March 5, 1912: The Terra Nova’s failed attempt to reach the Northern Party

–from Herbert Ponting’s account, “The Great White South”–

“Every hour was now of importance, owing to the known bad ice conditions up the coast.  The Terra Nova therefore left McMurdo Sound on March 5th, 1912, in a final effort to reach the Northern Party, before heading north for New Zealand.

“From Cape Royds onwards we found the ice had thickened materially in the Sound; and soon the incoming floes became so heavy that it seemed doubtful whether the ship could force a way through them.  Between Beaufort Island and Cape Bird she became fast, and all hands were summoned on deck to make a united effort to roll her loose. . . . It was an anxious time, for shout the Terra Nova freeze into the pack at this place, she might be crushed in the pressure of the incoming ice.

“Once more the ship was headed for Terra Nova Bay; but the ice there was worse than ever.  We could not get within ten miles of where we had been turned back in the last attempt.  As the season was now far advanced, and ice conditions had become established that might remain for the winter, Lieut. Pennell was reluctantly compelled to give up further efforts to relieve the party, and the ship’s course was laid for New Zealand.”


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