Today's report is generously sponsored by Victor Emery - "to belatedly celebrate the birthday of my brother Dr John - Henry Worsley's distant cousin, who was 77 on the 4th January" and "who undoubtedly joins me in congratulating the team for being on the brink of such a fantastic achievement. We have been gripped by their journey."
The weather has been kind to them today and with almost no wind and a sunny sky, the team covered 14.6 nm leaving them just under 12 miles to cover tomorrow to reach Shackleton's "Furthest South" on the centenary day.
Will Gow reflects on the whole raison d'etre of the expedition, and urges all those who have been following their progress with interest to support The Shackleton Foundation by donating via Justgiving. The team have agreed that they will film personal messages at The South Pole to anybody who donates £500 or more between now and their arrival at the Pole. For more details email Bill Shipton.
1. Sitrep No 56 as at 1200 hrs GMT 08 Jan 09
2. Distance Covered Today : 14.6 nm
3. Total Distance Covered : 688.9 nm
4. Hours travelled: 7.5
5. Daily Average to Date: 12.3 nm
6. Days to RV on Jan 9 at 97 Mile Point: 1
7. Distance to RV: 11.89 nm
8. Distance to Pole: 108.89 nm
9. Required Daily Average to achieve RV: 11.89 nm
10. Altitude: 10173 Ft ASL
Note:The eagle eyed will have noticed that the distances to the 97 RV and the South Pole changed by 7 miles yesterday. The distances we used were predicated on the team travelling PRECISELY the same distance to the 97nm point from the Hut as Shackleton. Clearly over 670 nm there is going to be some variance, and indeed this is what has happened. I have adjusted accordingly.
Again all day in our bags, suffering considerably physically from cold hands and feet, and from hunger, but more mentally, for we cannot get on south, and we simply lie here shivering. Every now and then one of our party's feet go, and the unfortunate beggar has to take his leg out of the sleeping bag and have his frozen foot nursed into life again by placing it inside the shirt, against the skin of his almost equally unfortunate neighbor. We must do something more to the south, even though the food is going, and we weaken lying in the cold, for with 72° of frost the wind cuts through our thin tent, and even the drift is finding its way in and on to our bags, which are wet enough as it is. Cramp is not uncommon every now and then, and the drift all round the tent has made it so small that there is hardly room for us at all.
The wind has been blowing hard all day; some of the gusts must be over seventy or eighty miles an hour. This evening it seems as though it were going to ease down, and directly it does we shall be up and away south for a rush. I feel that this march must be our limit. We are so short of food, and at this high altitude, 11,600 ft., it is hard to keep any warmth in our bodies between the scanty meals. We have nothing to read now, having depoted our little books to save weight, and it is dreary work lying in the tent with nothing to read, and too cold to write much in the diary.
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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