Shackleton’s ‘Endurance’ expedition, October 20, 1915: “. . . a remarkable spectacle. . .”

–from the diary of Thomas Orde Lees—

“20 October. Last night, as if in recompense for our many untoward events, we were treated to a remarkable spectacle. A killer whale, about 35 ft long, came up in the tiny pool in which we are now lying and, evidently in search of seals, swam to and fro alongside. The water was perfectly calm and very clear and we had a wonderful view of the great animal under the water as he turned leisurely from one end of the pool to the other, now disappearing for a minute under the floe, then as suddenly coming to the surface to blow and peep over the edge of the floe for any unwary seals. He was a cruel-looking shark-like beast quite capable of swallowing one of us at a single gulp.

“We got up steam today and gave the engines a turn or two and are now waiting for the ice to open up a bit, but at present we are hemmed in all round.”


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