Shackleton’s Ross Sea ship ‘Aurora.’ May 25, 1915: “The scene is like a graveyard. . .”

—from Captain J. R. Stenhouse’s diary, quoted in Shacketon’s “South”. The ship has been beset and carried northwest with the drifting pack since May 6—

“May 25. —In middle watch felt pressure occasionally. Twilight showed a scene of chaos all around; one floe about three feet in thickness had been upended, driven under ship on port quarter. As far as can be seen there are heavy blocks of ice screwed up on end, and the scene is like a graveyard. I think swell must have come up under ice from seaward (north-east), McMurdo Sound, and broken the ice which afterwards started to move under the influence of the blizzard. . . .I believe the Ross Sea is rarely entirely ice covered.

“Have bright moonlight now, which accentuates everything—the beauty and loneliness of our surroundings, and uselessness of ourselves, while in this prison: so near to Cape Evans and yet we might as well be anywhere as here.”


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