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

About Ernest Shackleton

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