February 21, 2012

Wednesday, 21 February 1912


"Gloomy and overcast when we started; a good deal warmer," wrote Scott, noting a lunch-time temperature of -9 1/2°, and a few degrees less in the evening. "The marching almost as bad as yesterday. Heavy toiling all day, inspiring gloomiest thoughts at times. Rays of comfort when we picked up tracks and cairns. At lunch we seemed to have missed the way, but an hour or two after we passed the last pony walls, and since, we struck a tent ring, ending the march actually on our old pony-tracks. There is a critical spot here with a long stretch between cairns. If we can tide that over we get on the regular cairn route, and with luck should stick to it; but everything depends on the weather. We never won a march of 8 1/2 miles with greater difficulty, but we can't go on like this. We are drawing away from the land and perhaps may get better things in a day or two. I devoutly hope so." [1]


Three weeks into their journey, Hassel wrote in his diary, "Amundsen today sent a list aft in which he asks every man to answer the question whether they will go north, yes or no. Everyone answered no, except Beck (the ice pilot)." A few days later, after Amundsen had sounded out each man individually, Hassel added, "Amundsen has now spoken to everyone and asked who will go north, with the exception of Ludwig Hansen. All have said yes (!) except Bjaaland." [2]


[1] R.F. Scott, diary, 21 February, 1912, quoted in Scott's Last Expedition, v.1.
[2] Sverre Hassel, diary, 21 and 24 February, 1912, in Dagboksnotater fra Sydpolen (Skien : Vågemots miniforlag, 1997), p.10-11.

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