November 3, 1915
Latitude - 69, 35 S.
Longitude - 51, 57 W.
Construct an improved blubber stove, and place timbers under our floor cloth to keep the same dry.
Rescue my books and the Encyclopaedia Britannica from the chief's cabin. A large party under Wild are clearing the huge bank of crushed ice from the port amidships and removing a section of the boat deck to allow free access to the main deck immediately above the Billabong. A spar has been rigged with a heavy ice chisel to be operated as a reciprocating drill.
Fortunately, the ice remains passive, so that the party made good progress: but this work is hampered by a two foot layer of mushy ice, covering the point of attack.
NOTE: Lees records the same episode in more detail.
November 4, 1915
Very cold during the night. Misty & cold early but it soon brightened into a magnificent day.
It has been at last decided to make a frantic effort to get some of the stores out of the ship. The carpenter went off early to the ship & directed operations with so much success that he succeeded in cutting through the three inch deck now three feet under water and making so large a hole that many cases floated up.
Others were subsequently raised by means of a boat hook.
The cutting of the hole must have been terribly hard work, for the ship is very stoutly built & the deck is made of three inch planking, moreover even the most advantageous position was two & a half feet under water. It is an act of providence that the provisions happen to be all stowed on the port side of the ship, the side which is now uppermost.
The method employed was chiselling with a large three inch ice chisel sharpened up for the purpose, rigged to a pile-driving tackle & hauled up & down in the manner of a pile driver. As soon as a long enough slit had been hacked out a saw was inserted & gradually by chiselling & sawing a hole nearly three feet square was made, about two feet from the ship's side and close by the ward-room door, that is immediately over the corner of the hold where the most of the provisions were stored.
Later on a second hole was pierced more foreward and a "fish-tackle" fastened on to the intervening woodwork between the two holes. By hoisting the "fish-tackle" the whole of the remaining woodwork was rent away and the work of extracting the submerged cases proceeded.
At times the men were working with their arms in ice cold water up to the shoulder for half an hour at a stretch.
It is really wonderful what has been accomplished by dint of dogged perseverance, skill & toil. No less than 105 cases of provisions have been brought to the camp today representing some two tons of provisions.
What this means to us in our present destitution words fail to express.
Breakfast - Bovril ration ( 9 rations) & Dog pemmican (1 cake).
Luncheon - Seal steaks fried in blubber, tea & milk.
Dinner - Curried seal, tea, milk & sugar.