Shackleton’s ‘Aurora’ Ross Sea Party, January 24, 1915: Landing at Hut Point

Shacketon’s planned Antarctic crossing from the Weddell Sea depended on the Ross Sea Section of the expedition landing at Scott’s old bases on Ross Island, and laying a string of depots across the Barrier and up into the Beardmore Glacier, for the Antarctic crossing party to pick up on their way north again. The whaler ‘Aurora’ had been purchased and placed under the command of Captain Aeneas Mackintosh, to land at Hut Point and set out the required depots.

–from Shackleton’s account “South”–

“Mackintosh proceeded into McMurdo Sound. Heavy pack delayed the ship for three days, and it was not until January 16 that she reached a place off Cape Evans, where he landed ten tons of coal and ninety-eight cases of oil. During succeeding days Captain Mackintosh worked the ‘Aurora’ southward, and by January 24 he was within nine miles of Hut Point. There he made the ship fast to sea-ice, then breaking up rapidly, and proceeded to arrange sledging parties. It was his intention to direct the laying of the depots himself and to leave his first officer, Lieut. J. R. Stenhouse, in command of the ‘Aurora,” with instructions to select a base and land a party.

“The first objective was Hut Point, where stands the hut erected by the ‘Discovery’ expedition in 1902. . . .Captain Mackintosh and his party left the ‘Aurora’ on the evening of January 25. They had nine dogs and one heavily loaded sledge, and started off briskly to the accompaniment of a cheer from their shipmates. . . Mackintosh had hoped to get to Hut Point that night, but luck was against him.”

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