The completion of our station is approaching with steady progress. The wind was strong from the S.S.E. yesterday morning, sweeping over the camp; the temperature fell to 15º, the sky became overcast. To the south the land outlines were hazy with drift, so my dog tour was abandoned. In the afternoon, with some moderation of conditions, the ballast party went to work, and wrought so well that more than 10 tons were got off before night. The organisation of this work is extremely good. The loose rocks are pulled up, some 30 or 40 feet up the hillside, placed on our heavy rough sledges and rushed down to the floe on a snow track; here they are laden on pony sledges and transported to the ship. I slept on board the ship and found it colder than the camp – the cabins were below freezing all night and the only warmth existed in the cheery spirit of the company. The cold snap froze the water in the boiler and Williams had to light one of the fires this morning. I shaved and bathed last night (the first time for 10 days) and wrote letters from breakfast till tea time to-day. Meanwhile the ballast team has been going on merrily, and to-night Pennell must have some 26 tons on board.
It was good to return to the camp and see the progress which had been made even during such a short absence. The grotto has been much enlarged and is, in fact, now big enough to hold all our mutton and a considerable quantity of seal and penguin.
Close by Simpson and Wright have made surprising progress in excavating for the differential magnetic hut. They have already gone in 7 feet and, turning a corner, commenced the chamber, which is to be 13 feet x 5 feet. The hard ice of this slope is a godsend and both grottoes will be ideal for their purposes.
The cooking range and stove have been placed in the hut and now chimneys are being constructed; the porch is almost finished as well as the interior; the various carpenters are busy with odd jobs and it will take them some time to fix up the many small fittings that different people require.