December 30, 2010

Friday, 30 December 1910


"View of the deck of the 'Terra Nova' with dogs from the engine room hatch. Taken by Herbert George Ponting, 3 January 1911, during the British Antarctic ('Terra Nova') Expedition (1910-1913)." [1]

After three weeks, the Terra Nova at last came out of the ice pack and into the Ross Sea. "[No] other ship," Scott wrote, "would have come through so well. Certainly the Nimrod would never have reached the south water had she been caught in such pack." [2]

"We may be said to have entered the pack at 4 P.M. on the 9th in latitude 65 1/2 S. We left it at 1 A.M. on 30th in latitude 71 1/2 S. We have taken twenty days and some odd hours to get through, and covered in a direct line over 370 miles -- an average of 18 miles a day. We entered the pack with 342 tons of coal and left with 281 tons; we have, therefore, expended 61 tons in forcing our way through -- an average of 6 miles to the ton. These are not pleasant figures to contemplate, but considering the exceptional conditions experienced I suppose one must conclude that things might have been worse."

Wilson had been lobbying for a base camp at Cape Crozier, intrigued by the Emperor penguin colony so close at hand. The idea interested Scott more because it gave them access to the Barrier and a southward route free of crevasses, unlike the Discovery base at Hut Point. Strong winds and heavy swells, however, were against them. "We are creeping along a bare 2 knots. I begin to wonder if fortune will ever turn her wheel. On every possible occasion she seems to have decided against us. Of course, the ponies are feeling the motion as we pitch in a short, sharp sea -- it's damnable for them and disgusting for us."

"Every detail of the shore promised well for a wintering party," Scott wrote. "Comfortable quarters for the hut, ice for water, snow for the animals, good slopes for ski-ing, vast tracks of rock for walks. Proximity to the Barrier and to the rookeries of two types of penguins -- easy ascent of Mount Terror -- good ground for biological work -- good peaks for observation of all sorts -- fairly easy approach to the Southern Road, with no chance of being cut off -- and so forth. It is a thousand pities to have to abandon such a spot."


At longitude 170° E. and latitude 60° S, Fram turned south.


[1] National Library of New Zealand.
[2] R.F. Scott, diary, 30 December, 1910, quoted in Scott's Last Expedition, v.1.

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