The ship had a poor time last night; steam was ordered, but the floe began breaking up fast at 1 A.M., and the rest of the night was passed in struggling with ice anchors; steam was reported ready just as the ship broke adrift. In the morning she secured to the ice edge on the same line as before but a few hundred yards nearer. After getting things going at the hut, I walked over and suggested that Pennell should come round the corner close in shore. The ice anchors were tripped and we steamed slowly in, making fast to the floe within 200 yards of the ice foot and 400 yards of the hut.
For the present the position is extraordinarily comfortable. With a southerly blow she would simply bind on to the ice, receiving great shelter from the end of the Cape. With a northerly blow she might turn rather close to the shore, where the soundings run to 3 fathoms, but behind such a stretch of ice she could scarcely get a sea or swell without warning. It looks a wonderfully comfortable little nook, but, of course, one can be certain of nothing in this place; one knows from experience how deceptive the appearance of security may be. Pennell is truly excellent in his present position – he’s invariably cheerful, unceasingly watchful, and continuously ready for emergencies. I have come to possess implicit confidence in him.
The temperature fell to 4º last night, with a keen S.S.E. breeze; it was very unpleasant outside after breakfast. Later in the forenoon the wind dropped and the sun shone forth. This afternoon it fell almost calm, but the sky clouded over again and now there is a gentle warm southerly breeze with light falling snow and an overcast sky. Rather significant of a blizzard if we had not had such a lot of wind lately. The position of the ship makes the casual transport that still proceeds very easy, but the ice is rather thin at the edge. In the hut all is marching towards the utmost comfort.
Bowers has completed a storeroom on the south side, an excellent place to keep our travelling provisions. Every day he conceives or carries out some plan to benefit the camp. Simpson and Wright are worthy of all admiration: they have been unceasingly active in getting things to the fore and I think will be ready for routine work much earlier than was anticipated. But, indeed, it is hard to specialise praise where everyone is working so indefatigably for the cause.
Each man in his way is a treasure.
Clissold the cook has started splendidly, has served seal, penguin, and skua now, and I can honestly say that I have never met these articles of food in such a pleasing guise; ‘this point is of the greatest practical importance, as it means the certainty of good health for any number of years.’ Hooper was landed to-day, much to his joy. He got to work at once, and will be a splendid help, freeing the scientific people of all dirty work. Anton and Demetri are both most anxious to help on all occasions; they are excellent boys.