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THE SOUTHERN JOURNEY
Preparation: Depot A laid: First Days of the March from Winter Quarters: Start from Hut Point, November 3
When the question of weight came to be considered I could realise the seriousness of the loss of the four ponies, during the winter. It was evident that we would be unable to take with us towards the Pole as much food as I would have liked.
I decided to place a depot one hundred geographical miles south of the Discovery winter quarters, the depot to consist of pony wa:ze. The party, consisting of Adams, Marshall, Wild, Marston, Joyce and myself, left Cape Royds on September 22 with a load of about 170 lb. per man, and the motor-car towed the sledges as far as Inaccessible Island, at the rate of about six miles an hour. We took two tents and two three-man sleeping-bags, for we expected to meet very low temperatures. I had decided to take neither ponies nor dogs, so we took the sledges on ourselves, travelling over a fairly good surface as far as the Discovery hut, where we passed the first night. The journey was a severe one, for the temperature, at times, got down to 59° below zero Fahr. We reached the main depot in latitude 79° 36' South, longitude 168° East, on October 6. This we called " Depot A." It was marked with an upturned sledge and a black flag on a bamboo rod. We deposited a gallon tin of oil and 167 lb. of pony maize so that our load would be considerably reduced for the first portion of the journey when we started south. The weather was very severe on the return journey and we did not reach the old Discovery winter quarters until October 13. We had been tewnty-one days out, but had been able to march only on fourteen and a half days. The next day we started for Cape Royds and had the good fortune to meet the motor-car a mile and a half south of Cape Barne. The sledges were soon hitched on, and we drove triumphantly to winter quarters — having travelled 320 statute miles since September 22.
During our absence the Northern Party consisting of Professor David, Mawson, and Mackay, had started on the journey that was to result in the attainment of the South Magnetic Pole. I had said good-bye to Professor David and his two companions on September 22 and we did not meet again until March 1, 1909. In chapter xxii. the Professor tells the story of the Northern journey.
The Southern Party was to leave winter quarters on October 29; so on the return of the party from Depot A we commenced final preparations for the attempt to reach the South Pole. I decided that four men should go south, I myself to be one of them, and that we should take provisions for ninety-one days: this amount of food with the other equipment would bring the load per pony up to the weight fixed as the maximum safe load. Early in 1907 I had proposed that one party should travel to the east across the Barrier surface towards King Edward VII Land but the accidents that had left us with only four ponies caused me to abandon this project. The ponies would have to go south, the motor-car would not travel on the Barrier, and the dogs were required for the southern depot journey. I deemed it best to confine the efforts of the sledging-parties to the two Poles, Geographical and Magnetic, and to send a third party into the western mountains with the object of studying geological conditions and, in particular, of searching for fossils.
The men selected to go with me were Adams, Marshall, and Wild. A supporting-party was to accompany us for a certain distance in order that we might start fairly fresh from a point beyond the rough ice off Minna Bluff, and we would take the four ponies and four sledges.
Arrangements were made for sending out a party early in December to lay a depot for the Northern Party. When this had been done, the same party would proceed to the western mountains. On January 15, 1909, a depot party, under the command of Joyce, was to lay a depot near Minna Bluff containing sufficient stores for the return of the Southern Party from that point. This same party was to return to Hut Point, reload its sledge and march out to the depot a second time, there to await the arrival of the Southern Party until February 10, 1909. If the Southern Party had not arrived by that date Joyce and his companions were to go back to Hut Point and thence to the ship.
Before my departure from winter quarters on the southern journey, I left instructions which provided for the conclusion of the work of the Expedition in its various branches, and for the relief of the men left in the Antarctic, in the event of the non-return of the Southern Party. I gave Murray command of the Expedition in my absence and full instructions. The trials of the motor-car in the neighbourhood of the winter quarters had proved that it could not travel over a soft snow surface, and the depot journey had shown me that the surface of the Barrier was covered with soft snow, much softer and heavier than it had been in 1902, at the time of the Discovery expedition. In fact I was satisfied that, with the Barrier in its then condition, no wheeled vehicle could travel over it. The wheels would simply sink in until the body of the car rested on the snowy surface. We had made alterations in the wheels and we had reduced the weight of the car to an absolute minimum by the removal of every unnecessary part, but still it could do little on a soft surface, and it would certainly be quite useless with any weight behind, for the driving wheels would simply scoop holes for themselves. The use of sledge-runners under the front wheel, with broad, spiked driving-wheels, might have enabled us to get the car over some of the soft surfaces, but this equipment would not have been satisfactory on hard, rough ice, and constant changes would occupy too much time. I had confidence in the ponies, and I thought it best not to attempt to take the car south from the winter quarters.
The provisioning of the Southern Party was a matter that received long and anxious consideration. Marshall went very carefully into the question of the relative food-values of the various supplies, and we were able to derive much useful information from the experience of previous expeditions. We decided on a daily ration of 34 oz. per man; the total weight of food to be carried, on the basis of supplies for ninety-one days, would therefore be 773½ lb. The staple items were to be biscuits and pemmican. The biscuits, as I have stated, were of wheatmeal with 25 per cent. of plasmon added, and analysis showed that they did not contain more than 3 per cent. of water. The pemmican had been supplied by Beauvais, of Copenhagen, and consisted of the finest beef, dried and powdered, with 60 per cent. of beef-fat added. It contained only a small percentage of water. The effort of the polar explorer is to get his foods as free from water as possible, for the moisture represents so much useless weight to be carried.
THE MOTOR-CAR IN THE GARAGE, MAIZE-CRESHER ON THE RIGHT
Emergency ration 1.5
Cheese or chocolate 2.0
Quaker Oats 1.0
Everything was ready for the start on the journey towards the Pole as the end of October approached, and we looked forward with keen anticipation to the venture. The supporting-party was to consist of Joyce, Marston, Priestley, Armytage, and Brooklehurst, and was to accompany us for ten days. Day was to have been a member of this party, but he damaged his foot while tobogganing down a slope at the winter quarters, and had to stay behind. The weather was not very good during our last days at the hut, but there were signs that summer was approaching. The ponies were in good condition. We spent the last few days overhauling the sledges and equipment, and making sure that everything was sound and in its right place. In the evenings we wrote letters for those at home, to be delivered in the event of our not returning from the unknown regions into which we hoped to penetrate.
Events of the southern journey were recorded day by day in the diary I wrote during the long march. I read this diary when we had got back to civilisation, and arrived at the conclusion that to rewrite it would be to take away the special flavour which it possesses. It was written under conditions of much difficulty, and often of great stress, and these conditions I believe it reflects. I am therefore publishing the diary with only such minor amendments in the phraseology as are necessary in order to make it easily understood. The reader will understand that when one is writing in a sleeping-bag, with the temperature very low and food rather short, a good proportion of the "ofs," "ands" and "thes " get left out. The story will probably seem bald, but it is at any rate a faithful record of what occurred. I will deal more fully with some aspects of the journey in a later chapter. The altitudes given in the diary were calculated at the time, and were not always accurate. The corrected altitudes are given on the map and in a table at the end of the book. The distances were calculated by means of a sledge-meter, checked by observations of the sun, and are approximately accurate.
October 29, 1908. A glorious day for our start; brilliant sunshine and a cloudless sky, a fair wind from the north, in fact, everything that could conduce to an auspicious beginning. We had breakfast at 7 A.M., and at 8.30 the sledges that the motor was to haul to Glacier Tongue were taken down by the penguin rookery and over to the rough ice. At 9.30 A.M. the supporting-party started and was soon out of sight, as the motor was running well. At 10 A.M. we four of the Southern Party followed. As we left the hut where we had spent so many months in comfort, we had a feeling of real regret that never again would we all be together there. It was dark inside, the acetylene was feeble in comparison with the sun outside, and it was small compared to an ordinary dwelling, yet we were sad at leaving it. Last night as we were sitting at dinner the evening sun entered through the ventilator and a circle of light shone on the picture of the Queen. Slowly it moved across and lit up the photograph of his Majesty the King. This seemed an omen of good luck, for only on that day and at that particular time could this have happened, and today we started to strive to plant the Queen's flag on the last spot of the world. At 10 A.M. we met Murray and Roberts, and said good-bye, then went on our way. Both of these, who were to be left, had done for me all that men could do in their own particular line of work to try and make our little expedition a success. A clasp of the hands means more than many words, and as we turned to acknowledge their cheer and saw them standing on the ice by the familiar cliffs, I felt that we must try to do well for the sake of every one concerned in the expedition.
Hardly had we been going for an hour when Socks went dead lame. This was a bad shock, for Quan had for a full week been the same. We had thought that our troubles in this direction were over. Socks must have hurt himself on some of the sharp ice. We had to go on, and I trust that in a few days he will be all right. I shall not start from our depot at Hut Point until he is better or until I know actually what is going to happen. The lameness of a pony in our present situation is a serious thing. If we had eight, or even six, we could adjust matters more easily, but when we are working to the bare ounce it is very serious.
At 1 P.M. we halted and fed the ponies. As we sat close to them on the sledge Grisi suddenly lashed out, and striking the sledge with his hoof, struck Adams just below the knee. Three inches higher and the blow would have shattered his knee-cap and ended his chance of going on. As it was the bone was almost exposed, and he was in great pain, but said little about it. We went on and at 2.30 P.M. arrived at the sledges which had gone on by motor yesterday, just as the car came along after having dragged the other sledges within a quarter of a mile of the Tongue. I took on one sledge, and Day started in rather soft snow with the other sledges, the car being helped by the supporting-party in the worst places. Pressure ridges and drift just off the Tongue prevented the car going further, so I gave the sledge Quan was dragging to Adams, who was leading Chinaman, and went back for the other. We said good-bye to Day, and he went back, with Priestley and Brocklehurst helping him, for his foot was still very weak.
We got to the south side of Glacier Tongue at 4 P.M., and after a cup of tea started to grind up the maize in the depot. It was hard work, but we each took turns at the crusher, and by 8 P.M. had ground sufficient maize for the journey. It is now 11 P.M., and a high warm sun is shining down, the day calm and clear. We had hoosh at 9 P.M. Adams' leg is very stiff and sore. The horses are fairly quiet, but Quan has begun his old tricks and is biting his tether. I must send for wire rope if this goes on.
At last we are out on the long trail, after four years' thought and work. I pray that we may be successful, for my heart has been so much in this.
There are numbers of seals lying close to our camp. They are nearly all females, and will soon have young. Erebus is emitting three distinct columns of steam to-day, and the fumaroles on the old crater can be seen plainly. It is a mercy that Adams is better to-night. I cannot imagine what he would have done if he had been knocked out for the southern journey, his interest in the expedition has been so intense. Temperature plus 2° Fahr., distance for the day, 14½ miles.
October 30. At Hut Point. Another gloriously fine day. We started away for Hut Point at 10.30 A.M., leaving the supporting-party to finish grinding the maize. The ponies were in good fettle and went away well, Socks walking without a sledge, while Grisi had 500 lb., Quan 430 lb., and Chinaman 340 lb. Socks seems better to-day. It is a wonderful change to get up in the morning and put on ski-boots without any difficulty, and to handle cooking vessels without " burning " one's fingers on the frozen metal. I was glad to see all the ponies so well, for there had been both wind and drift during the night. Quan seems to take a delight in biting his tether when any one is looking, for I put my head out of the tent occasionally during the night to see if they were all right, and directly I did so Quan started to bite his rope. At other times they were all quiet.
We crossed one crack that gave us a little trouble, and at 1.30 P.M. reached Castle Rock, travelling at one mile and three-quarters per hour. There I changed my sledge, taking on Marshall's sledge with Quan, for Grisi was making hard work of it, the surface being very soft in places. Quan pulled 500 lb. just as easily and at 3 P.M. we reached Hut Point, tethered the ponies, and had tea. There was a slight north wind. At 5 P.M. the supporting-party came up. We have decided to sleep in the hut, but the supporting-party are sleeping in the tent at the very spot where the Discovery wintered six years ago. To-morrow I am going back to the Tongue for the rest of the fodder. The supporting-party elected to sleep out because it is warmer, but we of the southern party will not have a solid roof over our heads for some months to come, so will make the most of it. We swept the débris out. Wild killed a seal for fresh meat and washed the liver at the seal hole, so to-morrow we will have a good feed. Half a tin of jam is a small thing for one man to eat when he has a sledging appetite, and we are doing our share, as when we start there will be no more of these luxuries. Adams' leg is better, but stiff. Our march was nine and a half miles to-day. It is now 10 P.M.
October 31. This day started with a dull snowy appearance, which soon developed into a snowstorm, but a mild one with little drift. I wanted to cross to Glacier Tongue with Quan, Grisi, and Chinaman.
During the morning we readjusted our provision weights and unpacked the bags. In the afternoon it cleared, and at 3.30 P.M. we got under way, Quan pulling our sleeping equipment. We covered the eight miles and a half to Glacier Tongue in three hours, and as I found no message from the hut, nor the gear I had asked to be sent down, I concluded it was blowing there also, and so decided to walk on after dinner. I covered the twelve miles in three hours, arriving at Cape Royds at 11.30, and had covered the twenty-three miles between Hut Point and Cape Royds in six hours, marching time. They were surprised to see me, and were glad to hear that Adams and Socks were better. I turned in at 2 A.M. for a few hours' sleep. It had been blowing hard with thick drift, so the motor had not been able to start for Glacier Tongue. On my way to Cape Royds I noticed several seals with young ones, evidently just born. Murray tells me that the temperature has been plus 22° Fahr.
THE SOUTHERN PARTY MARCHING INTO THE WHITE UNKNOWN
November 1. Had breakfast at 6 A.M., and Murray came on the car with me, Day driving. There was a fresh easterly wind. We left Cape Royds at 8 A.M., and arrived off Inaccessible Island at twenty minutes past eight, having covered a distance of eight miles. The car was running very well. Then off Tent Island we left the car, and hauled the sledge, with the wire rope, &c., round to our camp off Glacier Tongue. Got under way at 10 A.M., and reached Hut Point at 2 P.M., the ponies pulling 500 and 550 lb. each. Grisi bolted with his sledge, but soon stopped. The ponies pulled very well, with a bad light and a bad surface. We arranged the packing of the sledges in the afternoon, but we are held up because of Socks. His foot is seriously out of order, It is almost a disaster, for we want every pound of hauling power. This evening it is snowing hard, with no wind. Adams' leg is much better. Wild noticed a seal giving birth to a pup. The baby measured 3 ft. 10 in. in length, and weighed 50 lb. I turned in early to-night, for I had done thirty-nine miles in the last twenty-four hours.
November 2. Dull and snowy during the early hours of to-day. When we awoke we found that Quan had bitten through his tether and played havoc with the maize and other fodder. Directly he saw me coming down the ice-foot, he started off, dashing from one sledge to another, tearing the bags to pieces and trampling the food out. It was ten minutes before we caught him. Luckily one sledge of fodder was untouched. Ho pranced round, kicked up his heels, and showed that it was a deliberate piece of destructiveness on his part, for he had eaten his fill. His distended appearance was obviously the result of many pounds of maize.
In the afternoon three of the ponies hauled the sledges with their full weights across the junction of the sea and the Barrier ice, and in spite of the soft snow they pulled splendidly. We are now all ready for a start the first thing to-morrow. Socks seems much better, and not at all lame. The sun is now (9 P.M.) shining gloriously, and the wind has dropped, all auguring for a fine day to-morrow. The performance of the ponies was most satisfactory, and if they will only continue so for a month, it will mean a lot to us. Adams' leg is nearly all right.
NEW LAND. THE PARTY ASCENDED MOUNT HOPE AND SIGHTED THE GREAT GLACIER, UP WHICH THEY MARCHED THROUGH THE GAP. THE MAIN BODY OF THE GLACIER JOINS THE BARRIER FURTHER TO THE LEFT
We picked up the other sledges at the Barrier junction, and Brocklehurst photographed us all, with our sledge-flags flying and th Queen's Union Jack. At 10.50 we left the sea ice, and instead of finding the Barrier surface better, discovered that the snow was even softer than earlier in the day. The ponies pulled magnificently, and the supporting-party toiled on painfully in their wake. Every hour the pony leaders changed places with the sledge-haulers. At 1 P.M. the advance-party with the ponies pitched camp and tethered out the ponies, and soon lunch was under way, consisting of tea with plasmon, plasmon biscuits, and cheese. At 2.30 we struck camp, the supporting-party with the man-sledge going on in advance, while the others with the ponies did the camp work. By 4 P.M. the surface had improved in places, so that the men did not break through the crust so often, but it was just as hard work as ever for the ponies. The weather kept beautifully fine, with a slight south-east wind. The weather sides of the ponies were quite dry, but their lee sides were frosted with congealed sweat. Whenever it came to our turn to pull, we perspired freely. As the supporting-party are not travelling as fast as the ponies, we have decided to take them on only for two more days, and then we of the Southern Party will carry the remainder of the pony feed from their sledge on our backs. So to-morrow morning we will depot nearly 100 lb. of oil and provisions, which will lighten the load on the supporting-party's sledge a good deal.
We camped at 6 P.M., and, after feeding the ponies, had our dinner, consisting of pemmican, emergency ration, plasmon biscuits and plasmon cocoa, followed by a smoke, the most ideal smoke a man could wish for after a day's sledging. As there is now plenty of biscuit to spare, we gave the gallant little ponies a good feed of them after dinner. They are now comfortably standing in the sun, with the temperature plus 14° Fahr., and occasionally pawing the snow. Grisi has dug a large hole already in the soft surface. We have been steering a south-east course all day, keeping well to the north of White Island to avoid the crevasses. Our distance for the day is 12 miles (statute) 300 yards.
November 4. Started at 8.30 this morning; fine weather, but bad light. Temperature plus 9° Fahr. We wore goggles, as already we are feeling the trying light. The supporting-party started first, and with an improved surface during the morning they kept ahead of the ponies, who constantly broke through the crust. As soon as we passed the end of White Island, the surface became softer, and it was trying work for both men and ponies. However, we did 9 miles 500 yards (statute) up to 1 P.M., the supporting-party going the whole time without being relieved.
Their weights had been reduced by nearly 100 lb., as we depoted that amount of oil and provision last night. In the afternoon the surface was still softer, and when we came to camp at 6 P.M. the ponies were plainly tired. The march for the day was 16 miles, 500 yards (statute), over fourteen miles geographical, with a bad surface, so we have every reason to be pleased with the ponies. The supporting-party pulled hard. The cloud rolled away from Erebus this evening, and it is now warm, clear, and bright to the north, but dark to the south. I am steering about east-south-east to avoid the crevasses off White Island, but to-morrow we go south-east. We fixed our position to-night from bearings, and find that we are thirty-four miles south of Cape Royds. Every one is fit and well.
CAPE BARNE AND INACCESSIBLE ISLAND BY MOONLIGHT
November 6. Lying in our sleeping-bags all day except when out feeding the ponies, for it has been blowing a blizzard, with thick drift, from south by west. It is very trying to be held up like this, for each day means the consumption of 40 lb. of pony feed alone. We only had a couple of biscuits each for lunch, for I can see that we must retrench at every set-back if we are going to have enough food to carry us through. We started with ninety-one days' food, but with careful management we can make it spin out to 110 days. If we have not done the job in that time it is God's will. Some of the supporting-party did not turn out for any meal during the last twenty-four hours. Quan and Chinaman have taken their feeds constantly, but Socks and Grisi not so well. They all like Maujee ration and eat that up before touching the maize. They have been very quiet, standing tails to the blizzard, which has been so thick that at times we could not see them from the peep-holes of our tents. There are great drifts all round the tents, and some of the sledges are buried. This evening about 5.30 the weather cleared a bit and the wind dropped. When getting out the feed-boxes at 6 P.M. I could see White Island and the Bluff, so I hope that to-morrow will be fine. The barometer has been steady all day at 28.60 in., with the temperature up to 18° Fahr., so it is quite warm, and in our one-man sleeping-bags each of us has a little home, where he can read and write and look at the penates and lares brought with him. I read Much Ado About Nothing during the morning. The surface of the Barrier is better, for the wind has blown away a great deal of the soft snow, and we will, I trust, be able to see any crevasses before we are on to them. This is our fourth day out from Hut Point, and we are only twenty miles south. We must do better than this if we are to make much use of the ponies. I would not mind the blizzard so much if we had only to consider ourselves, for we can save on the food, whereas the ponies must be fed full.
November 7. Another disappointing day. We got up at 5 A.M. to breakfast, so as to be in time to start at 8 A.M. We cleared all the drift off our sledges, and, unstowing them, examined the runners, finding them to be in splendid condition. This work, with the assistance of the supporting-party, took us till 8.30 A.M. Shortly afterwards we got under way, saying good-bye to the supporting-party, who are to return to-day. As we drew away, the ponies pulling hard, our comrades gave us three cheers. The weather was thick and overcast, with no wind. Part of White Island could be seen, and Observation Hill, astern, but before us lay a dead white wall, with nothing, even in the shape of a cloud, to guide our steering. Almost immediately after we left we crossed a crevasse, and before we had gone half a mile we found ourselves in a maze of them, only detecting their presence by the ponies breaking through the crust and saving themselves, or the man leading a pony putting his foot through. The first one Marshall crossed with Grisi was 6 ft. wide, and when I looked down there was nothing to be seen but a black yawning void, Just after this, I halted Quan on the side of one, as I thought in the uncertain light, but I found that we were standing on the crust in the centre, so I very gingerly unharnessed him from the sledge and got him across. Then the sledge, with our three months' provisions, was pulled out of danger. Following this, Adams crossed another crevasse, and Chinaman got his forefoot into the hole at the side. I, following with Quan, also got into difficulties, and so I decided that it was too risky to proceed, and we camped between two large crevasses. We picketed the ponies out and pitched one tent, to wait till the light became better, for we were courting disaster by proceeding in that weather. Thus ended our day's march of under a mile, for about 1 P.M. it commenced to snow, and the wind sprang up from the south-west with drift. We pitched our second tent and had lunch, consisting of a pot of tea, some chocolate and two biscuits each. The temperature was plus 12° Fahr. at noon.
It blew a little in the afternoon, and I hope to find it clear away this pall of dead white stratus that stops us. The ponies were in splendid trim for pulling this morning, but, alas 1 we had to stop. Grisi and Socks did not eat up their food well at lunch or dinner. The temperature this evening is plus 9° Fahr., and the ponies feel chilly. Truly this work is one demanding the greatest exercise of patience, for it is more than trying to have to sit here and watch the time going by, knowing that each day lessens our stock of food. The supporting-party got under way about 9.30 A.M., and we could see them dwindling to a speck in the north. They will, no doubt, be at Hut Point in a couple of days. We are now at last quite on our own resources, and as regards comfort in the tents are very well off, for with only two men in each tent, there is ample room. Adams is sharing one with me, whilst Marshall and Wild have the other. Wild is cook this week, so they keep the cooker and the primus lamp in their tent, and we go across to meals, after first feeding the ponies. Next week Adams will be cook, so the cooking will be done in the tent I am in. We will also shift about so that we will take turns with each other as tent-mates. On the days on which we are held up by weather we read, and I can only trust that these days may not be many. I am just finishing reading The Taming ol the Shrew. I have Shakespeare's Comedies, Marshall has Borrow's "The Bible in Spain," Adams has Arthur Young's " ravels in France," and Wild has "Sketches by Boz." When we have finished we will change round. Our allowance of tobacco is very limited, and on days like these it disappears rapidly, for our anxious minds are relieved somewhat by a smoke. In order to economise my cigarettes, which are my luxury, I whittled out a holder from a bit of bamboo to-day, and so get a longer smoke, and also avoid the paper sticking to my lips, which have begun to crack already from the hot metal pot and the cold air.
NOTE. The difficulties of travelling over snow and ice in a bad light are very great. When the light is diffused by clouds or mist, it casts no shadows on the dead white surface, which consequently appears to the eye to be uniformly level. Often as we marched, the sledges would be brought up all standing by a sastrugus, or snow mound, canted by the wind, and we would be lucky if we were not tripped up ourselves. Small depressions would escape the eye altogether, and when we thought that we were marching along on a level surface, we would suddenly step down two or three feet. The strain on the eyes under these conditions is very great, and it is when the sun is covered and the weather is thickish that snow blindness is produced. Snow blindness, with which we all became acquainted during the southern journey, is a very painful complaint. The first sign of the approach of the trouble is running at the nose; then the sufferer begins to see double, and his vision gradually becomes blurred. The more painful symptoms appear very soon. The blood-vessels of the eyes swell, making one feel as though sand had got in under the lids, and then the eyes begin to water freely and gradually close up. The best method of relief is to drop some cocaine into the eye, and then apply a powerful astringent, such as sulphate of zinc, in order to reduce the distended blood-vessels. The only way to guard against an attack is to wear goggles the whole time, so that the eyes may not be exposed to the strain caused by the reflection of the light from all quarters. These goggles are made so that the violet rays are cut off, these rays being the most dangerous, but in warm weather, when one is perspiring on account of exertion with the sledges, the glasses fog, and it becomes necessary to take them off frequently in order to wipe them. The goggles we used combined red and green glasses, and so gave a yellow tint to everything and greatly subdued the light. When we removed them, the glare from the surrounding whiteness was intense, and the only relief was to get inside one of the tents, which were made of green material, very restful to the eyes. We noticed that during the spring journey, when the temperature was very low and the sun was glaring on us, we did not suffer from snow blindness. The glare of the light reflected from the snow on bright days places a very severe strain on the eyes, for the rays of the sun are flashed back from millions of crystals. The worst days, as far as snow blindness was concerned, were when the sun was obscured, so that the light came equally from every direction, and the temperature was comparatively high.
November 8. Drawn blank again In our bags all day, while outside the snow is drifting hard and blowing freshly at times. The temperature was plus 8° Fahr. at noon. The wind has not been really strong; if it had been I believe that this weather would have been over sooner. It is a sore trial to one's hopes and patience to lie and watch the drift on the tent-side, and to know that our valuable pony food is going, and this without benefiting the animals themselves. Indeed, Socks and Grisi have not been eating well, and the hard maize does not agree with them. At lunch we had only a couple of biscuits and some chocolate, and used our oil to boil some Maujee ration for the horses, so that they had a hot hoosh. They all ate it readily, which is a comfort. This standing for four days in drift with 24° of frost is not good for them, and we are anxiously looking for finer weather. To-night it is clearer, and we could see the horizon and some of the crevasses. We seem to be in a regular nest of them. The occupants of the other tent have discovered that it is pitched on the edge of a previously unseen one. We had a hot hoosh to-night, consisting of pemmican, with emergency ration and the cocoa. This warmed us up, for to lie from breakfast time at 6 A.M. for twelve or thirteen hours without hot food in this temperature is chilly work. If only we could get under way and put some good marches in, we would feel more happy. It is 750 miles as the crow flies from our winter quarters to the Pole, and we have done only fifty-one miles as yet. But still the worst will turn to the best, I doubt not. That a polar explorer needs a large stock of patience in his equipment there is no denying. The sun is showing thin and pale through the drift. this evening, and the wind is more gusty, so we may have it really fine to-morrow. I read some of Shakespeare's comedies to-day.
A different story to-day. When we woke up at 4.30 A.M. it was fine,
clear, such a change from the last four days. We got breakfast at 5
then dug the sledges out of the drift. After this we four walked out to
track amongst the crevasses, but unfortunately they could only be
probing with our ice-axes, and these disclosed all sorts, from narrow
great ugly chasms with no bottom visible. A lump of snow thrown down
make no noise, so the bottom must have been very far below. The general
direction was south-east and north-west, but some curved round to the
some to the east. There was nothing for it but to trust to Providence,
had to cross them somewhere. At 8.30 A.M. we got under way, the ponies
pulling very well, for they have lost condition in the blizzard and
We got over the first few crevasses without difficulty, then all of a
Chinaman went down a crack which ran parallel to our course. Adams
pull him out and he struggled gamely, and when Wild and I, who were
our sledges and hauled along Chinaman's sledge, it gave him more scope,
managed to get on to the firm ice, only just in time, for three feet
it would have been all up with the southern journey. The three-foot
opened out into a great fathomless chasm, and down that would have gone
horse, all our cooking gear and biscuits and half the oil, and probably
as well. But when things seem the worst they turn to the best, for that
last crevasse we encountered, and with a gradually improving surface,
very soft at times, we made fair headway. We camped for lunch at 12.40
and the ponies ate fairly well. Quan is pulling 660 lb., and had over
till lunch; Grisi has 590 lb., Chinaman 570 lb., and Socks 600 lb. In
afternoon the surface further improved, and at 6 P.M. we camped, having
miles 600 yards, statute. The Bluff is showing clear, and also Castle
miraged up astern of us. White Island is also clear, but a stratus
overhangs Erebus, Terror, and Discovery.
At 6.20 P.M. we suddenly heard a deep rumble, lasting about five
made the air and the ice vibrate. It seemed to come from the eastward,
resembled the sound and hakl the effect of heavy guns firing. We
that it was due to some large mass of the Barrier breaking away, and
distance must be at least fifty miles from where we are. It was
say the least of it. To-night we boiled some Maujee ration for the
they took this feed well. It has a delicious smell, and we ourselves
enjoyed it. Quan is now engaged in the pleasing occupation of gnawing
rope. I tethered him up by the hind leg to prevent him attacking this
particular thong, but he has found out that by lifting his hind-leg he
reach the rope, so I must get out and put a nose-bag on him. The
now plus 5° Fahr„ but it feels much warmer, for there is a dead calm
sun is shining.
A QUIET EVENING ON THE BARRIER.