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Title: Shackleton's Last Voyage - The Story of the Quest
Author: Wild, Frank
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Shackleton's Last Voyage - The Story of the Quest" ***

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Transcriber’s Note:

  Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the original document have
  been preserved. Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

  Italic text is denoted by _underscores_.

  On page 291, “Groote Schur” should possibly be “Groote Schuur”.


  [Illustration: THE CAIRN

     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     The Story of the _Quest_. By
     Commander FRANK WILD, C.B.E.

     From the Official Journal and Private
     Diary kept by Dr. A. H. MACKLIN

     _With Frontispiece in Colour, numerous Maps
     and over 100 Illustrations from Photographs_

     London, New York, Toronto and Melbourne

     First Published _May 1923_.
     Second Edition _June 1923_.
     _Reprinted November 1923_

     Printed in Great Britain


     “_Yonder the far horizon lies,
     And there by night and day
     The old ships draw to port again,
     The young ships sail away.
     And go I must and come I may,
     And if men ask you why,
     You may lay the blame on the stars and the sun
     And the white road and the sky._”

          GERALD GOULD


Sir Ernest Shackleton died suddenly; so suddenly that he said no word
at all with regard to the future of the expedition. But I know that had
he foreseen his death and been able to communicate to me his wishes,
they would have been summed up in the two words, “Carry on!”

Perhaps the most difficult part of my task has been the recording
of the work of the expedition. It has been to me a very sad duty,
and one which I would gladly have avoided had it been possible. The
demand, however, for the complete story of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s last
expedition has been so widespread and insistent that I could no longer
withhold it.

In the subsequent pages of this book the reader will find recorded the
story of the voyage of the _Quest_, the tight little ship that carried
us through over twenty thousand miles of stormy ocean and brought us
safely back.

I make no claim to literary style, but have endeavoured to set forth a
plain and simple narrative.

The writings of explorers vary, but in my opinion they have all one
common fault, which is, that they have attempted to combine in one
volume the scientific results with the more popular story of the

This book is for the public. I have sought to eliminate the mass of
scientific details with which my journal is filled, to avoid technical
terms, and to retain only that which can be easily understood by all.

Of the parts of the narrative that deal with Sir Ernest Shackleton I
have passed over very shortly. Pens far more able than mine, notably
those of Mr. Harold Begbie and Dr. Hugh Robert Mill, have written of
his life and character.

Though I was his companion on every one of his expeditions, I know
little of his life at home. It is a curious thing that men thrown so
closely together as those engaged in Polar work should never seek to
know anything of each other’s “inside” affairs. But to the “Explorer”
Shackleton I was joined by ties so strongly welded through the many
years of common hardship and struggle that to write of him at all is
extremely difficult. Nothing I could set down can convey what I feel,
and I have a horror of false and wordy sentiment. I trust, therefore,
that those readers who may think that I have dealt too lightly with the
parts of the story which more intimately concern him will sympathize
and respect my feelings in the matter.

I must take this opportunity of acknowledging my deep feeling of
gratitude to Mr. John Quiller Rowett. What the expedition owes to
him no one, not even its individual members, can ever realize. There
have been many supporters of enterprises of this nature, but usually
they have sought from it some commercial gain. Mr. Rowett’s support
was due solely to his keen interest in scientific research, which
he had previously instituted and encouraged in other fields. He bore
practically the whole financial burden, and this expedition is almost
unique in that it was clear of debt at the time of its return.

But, in addition to this, I owe him much for his kindly encouragement,
his clear, sound judgment, and his unfailing assistance whenever I have
sought it. Mrs. Rowett has given me invaluable assistance throughout
the preparation of the book and has corrected the proofs. For her
kindly hospitality I owe more than I can say, for to myself and others
of the expedition her house has ever been open, and we have received
always the most kindly welcome. In this connexion I could say a great
deal, but it would be inadequate to convey what I feel.

The expedition owes also a debt of gratitude to Sir Frederick Becker,
for his encouraging assistance was rendered early in its inception.

To the many public-spirited firms who came forward with offers of
assistance to what was considered a national enterprise I must make my
acknowledgments. It is regrettable that many of the smaller suppliers
of the expedition seized the chance of a cheap advertisement at the
time of our departure, but a number of the more reputable firms made no
stipulation of any sort, but presented us with goods as a free gift. I
can assure them that I do not lightly regard their share in helping on
the work, for we were thus enabled to carry in our food stores only the
best of products, Sir Ernest Shackleton rigidly eliminating all goods
which he felt unable to trust.

To Mr. James A. Cook I owe much for the hard work he has done at all
times and for the help which he rendered whilst the expedition was away
from England.

To my many other friends who have at one time and another been of
assistance I tender my grateful acknowledgments, knowing full well
that they will realize how impossible it is for me to thank them all by

I must thank Dr. Macklin for the care he took in keeping the official
diary of the expedition. This and his own private journal, from which
I have freely quoted, have both been invaluable to me.

To “The Boys,” those who stood by me and gave me their loyal service
throughout an arduous and trying period, I say nothing—for they know
how I feel.



  CHAPTER                                      PAGE
   1. INCEPTION                                   1
   2. LONDON TO RIO DE JANEIRO                   16
   3. RIO TO SOUTH GEORGIA                       44
   6. INTO THE SOUTH                             80
   7. THE ICE                                   122
   8. ELEPHANT ISLAND                           155
   9. SOUTH GEORGIA (SECOND VISIT)              173
  10. THE TRISTAN DA CUNHA GROUP                199
  11. TRISTAN DA CUNHA        By DR. MACKLIN    219
  12. TRISTAN DA CUNHA (_continued_)   ”        243
  13. DIEGO ALVAREZ OR GOUGH ISLAND             265
  14. CAPE TOWN                                 287
  16. HOME                                      310
          I.—GEOLOGICAL OBSERVATIONS            314
         II.—NATURAL HISTORY                    328
        III.—METEOROLOGY                        340
         IV.—HYDROGRAPHIC WORK                  343
          V.—MEDICAL                            352
      LIST OF PERSONNEL                         366
      INDEX                                     367


  The Cairn                                      _Colour Frontispiece_
  PLATE                                                    FACING PAGE
    1. Sir Ernest Shackleton in Polar Clothing                       4
    2. Mr. John Quiller Rowett                                       5
    3. A Diagrammatic View of the _Quest_                            6
    4. Sectional Views of the _Quest_                                7
    5. The Sperry Gyroscopic Compass                                10
    6. The Enclosed Bridge of the _Quest_                           11
    7. The _Quest_ at Hay’s Wharf                                   12
    8. Kerr (Chief Engineer) Examining the Lucas Deep-sea
         Sounding Machine                                           13
    9. The Wireless Operating Room—The Ward Room of the
        _Quest_                                                     20
   10. The _Quest_ Passing the Tower of London on her way to the
         Sea—The Schermuly Portable Rocket Apparatus                21
   11. The _Quest_ in the North-east Trades                         28
   12. The Tow Net in Use                                           29
   13. A Porpoise which was Harpooned from the Bowsprit             32
   14. Query—The Boss Gives Query a Bath                            33
   15. Landing the Shore Party at St. Paul’s Rocks                  48
   16. The White-capped Noddy (_Anous stolidus_) on St. Paul’s
         Rocks—The Booby (_Sula leucogastra_)                       49
   17. Commander Worsley Superintending Work in the Rigging
         at Rio de Janeiro                                          50
   18. The _Quest_ in Gritviken Harbour                             51
   19. The Whaling Station at Gritviken                             62
   20. Sunset on the Slopes of South Georgia                        63
   21. The Resting Place of a Great Explorer                        64
   22. The Picturesque Setting of Prince Olaf Station               65
   23. Prince Olaf Whaling Station                                  68
   24. A Steam Whaler with Two Whales brought in for
         Flensing—Huge Blue Whales at South Georgia                 69
   25. The “Plan” at Gritviken, with a Whale in Process of
         Being Flensed                                              76
   26. Leith Harbour, South Georgia                                 77
   27. Chart of Larsen Harbour—The Entrance to Larsen
         Harbour                                                    80
   28. An Expedition in Search of Fresh Food—Marr, McIlroy,
         Commander Wild, Macklin                                    81
   29. Commander Wild                                               82
   30. A Small Berg—A Curious “Toothed” Berg                        83
   31. A Lovely Evening in the Sub-Antarctic                        86
   32. Too Many Cooks—Our First Deep-sea Sounding                   87
   33. The Western End of Zavodovski Island, showing
         Grounded Icebergs                                          90
   34. Sentinel of the Antarctic                                    91
   35. A Typical Scene at the Pack Edge                             94
   36. Killers Rising to “Blow”—The _Quest_ Pushing Through
         Thin Ice                                                   95
   37. Loose Open Pack—Loose Pack Ice, with the Sea Rapidly
         Freezing Over                                              96
   38. The Midnight Sun                                             97
   39. The Loneliness of the Pack                                  100
   40. An Unpleasant but Necessary Duty—Taking Crab-eater
         Seals for Food                                            101
   41. Commander Wild at the Masthead                              108
   42. Pushing South Through Heavy Pack—The _Quest_ Ploughing
         Through Heavy Ice Pack                                    109
   43. The _Quest_ at her Farthest South—Jeffrey and Douglas
         taking Observations for Magnetic Dip                      112
   44. Heavy Pressed-up Pack Ice, the _Quest_ in the Distance
         —Commander Wild and Worsley Examining a Newly
         Formed “Lead” in the Pack Ice                             113
   45. The _Quest_ Pushing North Through Rapidly Freezing Ice      114
   46. “Watering” Ship with Floe Ice                               115
   47. Emperor Penguins on the Floe: A Still Evening in the
         Pack                                                      118
   48. Frozen Spray                                                119
   49. Commander Wild’s Watch: McIlroy, Carr, Wild, Macklin—The
         “Black” Watch: Ross, Argles, Young, Kerr, Smith           122
   50. Worsley’s Watch: Douglas, Wilkins, Watts, Worsley—
         Jeffrey’s Watch: McLeod, Marr, Jeffrey, Dell              123
   51. Chipping Frozen Spray from the Gunwales                     126
   52. The _Quest_ Beset near Ross’s Appearance of Land            127
   53. Rowett Island, off Cape Lookout, Elephant Island            150
   54. The Kent “Clear-View” Screen—Approaching Cape
         Lookout                                                   151
   55. Loading Sea-elephants’ Blubber, Elephant Island             154
   56. Somnolent Content: a Sea-elephant on Elephant Island—
         Ringed Penguins and a Paddy Bird (_Chionis alba_)         155
   57. Shackleton’s Last Anchorage—McLeod and Marr clearing
         up After a Blizzard                                       160
   58. Sugar Top Mountain, Part of the Allardyce Range, South
         Georgia                                                   161
   59. A Glacier Face in South Georgia                             176
   60. A Rocky Outcrop in South Georgia                            177
   61. Distended Whale Carcasses in Prince Olaf Harbour            178
   62. Cape Pigeons (_Daption capensis_) at South Georgia          179
   63. The Northern Coast of Drygalski Fiord—Cape Saunders         182
   64. The New Type of Whaler—The Black-browed Albatross
         or Mollymauk                                              183
   65. A Pair of Adult Wandering Albatross—A Young Albatross       186
   66. Gentoo Penguin Feeding its Chick—The Chick after
         Feeding                                                   187
   67. On the Way to the Cairn—Looking Shorewards from the
         Cairn                                                     190
   68. Our Farewell to the Boss                                    191
   69. The Settlement at Tristan da Cunha from the Sea—View
         of the Settlement from the East                           208
   70. Landing at Big Beach, Tristan da Cunha—A Tristan
         Bullock Cart                                              209
   71. Nightingale Island—Inaccessible Island                      224
   72. Wireless Pole being erected, Tristan—Carr and Douglas
         with Two Tristan Guides, Henry Green and Glass            225
   73. John Glass and Family—The Mission House on Tristan
         da Cunha                                                  240
   74. The “Potato Patches” on Tristan da Cunha                    241
   75. Tristan Women Twisting Wool—The Tristan Method of
         Carding Wool                                              256
   76. Henry Green’s Cottage, Tristan da Cunha—The Oldest
         Inhabitant of Tristan da Cunha, Miss Betty Cotton         257
   77. View of Gough Island from the Glen Anchorage                262
   78. The Apostle, an Acid Intrusive near the Summit of Gough
         Island—The Little Glen where the New Sophora was
         Discovered                                                263
   79. On the Way to the Summit                                    266
   80. The Glen Anchorage from the Higher Slopes                   267
   81. The _Quest_ seen through the Archway Rock, Gough Island     276
   82. Dell Rocks, at the North-eastern End of Glen Beach          277
   83. Lot’s Wife Cove and Church Rocks, Gough Island              284
   84. Lot’s Wife, Gough Island                                    285
   85. The _Quest_ Entering Table Bay—The _Quest_ in Dock at
         Cape Town                                                 288
   86. The Summit of Ascension Island                              289
   87. The Abandoned Wireless Station on Ascension Island—
         Flowering Plants Growing in the Volcanic Ash at
         Ascension Island                                          304
   88. Wideawake Plain, Ascension Island—A Wideawake               305
   89. Weatherpost Hill, Ascension Island, Looking East            308
   90. A View in San Miguel in the Azores                          309
   91. Booby with Chick—A Booby Chick                              316
   92. Types of Fish Caught in the Lagoon at St. Paul’s Rocks—
         White-capped Noddies at St. Paul’s Rocks                  317
   93. Gentoo Penguin with Two Chicks—Nesting Ground of the
         Mollymauk                                                 320
   94. Giant Petrel at Nest                                        321
   95. The Surface of a Glacier, showing Numerous Crevasses        336
   96. Sea-elephants in Tussock Grass                              337
   97. The Island Tree (_Phylica nitida_)—Sea-elephants among
         the Rocks                                                 340
   98. Commander Worsley taking Observations of the Sun by
         Sextant—Hussey (Taking Sea Temperatures), Commander
         Wild and McIlroy                                          341
   99. Setting up Kites for the Taking of Meteorological
         Observations                                              348
  100. An Apparatus for Bringing Up Specimens of the Sea
         Bottom                                                    349

Shackleton’s Last Voyage



After the finish of the Great War, which had employed every able-bodied
man in the country in one way or another, Sir Ernest Shackleton
returned to London and wrote his famous epic “South,” the story of
the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Before it was finished he
had again felt the call of the ice, and concluded his book with the
following sentence: “Though some have gone, there are enough to rally
round and form a nucleus for the next expedition, when troublous times
are over, and scientific exploration can once more be legitimately

For many years he had had an inclination to take an expedition into the
Arctic and compare the two ice zones. He felt, too, a keen desire to
pit himself against the American and Norwegian explorers who of recent
years had held the foremost position in Arctic exploration, to win for
the British flag a further renown, and to add to the sum of British
achievements in the frozen North.

There is still, in spite of the long and unremitting siege which has
gradually tinted the uncoloured portions of the map and brought within
our ken section after section of the unexplored areas, a large blank
space comprising what is known as the Beaufort Sea, approximately in
the centre of which is the point called by Stefansson the “centre of
the zone of inaccessibility.” It was the exploration of this area that
Sir Ernest made his aim. In addition he felt a strong desire to clear
up the mystery of the North Pole, and for ever settle the Peary-Cook
controversy, which did so much to alienate public sympathy from Polar

It is characteristic of him that before proceeding with any part of the
organization he wrote first to Mr. Stefansson, the Canadian explorer,
to ask if the new expedition would interfere with any plan of his. He
received in reply a letter saying that not only did it not interfere in
any way, but that he (Stefansson) would be glad to afford any help that
lay in his power and put at his disposal any information which might
prove valuable.

Sir Ernest’s plans were the result of several years of hard work
with careful reference to the records of previous explorers, and his
organization was remarkable for its completeness and detail.

The proposed expedition had an added interest in that the whole
of his Polar experience was gained in the Antarctic. It met with
instant recognition from the leading scientists and geographers of
this country, who saw in it far-reaching and valuable results. The
Council of the Royal Geographical Society sent a letter which showed
their appreciation of the importance of the work, and expressed their
approval of himself as commander and of the names he had submitted as
those of men eminently qualified to make a strong personnel for the

Sir Ernest Shackleton was fortunate in securing the active co-operation
in the working out of his plans of Dr. H. R. Mill, the greatest living
authority on Polar regions.

The scheme, however, was an ambitious one, and was likely to prove

The period following the end of the war was perhaps not a suitable one
in many ways to commence an undertaking of this nature, for Sir Ernest
had the greatest difficulty in raising the necessary funds. In this
country he received the support of Mr. John Quiller Rowett and Sir
Frederick Becker.

Feeling that the work of exploration and the possible discovery of
new lands in what may be called the Canadian sector of the Arctic
was likely to be of interest to the Canadian Government, he visited
Ottawa, where he was in close touch with many of the leading members
of the Canadian House of Commons. He returned to this country well
pleased with his visit, and stated that he had obtained the active
co-operation of several prominent Canadians and received from the
Canadian Government the promise of a grant of money.

He was now in a position to start work, and immediately threw himself
into the preparation of the expedition. He got together a small nucleus
of men well known to him, including some who had accompanied him on
the _Endurance_ expedition, designed and ordered a quantity of special
stores and equipment, and bought a ship which cost as an initial outlay
£11,000. Dr. Macklin was sent to Canada to buy and collect together at
some suitable spot a hundred good sledge-dogs of the “Husky” type.

It would be impossible to convey an accurate idea of the closely
detailed work which is involved in the preparation for a Polar
expedition. Much of the equipment is of a highly technical nature
and requires to be specially manufactured. Everything must be carried
and nothing must be forgotten, for once away the most trivial article
cannot be obtained. Everything also must be of good quality and sound
design; and each article, whatever it may be, must function properly
when actually put into use.

At what was almost the last moment, whilst preparations were in full
swing, the Canadian Government, being more or less committed to a
policy of retrenchment, discovered that they were not in a position to
advance funds for this purpose, and withdrew their support. This was a
great blow, for it made impossible the continuance of the scheme.

In the meantime the bulk of the personnel had been collected, some of
the men having come from far distant parts of the world to join in the
adventure, abandoning their businesses to do so. Some of us, knowing
of the scheme, had waited for two years, putting aside permanent
employment so that we might be free to join when required; for such
is the extraordinary attraction of Polar exploration to those who have
once engaged in it, that they will give up much, often all they have,
to pit themselves once more against the ice and gamble with their lives
in this greatest of all games of chance. Yet if you were to ask what
is the attraction or where the fascination of it lies, probably not one
could give you an answer.


     _Photo: F. & A. Swaine_]

  [Illustration: MR. JOHN QUILLER ROWETT

     _Photo: F. & A. Swaine_]

Sir Ernest Shackleton received the blow with outward equanimity, which
was not shaken when, with the decision of the Canadian Government, the
more timorous of his supporters also withdrew. Always seen at his best
in adverse circumstances, he wasted no time in useless complainings,
but started even at this eleventh hour to remodel his plans.

Nevertheless, the situation was a very difficult one. He had committed
himself to heavy expenditure, and what weighed not least with him
at this time was his consideration for the men who had come to join
the enterprise. At this critical point Mr. John Quiller Rowett came
forward to bear an active part in the work, and took upon his shoulders
practically the whole financial responsibility of the expedition. The
importance of this action cannot be too much emphasized, for without it
the carrying on of the work would have been impossible.

Mr. Rowett had a wide outlook which enabled him to take a keen interest
in all scientific affairs. Previous to this he had helped to found
the Rowett Institute for Agricultural Research at Aberdeen, and
had prompted and given practical support to researches in medicine,
chemistry and several other branches of science. His many interests
included geographical discovery, and he saw clearly the important
bearing which conditions in the Polar regions have upon the temperate
zones. He saw also the possible economic value of the observations and
data which would be collected.

His name must therefore rank amongst the great supporters of Polar
exploration, such as the brothers Enderby, Sir George Newnes and Mr. A.
C. Harmsworth (afterwards Lord Northcliffe).

Mr. Rowett’s generous action is the more remarkable in that he was
fully aware in giving this support to the expedition that there was
no prospect of financial return. What he did was done purely out of
friendship to Shackleton and in the interests of science. The new
expedition was named the Shackleton-Rowett Expedition, and announcement
of it was received by the public with the greatest interest.

As it was now too late to catch the Arctic open season, the northern
expedition was cancelled, and Sir Ernest reverted to one of his old
schemes for scientific research in the South, which again met with the
approval of the chief scientific bodies.

This change of plans threw an enormous burden of work not only upon Sir
Ernest, but also upon those of us who formed his staff at this period,
for we had little time in which to complete the preparations. Dr.
Macklin was recalled from Canada, for under the new scheme sledge-dogs
were not required.

The programme did not aim at the attainment of the Pole or include
any prolonged land journey, but made its main object the taking of
observations and the collection of scientific data in Antarctic and
sub-Antarctic areas.

The proposed route led to the following places: St. Paul’s Rocks on the
Equator, South Trinidad Island, Tristan da Cunha, Inaccessible Island,
Nightingale and Middle Islands, Diego Alvarez or Gough Island, and
thence to Cape Town.

Cape Town was to be the base for operations in the ice, and a depot
of stores for that part of the journey would be formed there. The
route led eastward from there to Marion, Crozet and Heard Islands,
and then into the ice, where the track to be followed was, of course,
problematical, but would lead westwards, to emerge again at South


     1. Crow’s Nest with Gyro-compass; 2. Mark Buoy; 3. Sperry
     Gyro-compass; 4, Hydrographic Room; 5. Sir Ernest Shackleton’s
     Quarters; 6. Clear View Screen; 7. Kipling’s “If”; 8. Semaphore;
     9. Range Finder; 10. Standard Binnacle; 11. Meteorological
     Screen; 12. Gyro-compass; 13. Wireless Room; 14. Life-boat Deck;
     15. One of two Life-boats; 16. Mark Buoy; 17. Water Tank; 18.
     Kelvin Sounding Machine; 19. Surf Boat; 20. Stowage for Stores
     and Specimens; 21. Sleeping Accommodation for Naturalist and
     Photographer; 22. Windlass; 23. Dark-room; 24. Chain-locker; 25.
     Lucas Sounding Machine; 26. Stores; 27. 15-ton Water Tank; 28 and
     29. Stores; 30. High-power Wireless Room; 31. Coal Bunkers; 32.
     Boiler; 33. Galley; 34. Avro; 35. Main Engines; 36. Engine Room;
     37. Ward Room.

     _By courtesy of Illustrated London News_]


     1. Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Quarters; 2. Sperry Gyro-compass
     Hydrographic Room; 3. Entrance to Dark Room; 4. The Hydrographic
     Room; 5. The Galley; 6. Ward Room; 7. Bath Room under the Bridge
     (Starboard side).

     _By courtesy of Illustrated London News_]

From South Georgia it led to Bouvet Island, and back to Cape Town to
refit. From Cape Town, the second time, the route included New Zealand,
Raratonga, Tuanaki (the “Lost Island”), Dougherty Island, the Birdwood
Bank, and home via the Atlantic.

The scientific work included the taking of meteorological observations,
including air and sea temperatures, kite and balloon work, magnetic
observations, hydrographical and oceanographical work, including an
extensive series of soundings, and the mapping and careful charting
of little-known islands. Search was to be made for lands marked on the
map as “doubtful.” A collection of natural history specimens would be
made, and a geological survey and examination carried out in all the
places visited. Ice observations would be carried on in the South, and
an attempt made to reach and map out new land in the Enderby Quadrant.
Photography was made a special feature, and a large and expensive
outfit of cameras, cinematograph machines and general photographic
appliances acquired.

The Admiralty and the Air Ministry co-operated and materially assisted
by lending much of the scientific apparatus. Lieut.-Commander R. T.
Gould, of the Hydrographic Department, provided us with books and
reports of previous explorers concerning the little-known parts of
our route, and his information, gleaned from all sources and collected
together for our use, proved of the greatest value.

It was decided to carry an aeroplane or seaplane to assist in aerial
observations and to be used as the “eyes” of the expedition in the
South. Flying machines had never before been used in Polar exploration,
and there were obvious difficulties in the way of extreme cold and lack
of adequate accommodation, but after consultation with the Air Ministry
it was thought possible to overcome them. The machine ultimately
selected was a “Baby” seaplane, designed and manufactured by the Avro

One of the first things done by Sir Ernest Shackleton in preparing for
the northern expedition had been the purchase of a small wooden vessel
of 125 tons, named the _Foca I_. She was built in Norway, fitted with
auxiliary steam-engines of compound type and 125 horse-power. She was
originally designed for sealing in Arctic waters, the hull was strongly
made, and the timbers were supported by wooden beams with natural bends
of enormous strength. The bow was of solid oak sheathed with steel. Her
length was 111 feet, beam 23 feet, and her sides were 2 feet thick. Her
draught was 9 feet forward and 14 feet aft. She was ketch-rigged, and
was reputed to be able to steam at seven knots in still water and to do
the same with sail only in favourable winds.

At the happy suggestion of Lady Shackleton she was re-named the _Quest_.

Sir Ernest received what he considered the greatest honour of his
life. The _Quest_ as his yacht was elected to the Royal Yacht Squadron.
Perhaps a more ugly, businesslike little “yacht” never flew the burgee,
and her appearance must have contrasted strangely with the beautiful
and shapely lines of her more aristocratic sisters.

She was brought to Southampton in March, 1921, and placed in the
shipyards for extensive alterations. The work was greatly impeded by
the strike of ship workers, the general coal strike which occurred at
that time, and by difficulties generally with labour, which was then
passing through a very critical period.

It had been intended to take out the steam-engines and substitute
an internal combustion motor of the Diesel type, but owing to the
difficulties mentioned this had to be abandoned, and on the advice
of the surveying engineer in charge of the work the old engines
were retained. The bunker space was readjusted at the expense of the
fore-hold, allowing a carrying capacity of 120 tons of coal, and giving
a steaming radius which, with economy and use of sail, was estimated at
from four to five thousand miles.

This work was in process when it became necessary to alter the plans
of the expedition, and Sir Ernest realized that the _Quest_, which had
been considered eminently suitable for the northern scheme, was not so
well adapted for the long cruise in southern waters. It was impossible
at this stage to change the ship, but further alterations were made on
deck and in the rigging generally to adapt her for the new conditions.

Two yards were fitted, a topsail yard, 39 feet in length, and a
foreyard to carry a large squaresail, 44 feet in length. The mizen-mast
was lengthened to give a greater clearance to the wireless aerials. The
existing bridge was enlarged, carried across the full breadth of the
ship, and completely enclosed with windows of Triplex glass. The roof
formed an upper bridge open to the air. To improve the accommodation,
which was inadequate, a deck-house, 12 feet by 20 feet, was erected
on the foredeck. It contained five rooms: four small cabins, and a
room for housing hydrographical and meteorological instruments. New
canvas and running gear was fitted throughout, and no expense spared
to make her sound and seaworthy. Mr. Rowett was absolutely insistent
that everything about the ship must be such as to ensure her safety
and the safety of all on board in so far as it was humanly possible.
To everything in connexion with the ship herself Sir Ernest, as an
experienced seaman, gave his personal attention. The work of the
engine-room, which, as he was not an engineer, he was not able to
supervise directly, was entrusted to a consulting engineer.

The _Quest_, though strong and well equipped, was small, and
consequently accommodation generally was limited and living quarters
were somewhat cramped. The forecastle was fitted as a small biological
laboratory and geological workroom. In it were a bench for the
naturalist and numerous cupboards for the storing of specimens. Leading
from it on one side was a small cabin with two bunks for the naturalist
and photographer respectively, and on the other was the photographic
dark room.

The amount of gear placed aboard the ship was large, and the greatest
ingenuity was required to stow it satisfactorily.

Two wireless transmitting and receiving sets, of naval pattern, were
installed under the immediate supervision of a wireless expert, kindly
lent to us by the Admiralty. The current for them was supplied by
two generators, one a steam dynamo producing 220 volts, and a smaller
paraffin internal-combustion motor producing 110 volts. The _Quest_
being a wooden vessel, there was great difficulty in providing suitable
“earthing.” For this purpose two copper plates were attached to either
side of the ship below the water-line.


     _Photo: Topical_]


     _Photo: Topical_]

The more powerful of these sets was never very satisfactory, and we
ultimately abandoned its use. The smaller proved entirely satisfactory
for transmitting at distances up to 250 miles. The receiving apparatus
was chiefly of value in obtaining time signals, which are sent
out nightly from nearly all the large wireless stations, and which
we received at distances up to 3,000 miles. By this means we were
frequently able, whilst in the South, to check our chronometers; but
atmospheric conditions in those regions were very bad, and by producing
loud adventitious noises in the ear-pieces interfered so much with the
clarity of sounds that the obtaining of accurate signals was generally

A Sperry gyroscopic compass was installed, the gyroscopic apparatus
being placed in the deck-house, with repeaters in the enclosed bridge
and on the upper bridge. The dials were luminous, so that they could be
read at night. This apparatus has the advantage that it is independent
of immediate outside influences. It is usually supposed that at
65° north or south it ceases to be effective, but we found that the
directive force was still sufficient at 69° south. It is interesting
to note that this compass was designed by a German scientist to enable
a submarine to reach the North Pole. It has been of the greatest use
to ships in a general way, but for the one specific purpose for which
it was designed it proved to be useless owing to the loss of directive
power at the Poles. We found that bumping the ship through ice caused
derangement, and as the compass took several hours to settle down again
to normal, it proved ineffective whilst we were navigating through the

Fitted into the enclosed bridge and looking forward were two Kent
clear-view screens. They were electrically driven. They proved, when
running, to be absolutely effective against rain, snow or spray.

The ship was fitted throughout with electric lighting, including the
navigating lights. Whilst in the South, however, the necessity for
economy of fuel forbade the use of electricity and we had recourse to
oil lamps. As we were then completely out of the track of shipping,
navigating lights were not used.

Two sounding machines were installed, one an electrically-driven Kelvin
apparatus for depths up to 300 fathoms. To obtain accurate soundings
whilst the ship was under way, the sinker was fitted to carry sounding
tubes, and had also an arrangement for indicating the nature of the
bottom, whether rock, shingle or sand. For deep-sea work we had a
Lucas steam-driven machine, which was affixed to a special platform
on the port bow and supplied by a flexible tube from the steam pipe
feeding the forward winch. This apparatus registered depths to four
miles. Sounding with it was often difficult on account of the swell
and the liveliness of the _Quest_, but the machine itself gave every
satisfaction. The wire used with the Lucas machine was Brunton wire
in coils of 6,000 fathoms, diameter .028, weight 12.3 lbs. per 1,000
fathoms, with a breaking strain of 200 lbs.

The meteorological equipment included:

Screens, containing wet and dry bulb thermometers, placed in exposed
positions on the upper bridge.

One large screen, containing hair hygrograph, standard thermometer and

(The heavy seas which broke over the ship and flung sprays over the
upper bridge greatly interfered with the efficient working of these
instruments by encrusting them with salt, and necessitated constant

  [Illustration: THE _QUEST_ AT HAY’S WHARF
     Where she was fitted out for the trip

     _Photo: Topical_]


     _Photo: Topical_]

Hydrometers, for determining the specific gravity of sea-water, which
gives a measure of the total salinity.

Sea-thermometers, for determining the surface temperatures of the

Marine pattern mercury barometer.

Aneroid barometers, checked daily from the mercury barometer, in case
the latter should be broken.

Barograph, to obtain continuous records of the air pressure.

For upper-air work four cylinders of hydrogen and several hundred pilot
balloons were taken. (These latter were sent up on many occasions
from the ship, but the _Quest_ proved to be so lively that it was
impossible to keep them in the field of view of a telescope or even of

All the instruments were very kindly lent to us by the Meteorological
Section of the Air Ministry, and were of standard make and pattern.

We carried a good set of sextants, theodolites, dip circles and other
accurate surveying instruments.

Several chronometers of different makes and patterns were placed
aboard. Two of them, specially rated for us by Mr. Bagge, of the
Waltham Watch Company, gave excellent results and, in spite of the
violent motion of the ship and the difficulty of keeping a uniform
temperature, maintained a remarkably even rating.

The medical equipment was designed for compactness and all-round

Sledges, harness, warm clothing, footgear and an amount of scientific
equipment were forwarded to Cape Town and warehoused to await the
arrival of the _Quest_.

The greatest difficulty was experienced in the housing of the seaplane,
but, after dismantling wings and floats, room was eventually found for
it in the port alleyway, which it almost filled.

Sir Ernest Shackleton, as has already been said, in choosing his
personnel selected first of all a nucleus of well-tried and experienced
men who had served with him before, appointing me as second in command
of the expedition. They included Worsley, Macklin, Hussey, McIlroy,
Kerr, Green and McLeod. Applications for the remaining posts came in
thousands, and many women wrote asking if a job could be found for
them, offering to mend, sew, nurse or cook.

Two other men with previous experience were obtained: Wilkins, who
served with the Canadian Arctic Expedition under Stefansson, and Dell,
who had served with Captain Scott in the _Discovery_, and was thus
known to Sir Ernest Shackleton and myself. Lieut.-Commander Jeffrey,
an officer of the Royal Naval Reserve, who had served with distinction
during the war, was appointed navigating officer for the ship. Major
Carr, who had gained much experience of flying as an officer of the
R.A.F., was appointed in charge of the seaplane.

A geologist was required, the selection falling upon G. V. Douglas, a
graduate of McGill University, whom Sir Ernest had met in Canada.

Mr. Bee Mason was appointed photographer and cinematographer.

Amongst the remainder there was need of a good boy. Sir Ernest
conceived the idea of throwing the post open to a Boy Scout, and
the suggestion was taken up with the greatest enthusiasm by the Boy
Scout organization. The post was advertised in the _Daily Mail_, and
immediately a flood of applications poured in from every part of the
country. These were finally filtered down to the ten most suitable, and
the applicants were instructed to assemble in London, the _Daily Mail_
making the necessary arrangements and defraying the costs. These ten
boys all had excellent records, and Sir Ernest, in finally making his
selection, was so embarrassed in his choice that he selected two. They
were J. W. S. Marr, an Aberdeen boy, and Norman E. Mooney, a native of
the Orkneys.

There remained but three places to fill: C. Smith, an officer of the
R.M.S.P. Company, was appointed second engineer; P.O. Telegraphist
Watts, wireless operator; and Eriksen, a Norwegian by birth, was taken
on as harpoon expert.

Sir Ernest, in order fully to carry out his programme, was anxious to
leave England not later than August 20th, but owing to a general strike
of ships’ joiners, dilatory workmanship and other unavoidable causes,
the sailing was postponed well beyond that date.

At length all was ready; food stores and equipment, which included
not only the highly technical and specialized Antarctic gear, but also
such minute details as pins, needles and pieces of tape, were placed on
board, and the ship was ready for sea.

The new expedition had been organized, equipped and got ready for
departure all within three months. There are few who will realize what
this means. No other man than Sir Ernest would have attempted it, and
no other could have accomplished it successfully. It was, as he often
said himself, only through the staunch support and active co-operation
of Mr. Rowett, who aided and encouraged him throughout this period,
that he was able to leave England that year. Postponement at such
an advanced stage was impossible, and would have meant the total
abandonment of the expedition. We left London finally on September
17th, 1921.



We dipped our ensign in a last farewell to London as we passed out from
St. Katherine’s Dock, and turned our nose down-river for Gravesend, a
tiny vessel even amongst the small shipping which comes thus far up the
river. We were accompanied on this part of our journey by Mr. Rowett,
who had taken a keen personal interest in everything connected with the
expedition. Enthusiastic crowds cheered us at the start, and everybody
we met wished us “Good luck and safe return.” The ensign was kept in a
continuous dance answering the bunting which dipped from the staffs of
every vessel we met. Ships of many maritime nations were collected in
this cosmopolitan river, and these, too, joined in wishing success to
our enterprise.

At Gravesend Mr. Rowett left us, and Sir Ernest returned with
him to London with the object of rejoining at Plymouth. A strong
north-easterly wind was blowing, and we lay for the night off
Gravesend. In the small hours of the morning we were startled from
sleep by the watchman crying, “The anchor’s dragging!” and turned out
to find that we were bearing down on a Thames hopper that was moored
near by. The _Quest_ would not answer her helm, and before we were
able to bring her up she had fouled the stays of the hopper with her
bowsprit. Pyjama-clad figures leapt from their bunks, and in the dim
light presented a curious spectacle. Two or three of our men jumped on
to the deck of the hopper, and by loosening a bolt succeeded in letting
go one of her stays, when we swung free.

Kerr rapidly raised a sufficient pressure of steam in the boilers to
get the engines going, and we soon regained control.

We brought up with our anchor, which had been acting as a dredge, the
most amazing collection of stuff, which gave an interesting sidelight
on the composition of the Thames floor.

No damage was received beyond a chafe to the bowsprit. We were anxious,
however, to leave with everything in good order, and so proceeded to
Sheerness Dockyard, where a new spar was put in for us by the naval
authorities with a promptness and dispatch that contrasted strongly
with the dilatory methods employed previously in the shipyards.

We had an exceptionally fine trip down Channel under the pilotage of
Captain F. Bridgland, who was an old friend of ours, having taken the
ship from Southampton to London.

We reached Plymouth on the 23rd, and were joined there by Sir Ernest
Shackleton and Mr. Gerald Lysaght, a keen yachtsman, who had been
invited to accompany us as far as Madeira. The Boss brought with him
an Alsatian wolf-hound puppy, a beautiful well-bred animal with a long
pedigree, which had been presented to him by a friend as a mascot.
“Query,” as he was named, quickly became a fast favourite with all on
board. Mr. Rowett also came from London to see us off, and we had with
him a last cheery dinner. He was very popular with all of us, for in
addition to his support of expedition affairs he had taken a personal
interest in every member of the company.

On the 24th we steamed out into the Sound and moored to a buoy,
where the ship was swung and the compasses adjusted by Commander
Traill-Smith, R.N., who kindly undertook this important work. The
Admiralty tug used to swing the _Quest_ accentuated her smallness, for
she was many times our size and towered high above us.

This task completed, we put out to sea, pleased, as Sir Ernest
Shackleton said at the time, to be making our final departure from a
town that has ever been associated with maritime enterprise.

The following extracts are from Sir Ernest Shackleton’s own diary:

     _Saturday, September 24th, 1921._

     At last we are off. The last of the cheering crowded boats have
     turned, the sirens of shore and sea are still, and in the calm
     hazy gathering dusk on a glassy sea we move on the long quest.
     Providence is with us even now. At this time of equinoctial
     gales not a catspaw of wind is apparent. I turn from the glooming
     immensity of the sea and, looking at the decks of the _Quest_, am
     roused from dreams of what may be in the future to the needs of
     the moment, for in no way are we shipshape or fitted to ignore
     even the mildest storm. Deep in the water, decks littered with
     stores, our very life-boats receptacles for sliced bacon and green
     vegetables for sea-stock; steel ropes and hempen brothers jostle
     each other; mysterious gadgets connected with the wireless, on
     which the Admiralty officials were working up to the sailing hour,
     are scattered about. But our twenty-one willing hands will soon
     snug her down.

     A more personal and perplexing problem is my cabin—or my temporary
     cabin, for Gerald Lysaght has mine till we reach Madeira—for
     hundreds of telegrams of farewell have to be dealt with. Kind
     thoughts and kind actions, as witness the many parcels, some of
     dainty food, some of continuous use, which crowd up the bunk. Yet
     there is no time to answer them now.

     We worked late, lashing up and making fast the most vital things
     on deck. Our wireless was going all the time, receiving messages
     and sending out answers. Towards midnight a swell from the west
     made us roll, and the sea lopped in through our washports. About
     1 A.M. the glare of the _Aquitania’s_ lights became visible as
     she sped past a little to the southward of us, going west, and I
     received farewell messages from Sir James Charles and Spedding.[1]
     I wish it had been daylight.

     At 2 A.M. I turned in. We are crowded. For in addition to McIlroy
     and Lysaght, I have old McLeod as stoker.

     _Sunday, September 25th._

     Fair easterly wind; our topsail and foresail set. All day cleaning
     up with all hands. We saw the last of England—the Scilly Isles
     and Bishop Rock, with big seas breaking on them; and now we head
     out to the west to avoid the Bay of Biscay. With our deep draught
     we roll along like an old-time ship, our foresail bellying to the
     breeze. The Boy Scouts are sick—frankly so, though Marr has been
     working in the stokehold until he really had to give in. Various
     messages came through. To-day it has been misty and cloudy, little
     sun. All were tired to-night when watches were set.

     _Monday, 26th._ 47° 53´ N., 9° 00´ W.

     A mixture of sunshine and mist, wind and calm. Passed two steamers
     homeward bound, and one sailing ship was overhauling us in the
     afternoon, but the breeze fell light, and she dropped astern in
     the mist that came up from the eastward. Truly it is good to feel
     we are starting well, and all hands are happy, though the ship is

     Two hands have to help the cook, and the little food hatchway is
     a blessing, for otherwise it is a long way round. Green is in his
     element, though our decks are awash amidship. He just dips up the
     water for washing his vegetables.

     With a view to economy he boiled the cabbage in salt water. The
     result was not successful.

     The _Quest_ rolls, and we find her various points and angles, but
     she grows larger to us each day as we grow more used to her. I
     asked Green this morning what was for breakfast. “Bacon and eggs,”
     he replied. “What sort of eggs?” “Scrambled eggs. If I did not
     scramble them they would have scrambled themselves”—a sidelight
     on the liveliness of the _Quest_. Query, our wolf-hound puppy,
     is fast becoming a regular ship’s dog, but has a habit of getting
     into my bunk after getting wet.

     We are running the lights from the dynamo, and, when the wireless
     is working, sparks fly up and down the backstays like fireflies.
     A calm night is ours.

     _Tuesday, 27th—Wednesday, 28th._

     43° 52´ N., 11° 51´ W. 135 miles.

     Another fine day. Not much to record. All hands engaged in general
     work on the ship. In the afternoon the mist arose and the wind
     dropped. At night the wind headed us a bit, and we took in the
     topsail. Marr was at the wheel in the first watch, and did well.
     Mooney, at present, is useless. A gang of the boys were employed
     turning the coal into the after-bunkers—a black and dusty job;
     but they were quite happy. We passed a peaceful night. This
     morning the wind practically dropped. What little there was came
     out ahead, so we took in all sail. The _Quest_ does not steam
     very fast, 5½ being our best so far. This rather makes me think,
     and may lead to alterations in our plans, for we must make our
     time right for entering the ice at the end of December, and may
     possibly have to curtail some of our island work or postpone it
     until we come out of the South. This morning we are in glorious
     sunshine—the sea sapphire-blue and a cloudless sky; but, alas!
     noon, in spite of our pushing, gives us only 135 miles. We have
     allowed a current of 7 miles N. 12° W.

     Gerald Lysaght is one of our best workers, and takes long spells
     at the wheel. Occasionally little land-birds fly on board, and our
     kittens take an interest in them, as yet unknowing their potential
     value as food or game(?). How far away already we seem from
     ordinary life!

     I stopped the wireless last night. It is of no importance to us
     now in a little world of our own.

     _Wednesday, 28th—Thursday, September 29th, 1921._ Lat., 42° 9’ N.
     Long., 13° 10’ W. Dist., 116’.

     A strong wind, with high seas and S.S.W. swell; strong squalls
     were our portion. The ship is more than lively and makes but
     little way. She evidently must be treated as a five-knot vessel
     dependent mainly on fair winds, and all this is giving me much
     food for thought, for I am tied to time for the ice. I was
     relieved that she made fairly good weather of it, but I can see
     that our decks must be absolutely clear when we are in the Roaring
     Forties. Her foremast also gives me anxiety. She is not well
     stayed, and I think that the topsail yard is a bit too much. The
     main thing is that I may have to curtail our island programme in
     order to get to the Cape in time. Everyone is cheerful, which is a
     blessing, all singing and enjoying themselves, though pretty well
     wet; several are a bit sick. The only one who has not bucked up
     is the Scout Mooney. He seems helpless, but I will give him every
     chance. I can see also that we must be cut down in crew to the
     absolutely efficient and only needful for the southern voyage.

     Douglas is now stoking and doing well. It will, of course, take
     time to square things up and for everyone to find themselves;
     she is so small. It is only by constant thought and care that
     the leader can lead. There is a delightful sense of freedom from
     responsibility in all others; and it should be so. These are just
     random thoughts, but borne in on one as all being so different
     from the long strain of preparation. It is a blessing that this
     time I have not the financial worry or strain to add to the care
     of the active expedition. Lysaght is doing very well, and so is
     the Scout Marr.

Sir Ernest Shackleton’s diary ends at this point, and there are no
other entries till January 1st, 1922.


     _Photo: Sport & General_]

  [Illustration: THE WARD ROOM OF THE _QUEST_

     _Photo: Topical_]


     _Photo: Sport & General_]


     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]

We now began to settle down to our new conditions of life.

In the deck-house were five small cabins. The Boss and I had the two
after ones, but at this time Mr. Lysaght, or the “General” as he was
called by all of us (like most nicknames, for no particular reason),
occupied one of them, whilst the Boss and I shared the other.

Worsley and Jeffrey had a cabin running the full breadth of the house
and the roomiest in the ship, but it had also to act as chart-room.
Macklin and Hussey occupied a tiny room of six feet cubed on the
starboard side, which contained the medicine cupboard. Here, in spite
of restricted space, they dwelt in perfect harmony, due, as they
were wont to say, “to both of us being non-smokers.” They were known
collectively as “Alphonse and D’Aubrey,” but how the names originated
it is impossible to say, for though the versatile Londoner might at
times have passed as a Frenchman, the same could not be said for the
more phlegmatic Scot.

The corresponding room on the port side housed the meteorological
instruments and the gyroscopic compass.

Wilkins and Bee Mason had bunks in the converted forecastle, which
contained the photographic dark room, a work bench for the naturalist,
and numerous cupboards for the storing of specimens. Wilkins, an old
campaigner, had used much foresight and ingenuity in fitting it up, and
had utilized the limited space to the utmost advantage. Their cabin was
indeed a dim recess and at first proved very stuffy, but before we were
many days out Wilkins had designed and fitted an air-shoot, which acted
very well and enormously improved the ventilation. Green, the cook,
had a cabin beside his galley, which was always warm from the heat of
the engine-room—too much so to be comfortable in temperate climes, but
he looked forward to the advantage he would derive when we entered the
cold regions. All the others lived aft and occupied bunks which were
situated round the mess-room and opened directly into it, unscreened
except by small green curtains, which could be drawn across when the
bunks were unoccupied. It was by no means a pleasant or convenient
arrangement, but, with the small size of the ship and general lack of
space, the only one possible under the circumstances. The mess-room
itself was small, boasting the simplest of furniture: two plain deal
tables, four forms, a cupboard for crockery, and a small sideboard. At
the foot of the companion-way was a rack of ten long Service rifles.
Two of the forms were made like boxes with lids, to act as lockers.

The seating accommodation just admitted all hands to sit together, not
counting the cook and the cook’s mate and four men who were always on
watch. They sat down to a second sitting. The food was of good quality,
plain, and simply cooked. Three meals a day were served: breakfast,
lunch, and supper. The Boss presided, and under his cheery example
the new hands soon learned to make light of the strange and rather
uncomfortable conditions.

Every day for breakfast we had Quaker oats, with brown sugar or syrup
(salt for the Scotsmen) and milk, followed by bacon, with eggs (as long
as they lasted), afterwards sausage or some equivalent, bread or ship’s
biscuit, marmalade, and tea or coffee.

For lunch we usually had a hot soup, followed by cold meat, corned
beef, tongue or tinned fish, and bread or biscuit, cheese, jam and tea.

Supper consisted of a hot meat dish, with vegetables, followed by some
sort of pudding, bread or biscuit, and tea.

The galley was small, and contained a diminutive range and a number
of shelves fitted with battens to prevent things flying off with the
roll of the ship. The oven accommodation was small, and admitted of the
cooking of one thing only at a time. Here Green reigned over his pots
and pans, which, owing to the motion of the ship, proved more often
than not to be elusive and refractory.

At meal-times the dishes were passed through a large window port into
the messroom by the cook’s mate, and received by the “Peggy” for the
day, who served the food and waited at table. Duty as “Peggy” was
performed by each man in turn (with the exception of the watch-keeping
officers), who also washed the dishes, cleaned the tables, and
generally tidied up after each meal. Sir Ernest Shackleton had made it
plain to all hands that no work was to be considered too humble for any
member of the expedition.

Table-cloths were never used, but the tables were well scrubbed daily,
so that they soon took on a fine whiteness. Fiddles were a permanent
fitting except when we were in port, for the _Quest_ never permitted us
to do without them at sea, whilst in the worst weather even they proved
useless to prevent table crockery from being thrown about.

In addition to Query there were on the ship two other pets in the form
of small black kittens, one presented to us as a mascot by the _Daily
Mail_, the other, I believe, the gift of a girl to one of the crew.
They suffered a little at first from sea-sickness, but soon developed
the most voracious appetites, and showed the greatest persistence in
coming about the table for food. They clambered up one’s legs with long
sharp claws, “miaowed,” and at every opportunity put their noses into
jugs and plates. No amount of rebuffs had any effect upon them, and
they had a curious preference for food on the table to that which was
placed for them in their own dishes. Two more importunate kittens I
have never seen. It is to be feared that one or two of the party slyly
encouraged them, for we could never cure them of their bad habits.

The companion steps leading from the scuttle to the messroom were very
steep, and at this time Query had not learned the art of going up and
down, though he acquired it later. It used to be a common sight to see
his handsome head framed in the opening of the window port through
which Green passed the food, gazing wistfully at the dainty morsels
which were being transferred to other mouths.

These first days with the Boss were very cheery ones, and I like to
look back on them. There was little refinement on the ship and more
than ordinary discomfort, yet each meal-time was a happy gathering of
cheery souls, and conversation crackled with jokes, in the perpetration
of which Hussey was by no means the least guilty. The strain of
preparation had been a heavy one, and Sir Ernest seemed to be enjoying
the quiet, the freedom and the mental peace of our small self-contained
little world. I think he liked to find himself surrounded by his own
men, and he was always at his best when he had a definite objective to
go for.

There is something about life at sea, and the companionship of men who
have lived untrammelled lives free from the restraints of convention,
that I find hard to describe. I think it must be that it is more
primitive. Certainly, one drops into it with a contentment that
contrasts strongly with the feeling of effort with which one braces
oneself to meet the more conventional circumstances of the return to
civilized life. It is, I suppose, a matter of heredity and transmitted
instinct which makes falling back to the primitive more easy than
progress, meaning by “progress” the advance of artificiality and the
tremendous speeding up of modern existence. Some such instinct must be
present, for what else is there to tempt one from a cosy fireside and
the morning paper?

We kept three watches, the watch-keeping officers being Worsley,
Jeffrey and myself. The Boss kept no particular watch, but was always
at hand to give instructions and take charge on special occasions.
In my watch were McIlroy, Macklin and Hussey; in Worsley’s, Wilkins,
Douglas and Watts; in Jeffrey’s, Carr, Eriksen and Bee Mason. Dell
and McLeod acted as stokers. The two Scouts were at first employed
in a generally useful capacity, helping the cook and lending a hand
wherever required. In addition to his deck duties, each man had his
own particular job to attend to. Before we had been out many days it
became clear to all that in this trip we were to have no picnic, and
that in life on the _Quest_ we would have to adapt ourselves to all
sorts of discomforts and inconveniences. However, we were committed to
our enterprise, our work lay before us, and we settled down cheerfully
to make the best of things.


     _By courtesy of Mr. John Lister_]

  [Illustration: THE TOW NET IN USE

     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]

A few extracts from the official diary will give an indication of
conditions about this time.

     _Tuesday, September 27th._

     The wind came round to S.E. and freshened up during the day. The
     _Quest_ is behaving badly in the short head seas. We have had to
     take in sail and are proceeding under steam, making poor progress.
     Bee Mason and Mooney are rather off colour.

     _September 28th._

     The wind has increased, with heavier seas. During the day the
     engines were stopped for adjustment. Kerr says the crank shaft is
     out of alignment, and expects further trouble. This happening so
     early in the voyage does not promise well for the trip, for, as
     the Boss says, we are already late and cannot afford much time in

     _September 30th._

     A moderate gale blowing from the S.W. We made no headway into
     it, and the Boss decided to heave to with the engines at slow
     speed. This has given us an idea of the _Quest’s_ behaviour in
     bad weather. The Boss is pleased with her sea-going qualities, for
     in spite of fairly heavy seas she has remained dry, taking aboard
     very little water.[2] She has a lively and very unpleasant motion,
     which has induced qualms of sea-sickness in many of the “land
     lubbers.” Bee Mason and young Mooney are _hors de combat_. They
     are both plucky. The Scout makes no complaint, but it is obvious
     that life to him just now is a terrible misery. He has tried hard
     to carry on his work. We wish we could do something for him, but
     there is little comfort on the ship.

     _October 2nd._

     Head winds have continued to blow, against which we have made
     little headway. The engines have developed a nasty knock which
     is appreciable to all on the ship. Kerr insists that an overhaul
     is necessary, and Sir Ernest has decided to make for Lisbon. We
     accordingly headed up for “The Burlings,” and picked up the light
     about 6 P.M.

On October 3rd Kerr had to reduce the pressure of steam in the
cylinders, as we were now proceeding slowly along the coast of Portugal
in the direction of Cape Roca. The coast-line is very picturesque,
dotted all along with old castles and pretty little windmills. We
plugged slowly on, passed by many steamers which signalled us “A
pleasant voyage,” to which we were kept busy answering “Thank you.” One
of the beautiful modern P. & O. liners, coming rapidly up from behind,
altered course to pass close to us, and we could not help envying her
speed and comfort as, making nothing of the short steep seas in which
we were rolling and pitching in the liveliest manner, she rapidly drew
out of sight ahead.

Just before nightfall we reached Cascaes, at the mouth of the Tagus,
where the pilot came aboard, but decided not to proceed till daybreak.
We lay at anchor for some hours, and I rarely remember a more
uncomfortable period than we spent here, jerking at the cable with a
short steep roll that made one positively giddy. It was more than the
Portuguese pilot could stand, for he moved us farther up the river into
shelter, enabling us to get the first comfortable sleep since leaving
the Scilly Islands.

We were taken by tug up the fast-running Tagus to Lisbon in the early
morning, and later the _Quest_ went into dock.

The work was entrusted to Messrs. Rawes & Co., and put in hand without
delay. The source of all the trouble in the engine-room proved to
be the crank shaft, which was out of alignment, and thus caused the
bearings to run hot. The high-pressure connecting rod was found to be
badly bent. The rigging also was altered and reset up.

We did not get away from Lisbon until Tuesday, October 11th.

Those whose work did not confine them to the ship made the most of
their time ashore, the first move being to a hotel for the luxury
of a hot bath and a well-cooked dinner. We were warmly entertained
by the British residents, who during the whole of our stay showed us
the greatest kindness and hospitality. Mooney was carried off by the
Boy Scouts of Lisbon, who showed him the sights of the place. Marr,
although an enthusiastic supporter of the Boy Scout movement, did
not care to spend his whole time as a “kilted spectacle for curious
Latins,” and, doffing his uniform, accompanied the others in their
movements. Amongst other things, we paid a visit _en masse_ to a
bull-fight, which we found to be a much more humane undertaking than
those carried out under the old Spanish system. The bull is not killed
and, though goaded by the darts of the picadors to a fury, does not
seem to be subjected to great ill-treatment. The horses, instead of
being old screws meant to be gored, are beautiful animals, which the
matadors take the greatest care to protect.

We had many visitors on board the ship, including the British and
American Ministers, who were shown round by Sir Ernest. All, as in
London, expressed their amazement at the size of the _Quest_, imagining
her to be far too small for the undertaking.

We set out on October 11th for Madeira, having expended seven days of
precious time.

On leaving the Tagus we again encountered strong head winds, which
lasted four days, during which the _Quest’s_ movements were such as
to upset the strongest stomachs. Bee Mason and Mooney were once more
_hors de combat_, and few except the hardened seamen amongst us escaped
feeling ill, though they managed to carry on their work.

I think there must be very few people in these days of luxurious
floating palaces that ever really have to endure the agonies of
sea-sickness. If they do feel ill they can retire to their bunks, where
attentive stewards minister to their wants. Few, however, have been
in such a condition that they dared not take to their bunks, but have
spent days and nights on deck, sleepless, sodden and cold, in a vigil
of misery unbroken save to turn to when “eight bells” announces the
watch, and struggle through the work until the striking of the bells
again announces relief, unable to taste or bear the thought of food,
and with a stomach persistently and painfully rebellious in spite of an
aching void. Such is the fate of those who go to sea in small vessels,
without stewards and without comforts, and where there is work to be
done. I have nothing but admiration for the way some of the sea-sick
men were sticking to their jobs. Among them was Marr, the Boy Scout,
who showed the greatest hardihood and pluck.

Winds continued to blow from ahead till, on October 15th, the weather
changed and we had a beautiful clear day, with little wind or sea
and bright sunshine. Mooney and Bee Mason continued to suffer from
sea-sickness all the way, the latter becoming quite ill with a high
temperature. As the conditions we had met were likely to prove mild
as compared with those we would encounter in the stormy southern seas,
Sir Ernest Shackleton decided to send both of them home from Madeira.
Let it be said here that it is probable that, if they had had their
own way, each of them would have elected to continue with us, and this
decision to send them back carries with it absolutely no stigma, for
they showed extraordinary pluck and bore their trials uncomplainingly.
To Mooney especially, a young boy gently nurtured, who had never before
left his Orkney home, this portion of the trip must have meant untold
misery. We greatly regretted losing both these companions.


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

  [Illustration: QUERY

     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

On leaving Lisbon the Boss had put the other Scout, Marr, to work in
the bunkers, where he went through a gruelling test. He came out of the
trial very well, showing an amount of hardihood and endurance that was
remarkable. He suffered from sea-sickness, but never failed to carry
out his allotted task, and thoroughly earned his right to continue as
a permanent member of the expedition. I find in his diary the following

     I volunteered to go down the stokehold, and my first duty was that
     of trimming coal. It is a _delightful_ occupation. It consists of
     going down to the bunkers and shovelling coal to within easy reach
     of the firemen. The bunkers are pitch black, and the air—well,
     there is no air, but coal dust. This gets into one’s ears, eyes,
     nose, mouth and lungs; one breathes coal dust. After I had trimmed
     sufficient coal, I commenced stoking. I got on fairly well for a
     first attempt, but did not like the heat.

Another entry which this boy made during the bad weather shows what he
must have gone through, though nothing which he said at the time would
have led one to suspect it:

     Indeed, I was feeling more dead than alive ... what with the
     rolling of the ship and the unsteady nature of my limbs—I was
     sea-sick, and I was much afraid I should fall into the fire or
     down the bilges. When I came off (my watch) I immediately made for
     my bunk, where I remained, without partaking of my breakfast or
     dinner, until 12.0 noon, when I got up again for my next watch....

Before leaving England the Boss had ordered a brass plate to be made,
on which was inscribed two verses of Kipling’s immortal “If?” and had
it placed in front of the bridge. Hussey, after a heavy day’s coaling
in bad weather, was inspired to a version specially applicable to the
_Quest_, which reads as follows:

     If you can stand the _Quest_ and all her antics,
     If you can go without a drink for weeks,
     If you can smile a smile and say, “How topping!”
     When someone splashes paint across your “breeks”;

     If you can work like Wild and then, like “Wuzzles,”
     Spend a convivial night with some “old bean,”
     And then come down and meet the Boss at breakfast
     And never breathe a word of where you’ve been;

     If you can keep your feet when all about you
     Are turning somersaults upon the deck,
     And then go up aloft when no one told you,
     And not fall down and break your blooming neck;

     If you can fill the port and starboard bunkers
     With fourteen tons of coal and call it fun,
     Yours is the ship and everything that’s on it,
     Coz you’re a marvel, not a man, old son....

We arrived at Madeira on the 16th. Kerr had again a number of
adjustments to make in the engine-room, and, with Smith, toiled hard
all the time we were in harbour.

Madeira has been a favourite stopping place for all expeditions to the
Antarctic. Here on October 4th, 1822, Weddell was received and assisted
by Mr. John Blandy, whose firm has rendered help to many subsequent
expeditions. On this occasion we were welcomed by the present Mr. and
Mrs. Blandy and visited their beautiful estate on the hill.

We left after a two days’ stay. “The General” was due to return from
here, but he had made himself so universally popular that Sir Ernest
persuaded him to go on as far as the Cape Verde Islands. Neither our
discomforts nor the vagaries of the _Quest_ had upset him in the
slightest, and he had proved himself a useful member of the crew,
taking a trick at the wheel and carrying on the work on deck generally.
We now entered fine weather, and, running comfortably before the
north-easterly trade winds, reached St. Vincent on October 28th. The
engines had continued to give trouble, and Kerr reported that extensive
repairs and readjustments would be necessary before continuing farther.
They were carried out quickly and effectively by Messrs. Wilson, Sons
& Co., who acted as our agents, and most generously supplied us on
leaving with one hundred tons of coal free of all charge.

We said good-bye to “General” Lysaght, whom we saw depart with genuine
regret. We had a farewell dinner, at which was produced all the best
the _Quest_ could offer, and when the Boss proposed “The General!”
we drank his health and wished him luck. Although he was returning
to home and comforts, he would, I believe, had it been possible, have
accompanied us farther on our way. At the conclusion he was presented
with an illuminated card, the combined work of all the artists aboard,
but chiefly, I think, of Wilkins, which bore the following poem
composed by the Boss:


     After these happy days, spent in the oceanways,
                 Homeward you turn!
     Ere our last rope slipped the quay and we made for the open sea
                 You became one of us.
     You have seen the force of the gale fierce as a thresher’s flail
                 Beat the sea white;
     You have watched our reeling spars sweep past the steady stars
                 In the storm-wracked night.
     You saw great liners turn; high bows that seemed to churn
                 The swell we wallowed in;
     They veered from their ordered ways, from the need of their time
       kept days,
                 To speed us on.
     Did envy possess your soul; that they were sure of their goal
                 Never a damn cared you,
     For you are one with the sea—in its joy and misery
                 You follow its lure.
     In the peace of Chapel Cleeve, surely you must believe,
                 Though far off from us,
     That wherever the _Quest_ may go; what winds blow high or low—
                 Zephyrs or icy gale:
     Safe in our hearts you stand; one with our little band.
                 A seaman, Gerald, are you!
                                                      —E. H. S.

On the 28th we set out, making course for St. Paul’s Rocks. We enjoyed
excellent weather, with smooth seas on which the sun sparkled in a
myriad of variegated points. We felt the heat considerably, which is
natural, considering the confined space and general lack of artificial
means of keeping cool, such as effective fans, refrigerators and iced
water. Most of us slept on deck, under the stars which twinkled above
us, large and luminous, in the tropic nights.

The Boss took Marr out of the stokehold about this time and placed
him to assist Green as cook’s mate, a not very romantic job, but
one which he carried out with his usual thoroughness. He had by now
thoroughly found his feet, and took a deep interest in the sea life of
the tropics: flying fish fleeing in shoals before the graceful bonito,
which, leaping in the air to descend with scarcely a splash, followed
in relentless pursuit; dolphins, albacore and the sinister fins of
occasional sharks.

On November 4th a large school of porpoises came about the ship and
played around our bows. Eriksen seized the opportunity to harpoon one
of them, which we hauled aboard. Wilkins found in its stomach a number
of cuttle-fish beaks. The meat we sent to the larder. The porpoise is
not a fish, but a mammal, warm blooded and air breathing. It provides
an excellent red meat, against which British sailors have for many
years felt a strong prejudice, but which is eaten with relish by
Scandinavians. We found it a pleasant change from tinned food.

One day we encountered a magnificent five-masted barque becalmed in
the doldrums, all sail set and flapping gently with the slight roll.
She was flying the French ensign, and on closer approach proved to be
the _La France_, of Rouen. She presented such a beautiful sight,[3]
with her tall masts and lofty spars reflected in the smooth sea, that
we altered course to pass close to her and enable Wilkins to get some
photographs. Sir Ernest spoke to her captain, who replied in excellent
English, asking where we had left the trade winds, voicing what is
the uppermost thought in the mind of every master of a sailing ship,
the probability and direction of winds, on which depends their motive

We were amused to notice that though the Boss sent his voice unaided
across the water with the greatest ease, the Frenchman required a
megaphone to make audible his replies.

These beautiful vessels are fast being driven off the ocean in the
competition with modern steamships, yet it is with a feeling of
genuine regret that one sees them go, for with them departs much of
the romance of the sea. The apprentice of to-day takes his training
in steamers, and the modern seaman is beginning to regard sail as a
“relic of barbarism.”[4] In the days when I first went to sea one might
count masts and yards by the hundred in harbours such as Falmouth or
Queenstown, but now they are to be found only in ones and twos. They
were fine ships, the old clipper ships, and bred a fine type of seaman,
yet “the old order changeth,” and in spite of an attempt to bring them
into general use again, it is to be feared that they will gradually die
out altogether.

Early on the morning of November 8th we sighted St. Paul’s Rocks,
standing solitary and alone in the midst of a wide tropic sea. They
were the first objective, and Sir Ernest arranged for a party to land
there. We lay to under their lee and dropped a boat. Immediately a
countless shoal of sharks came about us, their fins showing above
water in dozens on every side. A considerable swell was running,
making the approach difficult, but we effected a landing in a little
horseshoe-shaped basin lying in the midst of the rocks. Wilkins,
assisted by Marr, took ashore camera and cinematograph apparatus, and
was able to get some excellent photos of birds.

Douglas, assisted by Dell, carried out an accurate survey and made
a geological examination of the rocks. Hussey and Carr carried out
meteorological work, taking advantage of a fixed base to send up a
number of balloons for measuring the upper air currents. I had charge
of the boat, with Macklin, Jeffrey and Eriksen as crew.

We noticed that the cove in which we had made the landing was simply
alive with marine life of every kind, and so returned to the ship for
fishing tackle. For bait we used crabs, which swarm in large numbers
all over the rocks. There were two sorts, a large red variety and
a smaller one dark green in colour. They were evil-looking things,
and seemed always to be watching us intently, moving stealthily
sideways, now in this direction, now in that. At the least sign of
approach they darted with amazing rapidity into crevices in the rocks.
Occasionally we saw them gather their legs under them and give the
most extraordinary leaps of from two to three feet. Their jaws worked
continually and water sizzled and bubbled at their mouths. Some of them
had found flying fish which had flown ashore or been brought by the
birds. It was a horrible sight—they tore the flesh into fragments with
their powerful claws and crammed it into their mouths. The ownership
was often disputed, the bigger crab always winning. Occasionally a
small crab, hoping for some of the crumbs which might fall from the
rich man’s table, would creep cautiously up behind. The bigger crab,
however, permitted no depredations, but, waiting till the smaller
one reached within a certain limit, would kick out suddenly with an
unoccupied leg, causing the smaller one to hop hastily out of reach.

We spiked what we required with a boat-hook, and they made excellent
bait, for it was necessary only to lower the hook to get an immediate
bite. The landing of the catch, however, proved not so easy. The little
cove swarmed with sharks, which were attracted by the boat, and came
about us in scores. Looking down through the clear water, we could
see fish in plenty flitting hither and thither with leisurely whisks
of their tails, obviously quite at ease and not at all perturbed by
the proximity of the marauders. The moment, however, we hooked one and
started to pull it up, the sharks turned like a streak and went for it
with such voracity that we had the greatest difficulty in getting it to
the surface. What was worse, they frequently bit through the lines and
took the hook also. Finally, we were compelled to reinforce the lines
with wire. On one occasion I succeeded in getting a fish clear of the
water, and, thinking that for once I had eluded the sharks, was in the
act of swinging it aboard when there was a flash of something white, an
ugly snout broke water, and I was left gazing stupidly at half a head
which still dangled from my line. The shark had got the rest. Indeed,
it was not safe to put a hand over the gunwale, for immediately a head
rose towards it.

We had with us in the boat a harpoon and trident, and getting tired
of losing our fish, waged war upon the sharks. We harpooned several,
which we killed and threw back to their brethren, who voraciously set
upon them and tore them to bits. While they were thus distracted we
secured a number of fish. There is something sinister and evil-looking
about sharks. Some of them grow to large size, attaining a length of
thirteen or fourteen feet; there are records of larger ones than that,
the largest I know of being twenty-five feet, but this is exceptional.
Their mouths, which are composed of a curved slit, are situated on the
under surface of the head some distance from the snout. Their teeth,
which are sharp and set backwards, are not true teeth, but modified
scales. The eyes are small and poorly developed, but they have a
phenomenal sense of smell which attracts them from long distances to
potential sources of food. Macklin and Hussey dissected the brain of
one of them, which showed that the olfactory bulbs—the portion devoted
to the sense of smell—is larger than all the rest of the brain.

These rapacious beasts are the most dreaded and most generally hated of
all animals in the seas, and have accounted for many sailors who have
fallen overboard. They are very suspicious of bait on a line, but have
often been caught and hauled on board. It was at one time the custom
on sailing ships to perpetrate in revenge all sorts of mutilating
atrocities upon them, such as gouging out the eyes and filling the
sockets with gunpowder, removing the heart and entrails, afterwards
throwing the animal back into the sea to be torn to pieces by others of
the species.

In addition to the sharks, we caught with the trident a number of
large, round, black-coloured fish of a kind commonly regarded as
poisonous. Their flesh looked so firm and white and excellent that we
decided to try them. When cooked, they proved to be of good flavour,
and no one suffered from the experiment of eating them.

We caught a number of smaller “black fish,” but I took them for
specimens only, for I have seen them in other waters and know them as
garbage eaters of the worst kind, though it is possible that those we
caught here, living far from the filth and sewage of towns, might prove
edible enough. The kind, however, of which we obtained the greatest
number were yellow and blue.

Merely to sit in the boat and gaze down through these pellucid waters
was a pleasure, for the bottom showed clearly, covered with countless
seaweeds, whilst over it passed fish of all sizes and of the brightest
and most varied colourings in endless panorama.

We enjoyed the day immensely, providing as it did a pleasant change
from the routine of ship’s life.

The recall flag was hoisted by the Boss at 4 P.M., when we gathered up
our lines and took off the shore parties.

Before finally leaving the rocks we encircled them slowly to enable
Worsley to get a series of soundings. There is very little shoaling
in the approach to these rocks, which rise sheer and straight from the
sea bottom. The soundings of the depth of water round about them, which
were verified and amplified by those taken by Worsley on this occasion,
show that the “hundred fathom line” is nowhere distant more than four
cables from the rocks, and in places is within nine hundred feet.

As we set off on our course we were surrounded by a number of bonito,
which followed us in graceful leaps and dives. They can be caught
sometimes from the jib-boom by dangling a strong line, baited with a
piece of white rag, in the foam of the bow wave. When pulled out of the
water they are difficult to hold on account of a strong vibration which
is set up by rapid movement of the tail. It is customary to have a sack
handy into which the fish is dropped, when it can be safely passed on

For a while after leaving St. Vincent the engines had run smoothly,
but now they started to give more trouble, requiring the most careful
nursing by Kerr and his staff. The rigging also was not proving
satisfactory, and the scarfed topmast yielded in a most alarming
manner to the strain of the gaff. Sir Ernest Shackleton began to
worry tremendously about her condition, and confided to me that he had
trusted too much to others in the preparation of the engine-room. The
work had been placed in the hands of a consulting engineer in whom he
had reason to feel that he could place the most implicit trust.

Sir Ernest decided, however, before continuing the southern part of the
expedition, to put into harbour at Rio de Janeiro and make a complete
overhaul of every part of the ship under his own direct supervision,
though he was possessed of no special engineering knowledge. We had
intended calling first at South Trinidad Island, but, conditions
becoming worse, we made direct for Rio.

Before entering harbour we repainted the ship, changing the white
deck-house and superstructure and the yellow funnel to a uniform naval
grey. This was done at the suggestion of Jeffrey, who also entered
energetically into the carrying of it out, and there is no doubt that
the grey was a much more serviceable colour. The ports, skirtings and
boats were painted black, which relieved the monotony of the grey and
gave the whole a pleasing effect.

On the night of November 21st we sighted the lights of Rio de Janeiro
stretching in a row along the sea shore. It was a lovely still night,
and the Boss was in good spirits. We gathered outside the surgeon’s
cabin whilst Hussey strummed tunes on his banjo. The Boss loved these
little musical gatherings, and though he himself was unable to produce
a tune of any sort, he liked listening to music.

The next day dawned with a wonderful sunrise which lit up the mountains
round the harbour, tinting them with crimson, rose and pink. A slight
mist on the surface of the water was turned into a wonderful red haze,
through which appeared the masts and spars of sailing ships at anchor.
The harbour is magnificent, dividing with Sydney the claim to be the
finest in the world.

We steamed slowly in, past the Sugar Loaf Mountain which guards the
entrance to the harbour, and came to anchor opposite the town.



Sir Ernest Shackleton lost no time in going ashore to make arrangements
for the necessary work, and set it going with the least possible delay.
Messrs. Wilson, Sons & Co. were appointed agents, and their engineer,
Mr. Howard, came aboard the same day. In addition, a consulting
engineer was employed to make a report on the condition of the engines.
The crank-shaft was badly out of alignment, and from this had resulted
all the other disabilities which had so continuously cropped up during
the voyage. It was considered also that the heavy four-bladed propeller
was too great a strain for the small engines, and that a lighter
two-bladed propeller, giving of a greater number of revolutions, would
prove more satisfactory. The scarfed topmast, which had been badly
strained, required renewing, for which purpose it would be necessary to
take out the foremast.

It was decided also, whilst this work was in process, to recaulk and
tar the hull.

On the second day we moved across the harbour to Wilson’s Island,
where the ship was emptied of all stores and equipment, which were
placed for the time being in a large covered lighter. A large floating
crane, of which we were allowed the use by courtesy of the Brazilian
Government, was placed alongside, and the foremast taken out and placed
in the sheds. This completed, the ship was placed on the slips and
the work proceeded rapidly, the firm concentrating their resources to
get us ready for sea in the shortest possible time. Mr. Howard worked
unceasingly on our behalf, and we received at all times the greatest
help from all responsible members of the firm.

Sir Ernest Shackleton decided during the early part of the voyage that
the living accommodation, which had been adequate for his original
scheme, was insufficient for a programme which entailed prolonged
periods aboard ship, and planned an addition to the deck-house. The
existing structure was carried forward to within a few feet of the
foremast and the new portion made two feet broader on each side.
This meant enclosing the main hatch, but the difficulty was overcome
by building another hatch in the roof of the deck-house and cutting
the coamings of the original hatch flush with the deck. Although an
uncomfortable arrangement in many ways, it had the advantage that
Macklin could open it up at any time he wished to go below independent
of weather conditions, for under the old arrangement the getting up of
stores was limited to fine weather, there being no other access to the
hold than through the hatch, rendering the work in other conditions
very dangerous.

Whilst this work was in progress it was impossible to live aboard,
and a number of the British residents offered to billet the different
members of the expedition in their houses. To Mr. and Mrs. Causer,
Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd, the Secretary of the British Club, and the members
of the Leopoldina Chacara I must take this opportunity of offering my
most sincere thanks for their kindness and hospitality. Thanks are due,
not only to these “godparents” (as we called them), but to others too
numerous to mention, from the British Minister downwards, from all of
whom we received the greatest hospitality and who took a keen interest
in our project.

In spite of all the energy employed in getting the _Quest_ ready for
sea, it became apparent that it would take fully four weeks to complete
the work. The delays caused through repairs since leaving England had
now amounted to six weeks. It would be quite impossible to carry out
the programme and reach Cape Town in time to enter the ice this season.
It was this factor which caused Sir Ernest to decide to abandon, or
postpone, the first part of the programme and make direct for South
Georgia. Unfortunately, much of our scientific apparatus, stores and
nearly all the special winter equipment, clothing, sledges, etc., had
been sent to Cape Town, which was to have been our base of operations.
Sir Ernest decided, however, that much of the foodstuff necessary
to make up the deficiencies could be obtained locally, and hoped to
get sledges, dogs and winter clothing at South Georgia. The German
_Deutschland_ expedition, under Filchner, had been abandoned there,
and when we visited the island in 1914 we found that the whole of the
equipment had been carefully stored and was in excellent condition.
Sir Ernest hoped that much of this would still be available. Previous
to this, in the belief that we should still be carrying on the full
programme, the aeroplane had been sent on to the Cape by mail steamer,
and we should therefore be compelled to do without it at the time when
it would be of the greatest value. At the end of the month most of
the essential work had been completed, but there was still much that
required doing. Mr. Howard was anxious that we should delay another
week to enable him to put in the necessary finishing touches, but
already we were late, and the Boss decided that further delay was

The new addition to the deck-house, intended as a forward messroom,
was a mere unfinished shell. Four bunks were hastily and roughly
knocked up, and we left with no other furniture than a plain deal
table, which was built round a central stanchion, and two benches.
I may say here of the work put in for us at Rio by Messrs. Wilson &
Sons that it was all good and reliable, and withstood all the usage
to which it was subjected, and Kerr never again had any trouble with
the engines beyond minor adjustments. Mr. Howard had done all that was
possible short of building new engines, which he maintained was what
we required, making no secret of his opinion that the present ones
were unsuitable for the work to be undertaken. There was nothing for
it, however, but to go forward, and Sir Ernest, though fully alive to
the _Quest’s_ disabilities, determined to do the best possible under
the circumstances. He had that peculiar nature which shows at its best
under difficulties. He was the most undefeated and unconquerable man
I have ever known. His whole life had been spent in forcing his way
against what to most people must have seemed unsurmountable obstacles.
Yet he had always triumphed, and I, who knew him, felt no doubt that he
would carry this expedition through to a successful conclusion. Yet,
if the reader will but cast his mind over the part of this book which
he has read and think of how, since the inception of the expedition,
one difficulty after another had risen to baulk the enterprise, and how
on board the ship one thing after another had gone wrong and required
repair, he will agree that the Boss might well have thrown in his hand
and retired from the unequal struggle. But nothing could have been more
foreign to his mind—each obstacle but strengthened his resolve to carry
on, and we who served with him never for one moment felt distrust or
doubt that under his leadership all would go well.

Whilst at Rio a change was made in the personnel. Eriksen returned
home, and three new men were taken on: Young and Argles as stokers, and
Naisbitt as cook’s mate.

We left Wilson’s wharf on December 17th, and lay at anchor for the
night in a small bay on the Nictheroy side, close to the entrance to
the harbour. In the morning we made a final complete stowage, lashing
securely all the loose articles on deck and getting the ship trimmed
ready for sea. Whilst we were engaged in this an urgent message was
sent by motor boat for Dr. Macklin to go to Sir Ernest, who had slept
ashore as the guest of the Leopoldina Chacara, and who had been taken
suddenly ill. Macklin went off at once, but on arrival found him fully
recovered, saying that he had merely felt a slight faintness and had
really sent for him to know whether the stores were complete. That
this attack had a greater significance than was appreciated at the time
later events showed.

We set off on December 18th. Sir Ernest, who had naturally worried a
good deal over the continual troubles which cropped up, became once
more his old cheery self, looking forward to a respite from further
alarms regarding the welfare of the ship.


     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

On the day of sailing Jeffrey suffered an injury to his leg which
Macklin pronounced serious, and ordered three weeks’ complete rest
in bed, to which Jeffrey, being an active man, none too willingly
assented. As a matter of fact, as a result of this injury he was
incapacitated for nearly six weeks. Sir Ernest kept his watch.

The first few days at sea were fine and pleasantly cool. The old system
of watches was altered, the men taking their turns at the wheel in
rotation, following alphabetical order. For the day’s work they were
called at 7.0 A.M. and knocked off at 5.0 P.M. The messes were divided.
Sir Ernest, myself, Hussey, McIlroy, Worsley, Macklin, Kerr, Jeffrey,
Carr and Douglas messed in the new wardroom forward, and Smith took
charge of the after messroom, with Dell, McLeod, Marr, Young, Argles
and Watts. Green and Naisbitt messed in the galley.

Three of the bunks in the forward messroom were occupied by McIlroy,
Kerr and Carr, the fourth being used as a locker for their personal

Although we had increased the accommodation, it was still far from
being commodious, and the bare, unfinished condition of the new
quarters offered little comfort. “Roddy” Carr was appointed to make
some cupboards and shelves, and his work, though a bit rough and
ready, answered its purpose well, which was the main thing. Hussey
congratulated him on his new appointment as joiner, calling him
thereafter “Roddy Carr-penter,” which I can assure my readers is the
least of the atrocious puns which we endured from him. Always a cheery
soul, his very presence was worth much to us on the trip, for it is the
small jest which goes farthest and still sparkles when the more subtle
wit has fallen flat.

On December 22nd we saw our first albatross, a fine “Wanderer” which
attached itself to the ship and followed us on our way South. We saw
also a “Portuguese man-o’-war.” The two form a combination rarely seen
in the same latitude (30° 47´ S.).

The albatross has a wonderful flight, and our flying experts, Carr
and Wilkins, watched the bird as it soared and dipped and “banked” and
“stalled” and performed numerous evolutions, for each of which they had
a technical or a slang expression.

I had the 4.0-8.0 A.M. watch on December 24th, during which the wind
blew up wet and misty and came ahead. The Boss gave instructions to
call the hands to take in sail. Whilst the square-sail was being taken
in a corner carrying a heavy block and shackle was whipped across the
deck, catching Carr a violent blow in the face. He was badly stunned,
but picked himself up, with hand to face, blood flowing freely from
between his fingers. When examined, it was found that his nose was
broken. After some trouble the surgeons replaced the bones in position,
but Carr, standing in front of a looking-glass, attempted to improve
the work, with the result that the operation had to be carried out a
second time, with pertinent remarks from Hussey as to the effects upon
his personal appearance if further interfered with.

Later in the day the mist cleared and the sun came out. In the evening
we were able to set sail again.


     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

This being Christmas Eve, we sat after supper and talked of the various
Christmases we had spent. Each man pictured the Christmas he would like
to spend to-morrow if he got the chance. It is funny how we cling,
in spite of long years of disillusionment, to the mind-pictures of
our childhood, and conjure up visions of a snow-covered countryside,
with robins, holly trees, waits, and all the things that go into the
Christmas card. We forget the warm, wet, miserable Christmas days; and
perhaps it is just as well.

Our position, situated as we were in the midst of a waste of stormy
waters, was not an ideal one, but we looked forward to celebrating
Christmas in a cheery way. Mr. and Mrs. Rowett had sent us as a parting
gift a big box of Christmas fare, which included such delicacies as
turkeys, hams, plum puddings, and muscatels and raisins. The evening
was fine, and in spite of sundry croakings from Hussey, our weather
prophet, we anticipated a cheery Christmas dinner.

During the night it became apparent that a gale was brewing, and
Hussey’s prediction seemed to be only too correct, for by Christmas
morning the _Quest_ was heaving and pitching and behaving in such a
lively manner that we saw that any attempt at festivity on this day
would be futile. At breakfast-time it was almost impossible to keep
anything on the table; cups, plates and crockery generally were thrown
about, and the fiddles proved useless to keep them in position. We
therefore put away Mrs. Rowett’s delicacies for a more favourable
occasion. Green had a hard and trying time in his galley. The Boss told
him not to bother about serving a decent lunch, but to serve out each
man with a good thick bully-beef sandwich. This we ate in the shelter
of the alleyways, well braced against the roll of the ship. It was a
pleasant surprise when Green was able to produce some hot cocoa, which
from its taste I suspected to have been made from engine-room water. It
was, however, hot and wet and comforting to our chilled bodies.

For our Christmas dinner we had a thick stew, which was not bad. Two
bottles also materialized, one of rum and one of whisky. Each man was
allowed a tot of whichever he preferred. Rum, being the stronger, was
generally selected. The Boss gave us the toast of “Our good friends,
John and Ellie Rowett,” which we drank enthusiastically. Afterwards the
Boss asked each man where he had spent the last Christmas, and it was
interesting to find how much scattered over the globe we had been. The
Boss was in London, McIlroy and myself were in Central Africa, Worsley
in Iceland, Macklin in Singapore, Jeffrey in New York, Kerr in Hamburg,
Carr in Lithuania, McLeod in Mauritius, Naisbitt in Rio, and Young in
Cape Town. Green was wandering somewhere round the East as steward of
a tramp steamer, and of all of us only the Boss, Hussey and Marr, the
Boy Scout, seemed to have spent theirs at home.

During the day we were visited by numbers of sea birds which seemed
to be in no way perturbed by the high winds: albatross, whale birds,
Mother Carey’s chickens, Cape pigeons and a Cape hen. It was cheering
to see them again, these old friends of ours, and to watch their flight
as they sailed cleverly from the shelter of one wave to another, rarely
meeting the full force of the gale.

On the 26th the weather had abated somewhat, though a strong wind
continued to blow from the west. The temperature dropped to 60° F.,
making the air quite chilly, and we were glad to don heavier clothing.

Kerr came to me with a report that the forward water tank was empty.
He had sounded several times, and had gone below to tap the sides,
the tank yielding a hollow note, so that there was no doubt about it.
The small after tank, which had been freely used since leaving Rio de
Janeiro, was also nearly empty, so that there was very little fresh
water left on the ship. It was necessary to report this to Sir Ernest,
though I did not like doing so, for I knew that the former troubles had
caused him much worry, and he was now in hopes that he had heard the
last of them. Though he took the news, which was serious enough, in
all calmness, I could see that it caused him some uneasiness. We had
to economize rigidly in the use of what water was left, using it for
cooking and drinking purposes only, and making the best use we could of
sea water for washing and cleaning. There was a small exhaust tank in
the engine-room, which collected the steam after it had passed through
the cylinders. The amount of water from this source was small, and
tasted somewhat oily, but it helped to eke out the supply. Kerr removed
the tank lid and made a search from inside for the site of the leak,
which proved fortunately to be not in the walls of the tank itself but
at the junction with the feed pipe.

During the night of the 27th-28th the wind again freshened. I had the
middle watch. By 2.0 A.M. a furious gale was blowing from the W.N.W.
Rapidly rising seas came along in quick succession with big curling
tops, and breaking with a roar ran along our rails with a venomous
hiss. The wind was on our starboard quarter, and under topsail and
square-sail we made good speed before it. The ship’s log registered
nine knots. With each drive forward of the big seas the ship overran
her engines, ultimately compelling us to shut off steam. We were making
such good headway that I was loath to heave-to, and we continued to
rush along in a smother of foam and spray, veering and twisting to
such an extent that the man at the wheel had all his work cut out to
maintain a course and prevent her from broaching-to. I was afraid that
some of the gear might carry away, and strained continuously into the
darkness ahead. There was, however, something about the leap and swing
of the ship as she tore along that caused our spirits to rise and
created a tremendous feeling of uplift.

I was relieved at 4.0 A.M. by Worsley, who carried on for another two
hours. At 6.0 A.M. the seas had risen to such an extent that Sir Ernest
decided to heave-to, and all hands were called to take in sail. Putting
the ship straight before the wind we let go the square-sail with a run,
all hands rushing forward to gather up the canvas and stow it securely.
Dell, jumping to assist another man, got his foot caught in a coil of
rope, which, running out at high speed, threw him violently off his
feet, causing an injury from which he took months to recover. We let
go the topsail sheets and started to clew up, the wind causing the sail
to flap with loud reports and bending the yard like a bow. Worsley and
Macklin clambered aloft to take it in and pass the gaskets which secure
it to the yard.

The gale increased in violence. I was agreeably surprised with the
_Quest’s_ behaviour, for she lay-to much more comfortably than I had
expected, and took comparatively little water over her sides. There
was enough, however, to make things uncomfortable, for it filled the
waist of the ship, flooded the cabins, and sweeping along the alleyways
entered the galley and extinguished the fires. Green stuck valiantly to
his post and managed at each meal-time to serve us out some good solid
sandwiches and, what was of especial value under the circumstances,
a good hot drink, which sent a warm glow through our arteries and put
new life into us. We considerably reduced the amount of water coming
on board by placing a series of oil bags over the bow, which subdued
the seas in a manner scarcely credible except to those who watched its
effect upon them, as with breaking tops they rushed angrily upon us,
suddenly to lose all their sting and slip harmless under our keel. With
regard to the use of oil bags, if they are to be used at all, it is
necessary to let the oil run freely, though not necessarily wastefully.
Small driblets are valueless and not worth the trouble of putting over
the side.

The next day there was still a strong sea running, but it was merely
the aftermath of the gale, which lost its sting about midnight. In
the morning the sun came out and brightened things up considerably.
Later in the day we were able to set sail and proceed on our way.
Our friendly sea-birds, which had disappeared during the worst of the
storm, returned and followed in our wake.

We had not long been under way when Sir Ernest approached, saying
quietly: “Wild, you came to me with bad news the other day; I have some
news for you.”

“Good or bad?” I asked.

“Bad,” he replied; “worse than yours; bad enough perhaps to stop the

He then told me that Kerr, who had been the harbinger of so much evil
tidings, had again to report the discovery of a most serious condition.
Whilst cleaning fires he had discovered a leak in the furnace from
which the water bubbled out and ran in a thin stream down the sides. He
was unable to state definitely the exact condition, which could not be
examined until our arrival in South Georgia, as it required that the
fires should be drawn to enable him to creep bodily into the furnace.
He explained that it might be a small matter which could be repaired,
or it might prove to be so serious that the boiler could not be used
further. In spite of the quiet way in which Sir Ernest took this news,
and the calm which he outwardly exhibited, I think it proved to be a
pretty severe blow and the cause of a good deal of worry.

Indeed, all this recurrence of trouble from below decks, in departments
which he personally had not been able to supervise, must have proved
very trying. From the very first inception of the expedition he had had
difficulties innumerable which might well have broken the spirit of a
lesser man.

For the present Kerr was instructed to keep a watchful eye on the
condition and, unless it appeared to be getting worse, to carry on
under reduced pressure.

The wind again blew up to a moderate gale from the westward on December
30th, much less severe, however, than the last one, though with very
violent squalls. We ran off before it, making good speed, and though
the rising seas rushed down upon our stern as if to poop us, the
_Quest_ rose to let them pass frothing and sizzling, but harmless,
under our counter.

Towards evening, however, both wind and sea had increased, and Sir
Ernest decided to take in sail and heave-to. Much water came on board
and found its way into Sir Ernest’s cabin and my own, the doors of
which opened on to the waist of the ship. The bunks were sodden,
so much so that Sir Ernest left his and made up a bed on one of the
benches in the wardroom, refusing to deprive any other man of his bunk.
During the long spell of bad weather he had spent nearly the whole time
on the bridge, and though I repeatedly suggested to him that he should
lie down and rest, he would not do so. On this particular night he took
Worsley’s watch as well as his own, so that Worsley’s rest might not
be disturbed. He was always doing little things like this for other

About this time I began to feel a little bit uneasy, for it seemed to
me that he was doing too much and subjecting himself to too great a

Macklin’s diary shows that he had the wheel during the second
dog-watch, and was relieved at 8.0 P.M. by Sir Ernest, who told him to
lash the wheel and go to bed.

Macklin noticed, however, that the Boss was looking tired and ill,
and urged him to call Worsley (whose real watch it was) and turn in
himself. The Boss would not hear of it, saying:

“You boys are tired and need all the sleep you can get.”

The diary says:

     He was looking so tired that I offered with some diffidence, for
     I am not a trained seaman, to stay on myself, saying that on the
     least sign of anything untoward happening I would blow a whistle.
     Somehow or other a long conversation ensued, in which he told me
     many things. He said:

     “If this crack in the furnace proves serious I may have to abandon
     the expedition—my reputation will stand it—but I am not beaten;
     John Rowett understands me, and will trust me to make the best of
     things, even if I have to get a new ship.”

He reverted to his original northern scheme, saying:

     “The _Quest_ would have been suitable for that; in the Davis
     Strait, even if we lost her, we should have had no difficulty in
     reaching land, where we could subsist on game and carry on without

So ended the Old Year. New Year’s Day brought us a calm sea with long
oily swell, and over all a drenching mist. Being a Sunday little work
was done, and all hands were allowed a rest after the somewhat trying
days we had just experienced.

With the new year Sir Ernest Shackleton again commenced to write in his
journal, which I insert verbatim.

     _January 1st, 1922._

     Rest and calm after the storm. The year has begun kindly for us;
     it is curious how a certain date becomes a factor and a milestone
     in one’s life. Christmas Day in a raging gale seemed out of
     place. I dared not venture to hope that to-day would be as it was.
     Anxiety has been probing deeply into me, for until the very end
     of the year things have gone awry. Engines unreliable; furnace
     cracked; water short; heavy gales; all that physically can go
     wrong, but the spirit of all on board is sound and good.

               There are two points in the adventures of a diver,
               One when a beggar he prepares to plunge,
               One when a prince he rises with his pearl.

     _January 2nd, 1922._

     Another wonderful day, fine, clear, a slight head wind, but
     cheerful for us after these last days of stress and strain. At 1
     P.M. we passed our first berg. The old familiar sight aroused in
     me memories that the strenuous years had deadened. Blue caverns
     shone with sky-glow snatched from heaven itself, green spurs
     showed beneath the water.

               And bergs mast high
               Came sailing by,
               As green as emerald.

     Ah me! the years that have gone since in the pride of young
     manhood I first went forth to the fight. I grow old and tired, but
     must always lead on.

     _January 3rd, 1922._

     Another beautiful day; fortune seems to attend us this New
     Year, but so anxious have I been, when things are going well, I
     wonder what internal difficulty will be sprung upon me. All day
     long a light wind and clear sky was our happy portion. I find
     a difficulty in settling down to write—I am so much on the _qui
     vive_; I pray that the furnace will hold out.

                   Thankful that I can
               Be crossed and thwarted as a man.

     _January 4th, 1922._

     At last, after sixteen days of turmoil and anxiety, on a peaceful
     sunshiny day, we came to anchor in Gritviken. How familiar the
     coast seemed as we passed down: we saw with full interest the
     places we struggled over after the boat journey. Now we must speed
     all we can, but the prospect is not too bright, for labour is
     scarce. The old familiar smell of dead whale permeates everything.
     It is a strange and curious place.

     Douglas and Wilkins are at different ends of the island. A
     wonderful evening.

               In the darkening twilight I saw a lone star hover
                   Gem-like above the bay.

These were the last words written by Sir Ernest Shackleton.

I continue my own narrative.

Early in the morning of Wednesday, January 4th, we sighted Wallis
Island, and soon after the main island of South Georgia opened into
view, with its snow-clad rocky slopes and big glaciers running to the
sea. With fair wind and in smooth water we passed along the coast.
Sir Ernest at sight of the island had completely thrown off his
despondency, became once more his active self, and stood with Worsley
and myself on the bridge, picking out through binoculars, with almost
boyish excitement, the old familiar features, and recognizing places
with such words as, “Look, there’s the glacier we descended!” or,
“There, do you see, coming into view, the slope where we lit the Primus
and cooked our meal?” He kept his spirits throughout the day, and it
was with the greatest pleasure that I recognized once more the old
buoyant, optimistic Boss.

The day cleared beautifully, and we entered Cumberland Bay in bright
sunshine, with not a ripple on the surface of the water. How familiar
it all seemed as we rounded the point and entered Gritviken Harbour,
with the little station nestling at the foot of the three big peaks,
the spars of the _Tijuca_, the small whalers along the pier; all
exactly as we had left them seven years before. The Boss, looking
across at the slopes above our “dog-lines,” remarked, “The Cross has
gone from the hillside!”[5]

The poles which had been set up by us to mark the north and south
direction were still standing; we were informed that they were used
regularly by the whalers in adjusting their compasses.

We passed the spit with the little Argentine meteorological station,
behind which lay the house of the Government officials, and dropped
anchor in the _Endurance’s_ old anchorage.

One familiar landmark was missing—the little hospital hut in which
I had lived with McIlroy, Macklin, Hussey, Crean and Marston, the
dog-drivers of the last expedition. We found later that it had been
moved from its old site close to the “dog-lines” to a more central
position amongst the huts of the station.

Mr. Jacobsen, the manager, an old friend of ours, came aboard, and
shortly afterwards returned to the shore with Sir Ernest, who was full
of vigour and energy.

I had the boat lowered and went ashore with McIlroy, Hussey, Carr,
Macklin and some others to look about our old quarters.

The season was now midsummer, the snow had disappeared from the lower
slopes, and with the bright sunshine and warmth the place had a very
different aspect from what it had when we were here in 1914, much
earlier in the season. In other respects there was little change, and
we recognized amongst the workers at the station a number with whom we
had been familiar; in particular, one of the flensers, a hard-bitten
individual who was standing with spiked sea-boots on a huge whale
carcass, assisting the stripping process by deft cuts here and there
with his long-handled knife.

We visited our old hut in its new situation. It was now being used as
a hospital again, and a young Danish doctor was in charge. We passed
along to its old site beside the stream, which runs clear and icy cold
straight from the snows. There was much less volume of water than when
we were here before, but the little basin we had cut out as a bathing
place was still there. Here, with the others, I used to take a morning
dip. That was in the days of my hardihood. Macklin used to lie down in
it, and stand in the snow to dry himself.

We went on to the “dog-lines,” passing _en route_ the little cemetery,
which we glanced at casually enough. The stakes to which we had secured
the tethering lines were still standing as we had left them, as were
also the boards with which we had made a flooring for the tent. We
climbed the hill to a lake, on the frozen surface of which we used to
exercise the dogs—it was now a sheet of open water. We sat down on the
banks, enjoying the lovely sunshine, and watched the countless skua
gulls and terns which, attracted by the unwonted visitors, flew close
down over our heads. The younger spirits, full of exuberance, and
revelling in the change from the confinement of the ship, threw stones
at them, and tempted Query, who had accompanied us, to retrieve pieces
of wood from the lake.

On our way back we were accosted by an incongruous figure—a coal-black
nigger, on whose head was perched a bowler hat many sizes too small. He
addressed us with a marked American twang:

“Say, you boys from the _Quest_, you goin’ to the South Pole, ain’t
you? Wal, guess I’m comin’ along with ya!”


     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

We guessed he wasn’t, and passed on. We learned from Mr. Jacobsen that
he was a stowaway from St. Vincent, who was a perfect nuisance to them,
and who was being sent away at the earliest opportunity.

This being the first time we had been on an even keel since leaving
Rio de Janeiro, we had dinner in comfort and spent a cheery evening,
the Boss being full of jokes. At the finish he rose, saying, “To-morrow
we’ll keep Christmas.” I went on deck with him, and we discussed a few
details of work. He went to his cabin to turn in. I arranged for an
“anchor watch” to be kept, and also turned in early for a good sound



On Thursday, January 5th, I was awakened about 3.0 A.M. to find both of
the doctors in my cabin—Macklin was lighting my oil lamp. McIlroy said:

“We want you to wake up thoroughly, for we have some bad news to give
you—the worst possible.”

I sat up, saying:

“Go on with it, let me have it straight out!”

He replied: “The Boss is dead!”

It was a staggering blow.

Roused thus in the middle of the night to receive this news, it was
some minutes before I felt its full significance. I remember saying

“The Boss dead! _Dead_, do you mean? He can’t be dead!”


     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

On asking for particulars, I learned from Macklin that he was taking
the 2.0-4.0 A.M. anchor watch. He was patrolling the ship, when he was
attracted by a whistle from the Boss’s cabin, and on going in, found
him sitting up in his bunk. His own account, written almost immediately
after, is as follows:

     Was called at 2.0 A.M. for my watch. A cold night but clear and
     beautiful, with every star showing. I was slowly walking up and
     down the deck, when I heard a whistle from the Boss’s cabin. I
     went in, and he said: “Hullo, Mack, boy, is that you? I thought
     it was.” He continued: “I can’t sleep to-night, can you get me a
     sleeping draught?” He explained that he was suffering from severe
     facial neuralgia, and had taken fifteen grains of aspirin. “That
     stuff is no good; will you get me something which will act?”

     I noticed that although it was a cold night he had only one
     blanket, and asked him if he had no others. He replied that they
     were in his bottom drawer and he could not be bothered getting
     them out. I started to do so, but he said, “Never mind to-night,
     I can stand the cold.” However, I went back to my cabin and got
     a heavy Jaeger blanket from my bunk, which I tucked round him. He
     was unusually quiet in the way he let me do things for him.... He
     talked of many things quite rationally, and finding him in such a
     complacent mood, I thought it a good opportunity to emphasize the
     necessity of his taking things very much more quietly than he had
     been doing.... “You are always wanting me to give up something.
     What do you want me to give up now?” This was the last thing he

     He died quite suddenly.

     I remained with him during the worst of the attack, but as soon as
     I could leave him I ran to McIlroy and, shaking him very roughly
     I am afraid, said: “Wake up, Mick, come at once to the Boss. He
     is dying!” On my way back I woke Hussey, and told him to get me
     certain medicines. It must have been rather a shocking awakening
     for both of them, but they leapt up at once. Nothing could be
     done, however. I noted the time—it was about 2.50 A.M.

I had Worsley called and informed him of what had occurred. To the rest
I said nothing till the morning.

At 8.0 A.M. I mustered all hands on the poop, and told them the bad
news. Naturally it was a great shock to them all, especially to those
who had served with him before and thus knew him more intimately. I
added briefly that I now commanded the expedition, which would carry

On that day, and on the several that followed, rain fell heavily,
fitting in with our low spirits.

I immediately set about making arrangements for sending home the sad
news to Lady Shackleton, and for notifying Mr. Rowett.

I sent for Watts, our wireless operator, and asked him if he could
establish communication. He said he would try. From his log: “My
ambition was to get the type 15 set working, so as to pass the news as
quickly as possible. The whole set I stripped and tested thoroughly,
and ‘made good’ minor defects, but luck was still against me. The
dynamo was run at 5.45 P.M., and whilst testing the installation the
machine suddenly raced, and fuses were blown out, so further working of
the set had to be abandoned.”

I went ashore to see Mr. Jacobsen, who was deeply shocked at the
news. I learned from him that there was no wireless apparatus on the
island other than those carried by the oil transport steamers, none
of which, however, had a sending range sufficient to get into touch
with a receiving station from here. He told me that the _Albuera_, a
steamer lying at Leith Harbour farther round the coast, was due to
sail in about ten days. He said that if I cared to go to Leith and
make arrangements with her captain for sending the news, he would put
at my disposal the _Little Karl_, a small steam whaler used by him for
visiting different parts of the island.

I accepted his offer, and whilst the vessel was being got ready went
with McIlroy and Macklin to notify the resident magistrate. He was away
at another station, but I saw Mr. Barlas, the assistant magistrate.
It is curious how one notices small things at a time like this. One
incident stands out vividly in my memory. At the moment of my telling
him he was lighting a cigarette, which he dropped on the table-cloth,
where it continued to burn. I remember picking it up for him and
placing it where it could do no harm. This done I left for Leith with
McIlroy, who during the whole of this time was of the greatest help
and assistance. Everyone at Leith showed the greatest kindness and
sympathy, and Captain Manson, of the _Albuera_, readily undertook to
send off the message as soon as he got within range of any wireless

Arrangements for the disposal of the body I left to Macklin, and to
Hussey I entrusted the care of papers and personal effects.

At first I decided to bury Sir Ernest in South Georgia. I had no idea,
however, of what Lady Shackleton’s wishes might be, and so ultimately
decided to send him home to England. The doctors embalmed the body,
which was placed in a lined coffin kindly made for us by Mr. Hansen, of
Leith. There was a steamer named _Professor Gruvel_ lying in Gritviken
Harbour, which was due to sail in about ten days, and her captain,
Captain Jacobsen, offered to carry the body as far as Monte Video, from
where it could be sent on by mail boat.

As soon as the necessary arrangements had been made we carried him
ashore. All hands mustered quietly and stood bareheaded as we lifted
the coffin, covered by our silk white ensign, to the side of the
_Quest_, and passed it over into a motor launch. All the time the
rain soaked heavily down. From the pier we carried him to the little
hospital and placed him in the room in which we had lived together
seven years before.

The next day we carried him to the little church, which is situated
so romantically at the foot of towering snow-covered mountains, over
ground which he had so often trod with firm, eager steps in making the
final preparations for the start of the _Endurance_ expedition.

Here I said good-bye to the Boss, a great explorer, a great leader and
a good comrade.

I had served with him in all his expeditions, twice as his
second-in-command. I accompanied him on his great journey which so
nearly attained the Pole, shared with him every one of his trials and
vicissitudes in the South, and rejoiced with him in his triumphs. No
one knew the explorer side of his nature better than I, and many are
the tales I could tell of his thoughtfulness and his sacrifices on
behalf of others, of which he himself never spoke.


     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

Of his hardihood and extraordinary powers of endurance, his buoyant
optimism when things seemed hopeless and his unflinching courage in
the face of danger I have no need to speak. He always did more than
his share of work. Medical evidence shows that the condition which
caused his death was an old standing one and was due to throwing too
great a strain upon a system weakened by shortage of food. I have known
personally and served with all the British leaders of exploration in
the Antarctic since my first voyage in the _Discovery_. For qualities
of leadership and ability to organize Shackleton stands foremost and
must be ranked as the first explorer of his day.

I felt his loss, coming as it did, most keenly.

In order to ensure safe disposal of the body, and to arrange for its
transference at Monte Video, I detailed Hussey to accompany it home.
I could ill spare him, but I considered him the most suitable man I
could select for the purpose. Naturally it was a disappointment to him
to give up the expedition, but he accepted the responsibility without
demur, and I am grateful to him for the spirit in which he complied
with my arrangements.

As subsequent events turned out, Hussey received a message at Monte
Video from Lady Shackleton expressing her wish that Sir Ernest should
be buried in South Georgia, which was the scene of one of his greatest
exploits, and which might well be described as the “Gateway of the
Antarctic.” The coffin was returned to Gritviken by the _Woodville_,
through the courtesy of Captain Least, and Sir Ernest was ultimately
buried in the little cemetery beside our old “dog-lines.” Of his
comrades, only Hussey was present at the funeral, for the rest of
us had already sailed into the South, but there were many amongst
the hardy whalers of South Georgia who attended, men who knew him
and could, better than most people, appreciate his work. Nor was the
sympathetic presence of a woman lacking, for at the funeral was Mrs.
Aarberg, wife of the Norwegian doctor at Leith, who with kindly thought
had placed upon his grave a wreath made from the only flowers on the
island, those which she had cultivated with much care and patience
inside her own house. She was the only woman on South Georgia.

I have not the least doubt that had Sir Ernest been able to decide
upon his last resting-place, it is just here that he would have chosen
to lie, and would have preferred this simple funeral to any procedure
carried out with greater pomp and ceremony.

     Not here! the white _South_ has thy bones; and thou,
       Heroic sailor-soul,
     Art passing on thine happier voyage now
       Toward no earthly Pole.[6]



     We can make good all loss except
     The loss of turning back.

Though we all felt very keenly the loss we had suffered in the death
of the Boss, we could not allow our depression of spirits to take too
strong a hold on us, for there was much work to be done.

The season was now well advanced, and I had to make up my mind at
once as to what we were going to do. Sir Ernest Shackleton’s death,
occurring at this critical juncture, left me with no knowledge of his
plans, for he had withheld any definite decision as to future movements
until he should be able to arrange for another complete overhaul of
the engines. Since hearing of the crack in the furnace he had outlined
several alternative propositions without, however, showing any definite
leaning to any one of them.

The entry in his diary of January 1st shows how fully he realized the
condition of the engines. Yet he added: “But the spirit of all on board
is sound and good”; and later, “I must always lead on”! There is not
the slightest doubt that he intended to go on with the work, and I knew
that had he lived he would have found some way to carry on.

My position, when summed up, was as follows:

I was out of communication with the rest of the world, and there was
no possibility of my receiving any message from Mr. Rowett. I had
therefore to act for myself.

The Antarctic open season was well advanced, and thus limited the time
available for manœuvring in the ice. I had therefore to act without

With regard to the ship, the recent heavy storms had shown her to be a
fine sea-boat, capable of standing any weather at sea. Rigging and hull
were sound. The troubles which had so continuously cropped up since
our leaving England had shown, however, that the engines could not be
regarded as reliable.

We were short of both food stores and equipment, for our depot for
the South was to have been Cape Town, and as a result of all the
delays involved since our start we had not been able to go there and
take them up. The food stores included those things most suitable
for cold regions. The general equipment included warm clothing,
footgear, sledging gear and harness; special ice equipment in the way
of ice-picks, ice-anchors and hand harpoons; oil and paraffin for the
engines and dynamos, and a quantity of scientific gear.

As to personnel, I knew that I had with me men who would staunchly
stand by me and support me in whatever decision I should come to.

Sir Ernest had spoken on one occasion, just before arrival at South
Georgia, of proceeding down Bransfield Strait, finding a suitable spot
somewhere on the western side of Graham Land, and freezing the ship in
for the winter. When summer appeared he would cross Graham Land to the
Weddell Sea and explore the coastline on that side as far as time and
conditions should permit.

Of his different plans, this and his published programme of proceeding
eastwards and making an attempt to penetrate the pack ice as near to
Enderby Land as possible, and from there to push south, were the only
two which I could consider.

As to the first, for the carrying out of this I should require a large
quantity of stores, sledging equipment and good winter clothing. As
before stated, these were at Cape Town, and unless I could obtain them
in South Georgia this scheme must fall through.

Sir Ernest’s last message home had been that all was well with the ship
and the expedition, and he had never had a chance to announce publicly
the final situation. Mr. Rowett might therefore wonder at any change
of plan occurring after his death. On this score, however, I was not
greatly concerned, for I felt that in anything I should undertake I
would have his support and carry his trust.

With regard to the original published programme, I realized that to
enter an area which had hitherto proved impenetrable to every ship
which had made the attempt, would with the _Quest_ be a hazardous
undertaking even under the most favourable circumstances. Any ship
entering heavy pack ice runs a risk of being beset and frozen in, and
when that has occurred her fate lies absolutely with the gods. Should
the ship be crushed, the chances of escape from the area in which we
should be working could only be regarded as remote, for even if we
succeeded in escaping from the pack with our boats, the nearest point
we could make for would be Cape Town, a distance of over two thousand
miles, through stormy seas, dependent for water supply upon what we
could collect in the way of rain.

Any fool can push a ship into the ice and lose her—my job was to bring
her back again.

On careful weighing of the two alternatives the Graham Land proposition
appealed to me more strongly, for it offered the prospect of good
work; and in case of accident we should be within measurable reach of
whalers, which in their search for whales penetrate deeply amongst the
islands of the Palmer Archipelago.

Though I was faced with an innumerable number of smaller
considerations, the above represents roughly the situation at the time.

Therefore with these points of view in mind before coming to any
decision at all, I gave instructions to Kerr to examine thoroughly
and overhaul the engines and boilers and report to me his considered
opinion. This he did. The work done at Rio had been good and sound, and
he considered the condition of the engines to be fit for proceeding.
The boiler presented a difficult problem. On looking up the record
of the _Quest_ (or the _Foca I_ as she was previously named) in
the Norwegian _Veritas_, I discovered that though the ship was
comparatively new, the boiler had been built in 1890, and was thus
_thirty-one years old_.

Kerr made an examination from inside, and I had also the second
opinion, by courtesy of Captain Jacobsen, of the chief engineer of the
_Professor Gruvel_.

The report showed that the condition was not reparable, but at the same
time was not likely to develop further and become serious.

I threw upon Kerr the onus of deciding as to whether the engines and
boiler were fit to continue with into the ice or not. With true native
caution (he comes of Aberdeen stock) he replied that there was always a
risk of breakdown, but not an unreasonable one; he was willing to take
it himself.

So far as that was concerned I decided to go ahead.

My next step was to see about the special winter equipment which Sir
Ernest had hoped would be available here.

I learned to my dismay from Mr. Jacobsen that Filchner’s store had been
opened up and the contents scattered. There were no dogs on the island.
They had proved so voracious and such a nuisance to the station that
they had been shot. Food could be obtained, and a certain amount of
clothing from the slop chests[7] of the different stations, but this
was considered of doubtful quality and not recommended for our purpose.
I thought bitterly of the good stuff lying in a Cape Town warehouse.

These considerations caused me reluctantly to rule out the Graham Land

There remained now only to carry on as the Boss had intended or to go
back. As a matter of fact, I hardly gave the latter a thought. To go
back was intolerable and quite incompatible with British prestige. To
carry out against all difficulties the work the Boss had set out to
do appealed to me strongly. I made my decision, and let it be known
to all hands, giving each one a chance to back out before it was too
late. I believe there was not one who ever so much as thought of it,
and none seemed to doubt but that we would go on. Such is the onus of
leadership. Where you must concern yourself for the safety and welfare
of those under your charge, they place in you their trust and do not
worry at all. This is as it should be.

I told Macklin, who was in charge of stores and equipment, to take a
complete and accurate tally of everything we had aboard and then work
out and make a list of requirements for the period to be spent in the

When this was done I sent him to visit the different stations and pick
out from their slop chests anything that he might consider necessary in
the way of clothing.

Nothing was available at Gritviken, and so on January 16th we left for
Leith Harbour, where we received the greatest kindness from Mr. Hansen,
the manager of the whaling station. His keen interest and practical
assistance meant a great deal to me at this critical time, and his
genial qualities and kindly hospitality did much to dissipate the gloom
which had fallen upon us. We obtained from him all the food stores we
required and a general outfit of clothing and blankets, which, though
by no means the equivalent of our own specially prepared stuff, was
at least adequate to meet the demands of a single season. Amongst
other things, each man was provided with a fur-lined leather cap, an
abundance of socks and mitts, a pair of stout ankle boots, a pair of
sea boots, a quantity of warm underclothing, heavy pea-jacket, light
windproof jacket, a stout pair of trousers, three good blankets and a
warm coverlet.

It was necessary before starting to fill the bunkers with coal. Mr.
Hansen had none to spare, but he took me round in a whaler to Husvik
Harbour, where Mr. Andersen, the manager, promised to supply me with
what we required.


     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

On January 14th I told Worsley to take the _Quest_ to Husvik, where she
was placed alongside the _Orwell_, the station oil carrier, from which
we took aboard 105 tons of best Welsh coal. In the meantime work had
been going on busily on board, for Worsley and Jeffrey had much to do
in their preparations for the ice. The forward water tank had been made
sound and a hand pump fitted. Dell, McLeod and Marr tested all running
gear and rigging, which was set up in good order and any defective
material replaced. Marr, since leaving Rio, had been replaced in the
galley by Naisbitt, and now assisted Dell about the deck, a job very
much more to his taste. He was also appointed “Lampy,” having charge of
all the non-electrical lighting of the ship.

Wilkins and Douglas, who had preceded us here from Rio de Janeiro in
order to have more time for their scientific work, rejoined us, and
were much shocked at the news we had to give them.

We were now ready for sea, but returned first to Leith Harbour to pick
up two ice anchors and a number of hand harpoons, ice picks and ice
axes which Mr. Hansen had turned out for us in his workshop.

We received from the Norwegian people in South Georgia during the whole
of our stay nothing but the greatest kindness and sympathy and the most
valuable practical assistance in our somewhat extensive preparations.
This is the more remarkable in that they are not of our nationality
and Norway has ever been our keenest rival in Polar exploration. They
were, however, as Sir Ernest would have said, “of the Brotherhood of
the Sea,” and that explains much.

We were about to embark upon what would most certainly prove to be the
most arduous part of our programme, which I had briefly outlined in a
last letter to Mr. Rowett as follows:

     As I am at present out of communication with you, and in view of
     the lateness of the season, which necessitates that any attempt to
     enter the ice must be carried out without delay, I have decided
     to carry on the work of the expedition, adhering as nearly as
     circumstances permit to the plans as most recently expressed by
     Sir Ernest Shackleton.

     Consequently ... I intend pushing to the eastward to a position
     dependent upon the date as marking the advancement of the season,
     striking south through the pack ice, and making an attempt to
     reach the Great Ice Barrier. If I am successful in this, I will
     turn westwards and map out, as far as possible, the coastline in
     the direction of Coats Land, but taking steps to escape before the
     ship gets frozen in.

     There are, however, certain factors which may compel me to use my
     discretion in altering the programme, as follows:

     1. In addition to the defects of the ship already notified to you
     by Sir Ernest Shackleton, compelling alterations at Lisbon, St.
     Vincent and Rio de Janeiro, during this last stage of the voyage
     two other grave defects were discovered: a crack and a leak in
     the boiler furnace, and a leak in the forward water tank which
     almost emptied it. On arrival here the boiler was examined by Mr.
     Kerr, the chief engineer of the _Quest_, and by engineers from
     the whaling station. After careful consideration they have decided
     that it is possible to go forward, and Mr. Kerr states that it is
     quite reasonable to enter the ice under the conditions.

     Whilst ashore, I took the opportunity of looking up the record
     in the Norwegian Record of Ships, and found that the boiler was
     built in 1890, and is consequently 31 years old, a fact of which
     I feel quite sure Sir Ernest was ignorant.... From the time the
     expedition started various defects of the engines have appeared,
     and any further developments in this respect may entail change of

     2. The capability of the _Quest_ to deal with pack ice. It has
     been shown during the voyage that she is of lower engine power
     than was originally expected, and much will depend upon what speed
     and driving power she can maintain in the ice.

     3. The lateness of the season limits the amount of time in which
     it is possible to operate in the ice pack.

     4. Progress will depend upon conditions which cannot altogether
     be foreseen, viz. weather conditions, and the depth and density
     of the pack ice when we encounter it, varying greatly as it does
     from year to year.... I expect to leave the ice towards the end of
     March, and will probably return to this island (South Georgia) or
     the Falkland Islands for coal and water....

This briefly indicates my plan and the outlook at the time we left
South Georgia. In working to the eastward I intended to make for
the charted position of “Pagoda Rock,” and verify or wash out its
existence; also, if possible, I wished to visit Bouvet Island.

It will be seen that throughout this projected route we should have the
winds to the best advantage, for while working east we should be in the
westerly belt, which extends approximately from lat. 35° S. to lat. 60°
S., whilst above these latitudes, on our return, we should enter the
belt of prevailing easterly winds.



We left Leith Harbour on January 17th, and proceeded along the coast to
Cooper Bay. Douglas and Carr had gone there some days before to carry
on their geological examination of the island.

On arrival we found that they had set up a tent on the beach and had
built outside it a fireplace of stones. For fuel they used driftwood,
which lined the beach in large quantities. Douglas came to meet us in
the kayak, a small skin-boat which had been presented to us by Mr.
Jacobsen. I lowered the surf-boat and went ashore. Both Carr and he
looked well, being very sunburnt and fatter than when they left us. A
meal was in process of preparation in the fireplace, and when I saw the
quantity of food they were about to dispose of I felt satisfied as to
their health and the state of their appetites.

I wanted a supply of fresh meat to take with us on the ship, for
although we had no refrigerator on board, there was no fear of the meat
going bad in the low temperatures of these regions. I sent Macklin and
Marr to catch and kill a dozen penguins, and went myself, with McIlroy,
to shoot some skua gulls. I intended taking a seal also, but found that
Douglas, with considerable forethought, had already killed and cut one


     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

The day was bright, with warm sunshine, turning Cooper Bay, which
I had previously visited under less favourable circumstances, into
a beautiful spot. Seabirds of all sorts covered the rocks and flew
overhead, filling the air with raucous cries, which sounded, however,
not unpleasant, fitting the wild environment. Seals and sea-elephants
were ashore in hundreds, lying lazily on the shingle of the beach or
in the hollows of the tussock grass behind. Ringed and Gentoo penguins
strutted solemnly about like leisurely old gentlemen taking the sea
air. On the hills behind were large rookeries where these quaint birds
were gathered together in thousands.

I had no difficulty in obtaining the necessary number of skua gulls,
and I saw that Macklin and Marr had made a little heap of penguins
close to the boat, Macklin rejecting, with the discriminating care of
one whose staple diet they have formed for months, the old tough birds
and picking out the young and tender. Marr was delighted with his new
experiences, being particularly fascinated with these almost human
looking little creatures.

So pleasant was the day that I was loth to tear myself away.

We returned to the ship, where we prepared the birds for the larder,
and hung them, together with the meat, from the mizen boom, the poop at
the finish resembling a butcher’s shop.

Green, who had been before into the Antarctic and had wintered
with me on Elephant Island, came out of his galley to regard with a
professional eye this new addition to his larder. I asked him if he had
forgotten how to cook seal and penguin meat, to which he replied, “Not
likely! If I was to live to be a hundred, I would not forget that.”

We weighed anchor and proceeded to Larsen Harbour, which is approached
through Drygalski Fiord, a long, narrow channel situated at the
extreme south-eastern end of South Georgia. The entrance, which
is very picturesque, lies between steep and high mountains. As one
nears the end it appears as if one is about to charge a steep wall of
snow-covered rock, but suddenly the little opening of Larsen Harbour
comes into view, and one enters a wonderful little basin shut in on
all sides by steeply rising mountains and offering a secure anchorage
for small vessels. Across the entrance lies a ledge of rocks from which
grows a belt of kelp, where the soundings gave a depth of 38 fathoms.

Douglas went ashore in his kayak to make a geological examination of
the place and bring away some specimens of rock.

At daybreak on January 18th we made our final departure from South
Georgia, setting course to pass close to Clerk Rocks. Douglas and Carr
had reported that whilst ascending the slopes behind Cooper Bay they
had seen what appeared to be a volcano in eruption. They had taken a
rough bearing of its direction, and from their description generally
we concluded that the site of the phenomenon could only have been
Clerk Rocks. I was anxious, therefore, to visit them; but the day
unfortunately turned out to be thick and misty, and we were unable to
get a good view of them. As every day was now a matter of importance
to us in our attempt to push South, I did not delay in the hope that
we might effect a landing. From observations made by Worsley and
Jeffrey, their position as charted seems to be incorrect, but as the
thick weather prevented accurate sight, their exact position cannot be
definitely given.

  [Illustration: COMMANDER WILD

     _Photo: Reg. Haines_]

  [Illustration: A SMALL BERG

     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]

  [Illustration: A CURIOUS “TOOTHED” BERG

     _Photo: Wilkins_]

We were now about to undertake the most difficult part of our
enterprise, the plans of which I have indicated in the preceding

I divided up the hands into three watches: In my own—McIlroy, Macklin
and Carr; in Worsley’s—Wilkins, Douglas and Watts; in Jeffrey’s—Dell,
McLeod and Marr. The Boy Scout had become a fine, handy seaman, and
developed an all-round usefulness which made him a valuable member of
the expedition. The engineers, Kerr and Smith, kept watch and watch
about in spells of six hours. I had added, in the person of Ross,
to their staff in South Georgia, where a number of Shetlanders are
employed at the flensing. Young and he acted as firemen, and Argles
as trimmer. Green and Naisbitt, who formed the galley staff, were, of
course, exempt from watch keeping.

At first we had misty weather, and soon encountered a heavy swell in
which the _Quest_ rolled heavily. We met numerous icebergs travelling
in a north-easterly direction—beautiful works of Nature passing slowly
to their doom.

Hundreds of sea-birds tailed in our wake, including numbers of every
species known to this part of the world: albatross, cape pigeons, whale
birds and every kind of petrel, from the giant “Stinker” to the dainty,
ubiquitous Mother Carey’s Chickens.

Thursday, January 19th, broke bright and clear. We were surrounded
on all sides by bergs, those in sight numbering more than a hundred.
Many of them were flat topped, evidently pieces which had recently
calved from the Great Ice Barrier and floated out to sea. Others were
more irregular in shape, with pinnacles, buttresses, and caves and
tunnels through which the water rushed with a roar. The imaginative
could see in them a resemblance to all sorts of things; churches with
spires, castles with heavy ramparts, steamships, human profiles, and
the figures of every conceivable kind of beast. Some were stained with
red-coloured mineral deposits, blue bottom-mud and yellow and brown
diatomaceous material. A few sloped towards the sea at such an angle as
to enable penguins, all of them of the ringed variety, to clamber up.
Some of the groups of penguins thus formed numbered as many as two or
three hundred.

There was a high following sea, and the deeply laden _Quest_ wallowed
in it heavily, dipping both gunwales and filling the waist with water,
which rushed to and fro with every roll. Smith was thrown off his feet
and swept violently across the deck, fetching up with considerable
force against the lee rail. He was much bruised and shaken.

During the day a number of soundings were taken with the Kelvin
apparatus, but no bottom was found with 300 fathoms of wire.

In the evening Worsley altered course to look at what appeared to be
a small half-submerged rock, but on approach it proved to be a heavily
stained piece of ice.

January 20th was another fine day. I saw Marr come on deck
wearing a fur cap, heavy sea-boots, and a belt from which hung a
ferocious-looking sheath knife. The scrubby promise of a thick beard
adorned his chin, and I had the greatest difficulty in associating the
kilted boy who joined us in London with this tough-looking sailor man.
If Hussey had been there he would have sung, “If only my mother could
see me now!” Indeed, I would have liked to have had for a short while
the use of a magic carpet and been able to transfer him exactly as he
stood to the bosom of his family.

Jeffrey, who had been confined to his cabin since leaving Rio de
Janeiro, returned to duty on this day.

We continued to pass through a sea filled with icebergs, which in the
sunshine stood out white and glistening against the blue-black of the
sea. Worsley saw what looked like a new island with high summit, but
even as he pointed it out a breeze flattened off its top, proving it
to be only a cloud. These little rebuffs on the part of Nature have no
influence upon Worsley, whose enthusiasm is unconquerable.

In the afternoon we sighted a number of icebergs in line, and a few
minutes later Zavodovski Island showed up. The bergs were evidently
aground, most of them having a distinct tide-mark and showing
considerable wear along the water-line. As we drew nearer we saw
that all those which were accessible were thickly covered with ringed
penguins, which showed the most marked astonishment at our approach.
There were many also in the sea, and they came swimming towards us,
uttering their familiar “Cl-a-a-k!” Some of the bergs were so steep
that we wondered how the penguins ever managed to get a footing on
them. We passed one with a side which sloped gradually to an edge some
twenty or thirty feet above water, against which the sea broke heavily.
A number of penguins were attempting a landing, and we watched their
efforts with interest. They took advantage of the swell to leap out
whilst the sea was at its highest, often to fail and fall back with a
splash into the wash below; but they sometimes succeeded in getting a
footing in a crack in the ice. They showed the greatest agility and
skill in clambering from one little foothold to another, and their
attitude of triumph when at last they gained the gentler slope and
waddled off to join their companions in the group was most amusing.
These little creatures are so absurdly human in every one of their
aspects that one could watch them for hours without tiring. Those of
the party who had not been previously in Antarctic regions were greatly
fascinated by them and laughed outright at their quaint antics.

The island takes its name from Lieut. Zavodovski, chief officer of the
_Vostok_, of Bellingshausen’s Expedition, who landed in 1820. It is
barren and snow covered, except on the western side, which presents an
unattractive bare surface of rock. Bellingshausen described this bare
surface as being warm from volcanic action, and says that the penguins
found it an attractive nesting-place. On that occasion the island
presented the appearance of an active volcano, with thick clouds of
steam belching from the summit. Owing to the low-lying mist we could
not see the top of the island, and so were unable to gauge accurately
the height, but from general contour it seemed to be not more than
3,500 feet.


     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

The coastline presents a rugged face of rock broken here and there
by glaciers which descend from the slopes behind to finish abruptly
above narrow beaches of black sand. A red line of volcanic staining
surrounds the island. Generally speaking it is inaccessible, and there
are no good bays or anchorages for a ship. There are places where a
landing could be effected by boat, but at no time would it be easy,
for the rock faces rise sheer from the sea and the beaches are shut off
from the island by the glaciers behind and laterally by steep cliffs.
Nevertheless, penguins are able to get ashore. On the beaches were
a number of the large and beautifully marked king penguins, whilst
covering the slopes behind were whole battalions of the ringed variety,
forming very large rookeries. I have seen larger rookeries than these
in one place only—Macquarie Island, which I visited during the Mawson
Expedition. There one can look over square miles and never see a piece
of ground for the number of penguins of all varieties which collect

On the southern side of Zavodovski Island are a number of caves, from
the mouths of which sulphurous fumes were issuing in a thin reddish
cloud. We could feel their effects in a smarting sensation of the eyes,
nose and throat. It was noticed that the penguins did not collect round
the caves, but gave them a pretty wide berth. Larsen, who explored
this group in the _Undine_ in 1908, was overcome by these fumes whilst
attempting to land on this island, and became seriously ill.

We made a running survey of the island and obtained a number of
soundings. Before leaving I took the ship close to a berg which was
thickly covered with ringed penguins to enable Wilkins to get some
cinematograph pictures. To stimulate them into movement I told Jeffrey
to fire two or three detonators. The loud reports caused the utmost
consternation amongst them, and, stretching their flippers, they rushed
_en masse_ for the lower edge of the berg. Those in front were loth to
take to the water, which is not surprising, seeing the difficulty they
have in climbing back again, but those behind pressed them so hard that
they were forced over into the sea, and, as Kerr facetiously remarked,
“It was just as well that they could swim.” Their attitude of surprise
and indignation was very amusing.

We continued (Saturday, January 21st) to pass innumerable bergs. The
sea was literally filled with them. It is fortunate that in these
latitudes there is comparatively little darkness at this time of the
year, for at night these bergs form the most unpleasant of companions
and necessitate a continuous and unremitting look-out. The long swell
rushes against them with a heavy surge, and a collision with any one of
them would prove a nasty accident from which we would not be likely to
escape scot free, whilst the dislodgment of a heavy portion on to our
decks could have nothing but the most disastrous results.

The _Quest_ rolled like a log and the seas in the waist rushed like a
swollen flood from side to side, so that one rarely passed about the
ship without a wetting. The water foamed over the tops of our sea boots
and filled them up. This was particularly annoying when going to take
over the watch, for one had then to endure the discomfort of four hours
on the bridge with wet feet, which in this temperature is extremely

Before leaving England Sir Ernest Shackleton had designed a
weather-proof bridge, completely enclosed, but with windows which
could be opened up on all sides. Owing to the strikes which occurred
before our start, skilled labour was not available, and the work done
in the building of it was so bad, and the windows and doors were so
ill-fitting, that it was quite impossible to exclude draughts. Except
that it was to some extent rain- and snow-proof, we would have been
much better off with an open bridge protected with a canvas dodger.
There was always a strong draught along the floor, which made it very
hard to keep the feet warm, no matter how well clothed and shod we
might be. When the footgear became wetted the difficulty was increased,
and in the long night watches we often endured agonies from this cause.

Macklin reported to me on the 21st that there were fifteen inches
of water in the hold. The ship had always leaked, but hitherto the
engine-room pumps had been sufficient to keep down the water. I
instituted a daily pumping, which, as the hand pump was situated in the
waist amidst a rush of water, was no pleasant task for those engaged in

I began to feel my responsibilities now, for each day made it more
abundantly clear to me that this trip was to be anything but a
picnic and demonstrated the fact that the _Quest_ was by no means an
ideal ship for the work. Often I was made to doubt the wisdom of the
undertaking, but, having put my hand to the plough, there was to be no
turning back.

This being Saturday night, we drank the time-honoured toast of
“Sweethearts and Wives,” to which some wag always added, “May they
never meet!” On such occasions as these I issued to each man who wanted
it a tot of whisky or rum. Rum was generally selected, as being the
stronger drink.

On Monday, January 23rd, we passed close to two large and beautiful
bergs, full of cracks and chasms, with a number of caves of the
deepest blue colour. This appearance of blue in cavities surrounded
by colourless ice is a phenomenon for which physicists have not yet
offered a satisfactory explanation.

There is something about these huge bergs, bucking and swaying in the
long heavy swell, which always attracts. One wonders at their age and
where they have come from. It is a pity that there is no way of marking
them. Worsley, ever inventive, and never at a loss for a suggestion,
proposes firing into them bombs filled with permanganate of potash,
or, better still, to have rifles firing small projectiles, by which one
could mark the date. “Why not?” says he.

There is much difference of opinion regarding the length of life of
these bergs, some saying two or three years, whilst others suggest
that they last forty or more. Much undoubtedly depends upon their
movements. A grounded berg is likely to exist for a long time, and I
have seen many, marked by the rise and fall of tide and washed by the
action of the sea, which had obviously endured for many years. Those
which do not go aground drift about for varying periods till carried
eventually to the north; they meet their fate amongst warm currents,
which leave not a vestige of their original selves. A berg floats with
about seven-eighths of its bulk below water, and is consequently more
susceptible to deep than to surface currents. I have often seen them
moving through pack at a rate of two or three miles an hour, brushing
aside the lighter ice in their undeviating progress. In open water,
too, I have seen them moving up against strong winds at a similar

During our boat journey from the breaking-up pack on the _Endurance_
expedition we nearly came to grief from this cause, a large berg of
several hundred yards in length almost jamming us against a line of
floe ice, and requiring all our efforts to pull free.


     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

Worsley met with a slight accident on the 23rd. While passing round
the front of the deck-house he was struck by the forestay-sail sheet
block, and was hurled across the deck. He picked himself up, with blood
running freely down his face, but the intensity of his imprecations
relieved me from fear of a bad injury, and, indeed, on examination it
proved to be slight. He felt a little hurt when someone asked him if
he could not do it again because there were several who had missed the
incident. I omit his reply.

Our daily mileage had proved disappointing up to this point, and it
became clear to me that we could not hope to reach Bouvet Island and
still be in time to enter the ice this year. The coal consumption also
proved higher than I had anticipated. I decided, therefore, to make a
more southerly course to meet and enter the ice in a position somewhere
about 20° E. Long. On my westward run I intended to cross the mouth of
the Weddell Sea, and attempt to examine and sound the charted position
of “Ross’s Appearance of Land,” probably call at Elephant Island to
obtain sand for ballast and blubber for fuel, and proceed to Deception
Island for coal for the return to South Georgia.

After a long spell of bad weather, on January 25th we at last
experienced a change for the better, the day breaking bright and clear,
the water a deep blue and the icebergs a dazzling white. The sea was
comparatively smooth, and the _Quest_ behaved moderately well.

I seized the chance to get on with an amount of work which had been
difficult during the bad weather. Worsley, Dell and Carr overhauled the
Lucas sounding machine and fixed a roll of wire all ready for a running
out. When this was done, I set Carr to blocking some of the scupper
holes, in the hope of keeping a drier deck. Macklin, assisted by Marr
and Green, spent a busy morning in squaring up the hold, and there was
work for everyone in one way or another. McIlroy and I baled out our
cabins and put the wet gear out to dry.[8]

The ship was found to be taking more water, Macklin reporting that
it had reached the level of the kelson, and I had to institute longer
spells at the pumps, each taking from one and a half to two hours to
pump her dry.

I got McIlroy to cut my hair, after which I acted as barber for
him, and for Kerr and Worsley also. They were no half cuts, but good
convict crops! Wilkins, with a view to stimulating the laggard hairs
on his crown to more active growth, shaved the top of his head, and
looked like a monk. He was growing a beard, as were a number of the
men. McLeod’s was the most flourishing; Dell and Macklin each showed
a respectable growth, and Kerr, Smith, Young, Argles and Watts gave a
promise of better things. Marr, not to be outdone, was also making the
attempt, but so far could show only a stubble, which gave him rather a
ferocious appearance.

In the afternoon Worsley took a sounding, with the unsought assistance
of all the men on board, who crowded round with a great willingness
to help, but who, like the cooks at the broth, only impeded things.
Four miles of wire were reeled out without finding bottom, but, this
being the first time we had used the Lucas machine on this trip, it
was probably incorrect. When it came to winding up, the machine ran
well, but when only about half the reel had been taken in the wire
broke, and we lost the sinkers and the snapper (which is used to bring
up specimens from the sea bottom). From this time forward Dell took
charge of the sounding machine, and under his management it ran without
a hitch. It was often a cold and tedious job, but he took the greatest
interest in the work, and enabled Worsley to get some excellent

Whilst the sounding was in process a mass of pultaceous material
floated past the ship, some of which we collected. Macklin examined
a small portion of it under a microscope, and reported that it was
composed of feathers in a state of decomposition. Its occurrence was
hard to explain, but Wilkins thought it may have come from one of the
carnivorous mammals of these seas: a sea leopard or a killer, which had
swallowed a number of penguins or other birds, and afterwards vomited
the indigestible portions of them, just as our sledge dogs used to
vomit bones which they had eaten.

Naisbitt asked me if he might start a ship’s magazine, to which I

I saw an Antarctic petrel, the first I had seen this trip. The presence
of these birds usually indicates proximity of ice.

The fine weather did not last long, for the next day the wind and
seas increased, and the _Quest_ took full advantage of the excuse to
behave as badly as ever. We encountered fewer bergs, but were never
out of sight of them altogether. One which lay two or three miles to
starboard had a very peculiar appearance, closely resembling a sailing
ship under canvas. Worsley examined it long and attentively through
binoculars, and exclaimed, “A sailing vessel!” I cast some doubt on
the probability, but after a second look he cried excitedly, “It _is_
a sailing vessel; I can see her topsail yard! Let us go and talk to
her!” A gleam of sunshine lighting upon the “topsail yard” dispelled
the illusion. I wonder what ship he expected to see down there!

An extract from Marr’s diary on this date gives an interesting

     A fairly strong sea was running when we came on deck for “the
     middle,” but this did not deter us from our usual occupation in
     the night watches, i.e. the consumption of food and drink. Indeed,
     it must appear that our watch is very hungry, but it is not so.
     This is merely our very effective method of passing the four long
     hours on the bridge.

It was customary for the engine-room staff to make a hot drink once a
watch. The galley fire was always allowed to go out at night because of
the necessity for economy in coal consumption, and the stokers used to
boil the water in a tin on the furnace fires. The result was that there
was often some difficulty in diagnosing the nature of the concoction,
but under circumstances like this one could not be over particular. We
used to turn to each other, saying: “Well, at any rate it is hot and


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

  [Illustration: KILLERS RISING TO “BLOW”

     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

We had two casualties on January 30th. Douglas, whilst skipping to
keep himself warm, sprained his ankle, and had to take to his bunk.
Worsley also came to grief in a much more serious way. Shortly after
leaving South Georgia I had instructed Macklin to provision each of
our three boats for thirty days. As the surf-boat was likely to be in
frequent use, I had the provisions moved from her and divided equally
amongst the port and starboard life-boats, the total in each weighing
not less than a quarter of a ton. I decided to swing the port life-boat
outboard on her davits, both in order to have her the more ready to
lower away and to give us a little more sorely needed space on the
bridge deck. The sea was smooth, but there was a long swell running
which caused the _Quest_ to give an occasional heavy roll. We were in
the midst of proceedings, and I had got into the boat the better to
direct operations, when suddenly a guy fixing the forward davit carried
away; the heavily laden boat took charge, swinging inboard and out and
in a fore and aft direction with the swing of the unsecured davits. It
was all I could do to hold on, for I had been steadying myself with the
after davit head, which now swung in a semicircle. Many times I felt
as if I must be flung headlong into the sea. All hands gathered round
to regain control, but with the strain the after davit guy also parted.
The boat swung aft, sweeping Wilkins and Macklin off the bridge deck on
to the poop, where they met with no damage, and, surging forward again,
caught Worsley and drove him with tremendous force against the after
wall of the bridge house. The impact was heavy. I heard a cry and a
crash of splintering wood as the wall gave way. I felt sure Worsley was
killed. McIlroy immediately went to his assistance, whilst the rest of
us, after an effort, secured the boat and lowered her on to the skids

Worsley appeared at first to be terribly damaged. His face turned a
deathly grey and was covered with perspiration, and he could scarcely
breathe. We carried him to his cabin, where the surgeons made a careful
examination. He had sustained severe damage to his chest and broken a
number of ribs. His whole body was covered with bruises and abrasions,
and he was suffering severely from shock. The doctors reported his
condition as serious, but thought that the outlook was favourable
unless signs of internal hæmorrhage appeared. It was a great relief to
feel that I had with me as surgeons two reliable and experienced men.
Worsley had undoubtedly to thank the workmen who had this particular
job in hand for his life, for had the bridge house been of more
solid workmanship and shown greater resistance to the impact, he must
infallibly have been crushed to death.

On this same day we reached the charted position of Pagoda Rock. It was
first reported by Lieut. T. E. L. Moore, in the _Pagoda_, in 1845, in
the following words:

     In the afternoon of the same day (Thursday), January 30th, 1845,
     we fell in with a most singular rock, or rock on an iceberg. It
     appeared to be a mass of rock about 1,600 tons, and the top was
     covered with ice, and did not appear to have any visible motion,
     with a heavy sea beating over it. It had a tide mark round it.
     We tried for soundings with 200 fathoms, and the first time we
     fancied we had struck the ground, but before we could try again
     we had drifted some distance off. We could not send a boat or beat
     the ship up against the breeze that was then blowing.

In our position, lat. 60° 11´ S. and 4° 47´ E. long., however, there
was no sign of it, though we made a traversing cruise, and a sounding
which showed a depth, of 2,980 fathoms gave no indication of shoaling
in the vicinity.

  [Illustration: LOOSE OPEN PACK

     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]

  [Illustration: THE MIDNIGHT SUN

     _Photo: Wilkins_]

It is rather remarkable, however, that towards evening we saw a very
curious-looking berg, very dark green in colour and heavily stained
with some earthy material. We altered course to pass close to it, and
examined it carefully. It was an old, weather-beaten berg which had
evidently capsized. Our meeting with it in this particular spot was a
curious coincidence.

On the first day of February the maiden number of _Expedition Topics_
appeared under the editorship of Naisbitt. It was got up simply,
consisting of a number of sheets of typewritten matter, chiefly on the
humorous side, and containing a sly hit at most of the company. There
were also some clever drawings. Like everything else that created an
interest it was of value just then when the daily life in those cold
grey stormy seas was necessarily very monotonous.

On February 2nd we had a strong gale from the south-east, during which
I was compelled to take in sail and heave to—very disappointing, as we
needed every mile we could make to the eastward. The _Quest_ behaved
in the liveliest possible manner, and everything that was not tightly
lashed took charge. A bookcase in my cabin had battens three inches
wide placed along the shelves, but they proved useless to keep in place
the books, which hurled themselves to the floor, where they were much
damaged by the seas which found their way in and swished up and down
with every roll.

On deck everything had been lashed up and tightly secured, but in the
galley pots and pans took charge and defied all Green’s efforts to make
them remain on the stove. All kinds of utensils escaped into “Gubbins
Alley,” where they were carried up and down by the wash of water,
whilst Green splashed knee deep in pursuit. As he recovered one lot so
another leapt away, regardless of his imprecations, till, some helpers
coming along, order was once more restored.

Naisbitt, whose work compelled him to pass frequently between the
wardroom and the galley, often with both hands full, had a very trying
time. At meals we had the greatest difficulty in keeping things on the
table, and we had to hold plates, cups, etc., in our hands, balancing
them against the roll of the ship. We had to abandon all idea of
comfort and wait patiently till the rage of the elements should abate.

During this time of bad weather Worsley suffered very much, for, with
the violent rolling, he could get no rest in his bunk. He improved,
however; the doctors pronounced him out of danger, and he spoke of soon
getting up.

Macklin reported another fifteen inches of water in the hold—it was
obvious that it would be necessary to increase the daily spells of
pumping. All hands took to this unpleasant and monotonous job very
cheerfully, saying that it was good exercise! Indeed, there is not much
else that can be said for it.

In lat. 65° 7´ S. and 15° 21´ E. long, we entered, on February 4th,
what appeared to be the edge of very open pack, which lay in several
strips and bands of light, loosely packed ice, with large open spaces
of water between. I made my course due south and pushed into it. For
some time I had doubts as to whether it was the real pack or streamers
carried north by the late south-easterly gale. The sky to the south
was very indefinite, and from the crow’s nest the same conditions of
loose ice and open water extended as far as the eye could reach. The
two “signs” which one looks for in the sky are “ice-blink” and “water
sky.” A sky with ice-blink presents near the horizon a hard white
appearance which indicates the proximity of close pack, ice barrier,
or snow-covered land. A “water sky” is a dark patch in a lighter sky,
which indicates open water below the horizon. In each case when these
skies are well marked they are definitely of value, but it requires
much experience to gauge accurately the meaning of some of the more
indefinite appearances, and conclusions too hastily drawn often prove

Whilst we were at sea I had watched the petrels which followed in
our wake attempting to come to rest on the water, but breaking seas
always drove them up again. I was interested to note that as soon as we
reached the pack they flew forward and came to rest on a piece of ice,
where they preened their feathers and settled down on their breasts.

The ice had a wonderfully settling effect upon the sea, deadening all
but the heavier swells. The _Quest_ became more comfortable than she
had been for a long time, and at lunch we dispensed with the fiddles.
This she would not tolerate, and a sudden roll swept everything to the
floor. Later in the day the belts of ice became broader and the pools
of water much smaller. There could be no doubt that this was the real
pack ice and that the most strenuous part of our work was now to begin.
Quoting from a diary:

     Now the little _Quest_ can really try her mettle. What is in
     store for us? Will the pack, as variable in its moods as the
     open sea, prove friendly or will it rise in its wrath to punish
     man’s temerity in thus bringing to the attack so small a craft?
     Before this effort the smallest ship to make a serious attempt to
     penetrate the heavy Antarctic pack was the _Endurance_, and she
     lies crushed and broken many fathoms deep in the Weddell Sea. We
     are but half her size! Shall we escape, or will the _Quest_ go
     to join the ships in Davy Jones’s Locker, and the queer deep-sea
     fish nose about amongst her broken spars? We are not in the least
     pessimistic, but the man who blinds himself to the possibility is
     a fool.

My sense of responsibility was growing daily, for though I always
welcomed the suggestions of my senior officers I realized that on
me alone must devolve the final decision in every plan and in every
movement. This was my fifth expedition—nearly half my life has been
spent in Antarctic exploration—and every accumulated year of experience
has taught me more and more how much in this work we are the playthings
of chance. Experience counts a great deal, of course, but no amount
of experience, care or skill can be of much avail against prolonged
and overwhelming pressure. Yet in those first days in the ice, as I
stood on the bridge and looked down on the decks I saw amongst my men
nothing but elation. Carr, Douglas and others who saw the ice for the
first time were fascinated by it, and amongst the old hands there was
obvious pleasure at again meeting the pack. Old McLeod, veteran of
many expeditions, said to McIlroy: “Here we are home again! Doesn’t
it do you good to get back!” Even Query was affected with the general
air of uplift, and with paws on gunwale gazed with twitching nostrils
at this new phenomenon. Nor could I long resist a similar feeling, for
as I gazed south over the ice, with the cold, keen air in my nostrils,
I, too, felt pleased and elated, glad of a tough problem to tackle and
rejoicing in the long odds.

     Note the Emperor Penguin on the floe

     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

We soon began to meet old acquaintances in the form of crab-eater
seals which, wakened from sleep on the floe, turned a curious eye
in our direction and, scratching themselves the while with their
queer hand-like flippers, pondered drowsily on the strange phenomenon
which had come amongst them. Most of them seemed satisfied with their
scrutiny, treating us as of no particular importance, and rolled over
to sleep again. With their light silvery coats these are the most
elegant of the southern seals and also the most active. They are
characteristic of the pack, being found in large numbers about its
free edge, where they obtain their living from the small crustacea of
these regions, _euphausiæ_ and amphipods. These small creatures live
on the diatoms of which the Antarctic seas are so rich, and which
often become embedded in the floe ice, which is stained brown or
greenish-brown by their presence. _Euphausiæ_ resemble small shrimps,
and the amphipods are very like the sandhoppers of home beaches, but
redder in colour. Whalers speak of them collectively as whale food,
for they form the staple diet not only of the crab-eaters but of most
of the Antarctic whales. It is an extraordinary thing that so large
an animal as the whale should depend for its existence upon so small a
creature, especially when one considers the millions necessary to make
one meal. The side of natural history which interests me most is the
consideration of animal habits, mode of life and source of food. There
is something intensely fascinating about this study, but I confess to
a lack of enthusiasm when it comes to a question of minute differences
in structure and classification of species.

The ordinary whale has a gullet so small that one can scarcely pass
one’s fist into it, and no whale could certainly ever have swallowed
Jonah. The animal referred to in the Bible story is no doubt the
_Orca gladiator_, which, though commonly known as the _Killer whale_,
differs considerably in many features from the true whale. It is much
better referred to by the name _Killer_ only. It is smaller than the
larger varieties of true whale, but it has immense jaws and a wide
gullet, and lives not on whale food but on seals and penguins, and
it is conceivable that it has on occasions accommodated a man; though
whether it ever let one go again is a different matter. The killer is
certainly an evil-looking monster. Before we had entered deeply into
the pack we saw numbers of them gliding about us, driven smoothly
forward by almost imperceptible movements of their powerful flukes, the
downward strokes of which produce small whirlpools on the surface of
the water. One could mark their progress by watching these whirlpools.
Every now and then they rise to breathe, for they are not fish but
mammals, and exhale a spout of fine vapour which in the distance looks
like water. It is dangerous to cross leads of young ice whilst killers
are about, for they are able by charging upwards from below to break
through considerable thicknesses with their heads. The round holes
produced in this way are quite common, and one frequently sees their
evil heads and wicked little eyes appear suddenly above the surface,
scattering fragments of ice in a wide circle. When sledging along newly
frozen leads, it is customary to keep close in to solid ice, and when
a crossing is necessary it is made as rapidly as possible.

By February 5th there was a certain amount of daylight all night, and
we were not held up on account of darkness. The ice had increased
all the time in density and thickness, and at times it was all we
could do to push ahead. Already I began to feel the need of greater
engine power, though the small size of the ship made her very handy
to manœuvre, and we were able to dodge and squeeze past where a bigger
ship would require to push and ram. For the man at the wheel the spell
was no longer two hours of monotony, but a period of hard work for
which he shed his bulky garments, finding all the warmth he required
in the exercise entailed. It was only when we entered the leads that
we could keep a steady course, and usually the commands, “Port! Steady!
Starboard!” etc., followed each other in rapid succession as we turned
and twisted and wriggled our way ahead.

Worsley appeared again to-day. This evergreen youth of fifty years
certainly made a rapid recovery, for I did not think when I saw him
after his accident that he would be up so soon. Although a very good
patient, he chafed so much at his confinement to bed that Macklin
thought it better to let him out of his bunk, taking, however, the
precaution to strap and bandage his injured parts in such a way that
he could not do himself much harm, and was unable to make any attempt
to climb aloft—which is the first thing he would have wished to do! He
was keenly anxious to take his watch, and I must confess I was looking
forward to his return to duty, for Jeffrey and I had been doing “watch
and watch” alternately, and I had to be frequently on deck during my
watch below, which under the arduous circumstances was a heavy strain.

I kept a keen look out for a convenient floe with seals on it, for I
was anxious to obtain fresh meat. Our food stores included an ample and
varied supply of all foods, with the exception of meat, for which we
were prepared “to live on the country.” Seal meat is quite palatable
when one is used to it, and has the advantage over tinned stuff of
being fresh. It is also a valuable antiscorbutic, and I was relying on
its regular consumption to prevent the onset of scurvy.

Sighting a good solid floe with three seals on it, I put the ship
alongside and shot them all with my heavy rifle. I went over on to the
floe with Macklin to bleed them, which done, they were hoisted aboard,
and McIlroy, Dell and Macklin flensed and cut them up. The blubber went
to the bunkers to eke out our supply of coal. Practically the whole of
the meat of the seal can be used for eating; whilst the liver, kidneys
and heart make very dainty fare. Fried seal’s brain is a dish that can
hardly be excelled anywhere in the world. The seal’s brain is large
and well developed, and when shooting these animals I always make a
point of aiming at the neck just behind the skull so as not to spoil
the brain for cooking. There is quite an art in removing the brain,
and the heads were usually handed over to Macklin and McIlroy, who took
them out complete and unbroken. Whilst the flensing was going forward
Worsley seized the opportunity to take a sounding, finding it lat. 66°
12´ S. and 16° 21´ E. long., 2,330 fathoms of water.

On February 6th we continued pushing on through fairly heavy pack.
Often the _Quest_ was brought to a stop by heavy pieces of ice across
her bows, which she was powerless to move or break up. When this
occurred we backed down the lane formed in our wake, where her short
length usually enabled her to turn, and getting her nose inserted
between two floes, we pushed ahead with all the power the engines could
give us till she finally worried through. So far we had not been held
up for any considerable time.

Macklin reported another fifteen inches of water in the hold, requiring
an extra spell at the pumps to clear. There can be no doubt that the
continual bumping and jarring of the ship against the ice caused a
starting of the timbers which had then no chance to settle and swell.

Everybody was in wonderful health and spirits, and appetites were keen.
For lunch on that day we had the seal brains taken the day before; they
were delicious. All hands took to the seal meat, with the exception of
Jeffrey and Carr. Carr tasted it and said that it produced a sickly
feeling, but with the former it was a case of pure prejudice, for he
would not even taste it, and preferred to live on what else might be
going. Stefansson, in his books, dilates upon the theory that men who
in their normal lives have been used to all sorts and varieties of food
take more readily to kinds which they are experiencing for the first
time than those whose dietary has been more monotonous and composed
of much the same thing day after day and week after week. That this
is very true there can be no doubt, but it does not hold in the case
of Jeffrey and Carr, for out of the whole party I doubt if there was
anyone more used to the highly faked and varied dishes which the modern
chef succeeds in producing. Hunger is a wonderful sauce and will break
down most prejudices. Those of us who accompanied Sir Ernest Shackleton
on his previous expedition lived entirely on seal and penguin meat for
eleven months, and except that we were thin at the time of rescue as
a result of not having enough of it, we were otherwise healthy and fit
and had no sign of scurvy.

Stefansson, in speaking of scurvy, attributes his freedom from it to
eating his meat raw or “rare done,” and states definitely that this is
the secret of preventing and curing scurvy, whatever the food may be.
On the occasion to which I have referred we always cooked our meat,
except when circumstances or the exigencies of the moment did not
permit of it and when we were short of fuel.

Nature has providentially arranged that most of the animals of south
polar regions, for example the seals, provide in addition to meat
the fuel necessary to cook it in the form of blubber. It is true
that the use of heat in cooking meat does _very slightly_ destroy
the antiscorbutic principle, but when the consumption is sufficiently
large this factor can be neglected. Much depends upon the method of
cooking, for a more thorough investigation of the subject shows that
the detrimental influence is not _heat_ but _oxidization_. It is also
stated that scurvy may be cured by eating meat which has gone bad. It
is possible that a few isolated cases may have recovered in spite of
the additional intoxication, but this teaching must be regarded as
a most dangerous one. The subject is one of the greatest importance
to explorers, for scurvy has caused the failure of many well-found
expeditions. I cannot enter more fully into it here. The investigation
of scurvy and other food deficiency diseases is at present occupying
the minds of the medical profession, much new knowledge is being
brought to light, and it is probable that the next few years will show
great advances. I am greatly opposed to the making of generalizations
based upon one or two isolated observations by writers with little or
no knowledge of the fundamental facts; they are of little value for
guidance and are apt to prove misleading.

Query was in great spirits at this time, never having been in better
condition since we left England; his coat was thick and bushy, and his
tail made a fine brush. He was really a most handsome dog. He became
a thorough ship’s dog, and climbed all over the place. Wilkins fixed a
camera case to the front of the deck-house, and Query discovered _via_
it a way to the top. So delighted was he with his new discovery that he
ran up and down just for the joy of doing it. All day long he pestered
one to play with him, bringing in his mouth a stick or tin or a lump of
coal, or even a potato looted from the galley, which he wished thrown
for him to fetch. Of this game he never tired, and no matter where one
threw the object, he searched until it was found, when he brought it
back, calling one’s attention to the fact by a short bark or a dig in
the calves with his nose.

Another game which he was very fond of was to drop things from the
deck-house on to the head of someone standing below, whose share in the
game was to return the thing dropped so that he could do it again. He
was greatly excited by a seal which followed the ship and whenever we
were stopped by floes rose high out of the water alongside us as though
trying to come aboard. Possibly it regarded us as a strangely elusive
and inaccessible piece of land. Up to now we had not seen any penguins
in the pack.

On coming on deck at 4.0 A.M. on February 7th I discovered that during
Jeffrey’s watch the ship had entered a cul-de-sac and that further
progress was impossible. From the crow’s nest I could see nothing but
dense pack stretching away to the southward as far as the eye could
reach, with no sign of a water sky beyond it. To the east and west the
same conditions prevailed, and there was no hope of working the ship in
any direction except that in which we had come. I therefore decided to
stay where we were for a day (lat. 67° 40´ S. and 17° 6´ E. long), and
if there was no sign of opening of the ice at the end of that time to
retrace my steps and look for open leads farther to the west.

There were a number of seals within reach which I determined to
collect, and so putting the ship alongside a suitable floe I sent
off some of the men to kill and bring them aboard. They secured nine
altogether, far more than we required for meat, but I wanted the
blubber to help out the coal supply. We took for the larder, therefore,
only the dainties, such as the brains, kidneys, livers and hearts, and
the choicest pieces of flesh, which are the undercuts from the inside
of the ribs.

We saw that day the first emperor penguin of the trip standing
solitary, as is the wont of this species, upon a floe. Wilkins secured
it as a specimen. The emperors are the most stately of all the penguins
and have the finest markings. The king penguin is more brightly
coloured, but the emperor has the more delicate shades which merge
gradually into one another. Seen on the floe in bright sunshine they
have a really beautiful appearance.


     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]

If approached slowly they make no attempt to run away, but may even
take a few sedate steps forward to meet the stranger. When within a
few paces they stop and commonly make a profound bow, just as if they
were greeting one’s arrival. If approached quickly and suddenly they
take alarm and retire, first of all upon their feet; but if hustled
they drop upon their bellies and using both feet and flippers, sledge
themselves along at a considerable speed. Seen from behind they look
like gigantic beetles, and there is something about this mode of
progression which is provocative of laughter. I have noticed this
when I have been showing pictures upon the cinema screen, the audience
invariably breaking into laughter when it occurs.

This species is found only in the far south, and has the peculiarity of
nesting during the winter. The term “nesting” may be misleading, for
they do not make any nests but lay their egg (only one egg is laid by
each bird) upon the snow surface. Both male and female birds take turns
in hatching out. They have a small depression on the foot into which
the egg is wriggled by means of the beak. They are able to move about
carrying the egg, and as Sir Ernest Shackleton used to say, “they act
both as a cradle and a perambulator.” When they wish to transfer the
egg from one to another they stand belly to belly and indulge in a vast
amount of wriggling; but in the process the egg is often dropped on
to the ice and has to be wriggled on again from there. Two of the most
marked characteristics of penguins are their patience and tenacity of
purpose, both of which are extraordinary.

A few days before we entered the cul-de-sac Dell killed the South
Georgia pig which was presented to us by Mr. Hansen, of Leith Harbour.
It proved excellent eating and a pleasant change from seal meat. The
head remained, and as it would make a meal for only one of the messes,
we agreed to gamble to decide which should have it. Kerr was deputed to
represent us, but lost to the after-mess. Even such small incidents as
this attracted an interest just then.

A sounding taken on this day (February 7th) showed 2,356 fathoms in
position lat. 67° 40´ S. and 17° 6´ E. long.

At 5.0 A.M. on the following day the ice had shown no signs of opening,
so I decided to turn back and look for a more open route to the east
or west. We steamed north until noon, when, not caring to expend coal
in going away from our objective, I gave orders to reduce steam, and
proceeded under sail. The wind was southerly and of moderate strength.
I gathered in this way some idea of what ice navigation meant in the
days before the introduction of the steam engine. Progress, in spite
of favourable winds, was slow, but I was surprised at the effect of a
long-continued steady pressure against floes, some of them of quite
considerable weight. They gave way slowly before our bows, and the
_Quest_ slipped of her own will (for she would not answer her helm)
into the cracks between them and slowly wedged her way through.

We were now so deep in the pack that there was no appreciable swell,
and the _Quest_ was consequently steady. I continued the operation
which we had been compelled to give up before, and swung out the port
life-boat, Worsley being a spectator only. This time there was no

Worsley now started to go on the bridge and keep a watch, though of
course he was compelled to take things very quietly, at any rate in so
far as his movements were concerned. Quiet in other respects his watch
certainly was not, for members of it carried on long-continued, and
often argumentative, dialogues, usually at the top of their voices.
This was especially the case with one of them, and many times I have
leapt on deck with a sense of impending danger, wakened by shouting
that proved to be the most trivial of remarks.

The weather was fair during the day, with a moderate southerly wind,
no sunshine, and occasional snow squalls. At 7.30 P.M. we had made
thirty-five miles to the northward. This was all to the bad and a
bit disappointing. However, we hoped for a change before long. Seals
appeared on the floe in quantity during the day and also a number of
emperor penguins standing, as usual, stately and alone.

Killers were about and a large number of birds—Antarctic petrels,
Wilson’s petrels, and a few pretty pure white snow petrels.

During the night (February 9th) our luck changed and we were able to
make southerly again. Throughout the morning we met loose pack and a
number of leads of open water, so that by 12.0 noon we were only eleven
miles north of the previous position. We had the same conditions till
4.0 P.M., when we met with dense pack. From the crow’s nest, however,
I saw “water sky” to the southward and determined to push on to the
utmost ability of the ship. We progressed very slowly and only with
the greatest difficulty. It took much hard steaming and consumption
of valuable coal for the _Quest_ to make any impression on this heavy

The evening of this day was fine, beautiful and still, the sort that
takes hold of one and sends mind and memory wandering far afield.
There was not a ripple on the small pools between the floes, in which
were numbers of small _euphausiæ_ swimming about. Four or five seals
came about the ship and accompanied us, rubbing themselves against the
sides and popping their heads out to regard us with large eyes of a
beautiful soft brown colour. They were evidently in a playful mood. On
the ice seals are sluggish and very helpless, but in the water they are
wonderful, and their swimming movements are most graceful as they dart
about twisting and turning and occasionally rising to look round.

Killers were about earlier in the day, but no penguins. An ugly-looking
sea-leopard put his head out of the water and gazed malignantly over
the edge of the floe. In a pool at some distance from the ship I caught
sight of a black mass rising and falling, and through my binoculars
witnessed what appeared to be a fight between two sea-leopards. One of
them leapt continually from the water to a height of some six feet, and
the water was churned to a mass of foam. Suddenly it all ceased. What
tragedy was enacted on that perfect evening? On such a night, amidst
the pure whiteness of one’s surroundings, it was hard to realize that
in the struggle for existence the unrelenting laws of Nature must hold.

We passed close alongside a floe with a seal on it. I shot it; Macklin
jumped off on to the floe and made fast a line, scarcely taking time to
stop we hauled it aboard and proceeded on our way. Looking back I saw
the surface of the snow smirched with its blood. So Man passed leaving
a red stain; and yet but a few moments before I had been moralizing on
“Nature red in tooth and claw.”

Very few birds were about, with the exception of snow petrels, a few
Antarctic petrels and a single young Dominican gull.


     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]

We were pushing on, but the prospect at the moment was not promising.
From aloft there was nothing to be seen but ice closely packed and
stretching as far as the eye could reach in all directions. I distrust
fine weather in the pack; it usually means lowered temperature, close
ice and little open water.

February 10th opened as a beautiful morning, with bright sunshine.
The ice was white and sparkling and the water a deep blue. The air
was keen and crisp, and all hands revelled in the improved weather
conditions. Less so myself, however, for I feared what was portended. I
prefer damp misty weather in the pack, for that means the presence of a
considerable amount of open water amongst the ice and better conditions
for navigating, in spite of poor visibility.

The number of seals that accompanied us increased to twenty or more.
They refused to leave us, though they occasionally took fright and
dashed off with a swirl of water. Seen from aloft a school of seals
is a wonderful sight. There was evidently something on the ship’s side
which had an attraction for them, for they seized the chance of every
stop to rise out of the water and nibble at frozen pieces of ice which
had formed just above the water-line. The ice on the patent anchors
which projected from the hawse holes two or three feet above the
surface especially attracted them, and they collected in clusters of
five or six to nibble at it.

In the early morning the pack was composed of dense, heavy old floes,
much broken up and bearing the remains of pressure ridges through which
progress was very slow. At 7.30 A.M. we entered a lead with surface
just freezing over, which offered little resistance to the ship. It
was literally full of killers, which crossed and recrossed our bows
and “blew” all about us. Our seal friends did not accompany us into
the lead, for which the presence of the killers was no doubt a good
and sufficient reason. The crab-eaters seem to have no fear of them
whilst in closely set pack with only small pools of water between the
floes, but one rarely sees crab-eaters in larger stretches of water.
Occasionally they have been seen in large numbers travelling at high
speed. Hurley, the photographer of the last expedition, was able to
get a photographic record of them passing close to the ship, the number
being so great that the surface of the water was lashed to foam. That
they are hunted by the killers is beyond doubt, for one frequently
sees them shoot out of water and land with a heavy wallop on a piece
of ice, look all round and bump themselves violently along, finally
disappearing with a dive into the water again. This differs largely
from their ordinary method of landing when they wish to rest. In this
case they may be seen first of all rising high out of the water and
looking over the edge of the floe, obviously noting its nature, and
searching for a shelter from the wind. They land with the same heavy
flop, but show none of the excitement when up.


     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

On one occasion at my base in Queen Mary’s Land during the Mawson
Expedition I was standing on an ice foot with Mr. Harrison, my
biologist, when I saw a killer actually attack a seal which, however,
escaped and effected a landing on the ice foot. It was bleeding
profusely and was in a very exhausted condition. On close examination
we found six large wounds, all of which had penetrated the blubber to
the flesh, none of them less than three inches deep. At first I was
inclined to put the animal out of its misery, but my biologist asked me
to let it remain so that we might see whether or not it would recover.
It lost an amazing amount of blood, which melted its way into the
ice beneath, but on the fourth day it had recovered sufficiently to
enter the sea again. Nearly all seals bear the scars of old wounds in
vertical strokes down their sides. Wilkins collected a number of skins
in which these scars were more extensive than usual, and prepared them
for sending back as specimens to the British Museum.

The water in the hold had increased so much by now that it required
four hours of hard pumping to reduce. It was hard, monotonous work.

In the afternoon we encountered the first Adelie penguin which we had
seen on this expedition. It was standing alone on a flat piece of
floe, and at sight of us evinced the most marked surprise, looking
at us first with one eye and then the other, and finally started
towards us at a run. Its waddling gait resembled that of a fat old
white-waistcoated gentleman in a desperate hurry. Many times it fell
forward, but, picking itself up, hurried on till, reaching the edge of
the floe, it tumbled rather than dived into the water. In a few seconds
it shot out, to alight upright upon another floe where it continued
the chase, but by this time we were drawing away and he gave it up,
uttering a last “Cl-a-a-k,” as much as to say, “Well, I’m jiggered!”
Later we saw many more who showed the same interest, some of them
taking to the water and coming about the ship or following in our wake.

We entered a broad belt of large flat pieces of one-year-old floe
interspersed with thinner new ice which the _Quest_ was able to crack,
although it usually required several blows to split it widely enough to
let her through.

Following on this we entered a broad lead of open water, but about 10
P.M. encountered very thick and solid floe. Owing to the dim light it
was impossible to distinguish rotten mushy ice which we could safely
ram from solid pieces which badly jarred the ship. About midnight I lay
to till more light should give me a chance to get a better view from
the mast head.

We obtained a sounding of 2,163 fathoms in position lat. 68° 3´ S. and
16° 12´ E. long., and as soon as the light improved we set off again
and spent the whole of February 11th energetically pushing south. The
temperature fell rapidly, reaching 18° F. at midnight. All the open
water started freezing over and was covered with a skin of ice which
offered little resistance to the ship when she was well under way, but
impeded her considerably when in the dense pack she was forced to be
continually stopping and restarting again.

As far as the actual weather was concerned the Antarctic can offer
nothing better than that which we were experiencing, fine and clear,
the air crisp and cold, yet not sufficiently so to be unpleasant. As
the sun sloped down to the horizon with the gentle decline it takes in
these latitudes, in contrast to the suddenness with which it disappears
in the tropics, we had a beautiful long sunset, the sky taking the
most wonderful colours, crimson, amber and gold. The snow surface was
a lovely pale pink except where each hummock threw a long black shadow.
The surface of the newly freezing parts, still and polished, reflected
a pale green. Across the vault of the sky were little fleecy rolls
of pink cloud, while nearer the horizon were heavier banks of a deep
crimson. Stretching away behind in an ever-narrowing ribbon one saw the
lane cut by the passage of the ship disturbed only in the foreground by
the ripple of the screw. In contrast to the vivid colouring ahead that
astern had the black and white effect of a pencil sketch. A perfectly
wonderful evening and yet—_timeo Danaos_—I do not like the pack when
it smiles. The prospect was not good. I knew that unless we got a
rise of temperature things might be bad for us, for it would be quite
impossible to forge through the thickening ice, which had the effect of
cementing together the heavier floes so that a much more powerful ship
than the _Quest_ would have been quite unable to make any impression
upon them.

There was one thing I knew I must avoid. The _Quest_ was not suitable
for “freezing in.” Her shape was not such as would cause her to rise
with lateral pressure, and it was almost certain that should she become
involved in any of the heavy disturbances which frequently occur she
was not likely to survive. The hazard of a boat journey was not likely
to meet with the same fortunate ending that we experienced in the
_Endurance_ expedition, where our escape was indeed a miraculous one.
Nearly all our special winter equipment was at Cape Town, which was
to have been our base of operations. But weighing even more than these
factors was another on which one can only briefly touch: in spite of a
solid nucleus of old, tried Antarctic men, and others of proved worth
in different fields, there was a discordant element in the personnel
which I was anxious to adjust before I exposed the party to the trials
and vicissitudes of a polar winter.

During the afternoon Worsley took a sounding, finding in lat. 68°
52´ S. and 16° 55´ E. long. a depth of 1,555 fathoms, which showed a
shoaling of 608 fathoms in 49 miles of southing. The snapper contained
a specimen of grey mud which was handed to the geologist.

I had no rest during the night, for I realized that on the next few
hours hung the fate of this effort. Unless the temperature rose and
the ice showed signs of loosening it would be necessary to turn back,
little though I liked the prospect. I was in the crow’s nest the moment
that the dim midnight light began to improve, searching all round the
horizon with binoculars. Everywhere the ice lay tightly packed and
solid. McIlroy reported a further drop of two degrees Fahrenheit. The
filmy, freezing surface of the leads had become definitely frozen over,
so that there was not a drop of water to be seen anywhere. Even to
the northward the outlook was bad, and I began to fear that after all
we might be beset. That we could push no farther into the heavy ice
was certain. I decided to remain where I was for the day, but longer
than that would be fatal unless a change occurred in the meantime. I
manœuvred the ship to a large solid floe to enable the scientists to
take their instruments over the side, and give all hands a chance of
exercise after the cramping spell of shipboard. Near by a fat Weddell
seal lay asleep. I shot it, and McIlroy and Macklin skinned it and took
the blubber to the bunkers. Carr, with the assistance of Marr, Naisbitt
and Argles, brought in some ice for use as drinking water.


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

  [Illustration: FROZEN SPRAY

     _Photo: Wilkins_]

Sea ice, although salt, has the peculiar property that if piled up for
two or three days, either naturally as pressure ridges or artificially
by heaping up a number of frozen slabs, the salt leaves the upper
pieces, which can be melted down and freely used as drinking water.
Physicists have not been able to explain fully the phenomenon. It
is, however, an easily demonstrable fact, and it is by this property
of the ice alone that ships have been able to winter in the pack. In
the height of summer, when the sun beats down strongly upon the ice,
pools of water form on the surface of the floes. They are fresh and
can be used for drinking. It is necessary, however, if water is being
taken from this source, to see that the floe is a good solid one, not
“rotted” underneath, in which case it may be brackish. During some
of our marches over the ice of the Weddell Sea after the loss of the
_Endurance_ the going was very bad and the work tremendously hard
on account of soft snow, which let the men down to the hips and the
dogs to their bellies, and we suffered severely from thirst. When we
encountered any of these pools they were freely used by men and dogs
for drinking, and we never noticed any salty flavour.

  [Illustration: The track of the _Quest_ as compared with the tracks
     of Biscoe and Bellingshausen.]

The eating of snow is bad; of this there can be no doubt, though I
have seen it stated in the writings of some explorers that it is quite
suitable for quenching thirst, and all that is necessary is to overcome
the prejudice against its use. The eating of a little snow is harmless,
but if one indulges in the practice for a long time the mouth becomes
very dry due to the paralysing effect of cold on the salivary glands.
The result is that more and more of it is required and the dryness
of the mouth is intensified. Any weak spots which may have developed
in the teeth are at once discovered, with consequent severe facial
neuralgia. The swallowing of the scarcely melted water tends to upset
digestion, as is well seen in the United States of America, where the
frequent taking of iced drinks is a national practice and dyspepsia
is the national complaint. This is not a theoretical observation, for
as an enthusiastic young man in my early days of exploration I made
the experiment to my sorrow, and I have noted the effects upon other
members of the different expeditions which have entered these regions.

Worsley, with the assistance of Dell and Watts, took a sounding,
finding bottom at 1,089 fathoms in lat. 69° 17´ S. and 17° 9´ E.
long. This showed a shoaling of 466 fathoms in twenty-nine miles, and
certainly indicated the approach to the continental shelf. Once again
I climbed to the crow’s nest and scanned the horizon to the south. The
sky in that direction had a hard white look such as one would get over
snow-covered land, but is also seen over densely packed ice. I felt
sure that if we could only work our way for another fifty miles to the
south we should sight or find indications of land, but no ship ever
built could possibly have pushed through the ice to the south of us,
not even the most powerful ice-breakers.

Of animal and bird life there was very little, but though if present
they would have been additional evidence in favour of the proximity of
land, their absence did not necessarily negative it.

Looking backwards to the north I saw that the ice in that direction,
though less dense than that to the south, was settling firm and hard,
and I decided that as soon as the scientific staff had completed their
observations I must beat a hasty and energetic retreat.

Few people can realize what an effort it had been to force the little
_Quest_ to this position. It was hard to have to turn back. It was
necessary, however, to make every effort to escape this freeze up, but
once in loose pack I was determined to seize the first chance to push
south again.



At about 4.0 P.M. on February 12th, having come to my decision, I
blew the steam whistle for the recall of all hands, who had thoroughly
enjoyed their day on the ice. Query had had a splendid time in spite
of having once or twice fallen through mushy holes into freezing
water, and he came back to the ship thoroughly tired from the unwonted


     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

We had some difficulty in getting under way, but once the ship
had gathered momentum she was able to push on through the new ice.
Navigation required the utmost watchfulness and care; we could not
afford to delay, for minutes totalled up, and the ice was increasing
hourly in thickness. Every stop added to the difficulties of getting
under way again. I must pay a high tribute to the unremitting energy
and unfailing resource of Worsley and Jeffrey at this critical period
as we forced our way from the closing grip of the pack. Macklin writes
in his diary:

     The way in which the _Quest_ is made to push ahead and to dodge
     and wriggle past the most awkward places is wonderful. Kerr is
     excelling himself below—I hope he does not bust her up, for these
     engines have given at one time and another a lot of trouble. It is
     interesting to compare the different watches at work. Commander
     Wild goes about the job quietly and steadily, without fuss or
     shouting, and undoubtedly makes the best headway. Old Wuzzles
     (Worsley) also goes ahead energetically, but to an accompaniment
     of noise that might waken the dead, for which, perhaps, he is less
     responsible than some members of his watch. Jeffrey also makes
     surprisingly good headway, with a running commentary usually the
     reverse of complimentary on all things frozen.

I was wakened at 4.0 on the following morning by McLeod, who shouted
in at my door, “One bell and the ship’s afire!” In a moment I was out
of bed and on deck, to find dense smoke and flame ascending from what
appeared to be the engine-room skylight. Rushing to the engine-room
door, I was met by Smith, who said that everything was all right below.
The flames were leaping up alongside the funnel. I went up on to the
bridge and shouted to the other members of my watch who had turned
out to get Pyrene extinguishers, of which we kept a number always
on hand. We squirted their contents vigorously into the midst of the
flames, and soon had them subdued, when I discovered that the cause
of the trouble lay in some cork fenders and coils of tarry rope which
had been placed against the funnel on the previous day. The flames
had spread to two large wooden sidelight boards and to some canvas
gear. Our portable hand-sounding machine was also involved, and was,
unfortunately, rendered almost useless. The fire, while it lasted, was
a brisk one, and had we been compelled to rely on the old hose system
for its extinction there is no doubt that it would have proved serious.
The rapidity with which we were able to control it speaks much for the
efficacy of the extinguishers in use, which were of the carbon-dioxide
producing type.

Having leapt straight from our bunks, we were exceedingly lightly
clothed, and, now that the excitement was over, we noticed the cold
atmosphere and scampered off to garb ourselves more warmly.

We continued vigorously pushing north all day. Numerous crab-eater
seals were seen, many of them on our direct route; but although I
was anxious to lay in a store of their blubber I did not stop. We saw
also a number of emperor penguins. Bird life, as I have said, had been
very scarce, and represented only by snow petrels, a number of which,
outlined in silvery whiteness against the blue of the sky as they
passed overhead on their way south, presented a very beautiful picture.

In the evening we passed by a floe on which five large seals lay
asleep, and I determined to stop for a short time and take them
up. There is no difficulty in killing and obtaining any number of
Antarctic seals, no matter how small the floe they are on, provided
one approaches them quietly and gets within a range at which they can
be picked off rapidly and with certainty one after the other. On this
occasion I gave the word to withhold fire till we were close alongside,
but Douglas, apparently unable to restrain his impetuosity, fired
too soon and succeeded in wounding one, which heaved itself about
frantically and startled the others to sudden wakefulness. To make
matters worse, Douglas continued firing, and some of them dived into
the sea. It is a characteristic of these seals that if wounded they
prefer to be on a floe, and all but one came back again, when they were
properly dispatched and hoisted aboard for removal of their blubber.
The moment they were aboard I set off again, scarcely waiting for the
men on the floe, who scrambled up as the ship was moving away.

There is a great difference between Arctic and Antarctic seals. In the
North the seal has always to be on the look out for the polar bear, and
when it comes ashore to sleep does so fitfully, frequently raising its
head to look about, and slipping back to the water on the least alarm.
Its enemies are above and not below water. The contrary holds in the
Antarctic, where the seals are vigorously preyed upon by the killers
and sea-leopards. On the surface, however, they have no enemies, and
although they take fright if approached quickly or noisily, one can,
by moving quietly, get so close to them that they can, if so desired,
be clubbed instead of shot. This clubbing should be done with a heavy
instrument, such as the loom of an oar, and the point to be aimed at
is the nose. If the blow is delivered accurately and with sufficient
weight, the seal is immediately rendered unconscious, after which
the jugular veins and the main arteries of the neck are severed with
a knife, without one of which at his belt no good sailor or explorer
goes anywhere. In any case the carcass of the seal should always be
thoroughly bled. Another useful instrument by which the animal can be
instantaneously killed is an Alpine ice-pick, the point being driven
by a smart downward tap through the vault of the skull. This has the
disadvantage of destroying the brain, which we always used for cooking,
and is, indeed, the greatest dainty provided by these animals. The
method of killing seals which we always adopted when we had plenty of
ammunition was to shoot them. I always aim at the neck, just behind the
skull, where many vital structures are brought into close relationship.
Death is instantaneous, bleeding takes place freely, and the brain is
not destroyed.

Macklin sustained a nasty cut during the flensing, running his hand off
the haft of the knife on to the blade. He rather prided himself on his
knives, on which he kept a razor edge, and on his flensing, and I think
he felt annoyed at his clumsiness, for it was with an almost shamefaced
air that he went to McIlroy to get his hand bound up.

The art of keeping a hunting-knife in really good order is one which
few people understand. A keen edge is essential for neat and rapid
work, yet I have seen many people hacking laboriously away with a
blade which would scarcely penetrate butter. I always carry a pocket
carborundum stone, and I carefully clean and sharpen my knife every
time I use it. Before using the stone it is important to see that
there is no blood or blubber remaining on the blade. After a heavy
day’s flensing it may take from half an hour to an hour to bring the
edge to perfection again, and I am always amused at the man who brings
something resembling a butcher’s steel and says: “You might just
sharpen that for me, will you?”

Another art is the making of a good leather sheath, for that is a thing
one cannot buy. It is careful and continued attention to small things
that makes for efficiency at this kind of work.


     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

It did not get completely dark at midnight. The increasing light in the
early morning produced a wonderful sunrise. Owing to the gradual upward
curve of the sun in these latitudes, the effects last for hours and
change slowly, contrasting strongly with the evanescent tropical skies,
where the sun rises abruptly above the horizon and in the evening falls
back so suddenly that there is no twilight. The sky to the eastward
was lit up with the most delicate and beautiful colours, which were
reflected on the surface of the floe. The old floes passed slowly from
pale pink to crimson and, as the sun came over the rim, to the palest
and most delicate heliotrope. The darker newly frozen ice changed from
bronze to light apple-green. To the westward a large golden moon was
poised in a cloudless sky, turning the floes to the palest of gold. No
words of mine can adequately convey the beauty of such a morning.

These days impressed themselves vividly in one’s memory, which has
the knack of picking out the brighter spots in the greyness of these
regions. I think it is impressions like these which, working perhaps
subconsciously, produce that haunting restlessness which makes one feel
suddenly, and without apparent cause, dissatisfied with civilization,
its veneer and artificiality, its restrictions and its ugliness.
Certain it is that few people who have travelled away from the beaten
track and spent long, unbroken periods face to face with Nature can
hope to escape the sudden feelings of restlessness and disquietude
which come upon one without warning and drive one to pacing up and
down, to face the rain on a gusty night, or do anything so long as
one can be alone for a while. I think that every living being has at
one time or another experienced that curious feeling—it is hard to
say of what exactly—a sort of wondering lostness that comes over one
in certain circumstances. In our own country one feels it on fine
nights in the gloaming, when everything is stilled and the silence
unbroken save by the full-throated song of some bird, which seems only
to accentuate it. One feels something of it even in the cities in the
quiet of a summer evening, with the smoke of countless chimneys winding
lazily upwards, but it is in the great untouched areas of the earth
that it makes its deepest impression and grips one with the greatest

It has been my fortune to visit many parts of the world, and I can
recall wonderful evenings in many places which have created a deep
impression on me, but there particularly stand out in my mind’s eye
some of the long Antarctic autumn twilights too beautiful to describe.
I have seen the most materialistic and unimpressionable of men strung
to an absolute silence, scarcely daring to breathe, filled with
something intangible and inexplicable. The very sledge dogs stand stock
still, gazing intently into the farness, ears cocked, listening—for
what? Suddenly the spell is broken and with a deep breath one turns
again to work.

We pushed on and on throughout the 14th and made on the whole pretty
good headway. I stopped just long enough to let Worsley take a
sounding, depth 1,925 fathoms (lat. 68° 21´ S. and 16° 0´ E. long.).
With every hour the ice increased in thickness and the _Quest_ had all
she could do to push forward. Work at the wheel was strenuous, for in
the new ice the ship did not make a straight track, but swerved all
the time from side to side, and the helm had to be swung repeatedly in
either direction to check the deviation.

About midday we encountered heavy floe against which we made poor
headway, and I began to realize that it would be touch and go as to
whether we would get out or not. I sent for Kerr and told him to give
his engines all they would stand. He increased the pressure of steam,
and the ship began to make headway slowly but surely.

In the early afternoon the weather changed. McIlroy reported a rise of
temperature to 22° Fahr., and there was a swell, very faint but quite
noticeable. A skua gull and a giant petrel appeared. All these signs
were good, indicating a more open pack ahead of us and open water
within reasonable distance.

By 8.0 P.M. we were once more making good headway, and I went below, to
fall soundly asleep after my days of anxiety and broken rest.

Owing to the darkness we were compelled to heave to for two hours at
midnight, for with the northing we had made there was less daylight,
and one cannot distinguish in the dim light between rotten floes and
solid ones, which if rammed would fetch up the ship all standing and
possibly start the timbers and carry away a certain amount of gear.

The temperature had risen to 24° Fahr., but when I came on deck in the
early morning of the 15th the outlook was not good. The air was not
warm enough to prevent freezing of the ice, and from the mast-head I
saw heavy pack to the northward. There was one good sign, however, and
that was an increased northerly swell coming along in slow leisurely
rolls. It is a fine sight to see a huge field of ice rising and falling
in this manner.

We pushed energetically on and later in the day we entered loose open
pack. I had no doubt now that we were out of danger of being beset. It
was a relief to be able to relax a little after the constant effort of
the last fortnight.

Although we were now free from danger of being beset we had entered a
new set of conditions which were by no means a sinecure. The ice had
the effect of deadening swell, but the pieces of floe about the pack
edge were often thrown into violent motion and made to bump and grind
together by the action of the sea. By coming north also we were losing
daylight, and we had now from two to three hours of darkness to contend
with each day. Navigation under these circumstances required constant
care and watchfulness, so that I had still to maintain a pretty active
vigilance. For much of our journey about the northern limits of the
pack I was compelled for the sake of economy to shut off steam and
proceed under sail only, which gave me some idea of the difficulties
which Bellingshausen and Biscoe had to contend with, and enabled me
to appreciate their reticence to push deeply into the ice. To both
of these predecessors I must pay a tribute of the highest praise for
their determined and persevering work about this segment. In the whole
of my experience as a seaman I have never encountered a part of the
world where weather and sea conditions generally are so uncomfortable.
Periods of gale, with heavy swell and grinding floe, when the outlook
is obscured by driving wind and blinding snow squalls, alternate with
periods of calm, when fog settles in a dense pall of fine mist which
forms heavy rime on all spars and running gear, and freezing solid
interferes greatly with their working. It takes days for the huge
rollers to subside, and the floes grind and groan incessantly. I had
always the feeling that I could raise steam at short notice, but these
early explorers were dependent entirely on winds, which blow either too
hard or not hard enough, and never seem to strike the happy medium.
To John Biscoe, British seaman, the trip must have been one of long
continued struggle, for he was ill equipped, scurvy set in and he lost
the greater part of the crews of both his vessels. On his own ship, the
_Tula_, there were only three men able to stand when the ship reached
Hobart, and on the _Lively_ only three were _alive_ when she reached
Port Philip. His story, told baldly, makes enthralling reading for
those who can appreciate it.

We made good progress to the northward, the day’s run at noon on the
16th being estimated by Worsley at seventy-seven miles. We passed
through much open water with a strong easterly swell, but encountered
also several belts of heavy, closely packed ice consisting of old
floe which had undergone heavy pressure. Owing to the swell it was
impossible to avoid some severe bumps. Birds were about in large
numbers, including Antarctic petrels, giant petrels and terns. We
saw numerous killers, and witnessed a most interesting display by two
of them which were playing and disporting themselves on the surface,
flinging their huge bulks high into the air, and creating a tremendous
turmoil in the water. Crab-eaters were seen in numbers on the floes,
sometimes singly, often in bunches of five or six. We saw no penguins
or snow petrels. Worsley reported a single Mother Carey’s Chicken as
having been about. They all pointed to the proximity of open ocean, and
I expected that we should be clear of ice by next day.

A sounding taken in lat. 67° 07´ S. and 14° 29´ E. long. gave a depth
of 2,341 fathoms.

In the evening we again entered an area of heavy old floes, which moved
about and pressed together in the swell. Snow squalls and dim light
made the navigation of them a difficult matter, but by noon of the
following day we had got clear of pack and were in open water with a
clear sky to the northward. Numerous solitary pieces of floe and heavy
growlers were still dotted about. Growlers are heavy, solid pieces
of ice, grey or greenish-grey in colour, which float with their tops
just awash. They are consequently difficult to see, especially in poor
light, and a close watch has always to be kept for them.

Some of the floes carried passengers in the shape of crab-eater seals.
We saw a number of huge blue whales, which are recognized by their
large size, high vertical spout which opens out into a dense cloud
of spray, and the presence of a fin. Killers also were about in large

In the early morning of the 18th we turned south again in another
attempt to push through to land or ice barrier. From the lateness of
the season we knew this must necessarily be the last attempt for this

We had not proceeded many miles when we again encountered pack, which
compelled us to take a southwesterly direction, passing through a good
deal of brash, but keeping clear of heavy ice. The weather was thick
and snowy. Later we encountered some very old floes full of small
caves, and with well-defined necks where the sea had worn them away by
the continual wash, so that they resembled gigantic mushrooms growing
from the surface of the water.

Marr was taken ill at this time with sore throat and high temperature.
He said nothing of the condition himself and would have struggled
on had not Dell informed Macklin that he looked a bit sick. He is
a hardy youngster and showed his contempt for the cold by walking
about inadequately clothed. He had a vivid maroon-coloured muffler,
beautifully soft and warm. I once asked him if it was a present from
his best girl. “Yes,” he replied, “from my mother.” I threatened him
that if he appeared without this round his neck in future I would
pack him off to bed and keep him there. The doctors reported that his
condition was not serious, and a day or two in bed would put him right

We continued in a southerly direction till the night of the 20th,
when we met heavy pack which compelled us to turn west. At noon on the
21st we were forced to come back in a north-westerly direction. In the
evening we skirted a line of ice running west-south-west, and on the
morning of the 22nd again entered open sea.

The 22nd was Worsley’s birthday. He had reached his fiftieth milestone,
but could easily have passed for ten years less. We celebrated the
occasion by an extra special spread at which, to the surprise and
(needless to say) delight, of nearly everyone, some bottles of beer
materialized. The _pièce de résistance_ was a large pink cake bearing
in sugar the inscription, “Wuzzles’ 21st.” He was called upon to cut
it himself, and was given a large steel chopper with which to do it.
Having performed a Maori war dance, he proceeded to cut it into slices.
It proved to be a bit hard, so he attempted to lift it to a better
position, to find, to his amazement, that he could scarcely budge it.
The cake turned out to be a 56-lb. sinker, which Green had covered
with sugar. However, a proper cake was forthcoming, and the evening was
spent merrily.

The _Quest_ was not a comfortable ship, and there was little to take
the mind from general routine and the business in hand. The continuous
struggle with the pack became after a time very exhausting, and
there was a chance also of its becoming something of an obsession.
Consequently, occasions such as birthdays, which provided a diversion
and helped to lift the men out of themselves, were of the greatest

February 23rd was a dull grey day. We hoisted the squaresail at
daybreak and continued to run off before a strong easterly wind. With
sails set there was great difficulty in getting the wardroom stove to
burn, for both topsail and squaresail created a powerful and baffling
down draught for which we designed and made all sorts and shapes of
cowls, but without much success. The wardroom became filled with dense
acrid smoke, and the fire was generally allowed to go out when the
temperature fell so much that no one could use it to sit about, and
those taking their watch below were driven to their bunks. Wilkins
and Douglas in the forecastle had the same difficulty. Wilkins, ever
resourceful, built a cowl, but it fouled the sheet of the forestay sail
and was swept away. Nothing daunted, he built another, which met the
same fate. With exemplary patience he built a new one each time the
other was lost! We did our best to protect the cowls when setting or
taking in sail, but in heavy winds, when the squaresail was let go at
the run, it was almost impossible to do so.

Since the evening of the 21st we had made in a west to
west-south-westerly direction, but, seeing what appeared to be open
seas with sky to the horizon a deep black, I now turned south again.
Within an hour, however, we met with small pieces of ice, which became
more numerous as we proceeded. We then entered an area of sea full
of small round pieces, like snowballs, covered with a fine powdery
ice. Snow settling on this area gave it the appearance of a “sea of
milk.” The swell continued, but the surface was like oil, unbroken by
a single ripple. We passed from this into a belt where the surface was
just beginning to freeze, forming the thinnest possible film of ice.
The snow on this gave the impression of a grey sea. Visibility, owing
to the snow which fell quietly and continuously, was poor. The whole
outlook gave a curious impression of greyness, grey sea, grey sky, and
everything grey wherever one looked.

As we progressed still farther the filmy surface was replaced by
definite pancake formation. Amongst the pancakes were numerous heavy
old lumps, much water-worn at sea level, but heavy underneath with long
projecting tongues.

The night was cold and snowy and the decks became covered with a very
slippery slush on which, with the rolling of the ship, it was not easy
to keep a footing. We took in sail, a cold and unpleasant job because
all spars, sails and running gear had become coated with a thick
covering of ice.

Dinner that night was a cold business, and the dullness of the day and
general outlook had rather damped our spirits. Macklin writes on this

     Owing to the stove refusing to burn, the wardroom was cold, and
     we gathered round the dinner-table feeling pretty miserable.
     Green had prepared a big dish of hot potatoes in their jackets. I
     placed the biggest I could find under my jersey and it warmed me
     up finely. I kept moving it round so as to warm as much of my body
     as possible, and finally ate it, warming also my inside. One has
     to be economical these hard times.

As the light failed the ice began to thicken, and as the swell was
causing the floes to grind heavily together I lay to till daybreak. All
night long we heard the moaning and complaining of the grinding floes,
a number of which, with long underwater tongues, drifted down upon
us, causing the ship to take some very bad bumps. To economize our now
much-depleted coal I had given Kerr instructions to let the steam fall
off, and we had to be constantly sheeting home the topsail and pointing
the yards to get her to fall away from our unpleasant neighbours,
contact with which might prove dangerous.

The floes looked very weird in the darkness as they surged up on the
swell and fell back again into the trough of the sea, the water sucking
and gurgling amongst the cracks and chasms and making the most uncanny

At daybreak on the 24th steam was raised and we continued south,
pushing through pancake ice which contained many heavy floes. Seen from
aloft the pancake formation makes a most beautiful mosaic. Much of our
finest art is surpassed by Nature, and in these southern regions there
is much to attract those who have an artistic temperament.

The ice rapidly increased in thickness, and by noon we were again held
up by dense impenetrable pack in position lat. 68° 32´ S. and 0° 5´ E.
long. To the south the outlook was hopeless. I climbed to the crow’s
nest to scan the horizon to the southward, but saw only closely packed
and heavy ice stretching away to the horizon, whilst in the sky was a
strongly marked ice-blink. It was bitterly disappointing. There was no
alternative but to retrace our steps and work to the westward. I went
below, where once more I pulled out all the charts and examined again
the records of old explorers in these regions. I had a long talk with
Worsley and Kerr. The season was well advanced; the _Quest_ had neither
the driving power nor the amount of coal to enable me to batter hard at
heavy floe. As a matter of fact, I do not think that any ship, however
powerful, could have made any impression on the stuff to the south of
us. As far as finding land in this segment was concerned I felt that
we had shot our bolt. I was, however, determined to have another try,
and to make Cape Town my base, where I could overhaul and refit my
ship, where there was a big supply of good winter stores and equipment,
and where I could readjust the personnel. I intended to make the start
_early in the season_, and I felt confident that with the time to spare
to enable us to wait for the ice to move we should reach new land.

My intention was now to make as directly as possible for the charted
position of “Ross’s Appearance of Land,” the accuracy of which I hoped
either to verify or to disprove, and to take a series of soundings on
the spot. We should by that time be very short of coal and consequently
also in need of ballast. I determined, therefore, to call at Elephant
Island, where I felt sure we would find sea-elephants in sufficient
numbers to supply us with blubber as fuel. Blubber is by no means an
ideal form of fuel for the furnace, for it burns with a fierce, hot
flame and is very messy. Mixed judiciously with coal, however, I knew
it would materially help to spin out the supply. I hoped, also, to be
able to take aboard a quantity of sand or shingle as ballast. From
there I proposed proceeding to Deception Island to coal, and thence
return to South Georgia.

At this point I must mention that which is not a pleasant subject, but
one which should not be glossed over, because it indicates what is
a most important feature in the preparation for a polar expedition:
the choice of personnel. It is a matter which requires the greatest
possible care, for one discordant or unadaptable spirit can do a vast
amount of harm in infecting others.

There can be no doubt that since leaving South Georgia we had had
a very wearing time and one which tried the temper and patience
of all hands. It must be admitted that before leaving England the
arrangements for the comfort of the personnel had in some directions
been overlooked, and long-continued discomfort is bound sooner or
later to have an effect upon the temper. Life on board ship entails
a certain amount of dull routine, providing at times an amount of
exhausting work but very little active exercise. We had experienced
long spells of bad weather, with a large proportion of dull, grey days
and little sunshine. I therefore expected and was prepared to find that
individuals would experience periods of irritability, and that things
would not always run as smoothly as might be desired. The personnel
had been selected from men of marked individual character, and in
order that a body of men of this type shall be able to live in absolute
harmony over a long period of time it is necessary that an outstanding
quality of each shall be a good “give and take” sporting spirit. The
effect of one or two selfish and discordant natures can easily be
understood. There was surprisingly little friction amongst the various
members of the expedition, which is due largely to the sound qualities
of the nucleus of old, tried men.

I began to be aware, however, about this time of an amount of
dissatisfaction and grumbling occurring in both the forward and
after-messes that I did not like. Men who sat at table with me and to
a certain extent enjoyed my confidence discussed and freely criticized
expedition affairs with members of the after-mess. Of this I had ample
confirmation. Some of those thus employed were officers who from their
position on the ship should have been my most loyal supporters. In
the after-mess also I was surprised to find that the men affected were
those in whom I had placed the most implicit trust. It was a condition
of things that required prompt measures. I assembled each mess in turn,
and going straight to the point told them that further continuance
would be met with the most drastic treatment. I pointed out that
although I would at all times welcome suggestions from the officers and
scientific staff, and would consider any reasonable complaints, I could
consider no selfish or individual interests, and my own decision must
be final and end discussion of the matter.

I was glad to notice an immediate improvement.

On February 25th we passed through a lot of loose ice, and in the
evening entered a patch of heavy, old, deeply stained diatomaceous
floes. Scores of crab-eater seals lay asleep on them in batches of five
or six. Passing close to one piece on which six were lying in a clump,
I laid the ship alongside and with my heavy rifle shot them all. I sent
Macklin, with Douglas and Argles, on to the floe to secure them, which
is best done by passing a strop round the body and tightening it close
up under the flippers. Having fixed up a block and tackle we hauled
them aboard—an awkward job on account of the swell in which the _Quest_
rolled heavily. In the subsequent flensing Douglas jabbed his knee, the
knife penetrating the joint. The wound itself was small, but Macklin
insisted on absolute rest until he could be sure that there was no
infection. Carr also cut his finger. These accidents were largely due
to the movement of the ship, which rendered the operation a difficult
one. Two inexperienced men wielding their knives on the same seal are a
source of danger to each other, for with the sweeping strokes employed
there is the chance of a mutilating cut. I always insisted in cases
like this that only one man at a time should have a knife in his hand.

Watts succeeded in getting Greenwich time by wireless from Rio de
Janeiro, which enabled us to check our chronometers. Long-distance
messages were not easily obtained owing to bad atmospheric conditions,
which produce loud noises in the ear-pieces.

By February 28th, as a result of our depleted bunkers, the ship was
very light and ill-ballasted. I told Worsley to remove from the decks
all heavy gear and place it below, for which purpose I arranged to
clear the coal from the forward part of the bunkers and put it aft into
the side pockets. I divided the men into two working parties, one to go
down in the morning, consisting of McIlroy, Marr, Macklin and Dell, and
one to work in the afternoon, of Wilkins, Carr, McLeod and Watts. So
much vigour did the morning party put into this work, however, that at
lunch-time there was little for the others to do beyond stow the gear
from above.

March 1st was another fine day, and we took full advantage of it to
hang up the spare sails to dry prior to placing them below. All hands
seized the opportunity to put out blankets and bedding for an airing.

The deck clearance made a wonderful improvement to the ship.
Unfortunately, it made it necessary that we should have the gear up
again when we coaled at Deception Island.

Worsley obtained a sounding of 2,762 fathoms in position lat. 65° 22´
S. and 10° 17´ W. long.

In the late afternoon we passed a very curious berg composed of a solid
mass with a long, upright tooth-like portion separated from it on the
surface by ten or twenty yards of water. Perched on it were several
Antarctic petrels and one solitary ringed penguin. How the latter ever
attained its position is a mystery, for the sides of the berg were
steep and precipitous.

On Saturday, March 4th, there was a strong north-east to easterly wind,
with heavy swell, and the motion of the _Quest_ was simply awful, so
bad, indeed, that in spite of our long time at sea several of the party
were sea-sick. Macklin writes under this date:

     It has been impossible to stand without holding firmly to some
     support, and movement about the ship can only be accomplished
     by sudden jerks and starts, with hurried gropings for something
     to catch hold of. A wet, snowy slush on the deck does not help
     matters. Argles was thrown off his feet and, crashing across the
     deck, fetched up on the other side against a bucket, severely
     bruising face, chest and hands. Meals are a screaming comedy or
     a tragedy, as you like to take them; everything placed on the
     table promptly charges for the scuppers, and fiddles are almost
     useless. McIlroy, “Kraskie,” Kerr and myself were sitting on a
     wooden bench, secured to the floor, holding on to plates and
     spoons, and endeavouring to guide some food into our mouths.
     Suddenly, during a particularly violent roll, the bench was torn
     from its fastenings, and we were thrown backwards into the lee
     of the wardroom, intimately mixed with knives, forks, plates and
     treacle dough. During the evening watch Commander Wild was talking
     to Mick and myself on the bridge when suddenly he shot away
     into the darkness, and a few moments later sounds the reverse of
     complimentary were heard issuing from the end of the bridge-house.
     Ross brought some tea a few minutes later, apologizing for having
     spilled much of it _en route_. He, too, suddenly disappeared in
     darkness, and when he next materialized there was less tea than
     ever, but it was a good effort his getting it there at all. When
     I went below I saw Wuzzles trying to work out his calculations
     on the wardroom table, with first a book, then a pencil or a
     ruler shooting suddenly to the floor. The _Quest_ is a little
     “she-devil,” lively as they are made. She has many uncomplimentary
     things said of her, and deserves all of them.

On March 5th we passed within sight of several large and beautiful
bergs emerging from the Weddell Sea, the mouth of which we were now
crossing, and met with heavier floes than we had hitherto encountered.
On the 9th we ran into broad belts of heavy ice. I took this chance of
“watering” ship, placing her alongside a floe with some solid pieces
of blue ice. Owing to the swell the ship would not lie comfortably, and
so, taking with me Macklin, Carr and Douglas, I went off to secure her
fore and aft. We broke up and passed aboard a considerable quantity
of fresh ice. The men thoroughly enjoy a job of this nature and make
a great joke of it. On this occasion they broke the ice into fragments
of convenient weight and threw them at Jeffrey, who had undertaken to
catch them all, subjecting him to a regular fusillade from which it was
all he could do to defend himself. On the floe there was a seal which
had come up to sleep, and we took this also. While this work was going
on, Worsley took a sounding, finding in position lat. 66° 5´ S. and 38°
16´ W. long., 2,521 fathoms.

Query came on to the floe, where he took a tremendous interest in a
killer which was swimming about. The killer rose close to the floe and
“blew” with such a blast that Query tucked in his tail and ran for dear
life—much to our amusement.

On Friday, March 10th, we encountered still heavier belts, and were
compelled to take a north-easterly direction. In the evening it turned
much colder, the temperature dropping to 17° Fahr.

A number of Adelie penguins were seen on the floe. Seals were scarce,
only one being seen. Snow and Antarctic petrels flew about the ship in
considerable numbers.

During the night we continued to push in a north-easterly direction,
meeting very heavy broken-up old Weddell Sea floe. The temperature rose
again to 24° Fahr. A strong easterly wind was blowing, with snow, which
made it difficult to see far in any direction.

Water was again reported in the hold to the level of the kelson, and
required three hours’ additional pumping to reduce.

At 6.0 P.M. the snow thickened so much that we could see nothing,
and so lay to for the night. All about we heard the cries of Adelie
penguins. The wind and snow continued all night, but at 4.30 A.M. on
the 12th we started off again, pushing through thick pack composed of
heavy old Weddell Sea floe with the water in between freezing solidly,
making headway difficult. Often during this period I bemoaned to myself
the low driving power of the _Quest_. With the onset of darkness we
again lay to. During the night Marr, who was now a trustworthy seaman,
was on the look out. He makes the following entry in his diary: “There
was no one to talk to and all round lay that vast cold wilderness
of ice. Never in my life have I felt so lonely....” This is indeed
a feeling which one gets frequently in these regions, especially at
night—a great sense of loneliness such as I have never felt elsewhere.
On Monday, March 13th, the temperature dropped during the night to 8°
Fahr., and the sea froze solidly about the ship. In the strong wind,
with jib and mizen set, there was just enough way to keep the ship
from being beset. About 4.0 A.M., however, she did become fast, but
as soon as daylight came in we got up steam and proceeded as rapidly
as possible. The skies cleared beautifully, but the sea continued to
freeze so swiftly and solidly that we had the greatest difficulty in
getting ahead, and many times we had to back off into our own water
to get up sufficient impetus to break through. How we got the _Quest_
along at all I cannot understand.

The outlook was very bad. Worsley and I spent long hours aloft
searching for signs of land in the direction of “Ross’s Appearance,”
but though it was a beautifully clear day, we could see no indication
of it. Ahead of us the ice stretched thick and solid as far as we
could see. Headway became more and more difficult, and soon I saw that
it would be useless to attempt to push on. A sounding showed 2,331
fathoms of water in lat. 64° 11´ S. and 46° 4´ W. long., which did
not indicate the proximity of land. Owing to the low driving power of
the ship I could make no impression through the ice ahead, nor could I
afford the coal for prolonged ramming. It seemed to me that we were in
imminent danger of being beset, and I decided that we must push north
in the hope of meeting more open pack. I had to give up all thought
of attempting to return to “Ross’s Appearance,” because I was now
desperately short of fuel, and unless we could get blubber at Elephant
Island we should be in a bad way.

About us during the day were numerous Adelie penguins, occurring in
twos and threes, and in a few larger clusters of forty or more. None
of the floes bearing the large clusters were accessible to the ship,
or I would have taken them up, for their skins burn well. Crab-eaters
were scarce. Seeing two on a floe, with about a dozen penguins, we lay
alongside. Argles jumped off to try and catch one, but in the soft snow
the penguin had the advantage, and Argles’ efforts were very amusing
to the rest of us. He is an active fellow, however, and was at last
successful, bringing a squawking young Adelie in his arms to the ship,
where Query paid it marked attention. We killed the rest of them, also
the seals, and put them aboard the ship. Owing to the darkness, we lay
to at night in rapidly freezing ice with the outlook as regards escape
not at all promising, and at 4.30 the next morning we raised full
pressure of steam and attempted to get away. After two hours of hard
ramming we had made so little headway that I gave up the attempt and
lay to alongside a floe. By breakfast it had become apparent that we
were fast, hard frozen in. The temperature had dropped to 6.5° Fahr.

It blew hard all day. Birds with the exception of a few snow petrels
disappeared early. Macklin says of these birds:

     I always regard the snow petrel as symbolic of the Spirit of the
     Pack, for they are never entirely absent, in fair weather or
     foul. Even in winter when all is dark one can hear the gentle
     “whisp-whisp” of their wings as they fly close. Their pure
     white bodies with jet black beak and legs give them a beautiful
     appearance when seen at a distance, but when gathered about a
     piece of offal at closer range, there is something unpleasant and
     almost evil in their appearance, with their sinister curved beaks,
     hard bright eyes and pock-toed waddling gait. They are seen at
     their best on a bright clear day with a background of blue sky.
     Like the pack they can give an attractive impression or a most
     unpleasant one.

Killers were about during the day.

We were still solidly frozen in on the 15th. A fairly strong westerly
wind blew with a temperature of 8.5° Fahr. The day was bright and
clear, and Jeffrey and Douglas took theodolite and dip circle on to
the floe for observations, which were impossible on a moving deck.
In the morning I put all hands to cleaning up the ship and pumping
her dry, a process which took two hours daily. Whilst engaged in this
a killer appeared in a small lead which had formed on the port bow,
and continued to swim slowly backwards and forwards, affording us
an excellent close view. His motion through the water was a marvel
of graceful movement, but in other respects he was an ugly looking
monster, with slightly underhung jaw and a small wicked eye which gave
him a very evil appearance. His back and flanks were covered with large
brown-coloured patches, probably parasitic. I called Marr’s attention
to him; he remarked that it did not make him feel inclined to fall

At noon Worsley got an observation of the sun and worked out a position
which showed a drift of eighteen miles in direction N. 43° E. This was
very encouraging, for I knew that if it continued we should not be long
in reaching a point at which the floe would begin to open up and give
us a chance to get away. A sounding gave 2,321 fathoms in lat. 63° 51´
S. and 45° 13´ W. long. The steam pipe of the sounding machine froze,
so that Dell was unable to get in the wire, which was left all night in
the hope of getting it in next morning. By daylight, however, the ship
had altered her position relative to the hole in the ice by about fifty
yards and the wire was as taut as a harp string. I made an effort to
clear it with an ice-axe, but did not succeed in doing so. This single
sounding wire held the weight of the ship, maintaining it and the floe
in the same relative positions for forty-eight hours before finally
parting. It was not subjected to any jerking strain, but this test says
much for its strength.

We remained frozen in till March 21st. At times I felt very anxious,
for with the lateness of the season, failing light and shortage of
coal, I realized that our position might turn out to be a very awkward
one. Indeed things looked so bad on the sixth day that I made up my
mind that we might remain a long time before breaking free, and told
Macklin, in dealing with the issue of stores and equipment, to have in
mind the possibility of wintering. I had taken care to provision the
ship with a view to this eventuality, but it would have necessitated
the most rigid economy and a much more monotonous dietary than we
had hitherto enjoyed, for it must be remembered that the bulk of our
equipment was awaiting us in Cape Town. I did not, however, mention the
possibility to the men, for they seemed quite to enjoy the break from
routine, and I did not wish their minds to be occupied with any sort
of gloomy forebodings. I encouraged them to amuse themselves in any way
they could by taking walks out over the floes and by playing football.
They were not slow to avail themselves of the opportunity. On one
occasion I watched Douglas, Argles, Carr and Macklin earnestly engaged
in a strange pastime, which more resembled a free fight than anything,
and consisted of flinging themselves at one another and grappling and
wrestling fiercely in the snow. At the finish they all bore marks of
the contest, Douglas with an eye that threatened closure within a few
days. They informed me that they had been playing _American_ football,
and said they enjoyed it!

“Soccer” was the favourite game. I frequently joined in, as did
Worsley, whose fiftieth birthday we had celebrated a short while
before, but who was by no means the least active. The games were marked
by many amusing incidents. On one occasion Naisbitt while chasing the
ball sank suddenly from view through a hole in the ice, from which he
was promptly rescued, soon to be covered with a coating of icicles. On
another day we were visited by a small Adelie penguin which spotted us
from a floe some distance away, and came running as fast as his short
legs would carry him to join in the game. What he thought of it all I
do not know, but he insisted on taking an active part, neglecting the
ball and fiercely attacking with beak and flippers any man who came
near. Query took a great interest in the visitor, but was fiercely
repulsed when he showed too marked an inquisitiveness. In the ordinary
way too inquisitive penguins pay for their temerity with their lives
and go to swell the larder, but this little fellow showed such pluck
and sportiveness that we let him go free. He waddled off to join his
companions, to whom, no doubt, he would spin the most marvellous yarn.

In honour of our two Irishmen, Jeffrey and McIlroy, we celebrated
St. Patrick’s Day with a specially good dinner, for which Green had
produced some shamrock-shaped scones tied up with green ribbon. I was
also able to produce some cigars and a bottle which we cracked for the

On the 18th Worsley and Wilkins put down a dredge with reversing
thermometer attached. At first steam was used for heaving up, but this
proving very slow we fell back on man power. It was hard work, but
the men, as they always do on these occasions, threw themselves into
it with a will, and we soon brought it to the surface. We obtained
fifty-seven specimens of quartzite, tuffs, etc. There was no living
matter, but the rocks were filled with worm cells.

The next day we were closely invested by dense pack, composed of heavy
old pressure floes. On one was a huge sea-leopard which I shot with
my heavy rifle. With the assistance of Worsley, Douglas and Watts
I brought it in to the ship, where Wilkins claimed head and skin as

Later in the day I went with a party composed of Worsley, McIlroy,
Kerr, Carr and Macklin to look at a berg, distant four or five miles
from the ship. It was a bright morning and we much enjoyed the walk.
The ice was very treacherous, and we had to proceed carefully from floe
to floe, making many wide detours.

On the morning of the 20th the outlook was bad, for we were closely
beset on all sides, and the clouds to the north showed no signs
of “water sky.” The temperature was 10° Fahr., and the new ice was
freezing more thickly than ever. Macklin, Carr and Marr set off to
visit a large berg which appeared on the horizon. They thought they
were making wonderfully good progress till it became evident that
the berg was moving rapidly towards them, charging heavily through
the floe, throwing aside fragments which lay in its path and leaving
a wide lane of open water behind it. I watched it anxiously as,
travelling at from two to three miles an hour, it approached the ship,
and I feared that we might be involved in pressure as a result of the
displacement of floes about it. To my relief, however, it passed about
three-quarters of a mile astern of us and finally disappeared over the
horizon to the northward. There was something awe-inspiring about this
huge structure as it moved inexorable and undeviating on its path,
relentlessly crushing and pushing aside the smaller structures which
sought to impede its progress.

In the evening there was a marked change in the weather. The
temperature rose to 14.5° Fahr., and the day became more dull and grey.
From the crow’s nest I could see a distinct water sky to the northward.


     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Sport & General_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

I was up at daybreak on March 21st and climbed to the mast-head to scan
carefully the horizon to the northward for signs of opening up of the
ice. There was a heavy black water sky, and as daylight increased I
could distinguish fairly open and easily navigable pack. Unfortunately,
between us and it were three miles of dense heavy floe solidly cemented
by a foot of new ice. An irregular line of weakness ran through the
heavy floe towards the now open pack, about half a mile distant from
the ship. I thought that if I could cut my way into this a hard and
determined effort might succeed in getting us free or at any rate into
a more favourable position for escape should the ice about us begin to
open up. I had to consider very carefully whether to make the effort or
not, for the coal supply was such that we could not afford a day’s hard
steaming with no tangible result.

Accompanied by Macklin I walked across the ice to examine this line
of weakness more closely. It did not look promising and I cogitated
for some time as to what to do. While we were walking back a crack
opened in the new ice ahead of the ship. It presented a chance and I
determined to take it. I gave orders for all hands to stand to, and
told Kerr to get up full pressure of steam so that at any minute he
could give the engines every ounce they would stand. He accomplished
this very quickly, but before I had time to get under way a large,
solid, heavy floe had turned across our bows and was completely
blocking the lead. The full pressure of the engines could make no
impression. I sent Macklin over the side with an ice anchor, and put
all hands to warping her ahead. After a long effort we effected a
turning movement of the floe, and the _Quest_, being able to insert her
bow as a wedge, slowly but surely forced her way into the lead.

After some hard ramming and pushing at the floes we reached the line of
weakness, to find that the most difficult part of our work lay before
us. For a long time, in spite of tremendous efforts, we made little
headway. We persisted, however, and after several hours of hard ramming
and squeezing our way between heavy floes we won at last into loose
pack, and soon after into comparatively open water. It was a great
relief to me to get away. Had we remained frozen in till mid-winter and
the ship been involved in heavy pressure our position would have been
a precarious one, for there would have been little daylight to enable
us to see what was happening, and there would have been long hours of
darkness in which to contend with the heaving pack.

Throughout the whole period that we were navigating about the pack
edge, I was constantly made to feel how extremely fortunate we were to
have escaped unscathed from the ice after the loss of the _Endurance_.
That we got away at all is truly marvellous, for not once in a dozen
times could a frail ship’s boat win free under similar circumstances
where the floes, coming together, must have cracked her like an

For a while I continued north, entering all the time a more and more
open sea dotted all about with bergs and large solitary pieces of floe.

The day after leaving the pack we encountered heavy swell, which caused
the _Quest_, with her empty bunkers, to pitch and roll in the most
uncomfortable manner. Decks, rails and running gear became iced up with
sprays which broke over her gunwale and froze solidly, necessitating
the greatest care in moving about.

At night I could not distinguish white horses from growlers, and so
took in sail and lay to. I sent McLeod and Macklin aloft to take
in the topsail, which they found an unpleasant job on account of
the treacherous condition of the rigging, which was ice-covered and
slippery, and the jerky movement of the ship.

We continued on at daybreak encountering a few bergs but no floe ice.
There was a heavy swell from the east-south-east, and though the wind
seemed to have dropped a little squalls of great violence continued
to pass over us. On this day we reached the maximum of discomfort, and
though the men maintained their cheerfulness I see now from some of the
diaries that it must have cost an effort:

     It has been another unpleasant day with all the discomforts of
     yesterday accentuated, the ship rolling just as heavily and all
     gear more thickly coated with ice, which is hanging in festoons
     and stalactites from every possible place. Sprays have been
     flying over all day and everything in the ship is damp. There is
     no comfort anywhere except in one’s bunk, and even there it is
     all one can do to prevent being thrown out. On the bridge to-day
     Commander Wild remarked: “The man who comes down here for the
     sake of experience is mad; the man who comes twice is beyond all
     hope; while as for the man who comes five times (himself)——” Words
     failed him.

     Poor Query is utterly miserable; he cannot get a minute’s rest
     anywhere. Nor can any of us. Yesterday I caught my thumb in the
     jackstay, and it is so swollen and tender that to touch anything
     gives me agony. This beastly motion makes me sea-sick—I am full of
     sorrows to-day. We are getting near to Elephant Island, the home
     of all foul winds that blow—what crazy impulse sent me again to
     these abandoned regions? (writes Macklin).

Indeed at this stage of the voyage it took all our fortitude to keep up
our spirits. We again hove to for the night, and the gale increasing in
violence we lay to all next day.

It moderated about midnight of the 24th, and we set off under topsail
only in the direction of Elephant and Clarence Islands.


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

  [Illustration: SOMNOLENT CONTENT
     A Sea-elephant on Elephant Island

     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]



The wind hauling ahead about 6.30 A.M. on March 25th we took in sail
and under steam proceeded south-west by south in the direction of
Clarence Island. We got a sight of it at 7.35 A.M., but snow flurries
obscured it again. About midday the weather cleared when both it
and Elephant Island showed up distinctly. It is hard to describe the
memories which these two islands revived for those of us who took part
in the _Endurance_ expedition. Readers of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s
“South” will find a description of our arrival and landing—the
first landing to be made on Elephant Island. We stood gazing through
binoculars picking out old familiar landmarks, each one reminiscent
of some incident that came rushing back to the memory. There was
Cornwallis Island, the shape of which was so familiar, and beyond it
Cape Valentine, where we landed eight years ago, a haggard, worn-out
and bedraggled party, rejoicing at the sight of firm, solid land, the
first we had seen for nearly two years. We had just spent eight days
and nights in the boats battling with ice, darkness and storm, toiling
unceasingly at the oars with brief spells of the most fitful slumber.
There our old Boss, whose indomitable will had overcome every obstacle
and surmounted each difficulty as it arose, lay down on the shingle and
had his first sleep for eight days—slept for eighteen hours without a

In the distance we could see Castle Rock, unmistakable from its
peculiar shape, and beyond it we knew lay Cape Wild, though invisible
just now. There I wintered with my party while the Boss went for
help, living hand to mouth on penguins, limpets and seaweed. From a
sentimental point of view this was the place I wished to visit more
than any other, but I knew only too well that it did not provide a good
anchorage, and I was anxious while the weather was favourable to find a
suitable place for ballasting the ship and obtaining sea-elephants for
their blubber. We therefore set course to pass between the two islands
and along the south-eastern side of Elephant Island.

As evening approached there was a wonderful mirage. Looking to the
south-west we saw a number of large icebergs poised high above the
horizon in a sky of the purest gold, whilst all about and in between
them were numerous whales spouting. These mirages are by no means
uncommon in these latitudes, but this was by far the most extraordinary
I have ever seen in any part of the world, and certainly the most
beautiful. Later on the sun sank with a peculiar effect—both Clarence
and Elephant Islands seemed to be afire, a rosy glare rising from each
of them to the sky. Over Cape Wild lay a reddish-golden glow and the
whole appearance of the island was beautiful, giving an impression of
the most peaceful calm. Any ship passing the island on that evening
would have carried away a very wrong idea of the place, and I am sure
that many of our party who had listened to our unqualified, or perhaps
I should say much qualified, descriptions of our sojourn here must have
thought we were rather drawing the long bow. However, they were soon to
learn differently.

During the night we had kept a safe margin between ourselves and the
shore, but with the advent of daylight we stood in more closely and
kept a sharp look out for possible anchorages and suitable spots for
our purpose. We saw none on this side of the island, which presents
nothing but steep mountainous rocks and sheer glacier faces. As we
approached Cape Lookout at the southwestern end of the island we saw
a small spit lying between two high rocks. The wind was blowing from
the west-north-west and this seemed to offer a shelter. We approached
cautiously, sounding continuously with the hand lead. As we drew near
I looked carefully through binoculars for signs of sea-elephants.
Penguins were present in large numbers, but I saw no sign of larger
game, and I was not altogether pleased with the place as an anchorage.
I therefore decided to turn round Cape Lookout and look for a better
place on the western coast. Once round, however, we met strong head
winds against which we could make little headway, and the coast did not
promise anything better, so we returned to the spit and came to anchor
in five fathoms. The surf boat was lowered and I went ashore with
Wilkins, McIlroy, Macklin, Carr, Kerr and Douglas. As we approached
the spit I saw several seals and sea-elephants ashore, but they did not
seem to be in sufficient numbers for my purpose. There was little surf
on the beach and landing proved easy. Wilkins and Douglas went off on
their respective jobs, and I landed Macklin and Kerr with instructions
to reconnoitre and look for seals and sea-elephants, but on no account
to scare away those which were present. I went back with McIlroy and
Carr to the ship to bring off more hands. On the return trip I landed
on a narrow strip of beach overhung by a large glacier which abutted
on the north-west end of the spit, and with McIlroy and some others
walked along it to where the sea-elephants lay. This is a practice I do
not often adopt, for one never knows at what moment these glaciers may
calve, sending down masses of many tons’ weight on to the beach below.
However, nothing happened and we crossed safely.

The landing-place in its essential features closely resembles Cape
Wild, being composed of a narrow low-lying spit connecting the main
island with an outstanding rock. This, again, is separated from another
higher outlying rock by a channel through which the seas surge with
some force. At the inner end of the spit is a high shoulder of rock
which bounds the glacier on this side, whilst on the far side of it is
another similar shoulder. The main part of the island seems to be much
more accessible than it is at Cape Wild, but the place seemed to be
no more suitable as a site for a permanent camp, for there were signs
that the spit is at times sea swept, and it is equally unsheltered from
strong winds.

Penguins were present in large numbers. There were two varieties,
ringed and gentoo, which had segregated into two camps, the ringed
occupying the outer rock whilst the gentoos collected together on
the inner buttress. The former, which derive their name from a thin
but clearly defined ring round the throat, are quaint, deliberate
little animals which show not the least fear of man. They are the most
wonderful climbers and form their rookeries in the most inaccessible
places, often on the faces of steep and precipitous rocks where the
footing is very precarious. After coming in from their fishing it
often takes them hours to reach their final positions, but they show
extraordinary patience and perseverance as they hop from ledge to ledge
and from one small foothold to another. They are often to be seen on
the slopes of large icebergs out at sea. The gentoo is a larger, more
brightly coloured bird, with orange beak and legs, and has a small
white patch over each eye which gives it a curiously inane expression.
It is more shy of man than any other of the Antarctic penguins, and
when chased can travel at quite good speed and dodge cleverly. As
we came up a number of both kinds were stalking slowly and solemnly
along the beach. Amongst them moved little pigeon-like paddy birds
(_Chionis alba_) which look very pretty at a distance, but at close
vision are seen to have very ugly heads and beaks. They darted about
with little quick steps and, like the penguins, watched us curiously,
no doubt wondering what strange new creatures we might be. Dominican
gulls, skuas and Cape pigeons flew all about the place, and numbers
of blue-eyed shags perched on rocks close to the sea or, with necks
outstretched and stiff as ramrods, flew with an intent air to their
fishing in the bay.

I walked across the spit to find a beach on the other side leading
down to a small bay. My mind was immediately set at rest regarding
our blubber requirements, for, lying about in the shelter of rocks
and large pieces of stranded glacier ice, were a number of seals and
sea-elephants, including three enormous bulls, each of which weighed
many tons, whilst on a strip of beach on the far side of the little bay
was a large harem of cows. I shot those on the spit and set all hands
to the flensing. I have a mind-picture of my men: McIlroy, Kerr, Carr
and Macklin busily plying their knives, arms bare to the shoulders and
red with blood. Soon the place resembled a shambles. I loathed having
to slaughter all these creatures, but the matter was one of the direst
necessity, and I had to put aside any feelings of sentiment. I have
never at any time countenanced the unnecessary taking of life, and
whenever it has been necessary to kill I have always insisted that it
should be done in the most humane way possible, and that steps would be
taken to ensure that no wounded animal should escape.

The blubber was removed in large strips from the carcasses, and a party
led by Jeffrey dragged it over the beach to the edge of the water.
Another party secured it to lines and towed it out to the ship.

Whilst the flensing was in process a curious incident occurred. I had
given orders for a dozen penguins to be killed. One gentoo, in taking
flight, had splashed through a small pool of blood and came out with
white waistcoat dyed a vivid red. He went to rejoin his fellows on the
hill, but they, failing to recognize him in his new colourings, pecked
at him so viciously that he at last drew away and went off, to stand
disconsolate and solitary at the head of the beach. Some little while
later Watts, who had not witnessed the incident, suddenly exclaimed
with much excitement, “Look, there’s a new species of penguin! Quick!
Somebody help me to catch him!” Taking pity on the penguin’s outcast
condition I drove him into the sea, from which he returned clean and
white, once more a normal penguin. This time his friends received him
without comment.


     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]


     Photo: Wilkins]

I pushed on energetically with the work, for I feared a change of
weather, my previous sojourn here having taught me never under any
circumstances to trust Elephant Island. In the late afternoon the
wind came round to the south-east, and a swell began to come into the
anchorage. I kept the men at it as long as possible, but at last such
a surf started running on to the beach that I was compelled to take
them from the flensing and put all hands to getting the blubber aboard.
Before leaving I took off also a load of glacier ice for melting
down to water. It was as well that I stopped the work when I did, for
the surf increased so rapidly that we had the greatest difficulty in
getting away the last few boatloads, and in assisting to push out from
the shore I got soaked to the waist with the icy cold water. Some hours
elapsed before I was able to change into dry clothes and my legs became
absolutely benumbed.

On returning to the ship I found that Worsley was growing very uneasy
and was anxious to get away before darkness set in, so as soon as the
boat was up we heaved anchor and proceeded out to sea.

Just as we were leaving the glacier fired a salute in the form of an
enormous mass of ice, which fell with a reverberating crash on to the
narrow beach below and, entering the sea, caused a large wave to come
out towards us. I was glad that it had not happened earlier in the day
whilst we were walking underneath it. This was the source of the pieces
which we collected from the spit. Some of them are of great bulk and
weight, and, with the erratic boulders which also are of great size,
give an indication of the force of gales which blow in these regions,
and show clearly that at certain seasons of the year the spit is so
sea-swept as to be untenable by any temporary structure which might
be set up there. These pieces of ice, except when salt encrusted, are
crystal clear in appearance, and when melted down form the purest of
water. When we were living at Cape Wild we used to be very fastidious
about our ice. It was the one thing about which we could afford to be

During the night of the 26-27th we kept well out from the coast to
avoid outlying rocks, of which we had seen a number when we rounded
Cape Lookout. When morning broke we stood up for the north-westerly
point of the island, keeping a close look out for Table Bay or any
other harbour which would afford a good anchorage. The reports of
whalers speak of a large bay in this locality with safe anchorage,
where the landing is good, where seals, sea-elephants, penguins and all
sorts of seabirds abound, and where tussock grass grows luxuriantly.
It was a common expression amongst the marooned party at Cape Wild to
say: “If we could only reach Table Bay!” We talked of the things we
would do _when_ we got there. I remember that one man (Greenstreet[9])
had sketched an elaborate plan which made all our mouths water. He was
going to kill a seal and, having removed its entrails, fill it up with
penguins similarly prepared. The seal was to be covered with stones and
a blubber fire kindled on the top. The cooking was to last a whole day,
at the end of which we were to eat not the seal but the penguins, which
had thus lost none of their own juices but received those of the seal
as well. Can you not imagine us sitting with tightened belts listening
to the proposal, with our mouths watering at the very prospect?

We were never able to make the attempt to get there, and it is perhaps
as well that we did not do so, for on this occasion we saw no signs
of anything resembling the paradise we had so fondly pictured. There
are places at the north-west end of the island where a landing could
be effected, but the coastline is composed largely of rocky bluffs and
sheer glacier faces, some of them of immense size.

We started, therefore, to cruise in a north-easterly direction, and
sighted a narrow beach some miles in length running along the foot of
steep mountains. On the beach were several harems of sea-elephants,
each containing as many as forty cows. Jeffrey, Wilkins and Douglas
wished to go ashore to carry on their scientific work, and I thought
this a good chance to get some more blubber. I had contracted a chill
as a result of my prolonged soaking in the cold water, so I sent
Macklin ashore with McLeod, Marr and Young to deposit the scientists
and bring off in addition to the blubber some meat for cooking. I gave
Macklin a revolver with which to dispatch the seals, and he took with
him also a B.S.A. airgun in the hope of obtaining some paddy birds,
which make very dainty fare.

Shortly after midday I noticed a change in the weather and with the
steam whistle signalled to the party to return. This they did, bringing
a small but useful addition to our supply of blubber and some paddies.

We killed in all nine sea-elephants and about the same number of
seals. There were many hundreds which we did not molest. I found on
my return to England that a report had been published in which it was
suggested that we had slaughtered all the sea-elephants on Elephant
Island. As a result some alarm was felt by the directors of the Natural
History Museum at South Kensington that these animals were in danger of
extinction, and without any reference to me a protest was published to
that effect.

I can only repeat what I have already said: that I have always set
my face against unnecessary killing. In all the expeditions in which
I have taken part I have never seen a case of wanton destruction of
any animal. I believe that amongst explorers as a class there is much
greater sympathy for animal life generally, and especially for those
types which they have known in the natural state, than exists amongst
those who know them only as stuffed specimens. I may add, however, that
had it been a matter of saving the life of any one member of my party
I would unhesitatingly have ordered the slaughter of every sea-elephant
I could find. Without wishing to labour the point I think the following
taken from Macklin’s journal may be of interest:

     I do not know how to explain the attraction of this life ... it
     is certainly more primitive ... one meets Nature on more familiar
     terms and learns to love her and all her works. One feels drawn
     into much closer companionship with the lower animals, though
     I am not sure that the word “lower” is always correct.... I
     have no doubt that what I have written is so much Greek to the
     town-dwellers. One cannot explain—these things are “felt” and
     are not to be learned from a book.... The English natural history
     museums are such hopeless failures; at any rate, in so far as they
     attempt to instil a love of Nature. They are so gloomy, and the
     stuffed, unnatural creatures in glass cases are to me positively
     revolting. I believe every healthy boy gets the same impression
     and comes from them into the fresh air with a feeling of “escape.”
     This surely is bad.

     My first visit to the Natural History Museum of New York
     brought me a revelation. The building itself is a bright,
     well-lighted place and contains things of the most absorbing
     interest beautifully set up. In the hall the whole history of
     polar exploration is set out on two immense half-globes; there
     is the sledge taken by Peary to the North Pole and the one used
     by Amundsen in his race for the South Pole. The specimens are
     wonderful and the setting of them is the work of artists who
     know their job, for everything is lifelike and natural. In a
     snow-covered forest glade there are timber wolves on the prowl
     after game, flamingoes stand amongst the reeds in a swamp where
     the muddy ripples seem almost to move, one can gaze into tree-tops
     and see monkeys on the swing from branch to branch, reptiles swarm
     about a pool of water in a tropical forest, and there are other
     examples too numerous to mention. It is a place where boys stand
     fascinated, and one to which they return again and again....

Space forbids the full entry, though much of which he writes is
interesting and very true, for once wedded to Nature there is no
divorce—separate from her you may and hide yourself amongst the
flesh-pots of London, but the wild will keep calling and calling for
ever in your ears. You cannot escape the “little voices.”

     They’re calling from the wilderness, the vast and god-like spaces,
     The stark and sullen solitudes that sentinel the Pole.

I now set off along the coast in the direction of Cape Wild, and about
4.0 P.M. came in sight of the large rock lying at the end of the spit.
We picked out many old familiar marks about the place. The weather was
looking very unsettled and I decided not to attempt a nearer approach
before darkness, but to lie off for the night. Just before dusk the
wind increased, blowing up strongly from direction north-west by west,
and many nasty willy-waughs came gustily down the glaciers from the
hills. Worsley suggested spending the night under the shelter of Seal
Rocks, to which I assented, and we crept up under their lee, feeling
our way carefully with the hand lead, finally coming to anchor in eight

Seal Rocks is the name given to a group of very barren islets lying
about a mile from the northern coast of Elephant Island. They are
covered on the northern side with lichen, the only form of vegetable
life which exists in these regions. They are the resting-place of a
number of seabirds, and penguins go there after their fishing to sleep
and digest their food. Our berth was by no means a comfortable one,
for the rocks are not large and give a very imperfect shelter from the
winds, whilst in addition there are round about them a number of small
ledges and submerged rocks, the proximity of which caused me no little
anxiety. I was very anxious, however, to revisit Cape Wild, as were
all those who had wintered with me there, and I hoped that the weather
might moderate by daybreak.

I was feeling a little feverish as a result of my chill and turned in
early, having arranged that a careful watch was to be kept, and having
given instructions to be called in the event of anything untoward
happening. Macklin relieved Jeffrey at midnight, the latter telling
him that both wind and sea were increasing, and advising him to call me
at once should he get the least bit uneasy. This he did at about 12.30
A.M., to say that we seemed to be dragging anchor and asking me to come
on deck. I got up at once. The wind had come round to the south-west,
so that we were no longer in a lee and the sea had risen considerably.
The rocks showed up indistinctly as black masses against scudding
clouds. I perceived that we could not stay there any longer, so at once
called out the hands and rang the engine-room telegraph for full steam
in the boilers.

We started to get up anchor right away, but as we shortened cable the
ship began to drag more rapidly, and as there was little sea room I
began to fear that we might foul some of the rocks or ledges before we
could get clear. I kept her going ahead with the engines, but to add to
the awkwardness of the situation the cable fouled in the chain locker,
so that the incoming links would not enter the spurling pipes but,
piling on deck, jammed the winch. I ordered Macklin and Carr to jump
below, taking with them a heavy maul and a chain hook to break open the
chain locker and free the cable. Worsley had by this time joined me on
the bridge, and we had some anxious moments as we waited for the signal
that all was clear, peering through the darkness to where a seething
line of breakers indicated sunken rocks and reefs. From the darkness
we heard the weird “jackass” call of the gentoo penguin, like a wild
lament for a ship in peril—fitting properly the stormy environment.

At last the cable was freed, we brought home the anchor and were able
to steam away without damage from our unpleasant neighbours. All the
time the wind rose. For a while I steamed east, hoping to be able to
hang on, for I was loath to give up the landing at Cape Wild and we
were not yet properly ballasted. In a short time, however, the gale had
increased to hurricane force and such a steep sea started running that
I could think of nothing but the safety of the ship, and so ran away
before the storm.

Dawn broke on a stormy scene, and our last view of Elephant Island,
seen through the driving spume astern of us, was a very different one
from the calm and beautiful appearance with which we were greeted on
the day of our arrival. I had hoped with the coming of light to be able
to get under the lee of Elephant Island, but to have attempted to put
our now light and unballasted ship across these seas would have been

I had to make up my mind at once as to what course to adopt. We had in
the bunkers sufficient coal for one day’s steaming which, mixed with
sea-elephant blubber, might be made to spin out three or four days.
To beat back to Elephant Island was therefore out of the question.
My chief object in making for Deception Island had been to obtain the
coal necessary to take the ship to South Georgia, and, even under the
most favourable circumstances, I should have had against me the strong
current which runs out of Bransfield Strait. The hurricane, though
driving me away from the desired landing at Cape Wild, was fair for
South Georgia, and under single topsail, with fires banked and the
engines stopped, we were making better progress than the _Quest_ had
ever accomplished before. McIlroy reported that he could see no sign
of change of wind for some days, though a falling off in force might
be expected. This was just what we required. I decided, therefore, to
make direct for South Georgia under sail, reserving the fuel to enable
me to steam round the island and take the ship into harbour. I called
all hands to set the squaresail, which was coiled in a frozen mass
on the top of the deck-house. This was covered with a thick, smooth
coating of ice on which no one could keep a footing. We were compelled
to clamber up the stays and seize the right moment to let go so that
the roll would shoot us across to the foresail gaff, to which we clung
desperately with one hand while we used the other to free the sail. The
_Quest_ rolled and pitched in the liveliest manner. Wilkins, in casting
off a frozen lashing, lost his grip and I saw a form shoot to leeward
and disappear. A voice behind me shouted in my ear, “Wilkie’s gone!”
and indeed there seemed no doubt that he had fallen overboard. No
attempt to pick him up was possible, for no boat could have pulled back
into these enormous breaking seas, and in any case to have broached
the ship to would have meant losing the masts and probably the ship
as well. It was with tremendous relief that I saw Wilkins appear some
minutes after and go to the halliards. He told me later that he had
shouted that he was all right, but the sound of his voice was swept
away by the violent wind. He had grabbed the backstay and fallen to the
deck, fortunately without damage.

We swigged home the squaresail and felt the ship lurch and stagger
under its influence, but it increased our speed and enabled us to put
the miles behind us. We tore through the water, which bore down on our
stern as though to overwhelm us and passed sizzling and hissing along
our sides. We were swept continually. One heavy sea, coming over our
stern, fell with a smash on the poop, carried away the after-scuttle,
broke the skylights and filled the after-cabin with several feet of
water. Dell, McLeod and Marr immediately set to to repair the damage
with temporary structures, which would at least be watertight. Dell
and McLeod were required for another job, and Marr carried on alone.
The work was difficult and extremely unpleasant. The seas kept coming
over the stern, compelling him to grab some support to prevent being
swept forward with the wash. He was soaked from head to foot, the water
freezing and casing him in a solid suit of ice. I kept a watchful
eye on him. He stuck gamely to his work and made an excellent job
of it. If he is a product of Boy Scout training it says much for the
organization. I warn Sir Robert Baden-Powell that he will find himself
hard put to it to “skin alive” this hefty young seaman.[10]

We continued running all day and kept the sail on throughout the night.

On March 29th the wind abated a little, but it still continued to
blow a full gale. The seas had not gone down and the _Quest_ was
thrown about like a plaything of the ocean, so that the man at the
wheel had his work cut out to maintain the course and prevent her from
broaching-to. I hung on, however, for we were making good progress in
the right direction and saving coal.

We had irrevocably cut ourselves off from any chance of seeing our old
winter quarters at Cape Wild, which was a great disappointment to us
all, especially to McIlroy, who in the excitement of the rescue had
left behind his diary. It was wrapped up in an oilskin covering and he
had great hopes of recovering it. One writer says in his diary:

     This is a great disappointment, but one meets many in this kind of
     work, and it is no good making a moan about them.... I would like
     to have got there all the same (he adds irrelevantly).

The rest of the run to South Georgia was not marked by any outstanding
incident. On the 30th we saw a school of piebald porpoises, and
Worsley reported seeing a “blackfish” about four feet in length,
which leapt several times out of the water. Numerous birds tailed in
our wake, increasing daily in numbers till we reached South Georgia.
The winds dropped a little, but continued to blow freshly from the
west-south-west on to our port quarter, enabling us to set all sail.
The noon observation on the 31st showed a run of 197 miles. This was
the _Quest’s_ record, and was made without use of the engines. On
the same day we were struck by an enormous breaking sea which almost
broached us to and half filling the foresail dropped in a deluge on the
deck-house, pouring in through the ventilators and flooding the cabins
and wardroom. Much of it found its way through the main hatch, which is
in the wardroom, and wetted many things in the hold. As we approached
South Georgia we noticed about the ship a number of small seabirds
somewhat resembling puffins, with short tail feathers and a very quick
movement of the wings in flight. Worsley recognized them as “the same
little flippity-flip-flop short-tailed birds that flew round the boat
and annoyed the Boss so much,” referring to Sir Ernest Shackleton’s
historic boat journey from Elephant Island to South Georgia during the
last expedition.

On April 3rd we were in the vicinity of South Georgia and expected to
make a landfall about dark. Worsley, who had not been able for some
days to get an observation of the sun, was unable to pick up the island
and we lay off all night. A number of soundings was taken. A large
school of whales surrounded the ship and we could hear their “blowing”
all about.

April 4th was also thick and hazy, and Worsley made a traversing cruise
looking for the island, the proximity of which was indicated by the
presence of birds, which we saw in hundreds with many young ones.
In the afternoon the fog cleared and we caught sight of land, which
we made for under steam. Night coming on, however, we stood off till

At dawn on the 5th we recognized Anenkov Island, and decided to make
for Leith Harbour round the north end of South Georgia.

During the afternoon we saw several steam whalers, a welcome sight
after having had the world to ourselves for so long. At night there was
a fine sunset, and outlined against the rosy horizon to the westward
these little steamers made a very pretty picture.

We entered Leith Harbour at daybreak on April 6th and moored to the
buoy. Scarcely had we made fast when we saw the motor-boat coming off
with the familiar figure of Mr. Hansen and another smaller one wearing
a white yachting cap. It proved to be Hussey, whom I had imagined back
in England long before this. Mr. Hansen gave us a most cordial welcome,
and I learned from Hussey all the news he had to tell.



Sir Ernest Shackleton’s body had been brought back to South Georgia
for burial. I insert an account written by Hussey of what had occurred
since I saw him last.

     “The journey up to Monte Video was marked by wretched weather. The
     ship’s wireless was out of order, so that I was unable to acquaint
     the world with my sad news. We arrived on Sunday morning, January
     29th, and I immediately went on shore and cabled to Mr. Rowett,
     asking him to break the news to Lady Shackleton.

     “That afternoon, while I was in Wilson, Sons & Co.’s office, a
     telephone message came through from the Uruguayan Government
     asking me if they might take charge of any arrangements that
     had to be made there as a last tribute to the great explorer. I
     acquiesced, and they immediately set about bringing Sir Ernest’s
     body ashore. Within half an hour they had sent a naval launch out
     to the _Professor Gruvel_ to fetch the coffin. It was met on the
     quay by a guard of honour of 100 marines and taken to the military
     hospital, where a guard of two soldiers was mounted over it day
     and night.

     “Next morning the medical officers at the hospital re-embalmed
     the body, as it was at first intended to bring it to England for

     “That day, however, a cable came from Mr. Rowett saying that Lady
     Shackleton was sure that Sir Ernest would have wished to be buried
     on South Georgia, the scene of his greatest exploit, and asking me
     to make arrangements to do this.

     “The next ship to leave for South Georgia was the _Woodville_,
     with Captain Leaste in command. He was most courteous and
     sympathetic, and immediately placed such accommodation on his ship
     as was necessary at our disposal.

     “The day before she sailed a commemoration service was held
     in the English church at Monte Video, Canon Blount, and Canon
     Brady, an old friend of Sir Ernest, officiating. The coffin had
     been transferred from the military hospital to the church on the
     previous day.

     “While Sir Ernest’s body was lying in state in the military
     hospital the matron and one of the nurses placed fresh flowers on
     it each day from the hospital garden.

     “For the memorial service the church was packed. Many members of
     the Uruguayan Government were present, and representatives from
     nearly every country in the world either sent wreaths or came in
     person. The President of Uruguay came into the church and stood a
     few minutes in silent contemplation before the rough wooden coffin
     which, covered by the Union Jack, stood in front of the altar.
     The Republic of Uruguay also sent a magnificent bronze wreath to
     be placed on the grave. The French Maritime Society sent a bronze
     palm, and Mr. Ogden Armour, representing the United States of
     America, brought a huge wreath of lilies. The British Minister
     at Monte Video came with a bronze wreath and a memorial plaque,
     both of which I screwed up later on the walls of the little wooden
     church in South Georgia.

     “At the conclusion of the service the coffin was carried to a
     waiting gun-carriage by ten British ex-Service men. Huge crowds
     had assembled to pay their last tribute to the great explorer,
     and the whole of the route from the church to the quay where
     the _Woodville_ was lying was lined by troops. Along one part of
     the route women showered rose petals down on to the coffin from
     overhanging balconies.

     “On arrival at the ship the coffin was taken aboard and the
     Uruguayan Minister for Foreign Affairs made a short speech, in
     which he said that not only England but the whole world was made
     the poorer by Sir Ernest’s death. The British Minister replied,
     thanking the President and the Republic of Uruguay for the way in
     which they had honoured the dead explorer’s memory.

     “The coffin was then lowered into the hold, and the _Woodville_
     put out into the harbour.

     “The Uruguayan Government had asked to be allowed to take the
     coffin down to South Georgia in a warship, but owing to the bad
     ice conditions which existed at that time I considered that to
     take an ordinary steel ship down there would be unnecessarily
     risking the lives of all on board as well as the safety of
     the ship. So they very reluctantly gave up the idea, but when
     the _Woodville_ left next day the warship escorted her to the
     three-mile limit, fired a salute of seventeen guns—the highest
     possible honour that could be shown to anyone less than their
     own President—and steamed up alongside the _Woodville_ with the
     marines formed up at the salute while their buglers sounded the
     “Farewell,” which is usually only sounded for the fallen after
     victory in battle. This seemed to me to be the most touching
     tribute of all, symbolizing as it did their idea of Sir Ernest’s
     life-struggles and his triumphant passing over.

     “We reached South Georgia on February 27th, 1922, and in a
     blinding snow-storm we took the coffin ashore to the little wooden
     Lutheran church at Gritviken.

     “Sunday, March 5th, broke clear and calm. The managers from all
     five whaling stations had assembled at the church by three o’clock
     that afternoon, and a crowd of about one hundred fishermen were
     present to pay their last respects to Sir Ernest. The first part
     of the funeral service was said in English and Norwegian, Mr.
     Binnie, the magistrate, officiating. Then the coffin was taken
     by six Shetland islanders—all ex-Service men who happened to be
     working at Leith Harbour whaling station—to a light decauville
     railway, and carried over tiny mountain streams formed by the
     melting snow, and past huge boilers and piles of whalebones to
     the little cemetery on the hill. On arrival there the funeral
     service was completed, and with the British and Norwegian flags
     at half-mast at the gate of the cemetery the coffin was lowered to
     its last resting-place.

     “After the grave had been filled in I had a simple wooden cross
     erected, and on it I hung wreaths which I had brought from Monte
     Video on behalf of Lady Shackleton and her children, Mr. and Mrs.
     J. Q. Rowett, and the members of the expedition.

     “Many more floral and other tributes were placed round and on the

     “When the funeral service was over Mr. Hansen, the manager
     of Leith Harbour whaling station, very kindly offered me
     the hospitality of his house till I could get passage in a
     homeward-bound ship. Nothing had been heard of the _Quest_,
     and I was anxiously waiting for news of my companions. On the
     morning of April 6th Hansen wakened me with the news of the
     ship’s arrival. We were not long in going aboard, and I reported
     at once to Commander Wild, giving him a full account of all that
     had happened. While the _Quest_ was in harbour I went aboard and
     shared in such work as was necessary, and Commander Wild decided
     that I had better return to Monte Video as quickly as possible,
     collect all Sir Ernest’s gear which I had left there in store,
     and proceed to England, there to report to Mr. Rowett and Lady
     Shackleton and give them any information that they might require.

     “Accordingly I arrived at Monte Video on the _Neko_ on April 24th,
     and, accompanied by the British Minister, I thanked the Minister
     for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Buero, on behalf of Mr. Rowett and the
     members of the expedition for the way that this great little
     Republic had honoured our late leader’s memory.

     “I arrived in England on May 28th and was met at Southampton by
     Mr. Rowett, whose many encouraging and sympathetic cables had
     greatly cheered me on my sad and lonely mission, and to whom I
     gave a full report of all that had happened since the _Quest_ had
     left England in September, 1921.”


     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

Whilst Hussey was telling me all that happened there flashed into my
mind the remark Sir Ernest had made when the _Quest_ first entered
Gritviken Harbour—“The cross has gone from the hill-side!” When he
spoke I little thought that when next we should round the headland and
look across the harbour to those slopes another cross would be there to
replace the one that had gone, erected this time to the memory of his
own brave spirit.

Hussey was still awaiting a chance to go home, for since the arrival
of the _Woodville_ there had been no return steamers. The _Neko_, a
floating factory belonging to Messrs. Salvesen & Co., was due from the
South Shetlands in about ten days, and he hoped to secure a passage in
her. I was glad to see this cheery little man again, who within a few
hours had settled down amongst us as if he had never been away.

The first work to be done after our arrival in South Georgia was the
getting up again from the bunkers of all the heavy deck gear which had
been placed below as ballast for the run from Elephant Island, where,
owing to depleted stores and small remaining supply of coal, the ship
had become very light and top heavy. It was not at all a pleasant job,
for the bunkers contained a considerable quantity of blubber, and,
owing to the heavy seas, the gear had shifted about and become covered
with the most disgusting mixture of coal and grease, which had to be
removed from each article as it came on deck. The remaining pieces of
blubber were passed up and dumped overboard, for with the heat from
the engine-room they had started to become very offensive. This done,
the bunkers were cleared completely and made ready to receive coal.
Attention was then turned to the ship and engines, to both of which
there was a good deal to be done, as may be understood, owing to the
severe bumping and the continued bad weather we had experienced.


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

     These birds flock in thousands to feed on the offal from the
     whaling stations

     _Photo: Wilkins_]

Under Jeffrey’s direction, Dell, McLeod and Marr proceeded with the
deck work, reset up the rigging generally, replaced all worn gear, and
put everything into shipshape order ready for once more proceeding to
sea. The greater part of the next portion of our journey would be in
the “Roaring Forties,” which by no means belie their name, so I was
particularly anxious that this part of the work should be thoroughly
carried out.

Kerr and his staff had a busy time in the engine-room, where all parts
of the machinery were subjected to a complete overhaul. The main pump
was taken down, new parts fitted, and the whole put into good working
order. The hull was still leaking badly, and all the time we were in
harbour we had to keep the hand pumps going vigorously whilst the steam
pump was out of action. It was found that the engines as a whole had
withstood the unusually hard conditions much better than was expected,
and credit is due to the engine-room staff for the careful nursing they
gave them throughout the period spent in the South.

The contents of the hold were tallied and re-stowed, and space made to
receive the mails for Tristan da Cunha, which had been deposited here
in charge of Mr. Hansen. Whilst in the ice regions I kept the boats
provisioned for thirty days, but I now reduced the amount to supplies
for ten days only, as the larger weight is apt to make the boats

I found it necessary to take aboard some fresh provisions, and a small
amount of equipment to replace damaged gear, but our requirements in
this respect were small. I was fortunate in obtaining from Mr. Hansen a
supply of fresh potatoes, which are, perhaps, the most valuable of all
foodstuffs to people living under our conditions.

Wilkins and Douglas were set free from all work about the ship so
that they might have all their time free to carry on their scientific

A certain amount of carpentry was necessary about the ship, for which
work the managers of the whaling stations supplied me with men. The
broken after-scuttle was renewed and strengthened, and the deck-house,
which had leaked badly, re-canvassed and covered with a coating of red

Throughout the whole of this work I received the most valuable
assistance from Mr. Hansen, to whom nothing proved too much trouble.
In addition, he gave us a most cordial welcome to his house, where
we renewed our acquaintance with Dr. and Mrs. Aarberg. It was indeed
“Liberty Hall,” for we came and went as we pleased; the bathroom was
thrown open for our use, and there was always an unlimited supply of
hot water. We certainly needed it—words cannot give an idea of the
luxury of that first long wallow in the bath. I was much touched by
Mr. Hansen’s kindly and practical hospitality, and tried many times
to express my thanks, but he brushed them aside as if it were all a
matter of no moment. Indeed, I was surprised at the warmth of welcome
we received from everybody we met. I have an inkling that the _Quest_
was regarded as far too small a vessel for the undertaking, and that
the enterprise was considered a somewhat hazardous one.

While the work of the ship was going forward I made a point of allowing
the members of the expedition as much time for rest and recreation
as possible. The period spent in the South had proved a trying and
wearing one to everybody, and all were in need of a rest and change
of exercise. Time also was required for “make and mend,” washing
of clothes and attention to personal gear generally, which had been
impossible whilst the _Quest_ was the plaything of the heavy southern

  [Illustration: SOUTH GEORGIA]

I sent the men ashore, whenever the opportunity afforded, to walk
over the island, play football, or visit the people employed at the
station, of whom a number were British, chiefly Shetlanders. There
was a football ground behind the station, situated at the foot of
a high mountain and overlooked by a glacier; the ground was more
remarkable, however, for its romantic position than for the condition
of its surface. We received a challenge from the Shetlanders, which
I accepted. In so small a company as ours, numbering nineteen all
told, it was not easy to raise eleven footballers, for many were
Rugby players, and had never played the Association game. However, we
succeeded in putting out a side which, after a good game, defeated the
Shetlanders by one goal to nil. Anxious for revenge, they challenged
us to a return match, and beat us. Unfortunately, the opportunity for
a third and decisive game did not occur.

I encouraged incidents of this nature, for they provided an entire
change from the routine of ship’s work and served to draw the men more
closely together on a common level than the routine ship’s work could
ever do. Also they gave a new topic for conversation and discussion
which lasted for days.

On April 14th the _Neko_ arrived, and I accompanied Mr. Hansen on a
visit to her, when I discovered that her master, Captain Sinclair,
was an old friend whom I had met in South Georgia eight years before.
He readily consented to take Hussey to Rio de Janeiro, where he
could transfer to a mail boat for home, and offered him the only
accommodation available on board—the settee in his cabin. The _Neko_ is
a floating factory. Each spring, as soon as the ice opens, she proceeds
to Deception Island, and thence as her captain may think fit. She is
accompanied by four steam whale-catchers, which, when they have killed
a whale, bring it in and lay it alongside the parent ship. She herself
is provided with boilers and vats and all the apparatus necessary for
trying down the blubber into oil. The pursuit of whales has changed
largely since the days of the old Dundee fleet, when the actual killing
was carried out from boats by means of hand harpoons and lances. Now,
instead of boats, small but fast steel steamers are used, which carry
in their bows powerful guns from which the harpoon is fired. Attached
to the harpoon is a strong rope coiled ready for running on a small
sloping platform over the bows. A bomb is fitted to the end of the
harpoon and forms the point. If the aim is good, this bursts inside the
animal, causing instantaneous death.


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

  [Illustration: CAPE SAUNDERS

     _Photo: Wilkins_]

  [Illustration: THE NEW TYPE OF WHALER
     A modern steam “catcher” entering harbour at South Georgia through
     newly freezing ice

     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

In the case of the stations located on South Georgia the process is
much the same, but the shore factory replaces the parent ship and
everything is on a larger scale.

The newer method of hunting is a much more lethal one—for the whale;
from the catchers’ point of view it is, of course, much safer and more
comfortable. In the old days the chase of these huge animals was looked
upon as a dangerous undertaking and might be regarded in the nature
of a sport, for the whale had more than a sporting chance of getting
away and the hunters stood a good chance of being drowned. Nowadays it
has become a mere business. Nevertheless, the floating factories, in
pushing south to good whaling grounds, take considerable risks of being
crushed by the ice.

Captain Sinclair is an old and very experienced hand at the work, and
in addition to his whaling activities has added largely to the charting
of the South Shetlands and the Palmer Archipelago. He has succeeded
also in bringing home some unique live specimens of seals and penguins,
which have been added to the collection in the Zoological Gardens in

On the 15th we went to Stromness Harbour, where we were welcomed by the
manager, Mr. Sorlle.

When Sir Ernest Shackleton, accompanied by Worsley and Crean, made the
crossing of South Georgia during the _Endurance_ expedition, it was
here that they arrived and were received by Mr. Sorlle, who fed them
and provided them with hot baths and beds, and was instrumental in
fitting out a relief ship to go to the rescue of the marooned party on
Elephant Island, getting it ready within twenty-four hours of his first
hearing of the state of affairs. This relief ship, the _Southern Sky_,
was unfortunately held up by the ice, and her return was dictated,
not by the Norwegians who manned her—they were ready to hang on for
many more days—but by Sir Ernest Shackleton, who was anxious to get to
the Falkland Islands so that he might set going the preparation of a
larger, properly ice-protected wooden ship.

I decided to lay the _Quest_ alongside the _Perth_, a large oil
transport which acted as tender to the station. A strong breeze was
blowing, which made the _Quest_ very unhandy to manœuvre, and whilst
Worsley was putting her alongside she struck her bowsprit against the
steel sides of the _Perth_ and snapped it off short. This might have
proved a serious disability, but, fortunately, Mr. Sorlle had a spar
which he not only presented to us, but had cut down and shaped to our

Here, as at Leith, we received every kindness, and we had hardly made
fast before a present of a pig and a reindeer—the latter shot by Mr.
Sorlle himself—were sent aboard. All the officers were invited to
dine with Mr. Sorlle at his house in the evening, and we received
a dinner of six or seven courses which rivalled anything to be had
in civilization. Afterwards we spent a very pleasant evening with
reminiscence, story and song. Mr. Sorlle is a most charming host.

Whilst lying in Stromness Harbour we experienced one of those
tremendous hurricanes which are characteristic of the southern volcanic
islands. Descending from the hills without a moment’s notice, it blew
with such violence that the whole surface of the bay was lashed into a
torn mass of driven water, the tops of the seas being snatched off and
blown in a blinding spume to leeward. One of our boats lying alongside
the ship was swamped, and all gear that would float, such as oars,
bottom boards and fishing tackle, were swept out of her and lost.
Fortunately, the painter held, and there was no damage to the boat

There was no coal available at Leith, Stromness or Husvik, so on the
17th I proceeded to Prince Olaf Harbour to see if I could obtain what
I required. The whaling station there is the property of Messrs. Lever
Brothers, and is under English management. On my arrival I called
at once on the manager, Mr. Bostock, who relieved my mind very much
when he said he would give us what we required for our purpose. We
accordingly lay alongside the _Southern Isles_, the oil transport
steamer and station tender which was to supply us. Here, again, we
received much help from Captain Sapp, who supplied all the labour
necessary to put the coal on our decks.

Whilst we were here Carr developed a nasty abscess of the face, and on
the invitation of the company’s doctor went ashore to the hospital,
where he could get a bed, with clean sheets and other comforts not
available on the ship. Macklin was suffering from an inflamed hand, the
result of an accident whilst in the ice, and McIlroy found it necessary
to incise it for him.

On the 19th we had completed coaling, and on the 20th set off for the
Bay of Isles to study the bird life of the numerous islands dotted
about it. On this day Hussey left us to join the _Neko_ at Leith. He
had taken his old place amongst us and had joined fully in all the work
of the ship. His unfailing optimism and cheerfulness had done much to
enliven us, and it was with genuine regret that we said good-bye. I
think he felt the going. With him went Carr, who was now suffering a
good deal from his face. Hussey had instructions to take medical charge
of him, and if his condition became worse to take him home on the
_Neko_, but if it showed signs of improvement he was to hand him over
to Dr. Aarberg, to await our arrival at Leith Harbour.

We made first for Albatross Island, under the lee of which I lay to,
and sent Jeffrey with the boat to put Wilkins and his party ashore.
They effected a landing in a small cave, and, having scaled a cliff,
reached the summit of the island, where they found albatross and giant
petrels in large numbers.


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

  [Illustration: A YOUNG ALBATROSS

     _Photo: Wilkins_]

     The beak of the young is thrust right inside the throat of the parent

     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

Macklin, whose hand prevented him from working, asked permission to go
with them, and I quote from his diary:

     We landed on a little beach inside a cave which was occupied
     by a number of sea-elephants, which showed their resentment
     of our approach by opening their mouths very wide and making
     stertorous windy noises which could hardly be described as
     “roaring”—“breathing” defiance with a vengeance.

     In the enclosed atmosphere they smelled horribly, for they are
     unclean, swinish brutes. From the cave we clambered up a steep
     cliff to the top of the island, which we found to be irregular in
     shape and covered with tussock grass. Wilkins, with the assistance
     of Marr and Argles, immediately set about collecting albatross
     for addition to the natural history collections. These birds, when
     seen at close quarters on the ground, prove to be much larger than
     one would imagine, being about the size of large geese, but with
     much longer legs. Their appearance on land is ugly and ungainly,
     and contrasts strongly with the grace and beauty they exhibit when
     in flight. Wilkins, by going slowly, was easily able to get within
     reach, when he grabbed their beaks and “pithed” them by passing a
     needle through the back of the skull into the brain. He took the
     heads, wings and legs as specimens and made them into neat parcels
     for transmission to the museums. Jeffrey and McLeod had stayed
     to look after the boat, so, being at a loose end and remembering
     Worsley’s ecstatic remarks concerning baby albatross, I set about
     collecting enough of them for a meal for all hands. The island
     was covered with little paths worn by the birds, which formed a
     regular maze amongst the tussocks and hummocks of grass. Here and
     there one came across little circular plateaux which apparently
     formed a meeting-place for numbers of birds, for they were worn
     absolutely bare to the mud. The nests of the albatross are placed
     on the top of small, raised, cone-shaped mounds composed of
     earth and tussock grass, which are nearly always situated on the
     windward side of the island, so that the birds when preparing for
     flight have merely to spread their wings to get a good take off.
     The inside of the nest is hollowed sufficiently deep to allow the
     young bird to crouch and take shelter from the winds. The young
     are pretty little things covered with white down, and from the
     highest point of the island I could see them all round me standing
     out in marked contrast to the dark green of the tussock grass.

     The giant petrels, “Nellies” or “Stinkers,” as they are variously
     called, nest in much the same way. They are most unpleasant
     creatures and receive from sailors none of the veneration accorded
     to the albatross. We had been ashore some hours when Commander
     Wild sent up a detonator as a signal for our recall. The cliffs
     on the side where we had landed are steep and overhanging, so that
     we had to approach cautiously, and had some difficulty in finding
     the way back to our cave. We at length found the spot where we
     had ascended. I flung my collection of birds over the cliff to
     be picked up below, and all of us having got safely down we rowed
     back to the ship.

Macklin, in speaking of “the veneration accorded to the albatross,”
voices a very old superstition amongst seamen of the old sailing ship
days. When I first went to sea as a boy this was still a common belief
amongst sailors, but though there are a few of these old-timers left
who still hold to the old romantic ideas, they are becoming more and
more scarce. Romance is not dead, as Kipling says, but it moves with
the times. Masefield says:

     Them birds goin’ fishin’ is nothin’ but souls o’ the drowned,
       Souls o’ the drowned an’ the kicked as are never no more;
     An’ that there haughty old albatross cruisin’ around,
       Belike he’s Admiral Nelson or Admiral Noah.

I recalled the party on account of the weather, for a strong wind
had blown up, the seas were increasing and there were indications
of a heavy storm. I did not care to be caught with the _Quest_ on a
lee shore, so went back to Prince Olaf Harbour, where we found that
all their own whale catchers had returned for shelter. In addition
there were a number belonging to other stations which had put in here
till the weather should abate. We had for dinner the next night the
baby albatross which Macklin had brought off. This was the first food
obtained by Sir Ernest Shackleton on his arrival at South Georgia from
the boat journey, and often had we listened to Worsley’s telling of the
story, this much of which never varied: “Baby albatross just off the
nest—we ate them! By jove, they were good, damn good!” By one of life’s
little ironies he was having dinner ashore that night and so missed
them; his disappointment on hearing of it was keen.

On the 22nd, the weather having abated somewhat, we left to carry
out an extensive series of soundings about the north-western end of
South Georgia. This we accomplished in spite of very bad weather. The
_Quest_, as usual, behaved abominably, having a most uncomfortable
motion as we butted into the head seas, which sent the spray in clouds
high over the yards.

We returned to Prince Olaf Harbour on the 25th. There was still much
to be done, and Mr. Bostock kindly lent me his shore carpenter for some
jobs that were still outstanding on the ship.

On the 27th we said good-bye to our friends and left for Leith,
passing _en route_ the _Woodville_, which was coming up the coast, and
presented a fine sight as she dipped her nose deeply into the swell.

We arrived in Leith Harbour in a blinding snow squall which made
mooring to the buoy a difficult matter. The _Quest’s_ engines were
of such low power that manœuvring in close spaces was an extremely
difficult matter during the squalls, which came out of the mountains
with hurricane force and startling suddenness.

On the 29th Mr. Hansen was able to make room for us alongside his
little pier, where we proceeded to take in water. Owing to the low
temperature the water in the hose froze solid and it became necessary
to clear the galley to thaw it, the process being carried out section
by section till all was clear. Green had the dinner in process of
cooking, and was quite perturbed when he had to sweep away all his pots
and pans to make room for the hose—such is an example of what a cook
has to put up with at sea.

On May 1st we took aboard what stores we required and the mails for
Tristan da Cunha. We received from Mr. Hansen some final presents in
the form of a pig and several small but useful sundries, and from
Captain Manson of the _Albuera_ an additional two crates of fresh

On the 2nd we said good-bye to Leith Harbour, which we had regarded
as our South Georgia home and where we had received so much kindness,
not only from Mr. Hansen, the manager, who had done everything in his
power to assist us, but from Dr. Aarberg, who had looked after Carr
whilst we had been carrying out the soundings about the island and had
been of assistance to the surgeons in many ways. Our thanks are due to
Mrs. Aarberg also, for with much kindly thoughtfulness she had asked us
to entrust to her care such articles of clothing as might require the
“stitch in time.”


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

     A winter view of Gritviken Harbour, with the magistrate’s house
     in the foreground

     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]

     Old companions of Sir Ernest Shackleton gathered about his grave
     in the little Gritviken Cemetery

     _Photo: Wilkins_]

As a result of our stay we were refreshed and full of vigour, for
the spell ashore and in harbour had done us all good. Thanks also to
the various managers we had been able to vary the diet from our own
preserved provisions to fresh food in the form of pork, reindeer and
whale-meat, which provided a most pleasant change. We were able to
catch also Cape pigeons and albatross, which when properly cooked make
quite good eating. The former have an oily taste which can be largely
removed by soaking them for twenty-four hours in dilute vinegar.

I seized every chance of sending away the boats to catch fresh fish,
which are found in great quantity about the coast. Macklin, Jeffrey,
Green and Hussey (whilst he was with us) were those most often engaged
in this work, which was not always pleasant. An entry in one diary

     Some people fish for fun, some consider it a sport, others fish
     because they have blooming[11] well got to. I am one of them. Down
     here the job is often anything but a joyous one in cold driving
     wind and snow, fingers so cold that one can scarcely remove the
     hooks from the fishes’ mouths. Sometimes the blizzards sweep down
     and it is all we can do to fight our way inch by inch back to the

Macklin writes in this connexion:

     The fish here are of excellent quality and have the peculiarity
     that when cooked they do not taste fishy. Green usually fries
     them in olive oil and they are particularly good. The best spots
     for finding fish are in belts of kelp close to the edge where the
     tides sweep in and out. Whale meat (not blubber) makes a good bait
     and a spinner (or any piece of bright tin) helps to attract the
     fish. One can usually moor the boat to the strands of kelp, but
     it is advisable always to have on board a small kedge anchor and
     a good length of line in case of being swept away by the blizzards
     which blow from the hills with strong, sudden blasts.

     Green is a great enthusiast, and is always willing to come,
     whatever the weather....

There is no sport in the actual fishing, for the fish abound in
great quantities and are very sluggish. The chief art lies in knowing
just where to go for them. There are two kinds, which we speak of as
“ordinary” fish and “crocodile” fish. The first, as the name implies,
have nothing peculiar about them. The latter have immense mouths with
crocodile-shaped jaws and look hideous. The tail is small, and indeed
it may be said that there is more mouth than anything else.

The trip to Gritviken was uneventful and we arrived there the same day.

Before leaving South Georgia we had rather a sad duty to perform.
For a long time I had desired to erect some mark which would serve
to perpetuate the memory of Sir Ernest Shackleton. We had no time to
do it before we left for the South, for every day was precious and it
was essential that we should get away at the earliest possible moment.
After some consideration I decided that the mark should take the form
of a cairn surmounted by a cross, and I selected as a site for it a
prominent spot on the headland which stands out from the lower slopes
of Duse Fell, at the entrance to Gritviken harbour. I determined that
it should be the work of his comrades, something which we ourselves
could create without help from outside sources. Everyone on board was
anxious to have a hand in the building, so I arranged things that they
might do so. On the night of our arrival the temperature fell very
low and the surface of the harbour froze over, not sufficiently to
permit of walking but enough to make it an extremely difficult matter
to get the boat to the shore. Also snow fell thickly. We broke a way
through the ice and proceeded to the headland, where we made a search
for suitable building stone. There was none convenient, and to obtain
it we had to go some distance up the hillside to where a shoulder of
rock jutted out through the tussock grass. Having removed the snow we
bored the rock and blasted it with sabulite, afterwards breaking away
suitable pieces with crowbar and pick. For sledging it down the hill we
had to make special box-containers; even then with the steepness of the
declivity and the roughness of the track it was a difficult matter to
prevent the loads from falling off. The work was awkward and hard; on
several occasions the sledges broke away and careered down the slippery
hillside with the men clinging desperately behind. No one grudged the
labour and time spent, for it was the last job we should do for the
Boss. The foundations were laid and the cairn began to grow. There were
no expert masons amongst us, but the work when completed had a most
pleasing appearance. Into the stone we cemented a brass plate on which
was engraved very simply:


     DIED HERE, JANUARY 5TH, 1922.


The cairn is solid and will stand the ravages of frost and blizzards
for many years to come.

It will be the first object picked out by any ship entering the
harbour, and to anyone looking back as the vessel steams away it will
stand out in lonely prominence long after the station has disappeared
from view. It can be seen also from every part of the harbour.

Our last act before leaving was to pay a visit to the Boss’s grave, for
which purpose I gathered together all those who had served under him on
the _Endurance_ and had shared with him all the trials and vicissitudes
that followed her loss in the ice. There were, in addition to myself,
Worsley, Macklin, McIlroy, Kerr, Green and McLeod. That I included none
of the newer men who had known him for so short awhile casts no shadow
of aspersion upon them. My feelings in the matter are hard to describe.
We were joined to each other and to him by ties so strongly welded
through the long months of common danger and uncertainty that I felt
there would be something wrong in introducing anything in the nature of
a less intimate element.

So our little party rowed across the bay, walked to the little
graveyard and gathered for the last time round his grave. It was deeply
snow-covered. We carefully removed the snow and disclosed a number
of bronze wreaths: from Lady Shackleton and from numerous friends and
relatives at home. There were others from the Uruguayan Republic, the
British residents in Uruguay, the Freemasons of Uruguay and the French
Maritime Society. Two others hang in the little church, placed there by
Hussey: one from His Majesty King George V and the British people, the
other from his old school-fellows resident in South America. There was
also the flower wreath placed with such kindly thought by the doctor’s
wife, Mrs. Aarberg.

The graveyard is a simple little place. In it are already a few
crosses, some of them very old, mute reminders of forgotten tragedies.
Four of them mark the resting places of officers and men of the sailing
ship _Esther_, of London. They had died of typhus fever and were buried
here in 1846. There is one inscribed to W. H. Dyke, Surgeon, who in his
devotion to duty in attending the sick had also contracted the disease
and died. There are some newer crosses erected to Norwegian whalers who
had lost their lives in the arduous calling which brings them to these
stormy waters. All of them are the graves of strong men.

It is a fitting environment. Gritviken is a romantic spot. All around
are big mountains, bold in outline and snow-covered. Below lies one of
the most perfect little harbours in the world, at times disturbed by
the fierce winds from the hills and lashed by the gusty squalls to a
mass of flying spume and spindrift. Often it lies calm and peaceful,
bathed in glorious sunshine and reflecting in its deeps the high
peaks around, whilst the sea-birds, “souls of old mariners,” circle in
sweeping flights above its surface and fill the air with the melancholy
of their cries. An ideal resting-place this for the great explorer who
felt, more than most men, the glamour of such surroundings.

So we said good-bye to the “Old Boss,” and I who have served with him
through four expeditions know that if he could have chosen his own
resting-place it would have been just here.

     Here—here’s his place, where meteors shoot, clouds form,
                 Lightnings are loosened,
     Stars come and go! Let joy break with the storm,
                 Peace let the dew send!
     Lofty designs must close in like effects:
                 Loftily lying,
     Leave him—still loftier than the world suspects,
                 Living and dying.

                                           —ROBERT BROWNING.

We had still some work to do before finally setting course for Tristan
da Cunha.

Before leaving Gritviken I entrusted our last lot of letters and
messages for home to Mr. Binnie, the magistrate, who, together with the
other Government representatives on the island, had been very helpful
to us in many ways.

We went alongside the little pier where we hardened up[12] the water
tanks. Mr. Jacobsen paid a last visit to the ship and presented us with
a parting present in the form of a fine young sow, which was carried
aboard in a box, receiving the excited attentions of Query. I did not
kill her at once, intending to keep and feed her up so that we might
have some fresh meat when at sea. Someone gave her the name “Bridget,”
and so she was known until her demise some weeks later at the hands of
Dell, who did our butchering.

We received also from Mr. Jacobsen some packets of dried Swedish oaten
cakes, which were of particular interest in that they had formed part
of the stores of Filchner’s German expedition which had come to grief
and been abandoned here. They were still, after eleven years, in
excellent condition.

We left on May 7th and had been some hours at sea when we discovered
a stowaway aboard. This was “Micky,” a small black-and-white dog
belonging to Mr. Binnie, the magistrate. He was discovered by Macklin
who, whilst descending into the hold, stepped in the darkness upon
something which moved and yelped and which proved, upon being dragged
to the light for inspection, to be this animal. We lavished upon him
no loving remarks, but knowing that Mr. Binnie set great store by him
I put back and in the small hours of the morning sent Jeffrey with the
boat to put him ashore, having previously tied to his neck a message to
Binnie, explaining his disappearance and requesting him as a magistrate
to award a punishment of at least three days jail for having caused us
so much trouble and loss of time.

On May 8th we visited Royal Bay and Moltke Harbour, where the German
Transit of Venus Expedition had had a station in 1882. One of the huts
then set up is still standing.

The glacier running into this harbour is of great geological interest
because in the last forty years it has advanced about a mile and
receded to its original position. I sent the boat ashore with Jeffrey,
Macklin and Ross to find suitable landings for the scientific parties.
There was a heavy surf running which made the operation difficult, but
they succeeded in putting Douglas with Carr and Argles on to a steep
rocky beach which ran along the side of the harbour. Marr, still very
inexperienced in boat work, fell overboard during the process and was
rolled over and over in the surf, to be eventually cast upon the beach;
but he escaped with nothing worse than a ducking—which is not a joke
in these temperatures. Wilkins, who with Marr had wished to land on the
beach at the side of the glacier, was unable to do so.

I sent Macklin, McIlroy, Marr and Green to catch as many fish as
possible for taking away with us. Finding a suitable spot at the edge
of a belt of kelp, they secured a good haul and brought back enough
to last for several days, for in these temperatures there was not much
fear of its going bad.

Shortly before dark I recalled all hands, who were picked up and
brought off safely.

Before leaving, Worsley took a line of soundings along the front of the
glacier. This was our last work in South Georgia.

This remote island has drawn to it scientists from all nations, yet
there remains much to interest the investigators of to-day. During our
stay we made a great number of observations and collected a mass of
data which when sorted and worked out fully will, I hope, be of great
interest to the scientific world.

We now put to sea and set course for Tristan da Cunha. As we left the
bay the moon came out—a big golden moon which cast a broad pathway on
the sea and bathed the huge glaciers and the snow-covered mountains
and valleys in a soft golden glow. Our last sight of South Georgia was
a very beautiful one, and my last thoughts as I gazed back over our
rippling wake, gleaming in the moonlight with brighter phosphorescence,
were of my comrade who stayed there, and I hoped for his sake that our
completed enterprise would be the success that he himself would have
made it.



From South Georgia we proceeded first in a northerly direction in order
to get into the belt of prevailing westerlies which would give us a
fair quarterly wind for Tristan da Cunha.

Whilst still in the vicinity of the island a number of soundings were
carried out by Worsley and his assistants.

From the first we had bad weather, and the winds increased in force
during the next few days until, on Friday, May 12th, so fierce a gale
was blowing that I was compelled to take in sail and heave to. We had
a most uncomfortable time, though we could expect nothing less since we
were now in the “Roaring Forties.”

Macklin’s diary of May 13th is fairly descriptive of conditions about
this time:

     Had the middle watch. Heavy seas were running and the wind was
     strong with violent squalls of rain and snow. It was a dirty
     night. The _Quest_ rolled worse than anything I have ever known,
     with staggering jerks that made it impossible to let go a support.

     At times the ship sagged down so heavily to leeward that my heart
     was in my mouth, for it seemed as if she could never recover
     herself. Peering to windward as the great seas bore down upon us
     I was reminded of Kipling’s

               Be well assured that on our side
                 The abiding oceans fight,
               Though headlong wind and heaping tide
                 Make us their sport to-night.

     which is comforting to know. He always seems to catch just the
     right expression, as:

               Out of the mist into the mirk
                 The glimmering combers roll.
               Almost these mindless waters work
                 As though they had a soul—

     However, as the Boss used to say: “When things are bad any change
     is likely to be for the better.” We pour some vile epithets upon
     the head of poor old _Quest_, but she really does not deserve
     them, for she is always at her best when things are bad. Commander
     Wild says she is like a woman, quoting something about “Women
     in our hours of ease, perfidious, fickle, hard to please!” I
     suppose he knows all about it. Anyway, she has brought us through
     what might well have caused many a more stately ship to founder.
     Things have remained much the same during the day—water keeps
     coming over the gunwales in huge masses and hundreds of tons pass
     hourly across “The Rubicon,” as we call the wash of water in the
     waist of her. Occasionally big green seas come aboard _en masse_,
     flooding the whole ship, and find their way everywhere, through
     cracks in the doors, spirting through the keyholes and through
     the ventilators, which, with all the ports tightly closed, must be
     kept open.

Macklin places in my mouth an incorrect rendering which I would never
apply to the gentler sex, but which is certainly very appropriate to
the _Quest_.

“Bridget,” the pig which was presented to us by Mr. Jacobsen on leaving
South Georgia, had a very miserable time, and I was almost giving
instructions to have it killed right away. It was totally unable to
keep its footing on the slippery deck and it was very sea-sick. I
handed it over to the care of McLeod, who found it a snug berth in the
_bathroom_, where it quickly recovered its spirits and began to develop
an insatiable appetite.

In passing I may mention that the bathroom, so-called, was a small
recess containing a tub situated at the side of the engine-room and
opening into the starboard alleyway. It was always warm from the heat
of the engines and we used it chiefly as a drying-room for clothes.
It was used occasionally also on very cold nights as a warming-room
for chilled night-watchmen. We possessed nothing so luxurious as a
real bathroom, and, sinking modesty, we bathed ourselves from a bucket
on deck. In the very cold weather those who were able to ingratiate
themselves with Kerr, the chief engineer, could sometimes take their
tub in front of the furnace fires. This was a real luxury.

I was glad to notice on May 14th a falling off of both wind and sea,
and McIlroy predicted a spell of finer weather. On the 15th it was
distinctly calmer and we were able to continue the work on deck, which
in a ship at sea is interminable, but which the heavier weather had
compelled us to suspend temporarily. “Bridget” emerged from her retreat
and started to move about the deck, where she quickly made friends
with Query. It was highly amusing to watch the antics of the two of
them. She also started to make friendships amongst the hands—notably
with Green, whom she quickly learned to regard as the source of her
food supply. At times she became too friendly, for she began to take
an interest in the cabins and wardroom. Another bad habit was that of
moving about the decks at night, where she had repeated collisions with
the men working the sails.

In spite of the improvement there was still a big enough sea to cause
the _Quest_ to roll heavily, and on the 18th we nearly had a nasty

I had set a party, composed of Macklin, McIlroy, Jeffrey, Carr and
Marr, to hoisting up from the lower hold a number of sacks of beans
which had got wet and become offensive. The work, which was hard and
difficult on account of the awkward motion, was being carried out,
and to clear a space Macklin had sent up a large heavy ice-basket full
of sundry stores, the whole weighing many hundredweights. Carr was on
deck, and had received the basket when the ship gave an unusually heavy
lurch. Both he and the basket were shot to the opening, and though he
was able to save himself the basket fell with a crash into the hold
where the men were working. Carr yelled a warning and they managed to
leap clear, receiving the impact of some of the cases but escaping a
direct blow. This is but one example of many “incidents” of the kind
that occurred throughout the trip.

Worsley, Jeffrey, Carr, Macklin, Kerr and Green all at separate
times fell through the hatch, and that none of them received serious
injury is remarkable. I was fully prepared on any day to witness some
accident, and that so few occurred can only be due to the special
Providence that guards children, drunken men and sailors. “There’s a
sweet little cherub that sits up aloft, looks after the soul of poor
Jack” (sea song).

Leaving the “Roaring Forties,” the air became milder and the
temperature rose, so that we were able once more to go about without
heavy clothing and could cast aside mufflers, mitts and woollen caps.

We sighted Inaccessible Island just after midnight on May 19th. It
appeared as a high mass with dimly marked outline obscured at the top
by dark banks of cloud. As we came abreast of it the moon came out,
creating a very weird effect. The island itself stood out in deep,
almost Stygian, blackness, and from its summit smoke seemed to be
belching in great rolling masses. High above all was the moon, showing
fitfully from between scudding clouds, and in front, accentuating the
effect, was a rippling silvery pathway. It reminded me of a scene from
Dante’s _Inferno_.

I now set course direct for Tristan da Cunha, where we arrived about

The summit of the island was entirely obscured by heavy clouds and rain
fell thickly, so that everything had a dreary aspect. As the light
increased we were able to pick out the little cascade which gives
a good mark for the anchorage and dropped our anchor in 7¼ fathoms.
Looking ashore I saw a number of small, thatched houses situated on
a piece of flat ground bounded on the side of the sea by short steep
cliffs. This was the settlement where the whole population of the
island lived. As we saw it now, on this soaking early morning, it might
have been a dead village, for there was no sign of life, either beast
or human, not a wreath of smoke ascended from the chimneys, and nothing
at all stirred. To attract attention I blew a blast on the steam
whistle, when there was an immediate change. The people came running
from their cottages and the settlement sprang to life. The men launched
their boats and came off to us. The sailor’s eye was at once attracted
by the boats, which are made of canvas over a wooden framework. The
men themselves were an uncouth lot. They were very excited and talked
a great deal in thin jabbering voices. They hastened to board us and
started at once to ask for things. They proved to be a great nuisance,
so I sent them all ashore, retaining only one man, Robert Glass, who
seemed to be the most intelligent of them. I learnt from him that the
islanders were very destitute. He asked in the name of the community
for our help and, realizing that they were indeed in a bad way, I
determined in the name of Mr. Rowett, who I felt sure would sympathize
with my action, to give them all the relief I could.

I gave instructions to Worsley to see what could be done for them in
the way of deck gear, nails, canvas, rope, paint, etc., things of which
they were in great need, and told Macklin to find out what could be
spared in the way of food and general equipment.

We had brought fifteen bags of letter and parcel mail from England
for these islanders; we had on board also a large number of packages
and cases which Macklin, who had been compelled to find room for them
in the sorely restricted space at his disposal, was pleased at the
prospect of being able to hand over. They included a large gramophone,
a gift from the Æolian Company, and some Bovril sent by the firm as a
present to the islanders.

As I was anxious to learn all I could about these people, their ways
and customs and mode of life generally, I detailed Macklin to go ashore
for this purpose. I also gave him instructions to take a complete
census, which might be of use to the Cape Government. He remained there
while the ship visited Nightingale and Inaccessible Islands, and as
I have asked him to write his own account, to avoid repetition I will
refrain from any further description of Tristan da Cunha itself.

The Tristan da Cunha group of islands includes the three just mentioned
and two smaller islets known as Middle and Stoltenhoff respectively.
They lie roughly in latitude 37 south and 12 west longitude, and they
are approximately 4,000 miles from the Cape of Good Hope. Tristan is
probably the most isolated inhabited island in the world.

The group was discovered by the Portuguese admiral whose name they
bear, in 1506. The Dutch, at the time of their settlement in the Cape
Colony, examined it with a view to making it a naval station. The
East India Company also sent a ship to see if it would be worth while
forming a settlement there. No one lived there, however, till early
in the eighteenth century, when a man named Thomas Currie landed and
decided to remain. He was joined by two American whalers, named Lambert
and Williams respectively. There is a vague report, too, of a Spanish
boy having somehow or other joined the party. Lambert and Williams were
drowned whilst making a visit to Inaccessible Island. What happened to
the other is not clear. The history of the present settlement is dealt
with in the following chapter.

A British naval officer, named Nightingale, visited the group in
1760, and the crew of a sealing vessel, under command of John Patten,
spent six months about the islands, collecting the skins of fur seals.
The first accurate survey was made by the hydrographic staff of the
_Challenger_, which in the course of her historic voyage round the
world spent a short time here in 1873.

All hands having been recalled from the shore, we left Tristan da Cunha
at 7.30 P.M. on May 20th and proceeded in the direction of Inaccessible
Island, which loomed up in the dark ahead of us about midnight. We
reduced speed, waiting till daylight should give us a chance to see
what we were doing.

I took with me on the _Quest_ three of the inhabitants of Tristan da
Cunha to act as pilots and guides about the islands. They were Bob
Glass, his brother John Glass, and Henry Green.

In the early hours of the morning the wind increased and blew from the
north-east with very heavy rain squalls. A landing on Inaccessible
Island seemed quite impossible, so I ran for shelter under the
south-west end of Nightingale Island, which we reached at about 7 A.M.
I put out the surf boat and sent ashore a party, composed of Wilkins
and Marr, for natural history work, and Douglas and Carr for geological
purposes. Jeffrey was in charge of the boat, and I sent with him Henry
Green and John Glass. They effected a landing on the south-east corner
of the island, at a point where the rock rose sheer from the water, but
where there was a rough ledge, on which they managed to get a footing
and place their equipment, which consisted of theodolites, guns,
pickaxes, bags, etc.

Here the parties separated, John Glass accompanying Wilkins, whilst
Henry Green acted as guide to the geologists.

Marr writes in his diary:

     We climbed a short way along the jagged rocks with our baggage and
     came to a flat table-like area backed by high cliffs with gigantic
     boulders at their base. The other party went right on up a narrow
     gully with the intention of inspecting a guano patch at the far
     side of the island. We remained here for a short space whilst
     Wilkins shot a number of birds and then followed up the hill. From
     the ship we had thought that this would be easy going up a grassy
     slope. We were sadly disillusioned, however, for the grass was
     rank tussock and grew high above our heads, from six to ten feet
     in length, and was extremely difficult to break through. Underfoot
     the ground was rotten and soaking, and at every step it gave way
     and we sank knee-deep and further. Mr. Wilkins kept shooting birds
     on the way up, but we had great difficulty in finding them in the
     grass. We were drenched to the skin by the time we arrived at the
     top, where there was open land covered with small trees and loose
     rocks and a peculiar round-bladed grass which grew in close tufts
     very difficult to walk upon. Here more birds were shot, and we
     started on the return journey, sliding down the soaking rotten
     earth, stumbling blindly through the long grass and slipping into
     the holes.

On reaching the bottom the party returned in the boat to the ship
without waiting for the geologists. The latter had crossed the col
to the northern slopes, finding, like the others, that the going was
very hard on account of the tussock grass. “These (grass reeds) grow
to about eight feet high,” says one of the party, “and are about half
an inch in diameter, and are so dense that a man five feet away is
invisible.” Examinations were made and survey work was carried out,
and when it was finished the party set off back to the landing-place.
Douglas writes:

     ... Upon reaching a small eminence we saw the _Quest_ steaming
     around the north-east point. This was one of the few occasions
     when she added to the picture and not, through the ugliness of
     her lines, detracted from it. In the brilliant sunshine as she
     came into the mouth of the passage between Nightingale and Middle
     Islands, gently dipping in the north-east swell but still rolling,
     she made a very pretty picture.

I suppose Douglas is right when he remarks that the _Quest_ is not
a beautiful ship, for her lines certainly cannot be described as
yacht-like. Yet as my affection for her grew she appeared more and
more beautiful in my eyes, till, thinking of her in retrospect, I have
almost a feeling of resentment at any such criticism. After all, beauty
is largely a matter of what we are educated to regard as such, and
our ideas change, as witness what are to us to-day the extraordinary
“fashions” of only fifty years ago! The _Quest_ is neither stately nor
graceful, but she certainly has a beauty of her own. What “she” has


     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]


     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]


     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]

The geological party also was safely taken off, and we lay off for the
night about a mile from the land. In the morning I brought the ship
closer in and, feeling my way carefully with the hand-lead, proceeded
to the north of Nightingale Island. I was anxious to put Douglas ashore
on Middle Island, and sent off the boat with Jeffrey, Dell and the
three islanders. Douglas and Henry Green effected a landing, and in the
meantime I dropped anchor in the passage where we were in shelter, the
wind having come round to the west. Whilst waiting here we fished for
sharks, which abound in considerable quantity and of which we caught
several. They were of little use, but I have the sailor’s hatred of
these rapacious brutes and had no compunction in destroying as many of
them as my men could catch.

During the afternoon a strong wind blew up, and Jeffrey and Dell had
the greatest difficulty in getting in to the island to pick up the
party. During the more violent squalls they shipped oars and clung
to the kelp which grows about here in long, strong strands. Dell
describes this as the worst row he had ever experienced. They succeeded
eventually and returned with the party to the ship.

Weather conditions at this time of year are not very suitable for
carrying out an extensive survey and examination, and I was unable to
allow Douglas any great opportunity for accurate work. He made good use
of his few chances, however, and his observations are likely to prove
of value.

     A landing (was effected) at the south-east corner (of Nightingale)
     where a platform of lava extends from the foot of the low col
     which forms the easiest passage to the north of the island. The
     island is rectangular in plan, about one mile by three-quarters.
     The south shore is bounded by fairly high cliffs, except for
     one or two small platforms. The east shore is also high, and the
     highest point of the island rises here in very steep slopes. The
     col above mentioned is the low feature joining the high peak with
     the other high points to the west and interior of the island. It
     is probable that the island was once a volcano, as the central
     depression and various agglomeritic occurrences would testify.
     From the centre the island slopes down gradually towards the
     north, ending in low cliffs of about thirty feet high.

Nightingale Island has a single sharp peak about 2,000 feet high.
Middle Island lies to the north, and is separated from it by a passage
half a mile in width. Douglas says:

     ... The island owes its existence to two causes—first the lavas
     from Nightingale ... must have extended well to the north, and
     secondly, there has been local out-welling of lava. The latter
     lava is extremely hard and has formed the col which has resisted
     the action of the sea. The first lava is so soft that it is easily
     worn away, which accounts for its separation from Nightingale. The
     island is comparatively small, being less than half a mile on its
     longest axis. Being close to Nightingale its flora is similar.
     The island does not rise higher than two hundred feet, and is
     girt with vertical cliffs on the west, north and east sides. The
     landing is at the south-east point, and there is a large cave at
     the most southerly point.

     The island of Stoltenhoff, a little more than half a mile distant,
     is a huge flat-topped rock rising from the water for two hundred
     feet. No landing possible. The island is probably an extension of
     “Middle” to the north, but may represent another separate centre
     of activity.

We remained at anchor for the night in the passage between Nightingale
and Middle Islands, and sailed at 4 A.M. for Inaccessible Island.

This island has been the scene of several shipwrecks, including that
of the _Blendon Hall_ in 1821. It does not belie its name, for as we
approached it certainly looked inaccessible enough. No low land is
apparent, and the whole rises sheer from the sea on every side. The
weather was so uncertain that when sending the party of scientists
ashore I gave instructions that stores sufficient for several days
should be taken in the boat in case it should be impossible to pick the
men up when we wanted to. The party took also biological and geological
gear, surveying instruments, two good Alpine axes and a coil of good
Alpine rope.

A landing was effected near the north-east corner, largely through the
help of the Tristan islanders, whose intimate local knowledge proved of
the greatest value during the whole time we spent about these islands.
The beach was steep and stony, and big curling seas were breaking on
it. Intervals of comparative calm occur, and by taking advantage of
them a boat can be fairly easily beached. The landing effected and
the gear removed, the boat was hauled up whilst the party went about
their work. The beach is about a mile long and forms a very narrow
strip, behind which the cliffs rise vertically for an average height
of from three to four hundred feet. Half a mile to the south-east of
the landing-place a narrow waterfall drops in a cascade over the edge
of the cliff about three hundred and fifty feet up and has hollowed
out a deep pool below. The ascent to the summit lies beyond this, and
here Douglas, with John Glass and Henry Green, started the climb. These
two islanders are strong, active, nimble men and wonderful climbers.
Douglas gave them the greatest praise, and said that but for their
assistance he could never have attained the summit. On one occasion
during the descent they had to lower him over a particularly steep part
with the rope. Douglas writes:

     Inaccessible Island is pear-shaped, the longer axis being about
     three miles and the shorter two and a half miles. The land rises
     around the island in almost vertical cliffs about five hundred
     feet high. On the south and south-east there is a gradual slope up
     to the highest point, which is about 1,500 feet above sea level.
     On the north and north-west sides the rim continues to rise to
     about 1,300 feet, and then it slopes down towards the interior and
     the foot of the slope of the central cone. In fact, it is a great
     caldera, with the southern side blown out and having a central
     small cone.

     The interior is really a beautiful landscape of broken country,
     clad in verdure with a stream running through it.

Wilkins, assisted by Carr and Marr, carried out natural history
investigations on the lower slope and shot a number of birds for
preparation as museum specimens.

During the years 1871-73 two brothers, Germans named Stoltenhoff, lived
here. They gave their name to Stoltenhoff Island. Nightingale Island
derives its name from the British navigator who visited it in 1760.

All the islands of the Tristan da Cunha group have a similar flora
and fauna. They are covered in parts with tussock grass (_spartina
arundinacea_) and bracken. One small tree, the “Island tree” (_phylica
nitida_), grows at levels up to about 2,000 feet. The smaller plants
include twenty-nine species of flowering plants and twenty-six
ferns and lycopods. Numerous seabirds nest on the islands, including
mollymauks, terns, sea-hens or skua gulls, prions, black eaglets,
“Pediunkers,” and several kinds of petrel. On the rocky beaches we saw
a number of small land birds, one species of which resembled a thrush
and the other a finch. They were very tame and could be easily caught.
The islanders showed us several rookeries where rockhopper penguins
congregate in large numbers during the nesting season. The rockhopper
is a pretty bird with a crest of yellow and black feathers. Its call is
rather deep and harsh—“Alōh-ha!” as nearly as I can write it.

But for the difficulty of landing Inaccessible Island would be almost
as suitable a spot for a small settlement as Tristan da Cunha. A few
cattle are kept there. The islanders from Tristan make frequent visits
in their boats. Experience has taught them what are the most suitable
weather conditions for effecting a landing. It appears that the winds
follow a fairly definite cycle, and the islanders can predict with some
degree of certainty the conditions likely to be met with in the next
few days.

One has to give the islanders credit for their boatmanship, for their
craft are frail and require the most careful handling to prevent their
being stove in.

Of the men taken with us on the _Quest_, Henry Green and John Glass had
never been away from the islands. They were really two extremely nice
men. Douglas writes of Henry Green who accompanied him:

     Henry proved to be a delightfully refreshing character. His simple
     outlook on life, facts being facts to him and needing no reason,
     the pride he took in his ability to climb and find his way over
     the islands, notwithstanding his years, and his love of his own
     hearth, marked him out as one of the best, if not the best, of
     those who live on Tristan.

What a strange life they lead, passing day after day of their long
lives in this restricted environment with the same outlook, amongst
the same people and with only occasionally the sight of a new face,
which passing, never returns, for no one ever goes back to Tristan.
As Macklin shows, their longevity is remarkable; few seem to die under
ninety years of age.

I returned to the settlement via the southern side of Tristan to
enable Worsley to carry out a series of soundings, and arrived there
at daybreak on May 24th. We proceeded in through the kelp and came to

I allowed most of the hands ashore for the day, and detailed a party
to install a portable wireless receiving apparatus which Mr. Rogers,
the missionary, had brought from Cape Town. One of the masts for the
aerials broke whilst being erected, and the pieces fell amongst a
crowd of islanders who had gathered to watch proceedings, causing them
to scamper wildly in all directions. Mr. Rogers told me that he had
not learned the code, and as there are several mechanical details to
be mastered it is doubtful if the apparatus is likely to be of great

I was up before daybreak on May 25th, to find that the wind had come
round to the west and a strong swell had started to run into the
anchorage. I saw that the sooner we were off the better, and blew the
steam whistle for the recall of those who had spent the night ashore.

When I had told Glass on our arrival that I would be able to leave a
considerable amount of general supplies for the islanders, he had said
that he did not think they had stock enough on the island to pay for
it. When I replied that I did not require any payment, he was most
agreeably surprised, and promised to send us two or three good sheep
and some fresh potatoes. I had also asked for a number of geese and
poultry with the idea of placing them on Gough Island in the hope that
they would settle there and breed.

The blowing of the steam whistle caused the most marked excitement
amongst the islanders, who came rushing to their boats, which they
launched, and, having rowed out to us, crowded aboard in dozens.
Immediately there was a noise like babel let loose. Many of them
approached Bob Glass, saying: “Can’t you get nothing more out of them,
Bob?” As I had emptied the holds and stripped the ship of everything
I could spare, and in the name of Mr. Rowett given all the relief I
could to these people, I was not very well pleased at their attitude.
On my asking for the sheep and potatoes and the live stock for Gough
Island they suddenly remembered that they owed us something in return,
and dragged up from the bottom of the boat what looked for all the
world like two large and skinny rabbits. They proved to be sheep, the
most miserable creatures I had ever set eyes on. They dumped aboard
also two bags of potatoes which in size resembled marbles and some
very indifferent-looking geese and poultry. They seemed to lose all
restraint and begged for anything which caught their eye or their
fancy, each man trying to get in his request before his neighbour or
endeavouring to overshout him. There were no longer any requests on
behalf of the community, each man trying to scrounge what he could
for himself. A boatload containing some of the steadier men brought
off six bags of mail, six bales of feathers and about nine bags of
potatoes. These were dumped over our rail, and when I sent Macklin to
find out what it was they had put aboard, they replied that they were
parcels which they wished delivered to their friends in Cape Town who
would send them something in return. These casual folk had made no
arrangements and had not even addressed them sufficiently.

Rain had started to fall and Macklin, who knowing nothing of their
coming had not prepared a place for them in the hold, turned to a
group of the islanders and asked for some help to put the bales in the
shelter of the alleyway, where they would be protected from the rain.
Not a man stirred, each saying it had nothing to do with him. Macklin
had to search out each man in turn to help with his own bag for none
of them would touch anything that did not belong to him personally. We
were all thoroughly disgusted with their behaviour, and on this last
morning they undid any good impression we had gained of them whilst

One group of men brought me some bundles of whalebone which they asked
me to buy for twenty pounds. As I had no idea of the value of the stuff
I could not do it, but offered to take it to Cape Town and hand it
over for disposal and have the value sent them in general goods. This
arrangement they regarded with suspicion and tried hard to induce me to
barter with them. It was a curious thing that all the islanders seemed
to think that we had a mysterious bottomless store from which we could
go on supplying quantities of pipes, tobacco, foodstuffs, etc. etc.,
in exchange for the most valueless trash. Knowing that as a community
they stood in great need of copper nails for their boats I offered them
a seven-pound bag, our all, which we could ill spare. No one man would
burden himself with this on behalf of the community and it was finally
left aboard.

I made full allowances for the limitations of these people, but at last
they became so troublesome that I ordered them back to their boats
and got ready to put to sea. Just before the last lot left some of
the older men came to me and thanked me for what we had been able to
do. They included Henry Green, John Glass, Tom Rogers, Old Sam Swaine
and Lavarello, the Italian. I told them that they must not thank me
altogether, for they owed what I had given them to a man named John
Rowett far across the sea in England. John Glass said in his high
piping voice: “You will see Mr. Rowett again? Then tell him that he is
the koindest man that I ever know.” I promised I would. Bob Glass also
brought me a letter which he wanted me to send to Mr. Rowett for him.
In return I thanked them, etc. etc. Just before leaving I received a
long letter from the missionary Mr. Rogers, in which he expressed the
appreciation of the islanders and sent a message of gratitude to Mr.

Though very disgusted at the time with the behaviour of these people, I
felt on more mature consideration that one could not fairly judge them
by instances like this. They are ignorant, shut off almost completely
from the world, horribly limited in outlook, and they realized that at
this moment there was slipping away from them the only possible source
of acquiring the many things they so badly needed. Indeed, looking back
on the whole visit to Tristan da Cunha, I am surprised that they were
not much more wild and uncivilized than we found them, and they were, I
believe, at any rate the older men among them, really grateful for what
we had been able to do.

I think their characters may be somewhat roughly summed up by
describing them as “a lot of grown-up children.”



We arrived at Tristan da Cunha on May 20th, 1922, just as dawn was
breaking. A fine rain was falling and all the upper part of the island
was shrouded in mist. The islanders seemed to be still in bed, for we
saw no signs of activity until Commander Wild blew the steam whistle,
which brought them running from their houses in haste, evidently very
excited, for we saw them pointing towards us. The men ran down a steep
winding path leading to a beach of black sand where a number of boats
were drawn up. They launched the boats and came out towards us as fast
as they could row.

At first sight the people presented a curious spectacle. They were
rather a wild-looking lot, and were clothed in every conceivable kind
of male attire, which seemed to be the cast-off clothing of sailors
who had called at the island. One man in particular was wearing the
queerest mixture: an evening dress jacket, striped cotton shirt,
dungaree trousers, whilst on his head was an officer’s peaked cap!

The majority of them were white, but many showed signs of a coloured
ancestry in a dusky complexion and features of a distinctly negroid

Their boats attracted our attention, for they are made of canvas over a
framework of wood. These are ingenious pieces of work and built on very
shapely lines. The canvas is begged from passing ships. The crosspieces
are made from the branches of small, stunted apple trees which are
grown on the island, but for the pieces which form the keel and the
main part of the frame they are dependent on chance bits of driftwood
thrown up on the beaches.

On this day there was a considerable swell running, which made it
dangerous for more than one boat to come alongside at a time, the
others lying off at a safe distance. It was apparent that the islanders
did not care to submit their frail craft to any more bumping than was
necessary. In their excitement they made a tremendous noise, shouting
to each other in voices which were curiously thin and high-pitched.

As soon as the first boat came alongside a strong active man with a
cheery face leapt on to our gunwale and clambered aboard. He told us
his name was John Glass, and he seized those of us whom he could reach
in turn by the hand, exclaiming in a piping voice that contrasted
strangely with his powerful frame: “I’m glad to see you all. How are
you? Have you had a good trip?” Another man, taller and more slimly
built, quickly followed him and made his way to the bridge. He was
wearing an old khaki overcoat, and was shod on one foot with a worn-out
leather boot and on the other with a sort of moccasin made of cowskin.
Several others came aboard and started at once to ask for things,
saying: “Say, Mister, you ain’t got an old pair of boots, have you?” or
“Mister, I’m building a boat—can you spare a few nails?” “Mister, can
I have a piece of salt beef?”—always the prefix of “Mister,” said in
a most ingratiating tone. The requests were made to anybody whom they
encountered, no matter how busily engaged. When told to “Wait a little
and we’ll see what can be done,” they would say, for example, “Well,
my name’s Swaine—young Sam Swaine, son of old Sam Swaine. You won’t
forget, will you?” Often two or three of them bombarded one man at the
same time, when they raised their voices, both in volume and pitch.
They made themselves such a general nuisance in this way and, together
with those in the boats, who kept calling continually to those aboard,
raised such a pandemonium that Commander Wild approached John Glass
and asked him if there was a “head-man” of the island or recognized
representative of the community.

John Glass promptly replied, “I am!” but continued in the same breath,
“There ain’t no head-man now. Bob Glass, my brother—that’s him on the
bridge—he’s head-man. Anyways, he’s the best one for you to talk to.
He’s got the larnin’!” Having “got the larnin’” meant that he could
read and write.

Bob Glass was told to remain on the ship. The rest were packed off
into their boats and sent ashore to await the blowing of the steam
whistle as a signal for their return. Glass, the tall, slim man who
had made for the bridge, proved to be an intelligent fellow. We asked
him to have breakfast with us. He accepted the invitation without
embarrassment, and showed himself much more at ease than one would have
expected from anyone living in so remote a part of the world.

From him Commander Wild learnt that there had been only one ship to
the island in the last eighteen months—a Japanese steamer, which had
brought a missionary and his wife, but which had immediately proceeded
without letting them have supplies of any kind. Glass had made his way
to the captain in the hope that an explanation of their needs and of
their peculiar situation might induce him to allow them some stores,
but he was promptly ordered off the ship. The captain, relenting a
little at the last moment, gave him as a personal present a bundle of
coloured postcards, all of them with the same picture—a very highly
coloured impressionistic view of Fuji-yama, the sacred mountain of
Japan! They had received quite a considerable mail from people in the
outside world who took an interest in this isolated community, but, as
Glass remarked contemptuously, “Chiefly clothes for the womenfolk.” The
missionary had brought some supplies, but, according to our informant,
hardly enough for himself and his wife. The people were at the present
time very badly off and were, indeed, destitute of what elsewhere might
well be considered absolute essentials, such as articles of clothing,
cooking and table utensils, wood, canvas for the upkeep of their boats,
nails, tools, rope, wire, etc. For a long time they had been without
luxuries in the way of food, such as tea, sugar, flour or biscuit, and
commodities such as soap, candles, etc.

In the old days, said Glass, the settlement had been much better off,
for ships had appeared within reach of their boats many times a year,
and with them they had bartered live stock and potatoes, produced on
the island, for what they themselves required in the way of general
commodities. Nowadays, ships seemed to have entirely left the ocean,
and they were in a bad way.

He and his brother, John Glass, are direct descendants of Corporal
William Glass, who founded the settlement. He accounted for his
“larnin’” and general knowledge of conditions by the fact that he had
been away from the island for eighteen years, had apparently travelled
a good deal on one job and another, and mixed with people. During
the South African war he had served with Kitchener’s Scouts, and had
received the Queen’s medal. We gathered that he was not lacking in
common sense and had a pretty shrewd knowledge of the value of things.

Of the truth of his statements with regard to the condition of the
community there could be little doubt, and a visit to the settlement
made later in the day showed that he had not exaggerated. They made
an earnest appeal to us for help, and Commander Wild decided to do all
that was in his power to alleviate their hardships.

We had, fortunately, on board a considerable quantity of bulk stores
in the way of biscuits, flour, Brazilian meal, beans, etc., which had
been kept in reserve in view of the possibility of our being frozen in
and compelled to winter in the Antarctic. These Commander Wild offered
to Glass, with as much as could be spared from our stores of a wide
variety of foods, such as tea, sugar, coffee, cocoa, dried milk, Quaker
oats, lentils, split peas, jam, chocolate, cheese, tinned meats, tinned
fish, salt beef, candles, matches and soap. We gave them also from the
deck stores a quantity of planking, rope, wire, nails, paint, canvas,
and two good spars.

In addition to this we had brought with us in the ship a large
letter and parcel mail and numerous packages sent privately for the
islanders, including several sent in gratitude by a sailor who had
been shipwrecked there and who had been very kindly treated. We had
a busy day getting all these goods out of the hold and stacking them
along the ship’s side ready to be placed in the boats. When all was
ready we signalled the return of the others, who, as soon as they
had approached to within a measurable distance of the ship, started
shouting innumerable questions to Bob Glass. The purport of them all
was: “What are they going to give us?”

Glass clambered on to the gunwale of the ship and started shouting back
in a high, piping voice. We saw their faces, which had worn a look
of anxiety, suddenly break into smiles when they heard what we could
do, and they became like a lot of schoolboys informed of a holiday,
shouting gleefully to each other and singing snatches of song. Indeed,
these people are very childlike in many of their ways.

The loading was an awkward job. Everything had to be lowered slowly and
carefully over the side and placed gently in the boats, for, being made
of canvas and frail craft at best, anything dropped into them with a
bump would assuredly have gone through the bottom. The difficulty was
increased by the swell and the rolling of the _Quest_, which caused
the boats to rise and fall and surge in and out in the most awkward
manner. We were interested to note that many of the islanders who came
aboard were sea-sick, but recovered when they clambered back into their
own boats. Evidently they were used to the short, quick motion of the
smaller boats, whilst the more pronounced roll of the _Quest_ upset
them. They plied to and fro till everything was ashore, where it was
stacked in an imposing pile at the top of the beach.


     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

After lunch I went ashore with Worsley and some others of the party.
We went in an “island” boat. Worsley, known amongst the South Sea
Islanders as “Tally ho,” from his habit when approaching through the
surf of shouting the well-known hunting call, “Yoicks! Tally ho, tally
ho, tally ho-ooo-oh!” insisted on taking the steer oar, and as the
boat neared the beach raised his cry, to the amusement of the crew
and the people on shore. They enjoy little jokes. On the beach there
was a scene of activity. The goods were being loaded into small carts,
each drawn by two bullocks. They were rough and primitive affairs. The
wheels were made from sections of a tree which had been blown up on the
island some years previously. The oxen were small but strong looking.

The way from the beach led up a winding rocky pathway to the top of a
cliff, and thence along to the settlement, distant about half a mile.

Tristan da Cunha, in the greater part of its extent, is very
mountainous, but on the northern side there is a stretch of flat
land about six miles long and from half to one mile deep. Behind it
rises the mountain, sheer and steep, to a height of from two to three
thousand feet, from where it slopes more gradually to the summit. In
front cliffs, fifty or sixty feet high, drop abruptly to the sea, but
are broken here and there by beaches of black sand.

The settlement, composed of a number of small stone cottages, is
situated on the eastern end of the flat land, which is grass-covered
and strewn with boulders. The western end provides good grazing ground
for sheep and cattle, and in the sheltered spots small portions are set
aside for growing potatoes.

On the way we met several women and children. The women were well built
and healthy looking, and wore, like the men, a variety of clothing.
They also showed differences of colour and feature, one whom I noticed
being quite blonde. The children are attractive, very quiet and demure
in their deportment—what the islanders themselves call “old fashioned.”
I do not think their demureness was altogether due to the presence of
strangers amongst them, for before I finally left the island I had had
a chance to observe them in their play and made friends with a number
of them, but I never saw anything approaching boisterousness.

In many respects the settlement differed little from an Irish village.
Geese waddled about the common and showed their resentment of too
close an approach with the usual hissing and stretching of the neck.
All about were little pigs—long-nosed and lean-flanked, obviously not
far removed in type from the original “wild pig”—which were rooting
up the earth with their snouts. Each had an attendant fowl which
accompanied it in its movements and picked at the newly turned earth.
There are a number of dogs on the island, mongrel curs of which one
would grudge even the admission that they were “just dog,” and there
seems to be a regular feud between them and the pigs. Whenever a dog,
accompanying his master on a walk, encounters a pig, it rushes up,
barking furiously, and only desists when the pig, squealing violently,
is stretched at full speed. The pig gets very angry, but immediately
after goes on rooting. There was something very ludicrous about this
little piece of byplay, which always provoked a laugh from us. On the
slope behind the settlement a flock of sheep, numbering a hundred or
so, was grazing. Here and there about the common I saw donkeys, all of
them very diminutive.

At the entrance to the settlement we came to a brisk little stream of
clear water, which we crossed by a ford. We were met by Mr. Rogers, the
missionary, who had recently come to the island.

There are in all about twenty completed houses and others of which the
walls have been built, but which, from lack of material, have never
been roofed over. The first one we came to belonged to Henry Green, a
small, self-reliant man whom we had already met on the ship. He gave
us a cordial invitation to come in at any time we cared. He had a small
flagstaff, from which flew a Union Jack that had been presented to the

Commander Wild had detailed me to stay on Tristan da Cunha whilst
the ship proceeded to Nightingale and Inaccessible Islands, and I now
made inquiries as to where I could stay. Bob Glass said immediately:
“You come right ’long to my house, and I’ll tell my wife she got to
look after you and give you everything she got, which ain’t much, I
may tell you.” He now led me to it, and introduced me to his wife and
family, which numbered eight—six boys and two girls. His wife, who was
a second wife and not the mother of any of his children, was a very
pleasant woman, with quiet, natural manners. She told me she would be
glad to put me up for as long as I cared to stay on the island. The
members of the family varied in age from a young man of twenty-two
years—who was married and had two children of his own—to a bright lad
of eight. The girls, aged twenty and seventeen respectively, seemed
to be very pleasant, but had little to say, being, I think, rather shy
and bashful in the presence of a stranger. Bob Glass said to me after:
“That gel Wilet”—Violet, the elder—“she’s a foine gel; me and she never
had a crōss word. But that there Dōrothee—she’s wery loively.” Quite
what form the liveliness took I never learnt, but his words led me to
believe that Miss Dorothy was a less dutiful and obedient daughter than

This house resembles all the other houses of the settlement, which
are erected to more or less the same design, being long, low, oblong
structures built of stones of considerable size and weight. The side
walls are usually a little more than two feet thick, and the end walls
are heavily buttressed. They all face the same way, so as to be end on
to the prevailing winds, which blow at times with great strength and
with sudden violent gusts.

The roofs are composed of wooden beams, and are thatched over with
tussock grass, which is made into bundles and lashed securely to the
beams so that they overlap from above downwards. A layer of turf is
placed to cover the apex where the two sides meet. The ceilings and
floors are made of wood—odd pieces begged from ships, taken from
packing cases or found along the seashore—collected only with much
patience over a period of months or years before enough is accumulated
for the purpose. Much of the planking in the older houses has been
derived from ships wrecked on one or other of the islands. In the house
of Mrs. Repetto there is a piece from the stern of a small vessel
bearing the name _Mabel Clarke_ which had gone ashore forty years
previously. The insides of the stone walls are faced with wood in the
same way. The space left between thatch and ceiling is used universally
as a store room. Windows, except in the case of one of the houses,
are on one side only, and face the sea to enable a good look out to be
kept for passing ships. The exception is in the house just mentioned,
that of Mrs. Repetto, whose husband (deceased), an Italian sailor,
survivor of a ship wrecked on the island, must have been a man of much
ingenuity and practical ability, for the house is much better equipped
and furnished in every way than any other in the settlement.

Taken on the whole, the houses keep remarkably dry and are durable,
though the tussock thatch often requires renewing in patches and the
turf is often lifted away in the fiercer gales. They are divided, in
the majority of cases, by a single wall into living-room and bedroom,
but a few have an additional room. There is a fireplace at one end of
the living-room made of stone, with two or three pieces of iron let
in. In some of the houses the cooking is done in these fireplaces, but
in others, especially where the family is a large one, an annexe is
built on to the end of the house to act as a kitchen. In one or two of
the better houses a separate kitchen is included in the main building.
Each house boasts a table and some chairs, often very rickety, and
most of them have also a wooden settee, or “sofa,” as it is generally
called. Some possess tablecloths and sofa covers and have a few bright
pictures on the walls. Others are lacking in these luxuries, the walls
being bare or adorned only with one or two tracts. As a rule the houses
are kept clean, but in this they vary very much, depending upon the
occupants. One must understand some of the difficulties they have in
this respect. Brushes and brooms are a rarity; they use whisks made
from the “island tree,” which answer only moderately well. They are
often without soap, and when there is any on the island it has to be
used with the greatest economy. Taking everything into consideration, I
think they are to be congratulated upon what they achieve in this way.

Rats came ashore from a ship called the _Henry B. Paul_, wrecked on
the back of the island. They increased and multiplied so rapidly that
they have overrun the place and are found in the lofts of every house.
To combat them a few cats are kept, but whilst I was living ashore I
preferred the company of the rats to that of the cats, which are most
unpleasant brutes and more than half wild.

Fleas swarm all over the settlement, and none of the houses seem to be
wholly free from them. As a doctor, I had occasion to examine many of
the people. Nearly all of them were extensively flea-bitten, but some
seemed to have escaped their ravages. I found no trace of other body

Any man starting to build a house here sets himself a difficult task.
The stone is fairly easily obtained and set up. Boulders carried down
from the mountain strew the lower slopes, and there are plenty in the
neighbourhood of the settlement. They are brought in by securing them
with chains to which bullocks are attached, the number of animals
varying with the size of the boulder. They are dragged bodily over
the ground, the work, however, being the easier in that most of the
distance is down hill. Soft boulders are selected, and are cut to shape
with small axes. A number of men sit or kneel about the boulder to be
cut, chipping away little pieces in turn with rapid strokes of the axe.

Wood presents to the prospective builder a much harder problem, and
many a young man anxious to marry or a young married couple eager
for their own home have to spend long weary months, or even years,
in accumulating the wood necessary to make the roof, the ceiling
or the floor. The shores, not only of Tristan da Cunha, but also
of Inaccessible and Nightingale Islands, are eagerly searched for
driftwood. Especially is it difficult to collect the crossbeams, those
in existence having come from wrecked ships. The islanders regard it
as a regrettable fact that “wracks” are becoming more and more scarce.
Many of the occupied houses are only partially ceilinged over, and
have holes in the floor which their occupants are unable to complete
or repair for lack of the necessary wood. The holes in the floor, if
not too large, are covered by boxes in which belongings, the _lares et
penates_, are kept.

When completed, the houses make snug little dwellings and adequately
meet the needs of the islanders.

As Commander Wild was not leaving for Inaccessible Island till next
day, I slept that night on the _Quest_, but told Mrs. Glass that I
should come ashore the next day to stay. I felt that my board might be
a bit of a burden to her, and was anxious to bring with me sufficient
stores amply to cover my stay.

The next day (May 20th) was beautifully fine, with bright sunshine.
Commander Wild sent ashore the scientific staff, with assistants, to
carry on their special work. Jeffrey verified the position of the
settlement and took bearings of all the more salient points on the
northern side of the island. Wilkins took his cameras and cinematograph
machine, and had a busy day photographing the people in the various
stages of their work, family groups, cottages and, indeed, anything
of interest. Carr made observations of the flat land to the west of
the settlement with regard to its future usefulness as a landing-place
for aircraft. Douglas made an ascent to the peak of the mountain
for geological purposes, whilst McIlroy seized the opportunity of
discussing with Mr. Rogers, the missionary, meteorological work and

The most interesting event of the day was a parade of the Tristan troop
of Boy Scouts, which was turned out for Commander Wild’s inspection.
The troop was instituted by Mr. Rogers on his arrival, and was, of
course, still very raw. It was surprising to note how well these
boys looked and how altered in appearance they were after changing
from their nondescript garments to the smart new uniforms. After
considerable manœuvring, they were finally drawn up on parade, when
Marr, in full Scout uniform with kilt, formally presented a Scout
flag specially sent out by Sir Robert Baden-Powell for this purpose.
The boys felt a little bit overcome by the occasion and responded
indifferently to the words of command, but under the circumstances any
but the most friendly criticism would be unfair. The boys appeared to
be keen, Mr. Rogers was keen, and it is probable that the next people
to hold an inspection will see a very different turnout. Everyone on
the island witnessed the ceremony, and all the women donned their
best clothes for the occasion. I had thought that they would have
taken a greater interest in the kilt, but they seemed hardly to notice
it—unlike the women of France and Italy, who during the war were so
fascinated by the Highland uniforms. Mr. Rogers and Marr had quite a
lengthy talk on Scout matters.

The islanders very hospitably looked after all who had come ashore,
which included most of the crew of the _Quest_, inviting them to
their houses for meals. Jeffrey and I had both lunch and dinner with
Bob Glass, waited upon royally by Mrs. Glass, “Wilet” and “Dōrothee,”
whilst a large number of peeping faces grouped themselves about the
door and windows.

After the parade of Scouts Commander Wild went back to the ship. He
permitted the others to stay longer, but gave instructions that they
were to go aboard before dark. There was some delay, however, and to
hurry them up he fired a detonator, which burst with a loud report
and a spangle of stars and reverberated in numerous echoes from the
hillside. The effect was extraordinary. Every living thing on the
island was thoroughly startled; dogs bolted and yelped, girls and
children screamed and ran for the houses, whilst sheep, pigs, geese and
poultry scampered in all directions in the wildest confusion.

Soon afterwards I saw the lights of the _Quest_ passing out in the
direction of Inaccessible Island. With her went three of the islanders
whom Commander Wild had taken to act as pilots and guides. They were
Robert and John Glass and Henry Green.

I had spent the day in seeing sick people or people who thought that,
seeing a doctor had come to the island, they might just as well get
him to have a look at them. The men came to see me at Robert Glass’s
house, and later Mrs. Glass conducted me on a tour of the settlement
to see a number of women patients. There were numerous minor ailments:
sprains, old fractures, or “brocks,” as the islanders call them, which
had reunited with serious deformity, rheumatism, and a condition they
call “ashmere,” meaning asthma. This seems to be the most prevalent
complaint on the island. Taken on the whole, however, they are a very
healthy little community.

I had with me in my medical equipment a small portable electric
battery. In the evening a man named Tom Rogers, who had received an
injury to his arm some time before, came for treatment, and I gave him
some electrical massage. He was delighted with the sensation, and made
everyone who came to the house take the terminals and feel it also.
I got several of them to join hands, and passed the current through
all of them at one time. Tom Rogers kept sending for more and more
people to “feel the electricity” until the house was full. Finding
that the current passed through any part of the body that was touched,
he determined to play a joke on a new-comer, suddenly touching his
ear whilst a strong current was passing. The new-comer, Gordon Glass,
who had never seen such a thing before, was considerably startled, to
the great joy of all the others, who thoroughly appreciated the joke
and retailed it all over the settlement, to my undoing, for I had to
demonstrate the experiment again and again.

I found that these islanders, when gathered together, were a genial,
pleasant lot, very good tempered, and quick to see humour. Though
intelligent in many respects, most of them had absolutely no interest
in anything happening outside the island; but, considering their
isolated position and lack of communication with the rest of the world,
together with their inability to read, this can easily be understood.

Bob Glass had given his family instructions to put me in his bed and
to clear out of the house and leave me to myself. Goodness knows where
they went to. I turned in and quickly fell asleep, to awake very soon
with a sensation that all was not well. The trouble proved to be a
countless host of small marauders, which were very persistent and
voracious. I had no more sleep that night.

The next day (Sunday, 21st) I was up early. Mrs. Glass brought me a
cup of very strong black coffee without sugar or milk. Acting probably
on her husband’s instructions, she brought me also some hot water for
shaving. This accomplished, I sallied forth to the clear brook and
started sponging down, to find myself, much to my embarrassment, an
object of interest to sundry small children of both sexes.

Breakfast was served to me in solitary state, which was a
disappointment, for I had hoped to sit down with the family. The meal
consisted of mutton and potatoes, as did all the meals I had whilst
remaining on the island. Mrs. Glass would have fed me on her share of
the stores from the _Quest_, but I told her I was tired of ship’s food
and wanted a change.

The weather had changed; it was raining hard, and the wind having come
round to the north-west, from which direction it blew up strongly, it
looked as if a landing would not be effected on Inaccessible Island. I
wondered what the _Quest_ was doing—at least, I knew very well _what_
she was doing, and felt glad I was on _terra firma_.

I called on the Rev. and Mrs. Rogers, and later went to church, the
service being held in the little schoolroom. It was well attended. One
side of the room was filled by the women, who left their husbands to
get in where they could. They looked well in their best cotton dresses,
with bright-coloured handkerchiefs tied over their hair. This form of
headgear is very picturesque, very practical, and eminently suited to
this wind-blown island. I was accompanied by my hostess, and hoped to
get a back seat where I could see all that was going on; but room being
made for me on the front bench, I was bound to accept. I regret to say
that I was guilty of many turnings of the head. The service was short
and simple. I was surprised at the hearty way in which everyone, both
men and women, joined in the hymns, which, as most of them could not
read, they must have learnt by heart. I was told that the wife of a
previous missionary had taught them a number of the best-known hymns,
and that the “New Missus” (Mrs. Rogers) was bringing them up to scratch
again in their singing. A larger place is necessary, for the room was
filled and several people hung about the door unable to find a seat.
All the missionaries who have been on the island have tried to persuade
the people to build a church for themselves, but without success.

After church I called on Gaetano Lavarello, one of the shipwrecked
sailors from the _Italia_, a Genoese by birth. I spoke to him in his
own language, which he understood, but found when he attempted to
reply that he had lost the fluent use of his mother tongue, having for
nearly forty years spoken nothing but English. He expressed himself
as quite content with life on the island. He had married a Glass,
and had several children. He said the thing he felt the lack of most
was tobacco. He had not had a smoke for a long time, and asked me if
I could give him some plug or a stick of hard tobacco, offering in
exchange a sheep. He said: “I have the largest flock and the best sheep
on the island, and I will give you a good one.” Unfortunately, I had no
tobacco, but told him I had no doubt that Commander Wild would give him
some when the ship returned, and would not require the sheep.

I then called on Mr. and Mrs. Rogers. They are known by the islanders
as “Reverend Rogers” and “The Missus,” which names I adopted, for there
are so many “Rogers” on the island as to be confusing. They asked
me to have lunch, during which they told me of the difficulties and
heavy expenses they had been put to in order to come out and take up
their work on this island. Apparently it was an entirely individual
enterprise, and the Church organization had taken no part in it at all.
The first assistance of any sort which they had received was at Cape
Town, where considerable interest is taken in this little outpost.

The “Missus” was only nineteen years of age, and had had no previous
experience to guide her in her preparations for the life she was to
lead. It takes a lot of pluck for a woman to cut herself off from
all home connexions and bury herself in a small spot like this, shut
off entirely from the outside world, without guidance or counsel
in the changes and chances which fall to the lot of every married
woman. I admired the courage and enthusiasm with which she faced her
self-imposed task, which included not only the instructing of the
unwilling youth of Tristan da Cunha in cleanliness, morality and the
“three R’s,” but also such multifarious duties as nurse, midwife,
scribe, reader and general adviser to the womenfolk.

In the afternoon I again visited some of my patients. One woman was
really very ill and in need of hospital attention. I did my best
to persuade her to go to Cape Town. The husband, on having things
represented to him, was agreeable, but there were numerous objections.
I asked “The Missus” to use her influence to persuade her to seize
the chance of a passing vessel to go. It must be admitted that this
reluctance to leave the island is natural. These people have no
money and are not well off for clothes (I believe this was the chief
objection in the mind of the good lady herself), and the leaving of
the island to those who have known nothing else resolves itself into a
great adventure into an unknown world.

Commander Wild had asked me to take a census of the island, and this
I proceeded to do, visiting the houses in turn. There was considerable
vagueness about ages, and in many cases about names also. On more than
one occasion a man (it was always the stupid male sex) did not seem
clear about his own name, sometimes contradicting himself or appealing
to bystanders for confirmation. As may be gathered from the history
of the settlement, with comparatively few exceptions everyone on
the island is either a Glass, Green, Swaine or Rogers. Consequently,
individuals are better known by Christian names than by surnames, which
probably accounts for their vagueness. It is rather remarkable that
with so few names amongst them the new chaplain should be a Rogers.

The history of Tristan da Cunha is interesting. The island was
discovered in 1506 by a Portuguese navigator, Tristão da Cunha, from
whom it takes its name, and though individuals on different occasions
lived on it for short periods at a time, for three hundred years it
remained nobody’s property. It was formally annexed by Great Britain
in 1816, and a garrison, consisting of about one hundred men, placed
there, with the object of resisting any attempt by foreign Powers to
use it as a base of operations for the rescue of Napoleon from St.
Helena. The garrison remained for a year only. Corporal Glass, of
the Royal Artillery, a native of Kelso, in Scotland, asked for, and
received, permission to stay. He had married a coloured woman from
Cape Colony, and had at the time two children. It was no doubt the
possession of this black wife that chiefly influenced his decision.
He was joined by Alexander Cotton and Thomas Swaine, two members of
the relief ship. This little party was augmented by some shipwrecked
American whalers, but none of them remained long, the only names
persisting to-day of the original settlers being Glass, Swaine and
Cotton. Some twenty years later Pieter William Green, a Dutchman, was
wrecked on Inaccessible Island, and having made his way to Tristan da
Cunha, elected to remain. About the middle of the century two American
whalers, Rogers and Hagan, also settled there, and more recently,
within the present generation, two Italian sailors, Andreas Repetto
and Gaetano Lavarello, survivors cast upon the shores from the wreck
of the sailing ship _Italia_, were so determined never again to risk
their lives upon the ocean that they also threw in their lot with the
islanders and stayed.

Of the original settlers, only Glass was married. The others obtained
wives through the good offices of the captain of a whaling vessel, who
brought five women from St. Helena. It was a funny way of choosing
their mates, and the islanders of to-day speak of the incident as a
great joke, guessing at the feelings of their great grandsires when
they went to meet their brides and speculating upon the methods adopted
in the selection. Occasionally the settlement has been temporarily
augmented by other shipwrecked sailors, who seized an early opportunity
to get away in some passing ship. There is evidence to show that
they introduced a certain amount of new blood amongst the islanders,
for some of them had children which were born after their departure.
No new names were introduced, however, for the children adopted the
names of the mothers. This factor must be taken into account when
considering the effects upon the present generation of intermarriage
and consanguinity.

The original garrison brought to the island a considerable quantity of
live stock in the shape of cattle, sheep, pigs, geese, poultry, donkeys
and goats, and were responsible for the laying down of the “potato
patches,” small walled-in potato gardens situated about two miles to
the west of the settlement under the lee of some high mounds. The live
stock throve, and there are representatives to-day of every species
except the goats, which took to the hills, but were destroyed by the
heavy torrents which rapidly form and sweep down the gullies whenever
there is heavy rain.

From time to time attempts have been made to introduce corn, maize and
vegetables of different sorts, but owing to the violent winds which
prevail they have never been a success. Practically the only vegetable
grown in useful quantity to-day is the pumpkin, and this is in no great
abundance. In the sheltered gullies at the back of the island there are
some very stunted apple trees which produce small crops of apples.

The herds, from which they derive their supply of meat, milk and
butter, and the potatoes have met the chief food requirements of the
islanders, but for everything else they have relied upon trade with
passing merchant ships and whalers.

  [Illustration: JOHN GLASS AND FAMILY

     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]


     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

In the days, not very remote, when a number of sailing ships were
making the Australian passage round the Cape of Good Hope and during
the period of whaling activity, the islanders throve, for the ships
were glad to obtain fresh meat and potatoes, and gave in exchange
things of general value, such as clothes, tools and materials, and
flour, sugar, tea and soap. With the establishment of fixed whaling
stations ashore and the rapid disappearance of sailing ships in favour
of steamers, which are more or less independent of winds and follow
fixed routes, carry refrigerating plants, and to whom delay means loss
of money, this trade by barter has languished and died away. They
are a prolific people. The population has increased and is likely
to increase more rapidly with every generation, so that their needs
to-day are greater than they have ever been since the foundation of the

For this history of the island I am indebted to Miss Betty Cotton, an
interesting old lady of ninety-five years, to whom I paid many visits.
In spite of her age she is still very bright and active, with a clear
memory for past events, of which she took a pleasure in narrating to
me the salient facts I have set down, together with a wealth of more
intimate detail which might well fill a volume. In everything which
it was possible to verify I found her to be very accurate. Indeed, she
was really a wonderful old lady, for she still moved actively about the
settlement on fine days. She regretted, however, that she was no longer
able to face the fiercer gusts of wind and her sight was very bad. She
asked me to give her some pills, not because she felt ill, but had, I
suppose, the general impression that some pills would do her good.

It is extraordinary how all the inhabitants carry their age, many
of those who should normally be entering the “sere and yellow” being
still bright and active and in appearance middle-aged. Many middle-aged
people, in the same way, give the appearance of youth. This applies to
both sexes, but more particularly to the men.

Certainly in this island, situated “far from the madding crowd,” there
is little of the nerve-racking wear and tear of modern civilization.
Freedom from epidemic diseases, the impossibility of over-indulgence in
tobacco, alcohol or faked-up foods, the pure atmosphere and the healthy
open-air life which they are compelled to lead are, no doubt, factors
in producing this longevity.


TRISTAN DA CUNHA (_continued_)[14]

Again during the night I was attacked by marauders, which allowed me
little rest. In the morning, after breakfast, I took a walk out along
the bluff to see if I could pick out through my binoculars any signs
of the _Quest_ at Inaccessible Island. It was too misty to get a clear
view, but as there was a strong nor’westerly wind and a heavy swell
with much surf, which would have made a landing there quite impossible,
it did not seem likely that they would be successful. I was followed
out from the settlement by the husband of the woman whom I wanted to go
to Cape Town. He was anxious to discuss further the possibilities. Poor
fellow! he was very concerned for his wife’s welfare. I went with him
to his house, which is one of the cleanest and neatest on the island,
situated some little distance from the rest of the settlement, to see
my patient again. Some mischievous though probably well-meaning body
at home had sent her a large supply of pills, with which she had been
drugging herself heavily.

The morning was wet and squally, so I did not go far from the
settlement, but walked about watching the men and women at their work
and inducing the children, by sundry small bribes of chocolate, to
come and talk to me. They were wonderfully free from shyness. Later, I
called on “Reverend Rogers” and “The Missus.”

At 12.0 noon the day cleared, and so I set off with Frank Glass, one
of Bob Glass’s sons, to climb the mountain face. My companion, aged
seventeen years, was a bright, cheery youth with a firm belief that
there could be no place in the world like Tristan da Cunha nor such
an all-round lot of fine fellows as the “Tristanites.” He expressed,
however, a willingness to leave the island and see something of that
other place, “the world,” but would seize an early chance to come back

We crossed the settlement and the land lying behind it, passing at
the foot of the mountain the springs from which the water supply is
derived. In this respect the people are well off, for the water is good
and beautifully soft. The original garrison, in order to divert the
water past the houses, had built a canal, which in some places passed
through little tunnels in the hillocks, and was quite a small feat of
engineering. The volume is considerable, and the water running to the
cliff edge falls to the beach in a good-sized cascade, which makes a
useful mark for ships looking for the landing-place.

The ascent of the mountain lay first up a steep, grassy, boulder-strewn
slope, from the top of which we made a traverse across the face of the
mountain to a ridge where the climbing was steep, but where there was
good hand- and foot-hold. We zigzagged up this for several hundred
feet. There was abundant vegetation, numbers of ferns, including a
species of tree fern, tussock and other forms of grass, mosses, lichens
and the “island tree” (_phylica nitida_), a gnarled and stunted tree
which is found all over the island and which offers firm holding
for climbers. There were also on the lower slopes a number of field
daisies, or marguerites, and a species of wild geranium bearing a small
flower with a pleasant aromatic smell. To another plant my guide gave
the name of “dog-catcher,” because during the summer it grows a sort
of “burr” which catches in the hair of the dogs and is very hard to

Our route followed a faint but definite track which is used constantly
by the islanders in their search for wood to burn, and in the season
for the eggs of mollymauks and other seabirds which nest there. Even
the women make this ascent.

We crossed several bold rocky bluffs and gullies. Nowhere was there any
danger, provided reasonable care were used, but in one or two places
one crept along dizzily poised ridges where a false or careless step
would have been sufficient to precipitate one to a drop of two or three
thousand feet.

Near the top we were enveloped by dense mist accompanied by squalls of
rain. Everything was obscured, and so we returned to the scrub, where
we built a shelter from branches of the “island tree,” under which I
sat and talked with Frank Glass. For one with such a limited outlook,
this young man had very advanced ideas on life in general. He told me
quite cheerfully that the island was faced with starvation and ruin.
He also remarked that it would not do to go on marrying each other,
and that they needed new blood. I recognized many of his expressions,
however, as those of his father, Bob Glass.

Our shelter after a while ceased to be effective, and the water started
pouring through in little rivulets. There were no signs of the weather
clearing, so we descended some distance and made a traverse to a high
projecting rock known as “The Pinnacle.” This is a high, straight mass
crowned with a little vegetation. It is inaccessible except by a tunnel
running up the middle and emerging at the top, up which we scrambled
with free use of elbows and knees. Here we were out of the mist, and
had a fine bird’s-eye view of the flat part of the island and the
settlement. The sea, edged with a long irregular line of white where
the surf was breaking on the shore, stretched like a flat board to a
dim, far-distant horizon.

We were now in bright sunshine, and I felt quite content to lie,
chin in hand, gazing at the tiny objects far below; but whilst I was
enjoying the view the mist came down the hill and again enveloped us.
We therefore descended to the settlement, where we arrived soaked to
the skin.

I noticed a large crowd collected about one of the houses, and so,
having put on dry clothes, I approached to see what was happening. I
found that the islanders were engaged in dividing up the goods we had
sent ashore into approximately equal lots.

They have a system of their own for dealing with common stores. When
the boats go out to a ship barter is first of all carried out in
the name of the community for such stores as tea, sugar, flour, etc.
Each family in turn provides whatever goods are necessary for these
exchanges in the way of cattle, sheep, geese or potatoes. When this
has been done, the individuals who have manned the boat may barter with
their own goods for any particular article which they or their families
may require. This includes articles of clothing, general household
utensils, knives, wood, nails, etc. In exchange they can give of their
own live stock or polished horns, mats made from penguin skins, socks
knitted by the women, shells and other curios. The goods brought ashore
in the name of the community are divided equally amongst the families
irrespective of the size of the family, so that a man with eight or
nine children draws no more than a man who has none.

Everything that is divisible is divided up even to the smallest
amounts, so that one family’s share of rice, for example, may amount to
no more than one spoonful! One single piece of soap has been known to
be divided into eight pieces! Things which are obviously indivisible,
such as stone jars, baskets, pots and pans, tins or sacks, are made up
into little batches of as nearly as possible equal value and allotted
by the system of saying “Whose?” In carrying this out one person points
in turn to each batch, saying “Whose?” whilst another, blindfolded
or with back turned, answers the name of one of the families. It is a
very fair system. Supposing that there are only twelve lots and twenty
families to draw, the caller shouts “Whose?” twenty times, occasionally
indicating a blank by pointing at the ceiling or floor. No name, of
course, is called twice. The women adhere very rigidly to this division
of goods, even to the extent of quantities which are valueless. The
men, on the other hand, occasionally decide to own things jointly, such
as spars, chains, tools or implements, or where a thing is obviously
of use to one man only—e.g. an empty cask—they will agree to take turns
in acquiring it. Also, a man who is collecting wood for his house will
be allowed to have for his own use one or more packing-cases on the
understanding that he must compensate in one way or another later on.
No written note is made, but they seem to have tenacious memories in
this respect.

Again, in the case of an article which has been blown up on the island
too heavy or bulky to be dealt with by the finder alone, such as a
large tree or a stranded whale, those who help to bring it to the
settlement participate equally in what profit may result from it.

This system was evolved by the patriarchs of the community, men such as
Corporal Glass, the founder, and Pieter William Green, each of whom was
for long the virtual head of the island. On the whole it is a very fair
one, and even though it seems unjust that the large families should
share equally with the small ones, it must be remembered that the small
family, when it comes to its turn to find the goods for barter, has
to bear an equal brunt with the larger. Children also are not regarded
as a handicap, but as an asset, for from the time they are able to run
about and drive sheep or geese they work for their living. In England
one’s income does not vary with the number of children, and a bachelor
employee receives the same wages as a married man if he does identical

On this particular occasion the work of dividing was going on merrily,
and the young people and children were kept busy running to and from
the houses with the shares. The missionary and his wife were acting as
umpires at the “sheering” (they pronounced long “ā” as “ee”). When it
was over I returned with Mr. and Mrs. Rogers to their house, and sat
talking for a while. They brought their house with them from England,
cut in sections all ready for putting up. It is small but snug. Their
chief fear in connexion with it is that it may be lifted and carried
away by some of the fiercer gusts of wind, and they were proposing to
have it walled over with stone. They were very wise in bringing their
own dwelling, for the housing problem is as difficult in Tristan da
Cunha as it is in England in these post-war days. Whilst I was sitting
and talking darkness set in. The wind outside was blowing hard, with
sharp rain squalls. Mrs. Glass, accompanied by one of her family,
thinking I might be lost, set out on a pilgrimage round the settlement
in search of me, and was relieved when I was discovered to be all safe
and sound. She said that getting about was awkward for a stranger,
and thought I might have walked past the house (which is the lowest
of the settlement) and fallen over the cliff. She said: “You stop now
and finish your talk with the Missus, and I’ll tell Tom Rogers (who
lived near by) to bring you down when you are ready.” The latter had
supper with us. He is a pleasant, talkative fellow. Mrs. Glass says he
will talk all day to anyone he can get to listen to him. “Usually,”
she says, “grown-ups is too busy, so he has to talk to one of the

In the course of conversation Tom Rogers said that he was going to the
back of the island to “turn over” his cattle. By “turn over” he meant
drive them from one pasturage to another. I asked if I might accompany
him. He was willing, but thought that I might find it a bit far, as
it entailed a considerable walk and a good deal of climbing. I smiled
to myself, thinking that I could hold my own well enough with any
islander, more especially as Gordon Glass, a slim-looking young fellow,
was also to join the party. I was to have my eyes opened, however.

After Tom Rogers had gone “Wilet” and “Dōrothee” came in. Mrs. Glass
went to the door and called into the darkness: “Come in, don’t be shoi;
no one ain’t going to hurt you; come in, they’se both in!” Whereupon
after a good deal more urging two very sheepish-looking youths entered,
and planting themselves down on a form said no word at all but gazed
across at the two girls. It seemed to me that I was very much _de
trop_, and not wishing to be in any way a spoil-sport, I made some
excuse to go out. It was not a pleasant night, being cold, and there
was a slight drizzle. After about half an hour of stumbling blindly
into every quagmire on the common, crossing the stream at its deepest
and most slippery part, and causing all the dogs in the settlement
to bark, I decided that I had been “sporting” enough and returned to
find them in exactly the same attitude as I had left them. Later on,
touching on the subject to Mrs. Glass, she remarked: “Oh, they’se been
coming every night like that for years, but Mr. Glass he ain’t going to
let none of the gels marry till they’se twenty-one.”

I had with me in my medical equipment a small bottle of essential oil
of lavender, and with it I plentifully sprinkled my bedding in the hope
that it would keep away the fleas. I believe they liked it, and the
only result achieved was that I acquired a distaste for the smell of
lavender which will probably last my lifetime! However, as a result of
my exercise in climbing, I slept well.

In the morning at 8.0 A.M. Tom Rogers, Glass and I set off for the
back of the island. The road, a mud track, ran westwards, and led
across a deep gulch which had been cut some years previously by a
torrent from the mountain. We had a stiff wind against us, which, in
a narrow passage between a big bluff and the side of the mountain,
blew in gusts, against which it was hard work to force a way and
which occasionally drove us back a step or two. Behind the bluff were
several pyramidal grass-covered mounds, in the shelter provided by
which are the “potato-patches.” They consist of small walled-in areas,
the walls serving to protect the plants from the force of the winds,
which have a very deleterious effect upon the “tops.” This is amply
demonstrated by comparing those in well-protected areas with those
which are more exposed, the latter being stunted, dry and withered
looking. The potatoes are planted in September and early October, and
taken up in February. They are small in size, but otherwise of good
quality. At the time of my visit (late May) the islanders were engaged
in collecting seaweed from the shore and conveying it in bullock-carts
to the patches, where it is allowed to rot, mixed with sheep manure,
and placed on top of the potatoes when they are planted. The manure
is obtained by corralling the sheep and leaving them closely penned
in for twenty-four hours. We passed across several more gulches and
encountered some broad patches of stone which had been swept down out
of the hills during the rains.

The soil in this part of the island is better than that at the
settlement, and provides a flat grassy plain, giving good grazing for
the sheep and cattle which are dotted all about its surface and climb
up into the lower slopes of the mountain. Both are small, but of fairly
good quality, the meat which I tasted on the island being tender and
of good flavour. A number of the cattle had calves, which were pretty
little creatures.

On this part of the island the land ends in short cliffs, at the foot
of which are numerous narrow beaches on which, as we went along, a
heavy surf was breaking, looking pretty in the sunlight and having a
pleasant sound.

About five miles from the settlement the flat ground ends in a high
straight bluff running steeply down to the sea. To get round this we
had to ascend the mountain, having a steep climb of about two thousand
feet. The cattle and sheep, to get to the back of the island, have
to make this climb, and there is a narrow track, worn by them, which
zigzags upwards, passing across places where one single slip would mean
destruction for the animal. I am told that very few of them fall. They
must be amazingly sure-footed.

On several occasions as we wound along my companions pointed out to me
in some of the sheltered gullies what they called “orchards,” little
clumps of apple trees so small, bush-like and stunted as to be almost
unrecognizable. Nevertheless, each year they get small crops of apples
from them. I tasted some, and found them to have quite a good flavour.
It is from these trees that the cross-pieces for their boats are made.
The vegetation in the gullies is very luxuriant, and the grass, being
sheltered from the winds, grows lush and long. Far below the clefts
ended in little bays, where we caught glimpses of the surf breaking
in creamy ridges against the shore. We continued upwards, and came
suddenly to a sharply defined ridge above a steep precipice across
which the wind blew strongly. We threw ourselves on our faces and
peered over the edge, and got a view of the “back of the island.” Far
below us was a flat grassy plain with many cattle grazing, and away out
to sea we saw Inaccessible and Nightingale Islands. I carefully scanned
their base lines through my binoculars for any signs of the _Quest_,
but the day was too hazy to permit of a clear view.

Tom Rogers proposed to descend from here to the plains to “turn over”
his cattle, but, having climbed so far, I was anxious to continue
up till I could get a clear view of the top of the mountain, so he
good-naturedly put off the job to another day, and we went on upwards,
laboriously working through long tussock-grass and thick masses of tree

These men with whom I had thought to hold my own so easily seemed to be
absolutely tireless, and they took a keen interest in the outing and in
showing me all things of interest.

Here and there we came across little bundles of branches cut from the
“island tree.” These were loads in process of being collected to be
taken finally to the settlement for firewood.

Some of the branches which went to the formation of these bundles had
to be dragged for a considerable distance across the face of the cliff,
often only with the utmost difficulty. They are collected eventually
at a point above a gully which will give a clear drop to a point
thousands of feet below, where they can be gathered up and loaded into
bullock-carts for taking home.

Through my binoculars I could see men at work all about the ridges, and
I was deeply impressed by the hardihood of the life they must lead in
having thus to fare abroad for their daily needs.

Gordon Glass had with him his dog, which occasionally discovered
a “pediunker,” a species of seabird which frequents the island and
about this time of year is preparing to nest. They lay in holes in the
hillside, and a search was made for a chance egg, though it was still
early in the season for them. We allowed the birds to go free.

We reached at last a point where the heavier vegetation ended and the
hill was covered with a rather coarse grass interspersed with patches
of moss. It was very damp. From here we had a fine view, and the air
was keen and cold. We descended by another route, which led eventually
to a cattle track where the going was easier, but the steepness and
tortuosity of which again impressed me with the remarkable climbing
powers of the animals.

Reaching the plain again, we set off at a good round pace for the
settlement, where I arrived, I am not ashamed to say, pleasantly
fatigued with the day’s outing, whilst my companions seemed to think
they had done nothing out of the way. I mention this particularly
because it has been stated from time to time by visitors that these
islanders are becoming a decadent lot and are suffering from the
results of intermarriage and consanguinity. That they are physically
decadent is not true. Taken on the whole, they are of medium height and
slimly built, but they are very tough and wiry. John Glass, whom I have
already mentioned as having been the first man aboard the _Quest_ is
a powerful man. Some of the elderly men of fifty years or thereabouts
are wonderfully nimble and active. They are hardy walkers and climbers,
and in their attempts to reach passing ships are often compelled to row
long distances against heavy winds—a procedure which requires plenty of

Speaking of them collectively, they are not good workers, and attempts
to get them to work together in an organized way for their mutual
profit have not been successful. An attempt was made some years ago by
a Cape Town firm to introduce a fish-curing industry and to get them
to export sheep, but the islanders did not pull together and the scheme
failed. They themselves give as a reason that they were being exploited
and that the return was totally inadequate.

It is possible that due consideration was not given to their insularity
and limitations of outlook, and that the use of a little more patience
and diplomacy might have met with better results. I doubt very much,
however, whether these islanders would ever settle down to a daily
routine of work, having all their lives been more or less their
own masters and able to decide when they shall or shall not work.
Nevertheless, the necessities of life compel that the days spent at
home be few, and the qualities of hardihood to which I have referred
are not developed by doing nothing.

It has been stated also that through intermarriage there are numerous
signs of deformity and mental degeneration. There are very few of
these signs. As to mental degeneration, I considered these islanders
to be very intelligent. They are uneducated, limited in outlook, and
generally “insular,” but how could they be anything else in their
peculiar circumstances? They are bright, quick to see humour and enjoy
a joke, and are morally much sounder than many civilized peoples. They
live on good terms, with little quarrelling, crime is unknown, and
petty misdemeanours are rare.

One youth is dumb and is peculiar in manner, but works and carries
out ordinary duties with quite average intelligence. Of deformities:
one old woman (the island midwife) has two thumbs on each hand, but
is otherwise normal. One man, a particularly noticeable case, has
stunted arms, with ill-developed hands and absence of some fingers.
Otherwise, he is strong, level-headed and intelligent, works as a
shepherd, and in his duties roams far and wide over the hills. There
are no other signs of mental or physical degeneration. The man with the
stunted arms is able to do wonderful things, can carry small packages,
hold a cigarette, feed himself, and, most extraordinary of all in
this community of illiterates, can write. He was taught by a former
missionary to the island, Mr. Dodgson (brother of Lewis Carroll, author
of “Alice in Wonderland”). It is surely a triumph of patient teaching.
In carrying it out, the paper is placed on the floor and the man lies
down. Though the writing is large and scrawly, it is legible.

I devoted as much time as possible to conversation with different
people, trying to learn what I could of their manners and customs.

In religion they are mostly Protestant, but there are some who were
baptized as Roman Catholics at Cape Town. There is, however, no
distinction made between the religions, and they intermarry. There
have been several Protestant missionaries on the island at one time
and another, but never a Roman Catholic priest. Young men and women
wishing to marry select their own mates by mutual agreement and are
uninfluenced by their parents. The marriage service is conducted
(in the absence of a missionary) by Bob Glass, who reads it from the
Prayer Book. There is generally no fuss and no sort of function, but
occasionally they have a dance afterwards in one of the houses. All
the women go to hear the marriage service read, and such of the men
as are about and have nothing better to do. I noticed in talking of
weddings that the women spoke with an absence of enthusiasm and showed
none of the interest that such a subject would arouse amongst civilized


     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

     The Union Jack was presented by the British Government to
     the Islanders for bravery in saving lives from shipwreck

     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

Frequently it happens that a couple do not become married until after
a child has been born; often a considerable period elapses. They are
not, however, “marriages of necessity.” A young man in Tristan da
Cunha is very peculiarly placed. There are no jobs or trades or form
of employment in the ordinary sense. There is no currency. If any
individual wants help, his neighbours give him a hand, during which
time he is expected to feed them. A young man, therefore, can acquire
nothing except as a gift from his parents. In many ways it may not
suit his parents to allow him to marry, for it means, first of all,
another family on the island drawing a full share of common goods. It
means also the loss of an adult worker. Again, they may not be in a
position to spare him anything in the way of household goods, and, if
he has not already built a house, it means a wife and any family he may
have quartered upon them. So the young couple use compulsion, for with
the advent of the child the parents think it is time to make a move,
and present the pair with a cow, a sheep or two, and a few household
necessities to enable them to make a start. Until the formal marriage
takes place, the child takes its mother’s name, and so it occasionally
happens that a bewildered tot of three or four years of age suddenly
finds one day that, instead of being Tommy Green, its name has become
Tommy Swaine, or vice versa, as the case may be.

Promiscuity is not common and morals, on the whole, appear to be
remarkably good, though to the casual observer the reverse might seem
to be the case. The remarks in “Sailing Directions” seem to me to cast
an unfair stigma upon the islanders.

In some ways they are very casual. Appointments are rarely kept
punctually, and they are apt to put things off for another day.

In the hours of rising and going to bed they are governed by the sun.
The only form of artificial illumination known to them is candle-light,
and frequently they have no candles. They have, as a rule, three meals
a day, which they take at times convenient on any one day. The men seek
to avoid going out to work in wet weather, but at times—for instance,
in the potato season—they fare forth before dawn so as to be ready for
work the moment daylight appears, and do not return till dusk. On these
occasions it is the duty of the womenfolk to take them out their meals.

There is an island custom that when the men have been engaged on an
arduous piece of work at some distant part of the island or have had a
heavy day in the boats, the women come out to meet them on their return
with something hot to drink. Indeed, the women are by no means idle,
for they have all the inside housework, cleaning, cooking, mending,
sewing and washing of clothes, to do. They card the fleece from the
sheep into wool and twist it into strands, using for the purpose
old-fashioned wheels which are manufactured with much ingenuity from
all sorts of odds and ends of wood and metal. They knit excellent socks
of pure wool, which are soft and comfortable to wear. Usually, also,
they take charge of the geese and poultry, and, of course, have the
children to look after. They frequent each other’s houses a good deal,
but there are one or two who keep to themselves and do not encourage

Sanitation is very much neglected. Closets do not exist, and the
present clergyman had the greatest difficulty in getting one built
for his own house. Animals are slaughtered in close proximity to the
houses, and no proper steps taken for the removal of entrails and
offal, which are left for the dogs to eat. Nothing is done to protect
the water supply, which is derived from open streams that have been
diverted to pass close to the houses, and the water becomes fouled
before it reaches the lower parts of the settlement. Nevertheless, the
settlement compares favourably in this respect with many of the remote
villages in European countries.

The people are very free from sickness of any kind, which is probably
due to their simple mode of life and the absence of any epidemic
diseases. They escaped the widespread epidemic of influenza. It is
likely that any infectious disease introduced would run rapidly through
the whole community. They say that almost invariably when a ship has
visited the island “colds” run the round of the settlement.

Maternity cases are dealt with by an old midwife, who adopts the wise
policy of leaving things very much to Nature.

This strange little community is run without any laid-down system
of government. There are no written laws. In the early days of the
settlement Corporal Glass, Pieter Green and William Rogers in turn
ruled in patriarchal fashion, all disputes being referred to them for

By a process of evolution certain customs and unwritten laws have come
into use and are, perhaps, more rigidly adhered to than any definite
written rulings. Crime does not seem to exist. In the history of the
island there has been one case of suicide. Petty thieving is said to
occur occasionally, but in so small a community, where everyone knows
everybody else so well and their goings and comings, any stolen article
would be quickly recognized, so that their honesty in this way may
be enforced through certainty of detection. Sheep are occasionally
missed, and it is thought that theft may account for some of them,
the depredations being carried out at night and the animal immediately
skinned and cut up so that it is unrecognizable in the morning. There
is no policeman, no jail, and no system of punishment for offenders. It
seemed to me that they lived very harmoniously together, with much give
and take and very little quarrelling.

It is curious that the minds of visitors to this settlement have
been mainly struck in two very different ways. To the first class
this island community seems to have approached the ideal. The French
captain, Raymond du Baty, who visited the island in 1907, says:

     The social status of Tristan da Cunha is a commonwealth of a
     kind which has been dreamed of by philosophers of all ages and by
     our modern Socialists. There is no envy, hatred or malice among
     them; everything is done for the common good; they render each
     other brotherly service; they are free from all the vices of
     civilization; they worship God in a simple way; they live very
     close to Nature, but without pantheistic superstition; greed and
     usury are unknown among them; there are no class distinctions, no
     rich or poor. Truly on this lonely rock in the South Atlantic we
     have a people who belong rather to the Pastoral Age of the world
     than to our modern unrestful life, and who, without theory or
     politics or written laws, have reached that state which has been
     described by the imaginative writers of all ages, haunted by the
     thought of the decadent morality of the seething cities, as the
     Golden Age or the Millennium.

I have often wondered as to what place the fleas, the rats, the offal
outside the window and the fouled water supply take in the Golden Age.

The second class of people are struck at once by the extreme poverty,
the squalor and lack of comforts, the illiteracy and ignorance and the
extreme isolation. The captain of a steamer who had once called to drop
mails said to us:

     They are a greedy lot of beggars and thieves. When they come
     aboard they ask you for everything they see, and if you do not
     give them what they want they will try and pinch it. When it comes
     to a matter of a bargain, they give you diseased sheep and bad
     potatoes, though they have good enough stuff ashore.

The question which arises to the mind of everyone is: What is to
become of these people, with a rapidly increasing population and a
decreasing touch with outside civilization owing to lack of shipping?
The pasturage on the island will support only a limited number of live
stock, which soon will be insufficient for the increasing number of

I inquired of many of them, especially the younger ones, as to whether
they would leave the island and settle elsewhere if they had the
opportunity. The reply in most cases was: Yes, provided they were
given a chance to make a decent living. They realize, however, that
without money and knowledge of its use and value, without experience of
outside ways of working and living, without education and unable even
to read or to write, they are likely to be at a disadvantage in a hard,
workaday world.

Robert Glass and some of the others who have spent some time away from
the island fully realize that there is a day of reckoning to come,
and they feel that, were it possible, it would be a good thing for
the young men when they have reached a certain age to go away and work
for a while at Cape Town or elsewhere. They could then decide whether
they would return to the island or not, and, if they did, it is likely
that they would bring back wives from the outside, thus periodically
introducing new blood to the community. Glass himself says he would
like his boys to serve a period in the army or navy, where they would
have a more or less sheltered life and to a certain extent be cared for
and looked after.

It is not likely that any offer of a wholesale transference of the
community to another part of the world would be accepted when it
came to the point—at any rate, by the elder people. After all, this
is natural enough, for how many people in England, told that the
population was getting too big for the country, would consent at a
day’s notice to make a sudden shift to Canada or Australia?

     The Little Glen        The Glen

     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]


     _Photo: Macklin_]


     _Photo: Macklin_]

Nevertheless, I gathered from conversation with many of the young men
that there is deep down a seed of unrest and a desire to see something
of the outer world, where there are so many more opportunities to get
on and acquire greater wealth, including such things as wrist-watches,
electric torches, and boots of real leather. For this Robert Glass
is largely responsible. The seed, however, requires cultivation. A
missionary, by throwing himself into the interests of the islanders and
becoming to some degree one of themselves, might effect considerable
good by holding out continually in his daily talk and conversation
prospects and mind pictures of a greater world where opportunities
wait for the young men who can grasp them. Equally good results might
be effected by influencing the women in the same way. A missionary,
however, to obtain a good influence on these people must be a man
of broad mind and sound common sense. One previous missionary, for
example, undid much good work by an attempt to stop them going out to
passing ships on a Sunday, a maxim which they must necessarily reject
when the chances of trade on any day at all are so few and the taking
of them so vital a matter to the whole community. Mr. Rogers, the
present missionary, who replied very frankly when I asked him his views
on the subject, agreed that much harm might be done by holding too
narrow a view and trying to force a bigoted religion on these people.
He has an uphill fight in front of him, for he has to undo a feeling
that the observance of a religion is a bugbear which entails a number
of things that may not be done.

Unfortunately, the chances of leaving the island, even if an individual
has made up his mind to make the venture, have now become very scarce.
There is no regular communication, and consequently arrangements for a
job cannot be made beforehand, and as there is no money on the island
those who do find a passage cannot maintain themselves until work is

It so happens, however, that there are people in Cape Town who take an
interest in Tristan da Cunha and who would be willing to give temporary

It is hardly likely that the Government will ever again do anything
for the relief of these people, though all that is required is a small
vessel to make the journey once a year from Cape Town.[15] It should be
prepared to spend at least a week at Tristan da Cunha. Unfortunately,
there is no good shelter, and on many days a landing could not be
effected. Bad weather might compel the ship at any moment to leave her
anchorage, and so she should have some power other than sail.

The best time of year to make the trip is January, when bad weather
would least likely be met with. A vessel of a hundred tons burden would
be adequate.

This is but a tiny portion of our Empire, but who knows, with the
development of flying machines, of what use it may not ultimately
become. Carr, our flying officer, late of the Royal Air Force, says
there is a good site for an aerodrome, and the island is on the direct
route from Cape Town to Buenos Aires.

The Church organization also could do a vast amount of good by
arranging for a permanent mission changeable, say, every three years,
and thus ensure an unbroken education to those growing up. Much money
is collected yearly for missions—for instance, to the Esquimaux—but
there is evidence from the Arctic to show that the introduction of
Christianity to these primitive people, who are not sufficiently
evolved to receive it intelligently, has not always been productive
of good, and in some cases has done much harm, whereas the value to
Tristan da Cunha of a good sound practical religion combined with good
schooling cannot be doubted.



On May 26th the wind was fair for Gough Island and we made good
progress. Our ship had become a floating farmyard, for our live stock
included sheep, geese, fowls, pig, cat, and, to stir them up and make
things lively, our own dog Query, who had never before had so many
interesting real live things to play with. The sow Bridget and the
geese wandered all about the decks and got in the way generally. One
gander was quite a character. He was blind of one eye and had a curious
knack of standing with head on one side, quizzically regarding anyone
he encountered. Regularly about once an hour he uttered a loud and very
startling goose-call. We called him Nelson, and his mate, who followed
him like a shadow wherever he went, was known as Jemima. Worsley in his
watch below was being continually wakened by Nelson’s harsh noises, and
on one occasion I saw his head appear through his port and heard him
shout: “Be quiet, you silly beggar, you are not saving Rome now. That
happened years ago!”

Bridget was a tyrant; she would not let the sheep alone, but rooted
about in their grass feed, and having collected it into a nice bed for
herself, lay down on it in stertorous sleep whilst the sheep looked
on, advancing now and again to take an apologetic nibble at their
own grass. Dell, who had taken in hand the attempt to fatten these
poor animals, drove her off relentlessly to the accompaniment of much

We had a busy day squaring up after our upheaval at Tristan, and in
getting ready the camping gear for use on Gough Island.

On May 27th at about 12.0 noon the island showed up. In spite of the
comparatively short run we had had some difficulty in picking it up on
account of winds, strong tides and no sun, which made it impossible for
Worsley and Jeffrey to locate exactly our position, and the visibility
was so poor that we could see less than a mile in any one direction.
About noon, however, it appeared as a high mass crowned with mist.

This island lies about 250 miles south-south-east of Tristan da Cunha.
It was discovered by Portuguese navigators in the sixteenth century
and received the name Diego Alvarez. In 1731 Captain Gough in the
_Richmond_ sighted an island which he placed on the chart as lying to
the east of Diego Alvarez and named Gough Island. For many years two
separate islands were believed to exist, but now there can be no doubt
they are one and the same. The name in most common usage is Gough,
which seems hardly fair to its original discoverers.


     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]


     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]

In 1811 it was sighted by H.M.S. _Nereus_ under Captain Heywood. He
effected a landing, described as being safe and easy, and discovered
the remains of two huts which apparently had been set up some time
previously by sealers. The height of the summit of the island was
estimated by him at 4,380 feet. American sealers landed in 1825 but
soon left. Morrell visited it in the _Antarctic_ in 1829, and came
to anchor in twelve to fourteen fathoms in a cove on the north side,
where he was able to water his ship. H.M.S. _Royalist_ arrived in 1887,
and a survey was carried out by Lieut. J. P. Rolleston from which the
Admiralty Chart (2228) was made. Towards the end of the same year an
American schooner, _Francis Alleyn_, left a party of five sealers for
six months who met, however, with little success. Amongst them was
George Comer who kept a diary. He seems to have been a keen observer
very interested in natural history, and his diary contains a complete
daily record of weather conditions during his stay. One of the party
was frozen to death whilst attempting to cross over the island, and
his grave was marked by a board bearing the inscription, “José Gomez
perished in the snow.” Another sealer, the _Wild Rose_, visited the
island at the beginning of 1891 and landed a party which remained for
about a year. They had little luck in the sealing. A harbour known
as Snug Harbour is described by one of them as being situated at the
southern end of the island lying between two large rocks known as
Castle and Battery Rocks, suitable, however, only for small vessels
and boats. Landing is said to be not difficult, and the higher ground
easily accessible at this point.

On only one occasion previous to our arrival had scientific
investigators landed: in 1904 Dr. Bruce and members of the staff of
the _Scotia_ succeeded in effecting a landing. They were ashore for
one day only, and bad weather and the necessity of “standing by” for
a sudden recall prevented their going far afield. Nevertheless they
made full use of their time and succeeded in collecting a number of
new specimens of both animal and plant life. Accounts had shown the
island to be difficult of access, but I was particularly anxious
to allow the naturalist and geologist with their assistants as many
chances as possible for the collection of specimens and the examination
of its natural features. This being mid-winter I feared that weather
conditions might not be altogether propitious.

We passed along the coast, keeping a close look out for an anchorage
for the ship and good landing-places for the boats. Through binoculars
we saw that the island was covered with vegetation, of which tussock
grass, tree ferns and island trees were the most distinguishable. In
most places the land rose steeply from the sea, and down the face of
the cliffs numerous waterfalls, long and thin, resembling mare’s tails,
fell in long cascades. Every now and then they had the appearance of
being cut abruptly in half, the wind in strong gusts catching the lower
portions and blowing them away in fine, almost invisible, spray. The
rocky outline of the island was marked with numerous caves and chasms,
and striking features of its formation were pinnacles which stood up
distinct, bold in outline, some smooth and tapering, others jagged
and irregular. Steep rocky islands, sharply cut off from the shore and
separated from it by narrow channels, rose sheer and straight from the
sea, some bare, some crowned with a mass of vegetation, most of them so
steep as to be quite inaccessible.

Of bird life we saw very little as we passed along the coast. A few
sea-hens flew out at our approach, while here and there on the rocks,
usually near the entrance to some cave, we could distinguish the white
bodies of terns.

We rounded in turn West Cape, South West Cape, South Cape and South
East Cape. Snug Harbour on the east side of South West Cape much belies
its name, for “snug” it is not. Indeed, it can hardly be said that
there is a harbour there at all. Although it offers a lee and a useful
anchorage during high westerly winds, with no swell from south or west,
to obtain any real shelter it is necessary to lie very close in to
the shore, closer than is safe for any but the smallest of craft. As
we passed there was a heavy swell and strong surf which made it quite

In the “Glen Anchorage” on the east coast we found shelter and dropped
anchor in twelve and a half fathoms.

Just about this time the light began to fail, and in the gathering dusk
the island had a most romantic appearance. The glen forms a deep cleft
at the back of which the island rises to a height of several thousand
feet, marked here and there by bold outstanding masses of rock. Most
remarkable of these is the “Apostle,” a lofty solid crag which from
its commanding position overlooks and dominates the glen. High up on
one side is a long narrow obelisk, rising straight and steep. On the
other side facing the harbour is a heavy broad mass with straight,
clean-cut face crowned at the top with buttresses resembling a mediæval
castle. The glen itself was in black shadow, and the last rays of the
setting sun lit up the summit of the island on which was gathering a
rolling mass of sombre clouds. The whole setting was very beautiful
and held us momentarily spellbound, none caring to speak. Fancy carried
thoughts back to the tales of childhood when gloomy keeps and dungeons,
knights and fiery dragons—the myths of later years—had not ceased to be
haunting realities.

I did not feel altogether at ease in this spot. Fierce winds blowing
gustily down the glen caused the ship to swing continually in different
directions. There was a considerable swell running in from the sea, and
I knew that a change of wind blowing strongly round South East Point
would make our position a very uncomfortable one. There was no moon and
the night was black as pitch. I had a sharp watch set, and as it was
difficult to get good bearings of the land ordered that soundings with
the hand lead be taken every half-hour.

I had already arranged for a party to go ashore the next day: Wilkins
and Marr to make natural history collections, Douglas, Carr and Argles
to do geological and survey work, and Naisbitt, whose steady work on
the ship had earned him a run ashore, to act as cook. Wilkins, as being
the most experienced of these, was placed in charge. I warned them to
be ready at daybreak.

The next day was fortunately fine. I took the boat ashore with Macklin,
McIlroy and Kerr at the oars.

At the mouth of the glen there is a narrow beach of large boulders. On
the south side a stream runs into the sea. “Archway Rock,” a large rock
eighty-five feet high with a tunnel obviously drilled by the running
stream, gives an imperfect protection to this side of the beach.
A strong surf was running, but I managed to effect a landing under
the lee of the rock, and after two journeys succeeded in putting the
party ashore with their equipment. This was not accomplished without
considerable wetting. A strong wind was blowing down the glen, and I
was able to let the boat lie off and with the boat’s crew go ashore
also. Owing to the changeable conditions I did not care to go far away
from the landing-place, but I sent Macklin up the glen to get a general
impression of the higher parts of the island and if possible obtain
some photographs, while with the others I explored the parts around the
landing-place and the glen.

The scientific party had brought with them two tents, one of which they
started to set up. The other was not required, for we found on the flat
piece of ground above the beach two huts, one of wood and corrugated
iron, the other built of boulders from the beach and thatched with
tussock grass. Both of them were in fairly good condition, and showed
that the island had been recently inhabited by someone. Mice swarmed;
they were very tame and showed little fear of us. All around lay
instruments for mineralogical examination; picks, shovels, hand pump
and hose, washing pans, mortar and pestle, rope, axes and many other
things. In the huts were cooking utensils and a few unopened tins of
preserved food, some of which were badly “blown.” I found on one of the
shelves a half-used box of matches, and testing one I was surprised to
find that it ignited readily. There was a little cave to the right of
the huts above which a stone had been affixed, bearing the following

     F. X. Xeigler, R. I. Garden, J. Hagan,
     W. Swaine, J. C. Fenton, Cape Town,

The carving had been done by someone who knew his job for it had been
very neatly executed.

At the back of the hut and along the sides of the stream were numerous
trenches and excavations, apparently where examinations had been made.
One had the impression that a search had been carried out for diamonds
or precious metal, but that nothing having materialized the party had
just dumped down their tools and decamped.

Vegetation appeared to be very luxuriant, tussock grass growing in
large clumps covered the flat ground. Close to the beach and along the
side of the stream there were numerous wallows, which from their shape
and from the smell which emanated from them showed that sea elephants
frequented the island in large numbers during certain seasons. I
discovered two young bulls lying in the stream close to the sea. Ferns
of many kinds grew everywhere. The slopes were covered with masses
of tree fern, and amongst the smaller varieties was a very pretty
maidenhair. There were several clumps of wild celery. The only trees
on the island were island trees, which apparently never grow to great
size, but many of which were larger and thicker than any I saw on
Tristan da Cunha.

Birds resembling thrushes but of a yellowish-green colour flew down
and hopped about close to us. They seemed to be quite unafraid, and
were so tame that if one kept still for a few minutes they would perch
on one’s feet and could be easily caught by dropping a hat over them.
Sea-hens flew about overhead showing a marked interest in the invaders,
or, perched on some near point of vantage, regarded proceedings with
a watchful eye. They did not allow anyone to approach very close, but
Argles, with a well-aimed geological hammer, succeeded in knocking
over two of them, which proved a useful addition to the cooking-pot.
Every now and then I heard coming from the slopes the occasional
“chuck-chuck” of landrail, but the birds remained hidden in the

I went for a walk up the glen, following the course of the stream.
Foothold was bad owing to the rocks being covered by a slimy deposit
brought from rotting vegetation on the slopes. The water was coloured
slightly green by the products of decomposition, but was used by the
shore party for drinking and cooking purposes, apparently with no ill

In spite of the luxuriance of growth there is a great deal of dampness
and dank rottenness of the vegetation which takes away much of its
attractiveness. It is possible that this is most marked at this time
of the year, i.e. June, mid-winter in the southern hemisphere, and that
in summer things are drier, fresher and more pleasant. As I went along
I caught an occasional glimpse of the landrails with their bright red
combs, shiny black bodies and yellow legs. These flightless birds have
little runways amongst the grass where it would be almost impossible
to catch them alive. To draw them out I tried a trick which I had
often carried out with success on Macquarie Island, imitating their
“chuck-chuck” by knocking two smooth stones sharply together, but
though I heard their answering calls drawing nearer they showed a great
reluctance to venture into the open.

This is an island where a marooned or shipwrecked party might live
in comparative comfort. Instinctively, whilst taking in all its
possibilities, my mind reverted to Elephant Island, the grim and
barren spot where I wintered with my party during the last Antarctic
expedition, short of food and fuel, bitterly cold and devoid of
everything that makes life endurable. Here there is abundance of food
and plenty of wood to burn, drift wood from the beach and the island
tree wood. In addition to the animal life we saw about us, the sea
swarms with fish of excellent quality, and crayfish can be easily
caught from the rocks. There are also large rookeries of rockhopper
penguins (as we saw later) which provide good meat and in the season
abundance of eggs. Small weather-proof dwellings of the type used
on Tristan da Cunha could be built from the numerous small boulders
on the beach and roofed over with tussock grass. True, too long a
sojourn might produce some of the disquietude of Alexander Selkirk,
but there would at least be no fear of starvation, and compared with
Elephant Island the place is a perfect paradise. I returned to the
landing-place, and with McIlroy and Kerr put off in the boat and
rowed into the belt of kelp where I was anxious to see what kinds of
fish could be caught about the island. It was unnecessary to bait the
hooks, a spinner bait or bright piece of tin was sufficient. The fish
bit readily and we quickly collected all we required for food. The
variety found in the kelp and about the shore is a reddish-coloured
fish with strong horny spines. It is excellent to eat. From the ship
with strong lines and hooks we caught “blue-fish” weighing up to forty
pounds, which also make good eating. Watts and Green, who are tireless
disciples of Izaak Walton, were responsible for many of these catches.
Crayfish were obtained by lowering a weighted net baited with fish.
Usually we hauled this up full of them with others clinging to the
outside. They were to us a great delicacy.

In the afternoon Worsley and Jeffrey, with the assistance of Dell and
Ross, carried out a series of soundings from the boat with a view to
charting accurately the anchorage. Later they went ashore and measured
the height of Archway Rock.

I sent in the boat to be put ashore three of the geese which we had
brought from Tristan da Cunha. As the boat neared the beach they did
not wait to be lifted out, but jumped over the gunwale into the water.
They swam round the Archway Rock and made a landing at the foot of the
small glen which opens to the sea there. We did not see them again, but
I was in hopes that they would settle and breed.

Jeffrey, who is a keen observer and takes a close interest in things
generally, discovered a very pretty maidenhair fern, a number of which
he assiduously set about collecting with roots complete for taking
home. On returning to the ship he placed them carefully in a large
pot. Having inadvertently left this on deck, he returned to find that
Bridget had discovered them and with much appreciation had eaten the


     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]

     The photograph shows the steepness of the cliffs on Gough Island

     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]

Before returning the party picked up Macklin and brought him off. He
had followed the main glen to where it divided into two, taken the one
to the right till he reached the grass-covered higher slopes of the
island, made a traverse to the base of the “Apostle” and returned by
the other glen. The following description is from his diary:

     After leaving Commander Wild I set off up the glen, following
     as far as possible the course of the stream. To appreciate the
     keen enjoyment of a walk like this one must have spent many
     weary months knocking about at sea in a small ship. The little
     stream was very beautiful as it wound down the glen with its
     deeps and shallows and little torrents. Every turn produced a new
     and attractive picture, and the setting behind with the Apostle
     standing out dominant and high was really magnificent. One had to
     proceed carefully, for the stones and boulders were very slippery.
     Sometimes it became necessary to leave the stream and take to
     the bank, but nowhere was the going good. Having passed several
     waterfalls, I came to a long straight stretch running between
     steep sides covered over with branches of island tree to form a
     long tunnelled archway. I waded along this to encounter a high
     waterfall up the sides of which there was no way. I was compelled
     to take to the bank, climbing a steep mossy slope, and plunged
     in amongst the trees and tree ferns which grow in thick masses
     on either side of the glen, running upwards from the edge of the
     stream to a height of about a thousand feet. The going was now
     very difficult, for the waterfalls became too numerous and steep
     for one to continue following the stream. I forced my way with
     difficulty through masses of fern and island tree all soaking wet,
     much of it rotten and thickly covered with lichen and other forms
     of parasite.

     The glen divided into two and I chose the one to the right,
     working my way laboriously till I reached at last the upper edge
     of thick vegetation and emerged on to grassy slopes, which were
     very sodden and covered with numerous grasses and mosses. The air
     blew pure and fresh, rather cold, but a welcome change from the
     stuffy atmosphere of the thicker vegetation. I was now able to
     get a look round. The island certainly had a curious formation
     with its rugged rocky pinnacles and ridges. I was attracted by
     the huge mass of the Apostle and determined to make for it. This
     necessitated descending into the glen, crossing the stream and
     climbing again through the thick belt. I chose wherever possible
     the course of small tributaries, but these dropped very steeply
     and had many long thin waterfalls which fell over smooth rock
     covered with moss, which readily came away and afforded no hand
     or foothold. I reached a ridge which rose in a series of thin
     sharp rocky pinnacles, and working along this at last reached the
     grass land at the foot of the Apostle. I made an effort to climb
     the mass from the front, but was not successful. The time limit
     allowed me by Commander Wild was now up and I had to make my way
     down again. The geological party, Douglas, Carr and Argles, who
     came here later found an easy way up by walking round to the back.

     I descended into the other glen and attempted to work down the
     stream, but found myself in a narrow gorge between high, smooth
     walls of rock and, coming to the head of a high waterfall, could
     find no way down, so that I was compelled to go back out of the
     gorge and come down through the vegetation on the banks. This was
     almost as hard work as going up, and long before I reached the
     bottom the climb had ceased to be a pleasure and had become mere
     hard work, increased by the fact that I had overstayed my time and
     had to hurry. The fresh upland air was changed again to the hot
     stuffiness of the valley, and when I arrived at the landing-place
     I was soaked to the skin as much with perspiration as with wet
     from the outside. Anyone working through this vegetation at
     this time of year must be prepared to get wetted through, for
     everything is sodden.

     Through being late I had to wait some time for the boat, and
     cooled so rapidly that I was soon shivering. Naisbitt had kindled
     a fire of driftwood, and I was glad to sit in front of this. He
     also made me a cup of tea which helped to warm me up.

     A number of small and very tame mice came out to regard me
     curiously; they must have been introduced by the people who built
     the huts. One very old one crept up to the warmth of the fire—it
     had very shaky limbs and moved slowly and carefully—rather like
     a doddery old man. I was taking a great interest in it when
     Query came up to me, and catching sight of it sitting in the
     fireglow casually bit it, killed it and dropped it. The utter
     thoughtlessness and callous cruelty of the act!—and all the time
     he slowly wagged his tail, oozing with friendliness and good

     It is probable that anyone visiting this island in January would
     find conditions much more pleasant, and to a botanist especially
     it should appeal as a fertile field for research.

The early part of the night was fine. All round us was a beautiful
phosphorescence, the sea being covered with waves of flame. Anything
thrown overboard caused ripples and splashes of liquid fire and the
cable was a chain of living light, the whole being accentuated by the
intense blackness of the night.

Whilst passing along the port alleyway I noticed just opposite the
galley a weird luminous glow emanating from two large spots set closely
together. They were like the eyes of a large animal and produced
momentarily a creepy feeling. Closer examination revealed two crayfish
as the source of this phenomenon. The flesh of these creatures is
brightly luminous, and wherever there are chinks in the horny coating
and where it is thin the light shines through.

Towards daybreak of the next morning the wind increased and a strong
swell started running into the anchorage. Not caring to take any undue
risks with such an unpleasant lee shore, I heaved anchor and steamed
out past South East Point, keeping close into the island to enable
Worsley to carry out a series of soundings.

The land along the south side of the island slopes much more gradually
to the summit than it does opposite the Glen Anchorage, and the
vegetation which is the greatest bar to climbers is much less dense.
Getting ashore would be less easy than at the glen. There are places
where in fine weather a boat landing could be effected, but the beaches
are very narrow and unfit for camping on. It would be necessary also
before the slopes are reached to surmount a short steep cliff up which
in many places a man unhandicapped by gear might with comparative
ease find a way, but where the hauling up of camping equipment would
be more difficult. Soundings were carried on throughout the day, and
Worsley and Jeffrey made a rough running survey of the coast, mapping
as accurately as possible the most salient points and headlands. The
wind coming more westerly we returned at night to the Glen Anchorage.

The next day I intended putting Worsley and Macklin ashore and set off
in the boat with McIlroy and Kerr at the oars. There was, however,
a much bigger surf than we had encountered the previous day, and a
landing at the beach was quite out of the question. I succeeded in
putting the boat alongside the outer edge of the Archway Rock on to
which they scrambled. This side is very steep and they were unable to
reach the top which is overhanging. As a matter of fact, we discovered
later that there is a way up by a “chimney” at the point nearest
the beach, but it was so thickly covered with tussock grass as to be
invisible from below. Up this an active man carrying a coil of rope
would have comparatively little difficulty in making his way, and a
landing could be effected by this route when it would be impossible at
the beach.

Not willing to give up the attempt I took the boat to the far side
of the beach where a considerable swell was running, but where the
surf was to some extent broken by a thick mass of seaweed. The swell,
however, in spite of the weed was so high and steep that we narrowly
escaped being capsized and had to abandon this also. I therefore gave
up the attempt for that day and rowed along the coast examining rocks
and entering numerous small caves. The water was beautifully clear and
the bottom easily visible, with growths of beautiful seaweed and all
manner of fish and crayfish.

During the next three days the swell increased, and though we tried
each day to land the attempt was attended with so much risk of damage
to the boat that on each occasion I gave up the attempt.

The beaches are composed of large and irregularly placed boulders,
and many rocks but little submerged and often awash complicate the
approach. Our surf boat was very lightly built, and under circumstances
like this there was a danger of her bottom being stove in against
the boulders. There was also a risk should she get across one of the
outlying rocks of being capsized and swamped by the inrushing swell. We
found that the seas were so steep that when they had passed under our
bottom the boat came down heavily on the water with such a resounding
smack that had she struck something hard she must have immediately been
stove in. Indeed our attempt at landing provided us with no little
excitement, but I was fortunate in having with me amongst the crew a
number of cool and capable oarsmen, and we escaped damage.

Another factor which adds to the difficulty of landing at Gough Island
is the force of the gusts which blow down the glen. They come in whirls
so that the boat is blown violently first in one direction and then
another, and at this time of year are bitingly cold.

Examination of the records of other explorers who have visited this
island shows that there has always been a difficulty in landing.

The time spent lying off an island in an exposed anchorage is a
trying one for all concerned, especially for those on whom lies the
responsibility of action. One has to be continually on the watch for
signs of change of winds. At this time there was no moon and it was
difficult to fix the position of the ship by objects on shore. The
fierceness of the squalls and their continually changing direction with
consequent swing of the ship created a danger of dragging the anchor.
By bringing the ship closer into the shore we escaped some of the
effects of wind and swell, but there was less room in which to manœuvre
in case of accident. We had always to keep the sounding-lead going,
and I gave orders to Kerr that he was to maintain the fires so that at
fifteen minutes’ notice there could be a full pressure of steam in the

I began to feel uneasy about the party on shore, for unless we were
very fortunate we might have to wait many days before we could take
them off. At any time we might be driven by stress of weather away
from the island, and in a ship of such low engine-power as the _Quest_
getting back might be a matter of difficulty. I had also to consider
the question of coal expenditure. I determined, therefore, to seize the
first opportunity of picking them up.

During the night we had vicious hailstorms, and the squalls which blew
off shore out of the mouth of the glen increased in violence.

In the morning, with McIlroy, Macklin and Kerr, I took the boat in to
the beach, and using a stern anchor was able to effect a landing close
to the Archway Rock. I shouted to Wilkins to get together his party
and equipment and come aboard. Unfortunately Douglas, Carr and Argles
had gone out the previous day and had camped for the night farther up
the hill, and Wilkins did not expect them back till late. I therefore
took off Naisbitt and him, with as much equipment as was not necessary
for the night. I left Marr behind with a message that all were to be
ready to come off as soon as possible. Getting the gear aboard was
a ticklish matter, for seas came heavily over the stern, and fierce
squalls with hail blowing in our faces from the hills helped to make
things more unpleasant. Macklin and Kerr leapt into the sea to assist
with the loading, and no one escaped a good soaking. We got off without
mishap, however, and returned to the ship. During the night the gusts
at the mouth of the glen had been so violent that the tent was blown in
and the party compelled to move to the hut. Wilkins writes: “During a
violent squall of hail and sleet our tent was literally blown from the
ropes, leaving us exposed beneath the skeleton of ridge pole and guys.
The wind, although not blowing a continuous hurricane, sweeps down
the gullies and over the cliffs in terrific gusts at the rate of more
than a hundred miles an hour.” As a matter of fact, the party, none of
whom apparently were accustomed to tent life under these conditions,
were asking for trouble, for they had pitched the tent broadside to
the gusts and had left guys and skirting very slack. It is important
in high winds to cut out all shake and flutter or the canvas will
eventually tear itself to ribbons.

I had a good look round for any signs of the geese which we put ashore,
but saw nothing of them. They should have no difficulty in finding
ample food.

In the afternoon Worsley, with Macklin, Dell and Watts, took the boat
to look at a cave farther along the coast. On entering they found that
it had a large shaft open to the sky down which a cascade of water was
pouring. Worsley carried out some more soundings with the hand-lead,
taking a line across the mouth of the bay.

Next morning the upper slopes of the island were covered in white, the
result of the hailstorms.

I saw that landing would be no easy matter, but determined to make an
attempt to take off the rest of the shore party. I attempted the beach
landing, but had to give it up. I therefore told the party to carry
their equipment to the top of Archway Rock, taking with them a rope
to lower themselves to the rocks at the bottom, from which it would
be possible to pick them off. Rain and hail squalls blew all the time
and waiting in the boat was very unpleasant. They had a difficult job
but succeeded in massing the gear at the top. Carr descended, having
secured the rope to an island tree. He discovered the chimney which
had been invisible from below. It is situated on the bay side of the
rock close to the corner nearest the beach. Twice Marr nearly stepped
over the overhanging edge, but was warned in the nick of time by our
shouts. Query, who accompanied the shore party, was lowered in a sack.
Ultimately we got the whole party safely off and returned in violent
squalls to the ship.

We left the Glen Anchorage and proceeded in a north-westerly direction
to a sheltered spot close to the high rounded column of “Lot’s Wife,”
certainly well named for it forms an unmistakable mark. We anchored
opposite a waterfall in eight and a half fathoms, and Worsley, Macklin,
Wilkins and Douglas went ashore. At this point there is a narrow beach
with a small piece of flat land behind it from which the island rises
steeply to a summit crowned with a mass of rock. Between the waterfall
and the point there is a large penguin rookery, deserted at this time
of the year except for a few rockhoppers, whose lives were claimed
on scientific grounds. Wilkins added a number of specimens to his
collection, and Macklin caught a landrail alive, which was found to
be blind of one eye, this no doubt being the reason why he was able to
stalk it. He materialistically designed it for the pot, but as it was a
perfect specimen Wilkins asked if he might have it for his collection.

We lay at anchor for the night, and at daybreak next morning, June 3rd,
set off for Cape Town.


     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]

  [Illustration: LOT’S WIFE, GOUGH ISLAND

     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]

Wilkins and his party during their stay on the island had accomplished
some very good work. Assisted by Marr, who thoroughly enjoyed his
camping experience, he made a large collection of animal and plant
life and obtained a number of photographs. Unfortunately the light was
not good. Douglas, Carr and Argles made a rough survey of this part
of the island and carried out a geological examination of the glen and
uplands. They reached the highest point, which proved to be 2,915 feet
in height. To do this they spent a night in the open covered only by a
floor cloth. It was bitterly cold but the vegetation was far too damp
to enable them to start a fire.

Douglas, though not a botanist, made a very interesting observation.
In the “Little Glen,” just to the south of Archway Rock, he discovered
a grove of trees which he describes as “growing as if planted in an
orchard,” attaining a height of thirteen or fourteen feet, and covering
ground of about twelve feet diameter. It differs in many respects from
the island tree, and Wilkins considers it to be a species of _sophora_
which is found in New Zealand and parts of South America. Its features
are intermediate in type between those of the trees found in these
respective places.

Naisbitt took charge of the camp and acted as cook, which duties he
seems to have carried out well.

The party left behind a considerable quantity of preserved provisions,
which they carefully stored in the hut, for they had taken ashore a
larger supply than was necessary for their own needs. I hope if it is
the lot of any to be compelled by accident to sojourn on this island
that these stores will add something to their comfort, though with all
the equipment and shelter left by the mining party and the abundance of
natural resources I would have no fear for their safety.

As much hydrographical and survey work as possible was carried out on
the ship. An examination of anchorages, one on the north coast, one on
the south coast, and two on the east coast showed that shelter might
be found from northerly, southerly or westerly winds. There are no
sheltered bays, each anchorage being an open roadstead. None of them
can be considered safe for ships without steam, and the latter should
at all times be prepared to get under way at very short notice. The
Glen Anchorage affords good holding ground.

The positions of Penguin Island, the Glen Anchorage and Lot’s Wife Cove
were definitely established.

A good rough survey was made of the eastern and northern coasts
and a rough running survey of the rest of the island. Soundings and
examinations were made for all dangers and rocks round the coast. The
height of several rocks and cliffs on the eastern coast were accurately

There are no outlying dangers about Gough Island.

Jeffrey carried out tidal observations during our stay.

There is no doubt that the work of the scientific parties and the
observations taken on and about Gough Island, when fully worked out,
will prove most interesting.



On June 3rd we set course for Cape Town, where I should be able to get
into communication with Mr. Rowett. We had had a pretty hard and trying
time, but I should have liked to have one more season in the Enderby
Quadrant. The _Quest_ had her faults—too many—but yet I had learned to
love this little ship for all her waywardness. I had come to believe
that much might be accomplished by making Cape Town our starting point
and setting out _early in the season_.

On mature consideration, however, I realized that it was inevitable
that we must return home, for I knew that we had almost reached the
time limit arranged by Sir Ernest Shackleton. There was still much work
to be done, for we had to call at St. Helena, Ascension Island and St.
Vincent. If time permitted, I intended to include South Trinidad Island
also. I was anxious for Douglas to make a geological examination of
these places so that he might be able to link them up with the islands
we had already visited.

After leaving Gough Island we had had head winds and seas, and
consequently made little progress.

We slaughtered Bridget and cut her up, Dell being the murderer. She was
very fat and in excellent condition, and made a welcome change of fare.

The wind fell off a little on June 4th and 5th and came abaft the beam,
enabling us to shut off steam and proceed under sail only. We were now
short of coal and had to economize so that we should have a supply
sufficient to take us into port. The ship also was very light, as a
result not only of the depleted bunkers, but also from the lightening
of the fore-hold of the mails and stores which were put ashore at
Tristan da Cunha.

I was now proceeding to enable Worsley to look for a reef reported by
the whalers of South Georgia as seen in the neighbourhood of position
lat. 35° 4´ S. and 5° 20´ W. long. (350 miles east by north of Tristan
da Cunha). Captain Hansen, of the _Orwell_, was very positive on the
matter, stating that whilst proceeding from Cape Town to South Georgia
he had seen breaking water and strands of kelp in this position. We
took a series of soundings, which showed no signs of shoaling, and the
snapper revealed bottom specimens of white clay.

On June 6th we started cleaning up the paint-work in an endeavour
to make the ship look moderately respectable for our entry into Cape
Town, but I am afraid that as a result of the hard battering which she
received in the South she still had a very weather-beaten appearance
in spite of any efforts we made in this way. Dell again had some
butchering to do. He skinned one of the Tristan sheep, which proved to
be very scraggy.

We spent the day making a traversing cruise, looking for the reported
reef, but saw absolutely no indications of its presence in this
position. Three successive soundings showed not less than 1,900
fathoms, with the same globigerinous ooze bottom we had found since
leaving Gough Island.

     Note the scarring of her timbers

     _Photo: J. A. Cook_]

     Showing her size as compared with that of a modern sailing ship

     _THE QUEST_      _Photo: J. A. Cook_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

On June 7th we still traversed in search of the reef. We made another
attempt to obtain soundings, but the wind and sea increased so much
that it was impossible to keep the ship over the lead. Dell, at
the Lucas machine, had a trying time, for he was continually being
immersed. After 580 fathoms of wire had been run out I ordered him to
reel in, and we headed off direct for Table Bay. The wind continued to
increase in force, and, coming ahead, blew up from the south-east with
heavy squalls of rain.

On the 8th and 9th we had a strong gale in which the now much lightened
_Quest_ flung herself about in the most lively manner, and much water
came over our rails.

On the 9th the _Quest_ excelled everything she had ever done in the
way of rolling, and though we were by now well accustomed to her little
ways, it was only with the greatest difficulty that we could move about
the decks, passing quickly from one support to another.

On this day Query was washed overboard. He had become so confident and
sure-footed that we had long ceased to have any fears on his behalf.
Dell had just finished skinning our second Tristan sheep, and was
in process of hanging it to a stay on the bridge deck. Query, taking
as usual an active interest in the proceedings, had followed him up.
The ship was struck by a heavy sea, which caused her to throw herself
violently to leeward, and Query was carried under the griping spar of
the port life-boat. Jeffrey, who was on watch, immediately stopped the
engines and attempted to wear ship, but in these heavy seas any attempt
at a rescue was impossible. Poor Query! he must have wondered why the
usual helping hand was not forthcoming, as it had so often been on
previous occasions to help him out of his scrapes. His loss caused a
real hurt.

On the 10th conditions were much the same, with heavy squalls at
intervals. The wind hauled a point, and at 2 P.M. we set the foresail
and stopped the engines. We logged 5 knots as an average, and 6 to 7
during the squalls. In the middle watch at night I saw a perfect lunar
rainbow stretching in a big arc across our bows.

On the 11th and 12th the wind fell light and we had fine weather. I set
all hands to cleaning up, for this work had been suspended during the
bad weather. We could do nothing to the outside of the ship, which was
so scratched and scarred as to make hopeless any attempt to improve it.
We managed, however, to brighten up the wardroom and cabins a little.
“Old Mac” scraped the foremast—a difficult job on account of the heavy
rolling—but it greatly improved our appearance. This fine old seaman is
a product of the old-time sailing ships, a real sailor of a type only
too rare to-day. He has made three voyages to the Antarctic.

The rest of this portion of the trip was uneventful till, on the 17th,
we sighted on the horizon the Cape of Good Hope and saw Table Mountain
appear from behind the clouds. We entered Table Bay early in the
morning of Sunday, June 18th.

At Cape Town we were met by our agents and Mr. Cook, who was acting
as Mr. Rowett’s representative. They brought us a big mail. If was
interesting to see the members crowd round till they had received their
letters, when each man sought out a quiet corner to which he might
retire and read them undisturbed by anyone.

After the usual formalities had been gone through, we were piloted to a
snug berth in the Alfred Dock. It was not until I had seen the comments
in the Cape Town Press that I realized how much battered our little
ship had been in her arduous struggle with the heavy seas and ice. One
paper spoke of her as “small, unpretentious, but grizzly looking, and
bearing signs where the ice had scored furrows in her planks.” Another
described her as “a black, stubby little boat, steaming into Cape
Town unknown, unannounced ... the leaden skies, the cold green waters
of the harbour, the sullen murkiness of the distant sea, the little
furtive showers of rain, all seemed to claim the little ship as part of
themselves, catch her up and absorb her into them as an essential part
of the picture....”

All were amazed at her size, and few believed that so small a craft
could have accomplished so much and covered so great a distance. We had
the warmest of welcomes from the people of South Africa, and during our
stay were so lavishly entertained by these hospitable folk that each
one of us must carry for ever a warm spot in his heart for Cape Town
and its inhabitants.

We were received by the Prime Minister (General Smuts) and entertained
by him and his wife at their beautiful house at Groote Schur.

The ship was visited by many of the prominent people of South Africa,
including members of the House of Parliament, which was then in
session. All of them took a very keen interest in the regions we had
visited, especially in Tristan da Cunha, the islands about it, and
Gough Island. Much sympathy was expressed at the state of destitution
in which we had found the people of Tristan da Cunha, and the _Cape
Argus_, an enterprising and very efficiently staffed daily paper,
immediately started making arrangements for a relief ship to visit
them, and asked our advice as to the most suitable type of vessel
for the work. It was hoped that she would be able to sail about the
beginning of January, that being the most suitable time of year for
effecting a landing on the island.

The Enderby Quadrant of the Antarctic is also of special interest
to South Africans because the climatic conditions there have a large
bearing upon the weather of Cape Colony. The Meteorological Office of
South Africa was anxious for a preliminary report of our meteorological
work, which McIlroy gave them.

I gave Douglas permission to spend his time in Johannesburg, for as
a geologist he was very anxious to visit the mining areas. He was
accompanied by Wilkins.

Invitations poured in for the various members to visit the different
parts of the country about Cape Town, but though I much regretted
having to decline them, I was unable to give any further leave, as the
different members were required for work about the ship.

As is common on the occasion of the return of an expedition from the
Antarctic, most of the party were attacked by “colds in the head.”
Influenza was prevalent in the town and found two ready victims, first
in Macklin, who contracted it soon after our arrival, and, later,

Much repair work and general overhauling was necessary on the
_Quest_. I had it put in hand at once. The engines, which under the
careful nursing of Kerr, Smith and their staff had withstood the
hard conditions remarkably well, now required an overhaul before we
could again put to sea. The rigging was reset up and all necessary
repairs completed. The ship received a new coating of paint, which
completely transformed her battered appearance and made her once more
a smart-looking little vessel. Fresh stores were taken aboard, and, the
work completed, we left next day for the naval dockyard at Simonstown.
Several of our friends made the trip with us, including a number of
Boy Scouts who had been assisting aboard the ship, but the _Quest_,
reverting quickly to her old antics, made them wish they had stayed

We were most kindly received by Admiral Sir William Goodenough, who
gave us a snug berth in the harbour. I am much indebted to him for
his kindness during the time we remained in Simonstown. Here again we
received every kindness from the officers of the ships attached to this
base, especially those of H.M.S. _Lowestoft_ and _Dublin_, who welcomed
us with the proverbial open-handedness of the Navy.

On July 13th, the day of our departure, we had the honour of a visit
from the Governor-General, H.R.H. Prince Arthur of Connaught, who,
accompanied by Admiral Sir William Goodenough, made an inspection of
the ship and took a keen interest in everything he saw.

My attack of influenza had been a very severe one and left me feeling
very weak. I was fortunate in making an uncomplicated recovery. My best
thanks are due to Mr. and Mrs. John Jeffrey, old friends with whom I
stayed during my illness and whose many kindnesses I shall not easily

In order not to delay the sailing of the _Quest_, I rejoined her
earlier, perhaps, than was advisable, and on arrival at the dockyard
felt so exhausted that I was compelled to take to my bunk at once.

Before finally leaving we swung the ship to adjust compasses. This was
again done for us by Commander Traill-Smith, R.N., who had so kindly
performed this office on our leaving Plymouth, and who had since our
departure been transferred to this base.



For the first few days at sea after leaving Cape Town I was obliged to
keep my bunk, but the care of the doctors, the solicitous attentions of
Green, who went to all sorts of length to produce delicacies for me,
and the good salt air worked wonders, and I began to regain strength
and was soon up and about.

As I was in bed the following is quoted verbatim from Macklin’s diary:

     _July 14th._

     A lovely sunny day with smooth sea, and the _Quest_ behaving
     better than she has ever done before. Surely this is a prelude to
     something wicked—I do not trust the _Quest_ when she is good.

     Worsley took the ship close in to Sea Point to enable us to signal
     good-bye to our many friends there, after which we put out to the
     open ocean. We passed close to a small fishing boat and called
     her alongside to enable one of our members to pass over a letter
     for his latest best girl. A sailor, of course! with a girl in
     every port, but I omit his name. I took the opportunity of buying
     some fresh fish, for which I exchanged some tobacco and ship’s

     It was a lovely afternoon, and all about the ship were numbers of
     seabirds—gulls, albatross and shags. In the water were penguins (a
     type not found in the Antarctic), seals, turtles and sharks. This
     part of the ocean must simply teem with life to support all these
     large animals.

     About 5 P.M. a big Castle liner passed us homeward bound, and
     Wuzzles changed course to enable us to give a shout to Cookie, who
     was aboard. The skipper, however, must have been watching through
     his glasses, and, seeing what a crowd of toughs we were (Wuzzles
     prominent on the bridge), sheered widely off and passed us too far
     away to distinguish individuals.

     Commander Wild is very limp. He had a very bad attack of “flu.”
     He’s a hard case, and it takes a lot to upset him. A few of
     Green’s egg-flips and the salt air will soon set him on his feet

     _Sunday, July 16th._

     Yesterday was a fine day, most of which I spent below hatches
     making, with Marr’s assistance, a final stowage and getting things
     ready for sea.

     To-day has been perfectly lovely. Had the 4.0-8.0 A.M. watch, and
     Dell, Mick and I had just scrubbed down decks, and made a jolly
     good job of it too, when the stokers started cleaning pipes and
     simply covered the whole ship with soot and ashes. We blessed them
     fervently for this good beginning to a Sabbath Day, the rest of
     which we spent trying to get our cabins and living quarters clear
     of the mess they had made.

     Commander Wild is much better, though he is not yet all right, as
     he seems to think. I allowed him up to sit in the sun for a little

     The _Windsor Castle_ passed and signalled us “A pleasant voyage.”
     We dipped ensigns. There is something rather nice about these sea

     Bosson, Green’s new mate, entrusted with a carving knife,
     succeeded in nearly severing one finger.

     _July 19th._

     Weather has continued fine, with fair, following winds. Commander
     Wild improving steadily and eating better than I have ever known
     him to do. He has a good deal to make up, for he lost a great deal
     of weight in Cape Town.

     Yesterday I stowed some cases for Jeff and bound them with
     pyrometa wire. To-day Jeff and Dell removed the wardroom stove,
     which we shall no longer need, thank goodness, for with the down
     draught from squaresail and topsail the smoke nearly always went
     the wrong way.

     _July 20th._

     Engines stopped, and we lay to for a bottom dredging. We wound
     in the line by hand. Good old man-power!—we always come down to
     it in the end. The whole job took about eight hours; it is good
     exercise, but towards the end becomes a bit of a toil. Whilst
     stopped we were surrounded by albatross, and Green and Watts
     succeeded in catching some alive. Good-looking birds were passed
     to Wilkins, the poorer specimens were set free (this is subject
     for a moral).

The next few days were uneventful. I had by now quite got over my
illness and begun to go about as usual.

On July 27th we arrived at St. Helena, which was of interest to me
because in my first voyage as a boy in an old sailing ship we had
called here and I had not been back since.

This island has a most interesting history. It was first discovered
in 1592 by Juan de Nova Castilla, one of the enterprising Portuguese
navigators of those days, who claimed it for Portugal. Since then it
has two or three times changed hands. The East India Company used it
as a port of call for a long time, but handed it over to the British
Government in 1833. Under the company’s administration the island
prospered exceedingly. The famous navigator, Captain Cook, who visited
the island in 1775, speaks of finding its people “living in delightful
little homes amongst pleasant surroundings,” and describes them as the
nicest people of English extraction he had ever met. The Government,
on taking over, seemed to have a much less sympathetic understanding
of the island and its people, for since that time its prosperity has
steadily declined. It was used and is chiefly known to the world as the
prison of such men as Napoleon, Cronje and others.

From the sea the island is very unprepossessing, rising steeply from
the water’s edge and looking bare, hot and dry. Jamestown, the port,
lies in a valley which runs backwards and upwards from the sea in
a straggling and ever-narrowing line. From the anchorage one gets
a refreshing glimpse of green on the inner slopes. One of the first
things that catches the eye on looking ashore is a huge ladder, nearly
a thousand feet long and over six hundred feet high, which passes
from Jamestown to the summit of Ladder Hill. It contains seven hundred
steps, to the top of which, in days gone by, a postman carrying his bag
of letters used to run without a halt.

Having passed through the usual port formalities, I got ready to go
ashore. Whilst preparing to leave, the ship was called up from the
“Observatory,” and I received an invitation from H.E. the Governor to
lunch at his house, together with two or three of my officers. I took
Worsley, McIlroy and Macklin with me.

Jamestown is protected from the sea by a wall, and we entered through
iron gates which no doubt in the days of Napoleon always had an armed
guard. There is nothing of that sort to-day, and, indeed, St. Helena
is an island that has “seen better days.” At one time a flourishing
settlement and an important military station famous as the prison of
Napoleon, it is now almost forgotten by the rest of the world.

We procured a carriage, drawn by two small but sturdy horses, and
set off for the “Plantations” at the summit of the island where the
Governor’s house is situated. The climb was a stiff one, and to ease
the horses we walked up most of the way. At first the road was bare and
dry, cut from rocks of obviously volcanic origin, the only vegetation
an occasional dusty cactus growing here and there. As we mounted,
however, we entered a greener area, with vegetation which increased in
luxuriance till, at the top, we saw that the inner parts of the island
were really very fertile. The air also was purer and more fresh. I was
struck by the appearance of the “mina” birds, which have a pretty dark
brown and white colouring, and at first sight resemble magpies. They
were introduced to the island for the purpose of killing insects.

We had a most pleasant lunch with H.E. the Governor (Colonel Peel) and
his wife. The house has a very fine outlook down a valley to the sea,
and is situated in very beautiful grounds which contain a number of
interesting trees: oaks, Scotch firs, spruces and Norfolk pines, and
a tree with dark foliage and brilliant scarlet blossom. Numerous white
arum-like lilies grow in profusion, and many other flowers, including a
beautiful small blue flower with a pleasant fresh scent. It was a very
happy change from our sea life. We were introduced to a huge tortoise,
reputed to be two hundred years old, which sometimes leaves the grounds
for the road and causes all the horses which encounter it to shy. When
this happens a cart is sent out to fetch it home. It takes six men to
lift it off the road.

After lunch we paid a visit to the tomb of Napoleon and the house at
Longwood where he lived whilst on the island. The tomb is in a deep
hollow, and for so great a man is very unimposing. It is covered with
a large marble slab, blank, with no inscription of any sort. Some time
after his death his body was exhumed and taken to Paris, when it was
laid finally in _Les Invalides_, where a magnificent and more fitting
tomb has been erected to his memory. The house at Longwood also is
unimposing. One can imagine how his restless spirit must have chafed
at its confinement. The rooms are kept spotlessly clean, but are bare
except that in the small chamber where he died there is a bust set on
a long pedestal hung with a few bedraggled pieces of tricolour ribbon.
It contained also, when we were there, a baby’s perambulator, but was
otherwise empty. The sight of this house caused me to feel a great pity
for its prisoner.

I learned from the Governor that whilst alive he had been well treated,
having had an allowance from the English Government of £12,000 per

The island inland from the sea is very hilly and divided into numerous
ridges and valleys. There is not a really good piece of flat land
anywhere. The valleys are very fertile. Owing to the steepness of
the roads we proceeded most of the way on foot, leaving the paths,
which zigzagged, and making straight traverses across the fields.
Brambles grow profusely, and at this time a number of blackberries
were ripe. Gorse and broom covered the hillsides with yellow. The
chief industry of the island seems to be the growing of New Zealand
flax and the making of it into fibre. During the war they obtained the
most phenomenal prices, which, however, have since dropped to normal.
The flora generally of St. Helena is very interesting, for there are
over sixty native species of plants, nearly all of them peculiar to
the island. Every now and then we caught glimpses of pretty little
residences situated in gardens of their own. We met numerous people,
including a number of British folk, driving in their carriages—it seems
to be the custom here to greet everyone one meets.

The natives we met showed unmistakable signs of a very mixed origin.
In the days of the East India Company labour was imported from India
and from China, and on frequent occasions natives of different parts of
Africa have been introduced. The African type predominates.

We next visited the station of the Eastern Telegraph Company, where we
met the manager and his wife. They have a very nice place, situated in
beautiful grounds containing masses of bougainvillæa, geranium, scarlet
hibiscus and many other kinds of blossom. They have bananas and guavas
in abundance, but oranges do not grow well.

They told me that the natives of the island, of which there are about
3,000, are very badly off, for there is practically no work for them to
do. Some of them look half starved. A lace industry was started about
twenty years ago by an Englishwoman. The lace is said to be of good
quality, but I did not have the opportunity of seeing any.

We returned to the ship about 6.30 P.M., and immediately set off for
Ascension Island.

In the meantime Douglas had made a brief geological examination of the
main features of the island. There was not time to do more.

Bosson, the new hand taken on at Cape Town, whom I had allowed to go
for a run ashore, fell into a cactus bush, and did not forget the fact
in the next few days.

We had an uninterrupted run to Ascension Island, where I intended to
take in coal. As we approached we saw hundreds of birds, which flew
squawking overhead, but were apparently intent on their fishing, and
took very little notice of the ship. We arrived and dropped anchor
about 8 P.M. on August 1st.

From the shore we received a signal to ask if we had a clean bill of
health, and soon after the officer commanding the station came off to
visit us in a boat pulled by several hefty bluejackets. He announced
that at the moment of our arrival an interesting and unusual event had
taken place: the birth of a child. I learned from him that I could get
what coal I required to take me on to St. Vincent.

August 2nd was a rather muggy day. The ship was surrounded by thousands
of fish of a dark purple colour with white patches on their tails. They
rushed at anything edible that was thrown overboard, and the water
was lashed into foam by their efforts to get at it. It was really a
wonderful sight. They could not be induced to take a hook and fought
very shy of anything with a line on it. Green, the enthusiast, tried
all morning to catch some, but without success. He succeeded, however,
by putting out more line, in catching a red spiny variety at a deeper
level. He also caught a shark.

I sent ashore the scientists, and later went myself with McIlroy and
Macklin. On landing, Macklin saw an officer of marines to whom he said:
“Your face is familiar to me. Where have I seen you before?” Apparently
they had met somewhere in Russia. It was rather extraordinary meeting
again in this out-of-the-way little spot in tropical mid-Atlantic.
We went on to the “Club,” where we met several more officers of the
station and a number of the Eastern Telegraph Company’s officials.

The island is bare, sandy and desolate looking. The barracks and
officers’ quarters are at sea level. The latter consist of neat little
bungalows, about which some pretty blossom has been induced to grow.

The troops and naval ratings wear solar topees, khaki shorts and shoes.
Usually they have no stockings. The soldiers have khaki shirts, and
the ratings white jumpers. There are a number of women on the island.
They wear light cotton dresses and often have no stockings—a sane and
healthy fashion for this part of the world.

After lunch Macklin went off to see one of the sights of the island—the
nesting-ground of the “Wideawakes.” He writes:

     After leaving Commander Wild and Mick, I walked out to “Wideawake
     Valley,” so called because of the number of birds which nest
     there. It is an extraordinary sight. There are millions of them,
     covering the ground for acres. They lay a single egg, about the
     size of a bantam’s and spotted. Many of the chicks had hatched
     out. If one goes too near they rush frantically about and lose
     their parents, and if they intrude too much on their neighbours
     sometimes get pecked to death. Many of the birds rise up and
     come flying, with raucous din, all about one’s head. The noise
     is maddening. Having seen what I wanted to see, I was glad to get
     away. I left the track I had come by and returned across country.
     The going off the tracks is very bad indeed, the surface of
     the island being much broken and covered with a short dry grass
     amongst which were numerous stones and boulders, which tired one’s
     feet very much. The heat, too, was considerable, and I was glad
     when I reached the club and obtained a long, cool drink, which was
     very comforting to my parched throat.

During the afternoon the _Durham Castle_ came in. This is a bi-monthly
event, and throws the whole island into a fluster. I took Worsley,
McIlroy and Macklin aboard, when we met the captain and the ship’s
doctor. I dined in the evening with the commandant.

On August 3rd preparations were started for the coaling. The coal is of
the poorest quality, consisting of dust and slag, and the price we were
charged was exorbitant, but I was obliged to the commandant for being
at pains to give us the best he could under the circumstances.

Scientific work was continued, and Macklin and Kerr went off in the
boat to another part of the island to obtain some different varieties
of fish.

In the evening we dined at the mess of the Eastern Telegraph Company,
where we had a very merry evening. Most of us slept ashore, being
kindly put up by members of the telegraph company. Douglas and Marr,
who had ascended to the high part of the island, were very kindly
accommodated by Mr. and Mrs. Cronk at their pretty house on the hill.


     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]


  [Illustration: A WIDEAWAKE]

Coaling was continued on the 4th. The coal is put into bags at the
dump and loaded into lighters, which are taken off by a tug and laid
alongside the ship. The work is often awkward on account of the swell.
It was a messy business, and the ship soon became covered in every part
of her with dust. It took us many days to get really clean again. In
order to keep an eye on things, I stayed near the scene of operations.
Macklin ascended to the summit, and the following account from his
diary is fairly descriptive of the island:

     I went ashore early with Wilkins, who had with him his camera and
     cinematograph machine. He was going off with the commandant in a
     pinnace to an island where there was a large number of birds.

     I first of all walked about the station and took a number of
     snapshots, after which I set off up the dusty track leading to
     Green Hill. It was a blazing hot day, and I wore nothing but
     singlet, shorts and shoes, and had a good sun hat. This garb was
     cool and gave a delightful sense of freedom in movement, but it
     proved, to my cost, to be an inadequate protection from the sun.

     I passed _en route_ the wireless station, which has been
     abandoned. Its six immense poles are cemented and stayed in such
     a manner as to make the removal of them not worth the labour.
     The track led up a gentle slope over sandy ground that supported
     a few low-lying shrubs but very little else. Farther towards the
     summit the vegetation increased a little, with cactus plants and
     a few aloes. Still farther up an attempt had been made to plant
     trees along the sides of the track, and, considering the dry, hard
     nature of the earth, they were growing not badly, but gave little
     impression of greenery. I continued along the main track till
     I reached eventually a point marked by the two halves of a boat
     which had been set up on either side of the road. The gentle slope
     was now replaced by a more steeply rising mountain face, up which
     the main track zigzagged so much as to make the total distance a
     very long one. I accordingly left it for a steeper but straighter
     track. The air was now fresher, and the higher one climbed the
     more abundant became the vegetation, which included trees—palms,
     pines, firs, eucalyptus—and a tree with bright yellow flowers
     which I did not recognize. There were ferns of several sorts,
     small flowering shrubs, thistles with a yellow flower, and, higher
     up the mountain, a species of scarlet hibiscus.

     Grasshoppers were numerous. They hopped off the ground in much
     the same manner as an English grasshopper, but were capable of a
     certain power of flight. I saw also a number of beetles, rats and
     land-crabs, but animal life generally is scarce.

     Near the top of Green Mountain there are a few little residences
     situated in very pretty gardens. Indeed, the whole of the island
     above a certain level is very beautiful and a paradise as compared
     with the hot, dusty garrison at the base.

     Near the summit I came to a house surrounded by a picturesque
     garden containing many trees and shrubs with bright blossom. I
     learned that it belonged to the “Farm Superintendent.” At this
     point a corporal of marines approached me, and remarking that
     I looked hot, asked me if I would like a glass of beer. I _was_
     hot, and the suggestion was too alluring to be refused, though I
     had doubts as to the wisdom of it, seeing that I had still many
     miles of hot walking ahead of me. There is a small signal station
     here, and the corporal took me to his quarters, from where I had
     a magnificent view of the slopes of the island and of the sea,
     covered with twinkling points, stretching like a flat board to
     a far distant horizon. There is a small farm which supplied the
     station with fresh meat, milk, etc. I had a look at the cowhouses,
     which literally swarmed with rats of enormous size. There are also
     some hen-runs and pig-sties, and a number of sheep graze on the

     Thanking the friendly corporal, I pushed on over a grassy slope
     dotted about with trees, and finally reached the summit, where
     there is a thick plantation of bamboos, the stems of which rattled
     in the strong south-east trades. In the middle of it there is a
     pond of very stagnant water. The view from the top is wonderful,
     every part of the island being clearly visible. All about the
     upper slopes are asphalted watersheds leading to storage tanks.
     All the water for the garrison and the other buildings at the base
     of the island comes from the summit, and is conducted there by

     Descending the farther slopes, I came to the entrance to a
     long narrow tunnel cut through the hill. It had been dug by the
     military detachment many years before, quite for what purpose I
     did not learn. It is low, narrow and pitchy black, but there is a
     hand-wire by using which as a guide one can go steadily forward.
     It emerges in a corner of the farm superintendent’s garden.

     I had lunch on the summit with Mr. and Mrs. Cronk. They have
     two pretty children. Mr. Cronk has been farm superintendent for
     twenty-five years. It must be a funny life in this remote spot. He
     is responsible for all the vegetation, and takes a great pride in
     his work—certainly he has made his mark on the world. The whole
     garrison is being removed, and is due to leave in a few months.
     He goes too, and regrets that no one is being left to carry on
     the work he has so carefully inaugurated. He has had to overcome
     many difficulties, and is disappointed that the labour of so many
     years will be thrown away. The big plants grow all right and do
     not require much attention. The young ones must be shaded from the
     fierce sun, and unless this shade is provided artificially the
     only seeds that flourish are those which fall beside the parent
     plant and derive shade and a certain amount of moisture from it.
     The summit of the island, being often clouded in mist, is very
     damp, and those who live there for any length of time suffer
     considerably from rheumatism.

     I descended towards “Wideawake” Plain again, visited the circular
     crater of a volcano, and crossed it to enter a belt of loose,
     broken pieces of cellular lava. The inside was covered with sand,
     was bare of vegetation, and had round it a circular track which
     gives it the name of the “Devil’s Horse-ring.”

     On my way back I passed again over a sandy plain, where I saw
     a number of small rabbits. I enjoyed my day immensely and was
     pleasantly fatigued after my climbing. I suffered badly from
     sunburn, which will probably get worse in the next few days. My
     neck and legs are chiefly affected. Marr, who had spent the day
     with Douglas on a geological expedition, was also badly burned,
     and had a temperature of 103° F. I had to put him to bed....

The coaling was completed during the afternoon.

We had many visitors to see us off, and left finally at 4.30 P.M.,
setting course for St. Vincent.

The next part of our journey proved uneventful. We crossed the equator
to run into hotter weather, the sun being near its northern limit of
declination. With a light following wind there was no draught, and
the ship was covered daily with dust and ashes from the very dirty
Ascension Island coal. So bad did it turn out that Kerr and his staff
had the greatest difficulty in maintaining a sufficient pressure of
steam, and the work of the stokers was consequently very hard. Young,
Ross and Murray (a new hand taken on at Cape Town) stuck splendidly to
their work during this uncomfortable and trying stage of the journey.

     The whiteness is due to the Laterite, which is a weathered
     product of Trachyte

     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

We obtained at Ascension Island a number of live baby turtles, which I
proposed to present to the Marine Biological Laboratory at Plymouth.
On its staff are two old shipmates of mine, Messrs. Hodson, of the
_Discovery_, and Clark, of the _Endurance_. We placed the turtles in
one of the waterbutts on the after deck, where Wilkins fed them on
small pieces of flying fish. They spent the whole day diving for pieces
and fought with each other for possession of them. They are curious
little creatures.

One of the men brought off a small rabbit, of which a few run wild on
Ascension Island. It became a great pet and was most extraordinarily

We arrived at St. Vincent on August 18th, where we completed our
coaling. Here, as on our outward trip, we received kindness from
the members of Messrs. Wilson, Sons and Company, Limited, and were
entertained by the Eastern Telegraph Company mess.

Douglas and Wilkins carried on their investigations. Macklin, Jeffrey
and Green, our fishing enthusiasts, went off to bring in a supply of
fish, but returned with a small result, their time having been spent
apparently in sailing the surf-boat out to Bird Rock and in bathing.



We left on Sunday (20th), intending to call at Madeira, but the
north-east trades proving too much for the _Quest_ I adopted the
sailing ship route and proceeded “full and by” in the direction of the
Azores. Conditions were now more pleasant than we had had them since
setting out from England at the commencement of our enterprise. The
weather became daily cooler and the air fresher. The winds blew the
dust and ashes away to leeward, and we were able to have a clean ship.

It was quite like the old days, the young, happy days of those fine old
clipper ships of Messrs. Devitt and Moore:

     Beating up for the western isles
     Close hauled in the north-east trades.

Early in the morning of September 3rd we picked up the Azores, and
about 5 P.M. entered the harbour of Ponta del Gada, in San Miguel. I
was anxious to give the hull a coating of paint, but as it was Sunday,
and a feast day, there was no hope of any work being done.

We stayed two days, the only incident of interest being a visit to the
United States ship _Wilmington_, which had put in here with a broken
crank shaft on her way home from Shanghai. The captain and some of his
officers, in turn, visited us.

  [Illustration: The Course of the _Quest_, Outwards and Inwards]

Our work done, we set out, and on a perfect evening proceeded along the
coast of the island, which is very picturesque. The land is terraced,
and there is evidently a considerable amount of intensive cultivation.
Pretty little villages nestle in its hollows, and windmills are dotted
all about the hills. The _Quest_ proceeded smoothly. The sea was
calm, and in the still air of this lovely summer evening one felt that
nothing could be more perfect and that one could go on and on for ever.
We had had so much bad weather and our trip throughout had been so
arduous that we felt this respite all the more.

I had hoped on leaving the Azores to run immediately into westerly
winds, but for some days we had light north-easters. The wind finally
came round to north-west and blew up strongly on our beam. The
ocean gathered itself up for one more fling at us, but it was but a
half-hearted one; we were homeward bound, and what did we care? In a
few days we should be in England, and though I have experienced many
goings and comings since those unforgettable first ones, the parting
never seems to lose its hurt nor the home-coming its thrill.

     God gave all men all earth to love,
       But since our hearts are small,
     Ordained for each one spot should prove
       Beloved over all;...

On September 16th we entered Plymouth Sound and anchored in Cawsand
Bay. As was fitting, the first man to join the ship was Mr. Rowett, who
gave us the warmest of welcomes home. He was very interested in all I
had to tell him, but was deeply touched when I spoke of our old “Boss”
whom we had left “down there.”

So we returned, quietly, as was befitting. My task when the leadership
fell on my shoulders was to “carry on.” This, with the aid of the
men who gave me their unquestioning obedience and showed unswerving
loyalty, I was able to do. It gave me great pleasure when Mr. Rowett,
whose support and co-operation alone made the expedition possible,
said, “Old man, you’ve done splendidly!”

We had made observations and brought back a mass of data gathered
through long days of hardship and bitter toil, and I hope, when all
is sorted and fully worked up, that our efforts may prove of value in
helping to solve the great natural problems that still perplex us.

I have taken part in five expeditions to the Antarctic, and though I
think that my work there is done, I shall never cease to feel glad that
it has fallen to my lot to pioneer and guide the groping fingers of
Knowledge on the white edges of the world.


to the Expedition.

As planned by the late Sir Ernest H. Shackleton the voyage of the
_Quest_ to Southern Regions was intended to explore the coast from
Enderby Land westwards to Coats Land, a length of approximately
2,500 miles. On the routes to and from this main objective it was
his intention to call at many seldom-visited islands in the Atlantic,
Southern, Indian and Pacific Oceans.

A part of the second objective was attained, and the reader who desires
to learn of the detailed geological results of the expedition is asked
to consult the full scientific report which is now being prepared,
and which, by the courtesy of the authorities of the British Museum of
Natural History, is to be published as one of their Memoirs. It is the
purpose of the writer in these notes to give an outline of the general
geology of the islands which were visited. The names given to the rocks
are only field terms, as no microscopic examination has been made up to
the present.

_Methods Employed_

It was found to be seldom possible to do accurate and close geological
mapping, owing to the limited time that was available for work ashore.
Maps of the areas had to be made, as those of the Admiralty are of too
small a scale to do more than provide a skeleton upon which the larger
scale sketches can be based. The sketches were generally the result of
a rapid reconnaissance with plane table or compass and pace, or in some
cases simply a freehand sketch from the summit of a ridge.

Wherever possible hand specimens were collected and the general
geological associations noted.

The order in which the following islands are described is not that in
which they were visited, but they are grouped as follows:

                                   { South Georgia (68)
     Islands of the Southern Ocean { Elephant Island (1)
                                   { Zavodovski, South Sandwich Gp. (0)

                                         { Gough Island (5)
                                         { Tristan da Cunha (2½)
     Islands of the South Atlantic Ocean { Nightingale (1)
                                         { Middle (1)
                                         { Stoltenhoff (0)
                                         { Inaccessible (1)

                                         { St. Paul’s Rocks (½)
                                         { Saõ Miguel Açores, St.
     Islands of the Mid-Atlantic         {   Vincent (Cape Verdes) (3)
                                         { Ascension (3)
                                         { St. Helena (1)

     (The numbers in brackets refer to the days spent ashore.)


SOUTH GEORGIA.—_Lat. 54° S. Long. 37° W._


This island is about 116 miles long by 20 miles wide, with the longer
axis lying in a general N.W. and S.E. direction. It has the appearance
of an upland dissected by cirque recession and enlargement. The highest
peak, Mount Paget, which is an isolated remnant of the upland, is about
8,000 feet high.

     8TH MAY, 1922

The average peaks in the comb ridges are about 2,000 feet, and the
average level of the interior would be placed by the writer as about
600 feet above sea level. The glacial valleys run in general across
the longer axis and are separated from each other by comb ridges. The
majority of the glaciers show signs of withdrawal. At the N.W. end of
the island many of the valleys are free of ice altogether.

One interesting investigation was carried out at Royal Bay, where
the Ross Glacier comes down to the sea. The position of the foot of
the glacier relative to the shore was first measured by the Gauss
Expedition of 1882, then again by Nordenskjold in 1902, and then by the
members of the _Quest_ in 1922.

These measurements show this interesting fact—that there was an advance
of the foot of over 4,000 feet during the period 1882 to 1902, and
that now it is back in the position of 1882. It is suggested that this
does not indicate any general advance or withdrawal, but rather that
the glacier, which is operating, to use an hydraulic term, under a
high head is being forced out to sea where the foot is afloat. It will
continue to advance until the effect of the rollers on the floating
mass of ice overcomes the tensile strength of the ice and it breaks
away. If we assume that twenty (20) years represent this period (it may
be a multiple of a smaller period), then this gives an advance per year
of about two hundred and twenty (220) feet.


From Cooper Bay to Bird Island the rocks seen by the writer were
of sedimentary origin. They are of the nature of grits, tuffs and
phyllites. To the east of Cooper Bay the rocks are igneous. The
basement is of a basic nature, with flows, at least two in number,
over it. Back from Cooper Bay, and just east of the contact with the
sediments, there is a small stock of a more acid rock, which has been
called a syenite.

A provisional table is here drawn up to show the relative age
relations, with the more recent at the top:


     Epidosite            }
     Spilite              } Doleritic dykes cutting these.
     Gabbro               }


     Quartz diorite stock
     Gabbro                  Complex system of dykes.


     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

_Tectonic Movements_

The sedimentary rocks have been subject to considerable folding and
faulting. From the direction of the folds and the general trend of the
line of schistosity it would appear that the pressure had come from the
S.S.W. or N.N.E.


A few fossils of a very indefinite character were obtained, and are now
being worked out.[16] Provisionally it may be said that one, a fossil
plant probably of the Araucaria type, points to an age not older than
lower carboniferous.

ELEPHANT ISLAND.—_Lat. 61° S. Long. 55° W._

This is one of the easterly islands in the Powell group of the South
Shetlands, and was only landed on at two points, Lookout Harbour and
Minstrel Bay.


The features of Elephant Island probably are similar to what those of
South Georgia were before the intense glacial erosion sculptured the
island as already described.

  [Illustration: POWELL GROUP

It is a plateau 300 feet at the rim, but rising gently towards the
interior. It appeared to be covered by an ice sheet, and the same may
be said of Clarence Island, which lies a few miles to the eastward;
only in the latter case there was a definite cliff of ice visible above
the rock face.

The glaciers were more of the hanging than of the valley type.
Especially was this so on the west coast.


The rock specimens collected and the little mapping which was done
indicate that the island is composed mostly of sedimentary rocks which
have been much metamorphosed. Phyllites predominated, but various
schists, slates and banded limestones were also seen.

ZAVODOVSKI.—_Lat. 56° S. Long. 27° W._

This island, the most northerly in the South Sandwich group, was not
landed on by the members of the _Quest_, and the following observations
from the ship must be considered only probable and in no way certain.

The island is of volcanic origin, rising as a cone from the sea. The
upper levels were not seen by us, but the height of the summit is given
by Bellingshausen as 1,200 feet. The cliff rises vertically from the
sea about 40 feet, and then there is a long, gentle slope gradually
getting steeper.

The lava flows seen on the cliff face appeared to consist of a compact
columnar basalt at the base. Above there was a line of red cinder, and
above this again what looked to be rough pahoehoe lava. A number of
clefts and vents were seen on the face of the cliff, and from these
there issued bluish fumes.

Soundings with the Kelvin were taken every half-mile or so, and the
material collected corresponds with the basalts and cinder mentioned.

It was unfortunate that we were unable to visit the other islands
in this group, for with the exception of the scanty reports of
Bellingshausen, C. A. Larsen and a German expedition, the geology and
natural history are practically unknown, and the existing charts are
not by any means complete.

of Natural History.

Rock fragments washed from material dredged at 19 fathoms off
Zavodovski, South Sandwich group, 20/1/22.

The sample consisted of a few grammes of rounded black pellets varying
in diameter from 1 to 5 mm. They consisted of the following:

     Ten dense black glassy basalts. All appear free of olivine. Some
     are crowded with minute laths of plagioclase; others contain fewer
     minute laths but show a few small phenocrysts of plagioclase, or
     of augite, or both.

     Four dense dark-brown glassy olivine-basalts, some containing many
     crystals of plagioclase, and a few crystals of olivine and augite.
     The glass is crowded densely with magnetite and sometimes with
     other undetermined microliths.

     Four rather paler basalts with holocrystalline-porphyritic
     texture. These contain very small phenocrysts of plagioclase
     and sometimes of augite, in a ground mass of very minute laths
     of felspar and grains of augite and magnetite. The texture of
     the ground mass is intergranular. One of the specimens contained
     no augite phenocrysts, but rather numerous microphenocrysts of

     Two small fragments of pale basalt-glass, deep olive-buff in
     colour. Microliths are absent in one specimen, but they are
     abundant in the other and consist of small laths of plagioclase,
     and minute prisms of augite and a few crystals of what is probably
     olivine. The felspar laths gave extinction angles of 15°, but only
     a very few measurements could be made. This material resembles
     the pale patches of glass in the palagonite tuffs of Sicily and of
     Kerguelen Land,[17] and a somewhat similar though darker coloured
     rock has been described from Schwartzenfels Hesse as vitrophyric
     basalt, and has been elegantly figured by Berwerth.[18]


GOUGH ISLAND.—_Lat. 40° S. Long. 10° W._

Gough Island lies roughly 200 miles south of the Tristan da Cunha
group. It is 8 miles long by 3 miles wide.


The island forms a monoclinal block with dip slopes to the west and
escarpments to the east. The highest point on the long ridge which runs
down the longer axis of the island is about 2,915 feet above sea level.

The west side of the ridge goes down in a long slope to the cliffs
bordering the sea.

The escarpments on the east side are cut by three or four glens.
The largest one, about half-way down the coast, gives access to the

The most striking feature, looking up the glen, is the great stock
of an acid intrusive rock, which rises to 2,270 feet. It can best be
described in the words of Scott:

     “Shooting abruptly from the dell
     Its thunder splintered pinnacle.”


The island is the result of a series of fissure flows of a basaltic
and trachytic nature. These flows have been intruded by the stock
just mentioned above, and many fissures were opened by it. These have
subsequently been filled by dykes. The rock forming the dykes is very
hard, with the result that they are now a very prominent feature, and
stand up in some cases about 50 feet above the surrounding country.
This is due, of course, to differential weathering.

It is probable that the east coast represents a fault plane, but as
the erosion has been great, direct evidence is wanting. Apart from this
fault no faulting nor folding was observed.


     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Wilkins._]

  [Illustration: GIANT PETREL AT NEST

     _Photo: Wilkins_]

TRISTAN DA CUNHA.—_Lat. 37° S. Long. 12° W._

  [Illustration: TRISTAN da CUNHA]


Tristan is an island octagonal in plan, about 8 miles across. It rises
as a prism for about 2,000 feet, and then tapers off as a cone to about
6,400 feet above sea level. The crater is now filled with water, and at
that level is about 200 feet across. The rainfall on the upper slopes
is very great, and they are deeply eroded. At the foot of the cliff, on
the northern shore, there is a gently sloping lava plain, upon which
the settlement is situated. In extent it is about 3½ miles long by
half a mile wide. About midway between the extremities there are a few
small craters rising above the plain. The plain is grass clothed, and
the upper slopes are covered in moss, bracken and scrub trees. This
vegetation continues up to about 4,000 feet, above which point the
rocks are bare.


The island consists of a great series of lava flows which have poured
from the volcano, and are of the nature of scoriæ, cinder, trachyte and
basalt in succeeding and alternating layers. As is so common on these
volcanic islands, the lower lava is generally a hard, compact basalt
showing rough columnar structure.

Only one section was observed, which is placed below, but there is
good reason to believe that to the west, in the neighbourhood of Swain
Bay, more complex conditions exist, as many samples of bombs of a rock
carrying large crystals of felspar and hornblende and other coarse
grained rocks were given to the writer by some of the islanders, who
stated that they came from this locality.

     Preliminary note by W. Campbell Smith, M.C., M.A., on the samples
     given by islanders at Tristan da Cunha and reported to have come
     from the neighbourhood of Swain Bay. The specimens can be grouped
     in four types:

     (1) Rocks with felspar almost _nil_. Probably consist mainly
     hornblende and pyroxene, with perhaps some olivine, apatite and

     (2) Rocks with a little felspar and characterized by large
     poikilitic plates of hornblende. These contain abundant pyroxene,
     and some olivine, apatite and magnetite.

     (3) Rocks with long, thin blades of hornblende in a fine-grained
     matrix of labradorite, and with some patches of black “glass”
     and abundant minute prisms of apatite. In hand specimens these
     look like dyke-rocks, but I think the texture and the patches of
     magnetite show that they are segregations.

     (4) Coarse-grained rocks with perhaps more felspar than
     hornblende. Hornblende in large crystals in a matrix of
     labradorite. The texture is coarser than in the preceding type.
     Felspars reach 2 or 3 mm. in diameter. The hornblende includes
     some small crystals of yellow pyroxene. Apatite and magnetite are
     given abundant.

All four types appear to be closely inter-related. They contain the
same minerals in varying proportions and probably grade one into the

The obsidian and the pieces of red glass are basalt glass, and are
probably similar to the specimen described by Renard in the Report on
the _Challenger_ Collection, p. 82. He states that the inhabitants use
the rock for striking fire.


     _Elevations._  _Rock provisionally named._       _Remarks._


     6,400          Scoriæ and vesicular basalt.    Forming summit.
     6,200-5,700    Loose scoriæ and bombs.           Crater cone.
     5,700-5,500    Basalt.
     5,000-4,550    Trachy-basalt.
     4,400          Vesicular basalt.
     4,300          Trachytic agglomerate.
     4,250          Compact basalt.
     4,150          Red scoriæ.
     3,950          Basalt.
     3,750          Scoriæ.
     3,600          Scoriæ and basalt.                 A contact.
     3,520          Basalt and scoriæ.                 A contact.
     3,420          Scoriæ and basalt.                 A contact.
     3,220          Grey basalt.
                  (Break in the observations).
     1,200          Basalt and scoriæ. A contact.
                  (Break in the observations).
                                              {This rock is used for
       225          Basalt.                   { building the dwellings
                                              { by the inhabitants.
       223          Cinder.
       222          Scoriæ.
       220          Tuff.
       216          Agglomerate.

     To sea         Compact basalt.                  Rough columnar
     level.                                            structure.

A number of vapour vents were observed at different points.

It is apparent that the small craters mentioned above as existing on
the settlement plain sprang up after the main period of eruption when
the island was built.

To the west and about 22 miles from Tristan there are the four
islands—Nightingale, Middle, Stoltenhoff and Inaccessible.



This island, which is the most southerly of the group, is rectangular
in plan, one mile by three-quarters. High cliffs bound the south, east
and west sides. The northern slopes descend gradually to the sea, where
they terminate in cliffs about 30 feet high.

The highest point is on the east side of the island, and is about 1,000
feet above sea level. It is connected by a low featured col to the high
land to the south-west. To the west, that is, towards the interior of
the island, there is a depressed area which now has a small pond in
it. It is probable that this was once the crater from which the lavas

  [Illustration: NIGHTINGALE IS]


One day only was available for work on this island, and orders were
that the supposed guano deposits which were reported at the north side
were to be examined. These deposits are of no economic value, and an
analysis is here appended.

     _Certificate of Analysis._

               Ogston and Moore,
               Analytical Chemists,
               89 Aldgate, London.
               July 28, 1922.

     _Guano from Nightingale Island._

               Moisture                              72.12
               Organic matter and ammonia salts      24.70
               Phosphoric acid                       _nil_
               Lime                                  _nil_
               Magnesia, alkalies, etc.               1.60
               Silicious matter                       1.58

     _Guano from Cave on Middle Island._

               Moisture                            17.00
               Organic matter and ammonia salts    15.15
               Phosphoric acid                      3.85
               Lime                                 5.10
               Magnesia, alkalies, etc.            10.20
               Silicious matter                    48.70

The rocks, however, appeared to be in general of a trachytic nature.



Middle Island lies less than half a mile to the north of Nightingale.
It is in plan about a quarter of a mile square, and rises to a height
of about 200 feet. It is flat-topped, with minor depressions.


There have been questions asked as to the origin of Middle Island,
and to the writer, who had this in mind when visiting the island, the
following were the reasons for its existence.

The trachytic flows from Nightingale probably extended at one time
about a mile farther to the north than the present northern shore
of Nightingale. This is evidenced by the trachytic agglomerate and
trachyte seen on Middle. Following this there was an effusion of a
hard, compact lava from a neck which exists on the latter island. The
border of the neck is marked by a breccia. The dykes emanating from
this lava are not seen on Nightingale, but some of the rocks which
infest the channel between the islands are probably their eroded
remains. The action of the sea on the mass of altered trachyte between
Middle and Nightingale Islands has in the course of time cut a channel


It is not possible to land on this island, as it rises sheer from
the sea to about 200 feet. It is flat-topped, and in area about 500
yards by 150 yards. The rock of which it is composed appears to be of
a trachytic nature, and may be the northern limit of the flow’s from
Nightingale, which have already been mentioned; it may, however, be a
centre of activity, such as is described as existing on Middle Island.



Eleven miles to the N.N.W. from Stoltenhoff is this island, which is
the most northerly one of the group. In plan it is pear-shaped, being
about 3 miles by 2½.

In its general features it is a basin, being a great caldera, the
south-east side of which has been blown out. A cone rises to about
1,500 feet towards the north-east of the depressed central area. The
interior is broken country clothed in verdure, and on account of the
high rim, which affords protection from the winds, would be suitable
for human habitation. A stream winds through the interior, finally
falling in a beautiful cascade to the beach at the north-east shore,
where a landing is easily made if the wind is not from the north.

  [Illustration: Inaccessible Island]


The central cone is a mass of scoriæ, and the section from here to the
sea near the waterfall shows that there have been successive flows of
basalt and trachyte. The high cliffs to the west of the landing are cut
by a series of parallel dykes, which are an outstanding feature.



These lie just north of the equator, almost midway between Africa and
Brazil. These rocks are almost unique in occurrence, for, as Charles
Darwin remarks in his journal, “Its mineralogical constitution is not
simple.... It is a remarkable fact that all the many small islands,
lying far from any continent, with the exception of the Seychelles
and this little point of rock, are composed either of coral or erupted

The St. Paul’s Rocks are a group of eight or nine small rocky islands,
the largest of which is only about 350 feet long by 150 feet wide. This
island and the most northerly were the only ones where a landing was

  [Illustration: Sketch Map of St Paul’s Rocks]

The whole of the southerly portion of the main island is composed of
a highly weathered rock which has thin veinlets of serpentine cutting
through it. Running in a north and south direction, and in places
dragged and folded and cutting this formation, there is a dyke, which
stands up prominently from the main country rock. About 30 yards to the
east the rock is cut by a series of irregular interlacing narrow dykes
having the appearance of old concrete. The ground mass is hard and
to the eye amorphous. It contains rounded pebbles and possibly shell

Towards the centre of the main island the rock formation changes
abruptly to a compact glassy green rock, probably a peridotite. It has
developed a jointing, and but for the conglomerate forms the remainder
of the island and possibly the other islands as well, because the
country rock on the north island is of a similar nature.

Along the inside of the central basin at two points there occurs a
conglomerate—pebbles ranging from 3 inches in diameter to a fraction of
an inch cemented in a matrix.

Towards the north end there is a fault which crosses the island in a
N.W. and S.E. direction, and parallel to which there is a dark, rusty

In two or three places on the main island, one of which is near this
fault, there are small pot holes. There was a rounded boulder in each,
and probably, as the sea comes swirling in at high tide, a rotary
motion is given to the boulder and the pot hole develops.

The general formation of the islands might be described as a stock
of glassy peridotite which has risen from the bed of the ocean and of
which only the highest points are now visible.


The above islands were called at and examined, but as the geology has
already been described by others who had more time at their disposal,
no new light was thrown on them. The visits, however, were valuable in
that they will enable the writer to compare the conditions existing at
these places with the seldom visited islands already above described.


In collaboration with the hydrographer, material from the sea floor
was obtained by soundings in various localities. This material is
being examined microscopically, and its physical properties are being
determined (specific gravity, gradation of sizes, radioactivity, etc.).


The general reader is reminded that the geological observations
recorded here are in no way complete. Much detailed work is necessary
on these various islands before the full record can be written. Nature
has laid open the story of her history to the careful investigator, but
from the casual one she withholds the deeper meaning.


The writer wishes in conclusion to thank the following for their hearty
co-operation, which made the above results possible:

     Capt. G. H. Wilkins, M.C., F.R.G.S.
     Major C. R. Carr, D.F.C.
     Messrs. Dell, Argles and Marr.

The work at South Georgia would have been impossible but for the kind
assistance of the managers of the whaling companies:

     The De Pesca Company, of Buenos Aires
     The Southern Whaling Company (Lever Bros.)
     The Tönsberg Company, of Norway
     The Westfahl Company, of Norway
     The Salvesen Company, of Leith, Scotland

The excellent surveying instruments which were so kindly lent by
Messrs. Troughton and Simms proved invaluable under all conditions.

Thanks are specially due to Mr. John Quiller Rowett, LL.D., without
whose generous support the expedition would have been impossible.



Soon after leaving England numbers of landbirds were seen about the
ship. In position lat. 43° 52´ S. and 11° 51´ W. long, we saw a heron
passing overhead, steering in a S.S.E. direction towards the northern
coast of Africa. After leaving Lisbon on the way to Madeira, numbers of
robins, wrens, doves, larks and sparrows flew aboard in an exhausted
condition. They were captured, measured and their colourings noted,
afterwards given food and water, and allowed to go free. One dove
that came near the ship was so exhausted that it fell several times
into the sea, which was very choppy. We expected it to drown, but on
each occasion it rose from the break of the wave and finally settled
on the topsail yard, where it rested and dried itself, and finally
set off with renewed vigour in the direction of land. Mother Carey’s
Chickens joined us soon after our start, and we were rarely without
them throughout the voyage.

At St. Vincent we collected specimens of vultures, mostly black or dark
brown, but some were white with black markings. A few crows, larks
and other small birds were seen. A white owl was presented to the
naturalist by one of the residents. The species is not common to the
island, but is reported to have been seen after high winds blowing from
the mainland.

In latitude 60° 26´ N. we were surrounded by a particularly large
school of porpoises, and secured one by harpooning it from the
bowsprit. It was a male, 7 feet 7 inches in length, and the stomach
contained the remains of 5 squids and 114 octopus beaks.

We visited St. Paul’s Rocks on November 8th, when two species of birds
were found to be nesting: the Noddy Tern and the Booby. The Noddy Tern
(_Anous stolidus_) is shy, and few except those with young remained
on the island. We collected some of their eggs, many of them addled.
The young were almost fully fledged, but each was attended by the
parent bird, which stayed to defend it. These birds varied largely in
colourings, chiefly in the degrees of white and lavender grey of the
forehead and back of the neck, the lighter phase being the more common.
Nests were built roughly to a height of from 12 to 15 cm., and composed
largely of seaweed and guano. Built-up nests predominated, but several
eggs and young were found in depressions in the broken rocks. The Brown
Gannet, or Booby (_Sula leucogastra_), is so called from its stupid
expression. The nests consisted of rocks, a few feathers and guano,
or merely depressions in the rock. We collected some eggs and several
young ones in all stages, from one which was newly hatched, without
down or feathers and eyes closed, to those which were almost fully
fledged. The nests are so set in the irregular and sloping surfaces
that the birds continually foul each other, the young especially
becoming very filthy in this way. They live largely, if not entirely,
on flying fish, and gorge themselves so heavily with them that when
taking flight on our going amongst them each bird disgorged one, two or
three fish in different stages of digestion.

Crabs abound on the rocks. They are very active and nimble, and at the
approach of man scramble into crevices. They are able to jump, and on
several occasions were seen to gather their legs under them and leap
squarely forward a distance of two or three feet. Some grow to large
size and develop powerful claws, but apparently they make no attempt to
seize the birds, the chicks or the eggs. When the adult bird disgorged
on rising, the crabs hastened to seize the flying fish, and, tearing
them to pieces, crammed them voraciously into their jaws. There is a
lagoon in the middle of the rocks, the floor of which is covered with
marine plants of many varieties, whilst fish swim to and fro in great
numbers. Sharks, varying in length from four to eight feet, swarmed in
it, and we harpooned several. The stomachs of most of them were empty,
and the others contained only a few squids. A full description of the
fish of St. Paul’s Rocks will be found elsewhere. Numerous specimens of
all species were taken from the rocks and preserved for sending to the

We left Rio de Janeiro on January 18th for South Georgia. During this
part of the journey we were followed by stormy petrels, Wilson petrels,
wandering albatross, mollymauks, Cape pigeons, Cape hens, sooty
albatross, and saw several terns. As we neared the island we observed
penguins, skua gulls and giant petrels, and, as we passed along the
coast, prions, diving petrels and dominican gulls.

The whaling stations of South Georgia are visited by many varieties
of seabirds, which congregate there in hundreds of thousands for the
offal which finds its way into the sea. By acting as scavengers they
serve a very useful purpose. Cape pigeons thickly cover the water for
hundreds of square yards and present a really extraordinary sight. They
chatter and squabble incessantly. Terns flit gracefully about, never
settling on the water, but making occasional short dives for morsels.
Wilson petrels flit like fairies over the surface, their feet touching,
but their bodies never entering the sea. Dominican gulls, skua gulls,
mollymauks and giant petrels also come about in hundreds, for there is
food in abundance in the harbours.

There are about twenty-four species of birds in South Georgia,
including a wagtail (_Anthus antarcticus_), which is found on the
lower slopes of the island about the beaches. The Wandering Albatross
(_Diomedea exulans_) is the most stately and graceful of all flying
birds, yet when seen ashore or at close range has a curiously foolish
expression. It nests on the grassy promontories of the main island and
on some of the smaller outlying islets. The nests are pyramidal mounds
composed of tussock grass, mud and a few feathers. The hen lays one
egg, which the parent birds take turns in incubating. The chicks are
pretty white fluffy things, which later take on a brown adult plumage.
As the bird increases in size so the brown colouring gives way to a
white phase, the very old ones being almost entirely white. The nesting
season commences about the middle of January. Wilkins observed that
inter-mating took place between birds of neighbouring nests, a male
bird wandering off to visit an already mated female. This usually
took place when the husband bird was out at sea in search of food, but
occasionally it was observed that the apparently true mate would appear
on the scene, and, discovering the intruder, would show fight, and a
battle would ensue. This, however, was never a serious matter, and was
mainly an exhibition of side-stepping, feints and vicious snaps of the
beaks, but the combatants rarely came to real pecking or blows. The
female looked on and kept up a chattering noise with the bill whilst
the fight lasted. Only once was a female seen to leave nest and egg
unprotected. In a moment a skua had swept down and thrust his beak into
the egg. The albatross does not nest on the north-east coast of South
Georgia farther south than Possession Bay.

The Sooty Albatross (_Phœbetria palpebrata_) rivals, or even excels the
“Wanderer” in gracefulness of flight. It is not very common in South
Georgia, those found being at isolated points on the north-western

The Blackbrowed Albatross, or Mollymauk, is found in two varieties
(_Thalassogeron melanophrys_ and _T. chrysostoma_). They are found
breeding at the north-western end and on the neighbouring islets.
Numbers of the former are common; of the latter, rare. Wilkins
discovered a nest and egg, and succeeded in obtaining specimens—the
first to be collected. He also cinematographed the bird on its nest.
The newly hatched chick is covered with light grey down, slightly
darker on the wings, and increasing in depth of colour with age. The
bill is a dark horn colour, the iris light brown, and the feet light

The Giant Petrel—Nellie, or Stinker—(_Ossifraga gigantea_) is found
nesting on all the grassy bluffs, but most commonly on the islets of
the Bay of Isles, amongst the “Wanderers.” They are exceedingly ugly
and ungainly, have an unpleasant smell, and their feathers are infested
with ticks.

Cape Hens (_Majaqueus aequinoctialis_) are seldom seen near land except
in the evening, when they sit at the doors of their burrows chattering
away in neighbourly fashion.

Wilson Petrels flock in great numbers about the whaling stations. They
nest in burrows.

The Diving Petrel (_Pelecanoides urinatrix_) frequents the west coast
of South Georgia in greatest numbers, but an occasional one may be
found at any place near the shore.[19]

Whale Birds (_Prion_) are very common on most of the small islands
and on some places on the main island. They live in burrows. They are
rarely seen by day, as they can only leave and return to the burrows
under cover of darkness, for they are preyed upon relentlessly by the
skua gulls. They flock out to sea in clouds just after nightfall and
return in the early morning. Those which fail to get in by daybreak
almost certainly fall victims to the rapacious skuas, which are
responsible for the death of thousands of them yearly. They lay a
single egg.

Cape Pigeons (_Daption capensis_) are the brightest and cheeriest
of all seabirds. They frequent the whaling stations in hundreds of
thousands. Their chattering and chaffering as they squabble over choice
pieces of offal goes on unceasingly all day and all night. They nest in
clefts high up in the cliff faces.

Snow Petrels (_Pagodroma nivea_) have been seen in the vicinity of the
island, but are rare.[20]

Silver-Grey Petrels (_Priocella glacialoides_) were seen during our
second visit to the island, but are also rare in this locality.

There are two varieties of skua gull: _Megalestris McCormicki_ and
_M. antarctica_. They are pirates and live by acts of piracy. All the
seabirds have in one way or another to protect themselves from their
depredations. The smaller birds live in narrow clefts or in burrows.
The larger birds, which nest in the open, have to keep a continuous
watch over nest and chick. The skua is brown coloured and has a
strong, curved, hawk-like beak. Its habits and mode of life present a
fascinating study, but space prevents a full description. Skuas make
their nests on grassy slopes about the island, and resent any approach
by strangers. Often when proceeding over the bluffs one is annoyed by
these birds, which have a disconcerting habit of circling in the air,
to descend with a swoop and a loud rush of air straight at one’s head,
clearing it by only a few inches.

The Dominican Gull (_Lartis dominicanus_) is a fine-looking
black-backed gull which nests in the tussock grass. It is found in
large numbers about the whaling station.

The Tern (_Sterna vittata_) is a prettily-marked little bird which
nests in the open, and is also found about the stations. It has a
pretty, graceful flight, and hovers continually above the surface
looking for scraps, in search of which it occasionally makes short

The Blue-Eyed Shag (_Phalacrocorax atriceps_) is found in large
numbers round the island. It is a most business-like bird, and goes
steadily about its daily work, taking very little notice of outside
interruptions. It is more prettily marked than the northern shag,
having a black back and white belly. The back of the head is black, and
carries a tuft of black feathers. The white of the belly is continued
up over the under part of the neck and head. The eye is blue coloured.
It lays two or three greenish-white eggs, and the young are covered
with a dark-coloured down. Their food is fish, which they obtain by
diving, and of which they consume an enormous number daily.

Paddies, or Sheathbills (_Chionis alba_), are not common on this
island, though a few were seen about the coast by the naturalist.

South Georgian Teal (_Nettion georgicum_) are said to be getting very
rare. A few were noticed and some specimens collected.

Falkland Island Geese—introduced by man—are also rare, and none were
seen by the naturalist.[21] The whalers say that a few are still to be
found about Cumberland Bay.

There are three species of penguin: Gentoo (_Pygoscelis papua_), King
(_Aptenodytes patagonica_), and Rockhopper (_Eudyptes Chrysolophus_).
The Gentoo is a brightly marked bird with black head and neck, black
back and white belly, yellow legs, and a white patch over each eye
that gives it a curiously inane expression. It is the most shy of the
penguins, and easily takes fright if rapidly approached. By dropping
on its breast and using both feet and flippers it can travel at
considerable speed and can dodge cleverly. It nests in tussock grass.
The King is larger than the Gentoo, and has very bright markings about
the neck and upper part of the breast. It nests in tussock grass, but
keeps nearer to the sea edge than the Gentoo. The Rockhopper is less
common than either of the others. It is smaller than the Gentoo and
resembles it somewhat in appearance except that the feet are of a more
browny yellow, the patch over the eye is lacking, and it has a tuft of
yellow and black feathers. Occasional Ringed and Adelie penguins were
noticed, but they are stragglers and not commonly seen on the island.

Sea-elephants are common on all the beaches of South Georgia during
the summer months, and are found also throughout the winter. They lie
on the beaches or in wallows amongst the clumps of tussock grass. The
smell from them is unpleasant and unmistakable. The bulls, except in
the rutting season, usually remain apart from the cows, which collect,
together with their young, into harems numbering from fifteen to fifty.
The flippers, though short, are wonderfully flexible, and have curious
little rudimentary fingers with which they scratch themselves in what
is, at times, a ludicrously human way. They are fond of heaping sand
upon themselves. When approached they make a curious windy roaring
noise, and they may often be heard trumpeting from their wallows.
Wilkins, in crossing the island, saw a sea-elephant track which led
the whole way over. It was in soft snow and was unmistakable. Many
other tracks went for a mile or so inland, but turned and came back
to the beach from which they started, and only one was found to cross
all the way. Weddell Seals come ashore in numbers, and also occasional

The managers of the whaling stations reported that whales were
plentiful during the height of the season (1921-22), though, as was
to be expected, the numbers fell off with the onset of winter. The
most numerous were humpback and blue whales, and a few sperm and
sei-whales were caught. The return of the humpback is interesting,
for in the early days of the whaling industry in 1904 and for several
years afterwards this species formed the bulk of the catch (over 90
per cent.). The numbers fell off rapidly, till in 1912-13 they formed
38 per cent.; in 1915-16, 12 per cent.; and in 1917-18, only 2.5 per
cent. It was generally considered and admitted by many of the whalers
that the decline was due to ruthless hunting, but the explanation
seems to lie in the distribution and drift of food supply. For a fuller
description of South Atlantic whales and whaling, readers are referred
to Appendix I of “South,” by Robert S. Clark, M.A., B.Sc.

During our second visit to South Georgia Mr. Hansen, the manager of
Leith Harbour Whaling Station, showed us a porpoise which had leapt
ashore. It was coloured bluey black and dirty white; total length,
53½ inches; tip of nose to blowhole, 6 inches; tip of nose to dorsal
fin, 17½ inches; tip of nose to flippers, 9 inches. It has been
provisionally determined as _Phocaena dioptrica_.

Small shore-life in South Georgia comprises flies, found along the
beaches and breeding in the semi-rotting seaweed cast up by the tide;
several forms of spiders, beetles (_Hydromedion_), mites (_Bdella_),
tiny jumping flies, and an earth worm (_Acanthrodilus_).

Vegetation ashore is very scarce, the only grass which grows in evident
quantity being the tussock grass (_Poa flabellata_). The naturalist was
able to collect specimens of plants referable to sixteen species, but
many of them were marine algae.

Seventeen reindeer which were brought to the island in the years 1911
and 1912 have increased and multiplied to such an extent that there
were about 250 when we were there, and this notwithstanding the fact
that the whalers have periodically killed numbers for food. Wilkins
examined the stomachs of some that were killed, and found them normal
in size, not distended, as usually happens when the food is of poor

The _Quest_ left South Georgia on January 18th, 1922. A few miles out
from the coast we passed thousands of whale birds (_Prion_) feeding
on the surface of the water, probably upon crustaceæ, which were
so plentiful that the sea was highly coloured. Cape pigeons, Wilson
petrels, sooty albatross and a number of mollymauks came about the
ship, but wandering albatross were conspicuously absent at this stage.
On the second day we met snow petrels (_Pagodroma nivea_), which
remained intermittently with us till our return to South Georgia.

On January 20th we visited Zavodovski Island. The slopes were covered
with Ringed penguins, and the beaches under the glaciers were occupied
by a number of King penguins. Fumes were issuing from caves on the
eastern side of the island, and it was noticed that the penguins kept
clear of them. Many Giant petrels flew round the ship, and a number
were seen resting ashore. Cape pigeons, Wilson petrels and a blue
petrel were noticed in the vicinity of the island. As we turned farther
south prions became more scarce, but Wilson petrels and Cape pigeons
kept up in numbers. The light-mantled sooty albatross seen in these
areas was conspicuously light-phased, and became markedly so in the
more southern latitudes. Silver-grey petrels (_Priocella glacialoides_)
were first seen in lat. 57° S. and 15° E. long. They were observed
throughout the voyage till we returned to South Georgia, where the
naturalist obtained some specimens.

In lat. 58° S. we met the Antarctic petrel (_Thalassoeca antarctica_).
They occurred in groups of ten or fifteen, but never in large numbers,
as seen in the Ross Sea. In this latitude also an occasional Sooty
petrel (_Oestrelata macroptera_) was seen, and a species of whale bird,
classed temporarily by the naturalist as _Prion desolatus_. We saw a
Cape hen in lat. 61° S., and a Giant petrel after we had crossed the
circle; the latter is very rare in the Antarctic proper. One of the
latter seen in 67° S. had a very white phase.

In lat. 68° S. Arctic terns were noticed. Some of them were already
(on February 8th) beginning to change their plumage, the dark cap in
many cases being streaked with grey. Emperor Penguins (_Aptenodytes
Forsteri_) were seen in numbers south of lat. 67° S., but, taken on
the whole, were not common throughout the trip. They are the “farthest
south” penguins. Numbers of cheery little Adelies were seen in greatest
numbers near “Ross’s Appearance of Land.” Crab-eater Seals (_Lobodon
carcinophagus_) were seen in large numbers about the pack edge,
especially in those parts where the ice showed marked diatomaceous
bands. Often as many as a dozen of these seals were seen on a single
small floe heaving up and down on the swell. Killer whales were present
in numbers at the time we were in the pack, and were frequently seen in
the open leads. The Crab-eaters, on the other hand, seemed to avoid the
larger leads of open water. On February 13th we had occasion to kill a
number of Crab-eaters, when each female was found to be pregnant, the
fœtus varying in length from one to three inches. Sea-leopards were
seen, but were rare.

We visited Elephant Island on March 28th, and effected landings at Cape
Lookout and on a narrow beach at the western end of the northern coast.
Animal life is scarce, and plants are confined to a lichen, which
grows on some of the rocks on the sides facing north, and a species of
moss. The bird life consists of Gentoo, Ringed and Rockhopper penguins,
the latter being very scarce; seabirds, including Cape pigeons, Skua
gulls, Dominican gulls, Blue-eyed shags (all of them plentiful), and
Mollymauks and Giant petrels (more rare). The Paddy, or Sheathbill
(_Chionis alba_), is plentiful.

The Ringed penguins made their rookeries on steep rock-faces close
to the sea, and spent many patient hours in climbing up and down
from their positions, hopping carefully from ledge to ledge. The
Gentoos selected easier slopes. Rarely a Gentoo was found in a Ringed
rookery, but Ringed were found fairly frequently among the Gentoos.
The Paddies haunted the rookeries, their food being obtained largely
from the excreta of penguins, from which they pick small round worms
or nematodes, with which the penguins are infested. The stomach
and intestines of the Paddies themselves are wonderfully free from
parasites. They eat readily of any offal which may be lying about.
Those which remained during the winter were very thin, due to the
departure of the majority of penguins. Numerous seals and sea-elephants
were lying on the beaches. On the rocks are dark-shelled limpets
(_Patella polaris_), which never come above low-water mark; no doubt
they would freeze to death in the colder air.

We returned to South Georgia on April 6th, and left for Tristan
da Cunha on May 9th. During the voyage we saw Wandering Albatross,
two Sooty Albatross (_P. palpebrata_ and _P. fusca_), mollymauks,
Silver-Grey petrels (_Priocella glacialoides_), Wilson petrels,
Giant petrels, Diving petrels, several varieties of prions, Cape
hens, Cape pigeons, Terns, Skua gulls and Shearwaters. As we neared
Tristan da Cunha we lost _Phoebetria palpebrata_, and the only kind
of Sooty Albatross seen was _P. fusca_. The islands of the Tristan
da Cunha group are so close together that the animal life is similar
to them all. The naturalist found eggs of the following: The yellow
billed mollymauk (_Thalassogeron chlororynchus_), greater Shearwater
(_Puffinus gravis_), Rockhopper Penguin (_Eudyptes chrysocome_) and
_Catharacta antarctica_. The evidence of the islanders regarding the
bird life of the islands is as follows (birds are recognized by general
description and plates): Wandering Albatross used to breed on Tristan,
but now only found rarely on Inaccessible Island. Sooty Albatross (_P.
fusca_) nests in August. Young birds leave the nest in April (the young
of _P. palpebrata_ were hatched on January 15th at South Georgia).

Yellow-nosed mollymauks (_T. chlororynchus_) nest in August. Young
birds leave the nest in April (the young of _T. chrysostoma_ were
hatched on January 1st in South Georgia).

_Oestrelata macroptera_ moults in May, lays in July.

_Oestrelata mollis_ lays in November.

_Pachyptila vittata Keyteli_ lays in September.

_Priofinus cinereus_ lays in May and June.

_Sterna vittata_ lays in November.

_Stercorarius antarcticus_ lays in August.

_Anous stolidus_ arrives in September, lays in November, but goes away
for the winter.

_Eudyptes chrysocome_ moults and leaves the island in March, comes
again in August, and lays in September.

A thrush (_Nesocichla eremita_) and a finch (_Nesospiza acunhae_) are
found on Inaccessible Island, but seem to have left Tristan.

Wilson petrels, Cape hens, Cape pigeons and gulls are not often seen
and do not nest on the island. A diving petrel is frequently seen, but
no eggs have been found. With regard to sea-life, fish abound in plenty
in the kelp about the island. The naturalist had little opportunity for
a collection of specimens. The following is the list given by Mrs. K.
M. Barrow, who spent three years on the island:[22]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

Blue-fish, Snoek (_Thyrsites atun_), Mackerel (_Scomber colias_), Five
finger (_Chilodactylus fasciatus Lac_), Soldier-fish, Craw-fish and
Klip-fish. The southern blue whale is occasionally seen, as are also
seals and sea-elephants. Sharks are common, and several were caught
from the ship whilst lying off Nightingale and Inaccessible Islands.

We arrived at Gough Island on May 27th. At first sight it appears as
a green island clothed in verdure. As we approached the western side
we saw a number of birds, prions, wandering albatross, mollymauks, a
diving petrel, skua gulls and terns. Both _Phoebetria cornicoides_ and
_P. fusca_ were seen. After rounding south-west and south points few
birds were seen except skua gulls and terns, and they were not common.
No albatross were seen on the eastern side during the whole of our
visit. Just after passing south-east point Wilkins saw what he thought
was a noddy tern (_Anous stolidus_), which was previously reported as
visiting the island. Immediately on landing on the Glen beach buntings
(_Nesospiza goughensis_) came tamely about, but did not let themselves
be caught by hand. Numbers were seen feeding on flies, which swarmed
in the decaying seaweed, and also inland, where they were seen on the
stems of tussock grass or clinging to the branches of the tea plant
(_Chenopodium tomentosum_). They were found everywhere up to the level
of the thicker vegetation, which ends at about 2,000 feet. There are
two types: one, black-throated and mouse-coloured; the other, light and
dark brown, with yellowish markings. They were feeding together, and
seen to be in about equal numbers and of equal size.

On every part of the island visited the sharp “Chuck! chuck!” of water
hens could be heard, and several were shot for specimens. They were
shy, and at sight of man hastened in amongst the tussock grass, where
it was impossible to see them. The frontal shield is bright red; bill
and feet, bright yellow; plumage, black and cinnamon. All parts of
the Glen which gave a sufficient depth of earth and which were not
overgrown with trees were honeycombed with the burrows of different
kinds of petrels. They did not come out by daylight, but their croaking
frequently betrayed them, and in this way several specimens were added
to the collection, These included _Priofinus cinereus_ and broad-billed
prions (_Pachyptila vittata Keyteli_). At night a large fire was
lighted on the beach, and several specimens were shot as they flew
inwards through the light. Some of them fell into the tussock grass,
and in the dark could not be found. In the morning, when taken up, they
were seen to have been almost entirely picked to pieces and eaten by
mice, which swarmed in large numbers at the foot of the Glen. These
mice are the ordinary _Mus musculus_, and were no doubt introduced by
earlier landing parties. On several parts of the island were large
penguin rookeries, deserted at this time of year except for a few
straggling Rockhoppers (_Eudyptes chrysocome_). The thrush, common on
Nightingale and Inaccessible Islands, was not seen at all on Gough
Island. No albatross or mollymauk nests were seen, but there might
have been some on the north-west side, which is the most exposed to the
winds, and thus most likely to be selected by these birds.

The collection of birds from Gough Island numbered over fifty
specimens, referable to nine species:

_Garrodia Nereis Chubbi_ (Matthews), which was shot as it flew over the
light of the camp fire.

_Priofinus cinereus_, found in burrows on the hill.

_Oestrelata mollis_ (Gould), found in burrows near the beach. Their
croakings could be heard all night.

_Pachyptila vittata Keyteli_ (Matthews), found as above. From the noise
they were making there must have been many in the neighbourhood of the

_Stercorarius antarcticus_ (Lesson). Skuas were not common, and only
about twenty were seen during the visit.

_Sterna vittata_ (Reich). Many terns were seen, both in adult and
juvenile plumage.

_Nesospiza Goughensis_ (Eagle Clarke). Birds of this type were brought
back by the Scotia and described by Eagle Clarke, Orn. Report Scottish
Nat. Antarctic Expedition. They have been classed as two species,
but from examination of the twenty-eight specimens in the _Quest_
collection it is thought that these birds are of one species, and the
difference in plumage can be accounted for by age. (N.B. See paper by
Mr. P. R. Lowe, M.B.O.U.)

_Gallinula_ or _Porphyriornis Comeri_ (Allen). This water-hen is common
on Gough Island, but is not seen on Tristan da Cunha. Some of the
islanders say they have seen it on the western side of Inaccessible

_Eudyptes chrysocome._ Only two or three were seen.

Gough Island gives an impression from the sea of almost tropical
greenness, and on landing at the Glen one has much the same impression,
for the slopes and hillsides are thickly covered with vegetation.
Trees, tree ferns and tussock grass are most abundant, whilst the
rocks and cliff faces are covered with mosses and lichens. The trees
are the Island Tree (_Phylica nitida_). An interesting discovery was
made by the geologist of a grove of trees of a different sort. They
were in the “little glen” on the southern side of Archway Rock, and
he describes them as “growing as if planted in an orchard,” reaching
a height of four to five metres and spreading to four metres or more.
It has since been identified as a variety of _Sophora tetraptera_ J.
Mull, var. nov. _Goughensis_. About the beach there is a luxuriant
growth of dock (_Rumex fructescens_ and _Rumex Obtusifolius_). There
was also a wild celery, which was found by comparison to differ
considerably from the type species from Tristan da Cunha (Thouars
Fl. Trist. p. 43 _Apium Australe_). This plant was also collected
by the _Scotia_, and after an examination of the specimens, as well
as those from the _Quest_, it has been decided to name it as a new
species, _Apium Goughensis_. In the sheltered parts of the cliffs
were several varieties of maidenhair fern (_Adiantum aethiopicum_);
mosses and lichens were everywhere. On the flat ground bordering the
beach grew a thick covering of grasses, mostly dwarfed _Scirpus sp._,
with here and there some bunches of _Agrostis ramulosa_. Thistles and
_Gnaphalium_ grew rankly near the edge of the penguin rookeries. The
wild tea plant (_Chenopodium tomentosum_) flourished luxuriantly. The
small _Hydrocotyle_ (most probably _leucophalica_), though dwarfed
by its environment, was noticed by its distinctive leaf. The thicker
vegetation grew to a level of about 2,000 feet, when most of it ceased.
At this level the cranberry in its southern temperate form (_Empetrum
nigrum_ var. _rubrum_) grows abundantly. At this season of the year
(June 1st) it was loaded with bright red fruit. _Lycopodium_ was
found by the naturalist at the highest level attained by him, but in a
dwarfed condition. _Agrostis ramulosa_ and _A. media_ seemed to thrive
at higher levels. _Cotula Goughensis_, a new species described by Dr.
Rudmose Brown of the _Scotia_, which grows to a height of 30 cm. near
the beach, is dwarfed to 5 or 6 cm. on the higher slopes. Only closely
related forms were noticed at the higher levels, but a longer period
ashore and a more careful and prolonged search at these levels might
produce something new. In all thirty specimens referable to nineteen
species were collected. Of these, three were not in the collection
made by the naturalists of the _Scotia_, but they collected several
species not collected by us. Two of the new specimens are of plants
common to the Tristan da Cunha group. _Sophora tetraptera_ had not been
previously collected, though Mr. Comer, who was amongst one of the
earliest parties to visit the island, described two different types of
trees. The members of the _Scotia_, whose visit, owing to bad weather,
was very hurried, not finding the second tree, decided that the tree
fern (_Lomaria boryana_) was meant.

We left Gough Island for Cape Town on June 1st. We saw several kinds of
petrels, Wandering albatross, Cape pigeons, many shearwaters (_Puffinus
gravis_ and _Priofinus cinereus_), and two species of mollymauk,
black-browed and yellow-nosed, in juvenile plumage with a showing
of grey under the throat, were observed. Several attempts were made
to catch a specimen with a grey marking on the throat, but without
success. It appeared to resemble the mollymauk described by Dr. Harvey
Pirie and Mr. Eagle Clarke, but identification was impossible whilst
it was on the wing. Several dark-brown petrels, probably _Oestrelata
macroptera_, were seen. A number of Sooty albatross which came about
the ship had white spots on the head and shoulder. Attempts were
made to hook one with a fishing line, but failed. As we approached
South Africa albatross of a darker phase and a number of mollymauks
with dark-grey heads and throats were seen, probably the young of
_Thalassogeron chlororynchus_. Nearer land many gannets were noticed
diving into the sea.

This report[23] cannot be regarded as an exhaustive account of the
natural history work of the expedition, being merely a résumé of
the naturalist’s provisional report. Much work still requires to
be done before the full value of the collections can be estimated.
The collection, especially of birds, is a large one, and has added
considerably to the material already available in the museums.
Several new species and varieties have been provisionally determined.
Throughout the whole period of the expedition conditions were never
favourable for natural history work, and change of plan compelled
that many of the parts should be visited in mid-winter instead of in
summer, with consequent disadvantages as regards weather and landing
facilities. The amount of material brought home reflects great credit
on Captain Wilkins as a collector and on his assistants.

     NOTE.—At the time of going to press I learn that one of the
     buntings taken from Inaccessible and Nightingale Islands has been
     determined as a new species, and that the larger Gough Island
     finch is a new genus. The latter is being named —— _Rowettia_,
     after Mr. Rowett.




Meteorological observations made at one single station are of little
value by themselves. Their full value lies in the possibility of
their being correlated with observations made contemporaneously at
other stations in neighbouring parts of the world. Particularly is
this so where the station is a moving one, as in the case of the
_Quest_. Consequently no attempt can be made here to draw any general
conclusions from the observations which were made on the voyage.

The complete meteorological logs have been handed over to the Marine
Meteorological Section of the Air Ministry, as, with all the material
that they can collect from ships all over the world, that body is in a
position to make the best use of our results.


     _Photo: Wilkins_]



     _Photo: Wilkins_]


     _Photo: Dr. Macklin_]

At the outset of the expedition the Air Ministry very kindly gave
us every assistance, and lent us a great deal of apparatus and many
instruments on the understanding that they would be allowed to use the
information that we gathered. This arrangement has been carried out,
and we hope that among the many scientific results of the expedition
we have been able to add one link to the chain of observations which is
being made daily all round the world, and so we may have justified our

The instruments used consisted of the following:

(_a_) Two standard ships’ screens, in each of which were a wet and
dry bulb thermometer. These were placed one on each side of the
bridge, well exposed and as far as possible away from any draughts
and convection currents from galley and engine-room. The readings were
taken from the screen on the weather side.

(_b_) A marine-pattern mercury barometer, hung in the gyroscope-compass
room, which was also used to check the ship’s aneroid which was placed
in the wheel-house.

(_c_) A barograph, which was, however, of little use owing to the bad
weather that we experienced and the continual rolling and pitching of
the ship.

(_d_) Several sea thermometers and hydrometers for surface work.

(_e_) Various equipment, such as kites, balloons and meteorographs,
which were taken for experimental purposes.

Complete observations were taken every four hours of air and sea
temperatures, humidity, pressure, wind, direction and form of clouds,
etc., in the usual ship’s meteorological log.

Except when the ship was in port, where permanent stations existed,
these observations were carried out continuously during the whole of
the voyage, making roughly about two thousand odd sets of observations
in all.

Although no general conclusion can yet be drawn from these
observations, a general summary of the weather conditions experienced
by the _Quest_ may be of interest.

As far as actual wind _force_ is concerned, the first part of the
journey, to Lisbon, was uneventful, except for a short but heavy gale
when off the Bay of Biscay. This gale lasted at its height for about
eight hours, after which it gradually eased off. It was accompanied by
a sudden very marked fall in the barometer, but no corresponding change
in the wind, which was blowing from the south all the time.

The day after leaving Lisbon, when well out to sea, a large waterspout
was observed only about a mile away westward.

From now onwards, until after leaving St. Vincent, the wind was steady
but weak, never once approaching gale force. The north-east Trades,
even, almost failed us, and were of very little assistance indeed.

This state of affairs continued till we reached Rio de Janeiro, and it
was after leaving this port on December 18th, 1921, that our troubles
from the weather commenced.

Two days before Christmas, 1921, a very calm sea and still, damp
air, with the horizon obscured, gave us fears for the future. That
these were only too well founded was proved next day, when, with a
steadily falling barometer and an equally steadily rising sea, the
wind increased from the south. The sky became overcast and intense
squalls followed each other in rapid succession. Conditions became
worse during the next three days, and on the following two days,
December 29th and 30th, the wind blew with hurricane force. Huge seas
threatened to swamp the ship, the helm was lashed, and everyone except
Sir Ernest and Captain Wild were sent below. Sir Ernest said that never
in all his life had he seen such mountainous seas. Oil-bags were hung
out, and we ran before the storm. On the fifth day conditions seemed
to improve, but it was only a temporary lull, and a storm of equal
violence succeeded this, lasting for two days. This gale lasted in all
over seven days, and during most of this time it was rarely possible to
cook a proper meal or, indeed, keep one’s balance on deck at all; and
the mere taking of the observations under these circumstances entailed
a pretty thorough soaking. Fortunately a barographic curve was obtained
during the whole of this storm, and it shows in a striking way the
sudden rapid fall in atmospheric pressure which occurred during this

There was not a dry spot left on the ship, and the hydrograph and
maximum and minimum thermometers were encrusted with salt from the
seas, which even washed over the upper bridge where these instruments
were placed.

January, 1922, gave promise of fair weather, and as far as wind was
concerned that promise was fulfilled. The voyage from South Georgia
down to the pack was marked by one or two gales of moderate severity,
with the sky almost continuously overcast. Close, heavy pack seemed
nearly always associated with fine, clear weather and southerly
winds, while the reverse obtained as the wind veered to the opposite
direction. When actually frozen in and drifting with the pack the
weather was generally fine.

The lowest temperature experienced was 6°F. on March 15th in latitude
63° 45´ S. and longitude 45° 12´ W., and again on March 16th and
17th in about the same position. At these temperatures—26° below
freezing—the water round the wet-bulb was frozen, and so dry-bulb
readings alone were obtainable.

From this time onwards gales generally from the south were of much
more frequent occurrence than fine weather or even moderate winds, and
Elephant Island lived up to its evil reputation by being the centre of
such bad weather as to make landing extremely dangerous.

From South Georgia to Tristan da Cunha—May 8th to May 19th—the journey
was marked by such bad weather that winds of under gale force occurred
on less than half a dozen occasions only. This can to some extent
be accounted for by the lateness of the season and the approach of

With the exception of one sharp gale, the weather experienced round
Gough Island was a considerable improvement on that which had been our
almost daily lot for the previous two months.

Our stay at Tristan was not long enough for us to collect information
as to general weather conditions on the island, but the padre who is
now there, and who is erecting a meteorological station, will doubtless
supply a useful series of observations.

From Gough Island to Cape Town—June 2nd to June 18th, 1922—similar
weather was experienced, only about four days not showing gales.
Slight, but _very_ slight, improvement in weather conditions occurred
on the way up to Ascension from the Cape, but from thence onwards
much finer weather was our lot till we were two days off England, when
another gale welcomed us home.

As we made clear at first, this memorandum is not intended to be a
complete and detailed dissection and analysis of the two thousand odd
series of observations that were made during the voyage, but only to
indicate how bad weather handicapped all our efforts in the southern

If, when these results come, in the course of time, to be considered in
conjunction with others made in those parts, we shall have added our
little bit to the present very meagre knowledge of weather conditions
there, we shall feel satisfied. For every addition to our knowledge
of regional meteorology contributes to our knowledge of meteorology
in general, and so helps us to understand the many perplexing problems
which meteorologists all the world over are up against.

In conclusion, a word of thanks is due to Captain Brooke-Smith and
Commander Hennessey of the Meteorological Section of the Air Ministry,
for much valuable advice and assistance, both before we sailed and
after our return home.



     _The following is a brief account of the hydrographic work carried
     out by_ COMMANDER WORSLEY, R.N.R., _assisted by_ LIEUT-COMMANDER
     JEFFERY, R.N.R., J. DELL, P.O., R.N., _and_ CAPTAIN G. V. DOUGLAS.

The hydrographic equipment consisted, besides sextants, theodolites,
chronometers and compasses, of three sounding machines—a Kelvin and two
Lucas machines—a gyroscope compass, two rangefinders, and a wireless

The Kelvin sounding machine has a 7-stranded steel wire ·35 of an inch
in circumference and 300 fathoms long. It is intended for soundings to
a depth of 100 fathoms, for which purpose thin glass tubes of chemicals
are provided which record the pressure to that depth, but we frequently
took soundings to 280 fathoms by stopping the ship and getting a
perpendicular cast.

The Lucas machine, which, in addition to having been lent to Sir Ernest
Shackleton on his different expeditions and supplied to the French,
German and Australian Antarctic Expeditions of 1908-10 and 1911 and
also the Canadian Arctic Expedition of 1913, has done the major part
of the work of exploring the profound depths of the world’s oceans, and
is, I believe, easily the best machine to-day for the work.

Ours had 6,000 fathoms Brunton wire, having a diameter of ·028 inches
and weighing 12·3 lbs. per 1,000 fathoms, with a breaking strain of 200
lbs. We also had a 500-fathom Lucas, suitable for boat work, and with
which I have always hoped at some time to sound, through a crevasse,
for the thickness of the Great Antarctic ice sheet. The 6,000-fathom
machine could also be used for kites, small balloons and other aerial

The Sperry gyroscope compass worked well as far South as we went—69°
18´—but the liveliness of the vessel made the initial adjustments
difficult, and the constant ramming and blows from the ice threw it
out again. The new type of mercury ballistic with which it was fitted
minimized much of the bad effects of the bumping. Add to this the small
size of the vessel not enabling us to carry more fuel for the actuating
dynamo, and the lateness of the season prevented us stopping often for
the necessary time to steady it up.

We can, however, say from our experience of it that in a slightly
steadier vessel, with more time and dynamo fuel, that even in
latitudes beyond 70° it would be most useful for quickly ascertaining
the variation of the magnetic needles and, in conjunction with the
rangefinder, for quickly making a chart of a coast or islands which
the vessel might be passing. Much of our survey of Gough Island was so
made. Our average time taken to get the gyro running correctly from the
start was about six hours.

The 65 c.m. Barr and Stroud rangefinder was useful in giving the
distances to lay off the bearings of the various points in survey work
and, with vertical angles, obtaining the heights of peaks, islands and

The larger 4 feet 6 inches rangefinder was virtually useless, as we
could only use it in a completely land-locked harbour.

The naval wireless set, rotary spark transmission and continuous wave,
lent us by the Admiralty, was particularly useful in giving us G.M.T.,
and so correct longitude. Our reception was very good; we received,
when 68° 49´ S., time signals from Rio Janeiro at a distance of 3,206
miles. We heard messages from ’Frisco at a distance of about 8,000
miles while in 65° S. lat., and later in lat. 50° S. received time
signals from Nauen, Germany, 9,000 miles distant. The latitude appeared
to be a governing factor, as S. of 50° S. lat. we experienced very bad
atmospherics, while S. of 55° there appeared to be an almost constant
roar in the receivers, making it impossible to read signals, although
they could be often heard. There may have been more silent intervals
than appeared, as we only had one operator, and being busy on ship’s
work he only listened for half an hour at the appointed time for the

The greatest distance that we transmitted signals was about 400 miles
in Cape Colony; normally we could get 200 miles. The earth was rather
a problem; being a wooden ship, we fastened large copper sheets to the
ship under water, but they were repeatedly torn loose when forcing our
way through the ice.

The wireless telephone lent by Marconi’s worked very well. We spoke
for a distance of 100 miles with it approaching Rio, and it was
made evident that on any expedition it would be very useful, its
only drawback being the loud roar made by the engine, which could be
silenced considerably.

A new large-scale chart was made of St. Paul Rocks and surrounding
submarine plateau contained within the hundred-fathom line on a scale
of 200 feet to the inch, the Admiralty Chart 388 being on a scale of
2,029 feet to the inch.

From their small size (the largest being 380 feet by 180 feet) and
the probability that erosion is taking place, it is doubtful if they
can ever be used for an aerial station or any other purpose except a
lighthouse or wireless meteorological and directional station.

At South Georgia we carried out series of over two hundred soundings
W., S.W., N. and E. of South Georgia, discovering several banks,
one with apparently a fairly clear bottom for trawling in from 50 to
100 fathoms from 10 to 30 miles offshore to the N.W., but this area
requires more examination than we had time to give it. All the other
banks had very irregular bottoms.

We found no indication of a bank at a greater distance to the N.E., as
has been reported, but the 200-fathom line is much farther off to the
S.W. than was expected.

From whalers’ reports and our soundings it would appear that there is
a more or less continuous bank to the N. and N.E. of and parallel to
the island, with deeper water forming a submarine valley between. With
a limited examination, we found the bottom to consist mainly of a dark
grey sand, gravel and stones. The whalers report that these banks swarm
with an incredible number of very good eating fish, so easily caught
that they can be “jigged” up with no bait, but a bit of bright metal on
the hook.

There is a large Roman Catholic population eight days’ steam away
in South America, and it is possible that a profitable trawling and
fish-curing industry could be started here.

  [Illustration: ST. PAUL ROCKS

     By Comr. F. A. Worsley, R.N.R. and Lt Comr. D. G. Jeffrey, R.N.R.
     “QUEST” R.Y.S. 1921
     Lat. 0° 56´ 0´´ N. Long. 29° 22´ 0´´ W]

A sketch chart of Prinz Olaf Harbour in Possession Bay, where Lever
Brothers have a whaling station, was made. This is the best harbour at
the west end of South Georgia.

Some additions to the plan of Stromness Bay, Admiralty Chart No. 3,579,
were made.

Soundings from Cumberland Bay to Cooper Island were taken. The bottom
here is rocky and irregular, with several reefs and dangers, all,
however, fortunately marked by kelp—the great safeguard and aid to
the navigation around South Georgia, except on the south, south-west
and west coasts, where icebergs tear much of the kelp off. The kelp is
useless, however, if steering towards bright sunlight, as the glare on
the water makes it impossible to see it soon enough. The SS. _Fridtjof
Nansen_ was so wrecked on a reef 7 miles offshore near Cape George in
1907; but the whalers steam full speed straight for the coast in thick
fogs, and being very handy turn in almost their length immediately they
see the kelp, which frequently reaches to the surface in 60 fathoms and
even deeper water.

A sketch chart of the passage inside Cooper Island and of Cooper Bay
anchorage for small vessels was made.

A rough chart of Larsen Harbour, the best harbour at the S.E. end
of South Georgia, was made. There is enough flat ground here to make
a small whaling station, and sufficient water could be got from the
glacier streams.

We took new soundings in Royal Bay and across the front of the Great
Glacier, steaming along a quarter of a mile inside the line of the
glacier front of 1902 (Nordenskjold), but along the line laid down by
the German survey of 1882, showing an advance and then a retreat of the
glacier front.

Lastly, we sounded from Cooper Island out to and east of Clerke Rocks,
and obtained a bearing and sketch of Clerke Rocks from the hills at the
back of Cooper Island.

A running survey with soundings was made round Zavodovski, the
northernmost island of the Sandwich group, an inhospitable island,
difficult or dangerous to land on, and still more so to gain a way up
the cliffs of rocks and ice to the upland.

The peak, unfortunately, was hidden by clouds, and no signs of activity
of the volcano were seen. No outlying dangers were visible—in several
places we got 20 fathoms 100 yards from the shore. On the north side
were numerous grounded bergs, indicating shoal water. These bergs were
about 40 to 50 feet high. On the basis of 1 fathom below water to 1
foot above they would give a depth of 40 to 50 fathoms. On the eastern
side we saw faint blue hazy smoke issuing in several places from clefts
and caves in the cliffs, and when we got to leeward could distinctly
perceive an unpleasant sulphurous smell. In this connexion Captain C.
A. Larsen, in November, 1908, reported: “... An active volcano; air
poisonous with fumes of burning sulphur; landing impossible owing to
steep-to coasts....” (Larsen, as a matter of fact, was ill for some
days as a result of breathing such fumes in one of the group.)

Two gently sloping uplands on the S. and E. afford a breeding ground
for myriads of penguins, who appear to keep scrupulously clear of the
fumes on the eastern side.

At Elephant Island we made a rough survey of Cape Lookout anchorage
where we anchored, and took several soundings S. and W. of Elephant
Island. We anchored at Cape Lindsay (N.W. of island) and Seal Rocks,
taking bearings and soundings. None of these anchorages can be
described as harbours, and with an onshore breeze they must be left
at once. We steamed through the intricate nest of rocks and reefs that
stretch for over 20 miles to the west and north-west of Cape Lindsay.
This was very ticklish navigation, requiring a very close, unremitting
watch from the crow’s-nest, there being no warning kelp, the only
guides being a brown discoloration under the water and an occasional
swirl of the sea.

The existence of Pagoda Rock was practically disproved by a sounding of
2,902 fathoms 2 miles east of its reported position. It can with safety
be expunged from the chart.

Forty miles north-east of the position assigned to Ross’s appearance
of land we obtained a sounding of 2,446 fathoms blue mud, and could
see no land from the masthead with clear weather. It seems improbable,
therefore, that it exists, unless it is south or west of the position
given, as Ross appears to have been working on dead reckoning, nor
could it have been far in those directions or we should have found
indications of it during our drift in Shackleton’s Expedition 1914-16.

At Gough Island we determined the position of Penguin Island (on the
east coast) to be 40° 18´ 10´´ S. and 9° 54´ 0´´ W., which is 2´ 22´´
S. and 4´ 6´´ E. of the latest Admiralty Chart, but only 50´´ N. and 2´
0´´ E. of the Admiralty’s previous position. These positions were taken
by a mean of a number of solar and stellar observations on different
days by sextant from the ship and bearings and rangefinder distance
to Penguin Island, being only able to use the northern and eastern

Our chronometers were kept correct by W.T. time signals. (It would be
interesting to know if this is the first time that the position of an
outlying island like this has been verified by W.T. time signals.)

The position of Glen Anchorage was also accurately observed, agreeing
with the position by Captain Robertson SS. _Scotia_ of Bruce’s Scottish

We determined the position of the anchorage in Lot’s Wife’s Cove,
north end of island, by three observations for latitude and one for
longitude, surveyed and sounded two new anchorages, and sounded the
southern, eastern and part of the northern coast.

A new chart of Gough Island, with large and important corrections, on
a scale of 1/36431 was made.


     _Photo: Wilkins_]

  [Illustration:  THE SNAPPER CLOSED

  [Illustration:  THE SNAPPER OPEN]


     _Photo: Central Press_]

The highest point of the island was ascertained with an aneroid by
Captain Douglas to be 2,915 feet in the centre of the island, not 4,380
feet at the northern part, as previously charted. Very good fish were
caught in great abundance in the whole group, and crayfish abound, at
Gough Island in particular, to such an extent that it is possible a
profitable cannery could be started there.

The February-March, 1922, limits and conditions of the pack ice
for 2,500 miles from 18° E. to 52° W. between the latitudes of
63°-70° S. were determined. These, compared with Ross’s, Biscoe’s,
Bellingshausen’s and Shackleton’s, are very interesting, showing the
great difference between one year and another, and even one month and

  [Illustration: GOUGH ISLAND

     By Comr. F. A. Worsley, R.N.R.
     “QUEST” R.Y.S. 1922]

In the Tristan da Cunha—Gough Island group, additional information
for the sailing directions was obtained. Materials and directions
were given to Robert Glass, at Tristan da Cunha, to erect beacons at
Falmouth Bay for convenience of the inhabitants when landing in their
boats during darkness, and to act as leading marks for a safe anchorage
for visiting ships.

We practically disproved the existence of a reef reported by two
whaling captains as having been seen by them on voyages from Cape Town
to South Georgia in 35° 40´ S. and 5° 20´ W. (350 miles E. by N. of
Tristan da Cunha). We steamed over the position and searched for two
and a half days in the vicinity, half the time with a heavy southerly
gale, in which a breaking reef would show 6 or 7 miles away. We sounded
in 1,940 fathoms 3 miles south-east from the position given, 1,942
fathoms 15 miles east, 1,994 fathoms 15 miles south-east, and 1,989
fathoms 8 miles to the east, besides four soundings of 240 fathoms no
bottom and one of 560 fathoms no bottom at varying distances from 15
miles south-west to 5 miles north-west. Although I do not think the
reef exists, this instance gives some idea of the time and trouble a
survey ship may expend in searching for danger, and then not finding
it, through having been given a wrong or doubtful position; but vessels
passing this position would be well advised to keep a good look-out for


Thirty-two soundings were taken in the southern ocean, practically all
in previously sounded areas, and so of great value in adding to our
bathymetrical knowledge of the ocean between the Atlantic Ocean and the
Antarctic Continent.

They were made with a Lucas machine, driven by a small Brotherhood
engine, all kindly lent to Sir Ernest Shackleton by the Telegraph
Construction and Maintenance Company, who also provided the
_Endurance’s_ Lucas, with which we sounded the Weddell Sea. Our
first line of soundings was run from a position 500 miles east of
the Sandwich group to our farthest south point in 69° 18´ S. 17°
11´ E., where we unfortunately were barred from further progress
by heavy impenetrable pack to the south, south-west and south-east.
The soundings here were of great interest, having shoaled from 2,356
fathoms to 1,089 fathoms in a distance of 100 miles. This, with other
indications, made it practically certain that land lay a short distance
south, possibly not more than 60 to 70 miles.

An irregular line of soundings for over 2,000 miles was then carried
out from 17° E. to 46° W., mainly within and along the Antarctic
Circle. The bottom, as usual, was mostly blue mud, droppings from
icebergs, but north of “Ross’s Appearance of Land” we dredged up a
large haul of angular rocky fragments, to the joy of the geologist.

Very heavy weather unfortunately prevented us sounding the blank area
between Elephant Island and South Georgia.

Three soundings were taken between South Georgia and Tristan da Cunha,
but heavy weather again prevented our doing more.

Our last series were taken from 50 miles north of Gough Island to 35°
40´ S. and 5° W., the bottom over this area consisting mainly of white
clay (globigerina ooze).


Difficulty was experienced at all times in sounding owing to the
extraordinary liveliness of the _Quest_, and many more soundings would
have been taken but for the slowness of the vessel, lateness of the
season, limited time and bad weather.

A number of heights in the Tristan da Cunha, Gough Island group, were
ascertained by Captain G. V. Douglas with an aneroid to be marked in
excess on the Admiralty charts.

The new heights as determined by him and compared with those in
Admiralty charts are:

                           BY     BY ADMIRALTY
                         DOUGLAS   CHART 2228
                          FEET.      FEET.
     Tristan da Cunha     6,400      7,640
     Middle Island          200        150
     Inaccessible Island  1,508      1,840
     Gough Island         2,915      4,380

It will be noted that an increase is to be applied to the Admiralty
height of Middle Island only.




     _The following is intended to give briefly an idea of the special
     conditions met with in Antarctic regions and the steps taken for
     the prevention of disease._

The chief work of the surgeon of a polar expedition is done before the
ship leaves England, and if it has been properly carried out there
should be little to do during the actual journey. In this respect
casualties are excepted, for naturally they cannot be foreseen. They
are prepared for by providing a good general surgical outfit, the exact
composition of which will depend upon the amount of money available
for its purchase and on the space at disposal for its storage. Also,
as the practice of medicine and surgery is more of an art than an
exact science, it will depend largely upon the individual surgeon. Many
things can be omitted; for example, splints, which can be improvised as
required. There are, however, definite lines upon which the prevention
of sickness may be carried out, and the following are important

Ordinary sickness can be largely ruled out by careful examination of
personnel and insistence on absolute physical fitness. In making the
general examination the following points should be specially looked
for: bad teeth, pyorrhœa, septic tonsils, and any chronic disease about
the mouth, nasal passages or the accessory sinuses. They are often
the cause of latent trouble unsuspected by the applicant, and their
importance will be seen later in dealing with scurvy. The ears should
be tested for hearing and for any signs of middle ear disease. One
should examine for varicose conditions, hæmorrhoids and anal fissure
or fistula, rupture, flat feet, and other deformities of the feet and
toes, however slight, old-standing corns, bunions, etc. A history of
dislocations should be inquired for, especially of the cartilages of
the knee. My opinion is that any of these conditions should absolutely
rule out all new applicants, for the presence of any one of them will
inevitably lead to trouble. Their occurrence in men of previous polar
experience must be carefully considered. Venereal disease should be an
absolute bar. The wearing of spectacles does not necessarily rule out
an applicant, but the necessity for them is a great handicap in cold

There are three main conditions which must be specially considered and
prepared against: _Scurvy_ (_and allied conditions_), _frost-bite_ and
_snow-blindness_. _Sea-sickness_ is a fourth condition which may cause
disability, but as in the prevention and treatment of any disease the
main principle is to remove the cause, this cannot be arranged for
except by peace offerings to Æolus. The individual must “go through
it.” If he gets over it—good; if he shows no signs of ever adapting
himself, and much of the work of the expedition is to be done at sea,
he must be sent away at the first opportunity, for chronic sea-sickness
is a very wearing condition and renders the subject of it useless for
work. The _Quest_ was a particularly lively ship, and we lost in this
way two otherwise very useful members of the company.

With regard to sea-sickness remedies which depend mainly upon drugs
having a depressing influence on the brain, I think they are useful
for short journeys of a few hours. For long journeys with continued bad
weather I consider them not only useless, but harmful.

_Scurvy_ (_and allied conditions_).—The history of scurvy in war and
famine, in the early days of long voyages, and in Arctic and Antarctic
exploration shows the important part which this disease has played.
Fully developed scurvy is a horrible condition which renders the
individual an offence to himself and to those about him. A famous
Austrian physician, Kramer, described it as “The most loathsome disease
in nature,” so that the demoralizing effect of an outbreak in a small
and crowded ship or land base can easily be imagined.

Although a disease which has been recognized for centuries, it is only
in recent years that medical science has been brought to bear upon
it and the causation fully investigated. The result is that much new
knowledge has been brought to light.

For practical purposes it may be regarded as due to two main causes :

     (1) The lack in the food of an essential factor or vitamin, which
     leads to a condition of the body with diminished resistance to
     deleterious influences.

     (2) The addition to the system during this devitalized state of a

Prevention aims, therefore, at the provision of food containing the
active vitamin in sufficient quantity and in taking steps to eliminate
as far as possible poisons from the system.

With regard to supplying the vitamin, naturally much of the provisions
carried must be in the form of preserved foods. Unfortunately, most
canning and preserving processes have a detrimental effect upon the
vitamin, and it is under conditions where men are compelled to live on
them for long periods, with no access to fresh foods, that the danger
of scurvy arises.

For many years lime-juice was regarded as a sure preventive and a
certain cure, but this has proved fallacious.

There are, however, certain canned and dried foods which contain active
anti-scorbutic vitamin, though not in such great amount as fresh
vegetables. One should endeavour to rely, therefore, not on any one
product, but on the regular provision of all foods which are of value
in this way.

With regard to the dietary, there are two sets of conditions to be
prepared for: _Life on the ship or at a well-stocked base_, permitting
of a full and varied diet for which more or less bulky foods can be
used; and _sledging conditions_, including abnormal circumstances
arising from accident, which require a close ration.

In making my arrangements I placed reliance on the following foods:
For the first set of conditions, lemon-juice concentrated by the method
advocated by Surgeon Rear-Admiral Sir P. W. Bassett-Smith; dried milk
made by the “roller” process, condensed milk prepared by evaporation
in vacuo; canned tomatoes; peas, beans and lentils for being made to
germinate, and on prolonging the use of potatoes, carrots and onions as
far as conditions should permit.

Under sledging conditions the party is placed on a definite limited
allowance. A sledging ration is composed somewhat as follows: Pemmican,
nut food, biscuit, tea, sugar and dried or condensed milk, amounting
to a total weight of about 2½ lbs. per man per day, and having a food
value of about 5,000 calories. Of these, only the milk can be said
to contain active vitamin, and not in sufficient quantity to prevent

Shackleton added to his _Endurance_ sledging ration capsules of
lime-juice prepared without heat. This was in 1913 when the vitamin
theory was scarcely evolved, and is an example of his remarkable
ability to organize in detail.

For this expedition I added lemon-juice prepared as for use aboard
ship, but made into tablets and packed in air-tight containers, and
dried milk packed in small air-tight packages, each package containing
only one day’s ration, thus avoiding undue exposure to air.

Three different vitamins are described by investigators:

     The anti-rachitic fat-soluble A vitamin,
     The anti-neuritic[24] water-soluble B vitamin, and
     The anti-scorbutic water-soluble C vitamin.

I have spoken only of the last; the first hardly needs consideration
here. The anti-neuritic vitamin is more easily preserved and supplied
than the anti-scorbutic, and for the prevention of beri-beri the
following foods were added to the ship’s dietary: Rice (containing
the germ), wholemeal flour, oatmeal, dried eggs, dried peas, beans and
lentils, and marmite, a yeast product, for adding occasionally to soups
and stews. For sledging conditions: Marmite, ½ oz. per man per day (to
be placed in the “hoosh”).

In preparing the supplies we carried a large variety of foods, for it
is of importance to prevent monotony in meals. This Shackleton always
realized. The following from the “The Worst Journey in the World” is
interesting: “Meanwhile Shackleton’s hut was very pleasant at this time
of year ... and the food. Truly Shackleton’s men must have fed like
turkey cocks for all the delicacies here....” The addition of a few
delicacies adds little to the cost of an expedition, but means a great
deal to those engaged in it. I think it would surprise most people to
know what can be done in the way of supplying wholesome and attractive
foods in a preserved state by modern plants. There should be one
standard of quality only: the best, and goods should be obtained only
from firms of the highest repute.

The elimination of poisons from the system is aimed at firstly, by
thorough preliminary examination, as already indicated, to avoid
sources of poisons in the body itself, e.g., the mouth, teeth, throat,
and nasal passages with their accessory sinuses, and, secondly, by
ensuring that no bad or “high” food shall be eaten.

Constipation in any of the personnel is a factor which must be avoided,
and it is necessary that all hands be impressed with the importance
of a regular daily movement of the bowels and a complete evacuation at
each act. Defæcation is apt to be hurried or neglected in bad weather
at sea and in cold and snowy weather ashore. Polar travel does not
admit of comfortable latrines, and this often means exposure to wind
and drift, for the daily functions are carried out in the ordinary way.
This exposure of the body, though exceedingly uncomfortable, leads to
no lasting harm, for, as will be shown, it is in the comparatively
bloodless extremities that frost-bite usually occurs. Constipation
is followed by absorption of poison from the bowel, and so must be
especially avoided if the risk of scurvy is imminent. Its correction in
bad weather must be carefully carried out, for the cruelty of drastic
purgation under these conditions can be imagined.

In future those responsible must make themselves _au fait_ with the
steps necessary to prevent the onset of deficiency diseases. Scurvy
caused the failure of Lord Anson’s expedition; in Captain Cook’s
brilliant voyages it was absent. Compare the bad conditions in the
_Alert_ and _Discovery_ in 1875 with the earlier voyages of Sir Robert
McClure in the _Investigator_. Always success and failure have depended
upon its presence or absence. In more recent times, take the case of
Captain Scott and the gallant companions who met their fate so bravely.
Mr. Cherry Garrard attributes their failure to return from the Pole to
several conditions, one of them a deficiency in the calorific value of
their ration. “It is a fact that the polar party failed to make their
distance because they became weak, although _they were eating their
full ration or more than their full ration of food_, save for a few
days when they were short on the way down the Beardmore Glacier....”
He goes on to say: “The Summit (S) ration consisted of biscuits 16,
pemmican 12, butter 2, cocoa 0.57, sugar 3, and tea 0.86 oz.; total,
34.43 oz. daily per man.”

I do not know the composition of the pemmican, but this ration should
yield nearly 5,000 calories. I should consider it to be devoid of
anti-scorbutic and anti-neuritic vitamin, and, indeed, the whole
medical history of that return journey shows that these men were
fighting an unknown enemy greater than all the forces of the Antarctic.
In a footnote Mr. Cherry Garrard mentions the possibility of vitamin
deficiency, and it is noteworthy that Dr. Atkinson added fresh onions
(brought by the ship) to the next year’s ration. I think there can
be no doubt that there was vitamin deficiency, and it all goes to
emphasize my point of the absolute necessity for careful medical
organization to prevent these preventable conditions, for it is my firm
belief that the cause of Scott’s death lay not in the Antarctic, but in
his preparations in England prior to setting out. The knowledge of the
subject necessary to enable him to prepare a sledging ration containing
active vitamin was not then available.

As there are two definite causes of fully developed scurvy, viz. the
lack of “vitamin” and the addition of a poison, so the symptoms and
signs divide themselves into two stages:

     (1) A stage of general lassitude with loss of vigour and a
     diminished resistance to outside influences.

     (2) A stage of toxæmia which once started progresses rapidly and
     produces the symptoms and signs usually associated with scurvy.

One must be constantly on the watch for the first stage, for unless
carefully looked for it will probably not be recognized, as the man
affected can give little clue to what is wrong with him. I saw many
hundreds of such cases during the war in North Russia when scurvy
was common, none of them showing any local signs at all. When the
better-known signs appear, such as spongy gums, blotches in the skin
and lumps in the legs, the disease is in an advanced stage.

My own arrangements for prevention were published in full prior to our
start in the _Lancet_, August 13th, 1921. I believe this is the only
Antarctic expedition that on setting out has not taken chances with
scurvy, though the absence of any signs of the disease from any of Sir
Ernest Shackleton’s own parties is remarkable. The reason is that the
necessary knowledge had not till that time been available.

Space forbids a full description here, but there are two important
points to which I must refer: _Dried cereals_ by themselves do not
contain active anti-scorbutic vitamin, but if made to germinate the
green shoots which sprout from them are rich in it. This is a point
of immense practical value, the application of which is obvious. With
regard to _fresh meat_, it has been shown by Stefansson in the North,
and by members of the _Endurance_ expedition in the South, that health
can be maintained on a purely meat diet, and that fresh meat, if taken
in sufficient quantity, is effective to cure scurvy. Stefansson, in
the _Friendly Arctic_, says that it must be eaten raw or very much
underdone, but our experience in the South showed that this is not
necessary. In fact, a certain degree of cooking is advisable. He
states also that putrefactive meat is an effective cure for scurvy.
This I think is dangerous teaching; in any stage of scurvy anything
putrefactive should be avoided if possible unless there is nothing

Those general readers who desire to learn more of this most interesting
disease are referred to the bibliography at the end of the report.

On this expedition there was no scurvy, and no risk of it, for we
were never long enough away from sources of fresh food. Yet I would
emphasize the necessity of strong anti-“deficiency disease” measures
in polar work, whatever the programme may be, for in the pack ice
accidents may at any time occur leading to altogether unforeseen
conditions as regards food supply.

_Frost-bite_ is a condition well known to all polar explorers. If
neglected it may lead to most crippling results, and, like scurvy,
requires careful preventive measures.

The parts of the body most commonly affected are the exposed parts of
the face, especially where the skin is drawn tight over underlying
bone, e.g. the sides of the nose, the cheekbones and the chin; the
ears, the fingers and the toes. In parts other than the fingers and
toes the condition is usually not serious, for frost-bite of the face
and ears, if neglected, may cause disfigurement, but no real crippling.
It is a good practice for men in company to scrutinize each others’
faces, and a valuable piece of equipment is a small mirror in which
a man without companions can examine his own face. Frost-bite of
the fingers, though more serious, is usually quickly recognized and
promptly treated.

Frost-bite of the toes and feet is an extremely dangerous condition
and may have far-reaching results. The danger lies in the fact that
its incidence is often unknown to the man attacked, and, though he
may suspect its onset, he may neglect to examine his feet, for polar
footgear is elaborate and cumbersome, examination of toes on the march
means a halt, and a certain amount of time is consumed in unfastening
and securing the foot-coverings.

Prevention is aimed at generally by maintaining health and a vigorous
circulation. Anything which depresses the health and lowers vitality
predisposes to frost-bite. In polar work the most important are
exhaustion, hunger and vitamin deficiency. During a sledge journey
vitamin deficiency, the consequent lack of resistance, and the more
easily induced frost-bite create a condition of the gravest danger to
the man or the party so affected.

Locally, prevention lies in providing suitable clothing. In whatever
form it takes the principle aimed at is the same, viz. _to provide
a non-conducting air space round the skin_. The head and ears are
protected by woollen and windproof helmets. The face cannot be covered,
for masks get so heavily iced up as to make things worse. A cowl can be
fitted to the helmet which, when thrown forward, to some extent shields
the face from winds. The hands are enclosed in mitts, not gloves,
in which the fingers are all together. The finger portion should be
large enough to allow inclusion of the thumb when the hand is not in
use. Sometimes two or three pairs are worn, the outer pair being of
windproof material.

To provide adequate foot protection which shall not at the same time be
cumbersome is not an easy matter, for things which are loose about the
feet are unwieldy. Woollen socks which enmesh the air in their stitches
provide a good insulating air space. In low temperatures two, three or
four pairs may be necessary. To prevent constriction of the feet it is
of importance that each outer pair of socks should be a size larger
than the one inside, and so they should be supplied in series. The
cramming of a foot with too many pairs of socks into a boot too small
for them is bad, for the circulation of blood to the toes is restricted
and the air space is lost. Cold feet have often been cured by telling
the wearer to _remove_ a pair of socks.

All possible steps must be taken to see that the air space is not
replaced by moisture, i.e. the feet and coverings must be kept dry.
This is a difficult problem; coverings which allow of ventilation
allow access of damp from the outside, and waterproof coverings retain
perspiration. It is usually impossible to ensure absolute dryness, and
therefore socks should always be changed before turning in to sleep.
This should be made an inviolable rule, yet it is one which is often
broken. Damp socks should not be placed in a freezing atmosphere, for
the moisture in them will freeze and render difficult the putting of
them on in the morning. They should be kept in the sleeping-bag or
placed under the jersey. By this means they dry rapidly. Sennegrass
may be used for taking up perspiration; it has the property of rapidly
giving up its moisture. Some people prefer to use pieces of flannel
instead of socks; the pieces are wrapped about the feet, and have the
advantage that when taken off they can be spread out and thus dry more

All tight fittings and all constrictions which serve to impede the
circulation should be avoided. Success in preventing frost-bite is
attained only by continued and careful attention to detail.

Precautions which are carried out by men in good condition are liable
to be ignored by those who are exhausted or weak from any cause, and
under these conditions frost-bite occurs frequently. A frost-bitten
part becomes waxy white in appearance. If treated at once no harm
results, if neglected death of the part ensues. Treatment on the spot
consists not in rubbing the part with snow (men have been killed for
less), but in applying dry, gentle warmth. Very light massage may be
used, but violent rubbing, especially of the face, is liable to remove
the cuticle and leave a weeping sore. Fingers can be thrust inside the
affected man’s own clothing next to the warm skin. A frozen toe can be
similarly nursed back by a “Good Samaritan” placing the toe against his
skin and enfolding the ankle—a most unpleasant job, but most excellent
treatment. A hand taken from a warm mitt can be placed on the face,
nose or ears. Recovery is accompanied by an intense feeling of “pins
and needles.” A part that does not immediately come back to normal
must be kept warm and dry, and the application of _a little_ methylated
spirit or turpentine is good.

_It is essential to avoid grease and wet._ I have, in the Antarctic,
the Italian Alps, and in Russia, made extensive tests of oils, fats
and grease, and have come to the conclusion that the application of
vaseline or ointment is the worst treatment possible, especially if the
part is liable to be again exposed to cold. Too great heat is bad. The
circulation must be coaxed back gently. Too sudden a return leads to
exudation and choked capillaries, just as theatre passages are choked
at the cry of “Fire!”

Non-recovery leads ultimately to gangrene. If superficial, the part
may separate of itself, leaving a good new skin underneath which is at
first very tender; if deeper, judicious amputation may be required. The
gangrene may be _dry_ or _moist_. In the former case the part shrinks
and becomes black and scaly, the condition having little effect upon
the general health. It is dry and inoffensive. In the case of moist
gangrene the part becomes septic, is very offensive, and absorption of
poisons leads to impaired health. The amount of the limb that requires
amputation depends upon the severity and extent of the frost-bite. It
must be emphasized that in examining a part for frost-bite the waxy
appearance may not be present. It does not follow that the part has not
been frost-bitten or is not seriously affected. There is a more slowly
produced condition, due to the action of prolonged cold, in which blood
returning into the capillaries which have been damaged by the continued
constriction due to the cold sets up inflammation and exudation,
which may lead to death of the part. Signs of mottling, at first pinky
white, later blue-grey, should be looked for, and if they appear the
parts must be treated with the greatest care. If circumstances permit,
the limb should be raised, rested, and dry, warm (not hot) dressings
applied. For unbroken parts I use cotton wool which has been thoroughly
dried, bandaged lightly; for cases when the skin is broken, lint which
has been warmed and the surface scorched to render it sterile, covered
with warm, dry wool, and again lightly bandaged. This simple treatment
can be applied under any conditions in which it is possible to produce
a flame. Cases take a long time to recover fully. Ointments, hot wet
dressings, and poultices should be avoided. A milder though similarly
produced effect leads to an irritable condition resembling chilblains.
It affects commonly the tips of the ears. The momentary exposure of
bare skin does not lead to immediate frost-bite, but the length of
time that it can be exposed depends upon the temperature, the amount
of moisture present, and the strength of wind. It is often necessary
in carrying out a piece of work to expose the hands, which may require
periodical warming up. Much depends upon the circulation, for if a job
is attempted after the body has been for some time at rest frost-bite
sets in quickly. If, on the other hand, the individual has been working
hard, walking or running, and the blood is pulsating actively, the
hands and other parts can be exposed for comparatively long periods
without harm.

As a result of unrecognized and untreated frost-bite strong men have
been crippled for life. Constant watchfulness is required; its danger
cannot be over-estimated, nor too much emphasis placed upon measures
for its prevention.

_Notes on Oils and Grease_

It is commonly believed that fats, oils and grease are good
non-conductors of heat and if placed on the clothes or on the skin
help to keep one warm. There was never a greater fallacy, for it is
common experience of polar explorers that the reverse is the case.
Circumstances do not permit of regular laundrying or even of regular
hot baths, and situations are not rare at this work in which men have
spent several months without a wash or a change of clothes. After the
loss of the _Endurance_ the party had neither for a year. The clothes
inevitably became greasy, especially about the elbows and thighs. The
cold could be felt “striking through” the greasy parts.

It was often necessary to kill and cut up seals. In the process the
left hand grasped the blubber and became very greasy, whilst the right
hand, which wielded the knife, very largely escaped. Usually it was
possible only to wipe with snow, which had little effect to remove the
grease, before replacing the hands in mitts. Subsequently the left hand
felt colder and was more liable to frost-bite. Socks which have been
worn for some time and become slightly greasy are less warm than clean,
dry socks. There are socks of a type manufactured by certain firms
which have been deliberately imbued with grease to make them warmer.
The wearing of them produced the opposite effect. During the war I made
experiments upon myself and with troops, in which two stretcher-bearers
massaged the feet of each man, the left foot with whale oil and the
right by rubbing only. Both were done at the same time and for the same
length of time. The results were greatly in favour of the dry rubbing.
I collected also a number of socks which had been worn (and were
therefore greasy) and dried them thoroughly. I acquired some absolutely
new socks, and issued one dry, greasy sock and one new sock to each
man. Evidence in this case was not unanimous, but was numerically in
favour of the clean sock.

The conclusion is that oils and grease are of small value for
protection against cold and should as far as possible be avoided.

It may be thought that by not washing or having a change of clothes
for a long period the skin gets into a bad state. Fortunately, in
the Antarctic there are no human parasites, and one does not perspire
so freely as in warmer climates. Nevertheless, when working hard in
very low temperatures perspiration may be very free, and consequently
well-ventilated clothing is necessary. Modern Antarctic equipment
consists of warm woollen underclothes and very light windproof overalls
made of closely woven material. Furs are not used, though they are
favoured still by some Arctic explorers. The theory is often put
forward that the best procedure to adopt in the Arctic is to copy as
nearly as possible the clothing of the Esquimaux, for, that being their
home, naturally they know what is best. This view is strongly urged
by Canadians who trade along the Arctic coast. Certainly it has the
advantage of cheapness, but I wonder if they went to Central Africa
whether they would adopt the loin cloth—also cheap? As a matter of
fact, experience has shown that the skin improves in condition and
takes on a white, silky softness that some women might envy. It is
advisable under the conditions to seize any chance of still air and
bright sunshine to remove the clothes, dust from them the flakes of
skin which are constantly being shed, and give the body an air bath.

_Snow-blindness_ is a condition of acute and sudden congestion of
the eyes, affecting chiefly the conjunctivæ (the delicate membranes
which cover the greater part of the front of the eye). The little
blood-vessels become dilated, producing a prickly sensation of grit
in the eyes, which become painful in strong light. The condition may
become worse, leading to a marked congestion with heavy discharge
and total blindness. Snow-blindness is produced less frequently
by sun-glare on the snow than by a diffuse dull light which casts
no shadows and requires continuous strain to pick out hummocks and
unevenness of the ice. It is said that people with less pigment, i.e.
“blue-eyed” people, suffer more than those with darker, more heavily
pigmented eyes, but this is not always the case.

The condition can be prevented by wearing goggles with tinted lenses;
e.g. the ordinary dark Crookes lenses are quite effective. The frame
is of importance, for it must allow of free ventilation without side
glare. The _Rowley_ snow goggle, as used by Amundsen and Shackleton, is
a thoroughly effective design. The contour of the face and the depth of
the eye sockets differ so much in different individuals that each man
should be fitted for goggles prior to starting.

If treated early the condition gives little trouble. Even bad cases
are easily treated on board ship, or at a base, by protecting the
eye from strong light, and frequent bathing with warm water, boracic
lotion, or, better still, very dilute zinc sulphate. If on the
march, treatment is more difficult, for lotions will probably not be
available. Small, portable and very effective _tabloid_ outfits are
obtainable, containing eye drugs in small lamellæ, which, when placed
in the eye, are dissolved in the tears and so form lotions. It must
be remembered, when selecting the small outfits, that one which may
be easily manipulated in the warm showrooms of Messrs. Burroughs and
Wellcome may not be so easily handled with fingers benumbed and made
clumsy with cold.

For the non-medical man the best treatment is first to place in the
eye a cocaine lamella to relieve pain, and follow it in a few minutes
by another of zinc sulphate. Pituitary and adrenal extracts have
a very rapid effect, but must be used with great care. Untreated
snow-blindness in bad cases may lead to permanent results. The
condition is preventable and easily treated in its early stage, hence
once more the great importance of careful preparation.

_Bacterial affections_ are rare. “Colds in the head” hardly ever
occur, and if they do are probably due to germs brought by the party
themselves. Wounds, however, readily become septic. Even clean cuts
take a long time to heal, and unite with more scarring than usually
happens in more temperate regions. This is due to the comparatively
bloodless condition of the skin. Steps should always be taken to keep
the injured part as warm as possible. When possible it is an economy
to rest and carefully look after open wounds however slight, for the
reluctance to heal often causes long-continued annoyance.

Every polar surgeon must be prepared to do his own nursing. There is
no one else to do it. Conditions for a sick or injured man, even under
the best circumstances, are far from being ideal, yet much can be done
by improvising and keeping an adaptable mind. Comfort, even for an
invalid, is a relative term. The great thing is to keep the patient
cheery, and in the ship, at a base hut, in a tent, or even under an
upturned boat, one can be continually doing little things to make him
feel that he is being well looked after.

The surgeon’s advice is often sought with regard to local food
supplies. There is very little in the way of animal flesh that one
cannot eat if put to it, and a few precautions in cooking can make
almost anything palatable. The meat of whales, seals, sea-elephants,
sea-leopards and penguins is all very similar, being composed of a dark
red coloured flesh of coarse texture. They have a somewhat strong oily
taste, which one learns not to dislike in cold regions. The organs,
such as the brains, hearts, livers and kidneys, are edible and are said
to be rich in anti-neuritic vitamin. One has to beware of parasites.
Fish form the diet of most of these animals, and are a prolific source
of tape worm, round worm and small thread worms. Often, also, the liver
contains small trematodes. Weddell seals and sea-leopards especially
seem to be infested with these parasites; on being cut open they have
often an unpleasant toxic smell, the intestines swarm with worms, the
heart may have small cysts on its surface, small animalculæ may be
detected in the bile which flows from the cut liver, and the spleen and
lymph glands are often enlarged, showing that the animal is suffering
from a general poisoning. Unless the party is starving, such an animal
should naturally be rejected _in toto_, although the meat may appear to
be sound.

The crab-eater seals, which live largely on small crustaceæ, are
much more healthy animals. Penguins also require careful examination.
Seabirds have a rather strong taste of oil and fishiness, which can
largely be removed by soaking them in dilute vinegar for twenty-four
hours. Young albatross and paddy birds require no special treatment
and are delicious. Fish swarm in Antarctic and sub-Antarctic regions
wherever there is shoal water and kelp, as also round the South
Atlantic islands, where crayfish also can be obtained. Every effort
should be made to vary a diet of preserved provisions by seizing the
chance whenever possible of obtaining any of the above.

There is much of interest in the medical side of exploration that
space forbids me to touch on, but there is one point which is likely
to concern the surgeon of a polar expedition, whose department is an
all-embracing one: the health and physical fitness of sledge dogs.[25]
Many explorers have found dogs unsatisfactory as a means of transport.
This is especially the case with British explorers. Scott found them
a failure on his first expedition and put little trust in them on
his last. Shackleton, in his own first expedition, as a result of his
experience with Scott, used ponies in preference. Careful organization
has been put into providing and preparing for various forms of
mechanical transport before the expeditions concerned left England,
yet Shackleton in getting ready for the _Endurance_ expedition is,
so far as I know, the only British explorer who seriously organized
and thoroughly prepared for an efficient service of dog transport
prior to his start. Sledges, harness, traces and, last, not least,
food and sledging rations were worked out in detail. Commander Wild,
who associated with him in this work, is a strong advocate of their
utility. During the expedition the dogs were rigidly disciplined and
carefully “vetted,” and the results were splendid. We were unable to
attempt the cross-country journey, yet the work of the dogs day by day
was marvellous. There was no ice too rough for them, they crossed broad
leads of water at high speed over nothing but rubble, wherever men
could take a sledge they could take it faster, and sometimes go where
men could not. They required no tents or sleeping-bags—only a _minimum_
of one pound of _good_ food per day.

Dogs are living organisms, like men, and require treatment as such.
Their characters must be studied and their health looked after. To
begin with, like men, they must be physically fit, they must be kept
fit, their coats brushed and combed, their skin and paws kept in good
order, they must be freed from parasites, and their fighting wounds
made to heal. Like men, they must be well disciplined and trained, and
then they are fit to send out on a sledge journey.

The sledging ration must be as carefully worked out as that of the men
with a view to calorific value and _vitamin sufficiency_. Dogs are
possessed of a high degree of intelligence, are hardy, and can look
after themselves. As I have said, they can take a sledge anywhere that
men can, therefore they are worth looking after. Yet one of the most
pitiable things in the history of polar exploration is the way in which
dogs have been neglected, left in miserable condition when probably all
that was required was a dose of castor oil and a good vermifuge, made
to work to the last ounce on a totally inadequate ration, and finally
driven to death.

Amongst the names of non-British explorers which stand out are those of
Sverdrup, Amundsen and Peary. They looked after the _health_ of their
dogs, and were amply repaid for the care expended.

During the voyage of the _Quest_ there was little sickness. A number of
casualties occurred, most of them trivial and easily dealt with, none
producing serious results.

There was one death: Sir Ernest Shackleton. The cause was _atheroma
of the coronary arteries_. The condition was a long-standing one and
in my opinion was due to overstrain during a period of debility. In
his history there are many occasions when it may have been produced.
The scurvy which he developed during the southern journey of the
_Discovery_ expedition may have produced lasting results. It has been
stated that his collapse caused the failure of that journey. I must
make it plain that the development of scurvy in an individual during
a sledge journey is not in any way the fault of the individual, but
results from faulty organization. Sir Ernest Shackleton has never had
a single case of scurvy, or any condition allied to it, in any party
under his charge. His condition may have been produced during his own
great pioneer journey towards the South Pole.

What is remarkable is that in such an advanced condition he was able
to carry on as he did. It shows, psychologically, a wonderful will
power and an unyielding determination to overcome difficulties. In this
respect may be noted one of the last things which he wrote (in a final
letter to Mr. Rowett):

     “Never for me the lowered banner,
     Never the lost endeavour.”

In other psychological respects he was remarkable, as is seen in the
combination of a happy and apparently carefree temperament with an
ability for accurate and detailed organization. As a leader he was
always “boss.” He was condemnatory of shortcoming and exacting in the
service rendered by subordinates, yet he drew from all who worked for
him a deep liking and an unfailing loyalty. His physical qualities are
well known. As a living organism he was wonderful.


     BASSETT-SMITH. “Scurvy; with Special Reference to Prophyllaxis
     in the Royal Navy.” _Proc. Roy. Soc. Med._ 1920, Vol. xiii (War

     CHICK, H., AND DELF, E. M. “The Antiscorbutic Value of Dry and
     Germinated Seeds.” _Biochem. Jour._, 1919, xiii, 199.

     CHICK, H., AND HUME. “The Distribution amongst Foodstuffs ... of
     the Substances Required for the Prevention of (_a_) Beri-beri and
     (_b_) Scurvy.” _Trans. Soc. Trop. Med. and Hyg._ 1917, x, 141.

     COUTTS. (Upon an inquiry as to dried milk, etc.). Report to the
     Local Government Board, 1918. New Series, No. 116, 31.

     HESS. _Scurvy Past and Present._ Lippincott, 1920.

     —— “Newer Aspects of Some Nutritional Disorders.” _Jour. Amer.
     Med. Assocn._, March 12, 1921. Vol. 76.

     LIND. _Treatise on Scurvy._ London, 1772.

     MCCARRISON. “Studies in Deficiency Disease.” Oxford Med.
     Publication, 1921.

     MACKLIN. “A Polar Expedition.” _Lancet_, March, 1921.

     MACKLIN AND HUSSEY. “Scurvy: Its Prevention on a Polar
     Expedition.” _Lancet_, Aug. 13, 1921.

     MEDICAL RESEARCH COMMITTEE. “Report on the Present State of
     Knowledge Concerning Accessory Food Factors (Vitamines), 1919.”


SIR ERNEST SHACKLETON, C.V.O. Died in South Georgia.

     FRANK WILD, C.B.E.                   _Commander._
     F. A. WORSLEY, D.S.O., O.B.E.,       _Hydrographer
         R.D., R.N.R.                      and Sailing Master._
     D. G. JEFFREY, D.S.O., R.N.R.        _Navigator._
     A. J. KERR                           _Chief Engineer._
     C. E. SMITH                          _Second Engineer._

     A. H. MACKLIN, O.B.E., M.C., M.D.    _Surgeon, and in
                                           charge of stores
                                           and equipment._
     J. A. MCILROY, M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P.    _Surgeon and Meteorologist._
     L. D. A. HUSSEY, B.Sc.               _Meteorologist and Assistant
     G. H. WILKINS, M.C.                  _Naturalist._
     G. V. DOUGLAS, M.C., M.Sc.           _Geologist._
     C. R. CARR, D.F.C.                   _Aviator._
     J. W. S. MARR                        _Boy._

     J. W. DELL                           _Electrician and Boatswain._
     C. J. GREEN                          _Cook._
     HAROLD WATTS                         _Wireless Operator._
     T. F. MCLEOD                         _A.B._
     S. S. YOUNG                          _Fireman._
     G. H. ROSS                           _Fireman._
     H. J. ARGLES                         _Trimmer._
     CHRISTOPHER NAISBITT                 _Ship’s Clerk._


     Aarberg, Dr., 180, 186, 190

     Aarberg, Mrs., 69, 180, 190, 194

     Admiralty, 7, 10, 314, 344, 348

     Air Ministry, 7, 13, 340, 343

     Albatross, 49, 52, 83, 186-189, 190, 294, 296, 363,
          _see also_ Appendix iii
       Island, 186

     _Albuera_, 66, 67, 190

     _Amphipods_, 101

     Andersen, Mr., manager, Husvik, 76

     Anenkov Island, 172

     Argles, H. J., 48, 49, 83, 92, 118, 139, 141, 145, 148, 186,
          197, 272, 327

     Ascension Island, 287, 301-309, 327

     Atmospheric effects, 116, 126, 156, 290


     Baden-Powell, Sir Robert, 170, 232

     Barlas, Mr., Assistant Magistrate, South Georgia, 67

     Barrier, Great Ice, 78, 83

     Bay of Biscay, 19, 341
       Isles, 185

     Beaufort Sea, 2

     Becker, Sir Frederick, ix, 3

     Begbie, Mr. Harold, viii

     Binnie, Mr., Resident Magistrate, South Georgia, 176, 196

     Bird life, Elephant Island, 335
       Gough Island, 272, 337-338
       St. Paul’s Rocks, 329
       St. Vincent, 328
       at sea, 52, 83, 329, 334-335, 339
       South Georgia, 330-333
       Tristan da Cunha, 213, 336
       Zavodovski Island, 334

     Birdwood Bank, 7

     Biscoe, John, voyage of, 130

     _Blendon Hall_, wreck of, 211

     Blubber as fuel, 106, 108, 137, 145, 168

     Bostock, Mr., manager, Prince Olaf Harbour, 185, 189

     Bouvet Island, 6, 79, 91

     Bransfield Strait, 72

     Bridgland, Captain F., 17

     Buenos Aires, 264


     Canadian Government, 3, 4

     Cape Colony, 205, 292, 345

     Cape George, 347
       of Good Hope, 205, 290
       Lindsay, 348
       Lookout, 157, 162
       Roca, 29
       Valentine, 155
       Wild, 156, 158, 162, 165-167

     Cape hen, 52, _see also_ Appendix iii
       pigeon, 52, 83, 159, 190, _see also_ Appendix iii

     Cape Town, 6, 13, 46, 72, 73, 75, 137, 148, 214, 216, 237, 243,
          254, 256, 262-264, 271, 284, 287-294, 343

     Cape Verde Islands, 34

     Carr, C. R., 14, 27, 38, 49, 50, 52, 61, 80, 82, 83, 91, 100, 105,
          118, 140, 142, 148, 149, 157, 159, 167, 185, 186, 190, 197,
          202, 206, 212, 231, 327

     Cascaes, 29

     Caves, ice, 89
       Gough Island, 280, 283
       Middle Island, 324
       Zavodovski Island, 87, 334, 347

     _Challenger_, 206, 321

     Christmas celebrations, 50-52

     Clarence Island, 154, 155, 156, 317

     Clark, Mr. R. S., of _Endurance_, 308, 331 (_notes_), 332
          (_notes_), 333

     Clerk Rocks, 82, 347

     Clothing, 76, 358, 361

     Coats Land, 78, 314

     Continental Shelf, 120

     Cook, Mr. James A., x, 290, 295

     Cooper Bay, 80, 82, 316, 347
       Island, 346, 347

     Cornwallis Island, 155

     Cotton, Miss Betty, 241

     Crayfish, 274, 278, 280, 349, 363

     Crozet Island, 6

     Cumberland Bay, 60, 346


     Deception Island, 91, 137, 140, 168, 182

     Dell, J. W., 14, 27, 38, 49, 54, 77, 83, 91-93, 104, 120, 132,
          140, 147, 169, 178, 196, 209, 265, 287-289, 327, 343

     _Diatoms_, 101

     Diego Alvarez Island, _see_ Gough Island

     Diet, 353-357

     _Discovery_, 14, 68, 308, 365

     Dogs, sledge, 364

     Dominican gull, 112, 159, _see also_ Appendix iii

     Dougherty Island, 7

     Douglas, G. V., 15, 22, 27, 38, 49, 59, 77, 80, 82, 83, 94, 100,
          124, 134, 139, 142, 146, 148, 149, 157, 163, 179, 197, 206,
          231, 287, 292, 304, 309, 343, 348, 351
       diary, 208, 209, 210, 212, 214
       geological observations, 314-318

     Dredging, 149, 296

     Drygalski Fiord, 82


     East India Company, 205, 297, 300

     Elephant Island, 81, 91, 137, 145, 153-168, 171, 178, 183, 273,
          317-318, 335, 342, 347-348, 350

     Enderby Brothers, 5
       Land, 73, 314
       Quadrant, 7, 292

     _Endurance_, 3, 61, 68, 90, 99, 117, 119, 152, 155, 183, 194,
          308, 350, 354, 357, 360, 364

     Equipment, general, 15, 72, 76
       scientific, 10-13, 341, 343

     Eriksen, 15, 27, 36, 38, 48

     _Euphausiae_, 101, 111

     Expedition, Bellingshausen’s, 86
       Canadian Arctic, 14, 344
       Deutschland, 46, 196
       German Transit of Venus, 197
       Imperial Trans-Antarctic, 1
       Mawson, 87
       Shackleton, 1914-16, 348
       Shackleton-Rowett, 6

     _Expedition Topics_, 93, 97


     Falkland Islands, 79, 184

     Falmouth Bay, Tristan da Cunha, beacons, 349

     Foca I, _see Quest_

     _France_, 37

     Frost-bite, 353, 357-360


     Garrard, Mr. A. Cherry, 355, 356
       _The Worst Journey in the World_, 355

     Glaciers, Elephant Island, 158, 161, 317
       South Georgia, 197, 198, 316
       Zavodovski Island, 86

     Glass, Corporal William, 222, 238-239, 248, 259

     Gough Island, 6, 215, 265-286, 287, 291, 319-320, 337-340, 343,
          348, 350, 351

     Gould, Lieut. Comdr., 7

     Graham Land, 72, 74, 75

     Green, C. J., 20, 24, 26, 36, 49, 51, 54, 81, 83, 97, 190, 191,
          194, 197, 202, 294, 296, 302, 309

     Gritviken Harbour, 59, 60, 67, 69, 76, 192, 195

     Growlers, 132, 152


     Hansen, Mr., manager, Leith Harbour, 67, 76, 77, 109, 172, 176,
          179, 180, 182, 190, 333

     Harmsworth, Mr. A. C., 5

     Heard Island, 6

     Hodson, Mr., of _Discovery_, 308

     Hussey, L. D. A., 14, 23, 27, 33, 38, 40, 43, 49-52, 61, 65, 67,
          69, 76, 84, 172, 178, 182, 185, 194
       account of the burial of Sir E. Shackleton, 173-177

     Husvik Harbour, 76, 185


     Ice, fresh water from sea, 118
       pack, 79, 98-100, 102, 104, 107, 112, 118, 129-133, 136, 143,
          149, 150, 152, 350
       pancake, 135, 136
       _see also_ Growlers _and_ the Pack

     Icebergs, 58, 83, 85-91, 93, 96, 141, 142, 149, 152, 156, 159,

     Ice-blink, 98, 136

     Illness, prevention of, 352

     Inaccessible Island, 6, 203, 205, 206, 211-213, 239, 324-325, 351


     Jacobsen, Captain, of _Professor Gruvel_, 67, 74

     Jacobsen, Mr., manager, Gritviken, 61, 66, 75, 80, 261

     Jeffrey, D. G., 14, 23, 27, 38, 43, 48, 49, 52, 77-82, 83, 85,
          87, 103, 105, 122, 142, 146, 149, 163, 166, 178, 186, 187,
          191, 196, 197, 202, 206, 209, 231, 266, 309, 343


     Kelp, 82, 191, 209, 214, 274, 346, 348, 363

     Kelvin sounding machine, 12, 84, 318, 344

     Kerr, A. J., 14, 17, 28, 29, 34, 42, 47, 49, 52, 53, 55, 56, 74,
          78, 83, 87, 92, 109, 122, 128, 136, 149, 151, 157, 159,
          179, 194, 202, 292, 303, 308

     Killer whales, 93, 102, 111-114, 125, 131, 132, 143, 146, 335


     Larsen Harbour, 82, 331 (_note_ 2), 347

     Least, Captain, of _Woodville_, 69, 174

     Leith Harbour, 66, 76, 77, 80, 172, 190

     Lisbon, 29, 30, 32, 78, 341

     Lucas sounding machine, 12, 91, 92, 289, 344, 350

     Lysaght, Mr. Gerald, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25


     McIlroy, J. A., 14, 19, 27, 49, 52, 61, 65, 67, 80, 83, 91, 92,
          95, 100, 104, 118, 126, 129, 140, 141, 149, 157, 159, 168,
          170, 185, 194, 197, 201, 202, 232, 292

     Macklin, A. H., x, 3, 6, 14, 23, 27, 38, 40, 45, 48, 49, 52, 61,
          62, 67, 75, 80, 81, 83, 89, 91-95, 98, 103-105, 112, 118,
          126, 132, 139, 140, 142, 147-152, 157, 159, 163, 166, 167,
          185, 188, 191, 194, 196, 197, 202, 204, 214, 216, 270, 284,
          292, 298, 302, 303, 309
       diary, 57, 64, 122, 135, 141, 145, 153, 164, 186-188, 191, 199,
          275, 294-296, 302, 304-308
       medical, 352-365
       Tristan da Cunha, 219-264

     Macleod, T. F., 14, 19, 27, 49, 52, 77, 83, 92, 100, 123, 140,
          152, 163, 169, 178, 187, 194, 201, 290

     Macquarie Island, 87, 273

     Madeira, 17, 19, 31, 34, 310

     Manson, Captain, of _Albuera_, 67, 190

     Marion Island, 6

     Marr, J. W. S., 15, 21, 23, 30, 32, 36, 38, 49, 52, 77, 80, 81,
          83, 84, 91, 118, 132, 140, 146, 150, 163, 169, 178, 186,
          197, 202, 206, 212, 232, 304, 327
       diary, 33, 94, 144, 207

     Mason, J. C. Bee, 14, 23, 27-29, 31, 32

     Middle Island, 205, 208, 210, 324, 351

     Mill, Dr. H. R. viii, 3

     Mollymauk, 213, 245, _see also_ Appendix iii

     Moltke Harbour, 197

     Monte Video, 67, 69, 173-177

     Mooney, N. E., 15, 21, 22, 28-32

     Mount Paget, 315


     Naisbitt, C., 48, 49, 52, 77, 83, 93, 97, 98, 118, 148, 270, 278

     Natural History Museum, British, 163, 314
       New York, 164

     _Neko_, floating factory, 177, 178, 182, 185, 186

     New Zealand, 7, 285

     Newnes, Sir George, 5

     Nightingale Island, 6, 205-210, 211, 212, 322-324


     _Orwell_, oil transport, 76, 288


     Pack, the, 73, 101, 110, 113, 117, 122, 146

     Paddy birds, 159, 163, 363, _see also_ Appendix iii

     Pagoda Rock, 79, 96, 348

     Palmer Archipelago, 74, 183

     Pediunker, 213, 253

     Penguin Island, 286, 348
       rookeries, 81, 87, 213, 274, 284

     Penguins, 80, 86, 93, 102, 156, 162, 166, 295, 363
       Adelie, 115, 143, 145, 148
       Emperor, 108-109, 111, 124
       Gentoo, 81, 158, 160, 167
       King, 87, 108, 334
       Ringed, 81, 85, 141, 158, 334
       Rockhopper, 213, 274, 284
       _see also_ Appendix iii

     Personnel, 14-15, 48, 366

     _Perth_, oil transport, 184

     Petrels, 99
       Antarctic, 93, 111, 112, 131, 141, 143
       Giant, 83, 129, 131, 186, 187
       Mother Carey’s Chickens, 52, 83, 131
       Snow, 111, 112, 124, 143, 145
       Wilson’s, 111
       _see also_ Appendix iii

     Plant life, Ascension Island, 305
       Gough Island, 268, 272, 285, 338-339
       Nightingale Island, 207
       St. Helena, 299, 300
       South Georgia, 334
       Tristan da Cunha, 213, 240, 244, 252, 320

     Plymouth, 17, 293, 308
       Sound, 18, 312

     Ponta del Gada, 310

     Portugal, 29

     Positions, 20, 21, 22, 50, 79, 98, 104, 108, 110, 116, 117, 120,
          128, 131, 136, 141, 143, 144, 147, 288, 342, _see also_
          Appendix v

     Possession Bay, 346

     Prince Olaf Harbour, 185, 188, 189, 346

     Prion, _see_ Whale bird

     _Professor Gruvel_, 67, 74, 173


     Queen Mary’s Land, 114

     Query, dog, 17, 20, 26, 62, 100, 107, 122, 143, 145, 148, 153,
          196, 201, 265, 278, 284, 289

     _Quest_, adaptation and equipment, 8-13;
       voyage to Rio, 16-37, 42-43;
       overhauled, 44-47;
       first visit to South Georgia, 48-63, 72-74, 76-79;
       pushing South, 80-98;
       in the ice, 98-144;
       beset, 145-152;
       visits Elephant Island, 153-172;
       second visit to South Georgia, 177-190;
       visits Tristan da Cunha group, 199-203, 206-209, 213, 224, 231,
          233, 235, 243, 252;
       Gough Island, 265-270, 279-284;
       Cape Town, 287-293;
       homeward voyage, 294-296, 301, 308-313;
       alluded to, vii, 314, 316, 318, 340, 341, 351, 353, 365


     Raratonga, 7

     Reef, sounding for reported, 288, 349

     Rio de Janeiro, 43-48, 53, 63, 77, 78, 85, 140, 182, 341, 345

     “Roaring Forties,” the, 179, 199, 203

     Rogers, Rev. Martin, 214, 217, 227, 232, 235, 236, 243, 248, 263

     Rogers, Mrs. Martin, 235-237, 243, 248

     Ross, G. H., 83, 142, 197

     Ross’s Appearance of Land, 91, 137, 144, 145, 350

     Rowett, Mr. J. Q., viii, 3, 5, 9, 15-17, 51, 52, 57, 66, 72, 73,
          77, 173, 174, 176, 177, 204, 215, 217, 287, 290, 312, 328,
          340, 365

     Rowett, Mrs. J. Q., ix, 51, 52, 176

     Royal Bay, 197, 316, 347

     Royal Geographical Society, 2


     St. Helena, 287, 296-301, 327

     St. Paul Rocks, 6, 38-42, 325-327, 328, 345

     St. Vincent, 35, 42, 62, 78, 287, 308, 309, 327, 328, 341

     San Miguel Azores, 310, 327

     Sapp, Captain, of _Southern Isles_, 185

     Scilly Isles, 19, 30

     _Scotia_, 267, 348

     Scott, Captain, 14, 355, 364

     Scurvy, 104-106, 353-357, 365

     Sea-elephants, 81, 137, 156, 157, 159, 162-164, 186, 272, 333,
          337, 363

     Sea hen, _see_ Skua

     Sea-leopards, 93, 112, 125, 149, 333, 335, 363

     Sea life, St. Paul Rocks, 38-42
       Tristan da Cunha, 336
       tropical, 36

     Seal meat, 103-105, 108, 125, 363

     Seal Rocks, 166

     Seals, 81, 107, 111-115, 143, 295, 337, 360
       Arctic and Antarctic, 125
       Crab-eater, 101, 114, 124, 131, 132, 139, 145, 335, 363
       Weddell, 118, 333, 363

     Sea-sickness, 31, 353

     Shackleton, Lady, 8, 66, 67, 69, 173, 174, 176, 194

     Shackleton, Sir E. H., vii-ix;
       plans and finance, 1-10, 14-15;
       on the _Quest_, 16-38, 41-43, 48-59;
       at Rio, 44-48;
       arrival at South Georgia, 60-63;
       death, 64-67, 365;
       arrangements for burial, 67-70, 173;
       memorial service, 174;
       funeral, 176;
       memorial cairn and grave, 192-195;
       alluded to, 71-79, 88, 105, 155, 156, 171, 183, 188, 312, 314,
          342, 344, 350, 354-356, 362, 364
       diary, 18-23, 58-59
       _South_, 1, 155, 333

     Sharks, 38-41, 209, 295, 337

     Sinclair, Captain, of _Neko_, 182, 183

     Skua, 80, 81, 129, 159, 213, 268, 272, _see also_ Appendix iii

     Smith, C. E., 15, 49, 83, 84, 92, 292

     Snow-blindness, 353, 361-362

     Sorlle, Mr., manager, Stromness Harbour, 183, 184

     Soundings, 84, 92, 96, 104, 110, 116, 117, 120, 128, 131, 141,
          143, 144, 147, 171, 189, 197, 199, 214, 274, 279, 283, 286,
          288, 318, 327, _see also_ Appendix v

     Southampton, 8, 17, 177

     South Georgia, first visit, 60-63, 80-82;
       second visit, 168-172, 178-198;
       geology, 315-317;
       natural history, 329-334;
       hydrographic work, 345-347;
       alluded to, 8, 57, 67, 69, 72, 73, 77-79, 91, 94, 137, 138,
          173-176, 197, 201, 328, 342, 350
       Sandwich Group, 347, 350
       Shetlands, 183, 317
       Trinidad Island, 6, 43, 287

     _Southern Isles_, oil transport, 185

     _Southern Sky_, 184

     Sperry gyroscopic compass, 11, 344

     Stefansson, 2, 14, 105, 357

     Stoltenhoff Island, 205, 210, 212, 324

     Stromness Harbour, 183-185

     Surveys, 38, 87, 279, 285, 286, _see also_ Appendix v


     Tagus, river, 29, 31

     Temperatures, 52, 129, 143, 144, 145, 146, 150, 342

     Terns, 131, 268, _see also_ Appendix iii

     Traill-Smith, Comdr., 18, 293

     Tristan da Cunha, 6, 179, 190, 198, 199, 203-206, 213-264, 266,
          274, 291, 320-322, 336, 342, 349-351


     Uruguay, Republic of, 174, 194

     Uruguayan Government, 173-175
       Minister for Foreign Affairs, 175, 177


     Vitamines, 354-358, 363, 364

     Volcanic appearances, 82, 86, 347


     Wallis Island, 60

     Water sky, 98, 107, 111, 150

     Watts, H., 15, 27, 49, 66, 83, 92, 120, 140, 149, 160, 296

     Weddell Sea, 72, 91, 100, 119, 142, 350

     Whale birds, 52, 83, 213, _see also_ Appendix iii
       food, 101-102
       hunting, 182-183

     Whales, 101, 102, 132, 171, 333, 363

     “Wideawake Valley,” 302-303

     Wild, Frank, 55, 122, 142, 153, 200, 221, 223, 231-233, 236, 238,
          295, 296, 342, 364

     Wilkins, G. H., 14, 23, 27, 35, 37, 38, 50, 59, 77, 87, 92, 103,
          108, 115, 134, 140, 149, 157, 163, 169, 179, 186, 187, 197,
          206, 207, 212, 231, 285, 292, 304, 309, 327, 330, 333, 337,

     Wind at Gough Island, 281, 283
       South Georgia, 184
       Tristan da Cunha, 213, 228, 251,
       _see also_ Appendix iv

     Wireless, 10, 19, 22, 66, 140, 344-345, 348

     _Woodville_, 69, 174, 175, 178, 189

     Worsley, F. A., 14, 23, 27, 42, 49, 52, 54, 57, 60, 65, 76, 77,
          82-85, 90-92, 94-96, 98, 103, 110, 117, 120, 122, 123, 128,
          131, 133, 136, 141, 143, 144, 147-149, 161, 166, 171, 172,
          183, 184, 187, 189, 194, 197, 202, 204, 214, 265, 266, 288,
          294, 343

     Wounds, treatment of, 362


     Young, S. S., 48, 49, 52, 83, 92, 163


     Zavodovski Island, 85-87, 318, 334, 347



     [1] Captain and chief purser respectively of the _Aquitania_.

     [2] The papers at the time made much of this gale. It was,
     however, little more than a strong blow and a zephyr compared
     with what we were to experience before our return to these same
     latitudes on our homeward run.

     [3] On our return to England we learned that this beautiful ship
     had become a total wreck on the Great Barrier Reef of Australia.

     [4] An expression of Jeffrey’s.

     [5] Referring to a conspicuously placed cross set up by the crew
     of the _Deutschland_ to one of their members who had died there.

     [6] Adaptation from Tennyson’s lines on Franklin.

     [7] Clothing stores.

     [8] On leaving South Georgia, I had moved into Sir Ernest’s cabin,
     and McIlroy took my old one. Both cabins opened on to the waist of
     the ship, and were consequently frequently flooded with the heavy
     seas which rushed to and fro there.

     [9] First officer of the _Endurance_.

     [10] Referring to a telegram sent by Sir Robert Baden-Powell
     to Sir Ernest Shackleton just as we were leaving England to the
     effect that if the Scouts did not serve him well he would “skin
     them alive” on their return.

     [11] For the substitution of the adjective I apologize to the

     [12] A sea term, meaning that we filled the tanks full to the top.

     [13] Dr. Macklin’s account.

     [14] Dr. Macklin’s account.

     [15] I learn on going to press that H.M.S. _Dublin_ is to visit
     the island in the near future.

     [16] W. T. Gordon, D.Sc., King’s College, London.

     [17] Renard (A). Voyage of H.M.S. _Challenger_, Phys. and Chem.,
     Vol. ii, 1889, p. 120.

     [18] Berwerth (F). Mikroskopische Structurbilder der
     Massengesteine, Lief II, No 16 (1897).

     [19] Mr. Clark, the biologist of the _Endurance_, found them
     nesting in burrows in the middle of Moraine Plain, Cumberland Bay.

     [20] Mr. Clark found them in numbers at Larsen Harbour in
     November, 1914.

     [21] Mr. Clark, of the _Endurance_, saw a few in West Bay,
     Cumberland Bay, in November, 1914.

     [22] “Three Years on Tristan da Cunha,” by K. M. Barrow.

     [23] A complete and interesting report has been received at
     the last moment from Capt. Wilkins, too late to go to press.
     It is hoped that this will be published separately at an early

     [24] Anti-beri-beri.

     [25] As events turned out, dogs were not used in the _Quest_
     expedition, but the writer has decided to include this point in
     his observations.

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