Return to Table of Contents of Scott's Last Expedition (e-book)
p. 3.--Dogs. These included thirty-three sledging dogs and a collie bitch, 'Lassie.' The thirty-three, all Siberian dogs excepting the Esquimaux 'Peary' and 'Borup,' were collected by Mr. Meares, who drove them across Siberia to Vladivostok with the help of the dog-driver Demetri Gerof, whom he had engaged for the expedition. From Vladivostok, where he was joined by Lieutenant Wilfred Bruce, he brought them by steamer to Sydney, and thence to Lyttelton.
The dogs were the gift of various schools, as shown by the following list:
Dogs Presented by Schools, &c.
Name of School, &c.
Isle off Vladivostok
p. 4.--Those who are named in these opening pages were all keen supporters of the Expedition. Sir George Clifford, Bart., and Messrs. Arthur and George Rhodes were friends from Christchurch. Mr. M. J. Miller, Mayor of Lyttelton, was a master shipwright and contractor, who took great interest in both the Discovery and the Terra Nova, and stopped the leak in the latter vessel which had been so troublesome on the voyage out. Mr. Anderson belonged to the firm of John Anderson & Sons, engineers, who own Lyttelton Foundry. Mr. Kinsey was the trusted friend and representative who acted as the representative of Captain Scott in New Zealand during his absence in the South. Mr. Wyatt was business manager to the Expedition.
p. 11.--Dr. Wilson writes: I must say I enjoyed it all from beginning to end, and as one bunk became unbearable after another, owing to the wet, and the comments became more and more to the point as people searched out dry spots here and there to finish the night in oilskins and greatcoats on the cabin or ward-room seats, I thought things were becoming interesting.
Some of the staff were like dead men with sea-sickness. Even so Cherry-Garrard and Wright and Day turned out with the rest of us and alternately worked and were sick.
I have no sea-sickness on these ships myself under any conditions, so I enjoyed it all, and as I have the run of the bridge and can ask as many questions as I choose, I knew all that was going on.
All Friday and Friday night we worked in two parties, two hours on and two hours off; it was heavy work filling and handing up huge buckets of water as fast as they could be given from one to the other from the very bottom of the stokehold to the upper deck, up little metal ladders all the way. One was of course wet through the whole time in a sweater and trousers and sea boots, and every two hours one took these off and hurried in for a rest in a greatcoat, to turn out again in two hours and put in the same cold sopping clothes, and so on until 4 A.M. on Saturday, when we had baled out between four and five tons of water and had so lowered it that it was once more possible to light fires and try the engines and the steam pump again and to clear the valves and the inlet which was once more within reach. The fires had been put out at 11.40 A.M. and were then out for twenty-two hours while we baled. It was a weird' night's work with the howling gale and the darkness and the immense seas running over the ship every few minutes and no engines and no sail, and we all in the engine-room, black as ink with the engine-room oil and bilge water, singing chanties as we passed up slopping buckets full of bilge, each man above' slopping a little over the heads of all below him; wet through to the skin, so much so that some of the party worked altogether naked like Chinese coolies; and the rush of the wave backwards and forwards at the bottom grew hourly less in the dim light of a couple of engine-room oil lamps whose light just made the darkness visible, the ship all the time rolling like a sodden lifeless log, her lee gunwale under water every time.
December 3. We were all at work till 4 A.M. and then were all told off to sleep till 8 A.M. At 9.30 A.M. we were all on to the main hand pump, and, lo and behold! it worked, and we pumped and pumped till 12.30, when the ship was once more only as full of bilge water as she always is and the position was practically solved.
There was one thrilling moment in the midst of the worst hour on Friday when we were realising that the fires must be drawn, and when every pump had failed to act, and when the bulwarks began to go to pieces and the petrol cases were all afloat and going overboard, and the word was suddenly passed in a shout from the hands at work in the waist of the ship trying to save petrol cases that smoke was coming up through the seams in the after hold. As this was full of coal and patent fuel and was next the engine-room, and as it had not been opened for the airing, it required to get rid of gas on account of the flood of water on deck making it impossible to open the hatchways; the possibility of a fire there was patent to everyone and it could not possibly have been dealt with in any way short of opening the hatches and flooding the ship, when she must have floundered. It was therefore a thrilling moment or two until it was discovered that the smoke was really steam, arising from the bilge at the bottom having risen to the heated coal.
p. 15.--December 26. We watched two or three immense blue whales at fairly short distance; this is Balænoptera Sibbaldi. One sees first a small dark hump appear and then immediately a jet of grey fog squirted upwards fifteen to eighteen feet, gradually spreading as it rises vertically into the frosty air. I have been nearly in these blows once or twice and had the moisture in my face with a sickening smell of shrimpy oil. Then the bump elongates and up rolls an immense blue-grey or blackish grey round back with a faint ridge along the top, on which presently appears a small hook-like dorsal fin, and then the whole sinks and disappears. [Dr. Wilson's Journal.]
p. 21.--December 18. Watered ship at a tumbled floe. Sea ice when pressed up into large hummocks gradually loses all its salt. Even when sea water freezes it squeezes out the great bulk of its salt as a solid, but the sea water gets into it by soaking again, and yet when held out of the water, as it is in a hummock, the salt all drains out and the melted ice is blue and quite good for drinking, engines, &c. [Dr. Wilson's Journal.]
p. 32.--It may be added that in contradistinction to the nicknames of Skipper conferred upon Evans, and Mate on Campbell, Scott himself was known among the afterguard as The Owner.
p. 35.--(Penguins.) They have lost none of their attractiveness, and are most comical and interesting; as curious as ever, they will always come up at a trot when we sing to them, and you may often see a group of explorers on the poop singing 'For she's got bells on her fingers and rings on her toes, elephants to ride upon wherever she goes,' and so on at the top of their voices to an admiring group of Adelie penguins. Meares is the greatest attraction; he has a full voice which is musical but always very flat. He declares that 'God save the King' will always send them to the water, and certainly it is often successful. [Dr. Wilson's Journal.]
p. 58.--We were to examine the possibilities of landing, but the swell was so heavy in its break among the floating blocks of ice along the actual beach and ice foot that a landing was out of the question. We should have broken up the boat and have all been in the water together. But I assure you it was tantalising to me, for there about 6 feet above us on a small dirty piece of the old bay ice about ten feet square one living Emperor penguin chick was standing disconsolately stranded, and close by stood one faithful old Emperor parent asleep. This young Emperor was still in the down, a most interesting fact in the bird's life history at which we had rightly guessed, but which no one had actually observed before. It was in a stage never yet seen or collected, for the wings were already quite clean of down and feathered as in the adult, also a line down the breast was shed of down, and part of the head. This bird would have been a treasure to me, but we could not risk life for it, so it had to remain where it was. It was a curious fact that with as much clean ice to live on as they could have wished for, these destitute derelicts of a flourishing colony now gone north to sea on floating bay ice should have preferred to remain standing on the only piece of bay ice left, a piece about ten feet square and now pressed up six feet above water level, evidently wondering why it was so long in starting north with the general exodus which must have taken place just a month ago. The whole incident was most interesting and full of suggestion as to the slow working of the brain of these queer people. Another point was most weird to see, that on the under side of this very dirty piece of sea ice, which was about two feet thick and which hung over the water as a sort of cave, we could see the legs and lower halves of dead Emperor chicks hanging through, and even in one place a dead adult. I hope to make a picture of the whole quaint incident, for it was a corner crammed full of Imperial history in the light of what we already knew, and it would otherwise have been about as unintelligible as any group of animate or inanimate nature could possibly have been. As it is, it throws more light on the life history of this strangely primitive bird.
We were joking in the boat as we rowed under these cliffs and saying it would be a short-lived amusement to see the overhanging cliff part company and fall over us. So we were glad to find that we were rowing back to the ship and already 200 or 300 yards away from the place and in open water when there was a noise like crackling thunder and a huge plunge into the sea and a smother of rock dust like the smoke of an explosion, and we realised that the very thing had happened which we had just been talking about. Altogether it was a very exciting row, for before we got on board we had the pleasure of seeing the ship shoved in so close to these cliffs by a belt of heavy pack ice that to us it appeared a toss-up whether she got out again or got forced in against the rocks. She had no time or room to turn and get clear by backing out through the belt of pack stern first, getting heavy bumps under the counter and on the rudder as she did so, for the ice was heavy and the swell considerable. [Dr. Wilson's Journal.]
p. 81.--Dr. Wilson writes in his Journal: January 14. He also told me the plans for our depôt journey on which we shall be starting in about ten days' time. He wants me to be a dog driver with himself, Meares, and Teddie Evans, and this is what I would have chosen had I had a free choice at all. The dogs run in two teams and each team wants two men. It means a lot of running as they are being driven now, but it is the fastest and most interesting work of all, and we go ahead of the whole caravan with lighter loads and at a faster rate; moreover, if any traction except ourselves can reach the top of Beardmore Glacier, it will be the dogs, and the dog drivers are therefore the people who will have the best chance of doing the top piece of the ice cap at 10,000 feet to the Pole. May I be there! About this time next year may I be there or there-abouts! With so many young bloods in the heyday of youth and strength beyond my own I feel there will be a most difficult task in making choice towards the end and a most keen competition--and a universal lack of selfishness and self-seeking with a complete absence of any jealous feeling in any single one of the comparatively large number who at present stand a chance of being on the last piece next summer.
It will be an exciting time and the excitement has already begun in the healthiest possible manner. I have never been thrown in with a more unselfish lot of men--each one doing his utmost fair and square in the most cheery manner possible.
As late as October 15 he writes further: 'No one yet knows who will be on the Summit party: it is to depend on condition, and fitness when we get there.' It is told of Scott, while still in New Zealand, that being pressed on the point, he playfully said, 'Well, I should like to have Bill to hold my hand when we get to the Pole'; but the Diary shows how the actual choice was made on the march.
p. 86.--Campbell, Levick, and Priestly set off to the old Nimrod hut eight miles away to see if they could find a stove of convenient size for their own hut, as well as any additional paraffin, and in default of the latter, to kill some seals for oil.
p. 92.--The management of stores and transport was finally entrusted to Bowers. Rennick therefore remained with the ship. A story told by Lady Scott illustrates the spirit of these men--the expedition first, personal distinctions nowhere. It was in New Zealand and the very day on which the order had been given for Bowers to exchange with Rennick. In the afternoon Captain Scott and his wife were returning from the ship to the house where they were staying; on the hill they saw the two men coming down with arms on each other's shoulders--a fine testimony to both. 'Upon my word,' exclaimed Scott, 'that shows Rennick in a good light!'
p. 102.--January 29. The seals have been giving a lot of trouble, that is just to Meares and myself with our dogs. The whole teams go absolutely crazy when they sight them or get wind of them, and there are literally hundreds along some of the cracks. Occasionally when one pictures oneself quite away from trouble of that kind, an old seal will pop his head up at a blowhole a few yards ahead of the team, and they are all on top of him before one can say 'Knife!' Then one has to rush in with the whip--and every one of the team of eleven jumps over the harness of the dog next to him and the harnesses become a muddle that takes much patience to unravel, not to mention care lest the whole team should get away with the sledge and its load and leave one behind to follow on foot at leisure. I never did get left the whole of this depôt journey, but I was often very near it and several times had only time to seize a strap or a part of the sledge and be dragged along helter-skelter over everything that came in the way till the team got sick of galloping and one could struggle to one's feet again. One gets very wary and wide awake when one has to manage a team of eleven dogs and a sledge load by oneself, but it was a most interesting experience, and I had a delightful leader, 'Stareek' by name--Russian for 'Old Man,' and he was the most wise old man. We have to use Russian terms with all our dogs. 'Ki Ki' means go to the right, 'Chui' means go to the left, 'Esh to' means lie down--and the remainder are mostly swear words which mean everything else which one has to say to a dog team. Dog driving like this in the orthodox manner is a very different thing to the beastly dog driving we perpetrated in the Discovery days. I got to love all my team and they got to know me well, and my old leader even now, six months after I have had anything to do with him, never fails to come and speak to me whenever he sees me, and he knows me and my voice ever so far off. He is quite a ridiculous 'old man' and quite the nicest, quietest, cleverest old dog I have ever come across. He looks in face as if he knew all the wickedness of all the world and all its cares and as if he were bored to death by them. [Dr. Wilson's Journal.]
p. 111.--February 15. There were also innumerable subsidences of the surface--the breaking of crusts over air spaces under them, large areas of dropping 1/4 inch or so with a hushing sort of noise or muffled report.--My leader Stareek, the nicest and wisest old dog in both teams, thought there was a rabbit under the crust every time one gave way close by him and he would jump sideways with both feet on the spot and his nose in the snow. The action was like a flash and never checked the team--it was most amusing. I have another funny little dog, Mukaka, small but very game and a good worker. He is paired with a fat, lazy and very greedy black dog, Nugis by name, and in every march this sprightly little Mukaka will once or twice notice that Nugis is not pulling and will jump over the trace, bite Nugis like a snap, and be back again in his own place before the fat dog knows what has happened. [Dr. Wilson's Journal.]
p. 125.--Taking up the story from the point where eleven of the thirteen dogs had been brought to the surface, Mr. Cherry-Garrard's Diary records:
This left the two at the bottom. Scott had several times wanted to go down. Bill said to me that he hoped he wouldn't, but now he insisted. We found the Alpine rope would reach, and then lowered Scott down to the platform, sixty feet below. I thought it very plucky. We then hauled the two dogs up on the rope, leaving Scott below. Scott said the dogs were very glad to see him; they had curled up asleep--it was wonderful they had no bones broken.
Then Meares' dogs, which were all wandering about loose, started fighting our team, and we all had to leave Scott and go and separate them, which took some time. They fixed on Noogis (I.) badly. We then hauled Scott up: it was all three of us could do--fingers a good deal frost-bitten at the end. That was all the dogs. Scott has just said that at one time he never hoped to get back the thirteen or even half of them. When he was down in the crevasse he wanted to go off exploring, but we dissuaded him. Of course it was a great opportunity. He kept on saying, 'I wonder why this is running the way it is--you expect to find them at right angles.'
Scott found inside crevasse warmer than above, but had no thermometer. It is a great wonder the whole sledge did not drop through: the inside was like the cliff of Dover.
p. 136.--February 28. Meares and I led off with a dog team each, and leaving the Barrier we managed to negotiate the first long pressure ridge of the sea ice where the seals all lie, without much trouble--the dogs were running well and fast and we kept on the old tracks, still visible, by which we had come out in January, heading a long way out to make a wide detour round the open water off Cape Armitage, from which a very wide extent of thick black fog, 'frost smoke' as we call it, was rising on our right. This completely obscured our view of the open water, and the only suggestion it gave me was that the thaw pool off the Cape was much bigger than when we passed it in January and that we should probably have to make a detour of three or four miles round it to reach Hut Point instead of one or two. I still thought it was not impossible to reach Hut Point this way, so we went on, but before we had run two miles on the sea ice we noticed that we were coming on to an area broken up by fine thread-like cracks evidently quite fresh, and as I ran along by the sledge I paced them and found they curved regularly at every 30 paces, which could only mean that they were caused by a swell. This suggested to me that the thaw pool off Cape Armitage was even bigger than I thought and that we were getting on to ice which was breaking up, to flow north into it. We stopped to consider, and found that the cracks in the ice we were on were the rise and fall of a swell. Knowing that the ice might remain like this with each piece tight against the next only until the tide turned, I knew that we must get off it at once in case the tide did turn in the next half-hour, when each crack would open up into a wide lead of open water and we should find ourselves on an isolated floe. So we at once turned and went back as fast as possible to the unbroken sea ice. Obviously it was now unsafe to go round to Hut Point by Cape Armitage and we therefore made for the Gap. It was between eight and nine in the evening when we turned, and we soon came in sight of the pony party, led as we thought by Captain Scott. We were within 1/2 a mile of them when we hurried right across their bows and headed straight for the Gap, making a course more than a right angle off the course we had been on. There was the seals' pressure ridge of sea ice between us and them, but as I could see them quite distinctly I had no doubt they could see us, and we were occupied more than once just then in beating the teams off stray seals, so that we didn't go by either vary quickly or very silently. From here we ran into the Gap, where there was some nasty pressed-up ice to cross and large gaps and cracks by the ice foot; but with the Alpine rope and a rush we got first one team over and then the other without mishap on to the land ice, and were then practically at Hut Point. However, expecting that the pony party was following us, we ran our teams up on to level ice, picketed them, and pitched our tent, to remain there for the night, as we had a half-mile of rock to cross to reach the hut and the sledges would have to be carried over this and the dogs led by hand in couples--a very long job. Having done this we returned to the ice foot with a pick and a shovel to improve the road up for horse party, as they would have to come over the same bad ice we had found difficult with the dogs; but they were nowhere to be seen close at hand as we had expected, for they were miles out, as we soon saw, still trying to reach Hut Point by the sea ice round Cape Armitage thaw pool, and on the ice which was showing a working crack at 30 paces. I couldn't understand how Scott could do such a thing, and it was only the next day that I found out that Scott had remained behind and had sent Bowers in charge of this pony party. Bowers, having had no experience of the kind, did not grasp the situation for some time, and as we watched him and his party--or as we thought Captain Scott and his party--of ponies we saw them all suddenly realise that they were getting into trouble and the whole party turned back; but instead of coming back towards the Gap as we had, we saw them go due south towards the Barrier edge and White Island. Then I thought they were all right, for I knew they would get on to safe ice and camp for the night. We therefore had our supper in the tent and were turning in between eleven and twelve when I had a last look to see where they were and found they had camped as it appeared to me on safe Barrier ice, the only safe thing they could have done. They were now about six miles away from us, and it was lucky that I had my Goerz glasses with me so that we could follow their movements. Now as everything looked all right, Meares and I turned in and slept. At 5 A.M. I awoke, and as I felt uneasy about the party I went out and along the Gap to where we could see their camp, and I was horrified to see that the whole of the sea ice was now on the move and that it had broken up for miles further than when we turned in and right back past where they had camped, and that the pony party was now, as we could see, adrift on a floe and separated by open water and a lot of drifting ice from the edge of the fast Barrier ice. We could see with our glasses that they were running the ponies and sledges over as quickly as possible from floe to floe whenever they could, trying to draw nearer to the safe Barrier ice again. The whole Strait was now open water to the N. of Cape Armitage, with the frost smoke rising everywhere from it, and full of pieces of floating ice, all going up N. to Ross Sea.
March 1. Ash Wednesday. The question for us was whether we could do anything to help them. There was no boat anywhere and there was no one to consult with, for everyone was on the floating floe as we believed, except Teddie Evans, Forde, and Keohane, who with one pony were on their way back from Corner Camp. So we searched the Barrier for signs of their tent and then saw that there was a tent at Safety Camp, which meant evidently to us that they had returned. The obvious thing was to join up with them and go round to where the pony party was adrift, and see if we could help them to reach the safe ice. So without waiting for breakfast we went off six miles to this tent. We couldn't go now by the Gap, for the ice by which we had reached land yesterday was now broken up in every direction and all on the move up the Strait. We had no choice now but to cross up by Crater Hill and down by Pram Point and over the pressure ridges and so on to the Barrier and off to Safety Camp. We couldn't possibly take a dog sledge this way, so we walked, taking the Alpine rope to cross the pressure ridges, which are full of crevasses.
We got to this tent soon after noon and were astonished to find that not Teddie Evans and his two seamen were here, but that Scott and Oates and Gran were in it and no pony with them. Teddie Evans was still on his way back from Corner Camp and had not arrived. It was now for the first time that we understood how the accident had happened. When we had left Safety Camp yesterday with the dogs, the ponies began their march to follow us, but one of the ponies was so weak after the last blizzard and so obviously about to die that Bowers, Cherry-Garrard, and Crean were sent on with the four capable ponies, while Scott, Oates, and Gran remained at Safety Camp till the sick pony died, which happened apparently that night. He was dead and buried when we got there. We found that Scott had that morning seen the open water up to the Barrier edge and had been in a dreadful state of mind, thinking that Meares and I, as well as the whole pony party, had gone out into the Strait on floating ice. He was therefore much relieved when we arrived and he learned for the first time where the pony party was trying to get to fast ice again. We were now given some food, which we badly wanted, and while we were eating we saw in the far distance a single man coming hurriedly along the edge of the Barrier ice from the direction of the catastrophe party and towards our camp. Gran went off on ski to meet him, and when he arrived we found it was Crean, who had been sent off by Bowers with a note, unencumbered otherwise, to jump from one piece of floating ice to another until he reached the fast edge of the Barrier in order to let Capt. Scott know what had happened. This he did, of course not knowing that we or anyone else had seen him go adrift, and being unable to leave the ponies and all his loaded sledges himself. Crean had considerable difficulty and ran a pretty good risk in doing this, but succeeded all right. There were now Scott, Oates, Crean, Gran, Meares, and myself here and only three sleeping-bags, so the three first remained to see if they could help Bowers, Cherry-Garrard, and the ponies, while Meares, Gran, and I returned to look after our dogs at Hut Point. Here we had only two sleeping-bags for the three of us, so we had to take turns, and I remained up till 1 o'clock that night while Gran had six hours in my bag. It was a bitterly cold job after a long day. We had been up at 5 with nothing to eat till 1 o'clock, and walked 14 miles. The nights are now almost dark.
March 2. A very bitter wind blowing and it was a cheerless job waiting for six hours to get a sleep in the bag. I walked down from our tent to the hut and watched whales blowing in the semi-darkness out in the black water of the Strait. When we turned out in the morning the pony party was still on floating ice but not any further from the Barrier ice. By a merciful providence the current was taking them rather along the Barrier edge, where they went adrift, instead of straight out to sea. We could do nothing more for them, so we set to our work with the dogs. It was blowing a bitter gale of wind from the S.E. with some drift and we made a number of journeys backwards and forwards between the Gap and the hut, carrying our tent and camp equipment down and preparing a permanent picketing line for the dogs. As the ice had all gone out of the Strait we were quite cut off from any return to Cape Evans until the sea should again freeze over, and this was not likely until the end of April. We rigged up a small fireplace in the hut and found some wood and made a fire for an hour or so at each meal, but as there was no coal and not much wood we felt we must be economical with the fuel, and so also with matches and everything else, in case Bowers should lose his sledge loads, which had most of the supplies for the whole party to last twelve men for two months. The weather had now become too thick for us to distinguish anything in the distance and we remained in ignorance as to the party adrift until Saturday. I had also lent my glasses to Captain Scott. This night I had first go in the bag, and turned out to shiver for eight hours till breakfast. There was literally nothing in the hut that one could cover oneself with to keep warm and we couldn't run to keeping the fire going. It was very cold work. There were heaps of biscuit cases here which we had left in Discovery days, and with these we built up a small inner hut to live in.
March 3. Spent the day in transferring dogs in couples from the Gap to the hut. In the afternoon Teddie Evans and Atkinson turned up from over the hills, having returned from their Corner Camp journey with one horse and two seamen, all of which they had left encamped at Castle Rock, three miles off on the hills. They naturally expected to find Scott here and everyone else and had heard nothing of the pony party going adrift, but having found only open water ahead of them they turned back and came to land by Castle Rock slopes. We fed them and I walked half-way back to Castle Rock with them.
March 4. Meares, Gran, and I walked up Ski Slope towards Castle Rock to meet Evans's party and pilot them and the dogs safely to Hut Point, but half-way we met Atkinson, who told us that they had now been joined by Scott and all the catastrophe party, who were safe, but who had lost all the ponies except one--a great blow. However, no lives were lost and the sledge loads and stores were saved, so Meares and I returned to Hut Point to make stables for the only two ponies that now remained, both in wretched condition, of the eight with which we started. [Dr. Wilson's Journal.]
p. 140.--March 12. Thawed out some old magazines and picture papers which were left here by the Discovery, and gave us very good reading. [Dr. Wilson's Journal.]
p. 151.--April 4. Fun over a fry I made in my new penquin lard. It was quite a success and tasted like very bad sardine oil. [Dr. Wilson's Journal.]
p. 169.--'Voyage of the Discovery,' chap. ix. 'The question of the moment is, what has become of our boats?' Early in the winter they were hoisted out to give more room for the awning, and were placed in a line about one hundred yards from the ice foot on the sea ice. The earliest gale drifted them up nearly gunwale high, and thus for two months they remained in sight whilst we congratulated ourselves on their security. The last gale brought more snow, and piling it in drifts at various places in the bay, chose to be specially generous with it in the neighbourhood of our boats, so that afterwards they were found to be buried three or four feet beneath the new surface. Although we had noted with interest the manner in which the extra weight of snow in other places was pressing down the surface of the original ice, and were even taking measurements of the effects thus produced, we remained fatuously blind to the risks our boats ran under such conditions. It was from no feeling of anxiety, but rather to provide occupation, that I directed that the snow on top of them should be removed, and it was not until we had dug down to the first boat that the true state of affairs dawned on us. She was found lying in a mass of slushy ice, with which also she was nearly filled. For the moment we had a wild hope that she could be pulled up, but by the time we could rig shears the air temperature had converted the slush into hardened ice, and she was found to be stuck fast. At present there is no hope of recovering any of the boats: as fast as one could dig out the sodden ice, more sea-water would flow in and freeze ... The danger is that fresh gales bringing more snow will sink them so far beneath the surface that we shall be unable to recover them at all. Stuck solid in the floe they must go down with it, and every effort must be devoted to preventing the floe from sinking. As regards the rope, it is a familiar experience that dark objects which absorb heat will melt their way through the snow or ice on which they lie.
Ponies Presented by Schools, &c.
Nickname of Pony.
Name of School, &c.,
Sleeping-Bags Presented by School
School's, &c., name of
Name of traveller
Name of School, &c., presenting
Sledges Presented by Schools, &c.
(N.B.--The name of the pony in parentheses is the name given by the School, &c., that presented the pony.)
School's, &c., name
Name of School, &c.,
Pony: Uncle Bill (Cardiff)
Amesbury, Bickley Hall, Kent.
Tents Presented by Schools
Name of Tent.
Party to which attached.
School presenting Tent.
Fitz Roy School, Crouch End.
p. 215.--These hints on Polar Surveying fell on willing ears. Members of the afterguard who were not mathematically trained plunged into the very practical study of how to work out observations. Writing home on October 26, 1911, Scott remarks:
'"Cherry" has just come to me with a very anxious face to say that I must not count on his navigating powers. For the moment I didn't know what he was driving at, but then I remembered that some months ago I said that it would be a good thing for all the officers going South to have some knowledge of navigation so that in emergency they would know how to steer a sledge home. It appears that "Cherry" thereupon commenced aserious and arduous course of study of abstruse navigational problems which he found exceedingly tough and now despaired mastering. Of course there is not one chance in a hundred that he will ever have to consider navigation on our journey and in that one chance the problem must be of the simplest nature, but it makes matters much easier for me to have men who take the details of one's work so seriously and who strive so simply and honestly to make it successful.'
And in Wilson's diary for October 23 comes the entry: 'Working at latitude sights--mathematics which I hate--till bedtime. It will be wiser to know a little navigation on the Southern sledge journey.'
p. 300.--Happily I had a biscuit with me and I held it out to him a long way off. Luckily he spotted it and allowed me to come up, and I got hold of his head again. [Dr. Wilson's Journal.]
p. 338.--December 8. I have left Nobby all my biscuits to-night as he is to try and do a march to-morrow, and then happily he will be shot and all of them, as their food is quite done.
December 9. Nobby had all my biscuits last night and this morning, and by the time we camped I was just ravenously hungry. It was a close cloudy day with no air and we were ploughing along knee deep.... Thank God the horses are now all done with and we begin the heavy work ourselves. [Dr. Wilson's Journal.]
p. 339.--December 9. The end of the Beardmore Glacier curved across the track of the Southern Party, thrusting itself into the mass of the Barrier with vast pressure and disturbance. So far did this ice disturbance extend, that if the travellers had taken a bee-line to the foot of the glacier itself, they must have begun to steer outwards 200 miles sooner.
The Gateway was a neck or saddle of drifted snow lying in a gap of the mountain rampart which flanked the last curve of the glacier. Under the cliffs on either hand, like a moat beneath the ramparts, lay a yawning ice-cleft or bergschrund, formed by the drawing away of the steadily moving Barrier ice from the rocks. Across this moat and leading up to the gap in the ramparts, the Gateway provided a solid causeway. To climb this and descend its reverse face gave the easiest access to the surface of the glacier.
p. 359.--Return of first Southern Party from Lat. 85° 72 S. top of the Beardmore Glacier.
Party: E. L. Atkinson, A. Cherry-Garrard, C. S. Wright, Petty Officer Keohane.
On the morning of December 22, 1911, we made a late start after saying good-bye to the eight going on, and wishing them all good luck and success. The first 11 miles was on the down-grade over the ice-falls, and at a good pace we completed this in about four hours. Lunched, and on, completing nearly 23 miles for the first day. At the end of the second day we got among very bad crevasses through keeping too far to the eastward. This delayed us slightly and we made the depot on the third day. We reached the Lower Glacier Depot three and a half days after. The lower part of the glacier was very badly crevassed. These crevasses we had never seen on the way up, as they had been covered with three to four feet of snow. All the bridges of crevasses were concave and very wide; no doubt their normal summer condition. On Christmas Day we made in to the lateral moraine of the Cloudmaker and collected geological specimens. The march across the Barrier was only remarkable for the extremely bad lights we had. For eight consecutive days we only saw an exceedingly dim sun during three hours. Up to One Ton Depot our marches had averaged 14.1 geographical miles a day. We arrived at Cape Evans on January 28, 1912, after being away for three months. [E.L.A.]
p. 364.--January 3. Return of the second supporting party.
Under average conditions, the return party should have well fulfilled Scott's cheery anticipations. Three-man teams had done excellently on previous sledging expeditions, whether in Discovery days or as recently as the mid-winter visit to the Emperor penguins' rookery; and the three in this party were seasoned travellers with a skilled navigator to lead them. But a blizzard held them up for three days before reaching the head of the glacier. They had to press on at speed. By the time they reached the foot of the glacier, Lieut. Evans developed symptoms of scurvy. His spring work of surveying and sledging out to Corner Camp and the man-hauling, with Lashly, across the Barrier after the breakdown of the motors, had been successfully accomplished; this sequel to the Glacier and Summit marches was an unexpected blow. Withal, he continued to pull, while bearing the heavy strain of guiding the course. While the hauling power thus grew less, the leader had to make up for loss of speed by lengthening the working hours. He put his watch on an hour. With the 'turning out' signal thus advanced, the actual marching period reached 12 hours. The situation was saved, and Evans flattered himself on his ingenuity. But the men knew it all the time, and no word said!
At One Ton Camp he was unable to stand without the support of his ski sticks; but with the help of his companions struggled on another 53 miles in four days. Then he could go no farther. His companions, rejecting his suggestion that he be left in his sleeping-bag with a supply of provisions while they pressed on for help, 'cached' everything that could be spared, and pulled him on the sledge with a devotion matching that of their captain years before, when he and Wilson brought their companion Shackleton, ill and helpless, safely home to the Discovery. Four days of this pulling, with a southerly wind to help, brought them to Corner Camp; then came a heavy snowfall: the sledge could not travel. It was a critical moment. Next day Crean set out to tramp alone to Hut Point, 34 miles away. Lashly stayed to nurse Lieut. Evans, and most certainly saved his life till help came. Crean reached Hut Point after an exhausting march of 18 hours; how the dog-team went to the rescue is told by Dr. Atkinson in the second volume. At the Discovery hut Evans was unremittingly tended by Dr. Atkinson, and finally sent by sledge to the Terra Nova. It is good to record that both Lashly and Crean have received the Albert medal.
p. 396.--At this point begins the last of Scott's notebooks. The record of the Southern Journey is written in pencil in three slim MS. books, some 8 inches long by 5 wide. These little volumes are meant for artists' notebooks, and are made of tough, soft, pliable paper which takes the pencil well. The pages, 96 in number, are perforated so as to be detachable at need.
In the Hut, large quarto MS. books were used for the journals, and some of the rough notes of the earlier expeditions were recast and written out again in them; the little books were carried on the sledge journeys, and contain the day's notes entered very regularly at the lunch halts and in the night camps. But in the last weeks of the Southern Journey, when fuel and light ran short and all grew very weary, it will be seen that Scott made his entries at lunch time alone. They tell not of the morning's run only, but of 'yesterday.'
The notes were written on the right-hand pages, and when the end of the book was reached, it was 'turned' and the blank backs of the leaves now became clean right-hand pages. The first two MS. books are thus entirely filled: the third has only part of its pages used and the Message to the Public is written at the reverse end.
Inside the front cover of No. 1 is a 'ready' table to convert the day's run of geographical miles as recorded on the sledgemeter into statute miles, a list of the depots and their latitude, and a note of the sledgemeter reading at Corner Camp.
These are followed in the first pages by a list of the outward camps and distances run as noted in the book, with special 'remarks' as to cairns, latitude, and so forth. At the end of the book is a full list of the cairns that marked the track out.
Inside the front cover of No. 2 are similar entries, together with the ages of the Polar party and a note of the error of Scott's watch.
Inside the front cover of No. 3 are the following words: 'Diary can be read by finder to ensure recording of Records, &c., but Diary should be sent to my widow.' And on the first page:
'Send this diary to my widow.
The word 'wife' had been struck out and 'widow' written in.
p. 398.--At this, the barrier stage of the return journey, the Southern Party were in want of more oil than they found at the depots. Owing partly to the severe conditions, but still more to the delays imposed by their sick comrades, they reached the full limit of time allowed for between depots. The cold was unexpected, and at the same time the actual amount of oil found at the depots was less than they had counted on.
Under summer conditions, such as were contemplated, when there was less cold for the men to endure, and less firing needed to melt the snow for cooking, the fullest allowance of oil was 1 gallon to last a unit of four men ten days, or 1/40 of a gallon a day for each man.
The amount allotted to each unit for the return journey from the South was apparently rather less, being 2/3 gallon for eight days, or 1/48 gallon a day for each man. But the eight days were to cover the march from depot to depot, averaging on the Barrier some 70-80 miles, which in normal conditions should not take more than six days. Thus there was a substantial margin for delay by bad weather, while if all went well the surplus afforded the fullest marching allowance.
The same proportion for a unit of five men works out at 5/6 of a gallon for the eight-day stage.
Accordingly, for the return of the two supporting parties and the Southern Party, two tins of a gallon each were left at each depot, each unit of four men being entitled to 2/3 of a gallon, and the units of three and five men in proportion.
The return journey on the Summit had been made at good speed, taking twenty-one days as against twenty-seven going out, the last part of it, from Three Degree to Upper Glacier Depot, taking nearly eight marches as against ten, showing the first slight slackening as P.O. Evans and Oates began to feel the cold; from Upper Glacier to Lower Glacier Depot ten marches as against eleven, a stage broken by the Mid Glacier Depot of three and a half day's provisions at the sixth march. Here, there was little gain, partly owing to the conditions, but more to Evans' gradual collapse.
The worst time came on the Barrier; from Lower Glacier to Southern Barrier Depot (51 miles), 6 1/2 marches as against 5 (two of which were short marches, so that the 5 might count as an easy 4 in point of distance);from Southern Barrier to Mid Barrier Depot (82 miles), 6 1/2 marches as against 5 1/2; from Mid Barrier to Mt. Hooper (70 miles), 8 as against 4 3/4, while the last remaining 8 marches represent but 4 on the outward journey. (See table on next page.)
At to the cause of the shortage, the tins of oil at the depot had been exposed to extreme conditions of heat and cold. The oil was specially volatile, and in the warmth of the sun (for the tins were regularly set in an accessible place on the top of the cairns) tended to become vapour and escape through the stoppers even without damage to the tins. This process was much accelerated by reason that the leather washers about the stoppers had perished in the great cold. Dr. Atkinson gives two striking examples of this.
1. Eight one-gallon tins in a wooden case, intended for a depot at Cape Crozier, had been put out in September 1911. They were snowed up; and when examined in December 1912 showed three tins full, three empty, one a third full, and one two-thirds full.
2. When the search party reached One Ton Camp in November 1912 they found that some of the food, stacked in a canvas 'tank' at the foot of the cairn, was quite oily from the spontaneous leakage of the tins seven feet above it on the top of the cairn.
The tins at the depôts awaiting the Southern Party had of course been opened and the due amount to be taken measured out by the supporting parties on their way back. However carefully re-stoppered, they were still liable to the unexpected evaporation and leakage already described. Hence, without any manner of doubt, the shortage which struck the Southern Party so hard.
p. 409.--The Fatal Blizzard. Mr. Frank Wild, who led one wing of Dr. Mawson's Expedition on the northern coast of the Antarctic continent, Queen Mary's Land, many miles to the west of the Ross Sea, writes that 'from March 21 for a period of nine days we were kept in camp by the same blizzard which proved fatal to Scott and his gallant companions' (Times, June 2, 1913). Blizzards, however, are so local that even when, as in this case, two are nearly contemporaneous, it is not safe to conclude that they are part of the same current of air.
TABLE OF DISTANCES showing the length of the Outward and
Return Marches on the Barrier from and to One Ton Camp.
3 miles to each sub-division
---One Ton Camp ----
The numbers are Statute Miles.
Lower Glacier to Southern Barrier Depôt
It will be noted that of the first 15 Return Marches on the Barrier, 5 are 11 1/2 miles and upwards, and 5 are 8 1/2 to 10.