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Scott's Last Expedition

Wednesday, April 5th 1911

The east wind has continued with a short break on Sunday for five days, increasing in violence and gradually becoming colder and more charged with snow until yesterday, when we had a thick overcast day with falling and driving snow and temperature down to -11°.

Went beyond Castle Rock on Sunday and Monday mornings with Griffith Taylor.

Think the wind fairly local and that the Strait has frozen over to the north, as streams of drift snow and ice crystals (off the cliffs) were building up the ice sheet towards the wind. Monday we could see the approaching white sheet—yesterday it was visibly closer to land, though the wind had not decreased. Walking was little pleasure on either day: yesterday climbed about hills to see all possible. No one else left the hut. In the evening the wind fell and freezing continued during night (min.—17°). This morning there is ice everywhere. I cannot help thinking it has come to stay. In Arrival Bay it is 6 to 7 inches thick, but the new pools beyond have only I inch of the regular elastic sludgy new ice. The sky cleared last night, and this morning we have sunshine for the first time for many days. If this weather holds for a day we shall be all right. We are getting towards the end of our luxuries, so that it is quite time we made a move—we are very near the end of the sugar.

The skuas seem to have gone, the last was seen on Sunday. These birds were very shy towards the end of their stay, also very dark in plumage; they did not seem hungry, and yet it must have been difficult for them to get food.

The seals are coming up in our Bay—five last night. Luckily the dogs have not yet discovered them or the fact that the sea ice will bear them.

Had an interesting talk with Taylor on agglomerate and basaltic dykes of Castle Rock. The perfection of the small cone craters below Castle Rock seem to support the theory we have come to, that there have been volcanic disturbances since the recession of the greater ice sheet.

It is a great thing having Wright to fog out the ice problems, and he has had a good opportunity of observing many interesting things here. He is keeping notes of ice changes and a keen eye on ice phenomena; we have many discussions.

Yesterday Wilson prepared a fry of seal meat with penguin blubber. It had a flavour like cod-liver oil and was not much appreciated—some ate their share, and I think all would have done so if we had had sledging appetites—shades of Discovery days!!

This Emperor weighed anything from 88 to 96 lbs., and therefore approximated to or exceeded the record.

The dogs are doing pretty well with one or two exceptions. Deek is the worst, but I begin to think all will pull through.

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