Shackleton’s Ross Sea Party, May 12-14, 1915: ‘Aurora’ begins her drift across the Ross Sea

–from Commander J. R. Stenhouse on board the ‘Aurora,’ quoted in Shackleton’s account “South”–

“We are lying in a field of ice with our anchors and seventy-five fathoms of cable on each hanging down at the bows. The after-moorings were frozen into the ice astern of us at Cape Evans. . . .

“The anchors were hove in by dint of much effort on the 13th and 14th, ice forming on the cable as it was hoisted through a hole cut in the floe. Both anchors had broken, so the ‘Aurora’ had now one small kedge-anchor left aboard. The ship’s position on May 14 was approximately forty-five miles north, thirty-four west of Cape Evans.

“In one week we have drifted forty-five miles (geographical). Most of this distance was covered during the first two days of the drift. We appear to be nearly stationary. What movement there is in the ice seems to be to the north-west towards the ice-bound coast. Hands who were after penguins yesterday reported much noise in the ice about one mile from the ship.

“I hope the floe around the ship is large enough to take its own pressure. . . . I hope for the best. Plans for future development are ready, but will probably be checkmated again. . . . I took the anchors aboard. They are of no further use as separate anchors, but they ornament the forecastle head, so we put them in their places.”


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