Shackleton’s ‘Endurance’ Expedition, April 14, 1915: Sledge dogs and icebergs

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

“The dogs had been divided into six teams of nine dogs each. Wild, Crean, Macklin, McIlroy, Marston, and Hurley each had charge of a team, and were full responsible for the exercising, training, and feeding of their own dogs. They called in one of the surgeons when an animal was sick. We were still losing some dogs through worms, and it was unfortunate that the doctors had not the proper remedies. . . . We had fifty-four dogs and eight pups early in April, but sever were ailing, and the number of mature dogs was reduced to fifty by the end of the month.

“A new berg that was going to give us some cause for anxiety made its appearance on the 14th. It was a big berg, and we noticed as it lay on the north-west horizon that it had a hummocky, crevassed appearance at the east end. During the day this berg increased its apparent altitude and changed its bearing slightly. Evidently it was aground and holding its position against the drifting pack. During the next twenty-four hours the ‘Endurance’ moved steadily toward the crevassed berg, which doubled its altitude in that time. We could see from the mast-head that the pack was piling and rafting up against the mass of ice, and it was easily to imagine what would be the fate of the ship if she entered into the area of disturbance.

“She would be crushed like an eggshell amid the shattering masses.”

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