October 24, 1914: “At Last the Official Sailing-Time is Set”   Leave a comment

–from Frank Hurley’s account “Shackleton’s Argonauts”–

“A faint scent of attar of roses causes one to turn to ascertain the origin. Ah, yes! It wafts from a group of daintily clad femininity clustered about the gangway. They are deliberating over the “No Admittance” sign. They linger and smile confidently,. The senoritas have evidently made up their minds to look over the Endurance. Not even Frank Wild can resist this gentle zephyr of perfumed appeal. The waft passes, and the smell of boiling pitch comes from the decks. They are pouring the molten stuff inside the newly caulked seams. The decks are strewn with debris, and vulgar for dainty steps and pretty shoes.

“At last the official sailing-time is set.”

October 1914: Frank Hurley reconnects with Frank Wild on the “Endurance”   Leave a comment

–from Frank Hurley’s account “Shackleton’s Argonauts”–

“Frank Wild, my old comrade of the Mawson Expedition, was second in command, and of him I write in admiration. With more Antarctic experience to his credit than any living man, he was a tower of strength to his commander, and a capable substitute when the responsibility of leadership fell on him. Wild was not a big man, but for sheer grit, tenacity of purpose and comradeship he would have been difficult to match.”

October 12,1914: Charlie Green applies to be cook with “Endurance”     Leave a comment

–from a conversation recorded with James and Margery Fisher in 1955–

Green had returned to the Endurance to find himself in a line with twenty other men seeking the job as ship’s cook. “Nobody was given the job. I came back to the ship [the Andes] absolutely done in. There was no job for me. I told my assistant to clear out and I would stop o duty that night. I wanted to work—to take my mind off it.

“I was strong as a horse—I could hold a 43 lb. Bag of flour at arms length. I was working in the galley [of the Andes] and in walked our Skipper and Shackleton’s second in command Frank Wild—although I didn’t know him at the time.

“Our Skipper said, ‘That’s Green, Sir,’ and Commander Wild said to me, ‘Shackleton has chosen you for the expedition!!’ Well, I could have fallen through the bottom of the ship.

October 11,1914: Charlie Green applies to be cook with “Endurance”   Leave a comment

–from a conversation recorded with James and Margery Fisher in 1955–

Green had been been cook on board the steamer Andes. “The butcher on the Andes had been ashore and when he came back he said to me, ‘Cook, they want a cook/steward on that expedition ship that is setting out for the Antarctic.’ I said , ‘That will just suit me. So I went to see the manager [of the Andes] and I said, ‘Look, sir, there is a situation going on the Endurance. I would like to go, but I can’t get that job if I can’t leave here.’ He said, ‘you go along. If they accept you, I’ll let you go.’

Green went on board Endurance to see the captain. “I went along to his cabin and knocked at the door. The door opened and a naked man was there—in the bath! Well!!” It was Worsley, and as it turned out the two had been shipmates on board the Sardinian years before.

Green was asked to come back later in the day. When he returned their were twenty men lined up on the dock seeking the position.

October 14, 1914: Frank Hurley joins the “Endurance”   Leave a comment

–from Frank Hurley’s account “Shackleton’s Argonauts”–

“I arrived in Buenos Aires two days after Shackleton’s Endurance was moored alongside the quay. I transferred my gear to the expedition ship. The leader was on board. He was standing on the after-deck, scanning the trim lines of the barquentine rig with a mariner’s keen appreciation of a well-found ship. And this was his flagship, the ship in which he and his Argonauts must brave the world’s wildest seas and win the battle against the warring ice-packs.

“Sir Ernest Shackleton’s greeting and warm handshake made me feel a welcome arrival and an important addition to his team. He fulfilled all the preconceived ideas and ideals that hero-worship had enshrined in him. . . . Shackleton planned on broad lines, and while exercising the greatest thought for the comfort and safety of his men, delegated the responsibility of carrying out details to others. . . .

“Shackleton was an explorer of the type who has carried the Union Jack over uncharted seas and planted it in the heart of unknown lands for adventure’s sake.”

September 1914: Frank Wild and the Sea Dogs   Leave a comment

–from Frank Wild’s memoir. He, in company with Wordie, James, Sir Daniel Gooch, seventy dogs, five tons of petrol, and thirty tons of stores, sailed from Liverpool in the large cargo ship La Negra, arriving in Buenos Aires October 11, 1914–

“The care of the dogs was almost a whole time job. At 6 am the stewards served us with tea and at 6.10 I gave the order to turn to. The sailors objected to washing down the dog deck, so that was our first duty; then the dogs were fed and watered, by which time our own breakfast had arrived. On the second morning after leaving port, the two scientists [Wordie and James] did not make an appearance, and at 6.30 I went to their cabin to enquire the reason. One of them said ‘We have not had our tea yet.’ This being strictly against discipline, I put the hose through their port and washed them out and had no subsequent trouble.”

September 1914: “Endurance” on her way south   Leave a comment

–from “Hold Fast: Tom Crean with Shackleton’s ‘Endurance’ Expedition 1913-1916″ by David Hirzel–

“Restored and replenished, the Endurance left the fragrant shores of Madeira for the open ocean. Warm trade winds hustled her along beneath fleecy clouds awash in a blue sky and sunsets so dazzling they had no equal but the still more glorious sunrises to follow. Schools of porpoise coursed along beneath the bows of the hurrying ship; shoals of flying fish leapt into the air in silver waves streaking inches over the water. Closer to the equator in the doldrums the engines were put to good use. Endurance had a schedule to keep, whether or not a favoring breeze came to her aid: stop in Buenos Aires, make a jaunt across the South Atlantic, depart South Georgia no later than the beginning of December.

“During the day, the ship rings with the sound of saws and hammers nailing up kennels for the dogs to be boarded in South America. The night watches are the best, when everyone not on duty is snug in his berth below. The steady thrum of the engines sings a soft baritone to the glittering stars. Crean at the helm keeps a watchful eye on them and the red glow of the compass rose. The only other sounds are the low voices of the black gang on deck as Stephenson and Holness lift the ash buckets to the rail, and the sudsy hiss of the hot coals hitting the water. There will be no need to trim sail this night. For the watch on duty, it is a time for quiet, confidential talk. Crean and Cheatham sailed together before in the Terra Nova, and can speak now with the ease of old shipmates.”

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