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Scott's Last Expedition

Friday, December 30th 1910

Obs. 72º 17′ S. 177º 9′ E. Made good in 48 hours, S. 19 W. 190′; C. Crozier S. 21 W. 334′. We are out of the pack at length and at last; one breathes again and hopes that it will be possible to carry out the main part of our programme, but the coal will need tender nursing.

Yesterday afternoon it became darkly overcast with falling snow. The barometer fell on a very steep gradient and the wind increased to force 6 from the E.N.E. In the evening the snow fell heavily and the glass still galloped down. In any other part of the world one would have felt certain of a coming gale. But here by experience we know that the barometer gives little indication of wind.

Throughout the afternoon and evening the water holes became more frequent and we came along at a fine speed. At the end of the first watch we were passing through occasional streams of ice; the wind had shifted to north and the barometer had ceased to fall. In the middle watch the snow held up, and soon after – 1 A.M. – Bowers steered through the last ice stream.

At six this morning we were well in the open sea, the sky thick and overcast with occasional patches of fog. We passed one small berg on the starboard hand with a group of Antarctic petrels on one side and a group of snow petrels on the other. It is evident that these birds rely on sea and swell to cast their food up on ice ledges–only a few find sustenance in the pack where, though food is plentiful, it is not so easily come by. A flight of Antarctic petrel accompanied the ship for some distance, wheeling to and fro about her rather than following in the wake as do the more northerly sea birds.

It is [good] to escape from the captivity of the pack and to feel that a few days will see us at Cape Crozier, but it is sad to remember the terrible inroad which the fight of the last fortnight has made on our coal supply.

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