The Drift of Shackleton’s ‘Aurora’, February 12-14, 1916: “The ship was floating now amid fragments of floe, and bumping considerably in the swell. . . .”

–from Shackleton’s account ‘South’—

“The break-up of the floe came on February 12. Strong northeast to southeast winds put the ice in motion and brought a perceptible swell. The ship was making some water, a foretaste of trouble to come, and all hands spent the day at the pumps, reducing the water from three feet eight and a half inches in the well to twelve inches, in spite of frozen pipes and other difficulties.

“Work had just finished for the night when the ice broke astern and quickly split in all directions under the influence of the swell. The men managed to save some of the seal-meat which had been cached in the drift near the gangway. They lost the flagstaff, which had been rigged as a wireless mast out on the floe, but drew in the aerial. The ship was floating now amid fragments of floe, and bumping considerably in the swell. . . .

“At 8,30 a.m. on the 13th Stenhouse set the foresail and foretopmast staysail, and the ‘Aurora’ moved northward slowly, being brought up occasionally by large floes. Navigation under such conditions, without steam and without a rudder, was exceedingly difficult, but Stenhouse wished if possible to save his small remaining stock of coal until he cleared the pack, so that a quick run might be made to McMurdo Sound.”

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