Shackleton’s Ross Sea Party, July 15th, 1916: ‘Once more the Great White South has taken its toll.’

–from Ernest Joyce’s account “The South Polar Trail”

“July 15. This turned out a beautiful calm day, temp. down to -40. Packed sledge; under way 10 o’clock. When we were opposite Inaccessible Island, it came over very dark, and on looking up to the moon found it was in eclipse. It is strange that an incident like this should occur on the very day we arranged to trek. Between the islands the ice was all churned up, which made the position very awkward. Finally we managed to get through, and arrived at Cape Evans.

“It seemed there were hundreds of dogs howling, as we left only one behind, ‘Bitchie,’ who was to have a family. We quite forgot that we had been away for ten months, and her puppies full grown. Oscar could not stand this challenge, and being so powerful broke his harness, making a bee line for them he scattered them as if the devil was after them; the other dogs also wanted to join in the melee, we had our work cut out to hold them in.

“Eventually we arrived at the Hut. Stevens, Gaze, and Jack came out to find out what all the commotion was about. They saw us in the distance. On coming up the first words we said were, ‘Have Mack and Hayward turned up?’ The answer was in the negative. ‘Once more the Great White South has taken its toll.’”

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