SCOTT'S LAST EXPEDITION
IN TWO VOLUMES
VOL. I. BEING THE JOURNALS OF
CAPTAIN R. F. SCOTT, R.N., C.V.O.
VOL. II. BEING THE REPORTS OF THE JOURNEYS AND THE SCIENTIFIC WORK UNDERTAKEN BY DR. E. A. WILSON AND THE SURVIVING MEMBERS OF THE EXPEDITION
WITH A PREFACE BY
SIR CLEMENTS R. MARKHAM, K.C.B., F.R.S.
WITH PHOTOGRAVURE FRONTISPIECES, 6 ORIGINAL SKETCHES IN PHOTOGRAVURE BY DR. E. A. WILSON, 18 COLOURED PLATES (10 FROM DRAWINGS BY DR. WILSON), 260 FULL PAGE AND SMALLER ILLUSTRATIONS FROM PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN BY HERBERT G. PONTING AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE EXPEDITION, PANORAMAS AND MAPS
Fourteen years ago Robert Falcon Scott was a rising naval officer, able, accomplished, popular, highly thought of by his superiors, and devoted to his noble profession. It was a serious responsibility to induce him to take up the work of an explorer; yet no man living could be found who was so well fitted to command a great Antarctic Expedition. The undertaking was new and unprecedented. The object was to explore the unknown Antarctic Continent by land. Captain Scott entered upon the enterprise with enthusiasm tempered by prudence and sound sense. All had to be learnt by a thorough study of the history of Arctic travelling, combined with experience of different conditions in the Antarctic Regions. Scott was the initiator and founder of Antarctic sledge travelling.
His discoveries were of great importance. The survey and soundings along the barrier cliffs, the discovery of King Edward Land, the discovery of Ross Island and the other volcanic islets, the examination of the Barrier surface, the discovery of the Victoria Mountains—a range of great height and many hundreds of miles in length, which had only before been seen from a distance out at sea—and above all the discovery of the great ice cap on which the South Pole is situated, by one of the most remarkable polar journeys on record. His small but excellent scientific staff worked hard and with trained intelligence, their results being recorded in twelve large quarto volumes.
The great discoverer had no intention of losing touch with his beloved profession though resolved to complete his Antarctic work. The exigencies of the naval service called him to the command of battleships and to confidential work of the Admiralty; so that five years elapsed before he could resume his Antarctic labours.
The object of Captain Scott's second expedition was mainly scientific, to complete and extend his former work in all branches of science. It was his ambition that in his ship there should be the most completely equipped expedition for scientific purposes connected with the polar regions, both as regards men and material, that ever left these shores. In this he succeeded. He had on board a fuller complement of geologists, one of them especially trained for the study of physiography, biologists, physicists, and surveyors than ever before composed the staff of a polar expedition. Thus Captain Scott's objects were strictly scientific, including the completion and extension of his former discoveries. The results will be explained in the second volume of this work. They will be found to be extensive and important. Never before, in the polar regions, have meteorological, magnetic and tidal observations been taken, in one locality, during five years. It was also part of Captain Scott's plan to reach the South Pole by a long and most arduous journey, but here again his intention was, if possible, to achieve scientific results on the way, especially hoping to discover fossils which would throw light on the former history of the great range of mountains which he had made known to science.
The principal aim of this great man, for he rightly has his niche among the polar Dii Majores, was the advancement of knowledge. From all aspects Scott was among the most remarkable men of our time, and the vast number of readers of his journal will be deeply impressed with the beauty of his character. The chief traits which shone forth through his life were conspicuous in the hour of death. There are few events in history to be compared, for grandeur and pathos, with the last closing scene in that silent wilderness of snow. The great leader, with the bodies of his dearest friends beside him, wrote and wrote until the pencil dropped from his dying grasp. There was no thought of himself, only the earnest desire to give comfort and consolation to others in their sorrow. His very last lines were written lest he who induced him to enter upon Antarctic work should now feel regret for what he had done.
'If I cannot write to Sir Clements, tell him I thought much of him, and never regretted his putting me in command of the Discovery.'
CLEMENTS R. MARKHAM.
Contents of the First Volume
THROUGH STORMY SEAS
General Stowage—A Last Scene in New Zealand—Departure—On Deck with the Dogs—The Storm—The Engine-room Flooded—Clearing the Pumps—Cape Crozier as a Station—Birds of the South—A Pony's Memory—Tabular Bergs—An Incomparable Scene—Formation of the Pack—Movements of the Floes ... 1
IN THE PACK
A Reported Island—Incessant Changes—The Imprisoning Ice—Ski-ing and Sledging on the Floes—Movement of Bergs—Opening of the Pack—A Damaged Rudder—To Stop or not to Stop—Nicknames—Ski Exercise—Penguins and Music—Composite Floes—Banked Fires—Christmas in the Ice—The Penguins and the Skua—Ice Movements—State of the Ice-house—Still in the Ice—Life in the Pack—Escape from the Pack—A Calm—The Pack far to the North—Science in the Ice ... 20
Land at Last—Reach Cape Crozier—Cliffs of Cape Crozier—Landing Impossible—Penguins and Killers—Cape Evans as Winter Station—The Ponies Landed—Penguins' Fatuous Conduct—Adventure with Killer Whales—Habits of the Killer Whale—Landing Stores—The Skuas Nesting—Ponies and their Ways—Dangers of the Rotting Ice ... 53
Loss of a Motor—A Dog Dies—Result of Six Days' Work—Restive Ponies—An Ice Cave—Loading Ballast—Pony Prospects—First Trip to Hut Point—Return: Prospects of Sea Ice—A Secure Berth—The Hut—Home Fittings and Autumn Plans—The Pianola—Seal Rissoles—The Ship Stranded—Ice begins to go. ... 73
DEPOT LAYING TO ONE TON CAMP
Dogs and Ponies at Work—Stores for Depots—Old Stores at Discovery Hut—To Encourage the Pony—Depot Plans—Pony Snowshoes—Impressions on the March—Further Impressions—Sledging Necessities and Luxuries—A Better Surface—Chaos Without; Comfort Within—After the Blizzard—Marching Routine—The Weakest Ponies Return—Bowers and Cherry-Garrard—Snow Crusts and Blizzards—A Resented Frostbite—One Ton Camp. ... 96
ADVENTURE AND PERIL
Dogs' and Ponies' Ways—The Dogs in a Crevasse—Rescue Work—Chances of a Snow Bridge—The Dog Rations—A Startling Mail—Cross the Other Party—The End of Weary Willy—The Ice Breaks—The Ponies on the Floe—Safely Back. ... 122
AT DISCOVERY HUT
Fitting up the Old Hut—A Possible Land Route—The Geological Party Arrives—Clothing—Exceptional Gales—Geology at Hut Point—An Ice Foot Exposed—Stabling at Hut Point—Waiting for the Ice—A Clear Day—Pancake Ice—Life at Hut Point—From Hut Point to Cape Evans—A Blizzard on the Sea Ice—Dates of the Sea Freezing. ... 138
HOME IMPRESSIONS AND AN EXCURSION
Baseless Fears about the Hut—The Death of 'Hackenschmidt'—The Dark Room—The Biologists' Cubicle—An Artificer Cook—A Satisfactory Organisation—Up an Ice Face—An Icy Run—On getting Hot ... 158
THE WORK AND THE WORKERS
Balloons—Occupations—Many Talents—The Young Ice goes out—Football: Inverted Temperatures—Of Rainbows—Football: New Ice—Individual Scientific Work—Individuals at Work—Thermometers on the Floe—Floe Temperatures—A Bacterium in the Snow—Return of the Hut Point Party—Personal Harmony ... 171
IN WINTER QUARTERS: MODERN STYLE
On Penguins—The Electrical Instruments—On Horse Management—On Ice Problems—The Aurora—The Nimrod Hut—Continued Winds—Modern Interests—The Sense of Cold—On the Floes—A Tribute to Wilson ... 190
TO MIDWINTER DAY
Ventilation—On the Meteorological Instruments—Magnesium Flashlight—On the Beardmore Glacier—Lively Discussions—Action of Sea Water on Ice—A Theory of Blizzards—On Arctic Surveying—Ice Structure—Ocean Life—On Volcanoes—Daily Routine—On Motor Sledging—Crozier Party's Experiments—Midwinter Day Dinner—A Christmas Tree—An Ethereal Glory ... 205
AWAITING THE CROZIER PARTY
Threats of a Blizzard—Start of the Crozier Party—Strange Winds—A Current Vane—Pendulum Observations—Lost on the Floe—The Wanderer Returns—Pony Parasites—A Great Gale—The Ways of Storekeepers—A Sick Pony—A Sudden Recovery—Effects of Lack of Light—Winds of Hurricane Force—Unexpected Ice Conditions—Telephones at Work—The Cold on the Winter Journey—Shelterless in a Blizzard—A Most Gallant Story—Winter Clothing Nearly Perfect. 228
THE RETURN OF THE SUN
The Indomitable Bowers—A Theory of Blizzards—Ponies' Tricks—On Horse Management—The Two Esquimaux Dogs—Balloon Records—On Scurvy—From Tent Island—On India—Storms and Acclimatisation—On Physiography—Another Lost Dog Returns—The Debris Cones—On Chinese Adventures—Inverted Temperature. ... 255
PREPARATIONS: THE SPRING JOURNEY
On Polar Clothing—Prospects of the Motor Sledges—South Polar Times, II—The Spring Western Journey—The Broken Glacier Tongue—Marching Against a Blizzard—The Value of Experience—General Activity—Final Instructions ... 276
THE LAST WEEKS AT CAPE EVANS
Clissold's Accident—Various Invalids—Christopher's Capers—A Motor Mishap—Dog Sickness—Some Personal Sketches—A Pony Accident—A Football Knee—Value of the Motors—The Balance of Heat and Cold—The First Motor on the Barrier—Last Days at Cape Evans. ... 290
SOUTHERN JOURNEY: THE BARRIER STAGE
Midnight Lunches—A Motor Breaks Down—The Second Motor Fails—Curious Features of the Blizzard—Ponies Suffer in a Blizzard—Ponies go Well—A Head Wind—Bad Conditions Continue—At One Ton Camp—Winter Minimum Temperature—Daily Rest in the Sun—Steady Plodding—The First Pony Shot—A Trying March—The Second Pony Shot—Dogs, Ponies, and Driving—The Southern Mountains Appear—The Third Blizzard—A Fourth Blizzard—The Fifth and Long Blizzard—Patience and Resolution—Still Held Up—The End of the Barrier Journey. ... 308
ON THE BEARDMORE GLACIER
Difficulties with Deep Snow—With Full Loads—After-Effects of the Great Storm—A Fearful Struggle—Less Snow and Better Going—The Valley of the Beardmore—Wilson Snow Blind—The Upper Glacier Basin—Return of the First Party—Upper Glacier Depot. ... 340
THE SUMMIT JOURNEY TO THE POLE
Pressures Under Mount Darwin—A Change for the Better—Running of a Sledge—Lost Time Made Up—Comfort of Double Tent—Last Supporting Party Returns—Hard Work on the Summit—Accident to Evans—The Members of the Party—Mishap to a Watch—A Chill in the Air—A Critical Time—Forestalled—At the Pole. ... 354
THE RETURN FROM THE POLE
A Hard Time on the Summit—First Signs of Weakening—Difficulty in Following Tracks—Getting Hungrier—Accidents Multiply—Accident to Scott—The Ice-fall—End of the Summit Journey—Happy Moments on Firm Land—In a Maze of Crevasses—Mid-Glacier Depot Reached—A Sick Comrade—Death of P.O. Evans. ... 377
THE LAST MARCH
Snow Like Desert Sand—A Gloomy Prospect—No Help from the Wind—The Grip of Cold—Three Blows of Misfortune—From Bad to Worse—A Sick Comrade—Oates' Case Hopeless—The Death of Oates—Scott Frostbitten—The Last Camp—Farewell Letters—The Last Message. ... 396
APPENDIX ... 419
ILLUSTRATIONS IN THE FIRST VOLUME
Portrait of Captain Robert F. Scott, R.N., C.V.O. Frontispiece From a Painting by Harrington Mann
From Sketches by Dr. Edward A. Wilson
A Lead in the Pack 26 On the Way to the Pole 364 'Black Flag Camp'—Amundsen's Black Flag within a Few Miles of the South Pole 367 Amundsen's Tent at the South Pole 371 Cairn left by the Norwegians S.S.W. from Black Flag Camp and Amundsen's South Pole Mark 376 Mount Buckley, One of the Last of Many Pencil Sketches made on the Return Journey from the Pole 386
From Water-colour Drawings by Dr. Edward A. Wilson
The Great Ice Barrier, looking east from Cape Crozier Facing p. 51 Hut Point, Midnight, March 27, 1911 138 A Sunset from Hut Point, April 2, 1911 150 Mount Erebus 169 Lunar Corona 176 Paraselene, June 15, 1911 178 'Birdie' Bowers reading the Thermometer on the Ramp, June 6, 1911 214 Iridescent Clouds. Looking North from Cape Evans 257 Exercising the Ponies 288 Mr. Ponting Lecturing on Japan 202
From Photographs by Herbert G. Ponting
The Western Mountains as seen from Captain Scott's Winter Quarters at Cape Evans Facing p. 126 Mount Terror and its Glaciers 126 The Royal Society Mountains of Victoria Land—Telephoto Study from Cape Evans 284 Mount Erebus and Glaciers to the Turk's Head 284
Full Page Plates
The Full Page Plates are from photographs by Herbert G. Ponting, except where otherwise stated
The Crew of the 'Terra Nova' Facing p. 2 Captain Oates and Ponies on the 'Terra Nova' 6 'Vaida' 8 'Krisravitsa' 8 'Stareek' Malingering 8 Manning the Pumps 10 The First Iceberg 10 Albatross Soaring 12 Albatrosses Foraging in the Wake of the 'Terra Nova' 12 Dr. Wilson and Dr. Atkinson loading the Harpoon Gun 14 A. B. Cheetham—the Boatswain of the 'Terra Nova' 14 Evening Scene in the Pack 17 Lieut. Evans in the Crow's Nest 20 Furling Sail in the Pack 20 A Berg breaking up in the Pack 23 Moonlight in the Pack 29 Christmas Eve (1910) in the Pack 36 'I don't care what becomes of Me' 44 An Adelie about to Dive 44 Open Water in the Ross Sea 46 In the Pack—a Lead opening up 48 Cape Crozier: the End of the Great Ice Barrier 54 Ice-Blink over the Barrier 56 The Barrier and Mount Terror 56 The Midnight Sun in McMurdo Sound 58 Entering McMurdo Sound—Cape Bird and Mount Erebus 60 Surf breaking against Stranded Ice at Cape Evans 60 The 'Terra Nova' in McMurdo Sound 62 Disembarking the Ponies 64 Ponies tethered out on the Sea Ice Facing p. 64 Lieut. H. E. de P. Rennick 66 Lieut. Rennick and a Friendly Penguin 66 The Arch Berg from Within 68 Something of a Phenomenon—A Fresh Water Cascade 71 The Arch Berg from Without 74 Ponting Cinematographs the Bow of the 'Terra Nova' Breaking through the Ice-floes 76 Landing a Motor-Sledge 76 Lieut. Evans and Nelson Cutting a Cave for Cold Storage 78 The Condition of Affairs a Week after Landing 78 Killer Whales Rising to Blow 82 Hut Point and Observation Hill 82 The Tenements 84 Plan of Hut Page 85 The Point of the Barne Glacier Facing p. 90 Winter Quarters at Cape Evans 94 Lillie and Dr. Levick Sorting a Trawl Catch 101 Seals Basking on Newly-formed Pancake Ice off Cape Evans 106 Lieut. Tryggve Gran 112 Captain Scott on Skis 118 Summer Time: the Ice opening up 133 Spray Ridges of Ice after a Blizzard 145 A Berg Drifting in McMurdo Sound 155 Pancake Ice Forming into Floes off Cape Evans 155 Ponting Developing a Plate in the Dark Room 160 The Falling of the Long Polar Night 164 Depot Laying and Western Parties on their Return to Cape Evans 166 A Blizzard Approaching across the Sea Ice 171 The Barne Glacier: a Crevasse with a Thin Snow Bridge 174 Dr. Wilson Working up the Sketch which is given at p. 178 180 Dr. Simpson at the Unifilar Magnetometer 182 Dr. Atkinson in his Laboratory 182 Winter Work 184 Dr. Atkinson and Clissold hauling up the Fish Trap 186 The Freezing up of the Sea 188 Whale-back Clouds over Mount Erebus 190 (Photo by F. Debenham) The Hut and the Western Mountains from the Top of the Ramp 194 Cape Royds, looking North 199 The Castle Berg Facing p. 205 Captain Scott's Last Birthday Dinner 210 Captain Scott in his 'Den' 218 Dr. Wilson and Lieut Bowers reading the Ramp Thermometer in the Winter Night, -40 deg. Fahrenheit—a Flashlight Photograph 221 Finnesko 228 Ski-shoes for use with Finnesko 228 Finnesko fitted with the Ski-shoes 228 Finnesko with Crampons 228 Dr. Atkinson's Frostbitten Hand 232 Petty Officer Evans Binding up Dr. Atkinson's Hand 232 Pony takes Whisky 234 The Stables in Winter 234 Oates and Meares at the Blubber Stove in the Stables 238 Petty Officers Crean and Evans Exercising their Ponies in the Winter 240 Oates and Meares out Skiing in the Night 240 Remarkable Cirrus Clouds over the Barne Glacier 244 Lieut. Evans Observing an Occultation of Jupiter 247 Dr. Simpson in the Hut at the Other End of the Telephone Timing the Observation 247 'Birdie' (Lieut. H. R. Bowers) 252 The Summit of Mount Erebus 254 Capt. L. E. G. Oates by the Stable Door 260 Debenham, Gran, and Taylor in their Cubicle 264 Nelson and his Gear 264 Dr. Simpson sending up a Balloon 266 The Polar Party's Sledging Ration 266 An Ice Grotto—Tent Island in Distance 269 Dr. Wilson Watching the First Rays of Sunlight being Recorded after the long Winter Night 271 The Return of the Sun 271 C. H. Meares and 'Osman,' the Leader of the Dogs 274 Meares and Demetri at 'Discovery' Hut 277 The Main Party at Cape Evans after the Winter, 1911 280 The Castle Berg at the End of the Winter 282 Mount Erebus over a Water-worn Iceberg 290 On the Summit of an Iceberg 290 Dr. Wilson and Pony 'Nobby' 292 Cherry-Garrard giving his Pony 'Michael' a roll in the Snow 292 Surveying Party's Tent after a Blizzard Facing p 294 (Photo by Lieut T Gran) Dogs with Stores about to leave Hut Point 296 Dogs Galloping towards the Barrier 296 Meares and Demetri with their Dog-teams leaving Hut Point 296 Dr. Wilson 298 Preparing Sledges for Polar Journey 300 Day's Motor under Way 302 One of the Motor Sledges 302 Meares and Demetri at the Blubber Stove in the 'Discovery' Hut 305 The Motor Party 308 H. G. Ponting and one of his Cinematograph Cameras 311 Members of the Polar Party having a Meal in Camp 316 (Enlarged from a cinematograph film) Members of the Polar Party getting into their Sleeping-bags 322 (Enlarged from a cinematograph film) Ponies behind their Shelter in Camp on the Barrier 328 (Photo by Capt. R. F. Scott) Ponies on the March 334 (Photo by F. Debenham) Captain Scott wearing the Wallet in which he carried his Sledging Journals 338 Pressure on the Beardmore below the Cloudmaker Mountain 340 (Photo by C. S. Wright) Mount Kyffin 342 (Photo by Lieut. H. R. Bowers) Camp under the Wild Range 345 (Photo by Capt. R. F. Scott) Dr. Wilson Sketching on the Beardmore 348 (Photo by Capt. R. F. Scott) Some Members of the Supporting Parties as they appeared on their Return from the Polar Journey 350 Camp at Three Degree Depot 352 (Photo by Lieut. H. R. Bowers) Chief Stoker Lashly 355 Petty Officer Crean 355 Pitching the Double Tent on the Summit 358 (Photo by Lieut H R Bowers) The Polar Party on the Trail 360 (Photo by Lieut. H. R. Bowers) At the South Pole 374 (Photo by Lieut. H. R. Bowers) Amundsen's Tent at the South Pole Facing p. 380 (Photo by Lieut. H. R. Bowers) Sastrugi 382 The Cloudmaker Mountain 390 (Photo by Lieut. H. R. Bowers) Petty Officer Edgar Evans, R.N. 392 Facsimile of the Last Words of the Journal 403 Facsimile of Message to the Public 414
British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913—Track Chart of Main Southern Journey At end of text
British Antarctic Expedition, 1910
Name. Rank, &c. Robert Falcon Scott Captain, R.N., C.V.O. Edward R. G. R. Evans Commander, R.N. Victor L. A. Campbell Lieutenant, R.N. (Emergency List). Henry R. Bowers Lieutenant, R.N. Lawrence E. G. Oates Captain 6th Inniskilling Dragoons. G. Murray Levick Surgeon, R.N. Edward L. Atkinson Surgeon, R.N., Parasitologist.
Edward Adrian Wilson M.A., M.B., Chief of the Scientific Staff, and Zoologist. George C. Simpson D.Sc., Meteorologist. T. Griffith Taylor B.A., B.Sc., B.E., Geologist. Edward W. Nelson Biologist. Frank Debenham B.A., B.Sc., Geologist. Charles S. Wright B.A., Physicist. Raymond E. Priestley Geologist. Herbert G. Ponting F.R.G.S., Camera Artist. Cecil H. Meares In Charge of Dogs. Bernard C. Day Motor Engineer. Apsley Cherry-Garrard B.A., Asst. Zoologist. Tryggve Gran Sub-Lieutenant, Norwegian N.R., Ski Expert.
W. Lashly Chief Stoker. W. W. Archer Chief Steward. Thomas Clissold Cook, late R.N. Edgar Evans Petty Officer, R.N. Robert Forde Petty Officer, R.N. Thomas Crean Petty Officer, R.N. Thomas S. Williamson Petty Officer, R.N. Patrick Keohane Petty Officer, R.N. George P. Abbott Petty Officer, R.N. Frank V. Browning Petty Officer, 2nd Class, R.N. Harry Dickason Able Seaman, R.N. F. J. Hooper Steward, late R.N. Anton Omelchenko Groom. Demetri Gerof Dog Driver.
Harry L. L. Pennell Lieutenant, R.N. Henry E. de P. Rennick Lieutenant, R.N. Wilfred M. Bruce Lieutenant, R.N.R. Francis R. H. Drake Asst. Paymaster, R.N. (Retired), Secretary & Meteorologist in Ship. Dennis G. Lillie M.A., Biologist in Ship. James R. Denniston In Charge of Mules in Ship. Alfred B. Cheetham R.N.R., Boatswain. William Williams, O.N. Chief Engine-room Artificer, R.N., Engineer. William A. Horton, O.N. Eng. Rm. Art., 3rd Cl., R.N., 2nd Engr. Francis E. C. Davies, O.N. Shipwright, R.N., Carpenter. Frederick Parsons Petty Officer, R.N. William L. Heald Late P.O., R.N. Arthur S. Bailey Petty Officer, 2nd Class, R.N. Albert Balson Leading Seaman, R.N. Joseph Leese, O.N. Able Seaman, R.N. John Hugh Mather, O.N. Petty Officer, R.N.V.R. Robert Oliphant Able Seaman. Thomas F. McLeon ,, ,, Mortimer McCarthy ,, ,, William Knowles ,, ,, Charles Williams ,, ,, James Skelton ,, ,, William McDonald ,, ,, James Paton ,, ,, Robert Brissenden Leading Stoker, R.N. Edward A. McKenzie ,, ,, ,, William Burton Leading Stoker, R.N. Bernard J. Stone ,, ,, ,, Angus McDonald Fireman. Thomas McGillon ,, Charles Lammas ,, W. H. Neale Steward.
Barrier. The immense sheet of ice, over 400 miles wide and of still greater length, which lies south of Ross Island to the west of Victoria Land. Brash. Small ice fragments from a floe that is breaking up. Drift. Snow swept from the ground like dust and driven before the wind. Finnesko. Fur boots. Flense, flence. To cut the blubber from a skin or carcase. Frost smoke. A mist of water vapour above the open leads, condensed by the severe cold. Hoosh. A thick camp soup with a basis of pemmican. Ice-foot. Properly the low fringe of ice formed about Polar lands by the sea spray. More widely, the banks of ice of varying height which skirt many parts of the Antarctic shores. Piedmont. Coastwise stretches of the ancient ice sheet which once covered the Antarctic Continent, remaining either on the land, or wholly or partially afloat. Pram. A Norwegian skiff, with a spoon bow. Primus. A portable stove for cooking. Ramp. A great embankment of morainic material with ice beneath, once part of the glacier, on the lowest slopes of Erebus at the landward end of C. Evans. Saennegras. A kind of fine Norwegian hay, used as packing in the finnesko to keep the feet warm and to make the fur boot fit firmly. Sastrugus. An irregularity formed by the wind on a snowplain. 'Snow wave' is not completely descriptive, as the sastrugus has often a fantastic shape unlike the ordinary conception of a wave. Skua. A large gull. Working crack. An open crack which leaves the ice free to move with the movement of the water beneath.
Passages enclosed in inverted commas are taken from home letters of Captain Scott.
A number following a word in the text refers to a corresponding note in the Appendix to this volume.
SCOTT'S LAST EXPEDITION
Through Stormy Seas
The Final Preparations in New Zealand
The first three weeks of November have gone with such a rush that I have neglected my diary and can only patch it up from memory.
The dates seem unimportant, but throughout the period the officers and men of the ship have been unremittingly busy.
On arrival the ship was cleared of all the shore party stores, including huts, sledges, &c. Within five days she was in dock. Bowers attacked the ship's stores, surveyed, relisted, and restowed them, saving very much space by unstowing numerous cases and stowing the contents in the lazarette. Meanwhile our good friend Miller attacked the leak and traced it to the stern. We found the false stem split, and in one case a hole bored for a long-stem through-bolt which was much too large for the bolt. Miller made the excellent job in overcoming this difficulty which I expected, and since the ship has been afloat and loaded the leak is found to be enormously reduced. The ship still leaks, but the amount of water entering is little more than one would expect in an old wooden vessel.
The stream which was visible and audible inside the stern has been entirely stopped. Without steam the leak can now be kept under with the hand pump by two daily efforts of a quarter of an hour to twenty minutes. As the ship was, and in her present heavily laden condition, it would certainly have taken three to four hours each day.
Before the ship left dock, Bowers and Wyatt were at work again in the shed with a party of stevedores, sorting and relisting the shore party stores. Everything seems to have gone without a hitch. The various gifts and purchases made in New Zealand were collected—butter, cheese, bacon, hams, some preserved meats, tongues.
Meanwhile the huts were erected on the waste ground beyond the harbour works. Everything was overhauled, sorted, and marked afresh to prevent difficulty in the South. Davies, our excellent carpenter, Forde, Abbott, and Keohane were employed in this work. The large green tent was put up and proper supports made for it.
When the ship came out of dock she presented a scene of great industry. Officers and men of the ship, with a party of stevedores, were busy storing the holds. Miller's men were building horse stalls, caulking the decks, resecuring the deckhouses, putting in bolts and various small fittings. The engine-room staff and Anderson's people on the engines; scientists were stowing their laboratories; the cook refitting his galley, and so forth—not a single spot but had its band of workers.
We prepared to start our stowage much as follows: The main hold contains all the shore party provisions and part of the huts; above this on the main deck is packed in wonderfully close fashion the remainder of the wood of the huts, the sledges, and travelling equipment, and the larger instruments and machines to be employed by the scientific people; this encroaches far on the men's space, but the extent has been determined by their own wish; they have requested, through Evans, that they should not be considered: they were prepared to pig it anyhow, and a few cubic feet of space didn't matter—such is their spirit.
The men's space, such as it is, therefore, extends from the fore hatch to the stem on the main deck.
Under the forecastle are stalls for fifteen ponies, the maximum the space would hold; the narrow irregular space in front is packed tight with fodder.
Immediately behind the forecastle bulkhead is the small booby hatch, the only entrance to the men's mess deck in bad weather. Next comes the foremast, and between that and the fore hatch the galley and winch; on the port side of the fore hatch are stalls for four ponies—a very stout wooden structure.
Abaft the fore hatch is the ice-house. We managed to get 3 tons of ice, 162 carcases of mutton, and three carcases of beef, besides some boxes of sweetbreads and kidneys, into this space. The carcases are stowed in tiers with wooden battens between the tiers—it looks a triumph of orderly stowage, and I have great hope that it will ensure fresh mutton throughout our winter.
On either side of the main hatch and close up to the ice-house are two out of our three motor sledges; the third rests across the break of the poop in a space formerly occupied by a winch.
In front of the break of the poop is a stack of petrol cases; a further stack surmounted with bales of fodder stands between the main hatch and the mainmast, and cases of petrol, paraffin, and alcohol, arranged along either gangway.
We have managed to get 405 tons of coal in bunkers and main hold, 25 tons in a space left in the fore hold, and a little over 30 tons on the upper deck.
The sacks containing this last, added to the goods already mentioned, make a really heavy deck cargo, and one is naturally anxious concerning it; but everything that can be done by lashing and securing has been done.
The appearance of confusion on deck is completed by our thirty-three dogs1 chained to stanchions and bolts on the ice-house and on the main hatch, between the motor sledges.
With all these stores on board the ship still stood two inches above her load mark. The tanks are filled with compressed forage, except one, which contains 12 tons of fresh water, enough, we hope, to take us to the ice.
Forage.—I originally ordered 30 tons of compressed oaten hay from Melbourne. Oates has gradually persuaded us that this is insufficient, and our pony food weight has gone up to 45 tons, besides 3 or 4 tons for immediate use. The extra consists of 5 tons of hay, 5 or 6 tons of oil-cake, 4 or 5 tons of bran, and some crushed oats. We are not taking any corn.
We have managed to wedge in all the dog biscuits, the total weight being about 5 tons; Meares is reluctant to feed the dogs on seal, but I think we ought to do so during the winter.
We stayed with the Kinseys at their house 'Te Han' at Clifton. The house stands at the edge of the cliff, 400 feet above the sea, and looks far over the Christchurch plains and the long northern beach which limits it; close beneath one is the harbour bar and winding estuary of the two small rivers, the Avon and Waimakariri. Far away beyond the plains are the mountains, ever changing their aspect, and yet farther in over this northern sweep of sea can be seen in clear weather the beautiful snow-capped peaks of the Kaikouras. The scene is wholly enchanting, and such a view from some sheltered sunny corner in a garden which blazes with masses of red and golden flowers tends to feelings of inexpressible satisfaction with all things. At night we slept in this garden under peaceful clear skies; by day I was off to my office in Christchurch, then perhaps to the ship or the Island, and so home by the mountain road over the Port Hills. It is a pleasant time to remember in spite of interruptions—and it gave time for many necessary consultations with Kinsey. His interest in the expedition is wonderful, and such interest on the part of a thoroughly shrewd business man is an asset of which I have taken full advantage. Kinsey will act as my agent in Christchurch during my absence; I have given him an ordinary power of attorney, and I think have left him in possession of all facts. His kindness to us was beyond words.
The Voyage Out
Saturday, November 26.—We advertised our start at 3 P.M., and at three minutes to that hour the Terra Nova pushed off from the jetty. A great mass of people assembled. K. and I lunched with a party in the New Zealand Company's ship Ruapehu. Mr. Kinsey, Ainsley, the Arthur and George Rhodes, Sir George Clifford, &c.2 K. and I went out in the ship, but left her inside the heads after passing the Cambrian, the only Naval ship present. We came home in the Harbour Tug; two other tugs followed the ship out and innumerable small boats. Ponting busy with cinematograph. We walked over the hills to Sumner. Saw the Terra Nova, a little dot to the S.E.
Monday, November 28.—Caught 8 o'clock express to Port Chalmers, Kinsey saw us off. Wilson joined train. Rhodes met us Timaru. Telegram to say Terra Nova had arrived Sunday night. Arrived Port Chalmers at 4.30. Found all well.
Tuesday, November 29.—Saw Fenwick re Central News agreement—to town. Thanked Glendenning for handsome gift, 130 grey jerseys. To Town Hall to see Mayor. Found all well on board.
We left the wharf at 2.30—bright sunshine—very gay scene. If anything more craft following us than at Lyttelton—Mrs. Wilson, Mrs. Evans, and K. left at Heads and back in Harbour Tug. Other tugs followed farther with Volunteer Reserve Gunboat—all left about 4.30. Pennell 'swung' the ship for compass adjustment, then 'away.'
Evening.—Loom of land and Cape Saunders Light blinking.
Wednesday, November 30.—Noon no miles. Light breeze from northward all day, freshening towards nightfall and turning to N.W. Bright sunshine. Ship pitching with south-westerly swell. All in good spirits except one or two sick.
We are away, sliding easily and smoothly through the water, but burning coal—8 tons in 24 hours reported 8 P.M.
Thursday, December 1.—The month opens well on the whole. During the night the wind increased; we worked up to 8, to 9, and to 9.5 knots. Stiff wind from N.W. and confused sea. Awoke to much motion.
The ship a queer and not altogether cheerful sight under the circumstances.
Below one knows all space is packed as tight as human skill can devise—and on deck! Under the forecastle fifteen ponies close side by side, seven one side, eight the other, heads together and groom between—swaying, swaying continually to the plunging, irregular motion.
One takes a look through a hole in the bulkhead and sees a row of heads with sad, patient eyes come swinging up together from the starboard side, whilst those on the port swing back; then up come the port heads, whilst the starboard recede. It seems a terrible ordeal for these poor beasts to stand this day after day for weeks together, and indeed though they continue to feed well the strain quickly drags down their weight and condition; but nevertheless the trial cannot be gauged from human standards. There are horses which never lie down, and all horses can sleep standing; anatomically they possess a ligament in each leg which takes their weight without strain. Even our poor animals will get rest and sleep in spite of the violent motion. Some 4 or 5 tons of fodder and the ever watchful Anton take up the remainder of the forecastle space. Anton is suffering badly from sea-sickness, but last night he smoked a cigar. He smoked a little, then had an interval of evacuation, and back to his cigar whilst he rubbed his stomach and remarked to Oates 'no good'—gallant little Anton!
There are four ponies outside the forecastle and to leeward of the fore hatch, and on the whole, perhaps, with shielding tarpaulins, they have a rather better time than their comrades. Just behind the ice-house and on either side of the main hatch are two enormous packing-cases containing motor sledges, each 16 x 5 x 4; mounted as they are several inches above the deck they take a formidable amount of space. A third sledge stands across the break of the poop in the space hitherto occupied by the after winch. All these cases are covered with stout tarpaulin and lashed with heavy chain and rope lashings, so that they may be absolutely secure.
The petrol for these sledges is contained in tins and drums protected in stout wooden packing-cases which are ranged across the deck immediately in front of the poop and abreast the motor sledges. The quantity is 2 1/2 tons and the space occupied considerable.
Round and about these packing-cases, stretching from the galley forward to the wheel aft, the deck is stacked with coal bags forming our deck cargo of coal, now rapidly diminishing.
We left Port Chalmers with 462 tons of coal on board, rather a greater quantity than I had hoped for, and yet the load mark was 3 inches above the water. The ship was over 2 feet by the stern, but this will soon be remedied.
Upon the coal sacks, upon and between the motor sledges and upon the ice-house are grouped the dogs, thirty-three in all. They must perforce be chained up and they are given what shelter is afforded on deck, but their position is not enviable. The seas continually break on the weather bulwarks and scatter clouds of heavy spray over the backs of all who must venture into, the waist of the ship. The dogs sit with their tails to this invading water, their coats wet and dripping. It is a pathetic attitude, deeply significant of cold and misery; occasionally some poor beast emits a long pathetic whine. The group forms a picture of wretched dejection; such a life is truly hard for these poor creatures.
We manage somehow to find a seat for everyone at our cabin table, although the wardroom contains twenty-four officers. There are generally one or two on watch, which eases matters, but it is a squash. Our meals are simple enough, but it is really remarkable to see the manner in which our two stewards, Hooper and Neald, provide for all requirements, washing up, tidying cabin, and making themselves generally useful in the cheerfullest manner.
With such a large number of hands on board, allowing nine seamen in each watch, the ship is easily worked, and Meares and Oates have their appointed assistants to help them in custody of dogs and ponies, but on such a night as the last with the prospect of dirty weather, the 'after guard' of volunteers is awake and exhibiting its delightful enthusiasm in the cause of safety and comfort—some are ready to lend a hand if there is difficulty with ponies and dogs, others in shortening or trimming sails, and others again in keeping the bunkers filled with the deck coal.
I think Priestley is the most seriously incapacitated by sea-sickness—others who might be as bad have had some experience of the ship and her movement. Ponting cannot face meals but sticks to his work; on the way to Port Chalmers I am told that he posed several groups before the cinematograph, though obliged repeatedly to retire to the ship's side. Yesterday he was developing plates with the developing dish in one hand and an ordinary basin in the other!
We have run 190 miles to-day: a good start, but inconvenient in one respect—we have been making for Campbell Island, but early this morning it became evident that our rapid progress would bring us to the Island in the middle of the night, instead of to-morrow, as I had anticipated. The delay of waiting for daylight would not be advisable under the circumstances, so we gave up this item of our programme.
Later in the day the wind has veered to the westward, heading us slightly. I trust it will not go further round; we are now more than a point to eastward of our course to the ice, and three points to leeward of that to Campbell Island, so that we should not have fetched the Island anyhow.
Friday, December 1.—A day of great disaster. From 4 o'clock last night the wind freshened with great rapidity, and very shortly we were under topsails, jib, and staysail only. It blew very hard and the sea got up at once. Soon we were plunging heavily and taking much water over the lee rail. Oates and Atkinson with intermittent assistance from others were busy keeping the ponies on their legs. Cases of petrol, forage, etc., began to break loose on the upper deck; the principal trouble was caused by the loose coal-bags, which were bodily lifted by the seas and swung against the lashed cases. 'You know how carefully everything had been lashed, but no lashings could have withstood the onslaught of these coal sacks for long'; they acted like battering rams. 'There was nothing for it but to grapple with the evil, and nearly all hands were labouring for hours in the waist of the ship, heaving coal sacks overboard and re-lashing the petrol cases, etc., in the best manner possible under such difficult and dangerous circumstances. The seas were continually breaking over these people and now and again they would be completely submerged. At such times they had to cling for dear life to some fixture to prevent themselves being washed overboard, and with coal bags and loose cases washing about, there was every risk of such hold being torn away.'
'No sooner was some semblance of order restored than some exceptionally heavy wave would tear away the lashing and the work had to be done all over again.'
The night wore on, the sea and wind ever rising, and the ship ever plunging more distractedly; we shortened sail to main topsail and staysail, stopped engines and hove to, but to little purpose. Tales of ponies down came frequently from forward, where Oates and Atkinson laboured through the entire night. Worse was to follow, much worse—a report from the engine-room that the pumps had choked and the water risen over the gratings.
From this moment, about 4 A.M., the engine-room became the centre of interest. The water gained in spite of every effort. Lashley, to his neck in rushing water, stuck gamely to the work of clearing suctions. For a time, with donkey engine and bilge pump sucking, it looked as though the water would be got under; but the hope was short-lived: five minutes of pumping invariably led to the same result—a general choking of the pumps.
The outlook appeared grim. The amount of water which was being made, with the ship so roughly handled, was most uncertain. 'We knew that normally the ship was not making much water, but we also knew that a considerable part of the water washing over the upper deck must be finding its way below; the decks were leaking in streams. The ship was very deeply laden; it did not need the addition of much water to get her water-logged, in which condition anything might have happened.' The hand pump produced only a dribble, and its suction could not be got at; as the water crept higher it got in contact with the boiler and grew warmer—so hot at last that no one could work at the suctions. Williams had to confess he was beaten and must draw fires. What was to be done? Things for the moment appeared very black. The sea seemed higher than ever; it came over lee rail and poop, a rush of green water; the ship wallowed in it; a great piece of the bulwark carried clean away. The bilge pump is dependent on the main engine. To use the pump it was necessary to go ahead. It was at such times that the heaviest seas swept in over the lee rail; over and over [again] the rail, from the forerigging to the main, was covered by a solid sheet of curling water which swept aft and high on the poop. On one occasion I was waist deep when standing on the rail of the poop.
The scene on deck was devastating, and in the engine-room the water, though really not great in quantity, rushed over the floor plates and frames in a fashion that gave it a fearful significance.
The afterguard were organised in two parties by Evans to work buckets; the men were kept steadily going on the choked hand pumps—this seemed all that could be done for the moment, and what a measure to count as the sole safeguard of the ship from sinking, practically an attempt to bale her out! Yet strange as it may seem the effort has not been wholly fruitless—the string of buckets which has now been kept going for four hours,  together with the dribble from the pump, has kept the water under—if anything there is a small decrease.
Meanwhile we have been thinking of a way to get at the suction of the pump: a hole is being made in the engine-room bulkhead, the coal between this and the pump shaft will be removed, and a hole made in the shaft. With so much water coming on board, it is impossible to open the hatch over the shaft. We are not out of the wood, but hope dawns, as indeed it should for me, when I find myself so wonderfully served. Officers and men are singing chanties over their arduous work. Williams is working in sweltering heat behind the boiler to get the door made in the bulkhead. Not a single one has lost his good spirits. A dog was drowned last night, one pony is dead and two others in a bad condition—probably they too will go. 'Occasionally a heavy sea would bear one of them away, and he was only saved by his chain. Meares with some helpers had constantly to be rescuing these wretched creatures from hanging, and trying to find them better shelter, an almost hopeless task. One poor beast was found hanging when dead; one was washed away with such force that his chain broke and he disappeared overboard; the next wave miraculously washed him on board again and he is now fit and well.' The gale has exacted heavy toll, but I feel all will be well if we can only cope with the water. Another dog has just been washed overboard—alas! Thank God, the gale is abating. The sea is still mountainously high, but the ship is not labouring so heavily as she was. I pray we may be under sail again before morning.
Saturday, December 3.—Yesterday the wind slowly fell towards evening; less water was taken on board, therefore less found its way below, and it soon became evident that our baling was gaining on the engine-room. The work was steadily kept going in two-hour shifts. By 10 P.M. the hole in the engine-room bulkhead was completed, and (Lieut.) Evans, wriggling over the coal, found his way to the pump shaft and down it. He soon cleared the suction 'of the coal balls (a mixture of coal and oil) which choked it,' and to the joy of all a good stream of water came from the pump for the first time. From this moment it was evident we should get over the difficulty, and though the pump choked again on several occasions the water in the engine-room steadily decreased. It was good to visit that spot this morning and to find that the water no longer swished from side to side. In the forenoon fires were laid and lighted—the hand pump was got into complete order and sucked the bilges almost dry, so that great quantities of coal and ashes could be taken out.
Now all is well again, and we are steaming and sailing steadily south within two points of our course. Campbell and Bowers have been busy relisting everything on the upper deck. This afternoon we got out the two dead ponies through the forecastle skylight. It was a curious proceeding, as the space looked quite inadequate for their passage. We looked into the ice-house and found it in the best order.
Though we are not yet safe, as another gale might have disastrous results, it is wonderful to realise the change which has been wrought in our outlook in twenty-four hours. The others have confessed the gravely serious view of our position which they shared with me yesterday, and now we are all hopeful again.
As far as one can gather, besides the damage to the bulwarks of the ship, we have lost two ponies, one dog, '10 tons of coal,' 65 gallons of petrol, and a case of the biologists' spirit—a serious loss enough, but much less than I expected. 'All things considered we have come off lightly, but it was bad luck to strike a gale at such a time.' The third pony which was down in a sling for some time in the gale is again on his feet. He looks a little groggy, but may pull through if we don't have another gale. Osman, our best sledge dog, was very bad this morning, but has been lying warmly in hay all day, and is now much better. 'Several more were in a very bad way and needed nursing back to life.' The sea and wind seem to be increasing again, and there is a heavy southerly swell, but the glass is high; we ought not to have another gale till it falls.3
Monday, December 5.—Lat. 56 deg. 40'.—The barometer has been almost steady since Saturday, the wind rising and falling slightly, but steady in direction from the west. From a point off course we have crept up to the course itself. Everything looks prosperous except the ponies. Up to this morning, in spite of favourable wind and sea, the ship has been pitching heavily to a south-westerly swell. This has tried the animals badly, especially those under the forecastle. We had thought the ponies on the port side to be pretty safe, but two of them seem to me to be groggy, and I doubt if they could stand more heavy weather without a spell of rest. I pray there may be no more gales. We should be nearing the limits of the westerlies, but one cannot be sure for at least two days. There is still a swell from the S.W., though it is not nearly so heavy as yesterday, but I devoutly wish it would vanish altogether. So much depends on fine weather. December ought to be a fine month in the Ross Sea; it always has been, and just now conditions point to fine weather. Well, we must be prepared for anything, but I'm anxious, anxious about these animals of ours.
The dogs have quite recovered since the fine weather—they are quite in good form again.
Our deck cargo is getting reduced; all the coal is off the upper deck and the petrol is re-stored in better fashion; as far as that is concerned we should not mind another blow. Campbell and Bowers have been untiring in getting things straight on deck.
The idea of making our station Cape Crozier has again come on the tapis. There would be many advantages: the ease of getting there at an early date, the fact that none of the autumn or summer parties could be cut off, the fact that the main Barrier could be reached without crossing crevasses and that the track to the Pole would be due south from the first:—the mild condition and absence of blizzards at the penguin rookery, the opportunity of studying the Emperor penguin incubation, and the new interest of the geology of Terror, besides minor facilities, such as the getting of ice, stones for shelters, &c. The disadvantages mainly consist in the possible difficulty of landing stores—a swell would make things very unpleasant, and might possibly prevent the landing of the horses and motors. Then again it would be certain that some distance of bare rock would have to be traversed before a good snow surface was reached from the hut, and possibly a climb of 300 or 400 feet would intervene. Again, it might be difficult to handle the ship whilst stores were being landed, owing to current, bergs, and floe ice. It remains to be seen, but the prospect is certainly alluring. At a pinch we could land the ponies in McMurdo Sound and let them walk round.
The sun is shining brightly this afternoon, everything is drying, and I think the swell continues to subside.
Tuesday, December 6.—Lat. 59 deg. 7'. Long. 177 deg. 51' E. Made good S. 17 E. 153; 457' to Circle. The promise of yesterday has been fulfilled, the swell has continued to subside, and this afternoon we go so steadily that we have much comfort. I am truly thankful mainly for the sake of the ponies; poor things, they look thin and scraggy enough, but generally brighter and fitter. There is no doubt the forecastle is a bad place for them, but in any case some must have gone there. The four midship ponies, which were expected to be subject to the worst conditions, have had a much better time than their fellows. A few ponies have swollen legs, but all are feeding well. The wind failed in the morning watch and later a faint breeze came from the eastward; the barometer has been falling, but not on a steep gradient; it is still above normal. This afternoon it is overcast with a Scotch mist. Another day ought to put us beyond the reach of westerly gales.
We still continue to discuss the project of landing at Cape Crozier, and the prospect grows more fascinating as we realise it. For instance, we ought from such a base to get an excellent idea of the Barrier movement, and of the relative movement amongst the pressure ridges. There is no doubt it would be a tremendous stroke of luck to get safely landed there with all our paraphernalia.
Everyone is very cheerful—one hears laughter and song all day—it's delightful to be with such a merry crew. A week from New Zealand to-day.
Wednesday, December 7.—Lat. 61 deg. 22'. Long. 179 deg. 56' W. Made good S. 25 E. 150; Ant. Circle 313'. The barometer descended on a steep regular gradient all night, turning suddenly to an equally steep up grade this morning. With the turn a smart breeze sprang up from the S.W. and forced us three points off our course. The sea has remained calm, seeming to show that the ice is not far off; this afternoon temperature of air and water both 34 deg., supporting the assumption. The wind has come fair and we are on our course again, going between 7 and 8 knots.
Quantities of whale birds about the ship, the first fulmars and the first McCormick skua seen. Last night saw 'hour glass' dolphins about. Sooty and black-browed albatrosses continue, with Cape chickens. The cold makes people hungry and one gets just a tremor on seeing the marvellous disappearance of consumables when our twenty-four young appetites have to be appeased.
Last night I discussed the Western Geological Party, and explained to Ponting the desirability of his going with it. I had thought he ought to be in charge, as the oldest and most experienced traveller, and mentioned it to him—then to Griffith Taylor. The latter was evidently deeply disappointed. So we three talked the matter out between us, and Ponting at once disclaimed any right, and announced cheerful agreement with Taylor's leadership; it was a satisfactory arrangement, and shows Ponting in a very pleasant light. I'm sure he's a very nice fellow.
I would record here a symptom of the spirit which actuates the men. After the gale the main deck under the forecastle space in which the ponies are stabled leaked badly, and the dirt of the stable leaked through on hammocks and bedding. Not a word has been said; the men living in that part have done their best to fend off the nuisance with oilskins and canvas, but without sign of complaint. Indeed the discomfort throughout the mess deck has been extreme. Everything has been thrown about, water has found its way down in a dozen places. There is no daylight, and air can come only through the small fore hatch; the artificial lamplight has given much trouble. The men have been wetted to the skin repeatedly on deck, and have no chance of drying their clothing. All things considered, their cheerful fortitude is little short of wonderful.
First Ice.—There was a report of ice at dinner to-night. Evans corroborated Cheetham's statement that there was a berg far away to the west, showing now and again as the sun burst through the clouds.
Thursday, December 8.—63 deg. 20'. 177 deg. 22'. S. 31 E. 138'; to Circle 191'. The wind increased in the first watch last night to a moderate gale. The ship close hauled held within two points of her course. Topgallant sails and mainsail were furled, and later in the night the wind gradually crept ahead. At 6 A.M. we were obliged to furl everything, and throughout the day we have been plunging against a stiff breeze and moderate sea. This afternoon by keeping a little to eastward of the course, we have managed to get fore and aft sail filled. The barometer has continued its steady upward path for twenty-four hours; it shows signs of turning, having reached within 1/10th of 30 inches. It was light throughout last night (always a cheerful condition), but this head wind is trying to the patience, more especially as our coal expenditure is more than I estimated. We manage 62 or 63 revolutions on about 9 tons, but have to distil every three days at expense of half a ton, and then there is a weekly half ton for the cook. It is certainly a case of fighting one's way South.
I was much disturbed last night by the motion; the ship was pitching and twisting with short sharp movements on a confused sea, and with every plunge my thoughts flew to our poor ponies. This afternoon they are fairly well, but one knows that they must be getting weaker as time goes on, and one longs to give them a good sound rest with the ship on an even keel. Poor patient beasts! One wonders how far the memory of such fearful discomfort will remain with them—animals so often remember places and conditions where they have encountered difficulties or hurt. Do they only recollect circumstances which are deeply impressed by some shock of fear or sudden pain, and does the remembrance of prolonged strain pass away? Who can tell? But it would seem strangely merciful if nature should blot out these weeks of slow but inevitable torture.
The dogs are in great form again; for them the greatest circumstance of discomfort is to be constantly wet. It was this circumstance prolonged throughout the gale which nearly lost us our splendid leader 'Osman.' In the morning he was discovered utterly exhausted and only feebly trembling; life was very nearly out of him. He was buried in hay, and lay so for twenty-four hours, refusing food—the wonderful hardihood of his species was again shown by the fact that within another twenty-four hours he was to all appearance as fit as ever.
Antarctic petrels have come about us. This afternoon one was caught.
Later, about 7 P.M. Evans saw two icebergs far on the port beam; they could only be seen from the masthead. Whales have been frequently seen—Balaenoptera Sibbaldi—supposed to be the biggest mammal that has ever existed.4
Friday, December 9.—65 deg. 8'. 177 deg. 41'. Made good S. 4 W. 109'; Scott Island S. 22 W. 147'. At six this morning bergs and pack were reported ahead; at first we thought the pack might consist only of fragments of the bergs, but on entering a stream we found small worn floes—the ice not more than two or three feet in thickness. 'I had hoped that we should not meet it till we reached latitude 66 1/2 or at least 66.' We decided to work to the south and west as far as the open water would allow, and have met with some success. At 4 P.M., as I write, we are still in open water, having kept a fairly straight course and come through five or six light streams of ice, none more than 300 yards across.
We have passed some very beautiful bergs, mostly tabular. The heights have varied from 60 to 80 feet, and I am getting to think that this part of the Antarctic yields few bergs of greater altitude.
Two bergs deserve some description. One, passed very close on port hand in order that it might be cinematographed, was about 80 feet in height, and tabular. It seemed to have been calved at a comparatively recent date.
The above picture shows its peculiarities, and points to the desirability of close examination of other berg faces. There seemed to be a distinct difference of origin between the upper and lower portions of the berg, as though a land glacier had been covered by layer after layer of seasonal snow. Then again, what I have described as 'intrusive layers of blue ice' was a remarkable feature; one could imagine that these layers represent surfaces which have been transformed by regelation under hot sun and wind.
This point required investigation.
The second berg was distinguished by innumerable vertical cracks. These seemed to run criss-cross and to weaken the structure, so that the various seracs formed by them had bent to different angles and shapes, giving a very irregular surface to the berg, and a face scarred with immense vertical fissures.
One imagines that such a berg has come from a region of ice disturbance such as King Edward's Land.
We have seen a good many whales to-day, rorquals with high black spouts—Balaenoptera Sibbaldi.
The birds with us: Antarctic and snow petrel—a fulmar—and this morning Cape pigeon.
We have pack ice farther north than expected, and it's impossible to interpret the fact. One hopes that we shall not have anything heavy, but I'm afraid there's not much to build upon. 10 P.M.—We have made good progress throughout the day, but the ice streams thicken as we advance, and on either side of us the pack now appears in considerable fields. We still pass quantities of bergs, perhaps nearly one-half the number tabular, but the rest worn and fantastic.
The sky has been wonderful, with every form of cloud in every condition of light and shade; the sun has continually appeared through breaks in the cloudy heavens from time to time, brilliantly illuminating some field of pack, some steep-walled berg, or some patch of bluest sea. So sunlight and shadow have chased each other across our scene. To-night there is little or no swell—the ship is on an even keel, steady, save for the occasional shocks on striking ice.
It is difficult to express the sense of relief this steadiness gives after our storm-tossed passage. One can only imagine the relief and comfort afforded to the ponies, but the dogs are visibly cheered and the human element is full of gaiety. The voyage seems full of promise in spite of the imminence of delay.
If the pack becomes thick I shall certainly put the fires out and wait for it to open. I do not think it ought to remain close for long in this meridian. To-night we must be beyond the 66th parallel.
Saturday, December 10.—Dead Reckoning 66 deg. 38'. Long. 178 deg. 47'. Made good S. 17 W. 94. C. Crozier 688'. Stayed on deck till midnight. The sun just dipped below the southern horizon. The scene was incomparable. The northern sky was gloriously rosy and reflected in the calm sea between the ice, which varied from burnished copper to salmon pink; bergs and pack to the north had a pale greenish hue with deep purple shadows, the sky shaded to saffron and pale green. We gazed long at these beautiful effects. The ship made through leads during the night; morning found us pretty well at the end of the open water. We stopped to water ship from a nice hummocky floe. We made about 8 tons of water. Rennick took a sounding, 1960 fathoms; the tube brought up two small lumps of volcanic lava with the usual globigerina ooze.
Wilson shot a number of Antarctic petrel and snowy petrel. Nelson got some crustaceans and other beasts with a vertical tow net, and got a water sample and temperatures at 400 metres. The water was warmer at that depth. About 1.30 we proceeded at first through fairly easy pack, then in amongst very heavy old floes grouped about a big berg; we shot out of this and made a detour, getting easier going; but though the floes were less formidable as we proceeded south, the pack grew thicker. I noticed large floes of comparatively thin ice very sodden and easily split; these are similar to some we went through in the Discovery, but tougher by a month.
At three we stopped and shot four crab-eater seals; to-night we had the livers for dinner—they were excellent.
To-night we are in very close pack—it is doubtful if it is worth pushing on, but an arch of clear sky which has shown to the southward all day makes me think that there must be clearer water in that direction; perhaps only some 20 miles away—but 20 miles is much under present conditions. As I came below to bed at 11 P.M. Bruce was slogging away, making fair progress, but now and again brought up altogether. I noticed the ice was becoming much smoother and thinner, with occasional signs of pressure, between which the ice was very thin.
'We had been very carefully into all the evidence of former voyages to pick the best meridian to go south on, and I thought and still think that the evidence points to the 178 W. as the best. We entered the pack more or less on this meridian, and have been rewarded by encountering worse conditions than any ship has had before. Worse, in fact, than I imagined would have been possible on any other meridian of those from which we could have chosen.
'To understand the difficulty of the position you must appreciate what the pack is and how little is known of its movements.
'The pack in this part of the world consists (1) of the ice which has formed over the sea on the fringe of the Antarctic continent during the last winter; (2) of very heavy old ice floes which have broken out of bays and inlets during the previous summer, but have not had time to get north before the winter set in; (3) of comparatively heavy ice formed over the Ross Sea early in the last winter; and (4) of comparatively thin ice which has formed over parts of the Ross Sea in middle or towards the end of the last winter.
'Undoubtedly throughout the winter all ice-sheets move and twist, tear apart and press up into ridges, and thousands of bergs charge through these sheets, raising hummocks and lines of pressure and mixing things up; then of course where such rents are made in the winter the sea freezes again, forming a newer and thinner sheet.
'With the coming of summer the northern edge of the sheet decays and the heavy ocean swell penetrates it, gradually breaking it into smaller and smaller fragments. Then the whole body moves to the north and the swell of the Ross Sea attacks the southern edge of the pack.
'This makes it clear why at the northern and southern limits the pieces or ice-floes are comparatively small, whilst in the middle the floes may be two or three miles across; and why the pack may and does consist of various natures of ice-floes in extraordinary confusion.
'Further it will be understood why the belt grows narrower and the floes thinner and smaller as the summer advances.
'We know that where thick pack may be found early in January, open water and a clear sea may be found in February, and broadly that the later the date the easier the chance of getting through.
'A ship going through the pack must either break through the floes, push them aside, or go round them, observing that she cannot push floes which are more than 200 or 300 yards across.
'Whether a ship can get through or not depends on the thickness and nature of the ice, the size of the floes and the closeness with which they are packed together, as well as on her own power.
'The situation of the main bodies of pack and the closeness with which the floes are packed depend almost entirely on the prevailing winds. One cannot tell what winds have prevailed before one's arrival; therefore one cannot know much about the situation or density.
'Within limits the density is changing from day to day and even from hour to hour; such changes depend on the wind, but it may not necessarily be a local wind, so that at times they seem almost mysterious. One sees the floes pressing closely against one another at a given time, and an hour or two afterwards a gap of a foot or more may be seen between each.
'When the floes are pressed together it is difficult and sometimes impossible to force a way through, but when there is release of pressure the sum of many little gaps allows one to take a zigzag path.'
In the Pack
Sunday, December ll.—The ice grew closer during the night, and at 6 it seemed hopeless to try and get ahead. The pack here is very regular; the floes about 2 1/2 feet thick and very solid. They are pressed closely together, but being irregular in shape, open spaces frequently occur, generally triangular in shape.
It might be noted that such ice as this occupies much greater space than it originally did when it formed a complete sheet—hence if the Ross Sea were wholly frozen over in the spring, the total quantity of pack to the north of it when it breaks out must be immense.
This ice looks as though it must have come from the Ross Sea, and yet one is puzzled to account for the absence of pressure.
We have lain tight in the pack all day; the wind from 6 A.M. strong from W. and N.W., with snow; the wind has eased to-night, and for some hours the glass, which fell rapidly last night, has been stationary. I expect the wind will shift soon; pressure on the pack has eased, but so far it has not opened.
This morning Rennick got a sounding at 2015 fathoms from bottom similar to yesterday, with small pieces of basic lava; these two soundings appear to show a great distribution of this volcanic rock by ice. The line was weighed by hand after the soundings. I read Service in the wardroom.
This afternoon all hands have been away on ski over the floes. It is delightful to get the exercise. I'm much pleased with the ski and ski boots—both are very well adapted to our purposes.
This waiting requires patience, though I suppose it was to be expected at such an early season. It is difficult to know when to try and push on again.
Monday, December 12.—The pack was a little looser this morning; there was a distinct long swell apparently from N.W. The floes were not apart but barely touching the edges, which were hard pressed yesterday; the wind still holds from N.W., but lighter. Gran, Oates, and Bowers went on ski towards a reported island about which there had been some difference of opinion. I felt certain it was a berg, and it proved to be so; only of a very curious dome shape with very low cliffs all about.
Fires were ordered for 12, and at 11.30 we started steaming with plain sail set. We made, and are making fair progress on the whole, but it is very uneven. We escaped from the heavy floes about us into much thinner pack, then through two water holes, then back to the thinner pack consisting of thin floes of large area fairly easily broken. All went well till we struck heavy floes again, then for half an hour we stopped dead. Then on again, and since alternately bad and good—that is, thin young floes and hoary older ones, occasionally a pressed up berg, very heavy.
The best news of yesterday was that we drifted 15 miles to the S.E., so that we have not really stopped our progress at all, though it has, of course, been pretty slow.
I really don't know what to think of the pack, or when to hope for open water.
We tried Atkinson's blubber stove this afternoon with great success. The interior of the stove holds a pipe in a single coil pierced with holes on the under side. These holes drip oil on to an asbestos burner. The blubber is placed in a tank suitably built around the chimney; the overflow of oil from this tank leads to the feed pipe in the stove, with a cock to regulate the flow. A very simple device, but as has been shown a very effective one; the stove gives great heat, but, of course, some blubber smell. However, with such stoves in the south one would never lack cooked food or warm hut.
Discussed with Wright the fact that the hummocks on sea ice always yield fresh water. We agreed that the brine must simply run down out of the ice. It will be interesting to bring up a piece of sea ice and watch this process. But the fact itself is interesting as showing that the process producing the hummock is really producing fresh water. It may also be noted as phenomenon which makes all the difference to the ice navigator.5
Truly the getting to our winter quarters is no light task; at first the gales and heavy seas, and now this continuous fight with the pack ice.
8 P.M.—We are getting on with much bumping and occasional 'hold ups.'
Tuesday, December 13.—I was up most of the night. Never have I experienced such rapid and complete changes of prospect. Cheetham in the last dog watch was running the ship through sludgy new ice, making with all sail set four or five knots. Bruce, in the first, took over as we got into heavy ice again; but after a severe tussle got through into better conditions. The ice of yesterday loose with sludgy thin floes between. The middle watch found us making for an open lead, the ice around hard and heavy. We got through, and by sticking to the open water and then to some recently frozen pools made good progress. At the end of the middle watch trouble began again, and during this and the first part of the morning we were wrestling with the worst conditions we have met. Heavy hummocked bay ice, the floes standing 7 or 8 feet out of water, and very deep below. It was just such ice as we encountered at King Edward's Land in the Discovery. I have never seen anything more formidable. The last part of the morning watch was spent in a long recently frozen lead or pool, and the ship went well ahead again.
These changes sound tame enough, but they are a great strain on one's nerves—one is for ever wondering whether one has done right in trying to come down so far east, and having regard to coal, what ought to be done under the circumstances.
In the first watch came many alterations of opinion; time and again it looks as though we ought to stop when it seemed futile to be pushing and pushing without result; then would come a stretch of easy going and the impression that all was going very well with us. The fact of the matter is, it is difficult not to imagine the conditions in which one finds oneself to be more extensive than they are. It is wearing to have to face new conditions every hour. This morning we met at breakfast in great spirits; the ship has been boring along well for two hours, then Cheetham suddenly ran her into a belt of the worst and we were held up immediately. We can push back again, I think, but meanwhile we have taken advantage of the conditions to water ship. These big floes are very handy for that purpose at any rate. Rennick got a sounding 2124 fathoms, similar bottom including volcanic lava.
December 13 (cont.).—67 deg. 30' S. 177 deg. 58' W. Made good S. 20 E. 27'. C. Crozier S. 21 W. 644'.—We got in several tons of ice, then pushed off and slowly and laboriously worked our way to one of the recently frozen pools. It was not easily crossed, but when we came to its junction with the next part to the S.W. (in which direction I proposed to go) we were quite hung up. A little inspection showed that the big floes were tending to close. It seems as though the tenacity of the 6 or 7 inches of recent ice over the pools is enormously increased by lateral pressure. But whatever the cause, we could not budge.
We have decided to put fires out and remain here till the conditions change altogether for the better. It is sheer waste of coal to make further attempts to break through as things are at present.
We have been set to the east during the past days; is it the normal set in the region, or due to the prevalence of westerly winds? Possibly much depends on this as concerns our date of release. It is annoying, but one must contain one's soul in patience and hope for a brighter outlook in a day or two. Meanwhile we shall sound and do as much biological work as is possible.
The pack is a sunless place as a rule; this morning we had bright sunshine for a few hours, but later the sky clouded over from the north again, and now it is snowing dismally. It is calm.
Wednesday, December 14.—Position, N. 2', W. 1/2'. The pack still close around. From the masthead one can see a few patches of open water in different directions, but the main outlook is the same scene of desolate hummocky pack. The wind has come from the S.W., force 2; we have bright sunshine and good sights. The ship has swung to the wind and the floes around are continually moving. They change their relative positions in a slow, furtive, creeping fashion. The temperature is 35 deg., the water 29.2 deg. to 29.5 deg.. Under such conditions the thin sludgy ice ought to be weakening all the time; a few inches of such stuff should allow us to push through anywhere.
One realises the awful monotony of a long stay in the pack, such as Nansen and others experienced. One can imagine such days as these lengthening into interminable months and years.
For us there is novelty, and everyone has work to do or makes work, so that there is no keen sense of impatience.
Nelson and Lillie were up all night with the current meter; it is not quite satisfactory, but some result has been obtained. They will also get a series of temperatures and samples and use the vertical tow net.
The current is satisfactory. Both days the fixes have been good—it is best that we should go north and west. I had a great fear that we should be drifted east and so away to regions of permanent pack. If we go on in this direction it can only be a question of time before we are freed.
We have all been away on ski on the large floe to which we anchored this morning. Gran is wonderfully good and gives instruction well. It was hot and garments came off one by one—the Soldier  and Atkinson were stripped to the waist eventually, and have been sliding round the floe for some time in that condition. Nearly everyone has been wearing goggles; the glare is very bad. Ponting tried to get a colour picture, but unfortunately the ice colours are too delicate for this.
To-night Campbell, Evans, and I went out over the floe, and each in turn towed the other two; it was fairly easy work—that is, to pull 310 to 320 lbs. One could pull it perhaps more easily on foot, yet it would be impossible to pull such a load on a sledge. What a puzzle this pulling of loads is! If one could think that this captivity was soon to end there would be little reason to regret it; it is giving practice with our deep sea gear, and has made everyone keen to learn the proper use of ski.
The swell has increased considerably, but it is impossible to tell from what direction it comes; one can simply note that the ship and brash ice swing to and fro, bumping into the floe.
We opened the ice-house to-day, and found the meat in excellent condition—most of it still frozen.
Thursday, December 15.—66 deg. 23' S. 177 deg. 59' W. Sit. N. 2', E. 5 1/2'.—In the morning the conditions were unaltered. Went for a ski run before breakfast. It makes a wonderful difference to get the blood circulating by a little exercise.
After breakfast we served out ski to the men of the landing party. They are all very keen to learn, and Gran has been out morning and afternoon giving instruction.
Meares got some of his dogs out and a sledge—two lots of seven—those that looked in worst condition (and several are getting very fat) were tried. They were very short of wind—it is difficult to understand how they can get so fat, as they only get two and a half biscuits a day at the most. The ponies are looking very well on the whole, especially those in the outside stalls.
Rennick got a sounding to-day 1844 fathoms; reversible thermometers were placed close to bottom and 500 fathoms up. We shall get a very good series of temperatures from the bottom up during the wait. Nelson will try to get some more current observations to-night or to-morrow.
It is very trying to find oneself continually drifting north, but one is thankful not to be going east.
To-night it has fallen calm and the floes have decidedly opened; there is a lot of water about the ship, but it does not look to extend far. Meanwhile the brash and thinner floes are melting; everything of that sort must help—but it's trying to the patience to be delayed like this.
We have seen enough to know that with a north-westerly or westerly wind the floes tend to pack and that they open when it is calm. The question is, will they open more with an easterly or south-easterly wind—that is the hope.
Signs of open water round and about are certainly increasing rather than diminishing.
Friday, December 16.—The wind sprang up from the N.E. this morning, bringing snow, thin light hail, and finally rain; it grew very thick and has remained so all day.
Early the floe on which we had done so much ski-ing broke up, and we gathered in our ice anchors, then put on head sail, to which she gradually paid off. With a fair wind we set sail on the foremast, and slowly but surely she pushed the heavy floes aside. At lunch time we entered a long lead of open water, and for nearly half an hour we sailed along comfortably in it. Entering the pack again, we found the floes much lighter and again pushed on slowly. In all we may have made as much as three miles.
I have observed for some time some floes of immense area forming a chain of lakes in this pack, and have been most anxious to discover their thickness. They are most certainly the result of the freezing of comparatively recent pools in the winter pack, and it follows that they must be getting weaker day by day. If one could be certain firstly, that these big areas extend to the south, and, secondly, that the ship could go through them, it would be worth getting up steam. We have arrived at the edge of one of these floes, and the ship will not go through under sail, but I'm sure she would do so under steam. Is this a typical floe? And are there more ahead?
One of the ponies got down this afternoon—Oates thinks it was probably asleep and fell, but the incident is alarming; the animals are not too strong. On this account this delay is harassing—otherwise we should not have much to regret.
Saturday, December 17.—67 deg. 24'. 177 deg. 34'. Drift for 48 hours S. 82 E. 9.7'. It rained hard and the glass fell rapidly last night with every sign of a coming gale. This morning the wind increased to force 6 from the west with snow. At noon the barograph curve turned up and the wind moderated, the sky gradually clearing.
To-night it is fairly bright and clear; there is a light south-westerly wind. It seems rather as though the great gales of the Westerlies must begin in these latitudes with such mild disturbances as we have just experienced. I think it is the first time I have known rain beyond the Antarctic circle—it is interesting to speculate on its effect in melting the floes.
We have scarcely moved all day, but bergs which have become quite old friends through the week are on the move, and one has approached and almost circled us. Evidently these bergs are moving about in an irregular fashion, only they must have all travelled a little east in the forty-eight hours as we have done. Another interesting observation to-night is that of the slow passage of a stream of old heavy floes past the ship and the lighter ice in which she is held.
There are signs of water sky to the south, and I'm impatient to be off, but still one feels that waiting may be good policy, and I should certainly contemplate waiting some time longer if it weren't for the ponies.
Everyone is wonderfully cheerful; there is laughter all day long. Nelson finished his series of temperatures and samples to-day with an observation at 1800 metres.
Series of Sea Temperatures
Depth Metres Temp. (uncorrected)
Dec. 14 0 -1.67 ,, 10 -1.84 ,, 20 -1.86 ,, 30 -1.89 ,, 50 -1.92 ,, 75 -1.93 ,, 100 -1.80 ,, 125 -1.11 ,, 150 -0.63 ,, 200 0.24 ,, 500 1.18 ,, 1500 0.935 Dec. 17 1800 0.61 ,, 2300 0.48 Dec. 15 2800 0.28 ,, 3220 0.11 ,, 3650 -0.13 no sample ,, 3891 bottom Dec. 20 2300 (1260 fms.) 0.48 deg. C. ,, 3220 (1760 fms.) 0.11 deg. C. ,, 3300 bottom
A curious point is that the bottom layer is 2 tenths higher on the 20th, remaining in accord with the same depth on the 15th.
Sunday, December 18.—In the night it fell calm and the floes opened out. There is more open water between the floes around us, yet not a great deal more.
In general what we have observed on the opening of the pack means a very small increase in the open water spaces, but enough to convey the impression that the floes, instead of wishing to rub shoulders and grind against one another, desire to be apart. They touch lightly where they touch at all—such a condition makes much difference to the ship in attempts to force her through, as each floe is freer to move on being struck.
If a pack be taken as an area bounded by open water, it is evident that a small increase of the periphery or a small outward movement of the floes will add much to the open water spaces and create a general freedom.
The opening of this pack was reported at 3 A.M., and orders were given to raise steam. The die is cast, and we must now make a determined push for the open southern sea.
There is a considerable swell from the N.W.; it should help us to get along.
Evening.—Again extraordinary differences of fortune. At first things looked very bad—it took nearly half an hour to get started, much more than an hour to work away to one of the large area floes to which I have referred; then to my horror the ship refused to look at it. Again by hard fighting we worked away to a crack running across this sheet, and to get through this crack required many stoppages and engine reversals.
Then we had to shoot away south to avoid another unbroken floe of large area, but after we had rounded this things became easier; from 6 o'clock we were almost able to keep a steady course, only occasionally hung up by some thicker floe. The rest of the ice was fairly recent and easily broken. At 7 the leads of recent ice became easier still, and at 8 we entered a long lane of open water. For a time we almost thought we had come to the end of our troubles, and there was much jubilation. But, alas! at the end of the lead we have come again to heavy bay ice. It is undoubtedly this mixture of bay ice which causes the open leads, and I cannot but think that this is the King Edward's Land pack. We are making S.W. as best we can.
What an exasperating game this is!—one cannot tell what is going to happen in the next half or even quarter of an hour. At one moment everything looks flourishing, the next one begins to doubt if it is possible to get through.
New Fish.—Just at the end of the open lead to-night we capsized a small floe and thereby jerked a fish out on top of another one. We stopped and picked it up, finding it a beautiful silver grey, genus Notothenia—I think a new species.
Snow squalls have been passing at intervals—the wind continues in the N.W. It is comparatively warm.
We saw the first full-grown Emperor penguin to-night.
Monday, December 19.—On the whole, in spite of many bumps, we made good progress during the night, but the morning (present) outlook is the worst we've had. We seem to be in the midst of a terribly heavy screwed pack; it stretches in all directions as far as the eye can see, and the prospects are alarming from all points of view. I have decided to push west—anything to get out of these terribly heavy floes. Great patience is the only panacea for our ill case. It is bad luck.
We first got amongst the very thick floes at 1 A.M., and jammed through some of the most monstrous I have ever seen. The pressure ridges rose 24 feet above the surface—the ice must have extended at least 30 feet below. The blows given us gave the impression of irresistible solidity. Later in the night we passed out of this into long lanes of water and some of thin brash ice, hence the progress made. I'm afraid we have strained our rudder; it is stiff in one direction. We are in difficult circumstances altogether. This morning we have brilliant sunshine and no wind.
Noon 67 deg. 54.5' S., 178 deg. 28' W. Made good S. 34 W. 37'; C. Crozier 606'. Fog has spread up from the south with a very light southerly breeze.
There has been another change of conditions, but I scarcely know whether to call it for the better or the worse. There are fewer heavy old floes; on the other hand, the one year's floes, tremendously screwed and doubtless including old floes in their mass, have now enormously increased in area.
A floe which we have just passed must have been a mile across—this argues lack of swell and from that one might judge the open water to be very far. We made progress in a fairly good direction this morning, but the outlook is bad again—the ice seems to be closing. Again patience, we must go on steadily working through.
5.30.—We passed two immense bergs in the afternoon watch, the first of an irregular tabular form. The stratified surface had clearly faulted. I suggest that an uneven bottom to such a berg giving unequal buoyancy to parts causes this faulting. The second berg was domed, having a twin peak. These bergs are still a puzzle. I rather cling to my original idea that they become domed when stranded and isolated.
These two bergs had left long tracks of open water in the pack. We came through these making nearly 3 knots, but, alas! only in a direction which carried us a little east of south. It was difficult to get from one tract to another, but the tracts themselves were quite clear of ice. I noticed with rather a sinking that the floes on either side of us were assuming gigantic areas; one or two could not have been less than 2 or 3 miles across. It seemed to point to very distant open water.
But an observation which gave greater satisfaction was a steady reduction in the thickness of the floes. At first they were still much pressed up and screwed. One saw lines and heaps of pressure dotted over the surface of the larger floes, but it was evident from the upturned slopes that the floes had been thin when these disturbances took place.
At about 4.30 we came to a group of six or seven low tabular bergs some 15 or 20 feet in height. It was such as these that we saw in King Edward's Land, and they might very well come from that region. Three of these were beautifully uniform, with flat tops and straight perpendicular sides, and others had overhanging cornices, and some sloped towards the edges.
No more open water was reported on the other side of the bergs, and one wondered what would come next. The conditions have proved a pleasing surprise. There are still large floes on either side of us, but they are not much hummocked; there are pools of water on their surface, and the lanes between are filled with light brash and only an occasional heavy floe. The difference is wonderful. The heavy floes and gigantic pressure ice struck one most alarmingly—it seemed impossible that the ship could win her way through them, and led one to imagine all sorts of possibilities, such as remaining to be drifted north and freed later in the season, and the contrast now that the ice all around is little more than 2 or 3 feet thick is an immense relief. It seems like release from a horrid captivity. Evans has twice suggested stopping and waiting to-day, and on three occasions I have felt my own decision trembling in the balance. If this condition holds I need not say how glad we shall be that we doggedly pushed on in spite of the apparently hopeless outlook.
In any case, if it holds or not, it will be a great relief to feel that there is this plain of negotiable ice behind one.
Saw two sea leopards this evening, one in the water making short, lazy dives under the floes. It had a beautiful sinuous movement.
I have asked Pennell to prepare a map of the pack; it ought to give some idea of the origin of the various forms of floes, and their general drift. I am much inclined to think that most of the pressure ridges are formed by the passage of bergs through the comparatively young ice. I imagine that when the sea freezes very solid it carries bergs with it, but obviously the enormous mass of a berg would need a great deal of stopping. In support of this view I notice that most of the pressure ridges are formed by pieces of a sheet which did not exceed one or two feet in thickness—also it seems that the screwed ice which we have passed has occurred mostly in the regions of bergs. On one side of the tabular berg passed yesterday pressure was heaped to a height of 15 feet—it was like a ship's bow wave on a large scale. Yesterday there were many bergs and much pressure; last night no bergs and practically no pressure; this morning few bergs and comparatively little pressure. It goes to show that the unconfined pack of these seas would not be likely to give a ship a severe squeeze.
Saw a young Emperor this morning, and whilst trying to capture it one of Wilson's new whales with the sabre dorsal fin rose close to the ship. I estimated this fin to be 4 feet high.