1. Sitrep No 1 as at 0630 hrs GMT 14 Nov 08
2. Distance Covered Today : 07.70 nm
3. Total Distance Covered : 07.70 nm
4. Daily Average to Date: 07.70 nm
5. Hours travelled: 7
6. Days to RV on Jan 9 at 97 Mile Point: 57
7. Distance to RV: 686.09 nm
8. Distance to Pole: 783.09 nm
9. Required Daily Average to achieve RV: 12.04 nm
A glorious day for our start; brilliant sunshine and a cloudless sky, a fair wind from the north, in fact, everything that could conduce to an auspicious beginning. We had breakfast at 7 A.M., and at 8:30 the sledges that the motor was to haul to Glacier Tongue were taken down by the penguin rookery and over to the rough ice. At 9:30 A:M. the supporting party started and was soon out of sight, as the motor was running well. At 10 A.M. we four of the Southern Party followed.
As we left the hut where we had spent so many months in comfort, we had a feeling of real regret that never again would we all be together there. It was dark inside, the acetylene was feeble in comparison with the sun outside, and it was small compared to an ordinary dwelling, yet we were sad at leaving it. Last night as we were sitting at dinner the evening sun entered through the ventilator and a circle of light shone on the picture of the Queen. Slowly it moved across and lit up the photograph of his Majesty the King. This seemed an omen of good luck, for only on that day and at that particular time could this have happened, and today we started to strive to plant the Queen's flag on the last spot of the world.
At 10 A.M. we met Murray and Roberts, and said good-bye, then went on our way. Both of these, who were to be left, had done for me all that men could do in their own particular line of work to try and make our little expedition a success. A clasp of the hands means more than many words, and as we turned to acknowledge their cheer and saw them standing on the ice by the familiar cliffs, I felt that we must try to do well for the sake of everyone concerned in the expedition.
Hardly had we been going for an hour when Socks went dead lame. This was a bad shock, for Quan had for a full week been the same. We had thought that our troubles in this direction were over. Socks must have hurt himself on some of the sharp ice. We had to go on, and I trust that in a few days he will be all right. I shall not start from our depot at Hut Point until he is better or until I know actually what is going to happen. The lameness of a pony in our present situation is a serious thing. If we had eight, or even six, we could adjust matters more easily, but when we are working to the bare ounce it is very serious.
At 1 P.M. we halted and fed the ponies. As we sat close to them on the sledge Grisi suddenly lashed out, and striking the sledge with his hoof, struck Adams just below the knee. Three inches higher and the blow would have shattered his knee cap and ended his chance of going on. As it was the bone was almost exposed, and he was in great pain, but said little about it. We went on and at 2:30 P.M. arrived at the sledges which had gone on by motor yesterday, just as the car came along after having dragged the other sledges within a quarter of a mile of the Tongue. I took on one sledge, and Day started in rather soft snow with the other sledges, the car being helped by the supporting party in the worst places. Pressure ridges and drift just off the Tongue prevented the car going further, so I gave the sledge Quan was dragging to Adams, who was leading Chinaman, and went back for the other. We said goodbye to Day, and he went back, with Priestley and Brocklehurst helping him, for his foot was still very weak.
We got to the south side of Glacier Tongue at 4 P.M., and after a cup of tea started to grind up the maize in the depot. It was hard work, but we each took turns at the crusher, and by 8 P.M. had ground sufficient maize for the journey. It is now 11 P.M., and a high warm sun is shining down, the day calm and clear. We had hoosh at 9 P.M. Adams' leg is very stiff and sore. The horses are fairly quiet, but Quan has begun his old tricks and is biting his tether. I must send for wire rope if this goes on.
At last we are out on the long trail, after four years' thought and work. I pray that we may be successful, for my heart has been so much in this.
There are numbers of seals lying close to our camp. They are nearly all females, and will soon have young. Erebus is emitting three distinct columns of steam today, and the fumaroles on the old crater can be seen plainly. It is a mercy that Adams is better tonight. I cannot imagine what he would have done if he had been knocked out for the southern journey, his interest in the expedition has been so intense. Temperatures plus 2°F, distance for the day, 14Vi miles.
This is the story of the “Farthest South” expedition, told by its leader. After enduring biting winds, short rations and crevasse-ridden glaciers for over a year, Shackleton’s party faced a desperate forced march to return to their ship, The Nimrod, or face being marooned on the ice.
Taken from Sir Ernest Shackleton’s own compelling chronicle of his first Antarctic expedition, written on his return in 1909.
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