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

About Ernest Shackleton

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