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| CHAPTER XXII
EXTRACTS FROM THE NARRATIVE OF PROFESSOR DAVID
Final Instructions: Loss of a Cooker: Camp at Butter Point: Travel. ling over Sea-ice heavy Relay-work: Cooking with Blubber: Seal Bouillon: Drygalski Glacier: Depot laid: Preparations for Trek inland: Depot at Mount Larsen New Year's Day in Latitude 74° 18': Arrival at Magnetic Pole (mean position of) January 16, 1909, 72° 25' S., 155° 16' E.: Union Jack hoisted at 3.30 P.M.
THE final instructions for the journey of the Northern Party were read over to me in the presence of Mawson and Dr. Mackay, at Cape Royds on September 19, 1908. They were as follows:
"BRITISH ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION, 1907.
"CAPE ROYDS, September 19, 1908.
FOR NORTHERN SLEDGE-PARTY UNDER COMMAND OF
PROFESSOR E. DAVID.
"You will leave winter quarters on or about October 1, 1908. The main objects of your journey are to be as follows:
"(1) To take magnetic observations at every suitable point with a view of determining the dip and the position of the Magnetic Pole. If time permits, and your equipment and supplies are sufficient, you will try and reach the Magnetic Pole.
"(2) To make a general geological survey of the coast of Victoria Land. In connection with this work you will not sacrifice the time that might be used to carry out the work noted in paragraph (1). It is unnecessary for me to describe or instruct you as to details re this work, as you know so much better than I do what is requisite.
"(3) I particularly wish you to be able to work at the geology of the western mountains, and for Mawson to spend at least one fortnight at Dry Valley to prospect for minerals of economic, value on your return from the north, and for this work to be carried out satisfactorily you should return to Dry Valley not later than the first week of January. I do not wish to limit you to an exact date for return to Dry Valley if you think that by lengthening your stay up north you can reach the Magnetic Pole, but you must not delay, if time is short, on your way south again to do geological work. I consider that the thorough investigation of Dry Valley is of supreme importance.
"(4) The Nimrod is expected in the sound about January 15, 1909. It is quite possible you may see her from the west. If so, you should try to attract attention by heliograph to winter quarters. You should choose the hours noon to 1 P.M. to flash your signal, and if seen at winter quarters the return signal will be flashed to you, and the Nimrod will steam across as far as possible to meet you and wait at the ice-edge. If the ship is not in, and if she is and your signals are not seen, you will take into account your supply of provisions and proceed either to Glacier Tongue or Hut Point to replenish if there is not a sufficient amount of provision at Butter Point for you.
"(5) Re Butter Point. I will have a depot of at least fourteen days' food and oil cached there for you. If there is not enough in that supply you ought to return as mentioned in paragraph (4).
"(6) I shall leave instructions for the master of the Nimrod to proceed to the most accessible point at the west coast and there ship all your specimens. But before doing this, he must ship all the stores that are lying at winter quarters, and also keep in touch with the fast ice to the south on the look-out for the southern sledge-party. The Southern Party will not be expected before February 1, so if the ship arrives in good time you may have all your work done before our arrival from the south.
"(7) If by February 1, after the arrival of the Nimrod, there is no evidence that your party has returned, the Nimrod will proceed north along the coast, keeping as close to the land as possible, on the look-out for a signal from you flashed by heliograph. The vessel will proceed very slowly. The ship will not go north of Cape Washington. This is a safeguard in event of any accident occurring to your party.
"(8) I have acquainted both Mawson and Mackay with the main facts of the proposed journey. In the event of any accident happening to you, Mawson is to be in charge of the party.
"(9) Trusting that you will have a successful journey and a safe return.
"I am, yours faithfully,
"(Sgd.) ERNEST H. SHACKLETON,
"BRITISH ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION, September 20, 1907.
"DEAR Sir, If you reach the Magnetic Pole, you will hoist the Union Jack on the spot, and take possession of it on behalf of the above expedition for the British nation.
"When you are in the western mountains, please do the same at one place, taking possession of Victoria Land as part of the British Empire.
"If economic minerals are found, take possession of the area in the same way on my behalf as Commander of this expedition."
"(Sgd.) ERNEST H. SHACKLETON,
We had a farewell dinner that night.
The following day, September 20, a strong south-easterly blizzard was blowing. In the afternoon the wind somewhat moderated, and there was less drift. Mackay had been making a sail for our journey to the Magnetic Pole, and we now tried the sail on two sledges lashed together on the ice at Backdoor Bay. We used the tent poles of one of the sledging-tents as a mast. The wind was blowing very strongly and carried off the two sledges with a weight on them of 300 lb., in addition to the weights of Mackay and myself. We considered this a successful experiment.
The weather continued bad till the night of the 24th.
On September 25 we were up at 5.30 A.M., and found that the blizzard had subsided. Priestley, Day, and I started in the motor-car, dragging behind us two sledges over the sea ice. One sledge, with its load, weighed 606 lb.; the other weighed 260 lb. At*first Day travelled on his first gear; he then found that the engine became heated, and we had to stop for it to cool down. He discovered while we were waiting that one of the cylinders was not firing. This he soon fixed up all right. He then remounted the car and he put her on to the second gear. With the increased power given by the repaired cylinder we now sped over the floe-ice at fourteen miles an hour, much to the admiration of the seals and penguins. When, however, we had travelled about ten miles from winter quarters, and were some five miles westerly from Tent Island, we encountered numerous sastrugi of softish snow, the car continually sticking fast in the ridges. A little low drift was flying over the ice surface, brought up by a gentle blizzard. We left the heavy sledge ten miles out, and then with only the light sledge to draw behind us, Day found that he was able to travel on his third gear at eighteen miles an hour. At this speed the sledge, whenever it took one of the snow sastrugi at right angles, leapt into the air like a flying fish and came down with a bump on the surface of the ice. We had just reached Flagstaff Point, and were taking a turn in towards the shore opposite the Penguin Rookery when the blizzard wind caught the side of the sledge nearly broadside on, and capsized it heavily. So violent was the shock that the aluminium cooking apparatus was knocked out of its straps, and the blizzard wind immediately started trundling this metal cylinder over the smooth ice. Day stopped his car as soon as possible, Priestley and I jumped off, and immediately gave chase to the runaway cooker.' Meanwhile, the cooker had fallen to pieces, so to speak; the tray part came away from the big circular cover; the melter and the supports for the cooking-pot and for the main outer covering also came adrift as well as the cooking-pot itself. The lid of the last-mentioned fell off, and immediately dumped on to the ice the three pannikins and our three spoons. These articles raced one after another over the smooth ice-surface in the direotion of the open water of Ross Sea. The spoons were easily captured, as also were the pannikins, but the large snow-melter, the main outer casing, and the tray kept revolving in front of us at a speed which was just sufficient to outclass our own most desperate efforts. Finally, when we were nearly upon them, they took a joyous leap over the low cliff of floe-ice and disappeared one after another most exasperatingly in the black waters of Ross Sea. This was a shrewd loss, as aluminium cookers were, of course, very scarce.
The following day we had intended laying out our second depot, but as some of the piston rings of the motor-car needed repair, we decided to postpone the departure until the day after. That afternoon, after the repairs had been completed, Day and Armytage went out for a little tobogganning before dinner. Late in the evening Armytage returned dragging slowly and painfully a sledge bearing the recumbent, though not inanimate, form of Day. We crowded round to inquire what was the matter, and found that just when Armytage and Day were urging their wild career down a steep snow slope Day's foot had struck an unyielding block of kenyte lava, and the consequence had been very awkward for the foot. As no one but Day could be trusted to drive the motor-car, this accident necessitated a further postponement of the laying of our second depot.
On October 3, the weather having cleared, Day, Priestley, Mackay, and I started with two sledges to lay our second depot. All went well for about eight miles out, then the carburetter played up. Possibly there was some dirt in the nozzle. Day took it all to pieces in the cold wind, and spent three-quarters of an hour fixing it up. We then started off again gaily in good style. We crossed a large crack in the sea ice where there were numbers of seals and Emperor penguins. On the other side of this crack our wheels stuck fast in snow sastrugi. All hands got on to the spokes and started swinging the car backwards and forwards; when we got a good swing on, Day would suddenly snatch on the power and over we would go that is, over one of the sastrugi only to find, often, that we had just floundered into another one ahead. In performing one of these evolutions Priestley, who, as usual, was working like a Trojan, got his hand rather badly damaged through its being jammed between the spokes of the car wheel and the framework. Almost immediately afterwards one of my fingers was nearly broken, through the same cause, the flesh being torn off one of my knuckles; and then Mackay seriously damaged his wrist in manipulating what Joyce called the "thumb-breaking" starter. Still we went floundering along over the sastrugi and ice cracks, Day every now and then getting out to lighten the car and limping alongside. At last we succeeded in reaching a spot amongst the snow sastrugi on the sea ice, fifteen miles distant from our winter quarters. Here we dumped the load intended for the Northern Party, and then Day had a hard struggle to extricate the car from the tangle of sastrugi and ice-cracks. At last, after two capsizes of the sledges,we got back into camp at 10 P.M., all thoroughly exhausted, all wounded and bandaged. Brocklehurst carried Day on his back for about a quarter of a mile from where we left the ear up to our winter quarters.
THE MOTOR HAULING STORES FOR A DEPOT
October 4 was a Sunday, and after the morning service we took the ponies out for exercise. In the evening the gramophone discoursed appropriate music, concluding with the universal favourite, "Lead, Kindly Light."
Meanwhile, Mackay had his damaged wrist attended to. and I put the question to him as to whether or not he was prepared to undertake the long journey to the Magnetic Pole under the circumstances. He said that he was quite ready, provided Mawson and I did not object to his going with his wrist damaged and in a sling. We raised no objection, and so the matter was settled. All that night Mawson and I were occupied in writing final letters and packing little odds and ends.
The following morning, October 5, after an early breakfast, we prepared for the final start. Brocklehurst took a photograph of us just before we started, then Day, Priestley, Roberts, Mackay, Mawson and I got aboard, some on the motor-car, some on the sledges. Those remaining behind gave us three cheers, Day turned on the power, and away we went. A light wind was blowing from the south-east at the time of our start, bringing a little snow with it and another blizzard seemed impending.
After travelling a little over two miles, just beyond Cape Barre, the snow had become so thick that the coast-line was almost entirely hidden from our view. Under these circumstances I did not think it prudent to take the motor-car further, so Mackay, Mawson, and I bid adieu to our good friends. Strapping on our harness, we toggled on to the sledge rope, and with a "One, two, three" and "away," started on our long journey over the sea ice.
We reached our ten-mile depot about 7 P.M. and got up our tent. We slept that night on the floe-ice, with about three hundred fathoms of water under our pillow.
The following morning, October 6, we started our relay work. We dragged the Christmas Tree sledge on first, as we were specially liable to lose parcels off it, for a distance of from one-third to half a mile. Then we returned and fetched up what we called the Plum Duff sledge, chiefly laden with our provisions. The weather may be described as thick, with snow falling ab intervals. We camped that night amongst screw pack-ice within less than a mile of our fifteen-mile depot.
The following day, October 7, was beautifully fine and calm.
We started about 9 A.M. and sledged over pressure ice ridges and snow sastrugi, reaching our fifteen-mile depot in three-quarters of an hour. Here we camped and repacked our sledges. We took the wholemeal plasmon biscuits out of two of the biscuit tins and packed them into canvas bags. This saved us a weight of about 8 lb.
We started again in the afternoon, relaying with the two sledges. The sledging again was heavy on account of the fresh, soft snow, and small sastrugi. We had a glorious view of the western mountains, crimsoned in the light of the setting sun. We camped that night close to a seal hole which belonged to a fine specimen of Weddell seal. We were somewhat disturbed that night by the snorting and whistling of the seals as they came up for their blows. . . .
On October 10, we were awakened by the chatter of some Emperor penguins who had marched down on our tent during the night to investigate us. The sounds may be described as something between the cackle of a goose and the chortle of a kookaburra. On peeping out of the Burberry spout of our tent I saw four standing by the sledges. They were much interested at the sight of me, and the conversation between them became lively. They evidently took us for penguins of an inferior type, and the tent for our nest. They watched, and took careful note of all our doings, and gave us a good send-off when we started about 8.30 A.M. The sky was overcast, and light snow began to fall in the afternoon. A little later a mild blizzard sprang up from the south-east; we thought this a favourable opportunity for testing the sailing qualities of our sledges, and so made sail on the Plum Duff sledge. As Mackay put it, we "brought her to try with main course." As the strength of the blizzard increased, we found that we could draw both sledges simultaneously, which was, of course, a great saving in labour. We were tempted to carry on in the increasing strength of the blizzard rather longer than was wise, and consequently, when at last we decided that we must camp, had great difficulty in getting the tent up. We slipped the tent over the poles placed close to the ground in the lee of a sledge. While two of us raised the poles, the third shovelled snow on to the skirt of the tent, which we pulled out little by little, until it was finally spread to its full dimensions. We were glad to turn in and escape from the biting blast and drifting snow.
Sunday, October 11. A violent blizzard was still blowing, and we lay in our sleeping-bag until past noon, by which time the snow had drifted high upon the door side of our tent. As this drift was pressing heavily on our feet and cramping us, I got up and dug it away. The cooker and primus were then brought in and we all got up and had some hoosh and tea. The temperature, as usually happens in a blizzard, had now risen considerably, being 8.5° Fahr. at 1.30 P.M. The copper wire on our sledges was polished and burnished by the prolonged blast against it of tiny ice crystals, and the surface of the sea ice was also brightly polished in places. As it was still blowing we remained in our sleeping-bag for the rest of that day as well as the succeeding night.
When we rose at about 2 A.M. on Monday, October 12, the blizzard was over. We found very heavy snow-drifts on the lee side of our sledges, and it took us a considerable time to dig these away and get the hard snow raked out of all the chinks and crannies among the packages on the sledges. We made a start about 4 A.M., and all that day meandered amongst broken pack-ice. It was evident that the south-east blizzards drive large belts of broken floe-ice in this direction across McMurdo Sound to the western shore. The fractured masses of sea ice, inclined at all angles to the horizontal, are frozen in later, as the cold of winter becomes more intense, and, of course, constitute a very difficult surface for sledging.
October 13. We camped at the foot of a low ice cliff, about 600 yards south-south-east of Butter Point. Butter Point is merely an angle in this low ice-cliff near the junction of the Ferrar Glacier valley with the main shore of Victoria Land. This cliff was from fifteen to twenty feet in height, and formed of crevassed glacier ice.
During part of this day Mawson and Mackay were busy making a mast and boom for the second sledge, it being our intention to use the tent floorcloth as a sail. Meanwhile I sorted out the material to be left at the depot at Butter Point.
The following day, Wednesday, October 14, we spent the morning in resorting the loads on our sledges. We depoted two tins of wholemeal plasmon biscuits, each weighing about 27 lb., also Mackay's mountaineering nail boots, and my spare head-gear material and mits. Altogether we lightened the load by about 70 lb. We sunk the two full tins of biscuits and a tin containing boots, &c., a short distance in the glacier ice to prevent the blizzards blowing them away. We then lashed to the tins a short bamboo flag-pole, carrying one of our black depot flags, and securely fastened to its base one of our empty air-tight milk tins, in which we placed our letters. In these letters for Lieutenant Shackleton and R. E. Priestley respectively, I stated that in consequence of our late start from Cape Royds, and also on account of the comparative slowness of our progress thence to Butter Point, it was obvious that we could not return to Butter Point until January 12, at the earliest, instead of the first week of January, as was originally anticipated. We ascertained months later that this little depot survived the blizzards, and that Armytage, Priestley, and Brocklehurst had no difficulty in finding it, and that they had read our letters.
October 14. Leaving the depot about 9 A.M., we started sledging across New Harbour in the direction of Cape Bernacchi. In the afternoon a light southerly wind sprang up bringing a little snow with it, the fall lasting from about 12.30 to 2.30 P.M. We steered in the direction of what appeared to us to be an uncharted island. On arriving at it, however, we discovered that it was a true iceberg, formed of hard blue glacier ice with a conspicuous black band near its summit formed of fine dark gravel. The iceberg was about a quarter of a mile in length, and thirty to forty feet high.
October 15. We had a glorious view up the valley of the Perm Glacier. The cold was now less severe; at 8 P.M. the temperature was 9.5° Fahr.
October 16. We were up at 3.30 A.M., and got under way at 5.30. A cold wind was blowing from the south, and after some trouble we set sail on both sledges, using the green floorcloth on the Christmas Tree sledge, and Mackay's sail on the Plum Duff sledge. A short time after we set sail it fell nearly calm; thick clouds gathered; a light wind sprang up from the south-east, veering to east-north-east, then back again to south-east in the afternoon. Fine snow fell for about three hours, forming a layer nearly a quarter of an inch in thickness. Towards evening we reached one of the bergs that had been miraged up the night before. It was four hundred yards long, and eighty yards wide, and was a true iceberg formed of glacier ice; Mackay, Mawson, and I explored this. Like the previous iceberg, its surface was pitted with numerous deep dust wells.
LOADED SLEDGE SHOWING THE DISTANCE RECORDER OR SLEDGEMETER
As the shore was high and rocky, and seemed not more than half a mile distant, I went over towards it after our evening meal. On the way, for the first time, I met with a structure in the sea ice known as pancake ice. The surface of the ice showed a rounded polygonal structure something like the tops of a number of large weathered basaltic columns. The edges of these polygons were slightly raised, but sufficiently rounded off by thawing or ablation to afford an easy surface for the runners of our sledge. Close in shore the pancake ice was traversed by deep tidal cracks.
October 17. Mawson, Mackay, and I landed at Cape Bernacchi, a little over a mile north of our previous camp. Here we hoisted the Union Jack just before 10 A.M. and took possession of Victoria Land for the British Empire. Cape Bernacchi is a low rocky promontory, the geology of which is extremely interesting. The dominant type of rock is a pure white coarsely crystalline marble; this has been broken through by granite rocks, the latter in places containing small red garnets. After taking possession we resumed our sledging, finding the surface of pancake ice very good.
October 18. We reached an interesting headland to-day about one and a quarter miles from our preceding camp. The rocks bore a general resemblance to those at Cape Bernacchi. Mawson thought that some of the quartz veins traversing this headland would prove to be auriferous. After leaving this Point the wind freshened considerably. We had previously hoisted sail, and the wind was sufficiently strong to admit of our pulling both sledges together. The total distance travelled was seven statute miles. This was the most favourable wind we experienced during the whole of our journey to and from the Magnetic Pole.
That night I experienced a rather bad attack of snow blindness through neglecting to wear my snow-goggles regularly. Finding that my eyes were no better next morning, and my sight being dim I asked Mawson to take my place at the end of the long rope, the foremost position in the team. Mawson proved himself on this occasion and afterwards so remarkably efficient at picking out the best track for our sledges, and steering a good course, that at my request he occupied this position throughout the rest of the journey.
The next two days were uneventful, except for the fact that we occasionally had extremely heavy sledging over screw pack-ice and high and long sastrugi.
On the night of October 20, we camped on the sea ice about three-quarters of a mile off shore. To the north-east of us was an outward curve of the shore-line, shown as a promontory on the existing chart. Early the next morning I walked over to the shore to geologise, and found the rocky headland composed of curious gneissic granite veined with quartz. On ascending this headland I noticed to my surprise that what had been previously supposed to be a promontory was really an island separated by a narrow strait from the mainland.
While Mawson determined the position of this island by taking a round of angles with the theodolite, Mackay and I crossed the strait and explored the island, pacing and taking levels. The rocks of which the erratics and boulder-bearing gravels were formed were almost without exception of igneous origin. One very interesting exception was a block of weathered clayey limestone. This was soft and yellowish grey externally, but hard and blue on the freshly fractured surfaces inside. It contained traces of small fossils which appeared to be seeds of plants. Two chips of this rock were fortunately preserved, sufficient for ehemical analysis and microscopic examination. There could be little doubt that this clayey limestone has been derived from the great sedimentary formation, named by H. T. Ferrar, the Beacon sandstone. The island which we had been exploring we named provisionally Terrace Island. It was approximately triangular in shape, and the side facing the strait, down which we travelled, measured one mile 1200 yards in length.
October 23. To-day we held a serious council as to the future of our journey towards the Magnetic Pole. It was quite obvious that at out present rate of travelling, about four statute miles daily by the relay method, we could not get to the Pole and return to Butter Point early in January. I suggested that the most likely means of getting to the Pole and back in the time specified by Lieutenant Shackleton would be to travel on half- rations, depoting the remainder of our provisions at an early opportunity. Mawson and Mackay agreed, after some discussion, to try this expedient, and we decided to think the matter over for a few days and then make our depot.
October 24. We reached in the evening a long rocky point of gneissic granite, which we called Gneiss Point. After our evening hoosh we walked across to the point and collected a number of interesting geological specimens, including blocks of kenyte lava.
October 25 proved a very heavy day for sledging, as we had to drag the sledges over new snow from three to four inches deep. In places it had a tough top crust which we would break through up to our ankles We met also several obstacles in the way of wide cracks in the sea ice, from six to ten feet in width, and several miles in length. The sea water between the walls of the cracks had only recently been frozen over, so that the ice was only just thick enough to bear the sledges.
In pursuing our north-westerly course we were now crossing a magnificent bay, which trended westwards some five or six miles away from the course we were steering. On either side of this bay were majestic ranges of rocky mountains parted from one another at the head of the bay by an immense glacier with steep ice falls. On examining these mountains with a field-glass it was evident that in their lower portions they were formed of granite and gneiss, producing reddish brown soils. At the higher levels, further inland, there were distinct traces of rocks showing horizontal stratification. The highest rock of all was black in colour, and evidently very hard, apparently some three hundred feet in thickness. Below this was some softer stratified formation, approximately one thousand feet in thickness. We concluded that the hard top layer was composed of igneous rock, possibly a lava, while the horizontal stratified formation belonged in all probability to the Beacon sandstone formation. Some fine nunataks of dark rock rose from the south-east side of the great glacier. On either side of this glacier were high terraces of rock reaching back for several miles from a modern valley edge to the foot of still higher ranges. It was obvious that these terraces marked the position of the floor of the old valley at a time when the glacier ice was several thousand feet higher than it is now, and some ten miles wider than at present. The glacier trended inland in a general south-westerly direction.
We longed to turn our sledges shorewards and explore these inland rocks, but this would have involved a delay of several days probably a week at least and we could not afford the time. Mawson took a series of horizontal and vertical angles with the theodolite to all the upper peaks in these ranges. We were much puzzled to determine on what part of the charted coast this wide bay and great glacier valley was situated. We found out much later that the point opposite which we had now arrived was in reality Granite Harbour, and that its position was not shown correctly on the chart.
October 27. The weather was beautifully clear and sunshiny, and we had a glorious view of the great mountain ranges on either side of Granite Harbour. The rich colouring of warm sepia brown and terra-cotta in these rocky hills was quite a relief to the eye. Wind springing up in the south-east, we made sail on both sledges, and this helped us a good deal over the soft snow and occasional patches of sharp-edged brash ice.
Towards evening we fetched up against some high ice-pressure cracks with the ice ridged up six to eight feet high in huge tumbled blocks. We seemed to have got into a labyrinth of these pressure ridges from which there was no outlet. At last, after several capsizes of the sledges and some chopping through the ice ridges by Mackay, we got the sledges through, and camped on a level piece of ice. Mawson and I at this time were still wearing finnesko, while Mackay had taken to ski boots.
October 28. The sledging was again very heavy over sticky, soft snow alternating with hard sastrugi and patches of consolidated brash ice. After our evening hoosh, Mawson and I went over to the shore, rather more than half a mile distant, in order to study the rocks. These we found were composed of coarse red granite; the top of the granite was much smoothed by glacier ice, and strewn with large erratic blocks. In places the granite was intersected by black dykes of basic rocks. One could see that the glacier ice, about a quarter of a mile inland from this rocky shore, had only recently retreated and laid bare the glaciated rocky surface. We found a little moss here amongst the crevices in the granite rock.
October 29 was beautifully fine, though a keen and fresh wind, rather unpleasantly cold, was blowing from off the high mountain plateau to our west. We were all thoroughly done up at night after completing our four miles of relay work. That evening we discussed the important question of whether it would be possible to eke out our food-supplies with seal meat so as to avoid putting ourselves on half-rations, and we all agreed that this should be done. We made up our minds that at the first convenient spot we would make a depot of any articles of equipment, geological specimens, &c., in order to lighten our sledges, and would at the same time, if the spot was suitable, make some experiments with seal meat. The chief problem in connection with the latter was how to cook it without the aid of paraffin oil, as we could not afford paraffin for this purpose.
October 30 was full of interest for us, as well as hard work. In the early morning, between 2.30 A.M. and 6.30 A.M., a mild blizzard was blowing. We got under way a little later and camped at about 10.30 A.M. for lunch alongside a very interesting rocky point. Mawson got a good set of theodolite angles from the top of this point.
We tried, on that day, the experiment of strengthening the brew of the tea by using the old tea-leaves of a previous meal mixed with the new ones. This was Mackay's idea, and Mawson and I at the time did not appreciate the experiment. Later on, however, we were very glad to adopt it.
The weather was now daily becoming warmer and the saline snow on the sea ice became sticky in consequence. It gripped the runners of the sledges like glue, and we were only able with our greatest efforts to drag the sledges over this at a snail's pace. We were all thoroughly exhausted that evening when we camped at the base of a rocky promontory about 180 ft. high. This cliff was formed of coarse gneiss, with numerous dark streaks, and enclosures of huge masses of greenish-grey quartzite. After our evening hooch we walked over to a very interesting small island about three-quarters of a mile distant. It was truly a most wonderful place geologically, and was a perfect elysium for the mineralogist. The island, which we afterwards called Depot Island, was accessible on the shoreward side, but rose perpendicularly to a height of 200 ft. above sea-level on the other three sides. There was very little snow or ice upon it, the surface being almost entirely formed of gneissic granite. This granite was full of dark enclosures of basic rooks, rich in black mica and huge crystals of hornblende. It was in these enclosures that Mawson discovered a translucent brown mineral, which he believed to be monazite, but which has since proved to be titanium mineral.
October 31. We packed up and made for the island at 9.30 A.M. The sledging was extremely heavy, and we fell into a tide-crack on the way, but the sledge was got over safely. Mackay sighted a seal about six hundred yards distant from the site of our new camp near the island, and just then, we noticed that another seal had bobbed up in the tide-crack close to our old camp. Mackay and Mawson at once started off in the direction where the first seal had been sighted. It proved to be a bull seal in very good condition, and they killed it by knocking it on the head with an ice-axe. Meanwhile, I unpacked the Duff sledge and took it out to them. Returning to the site of our camp I put up the tent, and on going back to Mawson and Mackay found that they had finished fletching the seal. We loaded up the empty sledge with seal blubber, resembling bars of soap in its now frozen condition, steak and liver, and returned to camp for lunch.
After lunch we took some blubber and seal meat on to the island, intending to try the experiment of making a blubber fire in order to cook the meat. We worked our way a short distance up a steep, rocky gully, and there built a fireplace out of magnificent specimens of hornblende rock. It seemed a base use for such magnificent mineralogical specimens, but necessity knows no laws. We had brought with us our primus lamp in order to start the fire. We put blubber on our iron shovel, warmed this underneath by means of the heat of the primus lamp so as to render down the oil from it, and then lit the oil. The experiment was not altogether successful. Mawson cooked for about three hours, closely and anxiously watched by Mackay and myself. Occasionally he allowed us to taste small snacks of the partly cooked seal meat, which were pronounced to be delicious.
While the experiment was at its most critical stage, at about 6 P.M., we observed sudden swirls of snowdrift high up on the western mountains, coming rapidly to lower levels. For a few minutes we did not think seriously of the phenomenon, but as the drift came nearer we saw that something serious was in the air. Mackay and I rushed down to our tent, the skirt of which was only temporarily secured with light blocks of snow. We reached it just as it was struck by the sudden blizzard which had descended from the western mountains. There was no time to dig further blocks of snow, all we could do was to seize the heavy food-bags on our sledges, weighing sixty pounds each, and rush them on to the skirt of the tent. The blizzard struck our kitchen on the island simultaneously with our tent, and temporarily Mawson lost his mite and most of the tit-bits of seal meat, but these were quickly recovered, and he came rushing down to join us in securing the tent. While Mawson in frantic haste chopped out blocks of snow and dumped them on to the skirt of the tent, Mackay, no less frantically, struggled with our sleeping-bag, which had been turned inside-out to air, and which by this time was covered with drift snow. He quickly had it turned right side in again, and dashed it inside the tent. At last everything was secured, and we found ourselves safe and sound inside the tent.
On November 1 we breakfasted off a mixture of our ordinary hoosh and seal meat. After some discussion we decided that our only hope of reaching the Magnetic Pole lay in our travelling on half-rations from our present camp to the point on the coast at the Drygalski Glacier, where we might for the first time hope to be able to turn inland with reasonable prospect of reaching the Magnetic Pole. Mawson was emphatic that we must conserve six weeks of full rations for our inland journey to and from the Pole. This necessitated our going on half-rations from this island to the far side of the Drygalski Glacier, a distance of about one hundred statute miles. In order to supplement the regular hall-rations we intended to take seal meat.
While I was busy in calculating the times and distances for the remainder of our journey, and proportioning the food rations to suit our new programme, Mawson and Mackay conducted further experiments on the cooking of seal meat with blubber. While at our winter quarters, Mackay had made some experiments on the use of blubber as a fuel. He had constructed a blubber lamp, the wick of which kept alight for several hours at a time, feeding itself on the seal oil. He had tried the experiment of heating up water over this blubber lamp, and was partly successful at the time when we left winter quarters for our present sledging journey. But his experiments at the time were not taken very seriously, and the blubber lamp was left behind, a fact which we now much regretted. An effective cooking-stove was, however, evolved, as the result of a series of experiments this day, out of one of our large empty biscuit tins. The lid of this was perforated with a number of circular holes for the reception of wicks. Its edges were bent down, so as to form supports to keep the wick-holder about half an inch above the bottom of the biscuit tin. The wick-holder was put in place; wicks were made of pieces of old calico food-bags rolled in seal blubber, or with thin slices of seal blubber enfolded in them, the calico being done up in little rolls for the purpose of making wicks, as one rolls a cigarette, the seal blubber taking the place of the tobacco in this case. Lumps of blubber were laid round the wick-holder. Then, after some difficulty, the wicks were lighted. They burned feebly at first, as seal blubber has a good deal of water in it. After some minutes of fitful spluttering, the wicks got fairly alight, and as soon as the lower part of the biscuit tin was raised to a high temperature, the big lumps of blubber at the side commenced to have the water boiled out of them and the oil rendered down. This oil ran under the wick-holder and supplied the wicks at their base. The wicks, now fed with warm, pure seal-oil, started to burn brightly, and even fiercely, so that it became necessary occasionally to damp them down with chips of fresh blubber. We tried the experiment of using lumps of salt as wicks, and found this fairly successful, but we decided to rely for wicks chiefly on our empty food-bags, and thought possibly that if these ran out we might have recourse to moss. But the empty food-bags supplied sufficient wick for our need.
That day, by means of galvanised iron wires, we slung the inner pot from our aluminium cooker over the lighted wicks of our blubber cooker, thawed down snow in it, added chips of seal meat and made a delicious bouillon. This had a rich red colour and seemed very nutritious, but to me was indigestible. While Mawson was still engaged on further cooking experiments, Mackay and I ascended to the highest point of the island, selected a spot for a cairn to mark our depot, and Mackay commenced building the cairn. Meanwhile, I returned to camp.
It had, of course, become clear to us, in view of our experience of the already cracking sea ice near Granite Harbour, as well as in view of our comparatively slow progress by relay, that our retreat back to camp from the direction of the Magnetic Pole would in all probability be entirely cut off through the breaking up of the sea ice. Under these circumstances we determined to take the risk of the Nimrod arriving safely on her return voyage at Cape Royds, where she would receive the instructions to search for us along the western coast, and also the risk of her not being able to find our depot and ourselves. We knew that there was a certain amount of danger in adopting this course, but we felt that we had got on so far with the work entrusted to us by our Commander that we could not honourably now tura back. Under these circumstances we each wrote farewell letters to those who were nearest and dearest, and the following morning, November 2, we were up at 4.30 A.M. After putting all the letters into one of our empty dried-milk tins, and fitting on the airtight lid, I walked with it to the island and climbed up to the cairn. Here, after carefully depoting several bags of geological specimens at the base of the flagstaff, I lashed the little post office by means of cord and copper-wire securely to the flagstaff, and then carried some large slabs of exfoliated granite to the cairn, and built them up on the leeward side of it in order to strengthen it against the southerly blizzards. A keen wind was blowing, as was usual in the early morning, off the high plateau, and one's hands got frequently frost-bitten in the work of securing the tin to the flagstaff. The cairn was at the seaward end of a sheer oliff two hundred feet high.
It was later than usual when we started our sledges, and the pulling proved extremely heavy. The sun's heat was thawing the snow surface and making it extremely sticky. Our progress was so painfully slow that we decided, after with great efforts doing two miles, to camp, have our hoosh, and then turn in for six hours, having meanwhile started the blubber lamp. At the expiration of that time we intended to get out of our sleeping-bag, breakfast, and start sledging about midnight. We hoped that by adopting nocturnal habits of travelling, we would avoid the sticky ice-surface which by daytime formed such an obstacle to our progress. We carried out this programme on the evening of November 2, and the morning of November 3. We found the experiment fairly successful, as at midnight and for a few hours afterwards the temperature remained sufficiently low to keep the surface of the snow on the sea ice moderately crisp.
On November 3 and 4 the weather was fine, and we made fair progress.
On the following day, November 5, we were opposite a very interesting coastal panorama, some twenty miles north of Granite Harbour. Magnificent ranges of mountains, steep slopes free from snow and ice, stretched far to the north and far to the south of us, and finished away inland, towards the heads of long glacier-out valleys, in a vast upland snow plateau. The rocks which were exposed to view in the lower part of these ranges were mostly of warm sepia brown to terra-cotta tint, and were evidently built up of a continuation of the gneissic rocks and red granites which we had previously seen. Above these crystalline rocks came a belt of greenish-grey rock, apparently belonging to some stratified formation and possibly many hundreds of feet in thickness; the latter was capped with a black rock that seemed to be either a basic plateau lava or a huge sill. In the direction of the glacier valleys, the plateau was broken up into a vast number of conical hills of various shapes and heights, all showing evidence of intense glacial action in the past. The hills were here separated from the coast-line by a continuous belt of piedmont glacier ice. This last terminated where it joined the sea ice in a steep slope, or low cliff, and in places was very much crevassed. Mawson, at our noon halt for lunch,. continued taking the angles of all these ranges and valleys with our theodolite.
The temperature was now rising, being as high as 22° Fahr. at noon on November 5. We had a very heavy sledging surface that day, there being much consolidated brash ice, sastrugi, pie-crust snow, and numerous cracks in the sea ice: As an offset to these troubles we had that night, for the first time, the use of our new frying-pan, constructed by Mawson out of one of our empty paraffin tins. This tin had been cut in half down the middle parallel to its broad surfaces, and loops of iron wire being added, it was possible to suspend it inside the empty biscuit tin above the wicks of our blubber lamp. We found that in this frying-pan we could rapidly render down the seat blubber into oil, and as soon as the oil boiled we dropped into the pan small slices of seal liver or seal meat. The liver took about ten minutes to cook in the boiling oil, the seal meat about twenty minutes. These facts were ascertained by the empirical method. Mawson discovered by the same method that the nicely browned and crisp residue from the seal blubber, after the oil in it had become rendered down, was good eating, and had a fine nutty flavour. We also found, as the result of later experiments, that dropping a little seal's blood into the boiling oil produced eventually a gravy of very fine flavour. If the seal's blood was poured in rapidly into the boiling oil, it made a kind of gravy pancake, which we also considered very good as a variety.
We had a magnificent view this day of fresh ranges of mounrains to the north of Der ot Island. At the foot of these was an extensive terrace of glacier ice, a curious type of piedmont glacier. Its surface was strongly convex near where it terminated seawards in a steep slope or low cliff. In places this ice was heavily crevassed. At a distance of several miles inland, it reached the spurs of an immense coastal range, while in the wide gaps in this range the ice trended inland as far as the eye could see until it blended in the far distance with the skyline high up on the great inland plateau.
A little before 9 P.M. on November 5 we left our sleeping-bag, and found snow falling, with a fresh and chilly breeze from the south. The blubber lamp, which we had lighted before we had turned in, had got blown out. We built a chubby house for it of snow blocks to keep off the wind, and relighted it, and then turned into the sleeping-bag again while we waited for the snow and chips of seal meat in our cooking-pot to become converted into a hot bouillon; the latter was ready after an interval of about one hour and a half. Just before midnight we brought the cooker alight into the tent in order to protect it from the blizzard which was now blowing and bringing much falling snow with it. Mawson's cooking experiments continued to be highly successful and entirely satisfactory to the party.
We waited for the falling snow to clear sufficiently to enable us to see a short distance ahead, awl then started again, the blizzard still blowing with a little low drift. After doing a stage of pulling on both sledges to keep ourselves warm in the blizzard we set sail always a chilly business and the wind was a distinct assistance to us. We encountered a good deal of brash ice that day, and noticed that this type of ice surface was most common in the vicinity of icebergs, which just here were very numerous. The brash ice is probably formed by the icebergs surging to and fro in heavy weather like a lot of gigantic Yermaks, and crunching up the sea ice in their vicinity. The latter, of course, re-freezes, producing a surface covered with jagged edges and points.
We were now reduced to one plasmon biscuit each for breakfast and one for evening meal, and we were unanimous in the opinion that we had never before fully realised how very nice these plasmon biscuits were. We became exceedingly careful even over the crumbs. As some biscuits were thicker than others, the cook for the week would select three biscuits, place them on the outer cover of our aluminium cooker, and get one of his mates to look in an opposite direction while the messman pointed to a biscuit and said, "Whose?" The mate with averted face, or shut eyes, would then state the owner, and the biscuit was ear-marked for him, and so with the other two biscuits. Grievous was the disappointment of the man to whose lot the thinnest of the three biscuits had fallen. Originally, on this sledge journey, when biscuits were more plentiful, we used to eat them regardless of the loss of crumbs, munching them boldly, with the result that occasional crumbs fell on the floor-cloth. Not so now. Each man broke his biscuit over his own pannikin of hoosh, so that any crumbs produced in the process of fracture fell into the pannikin. Then, in order to make sure that there were no loose fragments adhering to the morsel we were about to transfer to our mouths, we tapped the broken chip, as well as the biscuit from which it had been broken, on the sides of the pannikin, so as to shake into it any loose crumbs. Then, and then only, was it safe to devour the precious morsel.
Mackay, who adopted this practice in common with the rest of us, said it reminded him of the old days when the sailors tapped each piece of broken biscuit before eating it in order to shake out the weevils.
Mawson and I now wore our ski boots instead of finnesko, the weather being warmer, and the ski boot giving one a better grip on the snow surface of the sea ioe. The rough leather took the skin off my right heel, but Mackay fixed it up later in the evening, that is, my heel, with some " Newskin."
We sledged on uneventfully for the remainder of November 6, and during the 7th, and on November 8 it came on to blow again with fresh-falling snow. The blizzard was still blowing when the time came for us to pitch our tent. We had a severe struggle to get the tent up in the high wind and thick falling snow. At last the work was accomplished, and we were all able to turn into our sleeping-bag, pretty tired, at about 12.30 P.M.
The weather was still bad the following day, November 9. After breakfast off seal's liver, and digging out the sledges from the snow-drift, we started in the blizzard, the snow still falling. After a little while we made sail on both sledges. The light was very bad on account of the thick falling snow, and we were constantly falling up to our knees in the cracks in the sea ice. It seemed miraculous that in spite of these very numerous accidents we never sprained an ankle.
That day we saw a snow petrel, and three skua gulls visited our Damp. At last the snow stopped falling and the wind fell light, and we were much cheered by a fine, though distant, view of the Nordenskjold Ice Barrier to the north of us. We were all extremely anxious to ascertain what sort of a surface for sledging we should meet with on this great glacier. According to the Admiralty chart, prepared from observations by the Discovery expedition, this glacier was between twenty-four and thirty miles wide, and projected over twenty miles from the rocky shore into the sea. We hoped that we might be able to miss it without following a circuitous route along its seaward margins.
We started off on November 10, amongst very heavy sastrugi and ridges of broken pack-ice. Cracks in the sea ice were extremely numerous. The temperature was up to plus 3° Fahr. at 8 A.M. That day when we pitched camp we were within half a mile of the southern edge of the Nordenskjold Ice Barrier.
The following day, November 11, as Mawson wished to get an accurate magnetic determination with the Lloyd-Creak dip circle, we decided to camp, Mackay and I exploring the glacier surface to select a suitable track for our sledges while Mawson took his observations. After breakfast we removed everything containing iron several hundred yards away from the tent, leaving Mawson alone inside it in company with the dip circle. We found that the ascent from the sea ice to the Nordenskjold Ice Barrier was a comparatively easy one. The surface was formed chiefly of hard snow glazed in places, partly through thawing and re-freezing, partly through the polishing of this windward surface by particles of fresh snow driven over it by the blizzards. The surface ascended gradually to a little over one hundred feet above the level of the sea ice, passing into a wide undulating plain which stretched away to the north as far as the eye could see.
We returned to Mawson with the good news that the Nordenskjold Ice Barrier was quite practicable for sledging, and would probably afford us a much more easy surface than the sea ice over which we had previously been passing. Mawson informed us, as the result of his observations with the dip circle, that the Magnetic Pole was probably about forty miles further inland than the theoretical mean position calculated for it from the magnetic observations of the Discovery expedition seven years ago.
Early on the morning of November 12 we packed up, and started to cross the Nordenskjold Ice Barrier. We noticed here that there were two well-marked sets of sastrugi, one set, nearly due north and south, formed by the strong southerly blizzards, the other set, crossing nearly at right angles, coming from the west and formed by the cold land winds blowing off the high plateau at night on to the sea.
November 12 was an important one in the history of Mawson's triangulation of the coast, for he was able in the morning to sight simultaneously Mount Erebus and Mount Melbourne, as well as Mount Lister. We were fortunate in having a very bright and clear day on this occasion, and the round of angles obtained by Mawson with the theodolite were in every way satisfactory.
November 13. We were still on the Nordenskjold Ice Barrier. The temperature in the early morning, about 3 A.M., was minus 13° Fahr. Mawson had provided an excellent dish for breakfast consisting of crumbed seal meat and seal's blood, which proved delicious. We got under way about 2 A.M. It was a beautiful sunshiny day with a gentle cold breeze off the western plateau. When we had sledged for about one thousand yards Mawson suddenly exclaimed that he could see the end of the barrier where it terminated in a white cliff only about six hundred yards ahead. We halted the sledge, and while Mawson took some more theodolite angles Mackay and I reconnoitred ahead but could find no way down the cliff. We returned to the sledge and all pulled on for another quarter of a mile. Once more we reconnoitred, and this time both Mawson and I found some steep slopes formed by drifted snow which were just practicable for a light sledge lowered by an alpine rope. We chose what seemed to be the best of these; Mackay tied the alpine rope around his body, and taking his ice-axe, descended the slope cautiously, Mawson and I holding on to the rope meanwhile. The snow slope proved fairly soft, giving good foothold, and he was soon at the bottom without having needed any support from the alpine rope. He then returned to the top of the slope, and we all set to work unpacking the sledges. We made fast one of the sledges to the alpine rope, and after loading it lightly lowered it little by little down the slope, one of us guiding the sledge while the other two slacked out the alpine rope above. The man who went with the sledge to the bottom would unload it there on the sea ice and then climb up the slope, the other two meanwhile pulling up the empty sledge. This manoeuvre was repeated a number of times until eventually the whole of our food and equipment, including two sledges, were safely down on the sea ice below.
We were all much elated at having got across the Nordenskjold Ice Barrier so easily and so quickly. We were also fortunate in securing a seal; Mackay went off and killed this, bringing back seal steak, liver, and a considerable quantity of seal blood. From the last Mackay said he intended to manufacture a black pudding.
While Mackay had been in pursuit of the seal meat Mawson had taken a meridian altitude while I kept the time for him. After our hoosh we packed the sledges, and Mawson took a photograph showing the cliff forming the northern boundary of the Nordenskjold Ice Barrier. This cliff was about forty feet in height. There can be little doubt, I think, that the greater part of this Nordenskjold Ice Barrier is afloat.
The sun was so warm this day that I was tempted before turning in to the sleeping-bag to take off my ski boots and socks and give my feet a snow bath, which was very refreshing.
The following day, November 14, we were naturally anxious to be sure of our exact position on the chart, in view of the fact that we had come to the end of the ice barrier some eighteen miles quicker than the chart led us to anticipate. Mawson accordingly worked up his meridian altitude, and I plotted out the angular distances he had found respectively, for Mount Erebus, Mount Lister, and Mount Melbourne. As the result of the application of our calculations to the chart it became evident that we had actually crossed the Nordenskjold Ice Barrier of Captain Scott's survey, and were now opposite what on his chart was termed Charcot Bay. This was good news and cheered us up very much, as it meant that we were nearly twenty miles further north than we previously thought we were. The day was calm and fine, and the surface of the sea ice was covered with patches of soft snow with nearly bare ice between, and the sledging was not quite as heavy as usual. In the evening two skua gulls went for our seal meat during the interval that we were returning for the second sledge after pulling on the first one.
We had a magnificent view of the rocky coast-line, which is here Test impressive. The sea ice stretched away to the west of us for several miles up to a low cliff and slope of piedmont glacier ice, with occasional black masses of rock showing at its edge. Several miles further inland the piedmont glacier ice terminated abruptly against a magnificent range of mountains, tabular for the most part but deeply intersected. In the wide gaps between this coast range were vast glaciers fairly heavily crevassed, descending by steep slopes from an inland plateau to the sea.
We were still doing our travelling by night and sleeping during the afternoon. When we arose from our sleeping-bags at 8 P.M. on the night of November 16, there was a beautifully perfect "Noah's Ark" in the sky; the belts of cirrus-stratus composing the ark stretched from south-south-west to north-north-east, converging towards the horizon in each of these directions. Fleecy sheets of frost smoke arose from over the open water on Ross Sea, and formed dense cumulus clouds. This, of course, was a certain indication to us that open water was not far distant, and impressed upon us the necessity of making every possible speed if we hoped to reach our projected point of departure on the coast for the Magnetic Pole before the sea ice entirely broke up.
The following day, November 17, after a very heavy sledging over loose powdery snow six inches deep, we reached a low glacier and ice cliff. We were able to get some really fresh snow from this barrier or glacier, the cliffs of which were from thirty to forty feet high. It was a great treat to get fresh water at last, as since we had left the Nordenskjold Ice Barrier the only snow available for cooking purposes had been brackish.
November 18 was bright and sunny, but the sledging was terribly heavy. The sun had thawed the surface of the saline snow and our sledge runners had become saturated with soft water. We were so wearied with the great effort necessary to keep the sledges moving that at the end of each halt we fell sound asleep for five minutes or so at a time across the sledges. On such occasions one of the party would wake the others up, and we would continue our journey. We were even more utterly exhausted than usual at the end of this day.
By this time, however, we were in sight of a rocky headland which we took to be Cape Irizar, and we knew that this cape was not very far to the south of the Drygalski Glacier. Indeed, already a long line was showing on the horizon which could be no other than the eastward extension of this famous and, as it afterwards proved, formidable glacier.
November 19. We had another heavy day's sledging, ankle deep in the soft snow. We only did two miles of relay work this day, and yet were quite exhausted at the end of it.
November 20. Being short of meat, we killed a seal calf and cow, and so replenished our larder. At the end of the day's sledging I walked over about two miles to a cliff face, about six miles south of Cape Irizar. The rocks all along this part of the shore were formed of coarse gneissic granite, of which I was able to collect some specimens. The cliff was about one hundred feet high where it was formed of the gneiss, and above this rose a capping of from seventy to eighty feet in thickness of heavily crevassed blue glacier ice. There were here wide tide-cracks between the sea ice and the foot of the sea cliff. These were so wide that it was difficult to cross them.
November 21. The sledging was painfully heavy over thawing saline snow surface and sticky sea ice. We were only able to do two and two-third miles.
November 22. On rounding the point of the low ice barrier, thirty to forty feet high, we obtained a good view of Cape Irizar, and also of the Drygalski Ice Barrier.
November 23. We found that a mild blizzard was blowing, but we travelled on through it as we could not afford to lose any time. The blizzard died down altogether about 3 A.M., and was succeeded by a gentle westerly wind off the plateau. That svening, after our tent had been put up and we had finished the day's meal, I walked over a mile to the shore. The prevailing rock was still gneissic granite with large whitish veins of aplitict granite. A little bright green moss was growing on tiny patches of sand and gravel, and in some of the cracks in the granite. The top of the cliff was capped by blue glacier ice. With the help of steps cut by my ice-axe I climbed some distance up this in order to try and get some fresh ice for cooking purposes, but close to the top of the slope I accidentally slipped and glissaded most unwillingly some distance down before I was able to check myself by means of the chisel edge of the ice-axe. My hands were somewhat cut and bruised, but otherwise no damage was done.
November 24. A strong keen wind was blowing off the plateau from the west-south-west. We were all suffering from want of sleep, and although the snow surface was better than it had been for some little time we still found the work of sledging very fatiguing. A three-man sleeping-bag, where you are wedged in more or less tightly against your mates, where all snore and shin one another and each feels on waking that he is more shinned against than shinning, is not conducive to real rest; and we rued the day that we chose the three-man bag in preference to the one-man bags.
On the following day, November 26, we saw on looking back that the rocky headland, where I had collected the specimens of granite and moss, was not part of the mainland but a small island.
We had some good sledging here over pancake ice nearly free from snow and travelled fast. While Mackay secured some seal meat Mawson and I ascended the rocky promontory, climbing at first over rock, then over glacier ice, to a height of about six hundred feet above the sea. The rock was a pretty red granite traversed by large dykes of black rocks. From the top of the headland to the north we had a magnificent view across the level surface of sea ice far below us. We saw that at a few miles from the shore an enormous iceberg, frozen into the floe, lay right across the path which we had intended to travel in our northerly course on the morrow. To the north-west of us was Geikie Inlet, and beyond that stretching as far as the eye could follow was the great Drygalski Glacier. Beyond the Drygalski Glacier were a series of rocky hills. One of these was identified as probably being Mount Neumayer. Several mountains could be seen further to the north of this, but the far distance was obscured from view by cloud and mist so that we were unable to make out the outline of Mount Nansen. It was evident that the Drygalski Glacier was bounded landwards on the north by a steep cliff of dark, highly jointed rock, and we were not a little ooncerned to observe with our field-glasses that the surface of the Drygalski Glacier was wholly different to that of the Nordenskjold Ice Barrier. It was clear that the surface of the Drygalski Glacier was formed of jagged surfaces of ice very heavily crevassed, and projecting in the form of immense graes separated from one another by deep undulations or chasms; but we could see that, at the extreme eastern extension, some thirty miles from where we were standing, the surface appeared fairly smooth. It was obvious from what we had seen looking out to sea to the east of our camp that there were large bodies of open water trending shorewards in the form of long lanes at no great distance. The lanes of water were only partly frozen over, and some of these were interposed between us and the Drygalski Glacier. Clearly not a moment was to be lost if we were to reach the glacier before the sea ice broke up. A single Wong blizzard would now have converted the whole of the sea ice between us and the glacier into a mass of drifting pack.
The following day, November 27, we decided to run our sledges to the east of the large berg which we had observed on the previous day, and this course apparently would enable us to avoid a wide and ugly looking tide-crack extending northwards from the rocky point at our previous camp. The temperature was now as high as from plus 26° to plus 28° Fahr. at mid-day, consequently the saline snow and ice were all day more or less sticky and slushy. We camped near the large berg.
On the morning of November 28 we packed up and started our sledges, and pulled them over a treacherous slushy tide-crack, and then headed them round an open lead of water in the sea ice. At 3 A.M. we had lunch near the east end of the big berg. Near here Mackay and Mawson succeeded in catching and killing an Emperor penguin, and took the breast and liver. This bird was caught close to a lane of open water in the sea ice.
We found that in the direction of the berg this was thinly frozen ever, and for some time it seemed as though our progress further north was completely blocked. Eventually we found a place where the ice might just bear our sledges. We strengthened this spot by laying down on it slabs of sea ice and shovelfuls of snow, and when the causeway was completed not without Mackay breaking through the ice in one place and very nearly getting a ducking we rushed our sledges over safely, although the ice was so thin that it bent under their weight. We were thankful to get them both safely to the other side.
We now found ourselves amongst some very high sastrugi of hard tough snow. We had to drag the sledges over a great number of these, which were nearly at right angles to our course. This work proved extremely fatiguing. The sastrugi were from five to six feet in height. As we were having dinner at the end of our day's sledging we heard a loud report which we considered to be due to the opening of a new crack in the sea ice. We thought it was possible that this crack was caused by some movement of the great active Drygalski Glacier, now only about four miles ahead of us to the north.
We got out of our sleeping-bag soon after 8 P.M. on the evening of the 28th, and started just before midnight. The ice-surface over which we were sledging this day had a curious appearance resembling rippling stalagmites, or what may be termed ice marble. This opacity appeared to be due to a surface enamel of partly thawed snow. This surface kept continually cracking as we passed over it with a noise like that of a whip being cracked It was evidently in a state of tension, being contracted by the cold which attained its maximum soon after midnight, for, although of course we had for many weeks past been having the midnight sun, it was still so low in the heavens towards midnight that there was an appreciable difference in the temperature between midnight and the afternoon.
We were now getting very short of biscuits, and as a consequence were seized with food obsessions, being unable to talk about anything but cereal foods, chiefly cakes of various kinds and fruits. Whenever we halted for a short rest we could discuss nothing but the different dishes with which we had been regaled in our former lifetime at various famous restaurants and hotels.
The plateau wind blew keenly and strongly all day on November 29. As we advanced further to the north the ice-surface became more and more undulatory, rising against us in great waves like waves of the sea. Evidently these waves were due to the forward movement, and consequent pressure of the Drygalski Glacier. We had a fine view from the top of one of these ridges over the surface of the Drygalski Glacier, to the edge of the inland plateau. Far inland, perhaps forty or fifty miles away, we could see the great nevi) fields, which fed the Drygalski Glacier, descending in conspicuous ice falls, and beyond these loomed dim mountains. At the end of this day we hardly knew whether we were on the edge of the sea ice or on the thin edge of the Drygalski Glacier. Probably, I think, we were on very old sea ice, perhaps representing the accumulations of several successive seasons.
It fell calm at about 9 p.m., but just before midnight, November 29-30, the plateau wind returned, blowing stronger than ever. As the sun during the afternoon had now considerable heating power, we tried the experiment of putting snow into our aluminium cooking-pot, the exterior of which by this time was permanently coated with greasy lamp-black from the blubber lamp, and leaving the pot exposed in the evening to the direct rays of the sun. The lamp-black, of course, formed an excellent absorbent of the sun's heat-rays. On getting out of the sleeping-bag at 9 P.M. on November 29 I found that about half the snow I had put into the cooking-pot had been thawed down by the sun's heat. This, of course, saved both paraffin and blubber. It takes, of course, as much energy to thaw ice or snow at a temperature of 32° Fahr. to form a given volume of water as it does to raise that water from 32° Fahr. up to boiling-point. As our snow and ice used for domestic purposes frequently had a temperature of many degrees below zero, the heat energy necessary to thaw it was greater than that required to raise the water from freezing-point to boiling-point.
As we advanced with our sledge on the early morning of November 30, the ice ridges fronting us became higher and steeper, and we had much ado straining with all our might on the steep ice slopes to get the sledges to move, and they skidded a good deal as we dragged them obliquely up the slopes. The plateau wind, too, had freshened, and was now blowing on our port bow at from fifteen to twenty miles an hour, bringing with it a good deal of low drift. At last, about 10 A.M., the plateau wind dropped and with it the drift, and the weather became warm and sunny.
The glacier now spread before us as a great billowy sea of pale green ice, with here and there high embankments of marble-like neve resembling railway embankments. Unfortunately for our progress, the trend of the latter was nearly at right angles to our course. As we advanced still further north the undulations became more and more pronounced, the embankments higher and steeper. These embankments were now bounded by cliffs from forty to fifty feet in height, with overhanging cornices of tough snow. The cliffs faced northwards. The deep chasms which they produced formed a very serious obstacle to our advance, and we had to make some long detours in order to head them off. On studying one of these chasms it seemed to me that their mode of origin was somewhat as follows: In the first place the surface of the ice had become strongly ridged through forward movement of the glacier, with perhaps differential frictional resistance; the latter causing a series of undulations, the top of each ice undulation would then be further raised by an accumulation of snow partly carried by the west-north-west plateau wind, partly by the southerly blizzard wind. These two force components produced these overhanging cliffs facing the north. For some reason the snow would not lie at the bottoms of the troughs between the undulations. Probably they were swept bare by the plateau wind. It was hardly to be wondered at that we were unable to advance our sledges more than about one mile and a half that day.
The next day, December 1, the hauling of our sledges became much more laborious. For half a day we struggled over high sastrugi, hummocky ice ridges, steep undulations of bare blue ice with frequent chasms impassable for a sledge, unless it was unloaded and lowered by alpine rope. After struggling on for a little over half a mile we decided to camp, and while Mawson took magnetio observations and theodolite angles, Mackay and I reconnoitred ahead for between two and three miles to see if there was any way at all practicable for the sledge out of these mazes of chasms, undulations, and Berms. Mackay and I were roped together for this exploratory work, and fell into about a score of crevasses before we returned to camp, though in this case we never actually fell with our head and shoulders below the lids of the crevasses, as they were mostly filled at the surface with tough snow. We had left a black signal flag on top of a conspicuous ice mound as a guide to us as to the whereabouts of the camp, and we found this a welcome beacon when we started to return, as it was by no means an easy task finding one's way across this storm-tossed ice sea, even when one was only a mile or two from the camp. On our return we found that Mawson was just completing his observations. He found that the dip of the needle here was off the vertical. We brought the tent down from where he had been taking magnetic observations, and treading warily, because of crevasses, set it up again close to our sledge, and had lunch.
That afternoon we discussed the situation at some length. It appeared that the Drygalski Glacier must be at least twenty miles in width. If we were to cross it along the course which we were now following at the rate of half a mile every half-day it would obviously take at least twenty days to get to the other side, and this estimate did not allow for those unforeseen delays which experience by this time had taught us were sure to occur. The view which Mackay and I had obtained of the glacier ice ahead of us showed that our difficulties, for a considerable distance, would materially increase. Under these circumstances we were reluctantly forced to the conclusion that our only hope of ultimate success lay in retreat. We accordingly determined to drag the sledges back off the glacier on to the sea ice by the way along which we had come.
Early on the morning of December 2 the retreat began. Owing to a fog, there was some difficulty in picking up our old sledge tracks.
December 3. We were still travelling eastward parallel to southern edge of the glacier.
December 4. Reconnoitring expedition.
December 5. Mackay brought back to camp a most welcome addition to our larder over 30 lb. of seal meat. To secure this he had made a long journey over the sea ice.
December 6. We left our camp on the south side of glacier, and struck across high ridges of blue ice into the small valley which we had prospected on December 4.
December 7 and 8. We were still struggling across this glacier.
December 9. The glacier ice kept cracking from time to time with sharp reports. Possibly this may have been due to the expansion of the ice under the influence of the hot sun (the temperature at midnight being as high as plus 19° Fahr.). At one spot the sledges had to be dragged up a grade of 1 in 3 over smooth blue glacier ice. Just before camping-time Mackay sighted open water on the northern edge of the Drygalski Ice Barrier, from three to four miles away. It was now clear that we could not hope for sea ice over which to sledge westwards to that part of the shore where we proposed to make our final depot before attempting the ascent of the great inland plateau in order to reach the Magnetic Pole.
December 10. We were much rejoiced at the end of the day's sledging to find ourselves at last off the true glacier type of surface, and on to a surface of the undulating barrier type. This improvement in the surface enabled us to steer westwards. At first we had to incline to north-west to skirt some high ice ridges, and then we were able to go nearly due west.
December 11. We had a fine view of "Terra Nova" Bay, and as far as could be judged the edge of the Drygalski Ice Barrier on the north was now scarcely a mile distant. We were much surprised at the general appearance of the outline of the ice. It did not agree, as far as we could judge, with the shape of this region as shown on the Admiralty chart, and we could see no certain indication whatever of what was called, on the chart, "the low, sloping shore." Accordingly we halted a little earlier than usual in order to reconnoitre. There was a conspicuous ice mound about half a mile to the north-west of this camp. Mackay started off with the field-glasses for a general look round from this point of vantage. Mawson started changing his plates in the sleeping-bag, while I prepared to go out with my sketch-book and get an outline panoramic view of the grand coast ranges now in sight. Crevasses of late had been so few and far between that I thought it was an unnecessary precaution to take my ice-axe with me, but I had scarcely gone more than six yards from the tent when the lid of a crevasse suddenly collapsed under me at a point where there was absolutely no outward or visible sign of its existence, and let me down suddenly nearly up to my shoulders. I only saved myself from going right down by throwing my arms out and staying myself on the snow-lid on either side. The lid was so rotten that I dared not make any move to extricate myself, or I might have been precipitated into the abyss. Fortunately Mawson was close at hand, and on my calling to him, he came out of our sleeping-bag, and bringing an ice-axe, chipped a hole in the firm ice on the edge of the crevasse nearest to me. He then inserted the chisel edge of the ice-axe in the hole and, holding on to the pick point, swung the handle towards me: grasping this, I was able to extricate myself and climbed out on to the solid ice.
It was a beautiful day, the coast-line showing up very finely, and I was able to get from the ice mound a sketch of the mountains. Mawson also took three photographs, making a panoramic view of this part of the coast. He was able, also, to get a valuable series of angles with the theodolite, which showed that the shape of the coast-line here necessitated serious modification of the existing chart.
Far beyond the golden mountains to the north and west lay our goal, but as yet we knew not whether we were destined to fail or succeed. Meanwhile no time was to be lost in hurrying on and preparing for a dash on to the plateau, if we were to deserve success.
The following day, December 12, we sledged on for half a mile until we were a little to the west of the conspicuous ice mound previously described. We concluded that as this ice mound commanded such a general view of the surrounding country, it must itself be a conspicuous object to any one approaching the Drygalski Glacier by sea from the north; and so we decided that as there was still no trace of the "low, sloping shore" of the chart, and that as the spot at which we had now arrived was very near to the area so named on the chart, we would make our depot. We intended to leave at this depot one of our sledges with any spare equipment, a little food, and all our geological specimens, and proceed thence shorewards and inland with one sledge only. We estimated that we still had fully 220 miles to travel from this depot on the Drygalski Glacier to the Magnetic Pole. It was, therefore, necessary now to make preparations for a journey there and back of at least 440 miles. We thought that with detours the journey might possibly amount to 500 miles.
We could see, even from our distance of from twenty to thirty miles from the shore-line, that we had no light task before us in order to win a way on to the high inland plateau.
Our first business was to lay in a stock of provisions sufficient to last us for our 500 miles of further journeying. Mackay started for a small inlet about a mile and a half distant from our camp, where he found a number of seals and Emperor and Adelie penguins. He killed some seals and Emperor penguins, and loaded a good supply of seal steak, blubber, liver, and penguin steak and liver on to the sledge. In the course of his hunting, he fell through an ice bridge, at a tide-crack, up to his waist in the water. Mawson and I went out to meet him when the sledge was loaded, and helped to drag it back to camp. We found it very hot in the tent, the weather being fine and sunny. It was delightful to be able at last to rest our weary limbs after the many weeks of painful toil over the sea ice and the Drygalski Glacier.
We started cooking our meat for the sledging trip on the following day, December 13, our intention being to take with us provisions for seven weeks, in addition to equipment, including scientific instruments, &c. We estimated that the total weight would amount to about 670 lb. We were doubtful, in our then stale and weakened condition, whether we should be able to pull such a load over the deep loose snow ahead of us, and then drag it up the steep ice slopes of the great glaciers which guarded the route to the plateau.
The sun was so hot that it started melting the fat out of our pemmican bags, so that the fat actually oozed through not only the canvas of the bags themselves, but also through the thick brown canvas of the large fortnightly food-bags, which formed a sort of tank for containing the pemmican bags, and we found it necessary at once to shade the food-bags from the sun by piling our Burberry garments over them. Leather straps, tar rope, tins, sledge harness, lamp-black off the blubber cooker, warmed by the rays of the sun, all commenced to sink themselves more or less rapidly into the nevi.
We unpacked and examined both sledges, and found that of the two, the runners of the Duff Sledge were the less damaged. As the result of the rough treatment to which it had recently been subjected, one of the iron brackets of this sledge was broken, but we replaced it with a sound one from the discarded Christmas Tree Sledge.
The following day, December 14, we were still busy preparing for the great trek inland. Mackay was busy cooking Emperor penguin and seal meat for the plateau journey; Mawson was employed in transferring the scientific instrument boxes and the Venesta boxes in which our primus lamp and other light gear were packed from the Christmas Tree sledge on to the Duff sledge. He also scraped the runners of the sledge with pieces of broken glass in order to make their surfaces as smooth at possible. I was busy fixing up depot flags, writing letters to the Commander of the Nimrod, Lieutenant Shackleton, and my family, and fixing up a milk tin to serve as a post office on to the depot flag-pole. When all our preparations were completed we drew the Christmas Tree sledge with some of our spare clothing, our blubber cooker, a biscuit tin with a few broken biscuits, and all our geological specimens to the top of the ice mound, about a quarter of a mile distant. On reaching the top of the mound we cut trenches with our ice-axes in which to embed the runners of the sledge, fixed the runners in these grooves, piled the chipped ice on top, then lashed to the sledge. very carefully, the flag-pole about six feet high, with the black flag displayed on the top of it. The wind blew keenly off the plateau before our labours were completed. We all felt quite sorry and downcast at parting with this sledge, which by this time seemed to us like a bit of home. We then returned to camp. Just previous to depoting this sledge, Mackay fixed another small depot flag close to the open sea a few yards back from the edge of the ice cliff.
Soon after we had turned into our sleeping-bag, a gentle blizzard started to blow from west by south. This continued all night, increasing in intensity in the morning. We were able to see great whale-backed clouds, very much like those with which we had been familiar over Mount Erebus, forming over Mount Nansen. As this blizzard wind was blowing partly against us, we decided that we would wait until it had either slackened off or decreased in force.
The blizzard continued till midnight of December 15-16, when its force markedly decreased. We breakfasted accordingly just after midnight. I dug out the sledge from the snow which had drifted over it, and Ma3kay cached some seal meat in an adjoining ice mound. At last, about 7 A.M., we made a start, and were delighted to find that, chiefly as the result of the three days' rest in camp, we were able to pull our sledge weighing about 670 lb. with comparative ease. The snow, though soft, had become crusted over the surface through the thaw brought on by the blizzard, followed by freezing during the succeeding cold night. The sledging was certainly heavy, but not nearly so distressing as that which we had recently experienced in crossing the Drygalski Glacier. We steered towards the great black nufratak midway between Mount Nansen and Mount Larsen, as Mawson and Mackay both considered that in this direction lay our chief hope of finding a practical route to the high plateau.
On December 17 we had a very interesting day. The sledging was rather heavy, being chiefly over soft snow and pie-crust snow. It was difficult to decide sometimes whether we were on fresh-water ice or on sea ice. Here and there we crossed ice ridges, evidently pressure ridges of some kind. These would be traversed by crevasses which showed the ice in such places to be at least thirty to forty feet in thickness. Close to our final camping-ground for the day was a long shallow valley or barranca; it was from one hundred and twenty to one hundred and thirty yards in width. The near side was steep, though not too steep for us to have let our sledge down; but the far side was precipitous, being bounded by an overhanging cliff from twenty to thirty feet high. The floor of this valley was deeply and heavily orevassed. This sunken valley, therefore, formed a serious obstacle to our advance.
While Mackay was preparing the hoosh Mawson travelled to the right, and I to the left along this valley seeking for a possible crossing-place. At last Mawson found a narrow spot where there had been an ice bridge over the valley, but this had become cracked through at the centre. It was nevertheless strong enough to bear our sledge. Near this ice bridge Mawson stated that he noticed muddy material containing what appeared to be foraminifera, squeezed up from below. The day had been calm and clear, and we were able to get detailed sketches of this part of the coast range.
The following day we made for the ice-bridge with our sledge, and found that the crack crossing it had opened to a width of eighteen inches during the night. The far side had become, too, somewhat higher than the near side. We had little difficulty in getting the sledge over, and after crossing several other cracks in the ice and nevi) without mishap, reached once more a fairly level surface.
At lunch time, soon after midnight, we reached some very interesting glacial moraines in the form of large to small blocks, mostly of eruptive rock, embedded in the ice. It was probable, from their general distribution, that they formed part of an old moraine of Mount Nansen, though now about fifteen miles in advance of the present glacier front. We collected a number of specimens from this moraine.
Fine rolls of cumulus clouds were gathering to our north-east. The day was calm with occasional gleams of sunshine. After the plateau wind had died down about 2 P.M. it commenced to snow a little, the snow coming from between south-west and west-south-west.
At midnight on December 19 we started sledging in the falling snow, guided partly by the direction of the wind, partly by that of the pressure ridges and crevasses, occasionally taking compass bearings. Before we had gone far we reached a tide-crack with open water three to four feet wide. There was also a width of about eighteen feet of recently formed thin ice at this tide-crack. We tasted the water in this crack and found that it was distinctly salt. It was clear then that at this part of our journey we were travelling over sea ice. About half a mile further on we reached another open tide-crack, and had to make a considerable dιtour in order to get over it. The surface of the ice was now thawing, and we trudged through a good deal of slushy snow, with here and there shallow pools of water as blue as the Blue Grotto of Capri. On the far side of this second tide-crack, and beyond the blue pools, we reached a large pressure ridge forming a high and steep scarped slope barring our progress. Its height was about eighty feet. There was nothing for it, if we were to go forward, but to drag our heavy sledge up this steep slope. It was extremely exhausting work, and we were forced to halt a few times, and had to take the sledge occasionally somewhat obliquely up the slope where it was very steep. In such cases the sledge frequently skidded. Our troubles were increased by the fact that this ice slope was traversed by numerous crevasses, which became longer and wider the further we advanced in this direction.
At last we got to the slope, only to see in the dim light that there were a succession of similar slopes ahead of us, becoming continually higher and steeper. The ice, too, became a perfect network of crevasses, some of which were partly open, but most of them covered over with snow lids. Suddenly, when crossing one of these snow lids, just as he was about to reach the firm ice on the other side, there was a slight crash and Mawson instantly disappeared from sight. Fortunately the toggle at the end of his sledge rope held, and he was left swinging in the empty space between the walls of the crevasse, being suspended by his harness attached to the sledge rope. Mackay and I hung on to the rope in case it should part at the toggle, where it was somewhat worn. Meanwhile, Mawson called out from below to pass him down the alpine rope. Leaving Mackay to keep hold of the toggle end of Mawson's harness rope, I hurried back to the sledge, which was about ten feet behind, and just as I was trying to disengage a coil of rope Mawson called out that he felt he was going. I ran back and helped Mackay to keep a strain on Mawson's harness rope. Mawson then said that he was all right. Probably at the time he felt he was going the rope had suddenly cut back through the lid of the crevasse and let him down for a distance of about a couple of feet. Altogether he was about eight feet down below the level of the snow lid. While I now held on to Mawson's harness rope Mackay hurried back to the sledge, and with his Swedish knife, cut the lashing around the alpine rope, and started uncoiling it, making a bowline at the end in which Mawson could put his foot. Meanwhile Mawson secured some ice crystals from the side of the crevasse, and threw them up for examination. The alpine rope having been lowered, Mawson put his foot into the bowline and got Mackay to haul his leg up as high as his bent knee would allow it to go, then, calling to him to hold tight the rope, Mawson, throwing the whole weight of his body on to it, raised himself about eighteen inches by means of his arms so as to be able to straighten his right leg. Meanwhile, I took in the slack of his harness rope. He then called to me to hold tight the harness rope, as he was going to rest his whole weight on that, so as to take the strain off the alpine rope. Mackay then was able to pull the alpine rope up about eighteen inches, which had the effect of bending up Mawson's right leg as before. Mackay then held fast the alpine rope, and Mawson again straightened himself up on it, resting his whole weight on that rope. Thus little by little he was hoisted up to the under surface of the snow lid, but as his harness rope had cut back a narrow groove in this snow lid several feet from where the snow gave way under him, Mawson now found his head and shoulders pressing against the under side of the snow lid, and had some difficulty in breaking through this in order to get his head out. At last the top of his head emerged, a sight for which Mackay and I were truly thankful, and presently he was able to get his arms up, and soon his body followed, and he got safely out on the near side of the crevasse. After this episode we were extra cautious in crossing the crevasses, but the ice was simply seamed with them. Twice when our sledge was being dragged up ice-pressure ridges it rolled over sideways with one runner in a crevasse, and once the whole sledge all but disappeared into a crevasse, the snow lid of which had partly collapsed under its weight. Had it gone down completely it would certainly have dragged the three of us down with it, as it weighed nearly one-third of a ton. It was clear that these high-pressure ridges and numerous crevasses were caused now, not by the Drygalski, but by the Nansen Glacier.
It was just commencing to snow, and wind was freshening from the south-west. We were now in a perfect labyrinth of crevasses and pressure ridges. Snow continued falling heavily accompanied by a blizzard wind, for the rest of that day and the whole of the succeeding night. Inside the tent we experienced some discomfort through the dripping of water caused by the thawing snow. As usual during a blizzard the temperature rose, and although the sun's heat rays were partly intercepted by the falling snow, quite sufficient warmth reached the side of the tent nearest the sun to produce this thaw. Pools of water lodged on the foot of our sleeping-bag, but we were able to keep the head of it fairly dry by fixing up our Burberry blouses and trousers across the poles on the inside of the tent so as to make a temporary waterproof lining just above our heads. We were all thoroughly exhausted, and slept until about 7 A.M. the following day, December 20. By that time the snow had cleared, after about six inches had fallen.
December 20. After morning hoosh we held a council of war. The question was whether we should continue pulling on in the direction of the nunatak rising from the Mount Nansen Glacier, or whether we should retreat and try some other way which might lead us to the plateau. Mackay was in favour of hauling ahead over the Mount Nansen Glacier, while Mawson and I favoured retreat, and trying a passage in some other direction.
At last we decided to retreat. Our fortunes now, so far as the possibility of reaching the Magnetic Pole were concerned, seemed at a low ebb. It was already December 20, and we knew that we had to be back at out depot on the Drygalski Glacier not later than February 1 or 2, if there was to be a reasonable chance of our being picked up by the Nimrod. We had not yet climbed more than 100 ft. or so above sea-level, and even this little altitude was due to our having climbed ice-pressure ridges, which from time to time dipped down again to sea-level. We knew that we had to travel at least 480 to 500 miles before we could hope to get to the Magnetic Pole and back to our depot, and there remained only six weeks in which to accomplish this journey, and at the same time we would have to pioneer a road up to the high plateau. Now that everything was buried under soft snow it was clear that sledging would be far slower and more laborious than ever.
We started off to reconnoitre in a south-westerly direction with the intention of seeing whether the Mount Bellingshausen Glacier slope would be more practicable for our sledges than the Mount Nansen Glacier. We trudged through soft thawing snow with here and there shallow pools of water on the surface of the ice. This, of course, saturated our socks, which froze as the temperature fell during the night. After proceeding about two and a half miles we observed with the field-glasses that the foot of the Mount Bellingshausen Glacier was not only steep but broken and rugged. We decided to examine what appeared to be a narrow stretch of snow mantling around the base of a granite mountain, one of the offshoots from the Mount Larsen massif. After crossing much pressure ice and many crevasses, and floundering amongst the boulders of old moraines, we reached some shallow lakes of thawed snow near the junction between the sea ice and the foot of the snow slope for which we had been steering.
After paddling, unwillingly, in the shallow lakes, we reached the foot of what proved now to be not a snow slope but a small branch glacier. This was covered with a considerable depth of soft newly drifted snow, and we found the ascent in consequence very tiring as we sunk at each step in the soft snow over our knees. At last we attained an altitude of 1200 ft. above sea-level, and were then high enough to see that the upper part of this branch glacier joined the Mount Bellingshausen Glacier at about 800 ft. higher and some half-mile further on. We were well pleased with this discovery, but as the glacier front ascended about 1500 ft. in less than a mile we did not look forward to the task of getting our heavy sledge up this steep slope, encumbered as it was with soft deep thawing snow.
On our return to the shore-line down the glacier slope we discovered that it was slightly crevassed in places, though not heavily so. At the foot of the glacier, and a short distance towards our camp, we found a moraine gravel. This was intermixed with a dark marine clay containing numerous remains of serpulm, pecten shells, bryozoa, foraminifera, &c., Mackay also found a perfect specimen of a solitary coral, allied to Deltocyathus, and also a Waldheimia. All these specimens were carefully preserved and brought into camp. While we were collecting these specimens we could hear the roar of many mountain torrents descending the steep granite slopes of the great mountain mass to the south of our branch glacier.
Occasionally, too, we heard the boom and crash of an avalanche descending from the high mountain top. Such sounds were strange to our ears, accustomed so long to the almost perfect solitude and silence of the Antarctic, hitherto broken only by the bleating of baby seals and the call of the penguins.
Mawson discovered in another part of the moraine, nearer to our camp, a bright green mineral forming thin crusts on a very pretty quartz and felspar porphyry. These we decided to examine more carefully on the morrow. We were all thoroughly exhausted after the day's work, and Mackay had a rather bad attack of snow blindness. For some time after we got into the sleeping-bag, and before we dozed off, we could still hear the intermittent roar of avalanches like the booming of distant artillery.
The following day, December 22, we picked our way with our sledge cautiously amongst the crevasses and over the pressure mounds, the traversing of which gave us some trouble in places, and eventually reached a fairly good track along the ice parallel to the moraine from which we had been collecting the day previous.
As we skirted the foot of the small branch glacier we noticed several small puffs of snow near the top angle of the snow slope which we proposed to escalade. Just as we were pulling our sledge to the foot of this slope the puff of wind with drift snow developed suddenly into a strong blizzard. We pulled in against this with great difficulty for half an hour, then camped at the foot of the slope.
We were able now to economise fuel, as we could bale the water out of these rock pools and streams for making our hoosh, tea, and cocoa. All that night the blizzard raged, and we thought any moment that the tent would be ripped up from top to bottom. It was getting very thin by this time and had already been frequently repaired by Mackay and Mawson.
December 24. About 7 A.M. I got up and dug away the drift snow from the lee side of the tent, which was cramping our feet and legs, and found that it was still snowing heavily outside, and blowing hard as well. In the afternoon the blizzard slacked off somewhat, and the drift nearly ceased. We got up accordingly and had a meal. We halved our sledge load, repacked the sledge, and by dint of great exertions dragged it up the steep snow and ice slope to a height of 800 ft. above the sea. This was done in the teeth of a mild but freshening blizzard. The blizzard at last got too strong for us, so that we left the load at the altitude mentioned and returned back to our tent with the empty sledge.
Mackay's eyes, still suffering from the effects of snow-blindness, were treated with a solution of thin tabloids (laminae) of sulphate of zinc and cocaine, with the result that his eyes were much better the following day, December 25. We started shortly before noon and commenced dragging up the second part of our load to the accompaniment of the music of murmuring streams. During our interval for lunch, Mawson was able to get some theodolite angles. We had the great satisfaction, when we turned in at 10 P.M. on Christmas Eve, to find that we were above the uncomfortable zone of thaw, and everything around us was once more crisp and dry, though cold. Our spirits, too, mounted with the altitude. We were now over 1200 ft. above sea-level.
The following day, December 25, was Christmas Day. When I awoke, I noticed a pile of snow on top of the sleeping-bag close to my head. At first, before I was fully awake, I imagined that it was the moisture condensed from Mawson's breath. Then I heard the gentle patter of snow-flakes, and, on turning my head in the direction in which the rustling proceeded, saw that the wind had undermined the skirt of our tent, and was blowing the snow in through a small opening it had made. Accordingly, I slipped out and snowed up the skirt again, trampling the snow down firmly. A plateau wind was now blowing with almost blizzard force.
About two hours later we got up, and after some trouble with the primus lamp on account of the wind, had our breakfast, but as the wind was blowing dead against us, we turned into the sleeping-bag for a short time. It was nearly noon before the wind died down, and we started off with our sledge, still relaying with half-loads, the day being now beautifully clear and sunny. At the 1300 ft. level we started our sledge meter again, having lifted it off the ice while we were going up the steep slope. A little further on we were able to put the whole of our load again on to the sledge and so dispense with further relay work. This, too, was a great blessing.
When we arrived at our spot for camping that night we had the satisfaction of finding that we were over 2000 ft. above sea-level, and that we had, in addition to the climbing, travelled that day about four miles. The plateau wind had almost gone, and once more we revelled in being not only high, but dry. Having no other kind of Christmas gift to offer, Mawson and I presented Mackay with some sennegrass for his pipe, his tobacco having long ago given out. We slept soundly that Christmas night.
On December 26 we observed dense dark snow clouds to the north-east, and a little light snow commenced to fall, but fortunately the weather cleared towards the afternoon. Mawson lost one of his blue sweaters off the sledge, but he and Mackay went back some distance and recovered it. Towards the afternoon we found it necessary to cross a number of fairly large crevasses. These were completely snowed over, and although we frequently fell through up to our knees, we had no serious trouble from them on this occasion. Some of them were from twenty to thirty feet in width, and it was fortunate for us that the snow lids were strong enough to carry safely the sledge and ourselves Mackay suggested, for greater security, fastening the alpine rope around Mawson, who was in the lead, and securing the other end of it to the sledge. The rope was left just slack enough to admit of the strain of hauling being taken by the harness rope, hence Mawson had two strings to his bow in case of being suddenly precipitated into a crevasse. This was a good system, which we always adopted afterwards in crossing heavily crevassed ice.
The following day, December 27, we decided to make a small depot of our ski boots (as by this time it appeared we were getting off the glacier ice on to hard snow and awe, where we should not require them) and also of all our geological specimens, and about one day's food-supply, together with a small quantity of oils supply for about two days in one of our oil-cans. The following is a list of the provisions: Powdered cheese (enough for two meals), tea (for four meals), twenty-five lumps of sugar, hoosh for one meal, chocolate (for one and a half meals), twelve biscuits.
We also left an empty biscuit tin into which we crammed our ski boots, and our three ice-axes, using one of them stuck upright as a staff for a small blue flag to mark the depot. Mawson took some good bearings with the prismatic compass, and we then proceeded on our way. This depot we called the Larsen Depot, as it was close to one of the southern spurs of Mount Larsen.
All eyes were now strained, as we advanced with our sledge, to ace whether there was still any formidable range of mountains ahead of us barring our path to the plateau. At one time it seemed as though there was a high range in the dim distance, but a careful examination with the field-glasses showed that this appearance was due only to clouds. Our joy and thankfulness were unbounded when we at last realised that apparently there was now a fairly easy ascent of hard nOve and snow on to the plateau. That day we sledged a little over ten miles. During the night there was a very strong radiant in the sky from about south-west to north-east, with a movement of altro-stratus cloud from north-west to south-east. Therefore, probably, this radiant was due to formation of great rolls of cloud curled over by the anti-trade wind as it pressed forward in a south-easterly direction. The rolls of clouds were distinctly curved convexly towards the south-east.
The following day, December 28, we travelled on north-westwards in thick cloudy weather, at first quite calm. At aborte-, 10 A.M. a breeze set in from the sea, spreading westwards over the top of Mount Nansen over 8000 ft. above sea-level. Above Nansen it met the upper current wind and was obviously deflected by it in a south-easterly direction. Meanwhile, in the direction of the coast the sky was very dark and lowering, and probably snow was falling there. Remarkable pillars of cloud formed over the Mount Larsen group. These were photographed by Mawson. We passed over occasional patches of nearly bare glacier ice, alternating with stretches of hard awe. When we camped that evening we had sledged a little over ten miles, and a keen, cold wind was blowing gently off the high plateau to our west.
The following day, December 29, was clear, calm, and cold, and on December 30 Mounts Larsen and Bellingshausen were disappearing below the horizon, and several mountains were showing up clearly and sharply to the north of us, the principal peaks of which were at first identified by us as Mount New Zealand and Mount Queensland of Captain Scott's chart. Later Mawson concluded that the western of the two at any rate was new and unnamed.
There was still a strong plateau wind. We were now at an altitude of about 4500 ft. Once more, as in winter time, our breath froze into lumps of ice, cementing our Burberry helmets to our beards and moustaches. Our distance travelled was eleven miles, and we were still travelling on an up grade, being now nearly 5000 ft. above sea-level.
December 31. Mawson took a fresh set of magnetic observations. We camped for this purpose at the bottom of a wide undulation in the nιvι surface. We were disappointed at his announcement that he made out that the Magnetic Pole was further inland than had been originally estimated. What with the observations with the Lloyd-Creak dip circle, and the time occupied in repairing the rents in the tent, we ran ourselves somewhat short of time for our sledging that day, and did not camp until a little before midnight. We were still dragging the sledge on an up grade; the surface was softer and more powdery than before, and the sastrugi heavier. Also we had been obliged to put ourselves on somewhat shorter rations than before, as we had to take one-eighth of our rations out in order to form an emergency food-supply in the event of our journey to and from the Magnetic Pole proving longer than we originally anticipated.
That night, about a mile before reaching camp, we sighted to the west of us, much to our surprise, some distinct ice falls. This showed us that the snow desert over which we were travelling had still some kind of creeping movement in it. A skua gull came to visit us this New Year's Eve. He had been following us up for some time in the distance, mistaking us, perhaps, for seals crawling inland to die, as is not infrequently the habit of these animals. We were now about eighty miles inland from the nearest open water. The run for the day was about ten miles. We felt very much exhausted when we turned into our sleeping-bag that night.
January 1, 1909 (New Year's Day), was a beautiful calm day with a very light gentle plateau wind, with fairly high temperature. The sky was festooned in the direction of Mount Nansen with delicate wispy cirrus clouds converging in a north-east direction. Mawson took observations for latitude and for magnetic deviation at noon. He made our latitude at noon to be 74° 18'. That night Mawson gave us a grand hoosh and a rich pot of cocoa in celebration of New Year's Day. We all thoroughly enjoyed this meal after our exhausting march.
On January 2 we noticed that the sastrugi were gradually swinging round into a direction a little north of west. The snow was frequently soft in large patches, which made sledging very heavy. We ascended altogether about 290 ft., but we crossed a large number of broad undulations, the troughs of which were from thirty to forty feet below their crests. These undulations considerably increased the work of sledging. We were much exhausted when the time came for camping. We were beginning to suffer, too, from hunger, and would have liked more to drink if we could have afforded it. We talked of what we would have drunk if we had had the chance. Mackay said he would have liked to drink a gallon of buttermilk straight off; Mawson would have preferred a big basin of cream; while I would have olosen several pots of the best coffee with plenty of hot milk.
THE NORTHERN PARTY ON THE PLATEAU, NEW YEAR'S DAY, 1909
We were still climbing on January 3, having ascended another 500 ft. It proved the heaviest day's sledging since we reached the plateau. The snow was still softer than on the previous day, and the surface was more undulating than ever, the troughs of the undulations being about fifty feet below the crests. The sastrugi themselves were from two to three feet in height. The crests of the large undulations were usually formed of hard snow, the strong winds having blown any loose material off them. This loose material had accumulated to some depth in the troughs, and hence made the wide patches of soft snow which made our sledge drag so heavily as we crossed them. By dint of great efforts we managed to finish our ten miles for that day.
The next day, January 4, we were pleased to find that there was less up grade than on the previous day. We were now at an altitude of over 6000 ft., and found respiration in the cold, rarefied air distinctly trying. It was not that we suffered definitely from mountain sickness, but we felt weaker than usual as the result, no doubt, of the altitude combined with the cold. On the whole the sledging was a little easier to-day than the preceding day, and again we managed to do our ten miles.
On the morning of January 5 we found the sky thickly overcast, except to the south and the south-east where clear strips of blue were showing. We thought that snow was coming. The weather was perfectly calm, comparatively warm, but the light dull. We could still see the new inland mountain and Mount New Zealand distinctly. The sun was so oppressively hot when it peeped out from behind the clouds that one could feel it burning the skin on one's hands. We sledged ten miles.
January 6. To-day the weather was gloriously fine. Bright, warm sunshine with a crisp, cold air in the early morning and the weather almost calm. The pulling was rather heavy during the afternoon; possibly the hot sun may have somewhat softened the surface of the snow. This morning I left off my crampons and put on a new pair of finnesko. These latter proved somewhat slippery, and in falling heavily this afternoon over one of the sastrugi I slightly strained some muscles on the inner side of my left leg, just below the knee. This gave me a considerable amount of pain for the rest of the journey. Mackay lost all his stockings and socks off the bamboo pole of the sledge, but was fortunate enough to recover them after walking back over a mile on our tracks.
January 7. We were up at 5 A.M., when the temperature was minus 13° Fahr. We were anxious to arrive at the end of our first five miles in good time for Mawson to get a meridian altitude, and take theodolite angles to the new mountain and Mount New Zealand, which were now almost disappearing from view below the horizon. Mawson made our latitude to-day 73° 43'. This was one of the coldest days we had as yet experienced on the plateau, the wind blowing from west by north. We all felt the pulling very much to-day, possibly because it was still slightly uphill, and probably partly on account of mountain lassitude. The distance travelled was ten miles.
Friday, January 8. To-day, also, was bitterly cold. The wind blew very fresh for some little time before noon from a direction about west by north, raising much low drift. Our hands were frost-bitten several times when packing up the sledge. The cold blizzard continued for the whole day. Maw-son's right cheek was frost-bitten, and also the tip of my nose. The wind was blowing all the time at an angle of about 45° on the port bow of our sledge. We just managed to do our ten miles and were very thankful when the time came for camping.
The following day, January 9, a very cold plateau wind was still blowing, the horizon being hazy with low drift. We were now completely out of sight of any mountain ranges, and were toiling up and down amongst the huge billows of a snow sea. The silence and solitude were most impressive. About 10.30 A.M. a well-marked parhelion, or mock sun, due to floating ice crystals in the air, made its appearance. It had the form of a wide halo with two mock suns at either extremity of the equator of the halo parallel to the horizon and passing through the real sun. Mawson was able to make his magnetic deviation observation with more comfort, as towards noon the wind slackened and the day became gloriously bright and clear. In the afternoon it fell calm.
We were feeling the pinch of hunger somewhat, and as usual our talk under these circumstances turned chiefly on restaurants, and the wonderfully elaborate dinners we would have when we returned to civilisation. Again we accomplished our ten miles, and were now at an altitude of over 7000 ft.
January 10 was also a lovely day, warm and clear; the snow surface was good and we travelled quickly.
January 11. We were up about 7 A.M., the temperature at that time being minus 12° Fahr. It was a cold day, and we had a light wind nearly southerly. Mawson had a touch of snow-blindness in his right eye. Both he and Mackay suffered much through the skin of their lips peeling off, leaving the raw flesh exposed. Mawson, particularly, experienced great difficulty every morning in getting his mouth opened, as his lips were firmly glued together by congealed blood.
That day we did eleven miles, the surface being fairly firm, and there being no appreciable general up grade now, but only long-ridged undulations, with sastrugi. We noticed that these sastrugi had now changed direction, and instead of trending from nearly west, or north of west, eastwards, now came more from the south-east directed towards the north-west. This warned us that we might anticipate possibly strong head winds on our return journey, as our course at the time was being directed almost north-west, following from time to time the exact bearing of the horizontal magnetic compass. The compass was now very sluggish, in fact the theodolite compass would scarcely work at all. This pleased us a good deal, and at first we all wished more power to it: then amended the sentiment and wished less power to it. The sky was clear, and Mawson got good magnetic meridian observations by means of his very delicately balanced horizontal moving needle in his Brunton transit instrument.
January 12. The sky to-day was overcast, the night having been calm and cloudy. A few snowflakes and fine ice crystals were falling. We sledged to-day ten and three-quarter miles.
That evening, after hoosh, Mawson, on carefully analysing the results set forth in the advance copy of the Discovery Expedition Magnetic Report, decided that although the matter was not expressly so stated, the Magnetic Pole, instead of moving easterly, as it had done in the interval between Sabine's observations in 1841 and the time of the Discovery expedition in 1902, was likely now to be travelling somewhat to the north-west. The results of dip readings taken at intervals earlier in the journey also agreed with this decision. It would be necessary, therefore, to travel farther in that direction than we had anticipated in order to reach our goal. This was extremely disquieting news, for all of us, as we had come almost to the limit of our provisions, after making allowance for enough to take us back on short rations to the coast. In spite of the anxiety of the situation, extreme weariness after sledging enabled us to catch some sleep.
The following morning, January 13, we were up about 6 A.M. A light snow was falling, and fine ice crystals made the sky hazy. There was a light wind blowing from about south-south-east. About 8 A.M. the sun peeped through with promise of a fine day. We had had much discussion during and after breakfast as to our future movements. The change in the position of the Pole necessitated, of course, a change in our plans. Mawson carefully reviewed his observations as to the position of the Magnetic Pole, and decided that in order to reach it we would need to travel for another four days. The horizontally moving needle had now almost ceased to work. We decided to go on for another four days and started our sledging. It was a cold day with a light wind. The temperature at about 10.30 A.M. being minus 6° Fahr. At noon Mawson took a magnetic reading with the Lloyd-Creak dip circle, which was now fifty minutes off the vertical, that is, 89° 10'. At noon the latitude was just about 73° South. That day we sledged thirteen miles.
January 14. The day was gloriously clear and bright with a warm sun. A gentle wind was blowing from about south-southeast, and there was a little cumulus cloud far ahead of us over the horizon. The surface of the snow over which we were sledging was sparkling with large reconstructed ice crystals, about half an inch in width and one-sixteenth of an inch in thickness. These crystals form on this plateau during warm days when the sun's heat leads to a gentle upward streaming of the cold air with a small amount of moisture in it from beneath. Under these influences, combined with the thawing of the surface snow, these large and beautiful ice crystals form rapidly in a single day. The heavy runners of our sledge rustled gently as they crushed the crystals by the thousand. It seemed a sacrilege. Our run to-day was twelve miles one hundred *Ina fifty yards.
January 15. We were up to-day at 6 A.M. and found a cold southerly breeze blowing, the temperature being minus 19° Fahr. at 6.30 A.M. Mawson got a good latitude determination to-day, 72° 42'
At about twenty minutes before true noon Mawson took magnetic observations with the dip circle, and found the angle now only fifteen minutes off the vertical, the dip being 89° 45'. We were very much rejoiced to find that we were now so close to the Magnetic Pole. The observations made by Bernacehi, during the two years of the Discovery expedition's sojourn at their winter quarters on Ross Island, showed that the amplitude of daily swing of the magnet was sometimes considerable. The compass, at a distance from the Pole, pointing in a slightly varying direction at different times of the day, indicates that the polar centre executes a daily round of wanderings about its mean position. Mawson considered that we were now practically at the Magnetic Pole, and that if we were to wait for twenty-four hours taking constant observations at this spot the Pole would, probably, during that time, come vertically beneath us. We decided, however, to go on to the spot where he concluded the approximate mean position of the Magnetic Pole would lie. That evening the dip was 89° 48'. The run for the day was fourteen miles.
From the rapid rate at which the dip had been increasing recently, as well as from a comparison of Bemacchi's magnetic observations, Mawson estimated that we were now about thirteen miles distant from the probable mean position of the South Magnetic Pole. He stated that in order to accurately locate the mean position possibly a month of continuous observation would be needed, but that the position he indicated was now as close as we could locate it. We decided accordingly, after discussing the matter fully that night, to make a forced march of thirteen miles to the approximate mean position of the Pole on the following day, put up the flag there, and return eleven miles back on our tracks the same day. Our method of procedure on this journey of twenty-four miles is described in the journal of the following day.
Saturday, January 16. We were up at about 6 A.M., and after breakfast we pulled on our sledge for two miles. We then depoted all our heavy gear and equipment with the exception of the tent, sleeping-bag, primus stove, and cooker, and a small quantity of food, all of which we placed on the sledge together with the legs of the dip cirele and those of the theodolite to serve as marks. We pulled on for two miles and fixed up the legs of the dip circle to guide us back on our track, the compass moving in a horizontal plane Ling now useess for keeping us on our course. At two miles further we fixed up the legs of the theodolite, and two miles further put up our tent, and had a light lunch. We then walked five miles in the direction of the Magnetic Pole so as to place us in the mean position calculated for it by Megson, 72° 25' South latitude, 155° 16' East longitude. Mawson placed his camera so as to focus the whole group, and arranged a trigger which could be released by means of a string held in ow hands so as to make the exposure by means of the focal plane shutter. Meanwhile, Mackay and I fixed up the flag-pole. We then bared our heads and hoisted the Union Jack at 3.30 P.M. with the words uttered by myself, in conformity with Lieutenant Shackleton's instructions, "I hereby take possession of this area now containing the Magnetic Pole for the British Empire." At the same time I fired the trigger of the camera by pulling the string. Thus the group were photographed in the manner shown on the plate. The blurred line connected with my right hand represents the part of the string in focus blown from side to side by the wind. Then we gave three cheers for his Majesty the King.
There was a pretty sky at the time to the north of us with low cumulus clouds, and we speculated at the time as to whether it was possible that an arm of the sea, such as would produce the moisture to form the cumulus, might not be very far distant. In view of our subsequent discovery of a deep indent in the coast-line in a southerly direction beyond Cape North, it is possible that the sea at this point is at no very considerable distance.
The temperature at the time we hoisted the flag was exactly 0° Fahr. It was an intense satisfaction and relief to all of us to feel that at last, after so many days of toil, hardship, and dangei we had been able to carry out our leader's instructions, and to fulfil the wish of Sir James Clarke Ross that the South Magnetic Pole should be actually reached, as he had already in 1831 reached the North Magnetic Pole. At the same time we were too utterly weary to be capable of any great amount of exultation. I am sure the feeling that was uppermost in all of us was one of devout and heartfelt thankfulness to the kind Providence which had so far guided our footsteps in safety to that goal. With a fervent "Thank God" we all did a right-about turn, and as quick a march as tired limbs would allow back in the direction of our little green tent in the wilderness of snow.
It was a weary tramp back over the hard and high sastrugi, and we were very thankful when at last we saw a small dark cone, which we knew was our tent, rising from above the distant snow ridges. On reaching the tent we each had a little cocoa, a biscuit and a small lump of chocolate. We then sledged slowly and wearily back, picking up first the legs of the theodolite, then those of the dip circle. We finally reached our depot a little before 10 P.M.
In honour of the event we treated ourselves that night to a hoosh, which though modest was larger in volume than usual, and was immensely enjoyed. Mawson repacked the sledge after hoosh time, and we turned into the sleeping-bag faint and weary, but happy with the great load of apprehension of possible failure, that had been hanging over us for so many weeks, at last removed from our minds. We all slept soundly after twenty-four miles of travel.
THE NORTHERN PARTY AT THE SOUTH MAGNETIC POLE
From left: Dr. Mackay, Professor David, Douglas Mawson