“The dredge and several hundred fathoms of wire line made a heavy load, far beyond the unaided strength of the scientists. On the 23rd, for example, we put down a 2 ft. dredge and 650 fathoms of wire. The dredge was hove in four hours later and brought much glacial mud, several pebbles and rock fragments, three sponges, some worms, brachiapods, and foraminiferae. The mud was troublesome. It was heavy to lift, and as it froze rapidly when brought to the surface, the recovery of the specimens embedded in it was difficult.”

— Ernest Shackleton, South

“I have got it adjusted so that it will start from dead cold without any blowlamp heating, and on the second or third turn of the handle. This is really very satisfactory, but unfortunately Sir Ernest is unable to appreciate it. All he says is that they can run motorcars in greater cold than this (I suppose he means in Canada) but he is probably unaware that such cars are kept in a warmed garage and started up before going out, whilst out tractor here spends its time out in the open on deck all the time, and the engine is so cold at starting that one’s finger, if wet, sticks to the iron.”

“When about half the (trawl) wire was in, one of the bearings on the countershaft seized for want of lubrication. It had been sent out with that particular grease-cup empty and I had failed to notice it. It will only take an hour or so to put it right, but Sir Ernest was put out and the rest of the trawl was wound in by hand.”

— Thomas Orde-Lees

Posted in Images, Shackleton

Lantern Lecture


“During the evening I gave an illustrated lantern lecture on Java and across Australia. All hands, afterguard and fo’c’sle, rolled up to a man. It was quite a relief to see some tropical vegetation and flowers, even though they were but shadowgraphs projected on the screen…”

— Frank Hurley

Posted in Images, Other Voices

Rampart Berg

rampart berg

“Within a radius of one mile round the berg there is thin young ice, strong enough to march over with care. The area of dangerous pressure, as regards a ship, does not seem to extend for more than a quarter of a mile from the berg. Here there are cracks and constant slight movement, which becomes exciting to the traveller when he feels a piece of ice gradually upending beneath his feet. Close to the berg the pressure makes all sorts of quaint noises. We heard tapping as from a hammer, grunts, groans and squeaks, electric trams running, birds singing, kettles boiling noisily, and an occasional swish as a large piece of ice, released from pressure, suddenly jumped or turned over. We noticed all sorts of quaint effects, such as huge bubbles or domes of ice, 40 ft. across and 4 or 5 ft. high. Large sinuous pancake-sheets were spread over the floe in places, and in one spot we counted five such sheets, each about 2½ in. thick, imbricated under one another. They look as though made of barley-sugar and are very slippery.”

— Frank Worsley

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Full Polar Equipment

“All hands were issued with full polar equipment, as follows: 1 sweater (thick Jaeger), 1 pair Amundsen pattern Burberry boots, 1 pair Shetland wool mitts, 1 woollen helmet, 2 pair soft wool bed socks, 1 pair mittens, 1 pair finnesko (reindeer skin) boots, 1 Shetland wool jersey, 2 Jaeger shirts, 2 Jaeger combinations, 1 pair felt mitts, 1 pair fur mitts, 1 pair lambskin mitts, 1 pair Jaeger slippers, 3 pair thick woollen socks, 2 pair Shetland wool socks.”

— Thomas Orde-Lees

Posted in Other Voices


Dogloo village, 1915

“All hands engaged in building igloos, or as the sailors term them, dogloos, from ice blocks and snow.”

— Frank Hurley

“Worsley took a party to the floe on the 26th and started building a line of igloos and “dogloos” round the ship. These little buildings were constructed, Esquimaux fashion, of big blocks of ice, with thin sheets for the roofs. Boards or frozen sealskins were placed over all, snow was piled on top and pressed into the joints, and then water was thrown over the structures to make everything firm. The ice was packed down flat inside and covered with snow for the dogs, which preferred, however, to sleep outside except when the weather was extraordinarily severe. The tethering of the dogs was a simple matter. The end of a chain was buried about eight inches in the snow, some fragments of ice were pressed around it, and a little water poured over all. The icy breath of the Antarctic cemented it in a few moments.”

— Ernest Shackleton, South

“Putting the dogs ashore meant each dog could be given a longer lead than was possible on deck and therefore more freedom. Fastening the chains is a simple matter. A hole is made in the ice with a crowbar 6in deep, filled up with water, which instantly freezes and secures the chain tightly enough to hold back a steamroller.”

— Thomas Orde-Lees

Posted in Images, Other Voices, Shackleton

Macklin and friends


Dr. Alexander Macklin and a few friends, 1915.

Posted in Images

The barking will be less audible


“Most of the dog kennels have been put out on the floe and the dogs in future will live there. This will be a great relief to us, for there will be no more cleaning up to do on board, no more rattling of chains at night, and the barking will be less audible.”

— Thomas Orde-Lees

Posted in Images, Other Voices