January 14, 2011

Saturday, 14 January 1911


Unloading the Fram in the Bay of Whales, 14th January, 1911. [2]

At eleven o'clock in the morning, unloading of the Fram began. Eight dogs were hitched to a sledge loaded with 300 kilos (660 pounds) of supplies, and Amundsen was given the honour of driving.

"I glanced at the ship," he wrote later. "Yes; as I thought -- all our comrades were standing in a row, admiring the fine start. I am not quite sure that I did not hold my head rather high and look round with a certain air of triumph. If I did so, it was foolish of me. I ought to have waited; the defeat would have been easier to bear. For defeat it was, and a signal one. The dogs had spent half a year in lying about and eating and drinking, and had got the impression that they would never have anything else to do. Not one of them appeared to understand that a new era of toil had begun. After moving forward a few yards, they all sat down, as though at a word of command, and stared at each other. The most undisguised astonishment could be read in their faces. When at last we had succeeded, with another dose of the whip, in making them understand that we really asked them to work, instead of doing as they were told they flew at each other in a furious scrimmage. Heaven help me! what work we had with those eight dogs that day! If it was going to be like this on the way to the Pole, I calculated in the midst of the tumult that it would take exactly a year to get there, without counting the return journey. During all this confusion I stole another glance at the ship, but the sight that met me made me quickly withdraw my eyes again. They were simply shrieking with laughter, and loud shouts of the most infamous encouragement reached us." [3]

Anticipating the shuttle of stores between ship and hut, pennants on sticks had been prepared in advance, to be set out to mark the route.


[1] Roald Amunsen Bildearkiv, Nasjonalbiblioteket.
[2] Roald Amundsen, The South Pole, ch.5.

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