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Scott's Last Expedition

Thursday, March 2nd, 1911 A.M.

Bowers Incident

I note the events of the night of March 1 whilst they are yet fresh in my memory.

The events of the past 48 hours bid fair to wreck the expedition, and the only one comfort is the miraculous avoidance of loss of life. We turned out early yesterday, Oates, Gran, and I, after the dismal night of our pony’s death, and pulled towards the forage depot on ski. As we approached, the sky looked black and lowering, and mirage effects of huge broken floes loomed out ahead. At first I thought it one of the strange optical illusions common in this region – but as we neared the depot all doubt was dispelled. The sea was full of broken pieces of Barrier edge. My thoughts flew to the ponies and dogs, and fearful anxieties assailed my mind. We turned to follow the sea edge and suddenly discovered a working crack. We dashed over this and slackened pace again after a quarter of a mile. Then again cracks appeared ahead and we increased pace as much as possible, not slackening again till we were in line between the Safety Camp and Castle Rock. Meanwhile my first thought was to warn Evans. We set up tent, and Gran went to the depot with a note as Oates and I disconsolately thought out the situation. I thought to myself that if either party had reached safety either on the Barrier or at Hut Point they would immediately have sent a warning messenger to Safety Camp. By this time the messenger should have been with us. Some half-hour passed, and suddenly with a ‘Thank God!’ I made certain that two specks in the direction of Pram Point were human beings. I hastened towards them and found they were Wilson and Meares, who had led the homeward way with the dog teams. They were astonished to see me – they said they feared the ponies were adrift on the sea ice – they had seen them with glasses from Observation Hill. They thought I was with them. They had hastened out without breakfast: we made them cocoa and discussed the gloomiest situation. Just after cocoa Wilson discovered a figure making rapidly for the depot from the west. Gran was sent off again to intercept. It proved to be Crean – he was exhausted and a little incoherent. The ponies had camped at 2.30 A.M. on the sea ice well beyond the seal crack on the previous night. In the middle of the night…

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