December 15, 1912: “A silent farewell. . . .”

–from douglas Mawson’s account “The Home of the Blizzard”–

“A silent farewell!–and we started back, aiming to reach our camping ground of December 12, where several things had been discarded which should be of use in our straitened circumstances. All speed was necessary before snow should fall and obliterate the track which alone served to locate the goal; so the journey that night was a desperate affair across steeply undulating country so badly crevassed in places that even on the outward journey, when it had been negotiated methodically and at leisure, it had cause us some anxiety. [Ninnis’ sledge that had fallen down the crevasse had taken with it all the dog food, all but 1-1/2 weeks’ man food, and the tent. No depots had been made on the outward journey. The distance back to the hut at Cape Denison was 320 miles.]

“Mertz donned his skis and went ahead as forerunner. . . .

“At half past two in the early morning of December 15, the relics discarded at our camps of three days previous came into sight. Projecting from the snow were the remains of the damaged sledge and the broken spade. Soon afterwards Mertz set to work to construct a makeshif frame to support the spare tent-cover. . . .This answered very well, though it only reached a maximumn of four feet from the ground.”


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