No stimulants except tea and cocoa


Sastrugi on Barne Glacier, Feb. 21st 1911, by Herbert George Ponting

“We shall take with us no stimulants except tea and cocoa. We drink the tea at midday to refresh us for the ‘afternoon’ march. The cocoa is taken last thing at night to preserve body heat during the hours of sleep. The greatest temptation which assails an Arctic explorer is the desire to drink on the march. At his feet lies potential liquid in unlimited quantity. But the snow is at 40deg. below zero and must be melted in the mouth. The heat required to melt it is much too precious to be thrown away, representing as it does strength and energy.

“A man who found a piece of blubber in these circumstances believed he had discovered a prize. We liked thick, fat puddings. Light articles of diet like jellies, into which we could not get our teeth, were useless to us.

“Absence of sunlight has a most peculiar effect on the human complexion. When we emerged from four months of night our faces were green and yellow.

“The Antarctic explorer is not so favourably situated as the Arctic. In summer 100 different kinds of flowering plants are to be found within 500 miles of the North Pole. The tracks of the Arctic hare are met with 100 miles from the Pole. In the case of the South Pole, on the contrary, no flowering plants exist within 1,700 miles. Within 750 miles all animal and plant life is non-existent.”

— Ernest Shackleton, ‘Antarctic Travelling,’ The Times (London) 13 January 1914

About Ernest Shackleton

Polar Explorer. Leader of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-1917.
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