January 30, 2012

Tuesday, 30 January 1912


Another good march brought them nineteen miles, one cairn away from the next depot. "This is the bright side," Scott noted, "the reverse of the medal is serious. Wilson has strained a tendon in his leg; it has given pain all day and is swollen to-night. Of course, he is full of pluck over it, but I don't like the idea of such an accident here. To add to the trouble Evans has dislodged two finger-nails to-night; his hands are really bad, and to my surprise he shows signs of losing heart over it. He hasn't been cheerful since the accident." [1] The cut that Evans had gotten on his hand while shortening the sledges on 31st December, which had refused to heal, left him by now unable to help with camp work. He was also, despite being the biggest and heaviest of the party, on the same rations as the others, and his physical condition had deteriorated much more rapidly.

With the wind behind them, Lt. Evans's party further to the north picked up their next depot in the evening, after a march of 14 miles. "[After] taking our food we found a shortage of oil and have taken what we think will take us to the next depôt," Lashly noted. "There seems to have been some leakage in the one can, but how we could not account for that we have left a note telling Capt. Scott how we found it, but they will have sufficient to carry them on to the next depôt, but we all know the amount of oil allowed on the Journey is enough, but if any waste takes place it means extra precautions in the handling of it." [2]


[1] R.F. Scott, diary, 30 January, 1912, quoted in Scott's Last Expedition, v.1. Roland Huntford in Scott and Amundsen (New York : Putnam, 1980, c1979), p.522, notes the deletion from the published journal, "which makes me much disappointed in him".
[2] William Lashly, diary, 30 January, 1912, quoted by Apsley Cherry-Garrard in The Worst Journey in the World, ch.XII. At low temperatures, paraffin becomes a semi-solid and has a tendency to "creep", and thus leak out of a bung and evaporate. Amundsen had noticed this on the Northwest Passage expedition, and subsequently had tins specially soldered, while Scott's paraffin tins used leather washers.

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