The first day of demanding Antarctic weather, with a strong headwind all day coming from the South. 8.2 nm covered, due to a shortened day after the first weekly lie in (an extra 2 hours in the sleeping bag!).
Listen to Will Gow describe the first meeting of the Antarctic Malt Whisky Appreciation Society in the daily report, and Henry Worsley descrbe the weather conditions in more detail inj the daily sitrep. Will Gow also describes the effectiveness of the Timberland equipment when put to its first real test and the Timberland Shackleton range which has been inspired by this expedition.
1. Sitrep No 8 as at 0700 hrs GMT 21 Nov 08
2. Distance Covered Today : 8.21 nm
3. Total Distance Covered : 75.5 nm (slight discrepancy with Henry W who has it at 74.4)
4. Daily Average to Date: 9.44 nm
5. Days to RV on Jan 9 at 97 Mile Point: 50
6. Hours travelled: 6
7. Distance to RV: 618.29 nm
8. Distance to Pole: 715.29 nm
9. Required Daily Average to achieve RV: 12.37 nm
No diary yesterday, for I had a bad attack of snow blindness, and am only a bit better tonight. We did a good march yesterday of over fifteen miles over fair surface, and again today did fifteen miles, but the going was softer. The ponies have been a trouble again. I found Quan and Chinaman enjoying the former's rug. They have eaten all the lining. The weather has been beautifully fine, but the temperature down to 12° below zero.
The others' eyes are all right. Wild, who has been suffering, has been better today. Snow blindness is a particularly unpleasant thing. One begins by seeing double, then the eyes feel full of grit; this makes them water and eventually one cannot see at all. All yesterday afternoon, though I was wearing goggles, the water kept running out of my eyes, and, owing to the low temperature, it froze on my beard. However, the weather is beautiful, and we are as happy as can be, with good appetites, too good in fact for the amount of food we are allowing ourselves. We are on short rations, but we will have horse meat in addition when the ponies go under. We have saved enough food to last us from our first depot into the Bluff, where, on the way back, we will pick up another depot that is to be laid out by Joyce during January next. I trust we will pick up the depot tomorrow night and it will be a relief, for it is a tiny speck in this snowy plain, and is nearly sixty miles from the nearest land. It is much the same as picking up a buoy in the North Sea with only distant mountains for bearings.
We are now clear of the pressure round the Bluff, and the traveling should be good until we reach the depot. On the spring journey we got into the crevasses off the Bluff, these crevasses being due to the movement of the ice-sheet impinging against the long arm of the Bluff reaching out to the eastward. Close in the pressure is much more marked, the whole surface of the Barrier rising into hillocks and splitting into chasms. When the summer sun plays on these and the wind sweeps away the loose snow, a very slippery surface is presented, and the greatest care has to be exercised to prevent the sledges skidding into the pits, often over 100 ft. deep. As one gets further away from the area of disturbance the ridges flatten out, the pits disappear, and the crevasses become cracks. We are now on to level going, clear of any dangers.
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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