Early May 1912: Hunger and frostbite on Inexpressible Island

–from Raymond Priestley’s account “Antarctic Adventure”–

“May was ushered in quite appropriately with a blighting westerly wind.  The sea ice which had formed again on the bay during the last day or two of April was driven out to the horizon, and several members of the party who were working outside sustained severe frost-bites.  Browning in particular returned to the cave with his whole hand and wrist quite dead and white, and he was some time restoring its circulation.

“As seals were still scarce we still further reduced the meat ration until we were eating only a bare sufficiency to keep us it for our work.  I calculated that we had enough to keep us going on this new ration until the light came back, but the frequent recurrence of frostbite seemed already to indicate that early spring sledging would not be advisable, at least for some members of the party.  We could only hope that these bites were due rather to the withering nature of the wind than to an impaired power of resistance to cold developed in us by the hard conditions of our life.”


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