March 7, 2012

Thursday, 7 March 1912


"This morning in 4 1/2 hours," wrote Scott, "we did just over 4 miles. We are 16 from our depot. If we only find the correct proportion of food there and this surface continues, we may get to the next depot [Mt. Hooper, 72 miles farther] but not to One Ton Camp. We hope against hope that the dogs have been to Mt. Hooper; then we might pull through. If there is a shortage of oil again we can have little hope. One feels that for poor Oates the crisis is near, but none of us are improving, though we are wonderfully fit considering the really excessive work we are doing." [1]


"'The Fram' at Hobart, Tasmania, from South Pole, 1912." [2]

The Fram put in at Hobart, after having sighted land three days earlier and been held off by storm. The first thing that Amundsen asked about was news of the Terra Nova, and was cheered when he was told that she had not been heard of.

Having learned a hard lesson on the Northwest Passage, losing his newspaper scoop and the resulting funds to cover his debts, Amundsen himself did not even know with which newspaper his brother Leon had contracted, and the Fram remained at anchor outside Hobart and refused to identify herself. Amundsen, he wrote in his diary, went ashore alone and "got a room at the Orient Hotel -- Treated as a tramp -- my peaked cap and blue sweater -- given a miserable little room.... Visited the Consul.... Then I cabled to the King ... Nansen and Leon. The day passed quietly, except for reporters, who were insistent but without result." [3]

The next day, Amundsen "received a telegram from Leon, instructing me to cable my report to the Daily Chronicle, London. This was immediately done. After that, I kept very quiet. When I had gone to bed -- 10 p.m. -- the telegrams began to rain down -- the King's came first."


[1] R.F. Scott, diary, 7 March, 1912, quoted in Scott's Last Expedition, v.1.
[2] "Tasmanian views, Edward Searle's album of photographs of Australia, Antarctica and the Pacific, 1911-1915", National Library of Australia.
[3] Roald Amundsen, diary, [date not given], quoted by Roland Huntford in The Amundsen Photographs (London : Hodder & Stoughton, c1987, p.142.

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