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"Our peculiar circumstances..."

Orde-Lees' Journal - November, 8 1915

Temperature +12.


The blizzard continued through the morning but cleared towards noon, & it was a beautiful evening; but we would far rather have the screeching blizzard with its searching drift & cold damp wind for we have drifted about eleven miles to the north during the night. If only we could get along at this rate for the next month or two we should be up to the land by new year, but that is too much to hope for.


At any rate, we propose to remain in camp on the floe for a month or so or until large "leads" open when we intend to take to the boats & row & portage them northward until we strike either Graham's Land or one of the adjacent islands or even the South Orkneys some five hundred miles north of us a present.


All hands were busy today clearing away the drifts around the camp. It is remarkable to what an extent many articles were buried in snow considering that everything is lying out in the open exposed to the full force of the wind. Many of the provision cases were completely buried and it was a job to find some of them at all.


I have taken over the old wheel house as a storeroom & spent most of the day fitting it up with some shelves. (It is referred to contemptuously as the rabbit-hutch.) I shall have plenty of work all the time issuing the rations.


Owing to our peculiar circumstances we are on a dietary calculated to ounces, & at Sir Ernest's request, I have made out a diet menu for one hundred days based on the provisions available and on the seal meat prospective.

It takes much working out so as to provide variety and waste nothing whilst using every-thing to the best advantage, but it affords me much interest.


Breakfast - Oatmeal & pearl barley porridge, true milk & sugar.

Luncheon - Knorr's soup, 1 lb. flour, desiccated potato 2 lbs., 6 bottles Turtle cup, tea, milk & sugar.

Dinner - Stewed seal & Heinz mustard dressing, cocoa 1/2 lb. & milk (2 1/2 lbs. dry milk).


NOTE: Over and over again, it's striking how matter-of-factly the Endurance crew has adjusted to life on a deteriorating ice-floe - with no chance whatsoever of rescue. Rather than panicking about their circumstances they're razzing Orde-Lees about his "rabbit-hutch!"


This journal entry is a perfect example of why Shackleton's Endurance expedition is so endlessly fascinating.



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