Motor-crawler

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“Sir Ernest likes to keep all hands employed as far as possible, so today he decided to unpack my motor-crawler—sledge tractor—which has been in a huge packing case all this time on the fore-deck. It was like meeting an old friend after a long separation to once more have a motor in my hands. As soon as it was out, I filled it up with petrol and water and in a very short time had it running entirely to Sir Ernest’s and my satisfaction. To add to my joy I found the interior of the crawler entirely full of spare parts and all of them wrapped up in old motor papers! Congenial reading for weeks!”

— Thomas Orde-Lees

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Fresh meats are of the greatest value as antiscorbutics

“We are still stuck solid.

“This has happened to previous explorers in this region—the Weddell Sea—to both Bruce and Filchner. The former just managed to escape quite late in the season, but he was much further north—off Coats Land. Filchner got stuck fast about 200 miles north of us but in nine months drifted nearly 600 miles north and was able to reach South Georgia. It certainly seems not improbable now that we may remain in the ice-field in which we are now incarcerated. If this be the case, we shall almost certainly drift north, emerging about this time next year near South Georgia.

“Sir Ernest says he will not return to England except via the Pole and Ross Sea, but one fails to see how he can get to land in the early part of next summer if the ship is drifting all the time.

“The feeding of the dogs is going to be a serious problem. It has become acute owing to the entire absence of seals on which we had mainly relied. Naturally, on finding the ice closing up all around them, the seals made for the edge of the ice-floe where they can enter and leave the water. We think the flocks of seals we saw must have been migrating instinctively northward. If we can secure no more seals, it will certainly mean destroying about half of the dogs. We certainly have not enough food for ourselves to spare any for the dogs.

“We have sufficient food for ourselves to last all hands comfortably for 12 months, but as we had relied on penguins and seals to eke out our larder, and there are none, we shall have to exercise reasonable care. It seems such an irony that we should have seen such myriads of seals so recently. I did venture to suggest once or twice that we ought to lay in a small store of them, as we had none left, but other considerations overruled this. Fresh meats are of the greatest value as antiscorbutics.”

— Thomas Orde-Lees

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Beset

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“We nearly all find something to occupy ourselves with; some sleep in the afternoon, others play cards and Hussey and Rickinson (the chief engineer) the banjo and fiddle respectively and, fortunately, in concert. Poker patience is the most popular game, but in the evening Sir Ernest and three or four others play poker proper for an hour and a half. Occasionally they play bridge.”

“We seem to be a wonderfully happy family but I think Sir Ernest is the real secret of our unanimity. Considering our divergent aims and our differences of station, it is surprising how few differences of opinion occur.”

— Thomas Orde-Lees

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A position of considerable disadvantage

“One cannot fail to perceive that we are in a position of considerable disadvantage, though of very little peril unless the whole field of ice in which we seem to form the centre should subsequently be subjected to considerable pressure; even then it is expected that the ship would rise so that the ice would pass downwards, under her bottom.”

“No doubt the pack will open up in a week or two, but if this should not occur before the end of March, we should have to remain frozen in until next November, probably, which would be rather trying.”

“No-one contemplates for a moment that this is at all likely, and Sir Ernest least of all exhibits the slightest sign of anxiety about it.”

— Thomas Orde-Lees

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Hummocks

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“Midnight. This evening we have been favored with sunlight.

“I climbed up into the barrel lookout from where a magnificent panorama was to be observed. From horizon to horizon, and stretching north, south, east, and west, the pack ice extends, dazzling white with the hummocks relieved by long shadows. The sight was very inspiring, and made one feel the tinyness and insignificance of themselves. The shadow of our ship—the only black speck amid this eternal whiteness—was thrown in weird skeleton fashion far across the snows by the midnight sun…”

— Frank Hurley, 23 January 1915

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The Endurance

endurance-color

“Frank Hurley considered his color photos ‘amongst the most valuable records of the expedition.’ He was an early user of a method of color photography called the Paget process, which was introduced commercially little more than a year before the Endurance sailed.

“To make a color photo using the Paget process, Hurley exposed a negative plate through a color screen plate scored with a pattern of dots and lines. He then made a transparency positive by contact-printing the negative. The transparency was then bound to a color screen whose pattern matched that of the screen used in the original exposure. The process was eclipsed by autochrome and later by Kodachrome.”

Kodak website

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Land in sight

“Land was in sight to the east and south about sixteen miles distant on the 22nd. The land-ice seemed to be faced with ice-cliffs at most points, but here and there slopes ran down to sea-level. Large crevassed areas in terraces parallel with the coast showed where the ice was moving down over foot-hills. The inland ice appeared for the most part to be undulating, smooth, and easy to march over, but many crevasses might have been concealed from us by the surface snow or by the absence of shadows. I thought that the land probably rose to a height of 5000 ft. forty or fifty miles inland. The accurate estimation of heights and distances in the Antarctic is always difficult, owing to the clear air, the confusing monotony of colouring, and the deceptive effect of mirage and refraction. The land appeared to increase in height to the southward, where we saw a line of land or barrier that must have been seventy miles, and possibly was even more distant.”

— Ernest Shackleton, 22 January 1915, South

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