“My Birthday & I sincerely hope to spend my next one at Home there is a fine breeze a Southerly wind at present & there is a crack in the floe about 10 yards ahead of the ship if the wind holds in this direction for a while it will open the ice up.”

— Chippy McNeish, 9 September 1915

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How long could she continue the fight?


“The Endurance deserved all that could be said in praise of her. Shipwrights had never done sounder or better work; but how long could she continue the fight under such conditions? We were drifting into the congested area of the western Weddell Sea, the worst portion of the worst sea in the world, where the pack, forced on irresistibly by wind and current, impinges on the western shore and is driven up in huge corrugated ridges and chaotic fields of pressure. The vital question for us was whether or not the ice would open sufficiently to release us, or at least give us a chance of release, before the drift carried us into the most dangerous area.

“There was no answer to be got from the silent bergs and the grinding floes, and we faced the month of October with anxious hearts.”

— Ernest Shackleton, South

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“The behaviour of our ship in the ice has been magnificent. Since we have been beset her staunchness and endurance have been almost past belief again and again. She has been nipped with a million-ton pressure and risen nobly, falling clear of the water out on the ice. She has been thrown to and fro like a shuttlecock a dozen times. She has been strained, her beams arched upwards, by the fearful pressure; her very sides opened and closed again as she was actually bent and curved along her length, groaning like a living thing. It will be sad if such a brave little craft should be finally crushed in the remorseless, slowly strangling grip of the Weddell pack after ten months of the bravest and most gallant fight ever put up by a ship.”

— Frank Worsley

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Yoicks Tally Ho

“…some very tall bragging is indulged in by some in respect to their teams’ merits and performance. One team appears to suffer from heart disease, their owner evidently expecting the whole creation to hold their breath as they pass by. A vulgar person who often indulges in whoops and yells of ‘Yoicks Tally Ho,’ had the indescribable effrontery to let go his horrid war cry whilst riding on the imposing conveyance drawn by these dignified but nervous creatures, and was reproved by their indignant owner pointing out to the Vulgar Person into what terror his voice had thrown the beautiful but highly strung and delicate doggies. It is my painful duty to relate that this Awful Vulgar Person the very next day being out with an ordinary team gave vent to his fearsome bellow when passing the ‘Heart Disease’ Team. The result was disastrous, 2 of the poor creatures fainted and had to be brought round with hartshorn, etc., while the remainder went into hysterics until the Vulgar Person and his associates disappeared over the horizon.”

— Frank Worsley (i.e., The Awful Vulgar Person himself)

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The worst thing one can do here


“Temperature zero. Foggy and generally uninviting.”

“I did an awful thing last night as nightwatchman — the worst thing one can do here. I let Sir Ernest’s fire go out about 3am! Not for want of coal but through an excess of it. It always is a horrid little fire and I suppose it just got blocked up, or else the wind changed and stopped the draught. My efforts to relay and relight it woke ‘The Boss’, who was no more complimentary about it than any other less distinguished people when they are similarly disturbed — rather less so in fact.”

“After three-quarters of an hour of carbonaceous but fruitless effort, Sir Ernest could stand it no longer, got up himself and lighted it literally in a twinkling, dismissing me with no little acerbity, and he has not failed to remind me about it today in spite of the gift of two onions as a peace-offering. He is particularly fond of them.”

— Thomas Orde-Lees

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It was a fine blaze

“Sir Ernest and Mr. Wild carried out a very interesting, if costly, experiment whilst I was ill; in fact I am half inclined to think that they seized that occasion to obviate my protests, for they said nothing about it until it was over. Wishing to determine the effect of a petrol fire on the ice itself as a possible means of cutting the ship out of the floe, they set fire to about 100 gallons of petrol in a hollow in the ice. The cat was out of the bag therewith.”

“It was a fine blaze—the first time any of us had seen petrol burning in bulk—and there was a fine pool of water on the ice, about an inch deep, that was all! It refroze in about 10 minutes. As a matter of fact the petrol was condemned in any case as the cans had been damaged in the pressure upheaval on August 1, and it would have been risky to have had possibly leaky cans on board again, but it seemed like vandalism to this burn it all up in a flash to settle an argument.”

— Thomas Orde-Lees

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The Flying Dutchman

The Flying Dutchman by Howard Pyle

The Flying Dutchman by Howard Pyle

“…delirium, induced by gazing too long on this damned infernal pack that seems like Vanderdecken [The Flying Dutchman] in a less desolate sea doomed to drift to & fro till the Crack of Doom splits N. & S. E. & W. into a thousand million fragments — & the sooner the better. No animal life! — no land! — no nothing!!!”

— Frank Worsley

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