Shackleton’s ‘Endurance’ Expedition, September 29, 1915: A lead opens up. . . .

–from Sir James Wordie’s diary–

“30 September. Early yesterday afternoon a crack formed along the snow filled trench, 2 ft. broad, whose formation first started on Aug. 27the. It was about 3 ft broad when we turned in. Between half past two and three the innocent crack became a lead 10 yds broad. This resulted in a sharp attack by the ice on the port bow; about 3 ft. of pressure formed here and a little forrard of the foremast. It was a more determined assault even than that at the beginning of August; at least it has told more on the ship; there was a heap of refuse and tins on the floor of the cabin shared by James and Lees; the bulkhead of the ‘Billabong’ has bulged out some inches and the linoleum on the port side forrard of the Ritz is thrown into fore and aft holds.

“The bag[of seals] is 5, i.e. three weeks dog food; it has come none too soon. Today therefore may be set down as the date on which the seals returned—they left us, excepting stragglers, on Mar. 22.

“At lunch we could do nothing but talk about the return of the seals and chances of the ship being free; at tea however we were once more harping back to the chance of the ship being crushed and of attempts being made to reach Snow Hill [the nearest known place of refuge on the Antarctic Peninsula] in boats.”


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