September 17, 1912: Seal butchering on Inexpressible Island

–from Raymond Priestley’s account of Scott’s Northern Party, “Antarctic Adventure”–

“As the depot contained almost all the results of our summer journey, it was imperative that it should be found, and so the next fine day–the 17th–Abbott and I again went to the site of the old camp and spent two or three hours unsuccessfully trying to locate the cache.  Unfortunately, the digging caused a slight relapse on my part, and I was obliged to desist early.  On my return to Evans’ Coves I walked down to the beach, with the intention of chipping out the brain from a seal carcass down there, but when I arrived at the icefoot I saw a seal up, and at once returned for an axe and a knife.

“Browning returned with me, and together we killed, skinned, and butchered the beast.  It was a long job, for the knives ere very blunt and the wind so cold that we had to take turns, one man warming his hands inside the body of the seal while the other worked away till he in his turn was almost frostbitten.”


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