Shackleton’s Ross Sea Party, June 1915: . . .the winter was nevertheless an extremely busy period. . .”

–from R. W. Richards’ account–

“Darkness had now set in for the whole 24 hours but the winter was nevertheless an extremely busy period. We all took our share in the work of providing fuel, fresh meat, and water as well as performing our own special tasks. Water was obtained by digging out chunks of ice from a clean ice supply and sledging them to the hut where a large container was kept filled on the cooking range. The search for seals took up a great deal of our time in the winter, as we required about 500 a year.

“Fortunately for us, one the seals were spotted there was no difficulty in coming up with them as they have not yet learned to fear men. On reaching the seal the procedure was to stun it and then cut its throat. The blubber, which is some inches thick and weighs several hundred pounds, was peeled off in strips about 8 or 9 ft. long which were laid out on the ice. Later, when the strips had frozen, they were loaded like planks on a sledge, and together with any meat required for men or dogs, stored in the vicinity of the hut. As may be imagined, this was not an ideal way of using an oily fuel.”

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