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Scott's Last Expedition

Wednesday, December 7th 1910


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Lat. 61° 22′. Long. 179° 56′ W. Made good S. 25 E. 150; Ant. Circle 313′. The barometer descended on a steep regular gradient all night, turning suddenly to an equally steep up grade this morning. With the turn a smart breeze sprang up from the S.W. and forced us three points off our course. The sea has remained calm, seeming to show that the ice is not far off; this afternoon temperature of air and water both 34°, supporting the assumption. The wind has come fair and we are on our course again, going between 7 and 8 knots.

Quantities of whale birds about the ship, the first fulmars and the first McCormick skua seen. Last night saw ‘hour glass’ dolphins about. Sooty and black-browed albatrosses continue, with Cape chickens. The cold makes people hungry and one gets just a tremor on seeing the marvellous disappearance of consumables when our twenty-four young appetites have to be appeased.

Terra NovaTerra Nova

Last night I discussed the Western Geological Party, and explained to Ponting the desirability of his going with it. I had thought he ought to be in charge, as the oldest and most experienced traveller, and mentioned it to him–then to Griffith Taylor. The latter was evidently deeply disappointed. So we three talked the matter out between us, and Ponting at once disclaimed any right, and announced cheerful agreement with Taylor’s leadership; it was a satisfactory arrangement, and shows Ponting in a very pleasant light. I’m sure he’s a very nice fellow.

I would record here a symptom of the spirit which actuates the men. After the gale the main deck under the forecastle space in which the ponies are stabled leaked badly, and the dirt of the stable leaked through on hammocks and bedding. Not a word has been said; the men living in that part have done their best to fend off the nuisance with oilskins and canvas, but without sign of complaint. Indeed the discomfort throughout the mess deck has been extreme. Everything has been thrown about, water has found its way down in a dozen places. There is no daylight, and air can come only through the small fore hatch; the artificial lamplight has given much trouble. The men have been wetted to the skin repeatedly on deck, and have no chance of drying their clothing. All things considered, their cheerful fortitude is little short of wonderful.

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