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Scott's Last Expedition

Monday, January 23rd 1911

Placid conditions last for a very short time in these regions. I got up at 5 this morning to find the weather calm and beautiful, but to my astonishment an opening lane of water between the land and the ice in the bay. The latter was going out in a solid mass.

The ship discovered it easily, got up her ice anchors, sent a boat ashore, and put out to sea to dredge. We went on with our preparations, but soon Meares brought word that the ice in the south bay was going in an equally rapid fashion. This proved an exaggeration, but an immense piece of floe had separated from the land. Meares and I walked till we came to the first ice. Luckily we found that it extends for some 2 miles along the rock of our Cape, and we discovered a possible way to lead ponies down to it. It was plain that only the ponies could go by it – no loads.
Since that everything has been rushed – and a wonderful day’s work has resulted; we have got all the forage and food sledges and equipment off to the ship – the dogs will follow in an hour, I hope, with pony harness, &c., that is everything to do with our depÙt party, except the ponies.

As at present arranged they are to cross the Cape and try to get over the Southern Road [8] to-morrow morning. One breathes a prayer that the Road holds for the few remaining hours. It goes in one place between a berg in open water and a large pool of the glacier face – it may be weak in that part, and at any moment the narrow isthmus may break away. We are doing it on a very narrow margin.

If all is well I go to the ship to-morrow morning after the ponies have started, and then to Glacier Tongue.

Getting camp in order. Erebus (and Colman’s). Jan 23rd 1911.
“Getting camp in order. Erebus (and Colman’s). Jan 23rd 1911.”

Piling stores near hut. Colman flour. Jan. 23rd 1911.
“Piling stores near hut. Colman flour. Jan. 23rd 1911.”

Stacking patent fuel. Jan. 23rd 1911.
“Stacking patent fuel. Jan. 23rd 1911.”

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