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The South Pole, Volumes 1 and 2
by Roald Amundsen
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In undertaking a sledge journey down there in autumn or spring, the most extraordinary precautions have to be taken to protect oneself against the cold. Skin clothing is then the only thing that is of any use; but at this time of year, when the sun is above the horizon for the whole twenty-four hours, one can go for a long time without being more heavily clad than a lumberman working in the woods. During the march our clothing was usually the following: two sets of woollen underclothes, of which that nearest the skin was quite thin. Outside the shirt we wore either an ordinary waistcoat or a comparatively light knitted woollen jersey. Outside all came our excellent Burberry clothes — trousers and jacket. When it was calm, with full sunshine, the Burberry jacket was too warm; we could then go all day in our shirt-sleeves. To be provided for emergencies, we all had our thinnest reindeer-skin clothes with us; but, so far as I know, these were never used, except as pillows or mattresses.

The subject of sleeping-bags has no doubt been thoroughly threshed out on every Polar expedition. I do not know how many times we discussed this question, nor can I remember the number of more or less successful patents that were the fruit of these discussions. In any case, one thing is certain, that the adherents of one-man bags were in an overwhelming majority, and no doubt rightly. As regards two-man bags, it cannot be denied that they enable their occupants to keep warm longer; but it is always difficult to find room for two big men in one sack, and if the sack is to be used for sleeping in, and one of the big men takes to snoring into the other's ear, the situation may become quite unendurable. In the temperatures we had on the summer journeys there was no difficulty in keeping warm enough with the one-man bags, and they were used by all of us.

On the first southern journey, in September, Johansen and I used a double bag between us; in the intense cold that prevailed at that time we managed to get through the night without freezing; but if the weather is so cold that one cannot keep warmth in one's body in good, roomy one-man bags, then it is altogether unfit for sledging journeys.

November 10. — Immediately after the start this morning we tried how we could get on without a forerunner. As long as we were in the line of flags this answered very well; the dogs galloped from one flag to another, while I was able to adopt the easy method of hanging on to Stubberud's sledge. About midday we were abreast of the depression already mentioned, where, on the third depot journey last autumn, we ran into a regular net of crevasses. This time we were aware of the danger, and kept to the left; but at the last moment the leading team ran out to the wrong side, and we cut across the eastern part of the dangerous zone. Fortunately it was taken at full gallop. It is quite possible that I inwardly wished we were all a few pounds lighter, as our little caravan raced across those thin snow bridges, through which could be seen the blue colour of the ugly gulfs below. But after the lapse of a few long minutes we could congratulate ourselves on getting over with our full numbers.

Not for anything would I have gone that mile without ski on my feet; it would practically have meant falling in and going out. It is, perhaps, saying a good deal to claim that with ski on, one is absolutely secured against the danger these crevasses present; if misfortunes are abroad, anything may happen. But it would require a very considerable amount of bad luck for man and ski to fall through.

November 11. — In weather like this, going on the march is like going to a dance: tent, sleeping-bags, and clothes keep soft and dry as a bone. The thermometer is about -4deg. F. A fellow-man suddenly put down in our midst from civilized surroundings would possibly shake his head at so many degrees of frost, but it must be remembered that we have long ago abandoned the ordinary ideas of civilized people as to what is endurable in the way of temperature. We are enthusiastic about the spring-like weather, especially when we remember what it was like down here two months ago, when the thermometer showed -76deg. F., and the rime hung an inch thick inside the tent, ready to drop on everything and everybody at the slightest movement. Now there is no rime to be seen; the sun clears it away. For now there is a sun; not the feeble imitation of one that stuck its red face above the northern horizon in August, but our good old acquaintance of lower latitudes, with his wealth of light and warmth.

After two hours' march we came in sight, at ten o'clock in the morning, of the two snow-huts that were built on the last trip. We made straight for them, thinking we might possibly find some trace of the southern party. So we did, though in a very different way from what we expected. We were, perhaps, about a mile off when we all three suddenly halted and stared at the huts. "There are men," said Stubberud. At any rate there was something black that moved, and after confused thoughts of Japanese, Englishmen, and the like had flashed through our minds, we at last got out the glasses. It was not men, but a dog. Well, the presence of a live dog here, seventy-five miles up the Barrier, was in itself a remarkable thing. It must, of course, be one of the southern party's dogs, but how the runaway had kept himself alive all that time was for the present a mystery. On coming to closer quarters we soon found that it was one of Hassel's dogs, Peary by name. He was a little shy to begin with, but when he heard his name he quickly understood that we were friends come on a visit, and no longer hesitated to approach us. He was fat and round, and evidently pleased to see us again. The hermit had lived on the lamentable remains of poor Sara, whom we had been obliged to kill here in September. Sara's lean and frozen body did not seem particularly adapted for making anyone fat, and yet our newly-found friend Peary looked as if he had been feasting for weeks. Possibly he had begun by devouring Neptune, another of his companions, who had also given the southern party the slip on the way to the depot in 80deg. S. However this may be, Peary's rest cure came to an abrupt conclusion. Stubberud took him and put him in his team.

We had thought of reaching the depot before the close of the day, and this we could easily have done if the good going had continued; but during the afternoon the surface became so loose that the dogs sank in up to their chests, and when — at about six in the evening — the sledge-meter showed twenty-one geographical miles, the animals were so done up that it was no use going on.

At eleven o'clock the next morning — Sunday, November 12 — we reached the depot. Captain Amundsen had promised to leave a brief report when the southern party left here, and the first thing we did on arrival was, of course, to search for the document in the place agreed upon. There were not many words on the little slip of paper, but they gave us the welcome intelligence: "All well so far."

We had expected that the southern party's dogs would have finished the greater part, if not the whole, of the seal meat that was laid down here in April; but fortunately this was not the case. There was a great quantity left, so that we could give our own dogs a hearty feed with easy consciences. They had it, too, and it was no trifling amount that they got through. The four days' trot from Framheim had been enough to produce an unusual appetite. There was a puppy in Johansen's team that was exposed for the first time in his life to the fatigues of a sledge journey. This was a plucky little chap that went by the name of Lillegut. The sudden change from short commons to abundance was too much for his small stomach, and the poor puppy lay shrieking in the snow most of the afternoon.

We also looked after ourselves that day, and had a good meal of fresh seal meat; after that we supplied ourselves from the large stores that lay here with the necessary provisions for a sledge journey of five weeks: three cases of dogs' pemmican, one case of men's pemmican, containing ninety rations, 20 pounds of dried milk, 55 pounds of oatmeal biscuits, and three tins of malted milk, besides instruments, Alpine rope, and clothing. The necessary quantity of chocolate had been brought with us from Framheim, as there was none of this to spare out in the field. Our stock of paraffin was 6 1/2 gallons, divided between two tanks, one on each sledge. Our cooking outfit was exactly the same as that used by the southern party.

The instruments we carried were a theodolite, a hypsometer, two aneroids, one of which was no larger than an ordinary watch, two thermometers, one chronometer watch, one ordinary watch, and one photographic camera (Kodak 3 x 3 inches), adapted for using either plates or films. We had three spools of film, and one dozen plates.

Our medical outfit was exceedingly simple. It consisted of nothing but a box of laxative pills, three small rolls of gauze bandage, and a small pair of scissors, which also did duty for beard-cutting. Both pills and gauze were untouched when we returned; it may therefore be safely said that our state of health during the journey was excellent.

While the drivers were packing and lashing their loads, which now weighed nearly 600 pounds, I wrote a report to the Chief, and took an azimuth observation to determine the direction of our course. According to our instructions we should really have taken a north-easterly course from here; but as our dogs seemed to be capable of more and better work than we had expected, and as there was believed to be a possibility that bare land was to be found due east of the spot where we were, it was decided to make an attempt in that direction.

Our old enemy the fog had made its appearance in the course of the night, and now hung, grey and disgusting, under the sky, when we broke camp at the depot on the morning of November 13. However, it was not so bad as to prevent our following the flags that marked the depot on the east.

My duty as forerunner was immediately found to be considerably lighter than before. With the greatly increased weight behind them the dogs had all they could do to follow, if I went at an ordinary walking pace. At 11 a.m. we passed the easternmost flag, at five geographical miles from the depot, and then we found ourselves on untrodden ground. A light southerly breeze appeared very opportunely and swept away the fog; the sun again shed its light over the Barrier, which lay before us, shining and level, as we had been accustomed to see it. There was, however, one difference: with every mile we covered there was the possibility of seeing something new. The going was excellent, although the surface was rather looser than one could have wished. The ski flew over it finely, of course, while dogs' feet and sledge-runners sank in. I hope I shall never have to go here without ski; that would be a terrible punishment; but with ski on one's feet and in such weather it was pure enjoyment.

Meanwhile the new sights we expected were slow in coming. We marched for four days due east without seeing a sign of change in the ground; there was the same undulating surface that we knew so well from previous expeditions. The readings of the hypsometer gave practically the same result day after day; the ascent we were looking for failed to appear.

Stubberud, who for the first day or two after leaving the depot had been constantly stretching himself on tiptoe and looking out for mountain-tops, finally gave it as his heartfelt conviction that this King Edward Land we were hunting for was only a confounded "Flyaway Land," which had nothing to do with reality. We others were not yet quite prepared to share this view; for my own part, in any case, I was loth to give up the theory that assumed a southward continuation of King Edward Land along the 158th meridian; this theory had acquired a certain force during the winter, and was mainly supported by the fact that on the second depot journey we had seen, between the 81st and 82nd parallels, some big pressure-ridges, which suggested the presence of bare land in a south-easterly direction.

On November 16 we found ourselves at the 158th meridian, but on every side the eye encountered the level, uninterrupted snow surface and nothing else. Should we go on? It was tempting enough, as the probability was that sooner or later we should come upon something; but there was a point in our instructions that had to be followed, and it said: Go to the point where land is marked on the chart. This point was now about 120 geographical miles to the north of us. Therefore, instead of going on to the east in uncertainty, we decided to turn to the left and go north. The position of the spot where we altered our course was determined, and it was marked by a snow beacon 7 feet high, on the top of which was placed a tin box containing a brief report.

On that part of the way which we now had before us there was little prospect of meeting with surprises; nor did any fall to our lot. In day's marches that varied from seventeen to twenty geographical miles, we went forward over practically level ground. The nature of the surface was at first ideal; but as we came farther north and thus nearer to the sea, our progress was impeded by a great number of big snow-waves (sastrugi), which had probably been formed during the long period of bad weather that preceded our departure from Framheim. We did not escape damage on this bad surface. Stubberud broke the forward part of the spare ski he had lashed under his sledge, and Johansen's sledge also suffered from the continual bumping against the hard sastrugi. Luckily he had been foreseeing enough to bring a little hickory bar, which came in very handy as a splint for the broken part.

As we were now following the direction of the meridian, or in other words, as our course was now true north, the daily observations of latitude gave a direct check on the readings of the sledge-meter. As a rule they agreed to the nearest minute. Whilst I was taking the noon altitude my companions had the choice of standing by the side of their sledges and eating their lunch, or setting the tent and taking shelter. They generally chose the latter alternative, making up for it by going an hour longer in the afternoon. Besides the astronomical observations, the barometric pressure, temperature, force and direction of the wind, and amount of cloud were noted three times daily; every evening a hypsometer reading was taken.

If I were to undertake the description of a long series of days like those that passed while we were travelling on the flat Barrier, I am afraid the narrative would be strikingly reminiscent of the celebrated song of a hundred and twenty verses, all with the same rhyme. One day was very much like another. One would think that this monotony would make the time long, but the direct opposite was the case. I have never known time fly so rapidly as on these sledge journeys, and seldom have I seen men more happy and contented with their existence than we three, when after a successful day's march we could set about taking our simple meal, with a pipe of cut plug to follow. The bill of fare was identically the same every day, perhaps a fault in the eyes of many; variety of diet is supposed to be the thing. Hang variety, say I; appetite is what matters. To a man who is really hungry it is a very subordinate matter what he shall eat; the main thing is to have something to satisfy his hunger.

After going north for seven days, we found that according to observations and sledge-meter we ought to be in the neighbourhood of the sea. This was correct. My diary for November 23 reads:

"To-day we were to see something besides sky and snow. An hour after breaking camp this morning two snowy petrels came sailing over us; a little while later a couple of skua gulls. We welcomed them as the first living creatures we had seen since leaving winter-quarters. The constantly increasing 'water-sky' to the north had long ago warned us that we were approaching the sea; the presence of the birds told us it was not far off. The skua gulls settled very near us, and the dogs, no doubt taking them for baby seals, were of course ready to break the line of march, and go off hunting, but their keenness soon passed when they discovered that the game had wings.

"The edge of the Barrier was difficult to see, and, profiting by previous experience of how easy it is to go down when the light is bad, we felt our way forward step by step. At four o'clock we thought we could see the precipice. A halt was made at a safe distance, and I went in advance to look over. To my surprise I found that there was open water right in to the wall of ice. We had expected the sea-ice to extend a good way out still, seeing it was so early in summer; but there lay the sea, almost free of ice as far as the horizon. Black and threatening it was to look at, but still a beneficent contrast to the everlasting snow surface on which we had now tramped for 300 geographical miles.

The perpendicular drop of 100 feet that forms the boundary between the dead Barrier and the sea, with its varied swarm of life, is truly an abrupt and imposing transition. The panorama from the top of the ice-wall is always grand, and it can be beautiful as well. On a sunny day, or still more on a moonlit night, it has a fairylike beauty. To-day a heavy, black sky hung above a still blacker sea, and the ice-wall, which shines in the light with a dazzling white purity, looked more like an old white-washed wall than anything else. There was not a breath of wind; the sound of the surf at the bottom of the precipice now and then reached my ears — this was the only thing that broke the vast silence. One's own dear self becomes so miserably small in these mighty surroundings; it was a sheer relief to get back to the company of my comrades."

As things now were, with open water up to the Barrier itself, our prospect of getting seals here at the edge of the ice seemed a poor one. Next morning, however, we found, a few miles farther east, a bay about four miles long, and almost entirely enclosed. It was still frozen over, and seals were lying on the ice by the dozen. Here was food enough to give both ourselves and the dogs an extra feed and to replenish our supplies. We camped and went off to examine the ground more closely. There were plenty of crevasses, but a practicable descent was found, and in a very short time three full-grown seals and a fat young one were despatched. We hauled half a carcass up to the camp with the Alpine rope. As we were hard at work dragging our spoil up the steep slope, we heard Stubberud sing out, "Below, there!" — and away he went like a stone in a well. He had gone through the snow-bridge on which we were standing, but a lucky projection stopped our friend from going very far down, besides which he had taken a firm round turn with the rope round his wrist. It was, therefore, a comparatively easy matter to get him up on the surface again. This little intermezzo would probably have been avoided if we had not been without our ski, but the slope was so steep and smooth that we could not use them. After a few more hauls we had the seal up by the tent, where a large quantity of it disappeared in a surprisingly short time down the throats of fifteen hungry dogs.

The ice of the bay was furrowed by numerous leads, and while the hunters were busy cutting up the seals, I tried to get a sounding, but the thirty fathoms of Alpine rope I had were not enough; no bottom was reached. After having something to eat we went down again, in order if possible to find out the depth. This time we were better supplied with sounding tackle two reels of thread, a marlinspike, and our geological hammer.

First the marlinspike was sent down with the thread as a line. An inquisitive lout of a seal did all it could to bite through the thread, but whether this was too strong or its teeth too poor, we managed after a lot of trouble to coax the marlinspike up again, and the interfering rascal, who had to come up to the surface now and then to take breath, got the spike of a ski-pole in his thick hide. This unexpected treatment was evidently not at all to his liking, and after acknowledging it by a roar of disgust, he vanished into the depths. Now we got on better. The marlinspike sank and sank until it had drawn with it 130 fathoms of thread. A very small piece of seaweed clung to the thread as we hauled it in again; on the spike there was nothing to be seen. As its weight was rather light for so great a depth — a possible setting of current might have carried it a little to one side — we decided to try once more with the hammer, which was considerably heavier, in order to check the result. The hammer, on the other hand, was so heavy, that with the delicate thread as a line the probability of successfully carrying out the experiment seemed small, but we had to risk it. The improvised sinker was well smeared with blubber, and this time it sank so rapidly to the bottom as to leave no doubt of the correctness of the sounding — 130 fathoms again. By using extreme care we succeeded in getting the hammer up again in safety, but no specimen of the bottom was clinging to it.

On the way back to camp we dragged with us the carcass of the young seal. It was past three when we got into our sleeping-bags that night, and, in consequence, we slept a good deal later than usual the next morning. The forenoon was spent by Johansen and Stubberud in hauling up another seal from the bay and packing as much flesh on the sledges as possible. As fresh meat is a commodity that takes up a great deal of space in proportion to its weight, the quantity we were able to take with us was not large. The chief advantage we had gained was that a considerable supply could be stored on the spot, and it might be useful to fall back upon in case of delay or other mishaps.

I took the observation for longitude and latitude, found the height by hypsometer, and took some photographs. After laying down the depot and erecting beacons, we broke camp at 3 p.m. South of the head of the bay there were a number of elevations and pressure masses, exactly like the formations to be found about Framheim. To the east a prominent ridge appeared, and with the glass it could be seen to extend inland in a south-easterly direction. According to our observations this must be the same that Captain Scott has marked with land-shading on his chart.

We made a wide detour outside the worst pressure-ridges, and then set our course east-north-east towards the ridge just mentioned. It was a pretty steep rise, which was not at all a good thing for the dogs. They had overeaten themselves shockingly, and most of the seal's flesh came up again. So that their feast should not be altogether wasted, we stopped as soon as we had come far enough up the ridge to be able to regard the surface as comparatively safe; for in the depression round the bay it was somewhat doubtful.

On the following morning — Sunday, November 26 — there was a gale from the north-east with sky and Barrier lost in driving snow. That put an end to our plans of a long Sunday march. In the midst of our disappointment I had a sudden bright idea. It was Queen Maud's birthday! If we could not go on, we could at least celebrate the day in a modest fashion. In one of the provision cases there was still a solitary Stavanger tin, containing salt beef and peas. It was opened at once, and its contents provided a banquet that tasted better to us than the most carefully chosen menu had ever done. In this connection I cannot help thinking of the joy it would bring to many a household in this world if its master were possessed of an appetite like ours. The wife would then have no need to dread the consequences, however serious the shortcomings of the cuisine might be. But to return to the feast. Her Majesty's health was drunk in a very small, but, at the same time, very good tot of aquavit, served in enamelled iron mugs. Carrying alcohol was, of course, against regulations, strictly speaking; but, as everyone knows, prohibition is not an easy thing to put into practice. Even in Antarctica this proved to be the case. Lindstrom had a habit of sending a little surprise packet with each sledging party that went out, and on our departure he had handed us one of these, with the injunction that the packet was only to be opened on some festive occasion; we chose as such Her Majesty's birthday. On examination the packet was found to contain a little flask of spirits, in which we at once agreed to drink the Queen's health.

The 27th brought the same nasty weather, and the 28th was not much better, though not bad enough to stop us. After a deal of hard work in hauling our buried belongings out of the snow, we got away and continued our course to the north-eastward. It was not exactly an agreeable morning: a brisk wind with driving snow right in one's face. After trudging against this for a couple of hours I heard Stubberud call "Halt!" — half his team were hanging by the traces in a crevasse. I had gone across without noticing anything; no doubt owing to the snow in my face. One would think the dogs would be suspicious of a place like this; but they are not — they plunge on till the snow-bridge breaks under them. Luckily the harness held, so that it was the affair of a moment to pull the poor beasts up again. Even a dog might well be expected to be a trifle shaken after hanging head downwards over such a fearful chasm; but apparently they took it very calmly, and were quite prepared to do the same thing over again.

For my own part I looked out more carefully after this, and although there were a good many ugly fissures on the remaining part of the ascent, we crossed them all without further incident.

Unpleasant as these crevasses are, they do not involve any direct danger, so long as the weather is clear and the light favourable. One can then judge by the appearance of the surface whether there is danger ahead; and if crevasses are seen in time, there is always a suitable crossing to be found. The case is somewhat different in fog, drift, or when the light is such that the small inequalities marking the course of the crevasse do not show up. This last is often the case in cloudy weather, when even a fairly prominent rise will not be noticed on the absolutely white surface until one falls over it. In such conditions it is safest to feel one's way forward with the ski-pole; though this mode of proceeding is more troublesome than effective.

In the course of the 28th the ascent came to an end, and with it the crevasses. The wind fell quite light, and the blinding drift was succeeded by clear sunshine. We had now come sufficiently high up to have a view of the sea far to the north-west. During the high wind a quantity of ice had been driven southward, so that for a great distance there was no open water to be seen, but a number of huge icebergs. From the distance of the sea horizon we guessed our height to be about 1,000 feet, and in the evening the hypsometer showed the guess to be very nearly right.

November 29. — Weather and going all that could be wished on breaking camp this morning; before us we had a level plateau, which appeared to be quite free from unpleasant obstructions. When we halted for the noon observation the sledge-meter showed ten geographical miles, and before evening we had brought the day's distance up to twenty. The latitude was then 77deg. 32'. The distance to the Barrier edge on the north was, at a guess, about twenty geographical miles. We were now a good way along the peninsula, the northern point of which Captain Scott named Cape Colbeck, and at the same time a good way to the east of the meridian in which he put land-shading on his chart. Our height above the sea, which was now about 1,000 feet, was evidence enough that we had firm land under us, but it was still sheathed in ice. In that respect the landscape offered no change from what we had learnt to know by the name of "Barrier." It cannot be denied that at this juncture I began to entertain a certain doubt of the existence of bare land in this quarter.

This doubt was not diminished when we had done another good day's march to the eastward on November 30. According to our observations we were then just below the point where the Alexandra Mountains should begin, but there was no sign of mountain ranges; the surface was a little rougher, perhaps. However, it was still too soon to abandon the hope. It would be unreasonable to expect any great degree of accuracy of the chart we had to go by; its scale was far too large for that. It was, moreover, more than probable that our own determination of longitude was open to doubt.

Assuming the approximate accuracy of the chart, by holding on to the north-east we ought soon to come down to the seaboard, and with this object in view we continued our march. On December 1, in the middle of the day, we saw that everything agreed. From the top of an eminence the sea was visible due north, and on the east two domed summits were outlined, apparently high enough to be worthy of the name of mountains. They were covered with snow, but on the north side of them there was an abrupt precipice, in which many black patches showed up sharply against the white background. It was still too soon to form an idea as to whether they were bare rock or not; they might possibly be fissures in the mass of ice. The appearance of the summits agreed exactly with Captain Scott's description of what he saw from the deck of the Discovery in 1902. He assumed that the black patches were rocks emerging from the snow-slopes. As will be seen later, our respected precursor was right.

In order to examine the nature of the seaboard, we began by steering down towards it; but in the meantime the weather underwent an unfavourable change. The sky clouded over and the light became as vile as it could be. The point we were anxious to clear up was whether there was any Barrier wall here, or whether the land and sea-ice gradually passed into each other in an easy slope. As the light was, there might well have been a drop of 100 feet without our seeing anything of it. Securely roped together we made our way down, until our progress was stopped by a huge pressure-ridge, which, as far as could be made out, formed the boundary between land and sea-ice. It was, however, impossible in the circumstances to get any clear view of the surroundings, and after trudging back to the sledges, which had been left up on the slope, we turned to the east to make a closer examination of the summits already mentioned. I went in front, as usual, in the cheerful belief that we had a fairly level stretch before us, but I was far out in my calculation. My ski began to slip along at a terrific speed, and it was advisable to put on the brake. This was easily done as far as I was concerned, but with the dogs it was a different matter. Nothing could stop them when they felt that the sledge was running by its own weight; they went in a wild gallop down the slope, the end of which could not at present be seen. I suppose it will sound like a tall story, but it is a fact, nevertheless, that to our eyes the surface appeared to be horizontal all the time. Snow, horizon and sky all ran together in a white chaos, in which all lines of demarcation were obliterated.

Fortunately nothing came of our expectation that the scamper would have a frightful ending in some insidious abyss. It was stopped quite naturally by an opposing slope, which appeared to be as steep as the one we had just slid down. If the pace had been rather too rapid before, there was now no ground of complaint on that score. Step by step we crawled up to the top of the ridge; but the ground was carefully surveyed before we proceeded farther.

In the course of the afternoon we groped our way forward over a whole series of ridges and intervening depressions. Although nothing could be seen, it was obvious enough that our surroundings were now of an entirely different character from anything we had previously been accustomed to. The two mountain summits had disappeared in the fleecy mist, but the increasing unevenness of the ground showed that we were approaching them. Meanwhile I considered it inadvisable to come to close quarters with them so long as we were unable to use our eyes, and, remembering what happens when the blind leads the blind, we camped. For the first time during the trip I had a touch of snow-blindness that afternoon. This troublesome and rightly dreaded complaint was a thing that we had hitherto succeeded in keeping off by a judicious use of our excellent snow-goggles. Among my duties as forerunner was that of maintaining the direction, and this, at times, involved a very severe strain on the eyes. In thick weather it is only too easy to yield to the temptation of throwing off the protective goggles, with the idea that one can see better without them. Although I knew perfectly well what the consequence would be, I had that afternoon broken the commandment of prudence. The trifling smart I felt in my eyes was cured by keeping the goggles on for a couple of hours after we were in the tent. Like all other ills, snow-blindness may easily be dispelled by taking it in time.

Next morning the sun's disc could just be made out through a veil of thin stratus clouds, and then the light was more or less normal again. As soon as we could see what our surroundings were, it was clear enough that we had done right in stopping the game of blind man's buff we had been playing on the previous day. It might otherwise have had an unpleasant ending. Right across our line of route and about 500 yards from our camp the surface was so broken up that it was more like a sieve than anything else. In the background the masses of snow were piled in huge drifts down a steep slope on the north-west side of the two mountains. It was impossible to take the sledges any farther on the way we had hitherto been following, but in the course of the day we worked round by a long detour to the foot of the most westerly of the mountains. We were then about 1,000 feet above the sea; to the north of us we had the abrupt descent already mentioned, to the south it was quite flat. Our view to the east was shut in by the two mountains, and our first idea was to ascend to the tops of them, but the powers of the weather again opposed us with their full force. A stiff south-east wind set in and increased in the course of half an hour to a regular blizzard. Little as it suited our wishes, there was nothing to be done but to creep back into the tent. For a whole month now we had seen scarcely anything but fair weather, and the advance of summer had given us hopes that it would hold; but just when it suited us least of all came a dismal change.

The light Antarctic summer night ran its course, while the gusts of wind tugged and tore at the thin sides of our tent; no snowfall accompanied the south-easterly wind, but the loose snow of the surface was whirled up into a drift that stood like an impenetrable wall round the tent. After midnight it moderated a little, and by four o'clock there was comparatively fair weather. We were on our feet at once, put together camera, glasses, aneroids, axe, Alpine rope, with some lumps of pemmican to eat on the way, and then went off for a morning walk with the nearer of the two hills as our goal. All three of us went, leaving the dogs in charge of the camp. They were not so fresh now that they would not gladly accept all the rest that was offered them. We had no need to fear any invasion of strangers; the land we had come to appeared to be absolutely devoid of living creatures of any kind.

The hill was farther off and higher than it appeared at first; the aneroid showed a rise of 700 feet when we reached the top. As our camp lay at a height of 1,000 feet, this gave us 1,700 feet as the height of this hill above the sea. The side we went up was covered by neve, which, to judge from the depth of the cracks, must have been immense. As we approached the summit and our view over the surrounding ground became wider, the belief that we should see so much as a crag of this King Edward Land grew weaker and weaker. There was nothing but white on every side, not a single consolatory little black patch, however carefully we looked. And to think that we had been dreaming of great mountain masses in the style of McMurdo Sound, with sunny slopes, penguins by the thousand, seals and all the rest! All these visions were slowly but surely sunk in an endless sea of snow, and when at last we stood on the highest point, we certainly thought there could be no chance of a revival of our hopes.

But the unexpected happened after all. On the precipitous northern side of the adjacent hill our eyes fell upon bare rock — the first glimpse we had had of positive land during the year we had been in Antarctica. Our next thought was of how to get to it and take specimens, and with this object we at once began to scale the neighbouring hill, which was a trifle higher than the one we had first ascended. The precipice was, however, perpendicular, with a huge snow cornice over-hanging it. Lowering a man on the rope would be rather too hazardous a proceeding; besides which, a length of thirty yards would not go very far. If we were to get at the rock, it would have to be from below. In the meantime we availed ourselves of the opportunity offered by the clear weather to make a closer examination of our surroundings. From the isolated summit, 1,700 feet high, on which we stood, the view was fairly extensive. Down to the sea on the north the distance was about five geographical miles. The surface descended in terraces towards the edge of the water, where there was quite a low Barrier wall. As might be expected, this stretch of the ice-field was broken by innumerable crevasses, rendering any passage across it impossible.

On the east extended a well-marked mountain-ridge, about twenty geographical miles in length, and somewhat lower than the summit on which we stood. This was the Alexandra Mountains. It could not be called an imposing range, and it was snow-clad from one end to the other. Only on the most easterly spur was the rock just visible.

On the south and south-west nothing was to be seen but the usual undulating Barrier surface. Biscoe Bay, as Captain Scott has named it, was for the moment a gathering-place for numerous icebergs; one or two of these seemed to be aground. The inmost corner of the bay was covered with sea-ice. On its eastern side the Barrier edge could be seen to continue northward, as marked in Captain Scott's chart; but no indication of bare land was visible in that quarter.

Having built a snow beacon, 6 feet high, on the summit, we put on our ski again and went down the eastern slope of the hill at a whizzing pace. On this side there was an approach to the level on the north of the precipice, and we availed ourselves of it. Seen from below the mountain crest looked quite grand, with a perpendicular drop of about 1,000 feet. The cliff was covered with ice up to a height of about 100 feet, and this circumstance threatened to be a serious obstacle to our obtaining specimens of the rocks. But in one place a nunatak about 250 feet high stood out in front of the precipice, and the ascent of this offered no great difficulty.

A wall of rock of very ordinary appearance is not usually reckoned among things capable of attracting the attention of the human eye to any marked extent; nevertheless, we three stood and gazed at it, as though we had something of extraordinary beauty and interest before us. The explanation is very simple, if we remember the old saying about the charm of variety. A sailor, who for months has seen nothing but sea and sky, will lose himself in contemplation of a little islet, be it never so barren and desolate. To us, who for nearly a year had been staring our eyes out in a dazzling white infinity of snow and ice, it was indeed an experience to see once more a bit of the earth's crust. That this fragment was as poor and bare as it could be was not taken into consideration at the moment.

The mere sight of the naked rock was, however, only an anticipatory pleasure. A more substantial one was the feeling of again being able to move on ground that afforded a sure and trustworthy foothold. It is possible that we behaved rather like children on first reaching bare land. One of us, in any case, found immense enjoyment in rolling one big block after another down the steep slopes of the nunatak. At any rate, the sport had the interest of novelty.

This little peak was built up of very heterogenous materials. As the practical result of our visit, we brought away a fairly abundant collection of specimens of all the rocks to be found there. Not being a specialist, I cannot undertake any classification of the specimens. It will be the task of geologists to deal with them, and to obtain if possible some information as to the structure of the country. I will only mention that some of the stones were so heavy that they must certainly have contained metallic ore of one kind or another. On returning to camp that evening, we tried them with the compass-needle, and it showed very marked attraction in the case of one or two of the specimens. These must, therefore, contain iron-ore.

This spur, which had been severely handled by ice-pressure and the ravages of time, offered a poor chance of finding what we coveted most — namely, fossils — and the most diligent search proved unsuccessful in this respect. From finds that have been made in other parts of Antarctica it is known that in former geological periods — the Jurassic epoch — even this desolate continent possessed a rich and luxurious vegetation. The leader of the Swedish expedition to Graham Land, Dr. Nordenskjold, and his companion, Gunnar Andersson, were the first to make this exceedingly interesting and important discovery.

While it did not fall to our lot to furnish any proof of the existence of an earlier flora in King Edward Land, we found living plants of the most primitive form. Even on that tiny islet in the ocean of snow the rock was in many places covered with thick moss. How did that moss come there? Its occurrence might, perhaps, be quoted in support of the hypothesis of the genesis of organic life from, dead matter. This disputed question must here be left open, but it may be mentioned in the same connection that we found the remains of birds' nests in many places among the rocks. Possibly the occupants of these nests may have been instrumental in the conveyance of the moss.

Otherwise, the signs of bird life were very few. One or two solitary snowy petrels circled round the summit while we were there; that was all.

It was highly important to obtain some successful photographs from this spot, and I was setting about the necessary preparations, when one of my companions made a remark about the changed appearance of the sky. Busy with other things, I had entirely neglected to keep an eye on the weather, an omission for which, as will be seen, we might have had to pay dearly. Fortunately, another had been more watchful than I, and the warning came in time. A glance was enough to convince me of the imminent approach of a snow-storm; the fiery red sky and the heavy ring round the sun spoke a language that was only too clear. We had a good hour's march to the tent, and the possibility of being surprised by the storm before we arrived was practically equivalent to never arriving at all.

We very soon put our things together, and came down the nunatak even more quickly. On the steep slopes leading up to the plateau on which the tent stood the pace was a good deal slower, though we made every possible effort to hurry. There was no need to trouble about the course; we had only to follow the trail of our own ski — so long as it was visible. But the drift was beginning to blot it out, and if it once did that, any attempt at finding the tent would be hopeless. For a long and anxious quarter of an hour it looked as if we should be too late, until at last the tent came in sight, and we were saved. We had escaped the blizzard so far; a few minutes later it burst in all its fury, and the whirling snow was so thick that it would have been impossible to see the tent at a distance of ten paces, but by then we were all safe and sound inside. Ravenously hungry after the twelve hours that had passed since our last proper meal, we cooked an extra large portion of pemmican and the same of chocolate, and with this sumptuous repast we celebrated the event of the day — the discovery of land. From what we had seen in the course of the day it might be regarded as certain that we should be disappointed in our hopes of finding any great and interesting field for our labours in this quarter; King Edward Land was still far too well hidden under eternal snow and ice to give us that. But even the establishment of this, to us, somewhat unwelcome fact marked an increase of positive human knowledge of the territory that bears the name of King Edward VII.; and with the geological specimens that we had collected, we were in possession of a tangible proof of the actual existence of solid ground in a region which otherwise bore the greatest resemblance to what we called "Barrier" elsewhere, or in any case to the Barrier as it appears in the neighbourhood of our winter-quarters at Framheim.

Monday, December 4. — The gale kept on at full force all night, and increased rather than moderated as the day advanced. As usual, the storm was accompanied by a very marked rise of temperature. At the noon observation to-day the reading was + 26.6deg. F. This is the highest temperature we have had so far on this trip, and a good deal higher than we care about. When the mercury comes so near freezing-point as this, the floor of the tent is always damp.

To-day, for once in a way, we have falling snow, and enough of it. It is snowing incessantly — big, hard flakes, almost like hail. When the cooker was filled to provide water for dinner, the half-melted mass looked like sago. The heavy flakes of snow make a noise against the tent that reminds one of the safety-valve of a large boiler blowing off: Inside the tent it is difficult to hear oneself speak; when we have anything to say to each other we have to shout.

These days of involuntary idleness on a sledge journey may safely be reckoned among the experiences it is difficult to go through without a good deal of mental suffering. I say nothing of the purely physical discomfort of having to pass the day in a sleeping-bag. That may be endured; in any case, so long as the bag is fairly dry. It is a far worse matter to reconcile oneself to the loss of the many solid hours that might otherwise have been put to a useful purpose, and to the irritating consciousness that every bit of food that is consumed is so much wasted of the limited store. At this spot of all others we should have been so glad to spend the time in exploring round about, or still more in going farther. But if we are to go on, we must be certain of having a chance of getting seals at a reasonable distance from here. With our remaining supply of dogs' food we cannot go on for more than three days.

What we have left will be just enough for the return journey, even if we should not find the depot of seals' flesh left on the way. There remained the resource of killing dogs, if it was a question of getting as far to the east as possible, but for many reasons I shrank from availing myself of that expedient. We could form no idea of what would happen to the southern party's animals. The probability was that they would have none left on their return. Supposing their return were delayed so long as to involve spending another winter on the Barrier, the transport of supplies from the ship could hardly be carried out in the necessary time with the ten untrained puppies that were left with Lindstrom. We had picked out the useful ones, and I thought that, should the necessity arise, they could be used with greater advantage for this work than we should derive from slaughtering them here, and thereby somewhat prolonging the distance covered; the more so as, to judge from all appearance, there was a poor prospect of our finding anything of interest within a reasonable time.

Tuesday, December 5. — It looks as if our patience is to be given a really hard trial this time. Outside the same state of things continues, and the barometer is going down. A mass of snow has fallen in the last twenty-four hours. The drift on the windward side of the tent is constantly growing; if it keeps on a little longer it will be as high as the top of the tent. The sledges are completely snowed under, and so are the dogs; we had to haul them out one by one in the middle of the day. Most of them are now loose, as there is nothing exposed to the attacks of their teeth. It is now blowing a regular gale; the direction of the wind is about true east. Occasionally squalls of hurricane-like violence occur. Fortunately the big snow-drift keeps us comfortable, and we are under the lee of a hill, otherwise it would look badly for our tent. Hitherto it has held well, but it is beginning to be rather damp inside. The temperature remains very high (+ 27.2deg. F. at noon to-day), and the mass of snow pressing against the tent causes the formation of rime.

In order to while away the time to some extent under depressing circumstances like these, I put into my diary on leaving Framheim a few loose leaves of a Russian grammar; Johansen solaced himself with a serial cut out of the Aftenpost; as far as I remember, the title of it was "The Red Rose and the White." Unfortunately the story of the Two Roses was very soon finished; but Johansen had a good remedy for that: he simply began it over again. My reading had the advantage of being incomparably stiffer. Russian verbs are uncommonly difficult of digestion, and not to be swallowed in a hurry. For lack of mental nutriment, Stubberud with great resignation consoled himself with a pipe, but his enjoyment must have been somewhat diminished by the thought that his stock of tobacco was shrinking at an alarming rate. Every time he filled his pipe, I could see him cast longing looks in the direction of my pouch, which was still comparatively full. I could not help promising a fraternal sharing in case he should run short; and after that our friend puffed on with an easy mind.

Although I look at it at least every half-hour, the barometer will not go up. At 8 p.m. it was down to 27.30. If this means anything, it can only be that we shall have the pleasure of being imprisoned here another day. Some poor consolation is to be had in the thought of how lucky we were to reach the tent at the last moment the day before yesterday. A storm as lasting as this one would in all probability have been too much for us if we had not got in.

Wednesday, December 6. — the third day of idleness has at last crept away after its predecessors. We have done with it. It has not brought any marked variation. The weather has been just as violent, until now — 8 p.m. — the wind shows a slight tendency to moderate. It is, surely, time it did; three days and nights should be enough for it. The heavy snowfall continues. Big, wet flakes come dancing down through the opening in the drift in which the peak of the tent still manages to show itself. In the course of three days we have had more snowfall here than we had at Framheim in ten whole months. It will be interesting to compare our meteorological log with Lindstrom's; probably he has had his share of the storm, and in that case it will have given him some exercise in snow-shovelling.

The moisture is beginning to be rather troublesome now; most of our wardrobe is wet through, and the sleeping-bags will soon meet with the same fate. The snow-drift outside is now so high that it shuts out most of the daylight; we are in twilight. To-morrow we shall be obliged to dig out the tent, whatever the weather is like, otherwise we shall be buried entirely, and run the additional risk of having the tent split by the weight of snow. I am afraid it will be a day's work to dig out the tent and the two sledges; we have only one little shovel to do it with.

A slight rise of both barometer and thermometer tells us that at last we are on the eve of the change we have been longing for. Stubberud is certain of fair weather to-morrow, he says. I am by no means so sure, and offer to bet pretty heavily that there will be no change. Two inches of Norwegian plug tobacco is the stake, and with a heartfelt desire that Jorgen may win I await the morrow.

Thursday, December 7. — Early this morning I owned to having lost my bet, as the weather, so far as I could tell, was no longer of the same tempestuous character; but Stubberud thought the contrary. "It seems to me just as bad," said he. He was right enough, as a matter of fact, but this did not prevent my persuading him to accept payment. Meanwhile we were obliged to make an attempt to dig out the tent, regardless of the weather; the situation was no longer endurable. We waited all the forenoon in the hope of an improvement; but as none came, we set to work at twelve o'clock. Our implements showed some originality and diversity: a little spade, a biscuit-tin, and a cooker. The drift did its best to undo our work as fast as we dug, but we managed to hold our own against it. Digging out the tent-pegs gave most trouble. After six hours' hard work we got the tent set up a few yards to windward of its first position; the place where it had stood was now a well about seven feet deep. Unfortunately there was no chance of immortalizing this scene of excavation. It would have been amusing enough to have it on the plate; but drifting snow is a serious obstacle to an amateur photographer — besides which, my camera was on Stubberud's sledge, buried at least four feet down.

In the course of our digging we had had the misfortune to make two or three serious rents in the thin canvas of the tent, and the drift was not long in finding a way through these when the tent was up again. To conclude my day's work I had, therefore, a longish tailor's job, while the other two men were digging out a good feed for the dogs, who had been on half-rations for the last two days. That night we went rather short of sleep. Vulcan, the oldest dog in Johansen's team, was chiefly to blame for this. In his old age Vulcan was afflicted with a bad digestion, for even Eskimo dogs may be liable to this infirmity, hardy as they generally are. The protracted blizzard had given the old fellow a relapse, and he proclaimed this distressing fact by incessant howling. This kind of music was not calculated to lull us to sleep, and it was three or four in the morning before we could snatch a nap. During a pause I was just dropping off, when the sun showed faintly through the tent. This unwonted sight at once banished all further thoughts of sleep; the Primus was lighted, a cup of chocolate swallowed, and out we went. Stubberud and Johansen set to work at the hard task of digging out the sledges; they had to go down four feet to get hold of them. I dragged our wet clothes, sleeping-bags, and so forth out of the tent, and hung them all up to dry. In the course of the morning observations were taken for determining the geographical longitude and latitude, as well as a few photographs, which will give some idea of what our camp looked like after the blizzard. Having made good the damage and put everything fairly in order, we hurried away to our peaks, to secure some photographs while the light was favourable. This time we were able to achieve our object. "Scott's Nunataks," as they were afterwards named — after Captain Scott, who first saw them — were now for the first time recorded by the camera. Before we left the summit the Norwegian flag was planted there, a snow beacon erected, and a report of our visit deposited in it. The weather would not keep clear; before we were back at the camp there was a thick fog, and once more we had to thank the tracks of our ski for showing us the way. During the time we had been involuntarily detained at this spot, our store of provisions had decreased alarmingly; there was only a bare week's supply left, and in less than a week we should hardly be able to make home; probably it would take more than a week, but in that case we had the depot at our Bay of Seals to fall back upon. In the immediate neighbourhood of our present position we could not reckon on being able to replenish our supply in the continued unfavourable state of the weather. We therefore made up our minds on the morning of December 9 to break off the journey and turn our faces homeward. For three days more we had to struggle with high wind and thick snow, but as things now were, we had no choice but to keep going, and by the evening of the 11th we had dragged ourselves fifty geographical miles to the west. The weather cleared during the night, and at last, on December 12, we had a day of real sunshine. All our discomforts were forgotten; everything went easily again. In the course of nine hours we covered twenty-six geographical miles that day, without any great strain on either dogs or men.

At our midday rest we found ourselves abreast of the bay, where, on the outward journey, we had laid down our depot of seals' flesh. I had intended to turn aside to the depot and replenish our supply of meat as a precaution, but Johansen suggested leaving out this detour and going straight on. We might thereby run the risk of having to go on short rations; but Johansen thought it a greater risk to cross the treacherous ground about the bay, and, after some deliberation, I saw he was right. It was better to go on while we were about it.

From this time on we met with no difficulty, and rapidly drew near to our destination in regular daily marches of twenty geographical miles. After men and dogs had received their daily ration on the evening of the 15th, our sledge cases were practically empty; but, according to our last position, we should not have more than twenty geographical miles more to Framheim.

Saturday, December 16. — We broke camp at the usual time, in overcast but perfectly clear weather, and began what was to be our last day's march on this trip. A dark water-sky hung over the Barrier on the west and north-west, showing that there was open sea off the mouth of the Bay of Whales. We went on till 10.30, our course being true west, when we made out far to the north-west an ice-cape that was taken to be the extreme point on the western side of the bay. Immediately after we were on the edge of the Barrier, the direction of which was here south-west and north-east. We altered our course and followed the edge at a proper distance until we saw a familiar iceberg that had broken off to the north of Framheim, but had been stopped by the sea-ice from drifting out. With this excellent mark in view the rest of the way was plain sailing. The sledge-meter showed 19.5 geographical miles, when in the afternoon we came in sight of our winter home. Quiet and peaceful it lay there, if possible more deeply covered in snow than when we had left it. At first we could see no sign of life, but soon the glasses discovered a lonely wanderer on his way from the house to the "meteorological institute." So Lindstrom was still alive and performing his duties.

When we left, our friend had expressed his satisfaction at "getting us out of the way"; but I have a suspicion that he was quite as pleased to see us back again. I am not quite certain, though, that he did see us for the moment, as he was about as snow-blind as a man can be. Lindstrom was the last person we should have suspected of that malady. On our asking him how it came about, he seemed at first unwilling to give any explanation; but by degrees it came out that the misfortune had happened a couple of days before, when he had gone out after seals. His team, composed of nothing but puppies, had run away and pulled up at a big hummock out by the western cape, ten miles from the station. But Lindstrom, who is a determined man, would not give up before he had caught the runaways; and this was too much for his eyes, as he had no goggles with him. "When I got home I couldn't see what the time was," he said; "but it must have been somewhere about six in the morning." When we had made him put on plenty of red eye-ointment and supplied him with a proper pair of goggles, he was soon cured.

Framheim had had the same protracted storms with heavy snowfall. On several mornings the master of the house had had to dig his way out through the snow-wall outside the door; but during the last three fine days he had managed to clear a passage, not only to the door, but to the window as well. Daylight came down into the room through a well nine feet deep. This had been a tremendous piece of work; but, as already hinted, nothing can stop Lindstrom when he makes up his mind. His stock of seals' flesh was down to a minimum; the little there was vanished on the appearance of our ravenous dogs. We ourselves were in no such straits; sweets were the only things in special demand.

We stayed at home one day. After bringing up two loads of seals' flesh, filling our empty provision cases, carrying out a number of small repairs, and checking our watches, we were again on the road on Monday the 18th. We were not very loth to leave the house; indoor existence had become rather uncomfortable on account of constant dripping from the ceiling. In the course of the winter a quantity of ice had formed in the loft. As the kitchen fire was always going after our return, the temperature became high enough to melt the ice, and the water streamed down. Lindstrom was annoyed and undertook to put a stop to it. He disappeared into the loft, and sent down a hail of ice, bottle-straw, broken cases, and other treasures through the trap-door. We fled before the storm and drove away. This time we had to carry out our instructions as to the exploration of the long eastern arm of the Bay of Whales. During the autumn several Sunday excursions had been made along this remarkable formation; but although some of these ski-runs had extended as far as twelve miles in one direction, there was no sign of the hummocks coming to an end. These great disturbances of the ice-mass must have a cause, and the only conceivable one was that the subjacent land had brought about this disruption of the surface. For immediately to the south there was undoubtedly land, as there the surface rose somewhat rapidly to a height of 1,000 feet; but it was covered with snow. There was a possibility that the rock might project among the evidences of heavy pressure at the foot of this slope; and with this possibility in view we made a five days' trip, following the great fissure, or "bay," as we generally called it, right up to its head, twenty-three geographical miles to the east of our winter-quarters.

Although we came across no bare rock, and in that respect the journey was a disappointment, it was nevertheless very interesting to observe the effects of the mighty forces that had here been at work, the disruption of the solid ice-sheath by the still more solid rock.

The day before Christmas Eve we were back at Framheim. Lindstrom had made good use of his time in our absence. The ice had disappeared from the loft, and therewith the rain from the ceiling. New linoleum had been laid down over half the floor, and marks of the paint-brush were visible on the ceiling. These efforts had possibly been made with an eye to the approaching festival, but in other respects we abstained from any attempt at keeping Christmas. It did not agree with the time of year; constant blazing sunshine all through the twenty-four hours could not be reconciled with a northerner's idea of Christmas. And for that reason we had kept the festival six months before. Christmas Eve fell on a Sunday, and it passed just like any ordinary Sunday. Perhaps the only difference was that we used a razor that day instead of the usual beard-clipper. On Christmas Day we took a holiday, and Lindstrom prepared a banquet of skua gulls. Despise this dish as one may, it tasted undeniably of — bird.

The numerous snow-houses were now in a sad way. Under the weight of the constantly increasing mass, the roofs of most of the rooms were pressed so far in that there was just enough space to crawl on hands and knees. In the Crystal Palace and the Clothing Store we kept all our skin clothing, besides a good deal of outfit, which it was intended to take on board the Fram when she and the southern party arrived. If the sinking continued, it would be a long business digging these things out again, and in order to have everything ready we made up our minds to devote a few days to this work at once. We hauled the snow up from these two rooms through a well twelve feet deep by means of tackles. It was a long job, but when we had finished this part of the labyrinth was as good as ever. We had no time to deal with the vapour-bath or the carpenter's shop just then. There still remained the survey of the south-western corner of the Bay of Whales and its surroundings. On an eight days' sledge journey, starting at the New Year, we ranged about this district, where we were surprised to find the solid Barrier divided into small islands, separated by comparatively broad sounds. These isolated masses of ice could not possibly be afloat, although the depth in one or two places, where we had a chance of making soundings, proved to be as much as 200 fathoms. The only rational explanation we could think of was that there must be a group of low-lying islands here, or in any case shoals. These "ice islands," if one may call them so, had a height of 90 feet and sloped evenly down to the water on the greater part of their circumference. One of the sounds, that penetrated into the Barrier a short distance inside the western cape of the bay, continued southward and gradually narrowed to a mere fissure. We followed this until it lost itself, thirty geographical miles within the Barrier.

The last day of this trip — Thursday, January 11 — will always be fixed in our memory; it was destined to bring us experiences of the kind that are never forgotten. Our start in the morning was made at exactly the same time and in exactly the same way as so many times before. We felt pretty certain of reaching Framheim in the course of the day, but that prospect was for the moment of minor importance. In the existing state of the weather our tent offered us as comfortable quarters as our snowed-up winter home. What made us look forward to our return with some excitement was the possibility of seeing the Fram again, and this thought was no doubt in the minds of all of us that January morning, though we did not say much about it.

After two hours' march we caught sight of West Cape, at the entrance to the bay, in our line of route, and a little later we saw a black strip of sea far out on the horizon. As usual, a number of bergs of all sizes were floating on this strip, in every variety of shade from white to dark grey, as the light fell on them. One particular lump appeared to us so dark that it could hardly be made of ice; but we had been taken in too many times to make any remark about it.

As the dogs now had a mark to go by, Johansen was driving in front without my help; I went by the side of Stubberud's sledge. The man at my side kept staring out to sea, without uttering a word. On my asking him what in the world he was looking at, he replied "I could almost swear it was a ship, but of course it's only a wretched iceberg." We were just agreed upon this, when suddenly Johansen stopped short and began a hurried search for his long glass. "Are you going to look at the Fram?" I asked ironically. "Yes, I am," he said; and while he turned the telescope upon the doubtful object far out in Ross Sea, we two stood waiting for a few endless seconds. "It's the Fram sure enough, as large as life!" was the welcome announcement that broke our suspense. I glanced at Stubberud and saw his face expanding into its most amiable smile. Though I had not much doubt of the correctness of Johansen's statement, I borrowed his glass, and a fraction of a second was enough to convince me. That ship was easily recognized; she was our own old Fram safely back again.

We had still fourteen long miles to Framheim and an obstinate wind right in our faces, but that part of the way was covered in a remarkably short time. On arriving at home at two in the afternoon we had some expectation of finding a crowd of people in front of the house; but there was not a living soul to be seen. Even Lindstrom remained concealed, though as a rule he was always about when anyone arrived. Thinking that perhaps our friend had had a relapse of snow-blindness, I went in to announce our return. Lindstrom was standing before his range in the best of health when I entered the kitchen. "The Fram's come!" he shouted, before I had shut the door. "Tell me something I don't know," said I, "and be so kind as to give me a cup of water with a little syrup in it if you can." I thought somehow that the cook had a sly grin on his face when he brought what I asked for, but with the thirst I had after the stiff march, I gave a great part of my attention to the drink. I had consumed the best part of a quart, when Lindstrom went off to his bunk and asked if I could guess what he had hidden there. There was no time to guess anything before the blankets were thrown on to the floor, and after them bounded a bearded ruffian clad in a jersey and a pair of overalls of indeterminable age and colour. "Hullo!" said the ruffian, and the voice was that of Lieutenant Gjertsen. Lindstrom was shaking with laughter while I stood open-mouthed before this apparition; I had been given a good surprise. We agreed to treat Johansen and Stubberud in the same way, and as soon as they were heard outside, Gjertsen hid himself again among the blankets. But Stubberud had smelt a rat in some way or other. "There are more than two in this room," he said, as soon as he came in. It was no surprise to him to find a man from the Fram in Lindstrom's bunk.

When we heard that the visitor had been under our roof for a whole day, we assumed that in the course of that time he had heard all about our own concerns from Lindstrom. We were therefore not inclined to talk about ourselves; we wanted news from without, and Gjertsen was more than ready to give us them. The Fram had arrived two days before, all well. After lying at the ice edge for a day and a night, keeping a constant lookout for the "natives," Gjertsen had grown so curious to know how things were at Framheim that he had asked Captain Nilsen for "shore leave." The careful skipper had hesitated a while before giving permission; it was a long way up to the house, and the sea-ice was scored with lanes, some of them fairly wide. Finally Gjertsen had his way, and he left the ship, taking a signal flag with him. He found it rather difficult to recognize his surroundings, to begin with; one ice cape was very like another, and ugly ideas of calvings suggested themselves, until at last he caught sight of Cape Man's Head, and then he knew that the foundations of Framheim had not given way. Cheered by this knowledge, he made his way towards Mount Nelson, but on arriving at the top of this ridge, from which there was a view over Framheim, the eager explorer felt his heart sink. Where our new house had made such a brave show a year before on the surface of the Barrier, there was now no house at all to be seen. All that met the eyes of the visitor was a sombre pile of ruins. But his anxiety quickly vanished when a man emerged from the confusion. The man was Lindstrom, and the supposed ruin was the most ingenious of all winter-quarters. Lindstrom was ignorant of the Fram's arrival, and the face he showed on seeing Gjertsen must have been worth some money to look at.

When our first curiosity was satisfied, our thoughts turned to our comrades on board the Fram. We snatched some food, and then went down to the sea-ice, making our way across the little bay due north of the house. Our well-trained team were not long in getting there, but we had some trouble with them in crossing the cracks in the ice, as some of the dogs, especially the puppies, had a terror of water.

The Fram was cruising some way out, but when we came near enough for them to see us, they made all haste to come in to the ice-foot. Yes, there lay our good little ship, as trim as when we had last seen her; the long voyage round the world had left no mark on her strong hull. Along the bulwarks appeared a row of smiling faces, which we were able to recognize in spite of the big beards that half concealed many of them. While clean-shaven chins had been the fashion at Framheim, almost every man on board appeared with a flowing beard. As we came over the gangway questions began to hail upon us. I had to ask for a moment's grace to give the captain and crew a hearty shake of the hand, and then I collected them all about me and gave a short account of the most important events of the past year. When this was done, Captain Nilsen pulled me into the chart-house, where we had a talk that lasted till about four the next morning — to both of us certainly one of the most interesting we have ever had. On Nilsen's asking about the prospects of the southern party, I ventured to assure him that in all probability we should have our Chief and his companions back in a few days with the Pole in their pockets.

Our letters from home brought nothing but good news. What interested us most in the newspapers was, of course, the account of how the expedition's change of route had been received.

At 8 a.m. we left the Fram and returned home. For the next few days we were occupied with the work of surveying and charting, which went comparatively quickly in the favourable weather. When we returned after our day's work on the afternoon of the 17th, we found Lieutenant Gjertsen back at the hut. He asked us if we could guess the news, and as we had no answer ready, he told us that the ship of the Japanese expedition had arrived. We hurriedly got out the cinematograph apparatus and the camera, and went off as fast as the dogs could go, since Gjertsen thought this visit would not be of long duration.

When we caught sight of the Fram she had her flag up, and just beyond the nearest cape lay the Kainan Maru, with the ensign of the Rising Sun at the peak. Banzai! We had come in time. Although it was rather late in the evening, Nilsen and I decided to pay her a visit, and if possible to see the leader of the expedition. We were received at the gangway by a young, smiling fellow, who beamed still more when I produced the only Japanese word I knew: Oheio — Good-day. There the conversation came to a full stop, but soon a number of the inquisitive sons of Nippon came up, and some of them understood a little English. We did not get very far, however. We found out that the Kainan Maru had been on a cruise in the direction of King Edward VII. Land; but we could not ascertain whether any landing had been attempted or not.

As the leader of the expedition and the captain of the ship had turned in, we did not want to disturb them by prolonging our visit; but we did not escape before the genial first officer had offered us a glass of wine and a cigar in the chart-house. With an invitation to come again next day, and permission to take some photographs, we returned to the Fram; but nothing came of the projected second visit to our Japanese friends. Both ships put out to sea in a gale that sprang up during the night, and before we had another opportunity of going on board the Kainan Maru the southern party had returned.

The days immediately preceding the departure of the expedition for the north fell about the middle of the short Antarctic summer, just at the time when the comparatively rich animal life of the Bay of Whales shows itself at its best.

The name of the Bay of Whales is due to Shackleton, and is appropriate enough; for from the time of the break-up of the sea-ice this huge inlet in the Barrier forms a favourite playground for whales, of which we often saw schools of as many as fifty disporting themselves for hours together. We had no means of disturbing their peaceful sport, although the sight of all these monsters, each worth a small fortune, was well calculated to make our fingers itch. It was the whaling demon that possessed us.

For one who has no special knowledge of the industry it is difficult to form an adequate opinion as to whether this part of Antarctica is capable of ever becoming a field for whaling enterprise. In any case, it will probably be a long time before such a thing happens. In the first place, the distance to the nearest inhabited country is very great — over 2,000 geographical miles — and in the second, there is a serious obstruction on this route in the shape of the belt of pack-ice, which, narrow and loose as it may be at times, will always necessitate the employment of timber-built vessels for the work of transport.

The conditions prevailing in the Bay of Whales must presumably offer a decisive obstacle to the establishment of a permanent station. Our winter house was snowed under in the course of two months, and to us this was only a source of satisfaction, as our quarters became all the warmer on this account; but whether a whaling station would find a similar fate equally convenient is rather doubtful.

Lastly, it must be said that, although in the bay itself huge schools of whales were of frequent occurrence, we did not receive the impression that there was any very great number of them out in Ross Sea. The species most commonly seen was the Finner; after that the Blue Whale.

As regards seals, they appeared in great quantities along the edge of the Barrier so long as the sea-ice still lay there; after the break-up of the ice the Bay of Whales was a favourite resort of theirs all through the summer. This was due to its offering them an easy access to the dry surface, where they could abandon themselves to their favourite occupation of basking in the sunshine.

During our whole stay we must have killed some two hundred and fifty of them, by far the greater number of which were shot in the autumn immediately after our arrival. This little inroad had no appreciable effect. The numerous survivors, who had been eye-witnesses of their companions' sudden death, did not seem to have the slightest idea that the Bay of Whales had become for the time being a somewhat unsafe place of residence.

As early as September, while the ice still stretched under in the course of two months, and to us this was only a source of satisfaction, as our quarters became all the warmer on this account; but whether a whaling station would find a similar fate equally convenient is rather doubtful.

Lastly, it must be said that, although in the bay itself huge schools of whales were of frequent occurrence, we did not receive the impression that there was any very great number of them out in Ross Sea. The species most commonly seen was the Finner; after that the Blue Whale.

As regards seals, they appeared in great quantities along the edge of the Barrier so long as the sea-ice still lay there; after the break-up of the ice the Bay of Whales was a favourite resort of theirs all through the summer. This was due to its offering them an easy access to the dry surface, where they could abandon themselves to their favourite occupation of basking in the sunshine.

During our whole stay we must have killed some two hundred and fifty of them, by far the greater number of which were shot in the autumn immediately after our arrival. This little inroad had no appreciable effect. The numerous survivors, who had been eye-witnesses of their companions' sudden death, did not seem to have the slightest idea that the Bay of Whales had become for the time being a somewhat unsafe place of residence.

As early as September, while the ice still stretched The name crab-eater may possibly evoke ideas of some ferocious creature; in that case it is misleading. The animal that bears it is, without question, the most amicable of the three species. It is of about the same size as our native seal, brisk and active in its movements, and is constantly exercising itself in high jumps from the water on to the ice-foot. Even on the ice it can work its way along so fast that it is all a man can do to keep up. Its skin is extraordinarily beautiful — grey, with a sheen of silver and small dark spots.

One is often asked whether seal's flesh does not taste of train oil. It seems to be a common assumption that it does so. This, however, is a mistake; the oil and the taste of it are only present in the layer of blubber, an inch thick, which covers the seal's body like a protective armour. The flesh itself contains no fat; on the other hand, it is extremely rich in blood and its taste in consequence reminds one of black-puddings. The flesh of the Weddell seal is very dark in colour; in the frying-pan it turns quite black. The flesh of the crab-eater is of about the same colour as beef, and to us, at any rate, its taste was equally good. We therefore always tried to get crab-eater when providing food for ourselves.

We found the penguins as amusing as the seals were useful. So much has been written recently about these remarkable creatures, and they have been photographed and cinematographed so many times, that everyone is acquainted with them. Nevertheless, anyone who sees a living penguin for the first time will always be attracted and interested, both by the dignified Emperor penguin, with his three feet of stature, and by the bustling little Adelie.

Not only in their upright walk, but also in their manners and antics, these birds remind one strikingly of human beings. It has been remarked that an Emperor is the very image of "an old gentleman in evening dress," and the resemblance is indeed very noticeable. It becomes still more so when the Emperor — as is always his habit — approaches the stranger with a series of ceremonious bows; such is their good breeding!

When this ceremony is over, the penguin will usually come quite close; he is entirely unsuspecting and is not frightened even if one goes slowly towards him. On the other hand, if one approaches rapidly or touches him, he is afraid and immediately takes to flight. It sometimes happens, though, that he shows fight, and then it is wiser to keep out of range of his flippers; for in these he has a very powerful weapon, which might easily break a man's arm. If you wish to attack him, it is better to do so from behind; both flippers must be seized firmly at the same time and bent backwards along his back; then the fight is over.

The little Adelie is always comic. On meeting a flock of these little busybodies the most ill-humoured observer is forced to burst into laughter. During the first weeks of our stay in the Bay of Whales, while we were still unloading stores, it was always a welcome distraction to see a flock of Adelie penguins, to the number of a dozen or so, suddenly jump out of the water, as though at a word of command, and then sit still for some moments, stiff with astonishment at the extraordinary things they saw. When they had recovered from the first surprise, they generally dived into the sea again, but their intense curiosity soon drove them back to look at us more closely.

In contradistinction to their calm and self-controlled relative, the Emperor penguin, these active little creatures have an extremely fiery temperament, which makes them fly into a passion at the slightest interference with their affairs; and this, of course, only makes them still more amusing.

The penguins are birds of passage; they spend the winter on the various small groups of islands that are scattered about the southern ocean. On the arrival of spring they betake themselves to Antarctica, where they have their regular rookeries in places where there is bare ground. They have a pronounced taste for roaming, and as soon as the chicks are grown they set out, young and old together, on their travels. It was only as tourists that the penguins visited Framheim and its environs; for there was, of course, no bare land in our neighbourhood that might offer them a place of residence. For this reason we really saw comparatively little of them; an Emperor was a very rare visitor; but the few occasions on which we met these peculiar "bird people" of Antarctica will remain among the most delightful memories of our stay in the Bay of Whales.



CHAPTER XVI

The Voyage of the "Fram"

By First-Lieutenant Thorvald Nilsen

From Norway to the Barrier.

After the Fram had undergone extensive repairs in Horten Dockyard, and had loaded provisions and equipment in Christiania, we left the latter port on June 7, 1910. According to the plan we were first to make an oceanographical cruise of about two months in the North Atlantic, and then to return to Norway, where the Fram was to be docked and the remaining outfit and dogs taken on board.

This oceanographical cruise was in many respects successful. In the first place, we gained familiarity with the vessel, and got everything shipshape for the long voyage to come; but the best of all was, that we acquired valuable experience of our auxiliary engine. This is a 180 h.p. Diesel motor, constructed for solar oil, of which we were taking about 90,000 litres (about 19,800 gallons). In this connection it may be mentioned that we consumed about 500 litres (about 110 gallons) a day, and that the Fram's radius of action was thus about six months. For the first day or two the engine went well enough, but after that it went slower and slower, and finally stopped of its own accord. After this it was known as the "Whooping Cough." This happened several times in the course of the trip; the piston-rods had constantly to be taken out and cleared of a thick black deposit. As possibly our whole South Polar Expedition would depend on the motor doing its work properly, the result of this was that the projected cruise was cut short, and after a lapse of three weeks our course was set for Bergen, where we changed the oil for refined paraffin, and at the same time had the motor thoroughly overhauled.

Since then there has never been anything wrong with the engine.

From Bergen we went to Christiansand, where the Fram was docked, and, as already mentioned, the remaining outfit, with the dogs and dog-food, was taken on board.

The number of living creatures on board when we left Norway was nineteen men, ninety-seven dogs, four pigs, six carrier pigeons, and one canary.

At last we were ready to leave Christiansand on Thursday, August 9, 1910, and at nine o'clock that evening the anchor was got up and the motor started. After the busy time we had had, no doubt we were all glad to get off. As our departure had not been made public, only the pilot and a few acquaintances accompanied us a little way out. It was glorious weather, and everyone stayed on deck till far into the light night, watching the land slowly disappear. All the ninety-seven dogs were chained round the deck, on which we also had coal, oil, timber and other things, so that there was not much room to move about.

The rest of the vessel was absolutely full. To take an example, in the fore-saloon we had placed forty-three sledging cases, which were filled with books, Christmas presents, underclothing, and the like. In addition to these, one hundred complete sets of dog-harness, all our ski, ski-poles, snow-shoes, etc. Smaller articles were stowed in the cabins, and every man had something. When I complained, as happened pretty often, that I could not imagine where this or that was to be put, the Chief of the expedition used generally to say: "Oh, that's all right; you can just put it in your cabin!"

Thus it was with every imaginable thing — from barrels of paraffin and new-born pups to writing materials and charts.

As the story of this voyage has already been told, it may be rapidly passed over here. After much delay through headwinds in the Channel, we picked up the north-east trade in about the latitude of Gibraltar, and arrived at Madeira on September 6.

At 9 p.m. on September 9 we weighed anchor for the last time, and left Madeira. As soon as we were clear of the land we got the north-east trade again, and it held more or less fresh till about lat. 11deg. N.

After our departure from Madeira I took over the morning watch, from 4 to 8 a.m.; Prestrud and Gjertsen divided the remainder of the twenty-four hours.

In order if possible to get a little more way on the ship, a studding-sail and a skysail were rigged up with two awnings; it did not increase our speed very much, but no doubt it helped a little.

The highest temperature we observed was 84deg. F. In the trade winds we constantly saw flying-fish, but as far as I know not one was ever found on deck; those that came on board were of course instantly snapped up by the dogs.

In about lat. 11deg. N. we lost the north-east trade, and thus came into the "belt of calms," a belt that extends on each side of the Equator, between the north-east and south-east trades. Here, as a rule, one encounters violent rain-squalls; to sailing ships in general and ourselves in particular this heavy rain is welcome, as water-tanks can be filled up. Only on one day were we lucky enough to have rain, but as it was accompanied by a strong squall of wind, we did not catch all the water we wanted. All hands were on deck carrying water, some in oilskins, some in Adam's costume; the Chief in a white tropical suit, and, as far as I remember, clogs. As the latter were rather slippery, and the Fram suddenly gave an unexpected lurch, he was carried off his legs, and left sitting on the deck, while his bucket of water poured all over him. But "it was all in his country's cause," so he did not mind. We caught about 3 tons of water, and then had our tanks full, or about 30 tons, when the shower passed off; later in the voyage we filled a bucket now and again, but it never amounted to much, and if we had not been as careful as we were, our water-supply would hardly have lasted out.

On October 4 we crossed the Equator. The south-east trade was not so fresh as we had expected, and the engine had to be kept going the whole time.

At the beginning of November we came down into the west wind belt, or the "Roaring Forties," as they are called, and from that time we ran down our easting at a great rate. We were very lucky there, and had strong fair winds for nearly seven weeks at a stretch. In the heavy sea we found out what it was to sail in the Fram; she rolls incessantly, and there is never a moment's rest. The dogs were thrown backwards and forwards over the deck, and when one of them rolled into another, it was taken as a personal insult, and a fight followed at once. But for all that the Fram is a first-rate sea boat, and hardly ever ships any water. If this had been otherwise, the dogs would have been far worse off than they were.

The weather in the "Foggy Fifties " varied between gales, calms, fogs, snowstorms, and other delights. As a rule, the engine was now kept constantly ready, in case of our being so unlucky as to come too near an iceberg. Fortunately, however, we did not meet any of these until early on the morning of January 1, 1911, when we saw some typical Antarctic bergs; that is to say, entirely tabular. Our latitude was then a little over 60deg. S., and we were not far off the pack. On the 1st and 2nd we sailed southward without seeing anything but scattered bergs and a constantly increasing number of lumps of ice, which showed us we were getting near. By 10 p.m. on the 2nd we came into slack drift-ice; the weather was foggy, and we therefore kept going as near as might be on the course to the Bay of Whales, which was destined to be our base.

A good many seals were lying on the ice-floes, and as we went forward we shot some. As soon as the first seal was brought on board, all our dogs had their first meat meal since Madeira; they were given as much as they wanted, and ate as much as they could. We, too, had our share of the seal, and from this time forward we had fresh seal-steak for breakfast at least every day; it tasted excellent to us, who for nearly half a year had been living on nothing but tinned meat. With the steak whortleberries were always served, which of course helped to make it appreciated. The biggest seal we got in the pack-ice was about 12 feet long, and weighed nearly half a ton. A few penguins were also shot, mostly Adelie penguins; these are extraordinarily amusing, and as inquisitive as an animal can be. When any of them saw us, they at once came nearer to get a better view of the unbidden guests. If they became too impertinent, we did not hesitate to take them, for their flesh, especially the liver, was excellent. The albatrosses, which had followed us through the whole of the west wind belt, had now departed, and in their place came the beautiful snowy petrels and Antarctic petrels.

We had more or less fog all through the pack-ice. Only on the night of the 5th did we have sun and fine weather, when we saw the midnight sun for the first time. A more beautiful morning it would be difficult to imagine: radiantly clear, with thick ice everywhere, as far as the eye could see; the lanes of water between the floes gleamed in the sun, and the ice-crystals glittered like thousands of diamonds. It was a pure delight to go on deck and drink in the fresh air; one felt altogether a new man. I believe everyone on board found this passage through the pack the most interesting part of the whole voyage, and, of course, it all had the charm of novelty. Those who had not been in the ice before, myself among them, and who were hunting for the first time, ran about after seals and penguins, and amused themselves like children.

At 10 p.m. on the 6th we were already out of the ice after a passage of exactly four days; we had been extremely lucky, and the Fram went very easily through the ice.

After coming out of the pack, our course was continued through the open Ross Sea to the Bay of Whales, which from the previous description was to be found in about long. 164deg. W. On the afternoon of the 11th we had strong ice-blink ahead, by which is meant the luminous stripe that is seen above a considerable accumulation of ice; the nearest thing one can compare it to is the glare that is always seen over a great city on approaching it at night. We knew at once that this was the glare of the mighty Ross Barrier, named after Sir James Clark Ross, who first saw it in 1841. The Barrier is a wall of ice, several hundred miles long, and about 100 feet high, which forms the southern boundary of Ross Sea. We were, of course, very intent upon seeing what it looked like, but to me it did not appear so imposing as I had imagined it. Possibly this was because I had become familiar with it, in a way, from the many descriptions of it. From these descriptions we had expected to find a comparatively narrow opening into Balloon Bight, as shown in the photographs we had before us; but as we went along the Barrier, on the 12th, we could find no opening. In long. 164deg. W., on the other hand, there was a great break in the wall, forming a cape (West Cape); from here to the other side of the Barrier was about eight geographical miles, and southward, as far as we could see, lay loose bay ice. We held on to the east outside this drift-ice and along the eastern Barrier till past midnight, but as Balloon Bight was not to be found, we returned to the above-mentioned break or cape, where we lay during the whole forenoon of the 13th, as the ice was too thick to allow us to make any progress. After midday, however, the ice loosened, and began to drift out; at the same time we went in, and having gone as far as possible, the Fram was moored to the fast ice-foot on the western side of the great bay we had entered. It proved that Balloon Bight and another bight had merged to form a great bay, exactly as described by Sir Ernest Shackleton, and named by him the Bay of Whales.

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