January 9, 1915: Better luck for the “Endurance”–a good day’s run at last

–from Sir Ernest Shackleton’s account “South”–

“A dark water-sky extended from east to south-south-east on the following morning, and the ‘Endurance,’ working through loose pack at half speed, reached open water just before noon. A rampart berg 150 ft. high and a quarter of a mile long lay at the edge of the loose pack, and we sailed over a projecting foot of this berg into rolling ocean, stretching to the horizon. The sea extended from a little to the west of south, round be east to north-north-east, and its welcome promise was supported by a dark water-sky to the south. I laid a course south by east in an endeavour to get south and east of Ross’s furthest south (lat. 71º 30′ S.).

“We kept the open water for a hundred miles, passing many bergs but encountering no pack. Two very large whales, probably blue whales, came up to the ship and we saw spouts in all directions. Open water inside the pack in that latitude might have the appeal of sanctuary to the whales, which are harried by man further north. The run southward in blue water, with a clear path ahead and the miles falling away behind us, was a joyful experience after the long struggle through the ice lanes. But, like other good things, our spell of free movement had to end.”

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