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The South Pole, Volumes 1 and 2 by Roald Amundsen

Part 8 out of 11

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to take with us, we managed to be ready for sea on the afternoon of
January 30. There could scarcely have been anything at that moment that
rejoiced us more than just that fact, that we were able at so early a
date to set our course northward and thus take the first step on the
way to that world which, as we knew, would soon begin to expect news
from us, or of us. And yet, I wonder whether there was not a little
feeling of melancholy in the midst of all our joy? It can hardly be
doubted that such was really the case, although to many this may seem
a flat contradiction. But it is not altogether so easy to part from
a place that has been one's home for any length of time, even though
this home lie in the 79th degree of latitude, more or less buried in
snow and ice. We human beings are far too dependent on habit to be
able to tear ourselves abruptly from the surroundings with which we
have been obliged to be familiar for many months. That outsiders would
perhaps pray all the powers of goodness to preserve them from such
surroundings, does not counteract the full validity of this rule. To
an overwhelming majority of our fellow-men Framheim will certainly
appear as one of those spots on our planet where they would least of
all wish to find themselves -- a God-forsaken, out-of-the-way hole
that could offer nothing but the very climax of desolation, discomfort,
and boredom. To us nine, who stood on the gangway ready to leave this
place, things appeared somewhat differently. That strong little house,
that now lay entirely hidden beneath the snow behind Mount Nelson, had
for a whole year been our home, and a thoroughly good and comfortable
home it was, where after so many a hard day's work we had found all
the rest and quiet we wanted. Through the whole Antarctic winter --
and it is a winter -- those four walls had protected us so well that
many a poor wretch in milder latitudes would have envied us with all
his heart, if he could have seen us. In conditions so hard that every
form of life flies headlong from them, we had lived on at Framheim
undisturbed and untroubled, and lived, be it said, not as animals,
but as civilized human beings, who had always within their reach most
of the good things that are found in a well-ordered home. Darkness
and cold reigned outside, and the blizzards no doubt did their best
to blot out most traces of our activity, but these enemies never came
within the door of our excellent dwelling; there we shared quarters
with light and warmth and comfort. What wonder was it that this spot
exercised a strong attraction upon each of us at the moment when we
were to turn our backs upon it for good? Outside the great world
beckoned to us, that is true; and it might have much to offer us
that we had had to forego for a long time; but in what awaited us
there was certainly a great deal that we would gladly have put off
for as long as possible. When everyday life came with its cares and
worries, it might well happen that we should look back with regret
to our peaceful and untroubled existence at Framheim.

However, this feeling of melancholy was hardly so strong that we
could not all get over it comparatively quickly. Judging by the
faces, at any rate, one would have thought that joy was the most
predominant mood. And why not? It was no use dwelling on the past,
however attractive it might seem just then, and as to the future, we
had every right to expect the best of it. Who cared to think of coming
troubles? No one. Therefore the Fram was dressed with flags from stem
to stern, and therefore faces beamed at each other as we said good-bye
to our home on the Barrier. We could leave it with the consciousness
that the object of our year's stay had been attained, and, after all,
this consciousness was of considerably more weight than the thought
that we had been so happy there. One thing that in the course of our
two years' association on this expedition contributed enormously to
making time pass easily and keeping each of us in full vigour was
the entire absence of what I may call "dead periods." As soon as one
problem was solved, another instantly appeared. No sooner was one goal
reached, than the next one beckoned from afar. In this way we always
had our hands full, and when that is the case, as everyone knows,
time flies quickly. One often hears it asked, How is it possible to
make the time pass on such a trip? My good friends, I would answer,
if anything caused us worry, it was the thought of how we should
find time enough for all we had to do. Perhaps to many this assertion
will bear the stamp of improbability; it is, nevertheless, absolutely
true. Those who have read this narrative through will, in any case,
have received the impression that unemployment was an evil that was
utterly unknown in our little community.

At the stage where we now found ourselves, with the main object of
our enterprise achieved, there might have been reason to expect
a certain degree of relaxation of interest. This, however, was
not the case. The fact was that what we had done would have no
real value until it was brought to the knowledge of mankind, and
this communication had to be made with as little loss of time as
possible. If anyone was interested in being first in the market it was
certainly ourselves. The probability was, no doubt, that we were out
in good time; but, in spite of all, it was only a probability. On the
other hand, it was absolutely certain that we had a voyage of 2,400
nautical miles to Hobart, which had been selected as our first port
of call; and it was almost equally certain that this voyage would be
both slow and troublesome. A year before our trip through Ross Sea had
turned out almost like a pleasure cruise, but that was in the middle of
summer. Now we were in February, and autumn was at hand. As regards the
belt of drift-ice, Captain Nilsen thought that would cause us no delay
in future. He had discovered a patent and infallible way of getting
through! This sounded like a rather bold assertion, but, as will be
seen later, he was as good as his word. Our worst troubles would be
up in the westerlies, where we should this time be exposed to the
unpleasant possibility of having to beat. The difference in longitude
between the Bay of Whales and Hobart is nearly fifty degrees. If we
could have sailed off this difference in longitude in the latitudes
where we then were, and where a degree of longitude is only about
thirteen nautical miles, it would all have been done in a twinkling;
but the mighty mountain ranges of North Victoria Land were a decisive
obstacle. We should first have to follow a northerly course until we
had rounded the Antarctic Continent's northern outpost, Cape Adare,
and the Balleny Islands to the north of it. Not till then would the
way be open for us to work to the west; but then we should be in a
region where in all probability the wind would be dead against us,
and as to tacking with the Fram -- no, thank you! Every single man on
board knew enough of the conditions to be well aware of what awaited
us, and it is equally certain that the thoughts of all were centred
upon how we might conquer our coming difficulties in the best and
quickest way. It was the one great, common object that still bound,
and would continue to bind, us all together in our joint efforts.

Among the items of news that we had just received from the outer
world was the message that the Australian Antarctic Expedition under
Dr. Douglas Mawson would be glad to take over some of our dogs,
if we had any to spare. The base of this expedition was Hobart,
and as far as that went, this suited us very well. It chanced that
we were able to do our esteemed colleague this small service. On
leaving the Barrier we could show a pack of thirty-nine dogs, many
of which had grown up during our year's stay there; about half had
survived the whole trip from Norway, and eleven had been at the South
Pole. It had been our intention only to keep a suitable number as the
progenitors of a new pack for the approaching voyage in the Arctic
Ocean, but Dr. Mawson's request caused us to take all the thirty-nine
on board. Of these dogs, if nothing unforeseen happened, we should be
able to make over twenty-one to him. When the last load was brought
down, there was nothing to do but to pull the dogs over the side,
and then we were ready. It was quite curious to see how several of
the old veterans seemed at home again on the Fram's deck. Wisting's
brave dog, the old Colonel, with his two adjutants, Suggen and Arne,
at once took possession of the places where they had stood for so
many a long day on the voyage south -- on the starboard side of the
mainmast; the two twins, Mylius and Ring, Helmer Hanssen's special
favourites, began their games away in the corner of the fore-deck
to port, as though nothing had happened. To look at those two merry
rascals no one would have thought they had trotted at the head of
the whole caravan both to and from the Pole. One solitary dog could
be seen stalking about, lonely and reserved, in a continual uneasy
search. This was the boss of Bjaaland's team. He was unaffected by
any advances; no one could take the place of his fallen comrade and
friend, Frithjof, who had long ago found a grave in the stomachs of
his companions many hundreds of miles across the Barrier.

No sooner was the last dog helped on board, and the two ice-anchors
released, than the engine-room telegraph rang, and the engine was at
once set going to keep us from any closer contact with the ice-foot
in the Bay of Whales. Our farewell to this snug harbour took almost
the form of a leap from one world to another; the fog hung over us
as thick as gruel, concealing all the surrounding outlines behind its
clammy curtain, as we stood out. After a lapse of three or four hours,
it lifted quite suddenly, but astern of us the bank of fog still stood
like a wall; behind it the panorama, which we knew would have looked
wonderful in clear weather, and which we should so gladly have let
our eyes rest upon as long as we could, was entirely concealed.

The same course we had steered when coming in a year before could
safely be taken in the opposite direction now we were going out. The
outlines of the bay had remained absolutely unchanged during the year
that had elapsed. Even the most projecting point of the wall on the
west side of the bay, Cape Man's Head, stood serenely in its old place,
and it looked as if it was in no particular hurry to remove itself. It
will probably stay where it is for many a long day yet, for if any
movement of the ice mass is taking place at the inner end of the bay,
it is in any case very slight. Only in one respect did the condition of
things differ somewhat this year from the preceding. Whereas in 1911
the greater part of the bay was free of sea-ice as early as January
14, in 1912 there was no opening until about fourteen days later. The
ice-sheet had stubbornly held on until the fresh north-easterly
breeze, that appeared on the very day the southern party returned,
had rapidly provided a channel of open water. The breaking up of the
ice could not possibly have taken place at a more convenient moment;
the breeze in question saved us a great deal, both of time and trouble,
as the way to the place where the Fram lay before the ice broke up
was about five times as long as the distance we now had to go. This
difference of fourteen days in the time of the disappearance of the
ice in two summers showed us how lucky we had been to choose that
particular year -- 1911 -- for our landing here. The work which we
carried out in three weeks in 1911, thanks to the early breaking up
of the ice, would certainly have taken us double the time in 1912,
and would have caused us far more difficulty and trouble.

The thick fog that, as I have said, lay over the Bay of Whales when we
left it, prevented us also from seeing what our friends the Japanese
were doing. The Kainan Maru had put to sea in company with the Fram
during the gale of January 27, and since that time we had seen nothing
of them. Those members of the expedition who had been left behind in
a tent on the edge of the Barrier to the north of Framheim had also
been very retiring of late. On the day we left the place, one of our
own party had an interview with two of the foreigners. Prestrud had
gone to fetch the flag that had been set up on Cape Man's Head as a
signal to the Fram that all had returned. By the side of the flag a
tent had been put up, which was intended as a shelter for a lookout
man, in case the Fram had been delayed. When Prestrud came up, he was
no doubt rather surprised to find himself face to face with two sons
of Nippon, who were engaged in inspecting our tent and its contents,
which, however, only consisted of a sleeping-bag and a Primus. The
Japanese had opened the conversation with enthusiastic phrases about
"nice day" and "plenty ice"; when our man had expressed his absolute
agreement on these indisputable facts, he tried to get information
on matters of more special interest. The two strangers told him that
for the moment they were the only inhabitants of the tent out on
the edge of the Barrier. Two of their companions had gone on a tour
into the Barrier to make meteorological observations, and were to be
away about a week. The Kainan Maru had gone on another cruise in the
direction of King Edward Land. As far as they knew, it was intended
that the ship should be back before February 10, and that all the
members of the expedition should then go on board and sail to the
north. Prestrud had invited his two new acquaintances to visit us at
Framheim, the sooner the better; they delayed their coming too long,
however, for us to be able to wait for them. If they have since been
at Framheim, they will at any rate be able to bear witness that we
did our best to make things comfortable for any successors.

When the fog lifted, we found ourselves surrounded by open sea,
practically free from ice, on all sides. A blue-black sea, with a
heavy, dark sky above it, is not usually reckoned among the sights
that delight the eye. To our organs of vision it was a real relief to
come into surroundings where dark colours predominated. For months
we had been staring at a dazzling sea of white, where artificial
means had constantly to be employed to protect the eyes against the
excessive flood of light. As a rule, it was even necessary to limit
the exposure of the pupils to a minimum, and to draw the eyelids
together. Now we could once more look on the world with open eyes,
literally "without winking "; even such a commonplace thing as this
is an experience in one's life. Ross Sea showed itself again on its
most favourable side. A cat's paw of south-westerly wind enabled us
to use the sails, so that after a lapse of two days we were already
about two hundred miles from the Barrier. Modest as this distance
may be in itself, when seen on the chart it looked quite imposing in
our eyes. It must be remembered that, with the means of transport we
had employed on land, it cost us many a hard day's march to cover a
distance of two hundred geographical miles.

Nilsen had marked on the chart the limits of the belt of drift-ice
during the three passages the Fram had already made. The supposition
that an available opening is always to be found in the neighbourhood
of the 150th meridian appears to be confirmed. The slight changes in
the position of the channel were only caused, according to Nilsen's
experiences, by variations in the direction of the wind. He had found
that it always answered his purpose to turn and try to windward, if the
pack showed signs of being close. This mode of procedure naturally had
the effect of making the course somewhat crooked, but to make up for
this it had always resulted in his finding open water. On this trip
we reached the edge of the pack-ice belt three days after leaving the
Barrier. The position of the belt proved to be very nearly the same
as on previous passages. After we had held our course for some hours,
however, the ice became so thick that it looked badly for our further
progress. Now was the time to try Nilsen's method: the wind, which,
by the way, was quite light, came about due west, and accordingly
the helm was put to starboard and the bow turned to the west. For a
good while we even steered true south, but it proved that this fairly
long turn had not been made in vain; after we had worked our way to
windward for a few hours, we found openings in numbers. If we had held
our course as we began, it is not at all impossible that we should have
been delayed for a long time, with a free passage a few miles away.

After having accomplished this first long turn, we escaped having to
make any more in future. The ice continued slack, and on February
6 the rapidly increasing swell told us that we had done with the
Antarctic drift-ice for good. I doubt if we saw a single seal during
our passage through the ice-belt this time; and if we had seen any,
we should scarcely have allowed the time for shooting them. There
was plenty of good food both for men and dogs this time, without our
having recourse to seal-beef. For the dogs we had brought all our
remaining store of the excellent dogs' pemmican, and that was not
a little. Besides this, we had a good lot of dried fish. They had
fish and pemmican on alternate days. On this diet the animals kept
in such splendid condition that, when on arrival at Hobart they had
shed most of their rough winter coats, they looked as if they had
been in clover for a year.

For the nine of us who had just joined the ship, our comrades on board
had brought all the way from Buenos Aires several fat pigs, that were
now living in luxury in their pen on the after-deck; in addition to
these, three fine sheep's carcasses hung in the workroom. It need
scarcely be said that we were fully capable of appreciating these
unexpected luxuries. Seal-beef, no doubt, had done excellent service,
but this did not prevent roast mutton and pork being a welcome change,
especially as they came as a complete surprise. I hardly think one
of us had counted on the possibility of getting fresh meat before we
were back again in civilization.

On her arrival at the Bay of Whales there were eleven men on board
the Fram, all included. Instead of Kutschin and Nödtvedt, who had gone
home from Buenos Aires while the ship was there in the autumn of 1911,
three new men were engaged -- namely, Halvorsen, Olsen and Steller;
the two first-named were from Bergen; Steller was a German, who had
lived for several years in Norway, and talked Norwegian like a native.

All three were remarkably efficient and friendly men; it was a pleasure
to have any dealings with them. I venture to think that they, too,
found themselves at home in our company; they were really only engaged
until the Fram called at the first port, but they stayed on board all
the way to Buenos Aires, and will certainly go with us farther still.

When the shore party came on board, Lieutenant Prestrud took up his
old position as first officer; the others began duty at once. All
told, we were now twenty men on board, and after the Fram had sailed
for a year rather short-handed, she could now be said to have a
full crew again. On this voyage we had no special work outside the
usual sea routine, and so long as the weather was fair, we had thus
a comparatively quiet life on board. But the hours of watch on deck
passed quickly enough, I expect; there was material in plenty for many
a long chat now. If we, who came from land, showed a high degree of
curiosity about what had been going on in the world, the sea-party
were at least as eager to have full information of every detail of
our year-long stay on the Barrier. One must almost have experienced
something similar oneself to be able to form an idea of the hail
of questions that is showered upon one on such an occasion. What we
land-lubbers had to relate has been given in outline in the preceding
chapters. Of the news we heard from outside, perhaps nothing interested
us so much as the story of how the change in the plan of the expedition
had been received at home and abroad.

It must have been at least a week before there was any noticeable ebb
in the flood of questions and answers. That week went by quickly;
perhaps more quickly than we really cared for, since it proved
that the Fram was not really able to keep pace with time. The
weather remained quite well behaved, but not exactly in the way we
wished. We had reckoned that the south-easterly and easterly winds,
so frequent around Framheim, would also show themselves out in
Ross Sea, but they entirely forgot to do so. We had little wind,
and when there was any, it was, as a rule, a slant from the north,
always enough to delay our honest old ship. It was impossible to take
any observations for the first eight days, the sky was continuously
overcast. If one occasionally asked the skipper about her position,
he usually replied that the only thing that could be said for certain
was that we were in Ross Sea. On February 7, however, according to a
fairly good noon observation, we were well to the north of Cape Adare,
and therefore beyond the limits of the Antarctic Continent. On the
way northward we passed Cape Adare at a distance hardly greater than
could have been covered with a good day's sailing; but our desire
of making this detour had to give way to the chief consideration --
northward, northward as quickly as possible.

There is usually plenty of wind in the neighbourhood of bold
promontories, and Cape Adare is no exception in this respect; it is
well known as a centre of bad weather. Nor did we slip by without
getting a taste of this; but it could not have been more welcome,
as it happened that the wind was going the same way as ourselves. Two
days of fresh south-east wind took us comparatively quickly past the
Balleny Islands, and on February 9 we could congratulate ourselves on
being well out of the south frigid zone. It was with joy that we had
crossed the Antarctic Circle over a year ago, going south; perhaps
we rejoiced no less at crossing it this time in the opposite direction.

In the bustle of getting away from our winter-quarters there had been
no time for any celebration of the fortunate reunion of the land
and sea parties. As this occasion for festivity had been let slip,
we had to look out for another, and we agreed that the day of our
passage from the frigid to the temperate zone afforded a very good
excuse. The pre-arranged part of the programme was extremely simple:
an extra cup of coffee, duly accompanied by punch and cigars, and
some music on the gramophone. Our worthy gramophone could not offer
anything that had the interest of novelty to us nine who had wintered
at Framheim: we knew the whole repertoire pretty well by heart; but
the well-known melodies awakened memories of many a pleasant Saturday
evening around the toddy table in our cosy winter home down at the
head of the Bay of Whales -- memories which we need not be ashamed
of recalling. On board the Fram gramophone music had not been heard
since Christmas Eve, 1910, and the members of the sea party were glad
enough to encore more than one number.

Outside the limits of the programme we were treated to an extra number
by a singer, who imitated the gramophone in utilizing a big megaphone,
to make up for the deficiencies of his voice -- according to his
own statement. He hid behind the curtain of Captain Nilsen's cabin,
and through the megaphone came a ditty intended to describe life on
the Barrier from its humorous side. It was completely successful,
and we again had a laugh that did us good. Performances of this kind,
of course, only have a value to those who have taken part in or are
acquainted with the events to which they refer. In case any outsider
may be interested in seeing what our entertainment was like, a few
of the verses are given here.

It must be remarked that the author composed his production in the
supposition that we should be able to meet by Christmas, and he
therefore proposed that for the moment we should imagine ourselves
to be celebrating that festival. We made no difficulty about acceding
to his request:

Well, here we are assembled to jollity once more,
Some from off the ocean and the rest from off the shore.
A year has passed since last we met and all are safe and sound,
Then let us banish all our cares and join our hands all round.
Christmas, happy Christmas! let us pass the flowing bowl,
Fill your glasses all, and let's make "Sails" a wee bit full.
For all I'll say is this -- that it's in his country's cause;
If he staggers just a little, it is in his country's cause.

Now you sailor boys shall hear about the time we have gone through:
The winter -- well, it wasn't long, we had so much to do.
There was digging snow, and sleeping -- you can bet we're good at
that -- And eating, too -- no wonder that we're all a little fat.
We had hot cakes for our breakfast and "hermetik" each day,
Mutton pies, ragouts and curries, for that is Lindström's way.
But all I'll say is this -- that 'twas in our country's cause,
If we stuffed ourselves with dainties, it was in our country's cause.

September came and off we went -- that trip was pretty tough;
Our compasses all went on strike, they thought it cold enough.
The brandy in the Captain's flask froze to a lump of ice;
We all agreed, both men and dogs, such weather wasn't nice.
So back we went to Framheim to thaw our heels and toes;
It could not be quite healthy when our feet and fingers froze.
But all I say is this -- that 'twas in our country's cause,
And we did not mind a frost-bite when 'twas in our country's cause.

The sun came up and warmed us then a little day by day;
Five men went out again and toiled along the southern way.
This time they conquered snow and ice, and all the world may hear
That Norway's flag flies at the Pole. Now, boys, a ringing cheer
For him who led them forward through the mountains and the plain,
Up to the goal they aimed at, and safely back again.
But all I'll say is this -- that 'twas in his country's cause;
If he went through and won the Pole, 'twas in his country's cause.

It could soon be noticed, in one way and another, that we had reached
latitudes where existence took a very different aspect from what
we had been accustomed to south of the 66th parallel. One welcome
change was the rise in temperature; the mercury now climbed well above
freezing-point, and those individuals on board who were still more or
less clad in skins, shed the last remnants of their Polar garb for a
lighter and more convenient costume. Those who waited longest before
making the change were the ones who belonged to the shore party. The
numerous people who imagine that a long stay in the Polar regions
makes a man less susceptible of cold than other mortals are completely
mistaken. The direct opposite is more likely to be the case. A man
who stays some time in a place where the everyday temperature is
down in the fifties below zero, or more than that, will not trouble
himself greatly about the cold, so long as he has good and serviceable
skin clothing. Let the same man, rigged out in civilized clothes,
be suddenly put down in the streets of Christiania on a winter day,
with thirty or thirty-five degrees of frost, and the poor fellow's
teeth will chatter till they fall out of his mouth. The fact is, that
on a Polar trip one defends oneself effectively against the cold; when
one comes back, and has to go about with the protection afforded by
an overcoat, a stiff collar, and a hard hat -- well, then one feels it.

A less welcome consequence of the difference in latitude was the
darkening of the nights. It may be admitted that continual daylight
would be unpleasant in the long run ashore, but aboard ship an
everlasting day would certainly be preferred, if such a thing could be
had. Even if we might now consider that we had done with the principal
mass of Antarctic ice, we still had to reckon with its disagreeable
outposts -- the icebergs. It has already been remarked that a practised
look-out man can see the blink of one of the larger bergs a long way
off in the dark, but when it is a question of one of the smaller masses
of ice, of which only an inconsiderable part rises above the surface,
there is no such brightness, and therefore no warning. A little lump
like this is just as dangerous as a big berg; you run the same risks in
a possible collision of knocking a hole in the bows or carrying away
the rigging. In these transitional regions, where the temperature of
the water is always very low, the thermometer is a very doubtful guide.

The waters in which we were sailing are not yet so well known as to
exclude the possibility of meeting with land. Captain Colbeck, who
commanded one of the relief ships sent south during Scott's first
expedition, came quite unexpectedly upon a little island to the
east of Cape Adare; this island was afterwards named after Captain
Scott. When Captain Colbeck made his discovery, he was about on the
course that has usually been taken by ships whose destination was
within the limits of Ross Sea. There is still a possibility that in
going out of one's course, voluntarily or involuntarily, one may find
more groups of islands in that part.

On the current charts of the South Pacific there are marked several
archipelagoes and islands, the position of which is not a little
doubtful. One of these -- Emerald Island -- is charted as lying almost
directly in the course we had to follow to reach Hobart. Captain Davis,
who took Shackleton's ship, the Nimrod, home to England in 1909,
sailed, however, right over the point where Emerald Island should
be found according to the chart without seeing anything of it. If it
exists at all, it is, at any rate, incorrectly charted. In order to
avoid its vicinity, and still more in order to get as far as possible
to the west before we came into the westerly belt proper, we pressed
on as much as we could for one hard week, or perhaps nearer two; but
a continual north-west wind seemed for a long time to leave us only
two disagreeable possibilities, either of drifting to the eastward, or
of finding ourselves down in the drift-ice to the north of Wilkes Land.

Those weeks were a very severe trial of patience to the many on
board who were burning with eagerness to get ashore with our news,
and perhaps to hear some in return. When the first three weeks of
February were past, we were not much more than half-way; with anything
like favourable conditions we ought to have arrived by that time. The
optimists always consoled us by saying that sooner or later there
would be a change for the better, and at last it came. A good spell
of favourable wind took us at a bound well to the windward both of
the doubtful Emerald Island and of the authentic Macquarie group to
the north of it. It may be mentioned in passing, that at the time we
went by, the most southerly wireless telegraphy station in the world
was located on one of the Macquarie Islands. The installation belonged
to Dr. Mawson's Antarctic expedition. Dr. Mawson also took with him
apparatus for installing a station on the Antarctic Continent itself,
but, so far as is known, no connection was accomplished the first year.

During this fortunate run we had come so far to the west that our
course to Hobart was rapidly approaching true north. On the other hand,
we should have liked to be able to take advantage of the prevailing
winds, -- the westerlies. These vary little from one year to another,
and we found them much the same as we had been accustomed to before:
frequent, stiff breezes from the north-west, which generally held for
about twelve hours, and then veered to west or south-west. So long
as the north-wester was blowing, there was nothing to do but to lie
to with shortened sail; when the change of wind came, we made a few
hours' progress in the right direction. In this way we crept step by
step northward to our destination. It was slow enough, no doubt; but
every day the line of our course on the chart grew a little longer,
and towards the end of February the distance between us and the
southern point of Tasmania had shrunk to very modest dimensions.

With the constant heavy westerly swell, the Fram, light as she now
was, surpassed herself in rolling, and that is indeed saying a great
deal. This rolling brought us a little damage to the rigging, the
gaff of the mainsail breaking; however, that affair did not stop us
long. The broken spar was quickly replaced by a spare gaff.

Our hopes of arriving before the end of February came to naught,
and a quarter of March went by before our voyage was at an end.

On the afternoon of March 4, we had our first glimpse of land; but,
as the weather was by no means clear and we had not been able to
determine our longitude with certainty for two days, we were uncertain
which point of Tasmania we had before us. To explain the situation,
a short description of the coast-line is necessary. The southern
angle of Tasmania runs out in three promontories; off the easternmost
of these, and only divided from it by a very narrow channel, lies a
steep and apparently inaccessible island, called Tasman Island. It is,
however, accessible, for on the top of it -- 900 feet above the sea
-- stands a lighthouse. The middle promontory is called Tasman Head,
and between this and the eastern one we have Storm Bay, which forms
the approach to Hobart; there, then, lay our course. The question was,
which of the three heads we had sighted. This was difficult, or rather
impossible, to decide, so indistinct was the outline of the land in
the misty air; it was also entirely unknown to us, as not one of us
had ever before been in this corner of the world. When darkness came
on, a heavy rain set in, and without being able to see anything at
all, we lay there feeling our way all night. With the appearance of
daylight a fresh south-west wind came and swept away most of the rain,
so that we could again make out the land. We decided that what we saw
was the middle promontory, Tasman Head, and gaily set our course into
Storm Bay -- as we thought. With the rapidly strengthening breeze we
went spinningly, and the possibility of reaching Hobart in a few hours
began to appear as a dead certainty. With this comfortable feeling
we had just sat down to the breakfast table in the fore-saloon, when
the door was pulled open with what seemed unnecessary violence, and
the face of the officer of the watch appeared in the doorway. "We're
on the wrong side of the head," was the sinister message, and the
face disappeared. Good-bye to our pleasant plans, good-bye to our
breakfast! All hands went on deck at once, and it was seen only too
well that the melancholy information was correct. We had made a mistake
in the thick rain. The wind, that had now increased to a stiff breeze,
had chased the rain-clouds from the tops of the hills, and on the
point we had taken for Tasman Head, we now saw the lighthouse. It
was therefore Tasman Island, and instead of being in Storm Bay, we
were out in the open Pacific, far to leeward of the infamous headland.

There was nothing to be done but to beat and attempt to work our way
back to windward, although we knew it would be practically labour in
vain. The breeze increased to a gale, and instead of making any headway
we had every prospect of drifting well to leeward; that was the usual
result of trying to beat with the Fram. Rather annoyed though we were,
we set to work to do what could be done, and with every square foot of
canvas set the Fram pitched on her way close-hauled. To begin with,
it looked as if we held our own more or less, but as the distance
from land increased and the wind got more force, our bearings soon
showed us that we were going the way the hen kicks. About midday we
went about and stood in towards land again; immediately after came a
violent squall which tore the outer jib to ribbons; with that we were
also obliged to take in the mainsail, otherwise it would pretty soon
have been caught aback, and there would have been further damage to
the rigging. With the remaining sails any further attempt was useless;
there was nothing left but to get as close under the lee of the land
as we could and try with the help of the engine to hold our own till
the weather moderated. How it blew that afternoon! One gust after
another came dancing down the slopes of the hills, and tore at the
rigging till the whole vessel shook. The feeling on board was, as
might be expected, somewhat sultry, and found an outlet in various
expressions the reverse of gentle. Wind, weather, fate, and life in
general were inveighed against, but this availed little. The peninsula
that separated us from Storm Bay still lay there firm and immovable,
and the gale went on as if it was in no hurry to let us get round. The
whole day went by, and the greater part of the night, without any
change taking place. Not till the morning of the 6th did our prospects
begin to improve. The wind became lighter and went more to the south;
that was, of course, the way we had to go, but by hugging the shore,
where we had perfectly smooth water, we succeeded in working our
way down to Tasman Island before darkness fell. The night brought
a calm, and that gave us our chance. The engine worked furiously,
and a slight favourable current contributed to set us on our way. By
dawn on the 7th we were far up Storm Bay and could at last consider
ourselves masters of the situation.

It was a sunny day, and our faces shone in rivalry with the sun;
all trace of the last two days' annoyances had vanished. And soon
the Fram, too, began to shine. The white paint on deck had a thorough
overhauling with soap and water in strong solution. The Ripolin was
again as fresh as when new. When this had been seen to, the outward
appearance of the men also began to undergo a striking change. The
Iceland jackets and "blanket costumes" from Horten gave way to "shore
clothes" of the most varied cut, hauled out after a two years' rest;
razors and scissors had made a rich harvest, and sailmaker Rönne's
fashionable Burberry caps figured on most heads. Even Lindström,
who up to date had held the position among the land party of being
its heaviest, fattest, and blackest member, showed unmistakable signs
of having been in close contact with water.

Meanwhile we were nearing a pilot station, and a bustling little motor
launch swung alongside. "Want a pilot, captain?" One positively started
at the sound of the first new human voice. Communication with the outer
world was again established. The pilot -- a brisk, good-humoured old
man -- looked about him in surprise when he came up on to our deck. "I
should never have imagined things were so clean and bright on board a
Polar ship," he said; "nor should I have thought from the look of you
that you had come from Antarctica. You look as if you had had nothing
but a good time." We could assure him of that, but as to the rest, it
was not our intention just yet to allow ourselves to be pumped, and
the old man could see that. He had no objection to our pumping him,
though he had no very great store of news to give us. He had heard
nothing of the Terra Nova; on the other hand, he was able to tell
us that Dr. Mawson's ship, the Aurora, commanded by Captain Davis,
might be expected at Hobart any day. They had been looking out for
the Fram since the beginning of February, and had given us up long
ago. That was a surprise, anyhow.

Our guest evidently had no desire to make the acquaintance of our
cuisine; at any rate, he very energetically declined our invitation
to breakfast. Presumably he was afraid of being treated to dog's
flesh or similar original dishes. On the other hand, he showed great
appreciation of our Norwegian tobacco. He had his handbag pretty
nearly full when he left us.

Hobart Town lies on the bank of the Derwent River, which runs into
Storm Bay. The surroundings are beautiful, and the soil evidently
extremely fertile; but woods and fields were almost burnt up on our
arrival; a prolonged drought had prevailed, and made an end of all
green things. To our eyes it was, however, an unmixed delight to look
upon meadows and woods, even if their colours were not absolutely
fresh. We were not very difficult to please on that score.

The harbour of Hobart is an almost ideal one, large and remarkably
well protected. As we approached the town, the usual procession of
harbour-master, doctor, and Custom-house officers came aboard. The
doctor soon saw that there was no work for his department, and the
Custom-house officers were easily convinced that we had no contraband
goods. The anchor was dropped, and we were free to land. I took my
cablegrams, and accompanied the harbour-master ashore.

CHAPTER XV

The Eastern Sledge Journey

By Lieutenant K. Prestrud

On October 20, 1911, the southern party started on their long
journey. The departure took place without much ceremony, and with the
smallest possible expenditure of words. A hearty grasp of the hand
serves the purpose quite as well on such occasions. I accompanied them
to the place we called the starting-point, on the south side of the
bay. After a final "Good luck" to our Chief and comrades -- as sincere
a wish as I have ever bestowed upon anyone -- I cinematographed the
caravan, and very soon after it was out of sight. Those fellows went
southward at a great pace, Helmer Hanssen's quick-footed team leading
as usual.

There I stood, utterly alone, and I cannot deny that I was a prey
to somewhat mixed feelings. When should we see those five again,
who had just disappeared from view on the boundless plain, and in
what conditions? What sort of a report would they bring of the
result? There was plenty of room for guesses here, and abundant
opportunity for weighing every possibility, good and bad; but there
was very little to be gained by indulging in speculations of that
sort. The immediate facts first claimed attention. One fact, amongst
others, was that Framheim was a good three miles away; another was
that the cinematograph apparatus weighed a good many pounds; and a
third that Lindström would be mightily put out if I arrived too late
for dinner. Our chef insisted on a high standard of punctuality in the
matter of meal-times. Homeward, then, at the best speed possible. The
speed, however, was not particularly good, and I began to prepare for
the consequences of a long delay. On the other side of the bay I could
just make out a little black speck, that seemed to be in motion towards
me. I thought at first it was a seal, but, fortunately, it turned
out to be Jörgen Stubberud with six dogs and a sledge. This was quite
encouraging: in the first place, I should get rid of my unmanageable
burden, and in the second I might expect to get on faster. Stubberud's
team consisted, however, of four intractable puppies, besides Puss and
another courser of similar breed; the result was that our pace was a
modest one and our course anything but straight, so that we arrived
at Framheim two hours after the time appointed for dinner. Those who
know anything of Master Lindström and his disposition will easily be
able from this explanation to form an idea of his state of mind at
the moment when we entered the door. Yes, he was undoubtedly angry,
but we were at least equally hungry; and if anything can soften the
heart of a Norwegian caterer, it is a ravenous appetite in those he
has to feed, provided, of course, that he have enough to offer them,
and Lindström's supplies were practically unlimited.

I remember that dinner well: at the same table where eight of us had
sat for so many months, there were now only three left -- Johansen,
Stubberud, and I. We had more room, it is true, but that gain was a
poor satisfaction. We missed those who had gone very badly, and our
thoughts were always following them. The first thing we discussed on
this occasion was how many miles they might be expected to do that
day: nor was this the last dispute we had on the same theme. During
the weeks and months that followed, it was constantly to the fore,
and gave plenty of material for conversation when we had exhausted
our own concerns. As regards these latter, my instructions were

1. To go to King Edward VII. Land, and there carry out what exploration
time and circumstances might permit.

2. To survey and map the Bay of Whales and its immediate surroundings.

3. As far as possible to keep the station at Framheim in order,
in case we might have to spend another winter there.

As regards time, my orders were to be back at Framheim before we
could reasonably expect the arrival of the Fram. This was, and would
necessarily remain, somewhat uncertain. No doubt we all had a great
idea of the Fram's capacity for keeping time, and Lieutenant Nilsen
had announced his intention of being back by Christmas or the New
Year; but nevertheless a year is a long time, and there are many
miles in a trip round the world. If we assumed that no mishap had
occurred to the Fram, and that she had left Buenos Aires at the time
fixed in the plan -- October 1, 1911 -- she would in all probability
be able to arrive at the Bay of Whales about the middle of January,
1912. On the basis of this calculation we decided, if possible, to
get the sledge journey to King Edward Land done before Christmas,
while the surveying work around the bay would have to be postponed
to the first half of January, 1912. I thought, however, seeing the
advantages of working while the bay was still frozen over, that it
would pay to devote a few days -- immediately following the departure
of the southern party -- to the preparatory work of measuring. But
this did not pay at all. We had reckoned without the weather, and in
consequence were well taken in. When one thinks over it afterwards,
it seems reasonable enough that the final victory of mild weather over
the remains of the Antarctic winter cannot be accomplished without
serious disturbances of the atmospheric conditions. The expulsion of
one evil has to be effected by the help of another; and the weather
was bad with a vengeance. During the two weeks that followed October 20
there were only three or four days that offered any chance of working
with the theodolite and plane-table. We managed to get a base-line
measured, 1,000 metres long, and to lay out the greater part of the
east side of the bay, as well as the most prominent points round the
camp; but one had positively to snatch one's opportunities by stealth,
and every excursion ended regularly in bringing the instruments home
well covered with snow.

If the bad weather thus put hindrances in the way of the work we
were anxious to do, it made up for it by providing us with a lot of
extra work which we could very well have done without. There was
incessant shovelling of snow to keep any sort of passage open to
the four dog-tents that were left standing, as well as to our own
underground dwelling, over which the snow covering had been growing
constantly higher. The fairly high wall that we had originally built
on the east side of the entrance door was now entirely buried in
the snow-drift. It had given us good protection; now the drift had
unimpeded access, and the opening, like the descent into a cellar,
that led down to the door, was filled up in the course of a few hours
when the wind was in the right quarter. Lindström shook his head when
we sometimes asked him how he would get on by himself if the weather
continued in this way. "So long as there's nothing but snow in the
way, I'll manage to get out," said he. One day he came and told us
that he could no longer get at the coal, and on further investigation
it looked rather difficult. The roof of the place where the coal was
stored had yielded to the pressure of the mass of snow, and the whole
edifice had collapsed. There was nothing to be done but to set to work
at once, and after a great deal of hard labour we got the remainder
of the precious fuel moved into the long snow tunnel that led from
the house to the coal-store. With that our "black diamonds" were in
safety for the time being. This job made us about as black as the
"diamonds." When we came in the cook, as it happened, had just been
doing a big wash on his own account -- a comparatively rare event --
and there was surprise on both sides. The cook was as much taken
aback at seeing us so black as we were at seeing him so clean.

All the snow-shovelling that resulted from the continued bad weather,
in conjunction with the necessary preparations for the sledge journey,
gave us plenty of occupation, but I will venture to say that none of
us would care to go through those days again. We were delayed in our
real work, and delay, which is unpleasant enough in any circumstances,
was all the more unwelcome down here, where time is so precious. As
we only had two sledges on which to transport supplies for three
men and sixteen dogs, besides all our outfit, and as on our trip we
should have no depots to fall back on, the duration of the journey
could not be extended much beyond six weeks. In order to be back
again by Christmas, we had, therefore, to leave before the middle of
November. It would do no harm, however, to be off before this, and as
soon as November arrived we took the first opportunity of disappearing.

On account of getting on the right course, we preferred that the
start should take place in clear weather. The fact was that we were
obliged to go round by the depot in 80° S. As King Edward Land lies to
the east, or rather north-east, of Framheim, this was a considerable
detour; it had to be made, because in September we had left at this
depot all the packed sledging provisions, a good deal of our personal
equipment, and, finally, some of the necessary instruments.

On the way to the depot, about thirty geographical miles south of
Framheim, we had the nasty crevassed surface that had been met with for
the first time on the third depot journey in the autumn of 1911 -- in
the month of April. At that time we came upon it altogether unawares,
and it was somewhat remarkable that we escaped from it with the loss
of two dogs. This broken surface lay in a depression about a mile to
the west of the route originally marked out; but, however it may have
been, it seems ever since that time to have exercised an irresistible
attraction. On our first attempt to go south, in September, 1911,
we came right into the middle of it, in spite of the fact that it
was then perfectly clear. I afterwards heard that in spite of all
their efforts, the southern party, on their last trip, landed in this
dangerous region, and that one man had a very narrow escape of falling
in with sledge and dogs. I had no wish to expose myself to the risk of
such accidents -- at any rate, while we were on familiar ground. That
would have been a bad beginning to my first independent piece of work
as a Polar explorer. A day or two of fine weather to begin with would
enable us to follow the line originally marked out, and thus keep
safe ground under our feet until the ugly place was passed.

In the opening days of November the weather conditions began to
improve somewhat; in any case, there was not the continual driving
snow. Lindström asked us before we left to bring up a sufficient
quantity of seals, to save him that work as long as possible. The
supply we had had during the winter was almost exhausted; there was
only a certain amount of blubber left. We thought it only fair to
accede to his wish, as it is an awkward business to transport those
heavy beasts alone, especially when one has only a pack of unbroken
puppies to drive. We afterwards heard that Lindström had some amusing
experiences with them during the time he was left alone.

Leaving the transport out of the question, this seal-hunting is a
very tame sport. An old Arctic hand or an Eskimo would certainly be
astounded to see the placid calm with which the Antarctic seal allows
itself to be shot and cut up. To them Antarctica would landed in this
dangerous region, and that one man had a very narrow escape of falling
in with sledge and dogs. I had no wish to expose myself to the risk of
such accidents -- at any rate, while we were on familiar ground. That
would have been a bad beginning to my first independent piece of work
as a Polar explorer. A day or two of fine weather to begin with would
enable us to follow the line originally marked out, and thus keep
safe ground under our feet until the ugly place was passed.

In the opening days of November the weather conditions began to
improve somewhat; in any case, there was not the continual driving
snow. Lindström asked us before we left to bring up a sufficient
quantity of seals, to save him that work as long as possible. The
supply we had had during the winter was almost exhausted; there was
only a certain amount of blubber left. We thought it only fair to
accede to his wish, as it is an awkward business to transport those
heavy beasts alone, especially when one has only a pack of unbroken
puppies to drive. We afterwards heard that Lindström had some amusing
experiences with them during the time he was left alone.

Leaving the transport out of the question, this seal-hunting is a
very tame sport. An old Arctic hand or an Eskimo would certainly
be astounded to see the placid calm with which the Antarctic seal
allows itself to be shot and cut up. To them Antarctica would but
it seldom removes itself many yards at a time, for the motions of
the seal are just as clumsy and slow on land as they are active and
swift in the water. When it has crawled with great pains to a little
distance, there is no sign that the interruption has made any lasting
impression on it. It looks more as if it took it all as an unpleasant
dream or nightmare, which it would be best to sleep off as soon as
possible. If one shoots a single seal, this may happen without those
lying round so much as raising their heads. Indeed, we could open
and cut up a seal right before the noses of its companions without
this making the slightest impression on them.

About the beginning of November the seals began to have their young. So
far as we could make out, the females kept out of the water for
several days without taking any food, until the young one was big
enough to be able to go to sea; otherwise, it did not seem that the
mothers cared very much for their little ones. Some, it is true, made
a sort of attempt to protect their offspring if they were disturbed,
but the majority simply left their young ones in the lurch.

As far as we were concerned, we left the females and their young
as much as possible in peace. We killed two or three new-born seals
to get the skins for our collection. It was another matter with the
dogs. With them seal-hunting was far too favourite a sport for the
opportunity to be neglected. Against a full-grown seal, however,
they could do nothing; its body offered no particularly vulnerable
spots, and the thick, tight-fitting skin was too much even for dogs'
teeth. The utmost the rascals could accomplish was to annoy and
torment the object of their attack. It was quite another matter when
the young ones began to arrive. Among this small game the enterprising
hunters could easily satisfy their inborn craving for murder, for the
scoundrels only killed for the sake of killing; they were not at all
hungry, as they had as much food as they liked. Of course, we did all
we could to put a stop to this state of things, and so long as there
were several of us at the hut, we saw that the whole pack was tied up;
but when Lindström was left by himself, he could not manage to hold
them fast. His tents were altogether snowed under in the weather that
prevailed on the seaboard in December. There were not many dogs left
in his charge, but I am afraid those few wrought great havoc among the
young seals out on the ice of the bay. The poor mothers could hardly
have done anything against a lot of dogs, even if they had been more
courageous. Their enemies were too active. For them it was the work
of a moment to snatch the young one from the side of its mother,
and then they were able to take the poor thing's life undisturbed.

Unfortunately, there were no sea-leopards in the neighbourhood of
Framheim. These, which are far quicker in their movements than the
Weddell seal, and are, moreover, furnished with a formidable set of
teeth, would certainly have made the four-footed seal-hunters more
careful in their behaviour.

After we had brought up to the house enough seals' carcasses to keep
the ten or twelve dogs that would be left supplied for a good while,
and had cut up a sufficient quantity for our own use on the way to 80°
S., we took the first opportunity of getting away. Before I pass on
to give an account of our trip, I wish to say a few words about my
companions -- Johansen and Stubberud. It goes without saying that it
gave me, as a beginner, a great feeling of security to have with me
such a man as Johansen, who possessed many years' experience of all
that pertains to sledging expeditions; and as regards Stubberud, I
could not have wished for a better travelling companion than him either
-- a first-rate fellow, steady and efficient in word and deed. As it
turned out, we were not to encounter very many difficulties, but one
never escapes scot-free on a sledge journey in these regions. I owe
my comrades thanks for the way in which they both did their best to
smooth our path.

Johansen and Stubberud drove their dog-teams; I myself acted as
"forerunner." The drivers had seven dogs apiece. We took so many,
because we were not quite sure of what the animals we had were fit
for. As was right and proper, the southern party had picked out
the best. Among those at our disposal there were several that had
previously shown signs of being rather quickly tired. True, this
happened under very severe conditions. As it turned out, our dogs
exceeded all our expectations in the easier conditions of work that
prevailed during the summer. On the first part of the way -- as far as
the depot in 80° S. -- the loads were quite modest. Besides the tent,
the sleeping-bags, our personal outfit, and instruments, we only had
provisions for eight days-seals' flesh for the dogs, and tinned food
for ourselves. Our real supplies were to be taken from the depot,
where there was enough of everything.

On November 8 we left Framheim, where in future Lindström was to
reside as monarch of all he surveyed. The weather was as fine as
could be wished. I was out with the cinematograph apparatus, in
order if possible to immortalize the start. To complete the series
of pictures, Lindström was to take the forerunner, who was now, be it
said, a good way behind those he was supposed to be leading. With all
possible emphasis I enjoined Lindström only to give the crank five
or six turns, and then started off to catch up the drivers. When
I had nearly reached the provision store I pulled up, struck by a
sudden apprehension. Yes, I was right on looking back I discovered
that incorrigible person still hard at work with the crank, as though
he were going to be paid a pound for every yard of film showing the
back view of the forerunner. By making threatening gestures with a
ski-pole I stopped the too persistent cinematograph, and then went
on to join Stubberud, who was only a few yards ahead. Johansen had
disappeared like a meteor. The last I saw of him was the soles of his
boots, as he quite unexpectedly made an elegant backward somersault
off the sledge when it was passing over a little unevenness by the
provision store. The dogs, of course, made off at full speed, and
Johansen after them like the wind. We all met again safe and sound at
the ascent to the Barrier. Here a proper order of march was formed,
and we proceeded southward.

The Barrier greeted us with a fresh south wind, that now and then made
an attempt to freeze the tip of one's nose; it did not succeed in this,
but it delayed us a little. It does not take a great deal of wind
on this level plain to diminish the rate of one's progress. But the
sun shone too gaily that day to allow a trifle of wind to interfere
very much with our enjoyment of life. The surface was so firm that
there was hardly a sign of drift-snow. As it was perfectly clear, the
mark-flags could be followed the whole time, thus assuring us that,
at any rate, the first day's march would be accomplished without any
deviation from the right track.

At five o'clock we camped, and when we had fed the dogs and come into
the tent we could feel how much easier and pleasanter everything was
at this season than on the former journeys in autumn and spring. We
could move freely in a convenient costume; if we wished, there was
nothing to prevent our performing all the work of the camp with
bare hands and still preserving our finger-tips unharmed. As I had
no dog-team to look after, I undertook the duty of attending to our
own needs; that is to say, I acted as cook. This occupation also was
considerably easier now than it had been when the temperature was
below -60° F. At that time it took half an hour to turn the snow in
the cooker into water; now it was done in ten minutes, and the cook
ran no risk whatever of getting his fingers frozen in the process.

Ever since we landed on the Barrier in January, 1911, we had been
expecting to hear a violent cannonade as the result of the movement of
the mass of ice. We had now lived a whole winter at Framheim without
having observed, as far as I know, the slightest sign of a sound. This
was one of many indications that the ice round our winter-quarters
was not in motion at all.

No one, I believe, had noticed anything of the expected noise on the
sledge journeys either, but at the place where we camped on the night
of November 8 we did hear it. There was a report about once in two
minutes, not exactly loud, but still, there it was. It sounded just
as if there was a whole battery of small guns in action down in the
depths below us. A few hundred yards to the west of the camp there
were a number of small hummocks, which might indicate the presence
of crevasses, but otherwise the surface looked safe enough. The small
guns kept up a lively crackle all through the night, and combined with
a good deal of uproar among the dogs to shorten our sleep. But the
first night of a sledge journey is almost always a bad one. Stubberud
declared that he could not close his eyes on account of "that filthy
row." He probably expected the ice to open and swallow him up every
time he heard it. The surface, however, held securely, and we turned
out to the finest day one could wish to see. It did not require any
very great strength of mind to get out of one's sleeping-bag now. The
stockings that had been hung up in the evening could be put on again
as dry as a bone; the sun had seen to that. Our ski boots were as soft
as ever; there was not a sign of frost on them. It is quite curious to
see the behaviour of the dogs when the first head appears through the
tent-door in the morning. They greet their lord and master with the
most unmistakable signs of joy, although, of course, they must know
that his arrival will be followed by many hours of toil, with, perhaps,
a few doses of the whip thrown in; but from the moment he begins to
handle the sledge, the dogs look as if they had no desire in the world
but to get into the harness as soon as possible and start away. On days
like this their troubles would be few; with the light load and good
going we had no difficulty in covering nineteen geographical miles
in eight hours. Johansen's team was on my heels the whole time, and
Stubberud's animals followed faithfully behind. From time to time we
saw sledge-tracks quite plainly; we also kept the mark-flags in sight
all day. In the temperatures we now had to deal with our costume was
comparatively light -- certainly much lighter than most people imagine;
for there is a kind of summer even in Antarctica, although the daily
readings of the thermometer at this season would perhaps rather remind
our friends at home of what they are accustomed to regard as winter.

In undertaking a sledge journey down there in autumn or spring,
the most extraordinary precautions have to be taken to protect
oneself against the cold. Skin clothing is then the only thing
that is of any use; but at this time of year, when the sun is above
the horizon for the whole twenty-four hours, one can go for a long
time without being more heavily clad than a lumberman working in
the woods. During the march our clothing was usually the following:
two sets of woollen underclothes, of which that nearest the skin was
quite thin. Outside the shirt we wore either an ordinary waistcoat
or a comparatively light knitted woollen jersey. Outside all came our
excellent Burberry clothes -- trousers and jacket. When it was calm,
with full sunshine, the Burberry jacket was too warm; we could then
go all day in our shirt-sleeves. To be provided for emergencies,
we all had our thinnest reindeer-skin clothes with us; but, so far
as I know, these were never used, except as pillows or mattresses.

The subject of sleeping-bags has no doubt been thoroughly threshed
out on every Polar expedition. I do not know how many times we
discussed this question, nor can I remember the number of more or
less successful patents that were the fruit of these discussions. In
any case, one thing is certain, that the adherents of one-man bags
were in an overwhelming majority, and no doubt rightly. As regards
two-man bags, it cannot be denied that they enable their occupants
to keep warm longer; but it is always difficult to find room for two
big men in one sack, and if the sack is to be used for sleeping in,
and one of the big men takes to snoring into the other's ear, the
situation may become quite unendurable. In the temperatures we had
on the summer journeys there was no difficulty in keeping warm enough
with the one-man bags, and they were used by all of us.

On the first southern journey, in September, Johansen and I used a
double bag between us; in the intense cold that prevailed at that
time we managed to get through the night without freezing; but if the
weather is so cold that one cannot keep warmth in one's body in good,
roomy one-man bags, then it is altogether unfit for sledging journeys.

November 10. -- Immediately after the start this morning we tried how
we could get on without a forerunner. As long as we were in the line
of flags this answered very well; the dogs galloped from one flag to
another, while I was able to adopt the easy method of hanging on to
Stubberud's sledge. About midday we were abreast of the depression
already mentioned, where, on the third depot journey last autumn, we
ran into a regular net of crevasses. This time we were aware of the
danger, and kept to the left; but at the last moment the leading team
ran out to the wrong side, and we cut across the eastern part of the
dangerous zone. Fortunately it was taken at full gallop. It is quite
possible that I inwardly wished we were all a few pounds lighter,
as our little caravan raced across those thin snow bridges, through
which could be seen the blue colour of the ugly gulfs below. But after
the lapse of a few long minutes we could congratulate ourselves on
getting over with our full numbers.

Not for anything would I have gone that mile without ski on my feet; it
would practically have meant falling in and going out. It is, perhaps,
saying a good deal to claim that with ski on, one is absolutely secured
against the danger these crevasses present; if misfortunes are abroad,
anything may happen. But it would require a very considerable amount
of bad luck for man and ski to fall through.

November 11. -- In weather like this, going on the march is like
going to a dance: tent, sleeping-bags, and clothes keep soft and dry
as a bone. The thermometer is about -4° F. A fellow-man suddenly put
down in our midst from civilized surroundings would possibly shake
his head at so many degrees of frost, but it must be remembered that
we have long ago abandoned the ordinary ideas of civilized people as
to what is endurable in the way of temperature. We are enthusiastic
about the spring-like weather, especially when we remember what it
was like down here two months ago, when the thermometer showed -76°
F., and the rime hung an inch thick inside the tent, ready to drop
on everything and everybody at the slightest movement. Now there is
no rime to be seen; the sun clears it away. For now there is a sun;
not the feeble imitation of one that stuck its red face above the
northern horizon in August, but our good old acquaintance of lower
latitudes, with his wealth of light and warmth.

After two hours' march we came in sight, at ten o'clock in the
morning, of the two snow-huts that were built on the last trip. We
made straight for them, thinking we might possibly find some trace
of the southern party. So we did, though in a very different way
from what we expected. We were, perhaps, about a mile off when we
all three suddenly halted and stared at the huts. "There are men,"
said Stubberud. At any rate there was something black that moved,
and after confused thoughts of Japanese, Englishmen, and the like had
flashed through our minds, we at last got out the glasses. It was not
men, but a dog. Well, the presence of a live dog here, seventy-five
miles up the Barrier, was in itself a remarkable thing. It must, of
course, be one of the southern party's dogs, but how the runaway had
kept himself alive all that time was for the present a mystery. On
coming to closer quarters we soon found that it was one of Hassel's
dogs, Peary by name. He was a little shy to begin with, but when he
heard his name he quickly understood that we were friends come on a
visit, and no longer hesitated to approach us. He was fat and round,
and evidently pleased to see us again. The hermit had lived on the
lamentable remains of poor Sara, whom we had been obliged to kill here
in September. Sara's lean and frozen body did not seem particularly
adapted for making anyone fat, and yet our newly-found friend Peary
looked as if he had been feasting for weeks. Possibly he had begun
by devouring Neptune, another of his companions, who had also given
the southern party the slip on the way to the depot in 80° S. However
this may be, Peary's rest cure came to an abrupt conclusion. Stubberud
took him and put him in his team.

We had thought of reaching the depot before the close of the day,
and this we could easily have done if the good going had continued;
but during the afternoon the surface became so loose that the dogs
sank in up to their chests, and when -- at about six in the evening --
the sledge-meter showed twenty-one geographical miles, the animals
were so done up that it was no use going on.

At eleven o'clock the next morning -- Sunday, November 12 -- we
reached the depot. Captain Amundsen had promised to leave a brief
report when the southern party left here, and the first thing we did
on arrival was, of course, to search for the document in the place
agreed upon. There were not many words on the little slip of paper,
but they gave us the welcome intelligence: "All well so far."

We had expected that the southern party's dogs would have finished
the greater part, if not the whole, of the seal meat that was laid
down here in April; but fortunately this was not the case. There was
a great quantity left, so that we could give our own dogs a hearty
feed with easy consciences. They had it, too, and it was no trifling
amount that they got through. The four days' trot from Framheim had
been enough to produce an unusual appetite. There was a puppy in
Johansen's team that was exposed for the first time in his life to
the fatigues of a sledge journey. This was a plucky little chap that
went by the name of Lillegut. The sudden change from short commons
to abundance was too much for his small stomach, and the poor puppy
lay shrieking in the snow most of the afternoon.

We also looked after ourselves that day, and had a good meal of fresh
seal meat; after that we supplied ourselves from the large stores that
lay here with the necessary provisions for a sledge journey of five
weeks: three cases of dogs' pemmican, one case of men's pemmican,
containing ninety rations, 20 pounds of dried milk, 55 pounds of
oatmeal biscuits, and three tins of malted milk, besides instruments,
Alpine rope, and clothing. The necessary quantity of chocolate had
been brought with us from Framheim, as there was none of this to
spare out in the field. Our stock of paraffin was 6 1/2 gallons,
divided between two tanks, one on each sledge. Our cooking outfit
was exactly the same as that used by the southern party.

The instruments we carried were a theodolite, a hypsometer, two
aneroids, one of which was no larger than an ordinary watch, two
thermometers, one chronometer watch, one ordinary watch, and one
photographic camera (Kodak 3 x 3 inches), adapted for using either
plates or films. We had three spools of film, and one dozen plates.

Our medical outfit was exceedingly simple. It consisted of nothing
but a box of laxative pills, three small rolls of gauze bandage, and
a small pair of scissors, which also did duty for beard-cutting. Both
pills and gauze were untouched when we returned; it may therefore be
safely said that our state of health during the journey was excellent.

While the drivers were packing and lashing their loads, which now
weighed nearly 600 pounds, I wrote a report to the Chief, and took an
azimuth observation to determine the direction of our course. According
to our instructions we should really have taken a north-easterly
course from here; but as our dogs seemed to be capable of more and
better work than we had expected, and as there was believed to be a
possibility that bare land was to be found due east of the spot where
we were, it was decided to make an attempt in that direction.

Our old enemy the fog had made its appearance in the course of the
night, and now hung, grey and disgusting, under the sky, when we
broke camp at the depot on the morning of November 13. However, it
was not so bad as to prevent our following the flags that marked the
depot on the east.

My duty as forerunner was immediately found to be considerably lighter
than before. With the greatly increased weight behind them the dogs had
all they could do to follow, if I went at an ordinary walking pace. At
11 a.m. we passed the easternmost flag, at five geographical miles from
the depot, and then we found ourselves on untrodden ground. A light
southerly breeze appeared very opportunely and swept away the fog;
the sun again shed its light over the Barrier, which lay before us,
shining and level, as we had been accustomed to see it. There was,
however, one difference: with every mile we covered there was the
possibility of seeing something new. The going was excellent, although
the surface was rather looser than one could have wished. The ski flew
over it finely, of course, while dogs' feet and sledge-runners sank
in. I hope I shall never have to go here without ski; that would be
a terrible punishment; but with ski on one's feet and in such weather
it was pure enjoyment.

Meanwhile the new sights we expected were slow in coming. We marched
for four days due east without seeing a sign of change in the ground;
there was the same undulating surface that we knew so well from
previous expeditions. The readings of the hypsometer gave practically
the same result day after day; the ascent we were looking for failed
to appear.

Stubberud, who for the first day or two after leaving the depot had
been constantly stretching himself on tiptoe and looking out for
mountain-tops, finally gave it as his heartfelt conviction that this
King Edward Land we were hunting for was only a confounded "Flyaway
Land," which had nothing to do with reality. We others were not yet
quite prepared to share this view; for my own part, in any case, I was
loth to give up the theory that assumed a southward continuation of
King Edward Land along the 158th meridian; this theory had acquired
a certain force during the winter, and was mainly supported by the
fact that on the second depot journey we had seen, between the 81st
and 82nd parallels, some big pressure-ridges, which suggested the
presence of bare land in a south-easterly direction.

On November 16 we found ourselves at the 158th meridian, but on
every side the eye encountered the level, uninterrupted snow surface
and nothing else. Should we go on? It was tempting enough, as the
probability was that sooner or later we should come upon something;
but there was a point in our instructions that had to be followed, and
it said: Go to the point where land is marked on the chart. This point
was now about 120 geographical miles to the north of us. Therefore,
instead of going on to the east in uncertainty, we decided to turn to
the left and go north. The position of the spot where we altered our
course was determined, and it was marked by a snow beacon 7 feet high,
on the top of which was placed a tin box containing a brief report.

On that part of the way which we now had before us there was little
prospect of meeting with surprises; nor did any fall to our lot. In
day's marches that varied from seventeen to twenty geographical miles,
we went forward over practically level ground. The nature of the
surface was at first ideal; but as we came farther north and thus
nearer to the sea, our progress was impeded by a great number of big
snow-waves (sastrugi), which had probably been formed during the long
period of bad weather that preceded our departure from Framheim. We
did not escape damage on this bad surface. Stubberud broke the forward
part of the spare ski he had lashed under his sledge, and Johansen's
sledge also suffered from the continual bumping against the hard
sastrugi. Luckily he had been foreseeing enough to bring a little
hickory bar, which came in very handy as a splint for the broken part.

As we were now following the direction of the meridian, or in other
words, as our course was now true north, the daily observations of
latitude gave a direct check on the readings of the sledge-meter. As
a rule they agreed to the nearest minute. Whilst I was taking
the noon altitude my companions had the choice of standing by the
side of their sledges and eating their lunch, or setting the tent
and taking shelter. They generally chose the latter alternative,
making up for it by going an hour longer in the afternoon. Besides
the astronomical observations, the barometric pressure, temperature,
force and direction of the wind, and amount of cloud were noted three
times daily; every evening a hypsometer reading was taken.

If I were to undertake the description of a long series of days like
those that passed while we were travelling on the flat Barrier,
I am afraid the narrative would be strikingly reminiscent of the
celebrated song of a hundred and twenty verses, all with the same
rhyme. One day was very much like another. One would think that
this monotony would make the time long, but the direct opposite was
the case. I have never known time fly so rapidly as on these sledge
journeys, and seldom have I seen men more happy and contented with
their existence than we three, when after a successful day's march
we could set about taking our simple meal, with a pipe of cut plug to
follow. The bill of fare was identically the same every day, perhaps
a fault in the eyes of many; variety of diet is supposed to be the
thing. Hang variety, say I; appetite is what matters. To a man who
is really hungry it is a very subordinate matter what he shall eat;
the main thing is to have something to satisfy his hunger.

After going north for seven days, we found that according to
observations and sledge-meter we ought to be in the neighbourhood of
the sea. This was correct. My diary for November 23 reads:

"To-day we were to see something besides sky and snow. An hour after
breaking camp this morning two snowy petrels came sailing over us;
a little while later a couple of skua gulls. We welcomed them as the
first living creatures we had seen since leaving winter-quarters. The
constantly increasing 'water-sky' to the north had long ago warned
us that we were approaching the sea; the presence of the birds told
us it was not far off. The skua gulls settled very near us, and the
dogs, no doubt taking them for baby seals, were of course ready to
break the line of march, and go off hunting, but their keenness soon
passed when they discovered that the game had wings.

"The edge of the Barrier was difficult to see, and, profiting by
previous experience of how easy it is to go down when the light is bad,
we felt our way forward step by step. At four o'clock we thought we
could see the precipice. A halt was made at a safe distance, and I
went in advance to look over. To my surprise I found that there was
open water right in to the wall of ice. We had expected the sea-ice
to extend a good way out still, seeing it was so early in summer; but
there lay the sea, almost free of ice as far as the horizon. Black
and threatening it was to look at, but still a beneficent contrast
to the everlasting snow surface on which we had now tramped for 300
geographical miles.

The perpendicular drop of 100 feet that forms the boundary between
the dead Barrier and the sea, with its varied swarm of life, is
truly an abrupt and imposing transition. The panorama from the top
of the ice-wall is always grand, and it can be beautiful as well. On
a sunny day, or still more on a moonlit night, it has a fairylike
beauty. To-day a heavy, black sky hung above a still blacker sea, and
the ice-wall, which shines in the light with a dazzling white purity,
looked more like an old white-washed wall than anything else. There
was not a breath of wind; the sound of the surf at the bottom of the
precipice now and then reached my ears -- this was the only thing
that broke the vast silence. One's own dear self becomes so miserably
small in these mighty surroundings; it was a sheer relief to get back
to the company of my comrades."

As things now were, with open water up to the Barrier itself, our
prospect of getting seals here at the edge of the ice seemed a poor
one. Next morning, however, we found, a few miles farther east, a
bay about four miles long, and almost entirely enclosed. It was still
frozen over, and seals were lying on the ice by the dozen. Here was
food enough to give both ourselves and the dogs an extra feed and to
replenish our supplies. We camped and went off to examine the ground
more closely. There were plenty of crevasses, but a practicable descent
was found, and in a very short time three full-grown seals and a fat
young one were despatched. We hauled half a carcass up to the camp
with the Alpine rope. As we were hard at work dragging our spoil up
the steep slope, we heard Stubberud sing out, "Below, there!" --
and away he went like a stone in a well. He had gone through the
snow-bridge on which we were standing, but a lucky projection stopped
our friend from going very far down, besides which he had taken a
firm round turn with the rope round his wrist. It was, therefore,
a comparatively easy matter to get him up on the surface again. This
little intermezzo would probably have been avoided if we had not been
without our ski, but the slope was so steep and smooth that we could
not use them. After a few more hauls we had the seal up by the tent,
where a large quantity of it disappeared in a surprisingly short time
down the throats of fifteen hungry dogs.

The ice of the bay was furrowed by numerous leads, and while the
hunters were busy cutting up the seals, I tried to get a sounding,
but the thirty fathoms of Alpine rope I had were not enough; no
bottom was reached. After having something to eat we went down again,
in order if possible to find out the depth. This time we were better
supplied with sounding tackle two reels of thread, a marlinspike,
and our geological hammer.

First the marlinspike was sent down with the thread as a line. An
inquisitive lout of a seal did all it could to bite through the thread,
but whether this was too strong or its teeth too poor, we managed
after a lot of trouble to coax the marlinspike up again, and the
interfering rascal, who had to come up to the surface now and then
to take breath, got the spike of a ski-pole in his thick hide. This
unexpected treatment was evidently not at all to his liking, and
after acknowledging it by a roar of disgust, he vanished into the
depths. Now we got on better. The marlinspike sank and sank until
it had drawn with it 130 fathoms of thread. A very small piece of
seaweed clung to the thread as we hauled it in again; on the spike
there was nothing to be seen. As its weight was rather light for so
great a depth -- a possible setting of current might have carried it
a little to one side -- we decided to try once more with the hammer,
which was considerably heavier, in order to check the result. The
hammer, on the other hand, was so heavy, that with the delicate thread
as a line the probability of successfully carrying out the experiment
seemed small, but we had to risk it. The improvised sinker was well
smeared with blubber, and this time it sank so rapidly to the bottom
as to leave no doubt of the correctness of the sounding -- 130 fathoms
again. By using extreme care we succeeded in getting the hammer up
again in safety, but no specimen of the bottom was clinging to it.

On the way back to camp we dragged with us the carcass of the young
seal. It was past three when we got into our sleeping-bags that night,
and, in consequence, we slept a good deal later than usual the next
morning. The forenoon was spent by Johansen and Stubberud in hauling
up another seal from the bay and packing as much flesh on the sledges
as possible. As fresh meat is a commodity that takes up a great deal
of space in proportion to its weight, the quantity we were able to
take with us was not large. The chief advantage we had gained was
that a considerable supply could be stored on the spot, and it might
be useful to fall back upon in case of delay or other mishaps.

I took the observation for longitude and latitude, found the height by
hypsometer, and took some photographs. After laying down the depot and
erecting beacons, we broke camp at 3 p.m. South of the head of the bay
there were a number of elevations and pressure masses, exactly like the
formations to be found about Framheim. To the east a prominent ridge
appeared, and with the glass it could be seen to extend inland in a
south-easterly direction. According to our observations this must be
the same that Captain Scott has marked with land-shading on his chart.

We made a wide detour outside the worst pressure-ridges, and then set
our course east-north-east towards the ridge just mentioned. It was a
pretty steep rise, which was not at all a good thing for the dogs. They
had overeaten themselves shockingly, and most of the seal's flesh
came up again. So that their feast should not be altogether wasted,
we stopped as soon as we had come far enough up the ridge to be able
to regard the surface as comparatively safe; for in the depression
round the bay it was somewhat doubtful.

On the following morning -- Sunday, November 26 -- there was a gale
from the north-east with sky and Barrier lost in driving snow. That
put an end to our plans of a long Sunday march. In the midst of
our disappointment I had a sudden bright idea. It was Queen Maud's
birthday! If we could not go on, we could at least celebrate the day
in a modest fashion. In one of the provision cases there was still a
solitary Stavanger tin, containing salt beef and peas. It was opened
at once, and its contents provided a banquet that tasted better to us
than the most carefully chosen menu had ever done. In this connection
I cannot help thinking of the joy it would bring to many a household
in this world if its master were possessed of an appetite like
ours. The wife would then have no need to dread the consequences,
however serious the shortcomings of the cuisine might be. But to
return to the feast. Her Majesty's health was drunk in a very small,
but, at the same time, very good tot of aquavit, served in enamelled
iron mugs. Carrying alcohol was, of course, against regulations,
strictly speaking; but, as everyone knows, prohibition is not an
easy thing to put into practice. Even in Antarctica this proved to be
the case. Lindström had a habit of sending a little surprise packet
with each sledging party that went out, and on our departure he had
handed us one of these, with the injunction that the packet was only
to be opened on some festive occasion; we chose as such Her Majesty's
birthday. On examination the packet was found to contain a little flask
of spirits, in which we at once agreed to drink the Queen's health.

The 27th brought the same nasty weather, and the 28th was not much
better, though not bad enough to stop us. After a deal of hard work
in hauling our buried belongings out of the snow, we got away and
continued our course to the north-eastward. It was not exactly an
agreeable morning: a brisk wind with driving snow right in one's
face. After trudging against this for a couple of hours I heard
Stubberud call "Halt!" -- half his team were hanging by the traces in a
crevasse. I had gone across without noticing anything; no doubt owing
to the snow in my face. One would think the dogs would be suspicious
of a place like this; but they are not -- they plunge on till the
snow-bridge breaks under them. Luckily the harness held, so that it
was the affair of a moment to pull the poor beasts up again. Even a
dog might well be expected to be a trifle shaken after hanging head
downwards over such a fearful chasm; but apparently they took it very
calmly, and were quite prepared to do the same thing over again.

For my own part I looked out more carefully after this, and although
there were a good many ugly fissures on the remaining part of the
ascent, we crossed them all without further incident.

Unpleasant as these crevasses are, they do not involve any direct
danger, so long as the weather is clear and the light favourable. One
can then judge by the appearance of the surface whether there is danger
ahead; and if crevasses are seen in time, there is always a suitable
crossing to be found. The case is somewhat different in fog, drift,
or when the light is such that the small inequalities marking the
course of the crevasse do not show up. This last is often the case in
cloudy weather, when even a fairly prominent rise will not be noticed
on the absolutely white surface until one falls over it. In such
conditions it is safest to feel one's way forward with the ski-pole;
though this mode of proceeding is more troublesome than effective.

In the course of the 28th the ascent came to an end, and with it
the crevasses. The wind fell quite light, and the blinding drift was
succeeded by clear sunshine. We had now come sufficiently high up to
have a view of the sea far to the north-west. During the high wind
a quantity of ice had been driven southward, so that for a great
distance there was no open water to be seen, but a number of huge
icebergs. From the distance of the sea horizon we guessed our height
to be about 1,000 feet, and in the evening the hypsometer showed the
guess to be very nearly right.

November 29. -- Weather and going all that could be wished on breaking
camp this morning; before us we had a level plateau, which appeared
to be quite free from unpleasant obstructions. When we halted for the
noon observation the sledge-meter showed ten geographical miles, and
before evening we had brought the day's distance up to twenty. The
latitude was then 77° 32'. The distance to the Barrier edge on the
north was, at a guess, about twenty geographical miles. We were now
a good way along the peninsula, the northern point of which Captain
Scott named Cape Colbeck, and at the same time a good way to the
east of the meridian in which he put land-shading on his chart. Our
height above the sea, which was now about 1,000 feet, was evidence
enough that we had firm land under us, but it was still sheathed in
ice. In that respect the landscape offered no change from what we had
learnt to know by the name of "Barrier." It cannot be denied that at
this juncture I began to entertain a certain doubt of the existence
of bare land in this quarter.

This doubt was not diminished when we had done another good day's
march to the eastward on November 30. According to our observations we
were then just below the point where the Alexandra Mountains should
begin, but there was no sign of mountain ranges; the surface was a
little rougher, perhaps. However, it was still too soon to abandon
the hope. It would be unreasonable to expect any great degree of
accuracy of the chart we had to go by; its scale was far too large for
that. It was, moreover, more than probable that our own determination
of longitude was open to doubt.

Assuming the approximate accuracy of the chart, by holding on to
the north-east we ought soon to come down to the seaboard, and with
this object in view we continued our march. On December 1, in the
middle of the day, we saw that everything agreed. From the top of an
eminence the sea was visible due north, and on the east two domed
summits were outlined, apparently high enough to be worthy of the
name of mountains. They were covered with snow, but on the north
side of them there was an abrupt precipice, in which many black
patches showed up sharply against the white background. It was still
too soon to form an idea as to whether they were bare rock or not;
they might possibly be fissures in the mass of ice. The appearance
of the summits agreed exactly with Captain Scott's description of
what he saw from the deck of the Discovery in 1902. He assumed that
the black patches were rocks emerging from the snow-slopes. As will
be seen later, our respected precursor was right.

In order to examine the nature of the seaboard, we began by steering
down towards it; but in the meantime the weather underwent an
unfavourable change. The sky clouded over and the light became
as vile as it could be. The point we were anxious to clear up was
whether there was any Barrier wall here, or whether the land and
sea-ice gradually passed into each other in an easy slope. As the
light was, there might well have been a drop of 100 feet without our
seeing anything of it. Securely roped together we made our way down,
until our progress was stopped by a huge pressure-ridge, which,
as far as could be made out, formed the boundary between land and
sea-ice. It was, however, impossible in the circumstances to get
any clear view of the surroundings, and after trudging back to the
sledges, which had been left up on the slope, we turned to the east
to make a closer examination of the summits already mentioned. I went
in front, as usual, in the cheerful belief that we had a fairly level
stretch before us, but I was far out in my calculation. My ski began
to slip along at a terrific speed, and it was advisable to put on the
brake. This was easily done as far as I was concerned, but with the
dogs it was a different matter. Nothing could stop them when they
felt that the sledge was running by its own weight; they went in a
wild gallop down the slope, the end of which could not at present be
seen. I suppose it will sound like a tall story, but it is a fact,
nevertheless, that to our eyes the surface appeared to be horizontal
all the time. Snow, horizon and sky all ran together in a white chaos,
in which all lines of demarcation were obliterated.

Fortunately nothing came of our expectation that the scamper would
have a frightful ending in some insidious abyss. It was stopped quite
naturally by an opposing slope, which appeared to be as steep as the
one we had just slid down. If the pace had been rather too rapid
before, there was now no ground of complaint on that score. Step
by step we crawled up to the top of the ridge; but the ground was
carefully surveyed before we proceeded farther.

In the course of the afternoon we groped our way forward over a
whole series of ridges and intervening depressions. Although nothing
could be seen, it was obvious enough that our surroundings were now
of an entirely different character from anything we had previously
been accustomed to. The two mountain summits had disappeared in the
fleecy mist, but the increasing unevenness of the ground showed that
we were approaching them. Meanwhile I considered it inadvisable to
come to close quarters with them so long as we were unable to use
our eyes, and, remembering what happens when the blind leads the
blind, we camped. For the first time during the trip I had a touch of
snow-blindness that afternoon. This troublesome and rightly dreaded
complaint was a thing that we had hitherto succeeded in keeping off
by a judicious use of our excellent snow-goggles. Among my duties
as forerunner was that of maintaining the direction, and this, at
times, involved a very severe strain on the eyes. In thick weather
it is only too easy to yield to the temptation of throwing off the
protective goggles, with the idea that one can see better without
them. Although I knew perfectly well what the consequence would be,
I had that afternoon broken the commandment of prudence. The trifling
smart I felt in my eyes was cured by keeping the goggles on for
a couple of hours after we were in the tent. Like all other ills,
snow-blindness may easily be dispelled by taking it in time.

Next morning the sun's disc could just be made out through a veil
of thin stratus clouds, and then the light was more or less normal
again. As soon as we could see what our surroundings were, it was clear
enough that we had done right in stopping the game of blind man's buff
we had been playing on the previous day. It might otherwise have had
an unpleasant ending. Right across our line of route and about 500
yards from our camp the surface was so broken up that it was more
like a sieve than anything else. In the background the masses of
snow were piled in huge drifts down a steep slope on the north-west
side of the two mountains. It was impossible to take the sledges any
farther on the way we had hitherto been following, but in the course
of the day we worked round by a long detour to the foot of the most
westerly of the mountains. We were then about 1,000 feet above the
sea; to the north of us we had the abrupt descent already mentioned,
to the south it was quite flat. Our view to the east was shut in by
the two mountains, and our first idea was to ascend to the tops of
them, but the powers of the weather again opposed us with their full
force. A stiff south-east wind set in and increased in the course of
half an hour to a regular blizzard. Little as it suited our wishes,
there was nothing to be done but to creep back into the tent. For
a whole month now we had seen scarcely anything but fair weather,
and the advance of summer had given us hopes that it would hold;
but just when it suited us least of all came a dismal change.

The light Antarctic summer night ran its course, while the gusts
of wind tugged and tore at the thin sides of our tent; no snowfall
accompanied the south-easterly wind, but the loose snow of the surface
was whirled up into a drift that stood like an impenetrable wall round
the tent. After midnight it moderated a little, and by four o'clock
there was comparatively fair weather. We were on our feet at once, put
together camera, glasses, aneroids, axe, Alpine rope, with some lumps
of pemmican to eat on the way, and then went off for a morning walk
with the nearer of the two hills as our goal. All three of us went,
leaving the dogs in charge of the camp. They were not so fresh now that
they would not gladly accept all the rest that was offered them. We
had no need to fear any invasion of strangers; the land we had come
to appeared to be absolutely devoid of living creatures of any kind.

The hill was farther off and higher than it appeared at first; the
aneroid showed a rise of 700 feet when we reached the top. As our
camp lay at a height of 1,000 feet, this gave us 1,700 feet as the
height of this hill above the sea. The side we went up was covered
by névé, which, to judge from the depth of the cracks, must have been
immense. As we approached the summit and our view over the surrounding
ground became wider, the belief that we should see so much as a crag
of this King Edward Land grew weaker and weaker. There was nothing
but white on every side, not a single consolatory little black patch,
however carefully we looked. And to think that we had been dreaming
of great mountain masses in the style of McMurdo Sound, with sunny
slopes, penguins by the thousand, seals and all the rest! All these
visions were slowly but surely sunk in an endless sea of snow, and
when at last we stood on the highest point, we certainly thought
there could be no chance of a revival of our hopes.

But the unexpected happened after all. On the precipitous northern
side of the adjacent hill our eyes fell upon bare rock -- the
first glimpse we had had of positive land during the year we had
been in Antarctica. Our next thought was of how to get to it and
take specimens, and with this object we at once began to scale the
neighbouring hill, which was a trifle higher than the one we had
first ascended. The precipice was, however, perpendicular, with a
huge snow cornice over-hanging it. Lowering a man on the rope would be
rather too hazardous a proceeding; besides which, a length of thirty
yards would not go very far. If we were to get at the rock, it would
have to be from below. In the meantime we availed ourselves of the
opportunity offered by the clear weather to make a closer examination
of our surroundings. From the isolated summit, 1,700 feet high, on
which we stood, the view was fairly extensive. Down to the sea on
the north the distance was about five geographical miles. The surface
descended in terraces towards the edge of the water, where there was
quite a low Barrier wall. As might be expected, this stretch of the
ice-field was broken by innumerable crevasses, rendering any passage
across it impossible.

On the east extended a well-marked mountain-ridge, about twenty
geographical miles in length, and somewhat lower than the summit on
which we stood. This was the Alexandra Mountains. It could not be
called an imposing range, and it was snow-clad from one end to the
other. Only on the most easterly spur was the rock just visible.

On the south and south-west nothing was to be seen but the usual
undulating Barrier surface. Biscoe Bay, as Captain Scott has named
it, was for the moment a gathering-place for numerous icebergs; one
or two of these seemed to be aground. The inmost corner of the bay
was covered with sea-ice. On its eastern side the Barrier edge could
be seen to continue northward, as marked in Captain Scott's chart;
but no indication of bare land was visible in that quarter.

Having built a snow beacon, 6 feet high, on the summit, we put on our
ski again and went down the eastern slope of the hill at a whizzing
pace. On this side there was an approach to the level on the north
of the precipice, and we availed ourselves of it. Seen from below
the mountain crest looked quite grand, with a perpendicular drop
of about 1,000 feet. The cliff was covered with ice up to a height
of about 100 feet, and this circumstance threatened to be a serious
obstacle to our obtaining specimens of the rocks. But in one place
a nunatak about 250 feet high stood out in front of the precipice,
and the ascent of this offered no great difficulty.

A wall of rock of very ordinary appearance is not usually reckoned
among things capable of attracting the attention of the human eye
to any marked extent; nevertheless, we three stood and gazed at it,
as though we had something of extraordinary beauty and interest before
us. The explanation is very simple, if we remember the old saying about
the charm of variety. A sailor, who for months has seen nothing but
sea and sky, will lose himself in contemplation of a little islet,
be it never so barren and desolate. To us, who for nearly a year
had been staring our eyes out in a dazzling white infinity of snow
and ice, it was indeed an experience to see once more a bit of the
earth's crust. That this fragment was as poor and bare as it could
be was not taken into consideration at the moment.

The mere sight of the naked rock was, however, only an anticipatory
pleasure. A more substantial one was the feeling of again being able
to move on ground that afforded a sure and trustworthy foothold. It
is possible that we behaved rather like children on first reaching
bare land. One of us, in any case, found immense enjoyment in rolling
one big block after another down the steep slopes of the nunatak. At
any rate, the sport had the interest of novelty.

This little peak was built up of very heterogenous materials. As the
practical result of our visit, we brought away a fairly abundant
collection of specimens of all the rocks to be found there. Not
being a specialist, I cannot undertake any classification of the
specimens. It will be the task of geologists to deal with them, and
to obtain if possible some information as to the structure of the
country. I will only mention that some of the stones were so heavy
that they must certainly have contained metallic ore of one kind or
another. On returning to camp that evening, we tried them with the
compass-needle, and it showed very marked attraction in the case of
one or two of the specimens. These must, therefore, contain iron-ore.

This spur, which had been severely handled by ice-pressure and the
ravages of time, offered a poor chance of finding what we coveted most
-- namely, fossils -- and the most diligent search proved unsuccessful
in this respect. From finds that have been made in other parts of
Antarctica it is known that in former geological periods -- the
Jurassic epoch -- even this desolate continent possessed a rich and
luxurious vegetation. The leader of the Swedish expedition to Graham
Land, Dr. Nordenskjöld, and his companion, Gunnar Andersson, were
the first to make this exceedingly interesting and important discovery.

While it did not fall to our lot to furnish any proof of the existence
of an earlier flora in King Edward Land, we found living plants of
the most primitive form. Even on that tiny islet in the ocean of
snow the rock was in many places covered with thick moss. How did
that moss come there? Its occurrence might, perhaps, be quoted in
support of the hypothesis of the genesis of organic life from, dead
matter. This disputed question must here be left open, but it may be
mentioned in the same connection that we found the remains of birds'
nests in many places among the rocks. Possibly the occupants of these
nests may have been instrumental in the conveyance of the moss.

Otherwise, the signs of bird life were very few. One or two solitary
snowy petrels circled round the summit while we were there; that
was all.

It was highly important to obtain some successful photographs from
this spot, and I was setting about the necessary preparations, when
one of my companions made a remark about the changed appearance of the
sky. Busy with other things, I had entirely neglected to keep an eye
on the weather, an omission for which, as will be seen, we might have
had to pay dearly. Fortunately, another had been more watchful than
I, and the warning came in time. A glance was enough to convince me
of the imminent approach of a snow-storm; the fiery red sky and the
heavy ring round the sun spoke a language that was only too clear. We
had a good hour's march to the tent, and the possibility of being
surprised by the storm before we arrived was practically equivalent
to never arriving at all.

We very soon put our things together, and came down the nunatak
even more quickly. On the steep slopes leading up to the plateau on
which the tent stood the pace was a good deal slower, though we made
every possible effort to hurry. There was no need to trouble about
the course; we had only to follow the trail of our own ski -- so
long as it was visible. But the drift was beginning to blot it out,
and if it once did that, any attempt at finding the tent would be
hopeless. For a long and anxious quarter of an hour it looked as if
we should be too late, until at last the tent came in sight, and we
were saved. We had escaped the blizzard so far; a few minutes later
it burst in all its fury, and the whirling snow was so thick that it
would have been impossible to see the tent at a distance of ten paces,
but by then we were all safe and sound inside. Ravenously hungry
after the twelve hours that had passed since our last proper meal, we
cooked an extra large portion of pemmican and the same of chocolate,
and with this sumptuous repast we celebrated the event of the day --
the discovery of land. From what we had seen in the course of the day
it might be regarded as certain that we should be disappointed in our
hopes of finding any great and interesting field for our labours in
this quarter; King Edward Land was still far too well hidden under
eternal snow and ice to give us that. But even the establishment of
this, to us, somewhat unwelcome fact marked an increase of positive
human knowledge of the territory that bears the name of King Edward
VII.; and with the geological specimens that we had collected, we were
in possession of a tangible proof of the actual existence of solid
ground in a region which otherwise bore the greatest resemblance to
what we called "Barrier" elsewhere, or in any case to the Barrier as
it appears in the neighbourhood of our winter-quarters at Framheim.

Monday, December 4. -- The gale kept on at full force all night,
and increased rather than moderated as the day advanced. As usual,
the storm was accompanied by a very marked rise of temperature. At the
noon observation to-day the reading was + 26.6° F. This is the highest
temperature we have had so far on this trip, and a good deal higher
than we care about. When the mercury comes so near freezing-point as
this, the floor of the tent is always damp.

To-day, for once in a way, we have falling snow, and enough of it. It
is snowing incessantly -- big, hard flakes, almost like hail. When the
cooker was filled to provide water for dinner, the half-melted mass
looked like sago. The heavy flakes of snow make a noise against the
tent that reminds one of the safety-valve of a large boiler blowing
off: Inside the tent it is difficult to hear oneself speak; when we
have anything to say to each other we have to shout.

These days of involuntary idleness on a sledge journey may safely be
reckoned among the experiences it is difficult to go through without
a good deal of mental suffering. I say nothing of the purely physical
discomfort of having to pass the day in a sleeping-bag. That may be
endured; in any case, so long as the bag is fairly dry. It is a far
worse matter to reconcile oneself to the loss of the many solid hours
that might otherwise have been put to a useful purpose, and to the
irritating consciousness that every bit of food that is consumed is
so much wasted of the limited store. At this spot of all others we
should have been so glad to spend the time in exploring round about,
or still more in going farther. But if we are to go on, we must be
certain of having a chance of getting seals at a reasonable distance
from here. With our remaining supply of dogs' food we cannot go on
for more than three days.

What we have left will be just enough for the return journey, even if
we should not find the depot of seals' flesh left on the way. There
remained the resource of killing dogs, if it was a question of getting
as far to the east as possible, but for many reasons I shrank from
availing myself of that expedient. We could form no idea of what would
happen to the southern party's animals. The probability was that they
would have none left on their return. Supposing their return were
delayed so long as to involve spending another winter on the Barrier,
the transport of supplies from the ship could hardly be carried out
in the necessary time with the ten untrained puppies that were left
with Lindström. We had picked out the useful ones, and I thought that,
should the necessity arise, they could be used with greater advantage
for this work than we should derive from slaughtering them here, and
thereby somewhat prolonging the distance covered; the more so as, to
judge from all appearance, there was a poor prospect of our finding
anything of interest within a reasonable time.

Tuesday, December 5. -- It looks as if our patience is to be given
a really hard trial this time. Outside the same state of things
continues, and the barometer is going down. A mass of snow has fallen
in the last twenty-four hours. The drift on the windward side of the
tent is constantly growing; if it keeps on a little longer it will
be as high as the top of the tent. The sledges are completely snowed
under, and so are the dogs; we had to haul them out one by one in the
middle of the day. Most of them are now loose, as there is nothing
exposed to the attacks of their teeth. It is now blowing a regular
gale; the direction of the wind is about true east. Occasionally
squalls of hurricane-like violence occur. Fortunately the big
snow-drift keeps us comfortable, and we are under the lee of a hill,
otherwise it would look badly for our tent. Hitherto it has held well,
but it is beginning to be rather damp inside. The temperature remains
very high (+ 27.2° F. at noon to-day), and the mass of snow pressing
against the tent causes the formation of rime.

In order to while away the time to some extent under depressing
circumstances like these, I put into my diary on leaving Framheim a
few loose leaves of a Russian grammar; Johansen solaced himself with
a serial cut out of the Aftenpost; as far as I remember, the title of
it was "The Red Rose and the White." Unfortunately the story of the
Two Roses was very soon finished; but Johansen had a good remedy for
that: he simply began it over again. My reading had the advantage of
being incomparably stiffer. Russian verbs are uncommonly difficult
of digestion, and not to be swallowed in a hurry. For lack of mental
nutriment, Stubberud with great resignation consoled himself with
a pipe, but his enjoyment must have been somewhat diminished by
the thought that his stock of tobacco was shrinking at an alarming
rate. Every time he filled his pipe, I could see him cast longing looks
in the direction of my pouch, which was still comparatively full. I
could not help promising a fraternal sharing in case he should run
short; and after that our friend puffed on with an easy mind.

Although I look at it at least every half-hour, the barometer will
not go up. At 8 p.m. it was down to 27.30. If this means anything,
it can only be that we shall have the pleasure of being imprisoned
here another day. Some poor consolation is to be had in the thought of
how lucky we were to reach the tent at the last moment the day before
yesterday. A storm as lasting as this one would in all probability
have been too much for us if we had not got in.

Wednesday, December 6. -- the third day of idleness has at last crept
away after its predecessors. We have done with it. It has not brought
any marked variation. The weather has been just as violent, until
now -- 8 p.m. -- the wind shows a slight tendency to moderate. It
is, surely, time it did; three days and nights should be enough for
it. The heavy snowfall continues. Big, wet flakes come dancing down
through the opening in the drift in which the peak of the tent still
manages to show itself. In the course of three days we have had more
snowfall here than we had at Framheim in ten whole months. It will
be interesting to compare our meteorological log with Lindström's;
probably he has had his share of the storm, and in that case it will
have given him some exercise in snow-shovelling.

The moisture is beginning to be rather troublesome now; most of our
wardrobe is wet through, and the sleeping-bags will soon meet with
the same fate. The snow-drift outside is now so high that it shuts
out most of the daylight; we are in twilight. To-morrow we shall be
obliged to dig out the tent, whatever the weather is like, otherwise
we shall be buried entirely, and run the additional risk of having
the tent split by the weight of snow. I am afraid it will be a day's
work to dig out the tent and the two sledges; we have only one little
shovel to do it with.

A slight rise of both barometer and thermometer tells us that at last
we are on the eve of the change we have been longing for. Stubberud is
certain of fair weather to-morrow, he says. I am by no means so sure,
and offer to bet pretty heavily that there will be no change. Two
inches of Norwegian plug tobacco is the stake, and with a heartfelt
desire that Jörgen may win I await the morrow.

Thursday, December 7. -- Early this morning I owned to having lost my
bet, as the weather, so far as I could tell, was no longer of the same
tempestuous character; but Stubberud thought the contrary. "It seems
to me just as bad," said he. He was right enough, as a matter of fact,
but this did not prevent my persuading him to accept payment. Meanwhile
we were obliged to make an attempt to dig out the tent, regardless
of the weather; the situation was no longer endurable. We waited all
the forenoon in the hope of an improvement; but as none came, we set
to work at twelve o'clock. Our implements showed some originality and
diversity: a little spade, a biscuit-tin, and a cooker. The drift did
its best to undo our work as fast as we dug, but we managed to hold
our own against it. Digging out the tent-pegs gave most trouble. After
six hours' hard work we got the tent set up a few yards to windward of
its first position; the place where it had stood was now a well about
seven feet deep. Unfortunately there was no chance of immortalizing
this scene of excavation. It would have been amusing enough to have it
on the plate; but drifting snow is a serious obstacle to an amateur
photographer -- besides which, my camera was on Stubberud's sledge,
buried at least four feet down.

In the course of our digging we had had the misfortune to make two or
three serious rents in the thin canvas of the tent, and the drift was
not long in finding a way through these when the tent was up again. To
conclude my day's work I had, therefore, a longish tailor's job,
while the other two men were digging out a good feed for the dogs,
who had been on half-rations for the last two days. That night we went
rather short of sleep. Vulcan, the oldest dog in Johansen's team,
was chiefly to blame for this. In his old age Vulcan was afflicted
with a bad digestion, for even Eskimo dogs may be liable to this
infirmity, hardy as they generally are. The protracted blizzard had
given the old fellow a relapse, and he proclaimed this distressing
fact by incessant howling. This kind of music was not calculated to
lull us to sleep, and it was three or four in the morning before we
could snatch a nap. During a pause I was just dropping off, when the
sun showed faintly through the tent. This unwonted sight at once
banished all further thoughts of sleep; the Primus was lighted,
a cup of chocolate swallowed, and out we went. Stubberud and
Johansen set to work at the hard task of digging out the sledges;
they had to go down four feet to get hold of them. I dragged our
wet clothes, sleeping-bags, and so forth out of the tent, and hung
them all up to dry. In the course of the morning observations were
taken for determining the geographical longitude and latitude, as
well as a few photographs, which will give some idea of what our
camp looked like after the blizzard. Having made good the damage
and put everything fairly in order, we hurried away to our peaks,
to secure some photographs while the light was favourable. This time
we were able to achieve our object. "Scott's Nunataks," as they were
afterwards named -- after Captain Scott, who first saw them -- were
now for the first time recorded by the camera. Before we left the
summit the Norwegian flag was planted there, a snow beacon erected,
and a report of our visit deposited in it. The weather would not
keep clear; before we were back at the camp there was a thick fog,
and once more we had to thank the tracks of our ski for showing us the
way. During the time we had been involuntarily detained at this spot,
our store of provisions had decreased alarmingly; there was only a bare
week's supply left, and in less than a week we should hardly be able
to make home; probably it would take more than a week, but in that
case we had the depot at our Bay of Seals to fall back upon. In the
immediate neighbourhood of our present position we could not reckon
on being able to replenish our supply in the continued unfavourable
state of the weather. We therefore made up our minds on the morning of
December 9 to break off the journey and turn our faces homeward. For
three days more we had to struggle with high wind and thick snow,
but as things now were, we had no choice but to keep going, and by
the evening of the 11th we had dragged ourselves fifty geographical
miles to the west. The weather cleared during the night, and at last,
on December 12, we had a day of real sunshine. All our discomforts
were forgotten; everything went easily again. In the course of nine
hours we covered twenty-six geographical miles that day, without any
great strain on either dogs or men.

At our midday rest we found ourselves abreast of the bay, where, on
the outward journey, we had laid down our depot of seals' flesh. I
had intended to turn aside to the depot and replenish our supply of
meat as a precaution, but Johansen suggested leaving out this detour
and going straight on. We might thereby run the risk of having to
go on short rations; but Johansen thought it a greater risk to cross
the treacherous ground about the bay, and, after some deliberation,
I saw he was right. It was better to go on while we were about it.

From this time on we met with no difficulty, and rapidly drew near
to our destination in regular daily marches of twenty geographical
miles. After men and dogs had received their daily ration on the
evening of the 15th, our sledge cases were practically empty; but,
according to our last position, we should not have more than twenty
geographical miles more to Framheim.

Saturday, December 16. -- We broke camp at the usual time, in overcast
but perfectly clear weather, and began what was to be our last day's
march on this trip. A dark water-sky hung over the Barrier on the
west and north-west, showing that there was open sea off the mouth of
the Bay of Whales. We went on till 10.30, our course being true west,
when we made out far to the north-west an ice-cape that was taken to
be the extreme point on the western side of the bay. Immediately after
we were on the edge of the Barrier, the direction of which was here
south-west and north-east. We altered our course and followed the edge

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