Another challenging day, as the team come to grips with the Plateau, a clearly different place to either the Ice Shelf or the Glacier. Will describes how the cold wind caused his balaclava to freeze to his face and beard and had to be cut away. After a hard day, Will turns his thoughts to New Year's Eve, and the days that lie ahead to the reunion with the 97 Mile Team.
Will thanks Mr & Mrs James Varley for providing the Creme de Menthe which the team consumed on Christmas Day. He also thanks Alex Beard and Glencore for their support of the expedition and their ongoing support of the Shackleton Foundation.
Finally Will wishes everybody a Happy New Year.
1. Sitrep No 48 as at 1002 hrs GMT 31 Dec 08
2. Distance Covered Today : 13.8 nm
3. Total Distance Covered : 578.5 nm
4. Hours travelled: 7.5
5. Daily Average to Date: 12.05 nm
6. Days to RV on Jan 9 at 97 Mile Point: 9
7. Distance to RV: 115.29 nm
8. Distance to Pole: 212.29 nm
9. Required Daily Average to achieve RV: 12.81 nm
10. Altitude: 9140 Ft ASL
In yesterday's report, Henry Worsley described carrying Shackleton's compass in his pocket, in the same way as Shackleton himself would have carried it 100 years ago.
In the photos of the compass below, note Shackleton's initials ("EHS") scratched into the lid of the compass.
The last day of the old year, and the hardest day we have had almost, pushing through soft snow uphill with a strong head wind and drift all day. The temperature is minus 7°F, and our altitude is 10,477 ft. above sea level. The altitude is trying. My head has been very bad all day, and we are all feeling the short food, but still we are getting south. We are in latitude 86° 54' South tonight, but we have only three weeks' food and two weeks' biscuit to do nearly 500 geographical miles. We can only do our best. Too tired to write more tonight. We all get iced up about our faces, and are on the verge of frostbite all the time. Please God the weather will be fine during the next fourteen days. Then all will be well. The distance today was eleven miles.
NOTE. If we had only known that we were going to get such cold weather as we were at this time experiencing, we would have kept a pair of scissors to trim our beards. The moisture from the condensation of one's breath accumulated on the beard and trickled down on to the Burberry blouse. Then it froze into a sheet of ice inside, and it became very painful to pull the Burberry off in camp. Little troubles of this sort would have seemed less serious to us if we had been able to get a decent feed at the end of the day's work, but we were very hungry. We thought of food most of the time. The chocolate certainly seemed better than the cheese, because the two spoonfuls of cheese per man allowed under our scale of diet would not last as long as the two sticks of chocolate. We did not have both at the same meal.
We had the bad luck at this time to strike a tin in which the biscuits were thin and overbaked. Under ordinary circumstances they would probably have tasted rather better than the other biscuits, but we wanted bulk. We soaked them in our tea so that they would swell up and appear larger, but if one soaked a biscuit too much, the sensation of biting something was lost, and the food seemed to disappear much too easily.
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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