overlying soft.
River _piracy--Domestic_, the short circuiting of a _meander_, such
as at Coo in the Ardennes; _Foreign_, such as Shoalhaven River,
Australia--stream has captured river.
Landslips have caused the isolation of Lake George and altered the
watershed of the whole country to the south.
Later on Taylor will deal with the effects of ice and lead us to the
formation of the scenery of our own region, and so we shall have much
_Sunday, May_ 7.--Daylight now is very short. One wonders why the Hut
Point party does not come. Bowers and Cherry-Garrard have set up a
thermometer screen containing maximum thermometers and thermographs on
the sea floe about 3/4' N.W. of the hut. Another smaller one is to go
on top of the Ramp. They took the screen out on one of Day's bicycle
wheel carriages and found it ran very easily over the salty ice where
the sledges give so much trouble. This vehicle is not easily turned,
but may be very useful before there is much snowfall.
Yesterday a balloon was sent up and reached a very good height
(probably 2 to 3 miles) before the instrument disengaged; the balloon
went almost straight up and the silk fell in festoons over the
rocky part of the Cape, affording a very difficult clue to follow;
but whilst Bowers was following it, Atkinson observed the instrument
fall a few hundred yards out on the Bay--it was recovered and gives
the first important record of upper air temperature.
Atkinson and Crean put out the fish trap in about 3 fathoms of water
off the west beach; both yesterday morning and yesterday evening
when the trap was raised it contained over forty fish, whilst this
morning and this evening the catches in the same spot have been from
twenty to twenty-five. We had fish for breakfast this morning, but
an even more satisfactory result of the catches has been revealed
by Atkinson's microscope. He had discovered quite a number of new
parasites and found work to last quite a long time.
Last night it came to my turn to do night watchman again, so that I
shall be glad to have a good sleep to-night.
Yesterday we had a game of football; it is pleasant to mess about,
but the light is failing.
Clissold is still producing food novelties; to-night we had galantine
of seal--it was _excellent_.
_Monday, May_ 8--Tuesday, May 9.--As one of the series of lectures I
gave an outline of my plans for next season on Monday evening. Everyone
was interested naturally. I could not but hint that in my opinion
the problem of reaching the Pole can best be solved by relying on
the ponies and man haulage. With this sentiment the whole company
appeared to be in sympathy. Everyone seems to distrust the dogs when
it comes to glacier and summit. I have asked everyone to give thought
to the problem, to freely discuss it, and bring suggestions to my
notice. It's going to be a tough job; that is better realised the
more one dives into it.
To-day (Tuesday) Debenham has been showing me his photographs
taken west. With Wright's and Taylor's these will make an extremely
interesting series--the ice forms especially in the region of the
Koettlitz glacier are unique.
The Strait has been frozen over a week. I cannot understand why the
Hut Point party doesn't return. The weather continues wonderfully
calm though now looking a little unsettled. Perhaps the unsettled
look stops the party, or perhaps it waits for the moon, which will
be bright in a day or two.
Any way I wish it would return, and shall not be free from anxiety
till it does.
Cherry-Garrard is experimenting in stone huts and with blubber
fires--all with a view to prolonging the stay at Cape Crozier.
Bowers has placed one thermometer screen on the floe about 3/4' out,
and another smaller one above the Ramp. Oddly, the floe temperature
seems to agree with that on Wind Vane Hill, whilst the hut temperature
is always 4 deg. or 5 deg. colder in calm weather. To complete the records
a thermometer is to be placed in South Bay.
Science--the rock foundation of all effort!!
_Wednesday, May_ 10.--It has been blowing from the South 12 to 20 miles
per hour since last night; the ice remains fast. The temperature -12 deg.
to -19 deg.. The party does not come. I went well beyond Inaccessible
Island till Hut Point and Castle Rock appeared beyond Tent Island,
that is, well out on the space which was last seen as open water. The
ice is 9 inches thick, not much for eight or nine days' freezing;
but it is very solid--the surface wet but very slippery. I suppose
Meares waits for 12 inches in thickness, or fears the floe is too
slippery for the ponies.
Yet I wish he would come.
I took a thermometer on my walk to-day; the temperature was -12 deg.
inside Inaccessible Island, but only -8 deg. on the sea ice outside--the
wind seemed less outside. Coming in under lee of Island and bergs I was
reminded of the difficulty of finding shelter in these regions. The
weather side of hills seems to afford better shelter than the lee
side, as I have remarked elsewhere. May it be in part because all
lee sides tend to be filled by drift snow, blown and weathered rock
debris? There was a good lee under one of the bergs; in one corner the
ice sloped out over me and on either side, forming a sort of grotto;
here the air was absolutely still.
Ponting gave us an interesting lecture on Burmah, illustrated with
fine slides. His descriptive language is florid, but shows the
artistic temperament. Bowers and Simpson were able to give personal
reminiscences of this land of pagodas, and the discussion led to
interesting statements on the religion, art, and education of its
people, their philosophic idleness, &c. Our lectures are a real
_Friday, May_ 12.--Yesterday morning was quiet. Played football in
the morning; wind got up in the afternoon and evening.
All day it has been blowing hard, 30 to 60 miles an hour; it has never
looked very dark overhead, but a watery cirrus has been in evidence
for some time, causing well marked paraselene.
I have not been far from the hut, but had a great fear on one occasion
that the ice had gone out in the Strait.
The wind is dropping this evening, and I have been up to Wind Vane
Hill. I now think the ice has remained fast.
There has been astonishingly little drift with the wind, probably
due to the fact that there has been so very little snowfall of late.
Atkinson is pretty certain that he has isolated a very motile bacterium
in the snow. It is probably air borne, and though no bacteria have
been found in the air, this may be carried in upper currents and
brought down by the snow. If correct it is an interesting discovery.
To-night Debenham gave a geological lecture. It was elementary. He
gave little more than the rough origin and classification of rocks
with a view to making his further lectures better understood.
_Saturday, May_ 13.--The wind dropped about 10 last night. This
morning it was calm and clear save for a light misty veil of ice
crystals through which the moon shone with scarce clouded brilliancy,
surrounded with bright cruciform halo and white paraselene. Mock
moons with prismatic patches of colour appeared in the radiant ring,
echoes of the main source of light. Wilson has a charming sketch of
I went to Inaccessible Island, and climbing some way up the steep
western face, reassured myself concerning the ice. It was evident
that there had been no movement in consequence of yesterday's blow.
In climbing I had to scramble up some pretty steep rock faces and
screens, and held on only in anticipation of gaining the top of the
Island and an easy descent. Instead of this I came to an impossible
overhanging cliff of lava, and was forced to descend as I had come
up. It was no easy task, and I was glad to get down with only one slip,
when I brought myself up with my ice axe in the nick of time to prevent
a fall over a cliff. This Island is very steep on all sides. There
is only one known place of ascent; it will be interesting to try and
After tea Atkinson came in with the glad tidings that the dog team
were returning from Hut Point. We were soon on the floe to welcome
the last remnant of our wintering party. Meares reported everything
well and the ponies not far behind.
The dogs were unharnessed and tied up to the chains; they are all
looking remarkably fit--apparently they have given no trouble at all
of late; there have not even been any fights.
Half an hour later Day, Lashly, Nelson, Forde, and Keohane arrived
with the two ponies--men and animals in good form.
It is a great comfort to have the men and dogs back, and a greater
to contemplate all the ten ponies comfortably stabled for the
winter. Everything seems to depend on these animals.
I have not seen the meteorological record brought back, but it appears
that the party had had very fine calm weather since we left them,
except during the last three days when wind has been very strong. It
is curious that we should only have got one day with wind.
I am promised the sea-freezing record to-morrow. Four seals were
got on April 22, the day after we left, and others have been killed
since, so that there is a plentiful supply of blubber and seal meat
at the hut--the rest of the supplies seem to have been pretty well run
out. Some more forage had been fetched in from the depot. A young sea
leopard had been killed on the sea ice near Castle Rock three days ago,
this being the second only found in the Sound.
It is a strange fact that none of the returning party seem to greatly
appreciate the food luxuries they have had since their return. It
would have been the same with us had we not had a day or two in tents
before our return. It seems more and more certain that a very simple
fare is all that is needed here--plenty of seal meat, flour, and fat,
with tea, cocoa, and sugar; these are the only real requirements for
The temperatures at Hut Point have not been as low as I expected. There
seems to have been an extraordinary heat wave during the spell of
calm recorded since we left--the thermometer registering little below
zero until the wind came, when it fell to -20 deg.. Thus as an exception
we have had a fall instead of a rise of temperature with wind.
[The exact inventory of stores at Hut Point here recorded has no
immediate bearing on the history of the expedition, but may be noted
as illustrating the care and thoroughness with which all operations
were conducted. Other details as to the carbide consumed in making
acetylene gas may be briefly quoted. The first tin was opened on
February 1, the second on March 26. The seventh on May 20, the next
eight at the average interval of 9 1/2 days.]
_Sunday, May_ 14.--Grey and dull in the morning.
Exercised the ponies and held the usual service. This morning I gave
Wright some notes containing speculations on the amount of ice on the
Antarctic continent and on the effects of winter movements in the sea
ice. I want to get into his head the larger bearing of the problems
which our physical investigations involve. He needs two years here to
fully realise these things, and with all his intelligence and energy
will produce little unless he has that extended experience.
The sky cleared at noon, and this afternoon I walked over the North
Bay to the ice cliffs--such a very beautiful afternoon and evening--the
scene bathed in moonlight, so bright and pure as to be almost golden,
a very wonderful scene. At such times the Bay seems strangely homely,
especially when the eye rests on our camp with the hut and lighted
I am very much impressed with the extraordinary and general cordiality
of the relations which exist amongst our people. I do not suppose that
a statement of the real truth, namely, that there is no friction at
all, will be credited--it is so generally thought that the many rubs of
such a life as this are quietly and purposely sunk in oblivion. With
me there is no need to draw a veil; there is nothing to cover. There
are no strained relations in this hut, and nothing more emphatically
evident than the universally amicable spirit which is shown on all
Such a state of affairs would be delightfully surprising under any
conditions, but it is much more so when one remembers the diverse
assortment of our company.
This theme is worthy of expansion. To-night Oates, captain in a smart
cavalry regiment, has been 'scrapping' over chairs and tables with
Debenham, a young Australian student.
It is a triumph to have collected such men.
The temperature has been down to -23 deg., the lowest yet recorded
here--doubtless we shall soon get lower, for I find an extraordinary
difference between this season as far as it has gone and those
In Winter Quarters: Modern Style
_Monday, May_ 15.--The wind has been strong from the north all
day--about 30 miles an hour. A bank of stratus cloud about 6000 or
7000 feet (measured by Erebus) has been passing rapidly overhead
_towards_ the north; it is nothing new to find the overlying layers
of air moving in opposite directions, but it is strange that the
phenomenon is so persistent. Simpson has frequently remarked as a
great feature of weather conditions here the seeming reluctance of
the air to 'mix'--the fact seems to be the explanation of many curious
fluctuations of temperature.
Went for a short walk, but it was not pleasant. Wilson gave
an interesting lecture on penguins. He explained the primitive
characteristics in the arrangement of feathers on wings and body, the
absence of primaries and secondaries or bare tracts; the modification
of the muscles of the wings and in the structure of the feet (the
metatarsal joint). He pointed out (and the subsequent discussion
seemed to support him) that these birds probably branched at a very
early stage of bird life--coming pretty directly from the lizard
bird Archaeopteryx of the Jurassic age. Fossils of giant penguins
of Eocene and Miocene ages show that there has been extremely little
He passed on to the classification and habitat of different genera,
nest-making habits, eggs, &c. Then to a brief account of the habits
of the Emperors and Adelies, which was of course less novel ground
for the old hands.
Of special points of interest I recall his explanation of the
desirability of embryonic study of the Emperor to throw further
light on the development of the species in the loss of teeth, &c.;
and Ponting's contribution and observation of adult Adelies teaching
their young to swim--this point has been obscure. It has been said
that the old birds push the young into the water, and, per contra,
that they leave them deserted in the rookery--both statements seemed
unlikely. It would not be strange if the young Adelie had to learn to
swim (it is a well-known requirement of the Northern fur seal--sea
bear), but it will be interesting to see in how far the adult birds
lay themselves out to instruct their progeny.
During our trip to the ice and sledge journey one of our dogs, Vaida,
was especially distinguished for his savage temper and generally
uncouth manners. He became a bad wreck with his poor coat at Hut Point,
and in this condition I used to massage him; at first the operation was
mistrusted and only continued to the accompaniment of much growling,
but later he evidently grew to like the warming effect and sidled
up to me whenever I came out of the hut, though still with some
suspicion. On returning here he seemed to know me at once, and now
comes and buries his head in my legs whenever I go out of doors; he
allows me to rub him and push him about without the slightest protest
and scampers about me as I walk abroad. He is a strange beast--I
imagine so unused to kindness that it took him time to appreciate it.
_Tuesday, May_ 16.--The north wind continued all night but dropped this
forenoon. Conveniently it became calm at noon and we had a capital
game of football. The light is good enough, but not much more than
good enough, for this game.
Had some instruction from Wright this morning on the electrical
Later went into our carbide expenditure with Day: am glad to find it
sufficient for two years, but am not making this generally known as
there are few things in which economy is less studied than light if
regulations allow of waste.
For measuring the ordinary potential gradient we have two
self-recording quadrant electrometers. The principle of this instrument
is the same as that of the old Kelvin instrument; the clockwork
attached to it unrolls a strip of paper wound on a roller; at intervals
the needle of the instrument is depressed by an electromagnet and makes
a dot on the moving paper. The relative position of these dots forms
the record. One of our instruments is adjusted to give only 1/10th
the refinement of measurement of the other by means of reduction in
the length of the quartz fibre. The object of this is to continue the
record in snowstorms, &c., when the potential difference of air and
earth is very great. The instruments are kept charged with batteries
of small Daniels cells. The clocks are controlled by a master clock.
The instrument available for radio-activity measurements is a modified
type of the old gold-leaf electroscope. The measurement is made by the
mutual repulsion of quartz fibres acting against a spring--the extent
of the repulsion is very clearly shown against a scale magnified by
The measurements to be made with instrument are various:
The _ionization of the air_. A length of wire charged with 2000 volts
(negative) is exposed to the air for several hours. It is then coiled
on a frame and its rate of discharge measured by the electroscope.
The _radio-activity of the various rocks_ of our neighbourhood;
this by direct measurement of the rock.
The _conductivity of the air_, that is, the relative movement of
ions in the air; by movement of air past charged surface. Rate of
absorption of + and - ions is measured, the negative ion travelling
faster than the positive.
_Wednesday, May_ 17.--For the first time this season we have a rise
of temperature with a southerly wind. The wind force has been about
30 since yesterday evening; the air is fairly full of snow and the
temperature has risen to -6 deg. from -18 deg..
I heard one of the dogs barking in the middle of the night, and on
inquiry learned that it was one of the 'Serais,'  that he seemed
to have something wrong with his hind leg, and that he had been put
under shelter. This morning the poor brute was found dead.
I'm afraid we can place but little reliance on our dog teams and
reflect ruefully on the misplaced confidence with which I regarded
the provision of our transport. Well, one must suffer for errors
This afternoon Wilson held a post-mortem on the dog; he could find
no sufficient cause of death. This is the third animal that has died
at winter quarters without apparent cause. Wilson, who is nettled,
proposes to examine the brain of this animal to-morrow.
Went up the Ramp this morning. There was light enough to see our camp,
and it looked homely, as it does from all sides. Somehow we loom larger
here than at Cape Armitage. We seem to be more significant. It must
be from contrast of size; the larger hills tend to dwarf the petty
To-night the wind has gone back to the north and is now blowing fresh.
This sudden and continued complete change of direction is new to
Oates has just given us an excellent little lecture on the management
He explained his plan of feeding our animals 'soft' during the
winter, and hardening them up during the spring. He pointed out that
the horse's natural food being grass and hay, he would naturally
employ a great number of hours in the day filling a stomach of small
capacity with food from which he could derive only a small percentage
Hence it is desirable to feed horses often and light. His present
routine is as follows:
Noon, after exercise.--Snow. Chaff and either oats or oil-cake
Evening, 5 P.M.--Snow. Hot bran mash with oil-cake or boiled oats and
chaff; finally a small quantity of hay. This sort of food should be
causing the animals to put on flesh, but is not preparing them for
work. In October he proposes to give 'hard' food, all cold, and to
increase the exercising hours.
As concerning the food we possess he thinks:
The _chaff_ made of young wheat and hay is doubtful; there does not
seem to be any grain with it--and would farmers cut young wheat? There
does not seem to be any 'fat' in this food, but it is very well for
ordinary winter purposes.
N.B.--It seems to me this ought to be inquired into. _Bran_ much
discussed, but good because it causes horses to chew the oats with
_Oil-cake_, greasy, producing energy--excellent for horses to work on.
_Oats_, of which we have two qualities, also very good working
food--our white quality much better than the brown.
Our trainer went on to explain the value of training horses, of
getting them 'balanced' to pull with less effort. He owns it is very
difficult when one is walking horses only for exercise, but thinks
something can be done by walking them fast and occasionally making
them step backwards.
Oates referred to the deeds that had been done with horses by
foreigners in shows and with polo ponies by Englishmen when the
animals were trained; it is, he said, a sort of gymnastic training.
The discussion was very instructive and I have only noted the salient
_Thursday, May_ 18.--The wind dropped in the night; to-day it is calm,
with slight snowfall. We have had an excellent football match--the
only outdoor game possible in this light.
I think our winter routine very good, I suppose every leader of a
party has thought that, since he has the power of altering it. On the
other hand, routine in this connection must take into consideration the
facilities of work and play afforded by the preliminary preparations
for the expedition. The winter occupations of most of our party
depend on the instruments and implements, the clothing and sledging
outfit, provided by forethought, and the routine is adapted to these
The busy winter routine of our party may therefore be excusably held
as a subject for self-congratulation.
_Friday, May_ 19.--Wind from the north in the morning, temperature
comparatively high (about -6 deg.). We played football during the noon
hour--the game gets better as we improve our football condition
In the afternoon the wind came from the north, dying away again late
In the evening Wright lectured on 'Ice Problems.' He had a difficult
subject and was nervous. He is young and has never done original work;
is only beginning to see the importance of his task.
He started on the crystallisation of ice, and explained with very
good illustrations the various forms of crystals, the manner of their
growth under different conditions and different temperatures. This
was instructive. Passing to the freezing of salt water, he was not
very clear. Then on to glaciers and their movements, theories for
same and observations in these regions.
There was a good deal of disconnected information--silt bands,
crevasses were mentioned. Finally he put the problems of larger aspect.
The upshot of the discussion was a decision to devote another evening
to the larger problems such as the Great Ice Barrier and the interior
ice sheet. I think I will write the paper to be discussed on this
I note with much satisfaction that the talks on ice problems and the
interest shown in them has had the effect of making Wright devote
the whole of his time to them. That may mean a great deal, for he is
a hard and conscientious worker.
Atkinson has a new hole for his fish trap in 15 fathoms; yesterday
morning he got a record catch of forty-three fish, but oddly enough
yesterday evening there were only two caught.
_Saturday, May_ 20.--Blowing hard from the south, with some snow and
very cold. Few of us went far; Wilson and Bowers went to the top of
the Ramp and found the wind there force 6 to 7, temperature -24 deg.;
as a consequence they got frost-bitten. There was lively cheering
when they reappeared in this condition, such is the sympathy which is
here displayed for affliction; but with Wilson much of the amusement
arises from his peculiarly scant headgear and the confessed jealousy of
those of us who cannot face the weather with so little face protection.
The wind dropped at night.
_Sunday, May_ 21.--Observed as usual. It blew from the north in the
morning. Had an idea to go to Cape Royds this evening, but it was
reported that the open water reached to the Barne Glacier, and last
night my own observation seemed to confirm this.
This afternoon I started out for the open water. I found the ice solid
off the Barne Glacier tongue, but always ahead of me a dark horizon as
though I was within a very short distance of its edge. I held on with
this appearance still holding up to C. Barne itself and then past that
Cape and half way between it and C. Royds. This was far enough to make
it evident that the ice was continuous to C. Royds, and has been so
for a long time. Under these circumstances the continual appearance of
open water to the north is most extraordinary and quite inexplicable.
Have had some very interesting discussions with Wilson, Wright,
and Taylor on the ice formations to the west. How to account for
the marine organisms found on the weathered glacier ice north of the
Koettlitz Glacier? We have been elaborating a theory under which this
ice had once a negative buoyancy due to the morainic material on top
and in the lower layers of the ice mass, and had subsequently floated
when the greater amount of this material had weathered out.
Have arranged to go to C. Royds to-morrow.
The temperatures have sunk very steadily this year; for a long time
they hung about zero, then for a considerable interval remained about
-10 deg.; now they are down in the minus twenties, with signs of falling
(to-day -24 deg.).
Bowers' meteorological stations have been amusingly named Archibald,
Bertram, Clarence--they are entered by the initial letter, but spoken
of by full title.
To-night we had a glorious auroral display--quite the most brilliant
I have seen. At one time the sky from N.N.W. to S.S.E. as high as the
zenith was massed with arches, band, and curtains, always in rapid
movement. The waving curtains were especially fascinating--a wave
of bright light would start at one end and run along to the other,
or a patch of brighter light would spread as if to reinforce the
failing light of the curtain.
The auroral light is of a palish green colour, but we now see
distinctly a red flush preceding the motion of any bright part.
The green ghostly light seems suddenly to spring to life with rosy
blushes. There is infinite suggestion in this phenomenon, and in that
lies its charm; the suggestion of life, form, colour and movement never
less than evanescent, mysterious,--no reality. It is the language
of mystic signs and portents--the inspiration of the gods--wholly
spiritual--divine signalling. Remindful of superstition, provocative
of imagination. Might not the inhabitants of some other world (Mars)
controlling mighty forces thus surround our globe with fiery symbols,
a golden writing which we have not the key to decipher?
There is argument on the confession of Ponting's inability to obtain
photographs of the aurora. Professor Stormer of Norway seems to
have been successful. Simpson made notes of his method, which seems
to depend merely on the rapidity of lens and plate. Ponting claims
to have greater rapidity in both, yet gets no result even with long
exposure. It is not only a question of aurora; the stars are equally
reluctant to show themselves on Ponting's plate. Even with five seconds
exposure the stars become short lines of light on the plate of a fixed
camera. Stormer's stars are points and therefore his exposure must
have been short, yet there is detail in some of his pictures which
it seems impossible could have been got with a short exposure. It is
all very puzzling.
_Monday, May_ 22.--Wilson, Bowers, Atkinson, Evans (P.O.), Clissold,
and self went to C. Royds with a 'go cart' carrying our sleeping-bags,
a cooker, and a small quantity of provision.
The 'go cart' consists of a framework of steel tubing supported on
four bicycle wheels.
The surface of the floes carries 1 to 2 inches of snow, barely covering
the salt ice flowers, and for this condition this vehicle of Day's
is excellent. The advantage is that it meets the case where the
salt crystals form a heavy frictional surface for wood runners. I'm
inclined to think that there are great numbers of cases when wheels
would be more efficient than runners on the sea ice.
We reached Cape Royds in 2 1/2 hours, killing an Emperor penguin
in the bay beyond C. Barne. This bird was in splendid plumage, the
breast reflecting the dim northern light like a mirror.
It was fairly dark when we stumbled over the rocks and dropped on to
Shackleton's Hut. Clissold started the cooking-range, Wilson and I
walked over to the Black beach and round back by Blue Lake.
The temperature was down at -31 deg. and the interior of the hut was
_Tuesday, May_ 23.--We spent the morning mustering the stores
within and without the hut, after a cold night which we passed very
comfortably in our bags.
We found a good quantity of flour and Danish butter and a fair amount
of paraffin, with smaller supplies of assorted articles--the whole
sufficient to afford provision for such a party as ours for about six
or eight months if well administered. In case of necessity this would
undoubtedly be a very useful reserve to fall back upon. These stores
are somewhat scattered, and the hut has a dilapidated, comfortless
appearance due to its tenantless condition; but even so it seemed to
me much less inviting than our old _Discovery_ hut at C. Armitage.
After a cup of cocoa there was nothing to detain us, and we started
back, the only useful articles added to our weights being a scrap or
two of leather and _five hymn-books_. Hitherto we have been only able
to muster seven copies; this increase will improve our Sunday Services.
_Wednesday, May_ 24.--A quiet day with northerly wind; the temperature
rose gradually to zero. Having the night duty, did not go out. The
moon has gone and there is little to attract one out of doors.
Atkinson gave us an interesting little discourse on parasitology,
with a brief account of the life history of some ecto- and some
endo-parasites--Nematodes, Trematodes. He pointed out how that
in nearly every case there was a secondary host, how in some cases
disease was caused, and in others the presence of the parasite was even
helpful. He acknowledged the small progress that had been made in this
study. He mentioned ankylostomiasis, blood-sucking worms, Bilhartsia
(Trematode) attacking bladder (Egypt), Filaria (round tapeworm),
Guinea worm, Trichina (pork), and others, pointing to disease caused.
From worms he went to Protozoa-Trypanosomes, sleeping sickness,
host tsetse-fly--showed life history comparatively, propagated in
secondary host or encysting in primary host--similarly malarial germs
spread by Anopheles mosquitoes--all very interesting.
In the discussion following Wilson gave some account of the grouse
disease worm, and especially of the interest in finding free living
species almost identical; also part of the life of disease worm is
free living. Here we approached a point pressed by Nelson concerning
the degeneration consequent on adoption of the parasitic habit. All
parasites seem to have descended from free living beasts. One asks
'what is degeneration?' without receiving a very satisfactory
answer. After all, such terms must be empirical.
_Thursday, May_ 25.--It has been blowing from south with heavy gusts
and snow, temperature extraordinarily high, -6 deg.. This has been a heavy
gale. The weather conditions are certainly very interesting; Simpson
has again called attention to the wind in February, March, and April
at Cape Evans--the record shows an extraordinary large percentage
of gales. It is quite certain that we scarcely got a fraction of the
wind on the Barrier and doubtful if we got as much at Hut Point.
_Friday, May_ 26.--A calm and clear day--a nice change from recent
weather. It makes an enormous difference to the enjoyment of this
life if one is able to get out and stretch one's legs every day. This
morning I went up the Ramp. No sign of open water, so that my fears
for a broken highway in the coming season are now at rest. In future
gales can only be a temporary annoyance--anxiety as to their result
is finally allayed.
This afternoon I searched out ski and ski sticks and went for a short
run over the floe. The surface is quite good since the recent snowfall
and wind. This is satisfactory, as sledging can now be conducted on
ordinary lines, and if convenient our parties can pull on ski. The
young ice troubles of April and May have passed away. It is curious
that circumstances caused us to miss them altogether during our stay
in the _Discovery._
We are living extraordinarily well. At dinner last night we had some
excellent thick seal soup, very much like thick hare soup; this was
followed by an equally tasty seal steak and kidney pie and a fruit
jelly. The smell of frying greeted us on awaking this morning, and
at breakfast each of us had two of our nutty little _Notothenia_ fish
after our bowl of porridge. These little fish have an extraordinarily
sweet taste--bread and butter and marmalade finished the meal. At the
midday meal we had bread and butter, cheese, and cake, and to-night
I smell mutton in the preparation. Under the circumstances it would
be difficult to conceive more appetising repasts or a regime which
is likely to produce scorbutic symptoms. I cannot think we shall
Nelson lectured to us to-night, giving a very able little elementary
sketch of the objects of the biologist. A fact struck one in his
explanation of the rates of elimination. Two of the offspring of
two parents alone survive, speaking broadly; this the same of the
human species or the 'ling,' with 24,000,000 eggs in the roe of
each female! He talked much of evolution, adaptation, &c. Mendelism
became the most debated point of the discussion; the transmission
of characters has a wonderful fascination for the human mind. There
was also a point striking deep in the debate on Professor Loeb's
experiments with sea urchins; how far had he succeeded in reproducing
the species without the male spermatozoa? Not very far, it seemed,
when all was said.
A theme for a pen would be the expansion of interest in polar affairs;
compare the interests of a winter spent by the old Arctic voyagers
with our own, and look into the causes. The aspect of everything
changes as our knowledge expands.
The expansion of human interest in rude surroundings may perhaps
best be illustrated by comparisons. It will serve to recall such a
simple case as the fact that our ancestors applied the terms horrid,
frightful, to mountain crags which in our own day are more justly
admired as lofty, grand, and beautiful.
The poetic conception of this natural phenomenon has followed not so
much an inherent change of sentiment as the intimacy of wider knowledge
and the death of superstitious influence. One is much struck by the
importance of realising limits.
_Saturday, May_ 27.--A very unpleasant, cold, windy day. Annoyed with
the conditions, so did not go out.
In the evening Bowers gave his lecture on sledging diets. He has
shown great courage in undertaking the task, great perseverance in
unearthing facts from books, and a considerable practical skill in
stringing these together. It is a thankless task to search polar
literature for dietary facts and still more difficult to attach due
weight to varying statements. Some authors omit discussion of this
important item altogether, others fail to note alterations made in
practice or additions afforded by circumstances, others again forget
to describe the nature of various food stuffs.
Our lecturer was both entertaining and instructive when he dealt
with old time rations; but he naturally grew weak in approaching the
physiological aspect of the question. He went through with it manfully
and with a touch of humour much appreciated; whereas, for instance,
he deduced facts from 'the equivalent of Mr. Joule, a gentleman whose
statements he had no reason to doubt.'
Wilson was the mainstay of the subsequent discussion and put
all doubtful matters in a clearer light. 'Increase your fats
(carbohydrate)' is what science seems to say, and practice with
conservativism is inclined to step cautiously in response to this
urgence. I shall, of course, go into the whole question as thoroughly
as available information and experience permits. Meanwhile it is
useful to have had a discussion which aired the popular opinions.
Feeling went deepest on the subject of tea versus cocoa; admitting all
that can be said concerning stimulation and reaction, I am inclined
to see much in favour of tea. Why should not one be mildly stimulated
during the marching hours if one can cope with reaction by profounder
rest during the hours of inaction?
_Sunday, May_ 28.--Quite an excitement last night. One of the ponies
(the grey which I led last year and salved from the floe) either fell
or tried to lie down in his stall, his head being lashed up to the
stanchions on either side. In this condition he struggled and kicked
till his body was twisted right round and his attitude extremely
uncomfortable. Very luckily his struggles were heard almost at once,
and his head ropes being cut, Oates got him on his feet again. He
looked a good deal distressed at the time, but is now quite well
again and has been out for his usual exercise.
Held Service as usual.
This afternoon went on ski around the bay and back across. Little
or no wind; sky clear, temperature -25 deg.. It was wonderfully mild
considering the temperature--this sounds paradoxical, but the sensation
of cold does not conform to the thermometer--it is obviously dependent
on the wind and less obviously on the humidity of the air and the
ice crystals floating in it. I cannot very clearly account for this
effect, but as a matter of fact I have certainly felt colder in still
air at -10 deg. than I did to-day when the thermometer was down to -25 deg.,
other conditions apparently equal.
The amazing circumstance is that by no means can we measure the
humidity, or indeed the precipitation or evaporation. I have just
been discussing with Simpson the insuperable difficulties that stand
in the way of experiment in this direction, since cold air can only
hold the smallest quantities of moisture, and saturation covers an
extremely small range of temperature.
_Monday, May_ 29.--Another beautiful calm day. Went out both before and
after the mid-day meal. This morning with Wilson and Bowers towards
the thermometer off Inaccessible Island. On the way my companionable
dog was heard barking and dimly seen--we went towards him and found
that he was worrying a young sea leopard. This is the second found in
the Strait this season. We had to secure it as a specimen, but it was
sad to have to kill. The long lithe body of this seal makes it almost
beautiful in comparison with our stout, bloated Weddells. This poor
beast turned swiftly from side to side as we strove to stun it with
a blow on the nose. As it turned it gaped its jaws wide, but oddly
enough not a sound came forth, not even a hiss.
After lunch a sledge was taken out to secure the prize, which had
been photographed by flashlight.
Ponting has been making great advances in flashlight work, and has
opened up quite a new field in which artistic results can be obtained
in the winter.
Lecture--Japan. To-night Ponting gave us a charming lecture on
Japan with wonderful illustrations of his own. He is happiest in his
descriptions of the artistic side of the people, with which he is
in fullest sympathy. So he took us to see the flower pageants. The
joyful festivals of the cherry blossom, the wistaria, the iris and
chrysanthemum, the sombre colours of the beech blossom and the paths
about the lotus gardens, where mankind meditated in solemn mood. We
had pictures, too, of Nikko and its beauties, of Temples and great
Buddhas. Then in more touristy strain of volcanoes and their craters,
waterfalls and river gorges, tiny tree-clad islets, that feature of
Japan--baths and their bathers, Ainos, and so on. His descriptions
were well given and we all of us thoroughly enjoyed our evening.
_Tuesday, May_ 30.--Am busy with my physiological investigations. 
Atkinson reported a sea leopard at the tide crack; it proved to be
a crab-eater, young and very active. In curious contrast to the sea
leopard of yesterday in snapping round it uttered considerable noise,
a gasping throaty growl.
Went out to the outer berg, where there was quite a collection of
people, mostly in connection with Ponting, who had brought camera
It was beautifully calm and comparatively warm. It was good to hear
the gay chatter and laughter, and see ponies and their leaders come
up out of the gloom to add liveliness to the scene. The sky was
extraordinarily clear at noon and to the north very bright.
We have had an exceptionally large tidal range during the last
three days--it has upset the tide gauge arrangements and brought a
little doubt on the method. Day is going into the question, which we
thoroughly discussed to-day. Tidal measurements will be worse than
useless unless we can be sure of the accuracy of our methods. Pools
of salt water have formed over the beach floes in consequence of the
high tide, and in the chase of the crab eater to-day very brilliant
flashes of phosphorescent light appeared in these pools. We think it
due to a small cope-pod. I have just found a reference to the same
phenomena in Nordenskioeld's 'Vega.' He, and apparently Bellot before
him, noted the phenomenon. An interesting instance of bi-polarity.
Another interesting phenomenon observed to-day was a cirrus cloud lit
by sunlight. It was seen by Wilson and Bowers 5 deg. above the northern
horizon--the sun is 9 deg. below our horizon, and without refraction we
calculate a cloud could be seen which was 12 miles high. Allowing
refraction the phenomenon appears very possible.
_Wednesday, May_ 31.--The sky was overcast this morning and the
temperature up to -13 deg.. Went out after lunch to 'Land's End.' The
surface of snow was sticky for ski, except where drifts were
deep. There was an oppressive feel in the air and I got very hot,
coming in with head and hands bare.
At 5, from dead calm the wind suddenly sprang up from the south, force
40 miles per hour, and since that it has been blowing a blizzard;
wind very gusty, from 20 to 60 miles. I have never known a storm come
on so suddenly, and it shows what possibility there is of individuals
becoming lost even if they only go a short way from the hut.
To-night Wilson has given us a very interesting lecture on
sketching. He started by explaining his methods of rough sketch
and written colour record, and explained its suitability to this
climate as opposed to coloured chalks, &c.--a very practical method
for cold fingers and one that becomes more accurate with practice in
observation. His theme then became the extreme importance of accuracy,
his mode of expression and explanation frankly Ruskinesque. Don't
put in meaningless lines--every line should be from observation. So
with contrast of light and shade--fine shading, subtle distinction,
everything--impossible without care, patience, and trained attention.
He raised a smile by generalising failures in sketches of others of
our party which had been brought to him for criticism. He pointed
out how much had been put in from preconceived notion. 'He will draw
a berg faithfully as it is now and he studies it, but he leaves sea
and sky to be put in afterwards, as he thinks they must be like sea
and sky everywhere else, and he is content to try and remember how
these _should_ be done.' Nature's harmonies cannot be guessed at.
He quoted much from Ruskin, leading on a little deeper to
'Composition,' paying a hearty tribute to Ponting.
The lecture was delivered in the author's usual modest strain, but
unconsciously it was expressive of himself and his whole-hearted
thoroughness. He stands very high in the scale of human beings--how
high I scarcely knew till the experience of the past few months.
There is no member of our party so universally esteemed; only
to-night I realise how patiently and consistently he has given time
and attention to help the efforts of the other sketchers, and so it is
all through; he has had a hand in almost every lecture given, and has
been consulted in almost every effort which has been made towards the
solution of the practical or theoretical problems of our polar world.
The achievement of a great result by patient work is the best
possible object lesson for struggling humanity, for the results of
genius, however admirable, can rarely be instructive. The chief of
the Scientific Staff sets an example which is more potent than any
other factor in maintaining that bond of good fellowship which is
the marked and beneficent characteristic of our community.
To Midwinter Day
_Thursday, June_ 1.--The wind blew hard all night, gusts arising to
72 m.p.h.; the anemometer choked five times--temperature +9 deg.. It is
still blowing this morning. Incidentally we have found that these
heavy winds react very conveniently on our ventilating system. A fire
is always a good ventilator, ensuring the circulation of inside air and
the indraught of fresh air; its defect as a ventilator lies in the low
level at which it extracts inside air. Our ventilating system utilises
the normal fire draught, but also by suitable holes in the funnelling
causes the same draught to extract foul air at higher levels. I think
this is the first time such a system has been used. It is a bold step
to make holes in the funnelling as obviously any uncertainty of draught
might fill the hut with smoke. Since this does not happen with us it
follows that there is always strong suction through our stovepipes,
and this is achieved by their exceptionally large dimensions and by
the length of the outer chimney pipe.
With wind this draught is greatly increased and with high winds the
draught would be too great for the stoves if it were not for the
relief of the ventilating holes.
In these circumstances, therefore, the rate of extraction of air
automatically rises, and since high wind is usually accompanied with
marked rise of temperature, the rise occurs at the most convenient
season, when the interior of the hut would otherwise tend to become
oppressively warm. The practical result of the system is that in
spite of the numbers of people living in the hut, the cooking, and
the smoking, the inside air is nearly always warm, sweet, and fresh.
There is usually a drawback to the best of arrangements, and I have
said 'nearly' always. The exceptions in this connection occur when
the outside air is calm and warm and the galley fire, as in the early
morning, needs to be worked up; it is necessary under these conditions
to temporarily close the ventilating holes, and if at this time the
cook is intent on preparing our breakfast with a frying-pan we are
quickly made aware of his intentions. A combination of this sort is
rare and lasts only for a very short time, for directly the fire is
aglow the ventilator can be opened again and the relief is almost
This very satisfactory condition of inside air must be a highly
important factor in the preservation of health.
I have to-day regularised the pony 'nicknames'; I must leave it to
Drake to pull out the relation to the 'proper' names according to
our school contracts! 
The nicknames are as follows:
James Pigg Keohane
Snatcher Evans (P.O.)
_Friday, June_ 2.--The wind still high. The drift ceased at an early
hour yesterday; it is difficult to account for the fact. At night
the sky cleared; then and this morning we had a fair display of
aurora streamers to the N. and a faint arch east. Curiously enough
the temperature still remains high, about +7 deg..
The meteorological conditions are very puzzling.
_Saturday, June_ 3.--The wind dropped last night, but at 4
A.M. suddenly sprang up from a dead calm to 30 miles an hour. Almost
instantaneously, certainly within the space of one minute, there was
a temperature rise of nine degrees. It is the most extraordinary
and interesting example of a rise of temperature with a southerly
wind that I can remember. It is certainly difficult to account for
unless we imagine that during the calm the surface layer of cold air
is extremely thin and that there is a steep inverted gradient. When
the wind arose the sky overhead was clearer than I ever remember to
have seen it, the constellations brilliant, and the Milky Way like
a bright auroral streamer.
The wind has continued all day, making it unpleasant out of doors. I
went for a walk over the land; it was dark, the rock very black,
very little snow lying; old footprints in the soft, sandy soil were
filled with snow, showing quite white on a black ground. Have been
digging away at food statistics.
Simpson has just given us a discourse, in the ordinary lecture series,
on his instruments. Having already described these instruments, there
is little to comment upon; he is excellently lucid in his explanations.
As an analogy to the attempt to make a scientific observation when
the condition under consideration is affected by the means employed,
he rather quaintly cited the impossibility of discovering the length
of trousers by bending over to see!
The following are the instruments described:
The outside (bimetallic) thermograph.
The inside thermograph (alcohol)
Alcohol in spiral, small lead pipe--float vessel.
The electrically recording anemometer
Cam device with contact on wheel; slowing arrangement,
inertia of wheel.
The Dynes anemometer
Parabola on immersed float.
The recording wind vane
Horizontal force measured in two directions--vertical
force in one--timing arrangement.
The high and low potential apparatus of the balloon thermograph
Spotting arrangement and difference, see _ante_.
Simpson is admirable as a worker, admirable as a scientist, and
admirable as a lecturer.
_Sunday, June_ 4.--A calm and beautiful day. The account of this,
a typical Sunday, would run as follows: Breakfast. A half-hour or
so selecting hymns and preparing for Service whilst the hut is being
cleared up. The Service: a hymn; Morning prayer to the Psalms; another
hymn; prayers from Communion Service and Litany; a final hymn and
our special prayer. Wilson strikes the note on which the hymn is to
start and I try to hit it after with doubtful success! After church
the men go out with their ponies.
To-day Wilson, Bowers, Cherry-Garrard, Lashly, and I went to
start the building of our first 'igloo.' There is a good deal of
difference of opinion as to the best implement with which to cut snow
blocks. Cherry-Garrard had a knife which I designed and Lashly made,
Wilson a saw, and Bowers a large trowel. I'm inclined to think the
knife will prove most effective, but the others don't acknowledge
it _yet_. As far as one can see at present this knife should have a
longer handle and much coarser teeth in the saw edge--perhaps also
the blade should be thinner.
We must go on with this hut building till we get good at it. I'm sure
it's going to be a useful art.
We only did three courses of blocks when tea-time arrived, and light
was not good enough to proceed after tea.
Sunday afternoon for the men means a 'stretch of the land.'
I went over the floe on ski. The best possible surface after the late
winds as far as Inaccessible Island. Here, and doubtless in most places
along the shore, this, the first week of June, may be noted as the date
by which the wet, sticky salt crystals become covered and the surface
possible for wood runners. Beyond the island the snow is still very
thin, barely covering the ice flowers, and the surface is still bad.
There has been quite a small landslide on the S. side of the Island;
seven or eight blocks of rock, one or two tons in weight, have dropped
on to the floe, an interesting instance of the possibility of transport
by sea ice.
Ponting has been out to the bergs photographing by flashlight. As
I passed south of the Island with its whole mass between myself
and the photographer I saw the flashes of magnesium light, having
all the appearance of lightning. The light illuminated the sky and
apparently objects at a great distance from the camera. It is evident
that there may be very great possibilities in the use of this light
for signalling purposes and I propose to have some experiments.
N.B.--Magnesium flashlight as signalling apparatus in the summer.
Another crab-eater seal was secured to-day; he had come up by the
_Monday, June_ 5.--The wind has been S. all day, sky overcast and
air misty with snow crystals. The temperature has gone steadily up
and to-night rose to + 16 deg.. Everything seems to threaten a blizzard
which cometh not. But what is to be made of this extraordinary high
temperature heaven only knows. Went for a walk over the rocks and
found it very warm and muggy.
Taylor gave us a paper on the Beardmore Glacier. He has taken pains
to work up available information; on the ice side he showed the
very gradual gradient as compared with the Ferrar. If crevasses
are as plentiful as reported, the motion of glacier must be very
considerable. There seem to be three badly crevassed parts where the
glacier is constricted and the fall is heavier.
Geologically he explained the rocks found and the problems
unsolved. The basement rocks, as to the north, appear to be reddish
and grey granites and altered slate (possibly bearing fossils). The
Cloudmaker appears to be diorite; Mt. Buckley sedimentary. The
suggested formation is of several layers of coal with sandstone
above and below; interesting to find if it is so and investigate
coal. Wood fossil conifer appears to have come from this--better to
get leaves--wrap fossils up for protection.
Mt. Dawson described as pinkish limestone, with a wedge of dark rock;
this very doubtful! Limestone is of great interest owing to chance
of finding Cambrian fossils (Archeocyathus).
He mentioned the interest of finding here, as in Dry Valley, volcanic
cones of recent date (later than the recession of the ice). As points
to be looked to in Geology and Physiography:
1. Hope Island shape.
2. Character of wall facets.
3. Type of tributary glacierscliff or curtain, broken.
4. Do tributaries enter 'at grade'?
5. Lateral gullies pinnacled, &c., shape and size of slope.
6. Do tributaries cut out gullies--empty unoccupied cirques,
7. Do upland moraines show tesselation?
8. Arrangement of strata, inclusion of.
9. Types of moraines, distance of blocks.
10. Weathering of glaciers. Types of surface. (Thrust mark? Rippled,
snow stool, glass house, coral reef, honeycomb, ploughshare,
11. Amount of water silt bands, stratified, or irregular folded
12. Cross section, of valleys 35 deg. slopes?
13. Weather slopes debris covered, height to which.
14. Nunataks, height of rounded, height of any angle in profile,
15. Evidence of order in glacier delta.
Debenham in discussion mentioned usefulness of small chips of
rock--many chips from several places are more valuable than few
We had an interesting little discussion.
I must enter a protest against the use made of the word 'glaciated'
by Geologists and Physiographers.
To them a 'glaciated land' is one which appears to have been shaped
by former ice action.
The meaning I attach to the phrase, and one which I believe is more
commonly current, is that it describes a land at present wholly or
partly covered with ice and snow.
I hold the latter is the obvious meaning and the former results from
a piracy committed in very recent times.
The alternative terms descriptive of the different meanings are ice
covered and ice eroded.
To-day I have been helping the Soldier to design pony rugs; the great
thing, I think, is to get something which will completely cover the
_Tuesday, June_ 6.--The temperature has been as high as +19 deg. to-day;
the south wind persisted until the evening with clear sky except
for fine effects of torn cloud round about the mountain. To-night
the moon has emerged from behind the mountain and sails across the
cloudless northern sky; the wind has fallen and the scene is glorious.
It is my birthday, a fact I might easily have forgotten, but my kind
people did not. At lunch an immense birthday cake made its appearance
and we were photographed assembled about it. Clissold had decorated
its sugared top with various devices in chocolate and crystallised
fruit, flags and photographs of myself.
After my walk I discovered that great preparations were in progress for
a special dinner, and when the hour for that meal arrived we sat down
to a sumptuous spread with our sledge banners hung about us. Clissold's
especially excellent seal soup, roast mutton and red currant jelly,
fruit salad, asparagus and chocolate--such was our menu. For drink we
had cider cup, a mystery not yet fathomed, some sherry and a liqueur.
After this luxurious meal everyone was very festive and amiably
argumentative. As I write there is a group in the dark room discussing
political progress with discussions--another at one corner of
the dinner table airing its views on the origin of matter and the
probability of its ultimate discovery, and yet another debating
military problems. The scraps that reach me from the various groups
sometimes piece together in ludicrous fashion. Perhaps these arguments
are practically unprofitable, but they give a great deal of pleasure
to the participants. It's delightful to hear the ring of triumph in
some voice when the owner imagines he has delivered himself of a
well-rounded period or a clinching statement concerning the point
under discussion. They are boys, all of them, but such excellent
good-natured ones; there has been no sign of sharpness or anger,
no jarring note, in all these wordy contests! all end with a laugh.
Nelson has offered Taylor a pair of socks to teach him some
geology! This lulls me to sleep!
_Wednesday, June_ 7.--A very beautiful day. In the afternoon went
well out over the floe to the south, looking up Nelson at his icehole
and picking up Bowers at his thermometer. The surface was polished
and beautifully smooth for ski, the scene brightly illuminated
with moonlight, the air still and crisp, and the thermometer at
-10 deg.. Perfect conditions for a winter walk.
In the evening I read a paper on 'The Ice Barrier and Inland Ice.' I
have strung together a good many new points and the interest taken
in the discussion was very genuine--so keen, in fact, that we did not
break up till close on midnight. I am keeping this paper, which makes
a very good basis for all future work on these subjects. (See Vol. II.)
Shelters to Iceholes
Time out of number one is coming across rediscoveries. Of such a
nature is the building of shelters for iceholes. We knew a good deal
about it in the _Discovery_, but unfortunately did not make notes of
our experiences. I sketched the above figures for Nelson, and found on
going to the hole that the drift accorded with my sketch. The sketches
explain themselves. I think wall 'b' should be higher than wall 'a.'
My night on duty. The silent hours passed rapidly and comfortably. To
bed 7 A.M.
_Thursday, June_ 8.--Did not turn out till 1 P.M., then with a bad
head, an inevitable sequel to a night of vigil. Walked out to and
around the bergs, bright moonlight, but clouds rapidly spreading up
Tried the snow knife, which is developing. Debenham and Gran went
off to Hut Point this morning; they should return to-morrow.
_Friday, June_ 9.--No wind came with the clouds of yesterday, but
the sky has not been clear since they spread over it except for about
two hours in the middle of the night when the moonlight was so bright
that one might have imagined the day returned.
Otherwise the web of stratus which hangs over us thickens and thins,
rises and falls with very bewildering uncertainty. We want theories
for these mysterious weather conditions; meanwhile it is annoying to
lose the advantages of the moonlight.
This morning had some discussion with Nelson and Wright regarding the
action of sea water in melting barrier and sea ice. The discussion
was useful to me in drawing attention to the equilibrium of layers
of sea water.
In the afternoon I went round the Razor Back Islands on ski, a run
of 5 or 6 miles; the surface was good but in places still irregular
with the pressures formed when the ice was 'young.'
The snow is astonishingly soft on the south side of both islands. It
is clear that in the heaviest blizzard one could escape the wind
altogether by camping to windward of the larger island. One sees
more and more clearly what shelter is afforded on the weather side
of steep-sided objects.
Passed three seals asleep on the ice. Two others were killed near
_Saturday, June_ 10.--The impending blizzard has come; the wind came
with a burst at 9.30 this morning.
Simpson spent the night turning over a theory to account for the
phenomenon, and delivered himself of it this morning. It seems a
good basis for the reference of future observations. He imagines the
atmosphere A C in potential equilibrium with large margin of stability,
i.e. the difference of temperature between A and C being much less
than the adiabatic gradient.
In this condition there is a tendency to cool by radiation until
some critical layer, B, reaches its due point. A stratus cloud is
thus formed at B; from this moment A B continues to cool, but B C is
protected from radiating, whilst heated by radiation from snow and
possibly by release of latent heat due to cloud formation.
The condition now rapidly approaches unstable equilibrium, B C tending
to rise, A B to descend.
Owing to lack of sun heat the effect will be more rapid in south than
north and therefore the upset will commence first in the south. After
the first start the upset will rapidly spread north, bringing the
blizzard. The facts supporting the theory are the actual formation
of a stratus cloud before a blizzard, the snow and warm temperature
of the blizzard and its gusty nature.
It is a pretty starting-point, but, of course, there are weak spots.
Atkinson has found a trypanosome in the fish--it has been stained,
photographed and drawn--an interesting discovery having regard to
the few species that have been found. A trypanosome is the cause of
The blizzard has continued all day with a good deal of drift. I went
for a walk, but the conditions were not inviting.
We have begun to consider details of next season's travelling
equipment. The crampons, repair of finnesko with sealskin, and an
idea for a double tent have been discussed to-day. P.O. Evans and
Lashly are delightfully intelligent in carrying out instructions.
_Sunday, June_ 11.--A fine clear morning, the moon now revolving well
aloft and with full face.
For exercise a run on ski to the South Bay in the morning and a dash
up the Ramp before dinner. Wind and drift arose in the middle of the
day, but it is now nearly calm again.
At our morning service Cherry-Garrard, good fellow, vamped the
accompaniment of two hymns; he received encouraging thanks and will
cope with all three hymns next Sunday.
Day by day news grows scant in this midwinter season; all events seem
to compress into a small record, yet a little reflection shows that
this is not the case. For instance I have had at least three important
discussions on weather and ice conditions to-day, concerning which
many notes might be made, and quite a number of small arrangements
have been made.
If a diary can be so inadequate here how difficult must be the task
of making a faithful record of a day's events in ordinary civilised
life! I think this is why I have found it so difficult to keep a
diary at home.
_Monday, June_ 12.--The weather is not kind to us. There has not been
much wind to-day, but the moon has been hid behind stratus cloud. One
feels horribly cheated in losing the pleasure of its light. I scarcely
know what the Crozier party can do if they don't get better luck
Debenham and Gran have not yet returned; this is their fifth day
Bowers and Cherry-Garrard went to Cape Royds this afternoon to stay
the night. Taylor and Wright walked there and back after breakfast
this morning. They returned shortly after lunch.
Went for a short spin on ski this morning and again this
afternoon. This evening Evans has given us a lecture on surveying. He
was shy and slow, but very painstaking, taking a deal of trouble in
preparing pictures, &c.
I took the opportunity to note hurriedly the few points to which I
want attention especially directed. No doubt others will occur to
me presently. I think I now understand very well how and why the old
surveyors (like Belcher) failed in the early Arctic work.
1. Every officer who takes part in the Southern Journey ought to have
in his memory the approximate variation of the compass at various
stages of the journey and to know how to apply it to obtain a true
course from the compass. The variation changes very slowly so that
no great effort of memory is required.
2. He ought to know what the true course is to reach one depot from
3. He should be able to take an observation with the theodolite.
4. He should be able to work out a meridian altitude observation.
5. He could advantageously add to his knowledge the ability to work
out a longitude observation or an ex-meridian altitude.
6. He should know how to read the sledgemeter.
7. He should note and remember the error of the watch he carries and
the rate which is ascertained for it from time to time.
8. He should assist the surveyor by noting the coincidences of objects,
the opening out of valleys, the observation of new peaks, &c._19_
_Tuesday, June_ 13.--A very beautiful day. We revelled in the calm
clear moonlight; the temperature has fallen to -26 deg.. The surface of
the floe perfect for ski--had a run to South Bay in forenoon and was
away on a long circuit around Inaccessible Island in the afternoon. In
such weather the cold splendour of the scene is beyond description;
everything is satisfying, from the deep purple of the starry sky to
the gleaming bergs and the sparkle of the crystals under foot.
Some very brilliant patches of aurora over the southern shoulder of
the mountain. Observed an exceedingly bright meteor shoot across the
sky to the northward.
On my return found Debenham and Gran back from Cape Armitage. They had
intended to start back on Sunday, but were prevented by bad weather;
they seemed to have had stronger winds than we.
On arrival at the hut they found poor little 'Mukaka' coiled up
outside the door, looking pitifully thin and weak, but with enough
energy to bark at them.
This dog was run over and dragged for a long way under the sledge
runners whilst we were landing stores in January (the 7th). He has
never been worth much since, but remained lively in spite of all the
hardships of sledging work. At Hut Point he looked a miserable object,
as the hair refused to grow on his hindquarters. It seemed as though
he could scarcely continue in such a condition, and when the party came
back to Cape Evans he was allowed to run free alongside the sledge.
On the arrival of the party I especially asked after the little animal
and was told by Demetri that he had returned, but later it transpired
that this was a mistake--that he had been missed on the journey and
had not turned up again later as was supposed.
I learned this fact only a few days ago and had quite given up the hope
of ever seeing the poor little beast again. It is extraordinary to
realise that this poor, lame, half-clad animal has lived for a whole
month by himself. He had blood on his mouth when found, implying the
capture of a seal, but how he managed to kill it and then get through
its skin is beyond comprehension. Hunger drives hard.
_Wednesday, June_ 14.--Storms are giving us little rest. We found
a thin stratus over the sky this morning, foreboding ill. The wind
came, as usual with a rush, just after lunch. At first there was much
drift--now the drift has gone but the gusts run up to 65 m.p.h.
Had a comfortless stroll around the hut; how rapidly things change
when one thinks of the delights of yesterday! Paid a visit to
Wright's ice cave; the pendulum is installed and will soon be ready
for observation. Wright anticipates the possibility of difficulty
with ice crystals on the agate planes.
He tells me that he has seen some remarkably interesting examples of
the growth of ice crystals on the walls of the cave and has observed
the same unaccountable confusion of the size of grains in the ice,
showing how little history can be gathered from the structure of ice.
This evening Nelson gave us his second biological lecture, starting
with a brief reference to the scientific classification of the
organism into Kingdom, Phylum, Group, Class, Order, Genus, Species;
he stated the justification of a biologist in such an expedition,
as being 'To determine the condition under which organic substances
exist in the sea.'
He proceeded to draw divisions between the bottom organisms without
power of motion, benthon, the nekton motile life in mid-water, and
the plankton or floating life. Then he led very prettily on to the
importance of the tiny vegetable organisms as the basis of all life.
In the killer whale may be found a seal, in the seal a fish, in
the fish a smaller fish, in the smaller fish a copepod, and in the
copepod a diatom. If this be regular feeding throughout, the diatom
or vegetable is essentially the base of all.
Light is the essential of vegetable growth or metabolism, and light
quickly vanishes in depth of water, so that all ocean life must
ultimately depend on the phyto-plankton. To discover the conditions
of this life is therefore to go to the root of matters.
At this point came an interlude--descriptive of the various biological
implements in use in the ship and on shore. The otter trawl, the
Agassiz trawl, the 'D' net, and the ordinary dredger.
A word or two on the using of 'D' nets and then explanation of
sieves for classifying the bottom, its nature causing variation in
the organisms living on it.
From this he took us amongst the tow-nets with their beautiful
silk fabrics, meshes running 180 to the inch and materials costing 2
guineas the yard--to the German tow-nets for quantitative measurements,
the object of the latter and its doubtful accuracy, young fish trawls.
From this to the chemical composition of sea water, the total salt
about 3.5 per cent, but variable: the proportions of the various salts
do not appear to differ, thus the chlorine test detects the salinity
quantitatively. Physically plankton life must depend on this salinity
and also on temperature, pressure, light, and movement.
(If plankton only inhabits surface waters, then density, temperatures,
&c., of surface waters must be the important factors. Why should
biologists strive for deeper layers? Why should not deep sea life be
maintained by dead vegetable matter?)
Here again the lecturer branched off into descriptions of water
bottles, deep sea thermometers, and current-meters, the which I think
have already received some notice in this diary. To what depth light
may extend is the difficult problem and we had some speculation,
especially in the debate on this question. Simpson suggested that
laboratory experiment should easily determine. Atkinson suggested
growth of bacteria on a scratched plate. The idea seems to be that
vegetable life cannot exist without red rays, which probably do not
extend beyond 7 feet or so. Against this is an extraordinary recovery
of _Holosphera Firidis_ by German expedition from 2000 fathoms;
this seems to have been confirmed. Bowers caused much amusement by
demanding to know 'If the pycnogs (pycnogonids) were more nearly
related to the arachnids (spiders) or crustaceans.' As a matter of
fact a very sensible question, but it caused amusement because of
its sudden display of long names. Nelson is an exceedingly capable
lecturer; he makes his subject very clear and is never too technical.
_Thursday, June_ 15.--Keen cold wind overcast sky till 5.30 P.M. Spent
an idle day.
Jimmy Pigg had an attack of colic in the stable this afternoon. He was
taken out and doctored on the floe, which seemed to improve matters,
but on return to the stable he was off his feed.
This evening the Soldier tells me he has eaten his food, so I hope
all be well again.
_Friday, June_ 16.--Overcast again--little wind but also little
moonlight. Jimmy Pigg quite recovered.
Went round the bergs in the afternoon. A great deal of ice has fallen
from the irregular ones, showing that a great deal of weathering of
bergs goes on during the winter and hence that the life of a berg is
very limited, even if it remains in the high latitudes.
To-night Debenham lectured on volcanoes. His matter is very good, but
his voice a little monotonous, so that there were signs of slumber
in the audience, but all woke up for a warm and amusing discussion
succeeding the lecture.
The lecturer first showed a world chart showing distribution of
volcanoes, showing general tendency of eruptive explosions to occur
in lines. After following these lines in other parts of the world he
showed difficulty of finding symmetrical linear distribution near
McMurdo Sound. He pointed out incidentally the important inference
which could be drawn from the discovery of altered sandstones in the
Erebus region. He went to the shapes of volcanoes:
The massive type formed by very fluid lavas--Mauna Loa (Hawaii),
The more perfect cones formed by ash talus--Fujiama, Discovery.
The explosive type with parasitic cones--Erebus, Morning, Etna.
Fissure eruption--historic only in Iceland, but best prehistoric
examples Deccan (India) and Oregon (U.S.).
There is small ground for supposing relation between adjacent
volcanoes--activity in one is rarely accompanied by activity in the
other. It seems most likely that vent tubes are entirely separate.
_Products of volcanoes_.--The lecturer mentioned the escape of
quantities of free hydrogen--there was some discussion on this
point afterwards; that water is broken up is easily understood, but
what becomes of the oxygen? Simpson suggests the presence of much
CO_2 as a noxious gas also mentioned and discussed--causes mythical
'upas' tree--sulphurous fumes attend final stages.
Practically little or no heat escapes through sides of a volcano.
There was argument over physical conditions influencing
explosions--especially as to barometric influence. There was a good
deal of disjointed information on lavas, ropy or rapid flowing and
viscous--also on spatter cones and caverns.
In all cases lavas cool slowly--heat has been found close to the
surface after 87 years. On Etna there is lava over ice. The lecturer
finally reviewed the volcanicity of our own neighbourhood. He described
various vents of Erebus, thinks Castle Rock a 'plug'--here some
discussion--Observation Hill part of old volcano, nothing in common
with Crater Hill. Inaccessible Island seems to have no connection
Finally we had a few words on the origin of volcanicity and afterwards
some discussion on an old point--the relation to the sea. Why are
volcanoes close to sea? Debenham thinks not cause and effect, but
two effects resulting from same cause.
Great argument as to whether effect of barometric changes on Erebus
vapour can be observed. Not much was said about the theory of
volcanoes, but Debenham touched on American theories--the melting
out from internal magma.
There was nothing much to catch hold of throughout, but discussion
of such a subject sorts one's ideas.
_Saturday, June_ 17.--Northerly wind, temperature changeable, dropping
to -16 deg..
Wind doubtful in the afternoon. Moon still obscured--it is very
trying. Feeling dull in spirit to-day.
_Sunday, June_ 18.--Another blizzard--the weather is distressing. It
ought to settle down soon, but unfortunately the moon is passing.
Held the usual Morning Service. Hymns not quite successful to-day.
To-night Atkinson has taken the usual monthly measurement. I don't
think there has been much change.
_Monday, June_ 19.--A pleasant change to find the air calm and the
sky clear--temperature down to -28 deg.. At 1.30 the moon vanished behind
the western mountains, after which, in spite of the clear sky, it
was very dark on the floe. Went out on ski across the bay, then round
about the cape, and so home, facing a keen northerly wind on return.
Atkinson is making a new fish trap hole; from one cause and another,
the breaking of the trap, and the freezing of the hole, no catch
has been made for some time. I don't think we shall get good catches
during the dark season, but Atkinson's own requirements are small,
and the fish, though nice enough, are not such a luxury as to be
greatly missed from our 'menu.'
Our daily routine has possessed a settled regularity for a long
time. Clissold is up about 7 A.M. to start the breakfast. At 7.30
Hooper starts sweeping the floor and setting the table. Between 8 and
8.30 the men are out and about, fetching ice for melting, &c. Anton
is off to feed the ponies, Demetri to see the dogs; Hooper bursts
on the slumberers with repeated announcements of the time, usually
a quarter of an hour ahead of the clock. There is a stretching of
limbs and an interchange of morning greetings, garnished with sleepy
humour. Wilson and Bowers meet in a state of nature beside a washing
basin filled with snow and proceed to rub glistening limbs with this
chilling substance. A little later with less hardihood some others
may be seen making the most of a meagre allowance of water. Soon after
8.30 I manage to drag myself from a very comfortable bed and make my
toilet with a bare pint of water. By about ten minutes to 9 my clothes
are on, my bed is made, and I sit down to my bowl of porridge; most
of the others are gathered about the table by this time, but there
are a few laggards who run the nine o'clock rule very close. The rule
is instituted to prevent delay in the day's work, and it has needed
a little pressure to keep one or two up to its observance. By 9.20
breakfast is finished, and before the half-hour has struck the table
has been cleared. From 9.30 to 1.30 the men are steadily employed
on a programme of preparation for sledging, which seems likely to
occupy the greater part of the winter. The repair of sleeping-bags
and the alteration of tents have already been done, but there are many
other tasks uncompleted or not yet begun, such as the manufacture of
provision bags, crampons, sealskin soles, pony clothes, &c.
Hooper has another good sweep up the hut after breakfast, washes the
mess traps, and generally tidies things. I think it a good thing
that in these matters the officers need not wait on themselves;
it gives long unbroken days of scientific work and must, therefore,
be an economy of brain in the long run.
We meet for our mid-day meal at 1.30 or 1.45, and spend a very
cheerful half-hour over it. Afterwards the ponies are exercised,
weather permitting; this employs all the men and a few of the officers
for an hour or more--the rest of us generally take exercise in some
form at the same time. After this the officers go on steadily with
their work, whilst the men do odd jobs to while away the time. The
evening meal, our dinner, comes at 6.30, and is finished within the
hour. Afterwards people read, write, or play games, or occasionally
finish some piece of work. The gramophone is usually started by some
kindly disposed person, and on three nights of the week the lectures
to which I have referred are given. These lectures still command full
audiences and lively discussions.
At 11 P.M. the acetylene lights are put out, and those who wish to
remain up or to read in bed must depend on candle-light. The majority
of candles are extinguished by midnight, and the night watchman alone
remains awake to keep his vigil by the light of an oil lamp.
Day after day passes in this fashion. It is not a very active life
perhaps, but certainly not an idle one. Few of us sleep more than
eight hours out of the twenty-four.
On Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning some extra bathing takes place;
chins are shaven, and perhaps clean garments donned. Such signs,
with the regular Service on Sunday, mark the passage of the weeks.
To-night Day has given us a lecture on his motor sledge. He seems very
hopeful of success, but I fear is rather more sanguine in temperament
than his sledge is reliable in action. I wish I could have more
confidence in his preparations, as he is certainly a delightful
_Tuesday, June_ 20.--Last night the temperature fell to -36 deg., the
lowest we have had this year. On the Ramp the minimum was -31 deg., not
the first indication of a reversed temperature gradient. We have had
a calm day, as is usual with a low thermometer.
It was very beautiful out of doors this morning; as the crescent moon
was sinking in the west, Erebus showed a heavy vapour cloud, showing
that the quantity is affected by temperature rather than pressure.
I'm glad to have had a good run on ski.
The Cape Crozier party are preparing for departure, and heads have been
put together to provide as much comfort as the strenuous circumstances
will permit. I came across a hint as to the value of a double tent
in Sverdrup's book, 'New Land,' and (P.O.) Evans has made a lining
for one of the tents; it is secured on the inner side of the poles
and provides an air space inside the tent. I think it is going to be
a great success, and that it will go far to obviate the necessity of
considering the question of snow huts--though we shall continue our
efforts in this direction also.
Another new departure is the decision to carry eiderdown sleeping-bags
inside the reindeer ones.
With such an arrangement the early part of the journey is bound to
be comfortable, but when the bags get iced difficulties are pretty
certain to arise.
Day has been devoting his energies to the creation of a blubber stove,
much assisted of course by the experience gained at Hut Point.
The blubber is placed in an annular vessel, A. The oil from it passes
through a pipe, B, and spreads out on the surface of a plate, C,
with a containing flange; _d d_ are raised points which serve as
heat conductors; _e e_ is a tin chimney for flame with air holes at
To start the stove the plate C must be warmed with spirit lamp or
primus, but when the blubber oil is well alight its heat is quite
sufficient to melt the blubber in And keep up the oil supply--the heat
gradually rises until the oil issues from B in a vaporised condition,
when, of course, the heat given off by the stove is intense.
This stove was got going this morning in five minutes in the outer
temperature with the blubber hard frozen. It will make a great