Of philosophic mien

Hudson holding two emperor chicks

“Three emperor penguins made their appearance in a lead west of the ship on May 3. They pushed their heads throught the young ice while two of the men were standing by the lead. The men imitated the emperor’s call and walked slowly, penguin-fashion, away from the lead. The birds in succession made a magnificent leap 3 ft clear from the water on to the young ice. Thence they tobogganed to the bank and followed the men away from the lead. Their retreat was soon cut off by a line of men.

“We walk up to them, talking loudly and assuming a threatening aspect. Notwithstanding our bad manners, the three birds turn towards us, bowing ceremoniously. Then, after a closer inspection, they conclude that we are undesirable acquaintances and make off across the floe. We head them off and finally shepherd them close to the ship, where the frenzied barking of the dogs so frightens them that they make a determined effort to break through the line. We seize them. One bird of philosophic mien goes quietly, led by one flipper. The others show fight, but all are imprisoned in an igloo for the night…”

— Ernest Shackleton, South

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Goodbye to the sun

Dogloos at night

Dogloos at night

“We said good-bye to the sun on May 1 and entered the period of twilight that would be followed by the darkness of midwinter. The sun by the aid of refraction just cleared the horizon at noon and set shortly before 2 p.m. A fine aurora in the evening was dimmed by the full moon, which had risen on April 27 and would not set again until May 6. The disappearance of the sun is apt to be a depressing event in the polar regions, where the long months of darkness involve mental as well as physical strain. But the Endurance’s company refused to abandon their customary cheerfulness, and a concert in the evening made the Ritz a scene of noisy merriment, in strange contrast with the cold, silent world that lay outside.

“One feels our helplessness as the long winter night closes upon us. By this time, if fortune had smiled upon the Expedition, we would have been comfortably and securely established in a shore base, with depots laid to the south and plans made for the long march in the spring and summer. Where will we make a landing now? It is not easy to forecast the future. The ice may open in the spring, but by that time we will be far to the north-west. I do not think we shall be able to work back to Vahsel Bay. There are possible landing-places on the western coast of the Weddell Sea, but can we reach any suitable spot early enough to attempt the overland journey next year? Time alone will tell. I do not think any member of the Expedition is disheartened by our disappointment. All hands are cheery and busy, and will do their best when the time for action comes. In the meantime we must wait.”

— Ernest Shackleton, South

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Names of the dogs

dogs_grid
“I do not know who had been responsible for some of the names, which seem to represent a variety of tastes. All the dogs except eight had been named.

“They were as follows:

“Rugby, Upton, Bristol, Millhill, Songster, Sandy, Mack, Mercury, Wolf, Amundsen, Hercules, Hackenschmidt, Samson, Sammy, Skipper, Caruso, Sub, Ulysses, Spotty, Bosun, Slobbers, Sadie, Sue, Sally, Jasper, Tim, Sweep, Martin, Splitlip, Luke, Saint, Satan, Chips, Stumps, Snapper, Painful, Bob, Snowball, Jerry, Judge, Sooty, Rufus, Sidelights, Simeon, Swanker, Chirgwin, Steamer, Peter, Fluffy, Steward, Slippery, Elliott, Roy, Noel, Shakespeare, Jamie, Bummer, Smuts, Luipold, Spider, and Sailor.

“Some of the names, it will be noticed, had a descriptive flavor.”

— Ernest Shackleton, South

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One-step on the ice

[29 April 1915: Testing the motor sledge on the ice again. During one of the breakdowns of the motor, Worsley and Shackleton danced a one-step, while one of the crew whistled ‘The Policeman’s Holiday.’]

“It was most amusing and not a little incongruous to see the great polar explorer thus gyrating on the Antarctic ice. That is Sir Ernest all over though. He is always able to keep his troubles under and show a bold front. His unfailing cheeriness means a lot to a band of disappointed explorers like ourselves. As most of our number are prone to regulate their demeanour by his, perhaps it is just as well that he is able to conceal his disappointment by his strong will so splendidly.”

— Thomas Orde-Lees

Posted in Other Voices, Video

Hussey and Samson

hussey_samson

Hussey and Samson

“Our store of seal meat amounted now to about 5000 lbs., and I calculated that we had enough meat and blubber to feed the dogs for ninety days without trenching upon the sledging rations. The teams were working well, often with heavy loads. The biggest dog was Hercules, who tipped the beam at 86 lbs. Samson was 11 lbs. lighter, but he justified his name one day by starting off at a smart pace with a sledge carrying 200 lbs. of blubber and a driver.”

— Ernest Shackleton, South

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Losing dogs

Dog teams returning after exercise

Dog teams returning after exercise

“We [are] still losing dogs through sickness, due to stomach and intestinal worms.

“Wild, Crean, Macklin, McIlroy, Marston, and Hurley each had charge of a team, and were fully responsible for the exercising, training, and feeding of their own dogs. They called in one of the surgeons when an animal was sick. We were still losing some dogs through worms, and it was unfortunate that the doctors had not the proper remedies. Worm-powders were to have been provided by the expert Canadian dog-driver I had engaged before sailing for the south, and when this man did not join the Expedition the matter was overlooked.”

— Ernest Shackleton, South

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Puttin’ on ‘The Ritz’

Belowdecks, converted to winter quarters.

“The temperature went down to zero again and it really feels much more comfortable, for a rise up to 20deg means virtually a thaw on board. All the passages etc. begin to drip water and all leakages in one’s cabin, which have long since frozen up, thaw out and form little pools all over the place. We have been hard at work clearing the snow drifts away from around the ship, as the weight of the snow tends to make the floe sink and might even drag down the ship with it.”

— Thomas Orde-Lees

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