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Scott's Last Expedition

Saturday, December 3rd, 1910

Yesterday the wind slowly fell towards evening; less water was taken on board, therefore less found its way below, and it soon became evident that our baling was gaining on the engine-room. The work was steadily kept going in two-hour shifts. By 10 P.M. the hole in the engine-room bulkhead was completed, and (Lieut.) Evans, wriggling over the coal, found his way to the pump shaft and down it. He soon cleared the suction ‘of the coal balls (a mixture of coal and oil) which choked it,’ and to the joy of all a good stream of water came from the pump for the first time. From this moment it was evident we should get over the difficulty, and though the pump choked again on several occasions the water in the engine-room steadily decreased. It was good to visit that spot this morning and to find that the water no longer swished from side to side. In the forenoon fires were laid and lighted – the hand pump was got into complete order and sucked the bilges almost dry, so that great quantities of coal and ashes could be taken out.

Now all is well again, and we are steaming and sailing steadily south within two points of our course. Campbell and Bowers have been busy relisting everything on the upper deck. This afternoon we got out the two dead ponies through the forecastle skylight. It was a curious proceeding, as the space looked quite inadequate for their passage. We looked into the ice-house and found it in the best order.

Though we are not yet safe, as another gale might have disastrous results, it is wonderful to realise the change which has been wrought in our outlook in twenty-four hours. The others have confessed the gravely serious view of our position which they shared with me yesterday, and now we are all hopeful again.

As far as one can gather, besides the damage to the bulwarks of the ship, we have lost two ponies, one dog, ’10 tons of coal,’ 65 gallons of petrol, and a case of the biologists’ spirit – a serious loss enough, but much less than I expected. ‘All things considered we have come off lightly, but it was bad luck to strike a gale at such a time.’ The third pony which was down in a sling for some time in the gale is again on his feet. He looks a little groggy, but may pull through if we don’t have another gale. Osman, our best sledge dog, was very bad this morning, but has been lying warmly in hay all day, and is now much better. ‘Several more were in a very bad way and needed nursing back to life.’ The sea and wind seem to be increasing again, and there is a heavy southerly swell, but the glass is high; we ought not to have another gale till it falls.

3 Responses to “Saturday, December 3rd, 1910”

  1. Bob Kingsley says:

    Scott became my iconic hero when I was a schoolboy in the 1960s, but the passage of time since then meant that his story had all-but slipped from my mind. Being able to read his diary online, published in ‘real time,’ is a great privilege, and I thank you for it. I’ll be sure to pop in every day for the updates!

  2. Tavi Murray says:

    I wondered if we could encourage a map, updated daily showing the expedition’s “current” location to be added to the site?

  3. christopherhughes says:

    We plan to show a map when we know where Scott was; that is, when he records a location. The first time he does this is the 6th of December, so one is coming soon.