Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition: A crewman’s view

Twenty men standing on an icy island with thick snowsuit on.

“Elephant Island Men”

Yesterday, one hundred years ago, the crew of the Endurance was rescued by their leader, Ernest Shackleton. More than four months had passed since he departed Elephant Island aboard the James Caird with five of their crewmates. George Marston, the expedition’s artist, and Frank Hurley, the photographer, were the first to spot the small steam tug Yelcho, a Chilean naval vessel that was lent to Shackleton for his return to Antarctic waters.

In their excitement to see the ship, the remaining crew members tore through the door and walls of their makeshift shelter. Shackleton’s approach from the tug to shore in a small boat was greeted with ragged and weak cheers from the crew, who began to question him before the bow of the boat could touch sand. Within an hour or so of Shackleton’s landing, the entire crew had been transported to the tug and were on their way back to civilization.

Not a single man was lost, although Orde-Lee was almost left behind. He had remained behind at the campsite to show Shackleton around, but realized that Shackleton had no intention of touring the site only after the last boat had shoved off from shore. After a frantic dash down the beach, Orde-Lees hurled himself headlong into the boat and labeled himself “the last man to leave the accursed spot.”

It seems fitting that the last man to leave the island also should be the last to speak here about the ordeal. In his diary entry for August 30th, 1916, Orde-Lees gives praise to Shackleton, saying that he “at the greatest peril had undertaken a journey of unprecedented magnitude with the most utterly inadequate equipment in order to bring succor to his men marooned on an Antarctic island, a debt that we can never repay him except by demanding that he shall receive the honours due to all heroes who at their own great personal risk save the lives of those for whom they are responsible. All honour then to this truly brave man.”

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Rauner Special Collections Library in Webster Hall holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916. To see them, come to Rauner and ask to see MSS-185 or Stefansson G850 1914 .O7 1997 during normal hours of operation.  An exhibit on Shackleton’s Antarctic explorations will be on display in Rauner from July 1-September 2, 2016.

Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition: A crewman’s view

By Thomas Orde-Lees, Quartermaster

“August 1916, 23.

No change in pack or weather.

Certain members are exhibiting obvious concerns about the present food shortage and strange to say now that there really is a shortage the imperturbable pessimists are apparently quite unconcerned and certainly are not saying anything in the nature of “We told you so.” It is not unusual that pessimism and equanimity are counterparts.

Three boats sailing on icy ocean

“Endurance under full sail” – courtesy of Shackleton Endurance Photography

The manner in which the aforesaid members exhibit their fears is in trying to overcome them assuming that the pessimists are now thoroughly scared and therefore making mocking remarks such as “Now we shall all starve” and “We shall have to eat the one who dies first” and so on, which has actually occurred before now when people have been in only very slightly worse straits than we are now. There’s many a true word said in jest. To a close observer there are many other indications in the way that the fatuous optimists shout loudly to each other all manner of such remarks about the food supply question as if to keep their spirits up by the cheery loudness of their voices in much the same way psych-ologically as Chinese walking along a road at night shout loudly to each other to keep off evil spirits in other words fear by mutual encouragement.

Of course the probability is that we have ample to support us until the pack clears off again, for it has now been in for a week and the longest previous spell has been 13 days only, but when it does clear we shall have no reserve left and, should we be based again within a few days for a more we should be in a bad way.

I had gone round the foot of Penguin Hill and had reached the top in order to give a had with the rope, but as I was immediately afterwards required down on the ice foot I had the pleasure of being lowered over the precipice on the end of the rope, and subsequently ascended by the same means.

Previous entry  |   Next entry  |  Go to introduction

One hundred years ago this August, Ernest Shackleton rescued his crew after the failure of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Rauner holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916.” These entries are a selection from the diary of the expedition’s quartermaster Thomas Orde-Lees.

Rauner Special Collections Library in Webster Hall holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916. To see them, come to Rauner and ask to see MSS-185 or Stefansson G850 1914 .O7 1997 during normal hours of operation.  An exhibit on Shackleton’s Antarctic explorations will be on display in Rauner from July 1-September 2, 2016.

Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition: A crewman’s view

By Thomas Orde-Lees, Quartermaster

“July 1916, 25.

Mild and damp. West wind and snow.

We had quite an exciting incident today. A large pregnant female seal drifted quite close in on an ice-slab in West Bay at a place where there is a good ice-foot over the rocks but where Penguin Hill rises in an abrupt precipice. Wild came along with his little gun but failed to make his usual fine shooting and although he shot it three times in the head he did no kill it. As he had only three cartridges with him he sent Holness back tot he hut for some more.

“The James Caird” – courtesy of Shackleton Endurance Photography

To reach the hut it was necessary to go right round the foot of Penguin Hill a distance of some 300 yards over a difficult rocky path. Whilst Holness was away the seal so far recovered itself that it got its head and shoulder over the edge of the little floe and was about to dive when Holness arrived. It was an anxious moment for fear we might lose this valuable quantity of food. Wild then successfully dispatched it and it was decided to cut it up where it lay as soon as the floe drifted in close enough to gain access to it, and to haul it up the precipice by rope.

I had gone round the foot of Penguin Hill and had reached the top in order to give a had with the rope, but as I was immediately afterwards required down on the ice foot I had the pleasure of being lowered over the precipice on the end of the rope, and subsequently ascended by the same means.

The seal was cut up into four pieces and hauled up and the fully developed foetus which had only about two months to go was hauled up complete. We also got two penguins.”

Previous entry  |   Next entry  |  Go to introduction

One hundred years ago this August, Ernest Shackleton rescued his crew after the failure of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Rauner holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916.” These entries are a selection from the diary of the expedition’s quartermaster Thomas Orde-Lees.

Rauner Special Collections Library in Webster Hall holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916. To see them, come to Rauner and ask to see MSS-185 or Stefansson G850 1914 .O7 1997 during normal hours of operation.  An exhibit on Shackleton’s Antarctic explorations will be on display in Rauner from July 1-September 2, 2016.

Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition: A crewman’s view

By Thomas Orde-Lees, Quartermaster

“July 1915, 19.

A moderate easterly blizzard confines us to our bags.

Both bays are full of close big lumpy pack.

On days like this we talk and talk. The principal topic is always food, good solid boiled suet puddings being generally voted as the things best worth living for, then apple and black currant puddings with cream, and then how new cake. I suppose it sounds beastly greedy to write like this but we are always in deadly earnest about it and

“The Night Watchman” – courtesy of Shackleton Endurance Photography

get quite heated over arguments as to whether muffins are more filling than crumpets. One has the sort of feeling that if a genie were to suddenly appear and offer us muffins or crumpets some idiot might go and say crumpets. I am a muffineer and know that the muffin is incomparably better food value that the crumpet. “Conspue”(?) the crumpet advocates!

We so seldom mention the war that it is hardly worth referring to it. I think we are all a little ashamed of having run away from it now that we find ourselves in this position of forced inertia, I know I am, and am most anxious to get back in time to do my bit. Most, though by no means all, of us think it must by over by now. I am one of those who think the contrary. If it is over it must have ended in a draw and Brittain could never tolerate that. Wordie is the best debater on this subject and sometimes gives us very interesting information as to pre-war conditions in Germany. For the rest, discussions on processes described in the Encyclopaedia, how things are done and made and semi-scientific talk fills the bill.

No poor penguins today.

Previous entry  |   Next entry  |  Go to introduction

One hundred years ago this August, Ernest Shackleton rescued his crew after the failure of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Rauner holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916.” These entries are a selection from the diary of the expedition’s quartermaster Thomas Orde-Lees.

Rauner Special Collections Library in Webster Hall holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916. To see them, come to Rauner and ask to see MSS-185 or Stefansson G850 1914 .O7 1997 during normal hours of operation.  An exhibit on Shackleton’s Antarctic explorations will be on display in Rauner from July 1-September 2, 2016.

Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition: A crewman’s view

By Thomas Orde-Lees, Quartermaster

“June 1915, 19.

It is still mild but overcast again. A big swell bids fair to disperse the enveloping pack; open-water leads are increasing.

The nut-food sugar gamble is still rankling. I cannot help feeling I bear Wild a grudge and he no doubt feels contemptuous of me, even so it is better that we should give our emotions some rein than vegetate in mental torpor. As a matter of fact, Macklin agrees with me that we are none of us quite normal mentally owing to privation and improper nourishment.

“Tom Crean Husky pups” – courtesy of Shackleton Endurance Photography

I feel sure that had we been in possession of sufficient alcohol to make it a “swopable” commodity and had some members made a corner in it they would have revelled in their shrewdness and a reinstatement of rights would have been the last thing that they would have tolerated, but after all who am I that I should point the finger.

I find that my diary of impersonal impartiality is lately becoming inconveniently egoistic to the elimination of the more general affairs that really do matter, but I dare say the personal side of the case in the case of even only one person may have its uses.

I have another little bone to pick with Wild. Some weeks ago, as previously stated, in order no doubt to allay any uneasiness as to our future food supply Wild stated that we had ample meat to last us until the end of August. To anyone capable of simple calculation it was obvious that this was an over estimate and one could not help thinking that perhaps it was a case of “the wish being father of the thought”, at any rate since then we have killed 300 penguins and 5 seals, and as far as I can estimate, (and I have had a good deal of experience now at estimating and calculating food supplied) we have no more than will last us until August 15th at the present rate of consumption. A large Weddell seal was lying for several hours on a small floe which drifted in to within 20 yards or so from the beach but unfortunately for want of a boat it never became accessible. It is very tantalizing to see so much prospective meat within one’s gasp and yet to be unable to secure it.”

Previous entry  |   Next entry  |  Go to introduction

One hundred years ago this August, Ernest Shackleton rescued his crew after the failure of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Rauner holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916.” These entries are a selection from the diary of the expedition’s quartermaster Thomas Orde-Lees.

Rauner Special Collections Library in Webster Hall holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916. To see them, come to Rauner and ask to see MSS-185 or Stefansson G850 1914 .O7 1997 during normal hours of operation.  An exhibit on Shackleton’s Antarctic explorations will be on display in Rauner from July 1-September 2, 2016.

Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition: A crewman’s view

By Thomas Orde-Lees, Quartermaster

“June, 1916. 15”

Mild but wet. Temperature 31 degrees. I am tired of stating that the pack is still in; but it is.

Poor Blackborrow had to have his toes amputated today.

The doctors worked under difficulty.

We were all ordered outside except the doctors and Wild, who stayed as a privileged spectator and Hurley who has a reputation as a stoker and who therefore kept the fire going to maintain an equable temperature. He managed to get up and keep a temperature of 80 degrees for an hour, not so bad for the Antarctic, nothing but blubber and penguin skins for fuel.

“Shackleton on Ice” – courtesy of Shackleton Endurance Photography

As it was drizzling we all went and took shelter in one of the caves. It was pretty wet and damp there. We cut each other’s hair to pass the time away and pretty good frights we made out ourselves. As we had to sit on a block of ice during the process, nothing else being available for a seat, we mostly got rather wet where our clothing came in contact with the ice.

The caves are now easily accessible owing to the icefoot having bridged the gap that formerly intercepted out approach.

They form very useful shelters and if only their floors were above high water level and they were on the East side of Penguin Hill they would be of great value to us as shelters for penguin-skinning and as storehouses. To reach them it is nearly always necessary to go right round Penguin Hill although the caves are not more than twenty yards from the hut, but the short cut is seldom negotiable, and when it is, it is only effected by the thin coating of ice adhering to very steep rock faces. Steps have been cut in this ice but a slip would entail a ducking in deep water.

It was nearly three hours before we were again able to get back into the hut by which time we were bored, cold and hungry.

The operation had been successful in spite of difficulties and when we got back into our cosy bags the patient was sleeping off the effects of the anaesthetic [sic].

Previous entry  |   Next entry  |  Go to introduction

One hundred years ago this August, Ernest Shackleton rescued his crew after the failure of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Rauner holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916.” These entries are a selection from the diary of the expedition’s quartermaster Thomas Orde-Lees.

Rauner Special Collections Library in Webster Hall holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916. To see them, come to Rauner and ask to see MSS-185 or Stefansson G850 1914 .O7 1997 during normal hours of operation.  An exhibit on Shackleton’s Antarctic explorations will be on display in Rauner from July 1-September 2, 2016.

Television in Our Lives: Insights from the Journal of E-Media Studies 2016

Kevin Warstadt, Edward Connery Lathem ’51 Digital Library Fellow at the Dartmouth College Library, muses on his experiences with television, inspired by articles in the latest issue of the Journal of E-Media e-media_logo-2Studies.

In the recent special issue (vol. 5, 2016) of the Journal of E-Media Studies published by the Dartmouth College Library, contributors explore the early history of television from a number of different angles, promoting a comprehensive view of the medium and its societal impact.

I can only inadequately express the impact of television on my own life. How many nights I spent camped out, snacks in hand, mesmerized by those flickering images on the wall, I can’t say. Though often taken for granted, television was a persistent presence in my life. It entertained and informed, provided continuity and structure.

Beyond my personal interactions with television, it was also a social thing. I remember when my family would gather around the screen weekly to watch the latest big show. It became a ritual, a time to think about people and morality. It became a kind of instant mythology that gave meaning to a world which often seemed frightening and inconsistent. When I grew older I watched “The Sopranos” with my father, one of the few things we were able to bond over. And it left the home as well. We spoke about the goings-on of our favorite shows over the water cooler. We saw horrors and beauty. It was hatred and fear and love and hope, everything art should be. We felt pride when we saw men walk on the moon. We felt the terror as the twin towers fell. We had these visceral, unifying experiences, all because of television.

Elihu Katz discusses this unifying effect of television in his interview with Doron Galili. “…television truly lived up to its promise—the occasions of uniting a whole nation, allowing everybody to feel part of some great national event, burying differences for the moment, feeling a thrill of simultaneity—of actually being there.” He also makes note of the formation of hegemony, the drawback of such a powerful force. As the founding director of Israeli television, Katz can speak to that power as much as anyone.

Television_EMedia_Image1

Television weatherman Nils Curry Melin painting a van Gogh-inspired weather forecast. Skit from Multikonst—hela Sverige går på utställning (1967). Still image: SVT—Sveriges Television AB.

Whereas Katz covers the social influence of television, Åhlén writes about the medium as a tool for cultural education. In the case of the Swedish program, Multikonst, television proved an innovative means of spreading appreciation of modern art. However, the creators of Multikonst saw television as only this; a tool. Åhlén writes, “Television was thought to be able to become an important part in the contact-making but never to actually substitute this contact; it could provide information about art, bolster engagement for and create interest in art, but it could never actually be art, because art was chiefly considered a product of an artist’s work.” They can hardly be blamed for failing to recognize the potential of the fairly young medium, but to the contemporary eye it’s clear that television can be art in its own right.

It seems that the devotees of the high arts are quick to dismiss television. I must admit that when I talk about its influence on my own development I do so with a hint of shame. Even the word itself, television, seems disconnected from the old, artisanal world. It’s a product of mechanization, of industry, and it’s easy, especially with the advent of ubiquitous reality television and product placement, to dismiss it as a kind of opiate of the masses. But it’s so much more than that.

It is surreal to look through the images of old TV sets on McVoy’s website for the Museum of Early Television, and see the art deco style of them. They have the whisper of optimism, straight lines going up up up to the skies, suggesting infinite possibilities. There is magic in those old boxes, that made living rooms, homes, and neighborhoods center around them. Even in photos they possess an inexplicable weight, and in their dim glow is the specter of a past wonder that was lost in the trudge through postmodernism.

Television_EMedia_Image2.jpg

Image from La photographie électrique à distance, directed by Georges Méliès, 1908, Star Film Co., France

It is enchanting to peruse Koszarski and Galili’s filmography and watch the dancing ghosts of Georges Méliès and Fritz Lang. The figures within seem alive with their explosive movements and exaggerated facial expressions, and yet, in silence, they seem so far away, trapped in the past.

And there they remain. As visual media advances they’ll grow farther away, moving ever nearer the first shadows on the wall. But they’re not lost. The studies of early television presented within this edition of the Journal of e-Media Studies and others like them allow us to hold on to the optimism of the past. And like those artists who dreamt of a technological age, we can use that past to look in new ways ever toward the future.

About the author:
Kevin Patrick Warstadt holds the Edward Connery Lathem ’51 Digital Library Fellowship for 2016-2017 at the Dartmouth College Library. He studied film and history at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and holds a BA in Science, Technology, and Culture.  He is a student in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Program at Dartmouth, and is completing his thesis on Theodore Roosevelt and American Expansion in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Recent publications include the short story “In the Desert” and the poem “Response to Xanadu,” both published in The MALS Journal.
In his work as Digital Library Fellow, Kevin handled the mark-up for each of the articles in this issue, and this article was inspired by that deep work with the texts!

About the Dartmouth College Library Publishing Program:
The Dartmouth College Library’s Digital Publishing Program focuses on providing open access, online publishing of scholarly publications that are created by Dartmouth faculty or students, or are published by Dartmouth.

 

Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition: A crewman’s view

By Thomas Orde-Lees, Quartermaster

“May, 1916. 15.

A cold night followed by a calm day with a calm open sea. Ninety penguins came up and all were killed. Wild asked me, sarcastically, if I was satisfied. He seems to think that I am personally afraid of having to starve. This is not exactly the case, it is rather the whole party that I am concerned about. I should not like to see a repetition of the Greeley disaster, and upon my word, I think we are asking for it.

"Endurance under Full Sail" - courtesy of Shackleton Endurance Photography

“Endurance under Full Sail” – courtesy of Shackleton Endurance Photography

We are now burning nothing but penguin skins on our indoor stove and nearly all the cooking is being done on it. It requires about fifteen skins per day and it behooves us to get all the penguins we can if only for the value of their skins as fuel.

To burn them it is necessary to cut them into thin strips which are laid over the two cross bars of the stove. The heat of the burning oil on the bottom of the stove causes the oil to “render” from the strips of skin; it drops on to the heap of ash and debris at the bottom and in due course ignites and helps to render the oil our of the next two strips and so on. It is necessary to replenish the strips every five or ten minutes. We leave the feathers on the skins just as they are and being very oily there is no unpleasant smell such as burning feathers usually make. The fire is lighted by a few wood-shavings and splinters derived from the little wooden “sweet-boxes” in which every ten pieces of nut food are packed.

There are therefore ten of these wooden boxes in a case of 100 blocks of nut food or seventy of them in all and, as each box will light two fires we have enough to get our stove going for a period of four months at least. We could quite easily light the fire by pouring seal oil on to the ashes of the previous night and inserting a wick when the whole lot would soon be in a blaze, but as the wood is available and blubber scarce we use the former for the present.

We are fortunate in having a good supply of matches, but even if we had none we could easily manage to get a light, in the first instance, with a “burning glass” on one of our rare sunny days and thereafter maintain a constant flame night and day with a blubber lamp.”

Previous entry  |   Next entry  |  Go to introduction

One hundred years ago this August, Ernest Shackleton rescued his crew after the failure of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Rauner holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916.” These entries are a selection from the diary of the expedition’s quartermaster Thomas Orde-Lees.

Rauner Special Collections Library in Webster Hall holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916. To see them, come to Rauner and ask to see MSS-185 or Stefansson G850 1914 .O7 1997 during normal hours of operation.  An exhibit on Shackleton’s Antarctic explorations will be on display in Rauner from July 1-September 2, 2016.

Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition: A crewman’s view

By Thomas Orde-Lees, Quartermaster

“May, 1916. 12.

A nasty dump day with a mild easterly blizzard.

A good many paddies were caught. They seem very plentiful just now.

The ice foot proved too much for the penguins today. Large numbers landed on a rock which can be reached form the shore by a round about way. They inspected the route ashore, decided it was no good and turned back. I observed three batches do this and thinking later arrivals might be similarly deterred I crept round and lay in wait and, on another batch coming up, I cut off their retreat and compelled them to go ashore.

"Shackleton on Ice" - courtesy of Shackleton Endurance Photography

“Shackleton on Ice” – courtesy of Shackleton Endurance Photography

I was not so successful with a second batch, several eluding me, but I managed the third batch all night. In this way I coerced ashore 51 birds of which Wild considered 21 sufficient for our needs. I really have no patience with these methods and am at a loss to know what inspires them. It certainly is not due to humaneness. The situation is too critical to take such liberties. I dare say we shall get penguins as long as we have to stay here, but there is no guarantee that we shall and no advantage whatever in leaving it to chance.

The only expedition that has previously wintered in this neighbourhood (Bruce at the South Orkneys) report that the penguins all left at the end of April and if analogy is worth anything they may quite likely leave here soon too.

We have now let seven hundred birds slip through our fingers, if we ever go short we shall have only ourselves to blame. So we shall be under the painful necessity of killing them rather more regularly in future.

One wonders just why these birds visited us in such great quantities. Were they driven up from Graham’s Land by the ice and are they “en passage” migrating to islands further west more free from ice?”

Previous entry  |   Next entry  |  Go to introduction

One hundred years ago this August, Ernest Shackleton rescued his crew after the failure of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Rauner holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916.” These entries are a selection from the diary of the expedition’s quartermaster Thomas Orde-Lees.

Rauner Special Collections Library in Webster Hall holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916. To see them, come to Rauner and ask to see MSS-185 or Stefansson G850 1914 .O7 1997 during normal hours of operation.  An exhibit on Shackleton’s Antarctic explorations will be on display in Rauner from July 1-September 2, 2016.

Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition: A crewman’s view

By Thomas Orde-Lees, Quartermaster

“May, 1916. 5.

Overcast. Temperature 31 degrees. Mild, slushy.

There were some cold penguins to skin. It was cold work. When freshly killed it is easy, almost agreeable, work executed as follows: lay the penguin on his back, slit him from his neck to his tail with a knife, insert the hand and withdraw the stomach and other “utensils” taking care not to break the gall bladder, before doing this the windpipe and gullet has to be cut by holding it with one hand and passing the knife up with the other. Next tear the skin apart at the breast and work it off the carcass and legs, articulating the wings with a knife and cutting the skin round at the leg joints just above the gut (the penguin has feathers right down to, but not on, its feet). The tail is then articulated at its root and by holding on to it and pulling whilst standing on the penguins feet it can be skinned off the back and head all in one operation like pilling off one’s vest inside out. What remains looks rather like a skinned rabbit. The two sides of the breast are easily cut off and the legs articulated, these portions are stored in the snow and the hearts and livers are all put into a box where they freeze into a solid cake. The skins are laid out flat and stored for fuel, but when one comes to one’s last bird for the day one generally uses the blubbery inside of the skin to wash some of the blood off one’s hands and even gives one’s face a good wipe, using the feather side as a towel to dry oneself with. The blubbery nature of the inside of the skin forms quite a passable soap, but our hands and faces are always so black that it doesn’t make any perceptible difference.

"Dogloos Endurance" - courtesy of Shackleton Endurance Photography

“Dogloos Endurance” – courtesy of Shackleton Endurance Photography

We practically never wash now except for this and it is surprising how soon one becomes reconciled to this state of affairs.

The penguins usually come up from the sea about 3 p.m. They roost here and go off to sea the first thing in the morning to fish. It seems probable that it is mostly different birds that come up every day and as if they were making a passage from one spot to another and using this as a half way house for however many we kill, just about the same number come up the next day. Were it not so, we should soon exterminate them. Today as many as 118 came up and we secured them all.

Our daily routine is now as follows. Cook turns out at 7 a.m. and goes out to galley to cook steaks. The inside stove is lighted and water heated up on it for milk. As the pungent blubber fumes pervade the atmosphere we all get well inside our bags and cough oil 9:30 or 10:00 a.m. when the order comes to “lash up and snow” whereupon we turn out fully dressed all but our boots, which we put on at once, and the ground floor people roll up their bags and bundle them up on to the bags of the protesting occupants of the thwarts who, by this time are generally down on the floor.

Two”seat placers”, told off daily in rotation, place the Venesta provision cases round in a rough circle amidst the execrations of the remainder on whose toes the cases fall. We sit down disconsolate and liverish until the cooks of groups ( the groups remain the same as the original tent’s crews and are maintained owing to the necessity of dividing the food up into all the available receptacles) stumble in with their precious burdens. “Whacking out” these proceeds the old “whoseing” process being rigidly adhered to. This operation has to be carried out on the knees of one of the members of the group and the balancing of the pot and all the eight tin plates is matter of no little skill.

As breakfast proceeds tongues are gradually loosened just as used to be the case in the ship, which proves that the psychological reaction of food even under such circumstances of destitution as ours still persists. Breakfast over we go out, if fine enough, and do such works as may be required of us. Luncheon is ready at 12:45 p.m. Today we had boiled penguin’s carcasses and they weren’t at all bad, being boiled in sea water to salt them a bit. It is dangerous to use sea water too freely on account of the likelihood of dysentery occurring from the magnesium salts in solution.

About 2 p.m. we again go out and work or walk about to keep our bodies and especially our feet warm. It is unfortunate that we have only such a very short walk the length of the spit. It gets monotonous and the people one meets are always the same and all so dirty looking and the snow covered pebbles are difficult to walk on, but one gets too cold sitting in the hut and as there is only four feet of head room beneath the thwarts of the boats it gets very crampy. By 4 p.m. most of us are in the hut again and at 4:30 supper is served.

It invariably consists of stewed seal or penguin meat. At both luncheon and supper we have ice cold water as a beverage. It is always ice cold because of the necessity of economizing fuel and therefore having to put rather more ice into the pot than can possibly all be melted. Should the water be warm by any chance we add more ice to it in order to increase the amount of water to the utmost. We nearly all get thirst during the night and have a drink of water at midnight.

At 6 p.m., the “seats” are replaced in the centre of the hut for the cook to sleep on, bags are laid out, we get into them and chat or read if possible until 7:30 p.m. by which hour nearly every one is asleep. Some wrangle.

We sleep from 7:30 p.m. to 9 a.m., at least that is the time we have to spend in our bags and most of sonly wish we could sleep for all that long time for it is very wearying lying awake hour after hour as many of us do, thinking most of the time of how much better we might be off if only this – and only that and so on. Of course we ought really to be only too thankful that we are here at all after the peril and uncertainty of our life on the floe. Our only source of danger here is lack of food. I suppose Mr. Wild knows what he is doing all right but I certainly think that until we are certain of a stock enough to last all the winter we ought to economize more now; we could quite well do with rather less than we are having, at least I could; the penguin steaks at breakfast are huge. One would rather economize now than risk going short later on which may or may not the base. I have seen too much improvidence on this expedition, it is a well known characteristic of the Esquimaus, perhaps a polar climate engenders it in certain people, but I must say that in all polar books I have read the narrators lay stress on the expediency of laying in a proper store for the winter; thus Scott, Greeley, Nordenskiold, Amundsen, Campbell. Living from hand to mouth may suit some natures, not mine. Mr. Wild is evidently relying too much upon an early relief. It is counting your chickens before they’ve hatched.

An adult sea elephant spent an hour or two on a small floe in West Bay, not more than fifty yards from the shore but the pack was too intersected to permit of approaching it. Some could have done it with oars to bridge the gaps but Mr. Wild thought it too risky.”

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One hundred years ago this August, Ernest Shackleton rescued his crew after the failure of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Rauner holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916.” These entries are a selection from the diary of the expedition’s quartermaster Thomas Orde-Lees.

Rauner Special Collections Library in Webster Hall holds a complete transcript of the diary and the manuscript diary from March 24th, 1915, through April 16th, 1916. To see them, come to Rauner and ask to see MSS-185 or Stefansson G850 1914 .O7 1997 during normal hours of operation.  An exhibit on Shackleton’s Antarctic explorations will be on display in Rauner from July 1-September 2, 2016.