Shackleton’s Ross Sea Party: Life at Hut Point

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

“It is difficult for one to realize what it is like to be housed in a hut that was built for 45 people, the interior two-thirds full of ice and snow (one corner of which was blocked off with provision cases), minus table, chairs and bunks, old provision cases on the floor with sleeping-bags laid on top of them acted as bunks.

“Three men in sleeping-bags, while three others (two of them were bandaged) hugged the blubber stove. No lighting except that from an improvised blubber lamp, which consisted of an old tin full of blubber, a piece of canvas floating about as a wick. The food,, seal cooked in blubber oil, biscuits, and now and again dried vegetables as a variation. Our appetites are encouraging in spite of the menu.

“The non-appearance of the ‘Aurora’ brings forth many heated arguments. There being open water as far north as the eye can see from the hills. The arguments always finish in this strain: what has occurred to the ship? Something must be radically wrong otherwise she should have returned to pick up the sledging parties, realizing there was no coal, lighting, clothing, etc. These arguments cause friction and have decided to taboo the subject.”

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