Shackleton’s Ross Sea Party, December 31, 1915: “Our hearts are willing, there is no turning back. . .”

–from the diary of Ernest Joyce–

“December 31st, Friday. Up at 5.40. Under way at 8 o’clock, after same old digging out. Weather fair when we started, came on thick about 10 o’clock. Ran across the Skipper’s trail again, and followed in it to save the eyes. Came on the Skipper’s camp 10.45. Distance 3 miles 300 yards. Went over to the Skipper’s tent and had a cup of tea; we talked over the prospects. I told him we would get through.

“Wild looks fit and the Padre is hi cheery old self. We are now 90 days out from Cape Evans, and all feel well. Let us hope that Providence will look on us and give us fine weather for this arduous proposition. It is the toughest job ever undertaken in the Polar regions. Our hearts are willing, there is no turning back, we must accomplish that which we have undertaken to do.

“We shook hands with Mack and party and wished them all the best for the new year. They are to meet me again at 82 º South. Under way again. Camped at 6 o’clock. Distance 5 miles 500 yards.”

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