Shackleton’s ‘Endurance’ Expedition, December 29, 1915: “. . . instead of forging ahead we retired half a mile. . . .”

–from the diary of Thomas Orde Lees–

“29 December. After a further reconnoiter, Sir Ernest pronounced the ice ahead to be quite un-negotiable and so at 8.30pm yesterday, to the intense disappointment of all, instead of forging ahead we retired half a mile to get on to stronger ice, and by 10pm we had turned in again. The extra sleep was much needed however disheartening this check may be. We slept soundly until 5am.

“After breakfast several dog teams and members went seal hunting. We had been out only a short time when suddenly up went the recall flag on the boat’s mast and we all came in at once to find that Sir Ernest had decided to retire another ½ mile to a still safer old floe on which we camped on at 11.30am.”

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