Letter from Shackleton to McNeish, written in McNeish’s notebook:
“May 18, 1916
I am about to try to reach Husvik on the East Coast of this island for relief of our party. I am leaving you in charge of the party consisting of Vincent, McCarthy & yourself. You will remain here until relief arrives. You have ample seal food which you can supplement with birds and fish according to your skill. You are left with a double barrelled gun, 50 cartridges [and other rations] … You also have all the necessary equipment to support life for an indefinite period in the event of my non-return. You had better after winter is over try and sail around to the East Coast. The course I am making towards Husvik is East magnetic.
I trust to have you relieved in a few days.
E. H. SHACKLETON
The Primus lamp filled with oil for 6 hot meals
The small hoosh pot
A pair of binoculars
Rope: A total length of 50 feet when knotted
McNeish’s adze, to be used as an ice axe
Worsley’s chronometer worn around his neck
Three pieces of wood from the Caird’s decking to be used as walking sticks
Matches. There were two boxes of matches left, one full and the other partially used. We left the full box with the men at the camp and took the second box, which contained forty-eight matches.
“After consultation we decided to leave the sleeping-bags behind and make the journey in very light marching order. We would take three days’ provisions for each man in the form of sledging ration and biscuit. The food was to be packed in three socks, so that each member of the party could carry his own supply.”
- Ernest Shackleton, South
The view of South Georgia that we did not have, taken from the ISS, 2013, via @NASA_EO
“Our path towards the whaling station led round the seaward end of the snouted glacier on the east side of the camp and up a snow slope that appeared to lead to a pass in the great Allardyce Range, which runs northwest and southeast and forms the main backbone of South Georgia. The range dipped opposite the bay into a well-defined pass from east to west. An ice sheet covered most of the interior, filling the valleys and disguising the configuration of the land, which, indeed, showed only in big rocky ridges, peaks, and nunatuks.
“When we looked up the pass from Peggotty Camp the country to the left appeared to offer two easy paths through to the opposite coast, but we knew that the island was uninhabited at that point (Possession Bay). We had to turn our attention further east.
“I planned to climb the pass and then be guided by the configuration of the country in the selection of a route eastward to Stromness Bay, where the whaling stations were established in the minor bays, Leith, Husvik, and Stromness. A range of mountains with precipitous slopes, forbidding peaks, and large glaciers lay immediately to the south of King Haakon Bay and seemed to form a continuation of the main range. Between this secondary range and the pass above our camp a great snow upland sloped up to the inland ice sheet and reached a rocky ridge that stretched athwart our path and seemed to bar the way. This ridge was a right-angled offshoot from the main ridge. Its chief features were four rocky peaks with spaces between that looked from a distance as though they might prove to be passes.
“[Worsley and I] went round the seaward end of the snouted glacier, and after tramping about a mile over stony ground and snow-coated debris, we crossed some big ridges of scree and moraines. We did not get much information regarding the conditions farther on owing to the view becoming obscured by a snow squall. We waited a quarter of an hour for the weather to clear but were forced to turn back without having seen more of the country.”
— Ernest Shackleton, South
Inside Peggotty’s House made from an upturned boat
“Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.” — David Copperfield
[Illustration of Peggotty's boat/house, from The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery (Which He Never Meant to Publish on Any Account), by Charles Dickens.]
“We were a curious-looking party, but we were feeling happy. We even broke into song, and, but for our Robinson Crusoe appearance, a casual observer might have taken us for a picnic party sailing in a Norwegian fiord or one of the beautiful sounds of the west coast of New Zealand.”
— Ernest Shackleton, South