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Scott's Last Expedition

Thursday, December 29th 1910

No sights. At last the change for which I have been so eagerly looking has arrived and we are steaming amongst floes of small area evidently broken by swell, and with edges abraded by contact. The transition was almost sudden. We made very good progress during the night with one or two checks and one or two slices of luck in the way of open water. In one pool we ran clear for an hour, capturing 6 good miles.

This morning we were running through large continuous sheets of ice from 6 inches to 1 foot in thickness, with occasional water holes and groups of heavier floes. This forenoon it is the same tale, except that the sheets of thin ice are broken into comparatively regular figures, none more than 30 yards across. It is the hopefullest sign of the approach to the open sea that I have seen.

The wind remains in the north helping us, the sky is overcast and slight sleety drizzle is falling; the sun has made one or two attempts to break through but without success.

Last night we had a good example of the phenomenon called ‘Glazed Frost.’ The ship everywhere, on every fibre of rope as well as on her more solid parts, was covered with a thin sheet of ice caused by a fall of light super-cooled rain. The effect was pretty and interesting.

Our passage through the pack has been comparatively uninteresting from the zoologist’s point of view, as we have seen so little of the rarer species of animals or of birds in exceptional plumage. We passed dozens of crab-eaters, but have seen no Ross seals nor have we been able to kill a sea leopard. To-day we see very few penguins. I’m afraid there can be no observations to give us our position.

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