Shackleton’s Ross Sea Party, February 25, 1915: “ The dogs are out of sight, completely buried. . .”

–from Ernest Joyce’s account “The South Polar Trail”–

“February 25th. The blizzard still raging. Went outside to feed the dogs. The force of wind was so great that it was almost possible to lean against it, the force was in the vicinity of 80 to 100 miles per hour. It is a miracle how the tent stands the strain. The dogs are out of sight, completely buried; from the sledge mast which appeared above the snow drift I took my direction to search for them. I called Wild out of the tent to assist, as I could seed it was going to be a long unpleasant job to dig them out; it took us over two hours to release them; we gave them a good supply of biscuits; they appeared very weak.

“When we camp, our first consideration is the feeding of the dogs, after which they coil around for the night. If a blizzard springs up, the drift covers them, and after a time they are completely buried, with no chance whatsoever of freeing themselves. This seems to be antagonistic to the laws of nature. If human aid were not at their assistance, where would the be? With the temperatures from 10 to 30 below zero, the snow becomes cmpact as a result; what chance have they? The Antarctic conditions must be quite different from those in their Arctic home.

“Wild and I were pleased to get inside the tent. My hands were badly frost-bitten, my nose is a sight. Had dinner and turned in cold.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s