February 21, 1914: Mawson’s expedition nearing home

–from Douglas Mawson’s account The Home of the Blizzard–

On February 12, in latitude 55 S., a strong south-wester drove behind, and under half steam and with all sails set, the Aurora made eight knots an hour. The last iceberg was seen far away on the eastern horizon. Albatrosses followed in our wake, accompanied by their smaller satellites—Cape hens, prions and Lesson’s petrels. . . .

“The first real touch of civilization came early on the morning of February 21. A full-rigged ship on the southern horizon! It might have been an iceberg, the sails flashed so white in the morning sun. But onward it came with a strong south-wester, overhauled and passed us, signalling ‘Archibald Russell, fifty-four days out from Buenos Ayres, bound for Cape Borda.’ It was too magical to believe.”

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