July 15, 2011

Saturday, 15 July 1911


At Cape Evans, Gran wrote, "One day passes very much like the next. After breakfast, Evans goes to his cartography, Scott to his diary, Day to his 'make and mend' [with the motor sledges], Meares to his harness-making, Oates (at 12) to his horses, Ponting to his photographic plates, Deb to his rock specimens, Taylor and I to our geographical studies or to our diaries. At noon Atkinson with Taylor or Ponting go up to The Ramp. Then comes lunch with cocoa, coffee, cheese, marmalade and honey. The afternoon is like the morning, except that after five o'clock the pianola starts up. Day, Ponting, and Atkinson are the main players, supplemented occasionally by Deb and Meares. Then comes supper. Taylor waits impatiently for the pudding. Finally it comes and the meal ends with the lighting-up of cigars and pipes. Atkinson or I put the gramophone on. Then we play dominoes or chess until ten. Nelson is the chess champion. About ten we begin to turn in; we read in bed, some till nearly midnight, and Deb, Nelson, and Ponting often later. Deb is the worst. Out go the lights at 11 and on goes the night watchkeeper's lamp. At midnight and at 4 a.m. readings of the barometer and thermometer are taken. Naturally the watcher is on the look-out every hour for signs of the aurora." [1]

Wilson, Cherry, and Bowers arrived at Cape Crozier on the far side of Ross Island, sixty miles (97 km) from Cape Evans. Temperatures had ranged from -40 °F (-40 °C) to -77.5 °F (-60.8 °C), with winds anywhere from Force 3 to Force 10 during a blizzard.

"The horror of the nineteen days it took us to travel from Cape Evans to Cape Crozier would have to be re-experienced to be appreciated," wrote Cherry later, "and any one would be a fool who went again: it is not possible to describe it. The weeks which followed them were comparative bliss, not because later our conditions were better -- they were far worse -- because we were callous. I for one had come to that point of suffering at which I did not really care if only I could die without much pain." [2]

They began almost at once to build a stone igloo in which they planned to shelter while collecting their penguin specimens. Cherry stopped keeping his diary, because his breath froze a film of ice on the paper, making it impossible to write on.


[1] Tryggve Gran, diary, 15 July, 1911, quoted in The Norwegian With Scott : Tryggve Gran's Antarctic Diary 1910-1913 ([Greenwich] : National Maritime Museum, 1984), p.110.
[2] Apsley Cherry-Garrard, The Worst Journey in the World, ch.VII.

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