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"We are in comparative comfort..."

NOTE: Thanks to Shackleton's leadership, ten days after abandoning Endurance, the crew has made a remarkable adjustment to living on an ice-floe hundreds of miles from land.


Orde-Lees' Journal - November 7, 1915

Temperature +9.


A howling blizzard all day but the drift must have been very low for the sun was shining sufficiently for Captain Worsley to take a sight to find our position. The combination of sunshine and blizzard may lead the reader to suppose that the latter is not quite such a severe type of storm as Antarctic writers would have us think. (It must be remembered that a blizzard is merely the polar equivalent of a dust storm & it is nothing unusual to see the sun in a dust storm sufficiently clearly to take a sight.) To our intense joy we find that we have drifted about 20 miles to the northward during the last two or three days.


We are now about 200 miles from the nearest land and 300 from Snow Hill Island which we hope eventually to reach. It is a terribly long journey & we shall have many troubles before we get there perhaps, but under Sir Ernest's guidance (with God's help) we have a reasonable chance of accomplishing it by sledge & boat.


For the present we are in comparative comfort with a moderate sufficiency of good food, salved from the ship.


We are able to have three satisfying meals per day & feel altogether different to what we did a week ago.


It was impossible to do any but the most necessary work outside in the open today. I was on watch the hour before breakfast, and had to light the fire. It was a by no means easy matter in such a wind as, of course, the fire is out in the open, but we have a good supply of petrol, which is a fine fire lighter & luckily too plenty of matches. I happened to pour some petrol out of the can direct on to the almost extinguished blubber, & to my astonishment, the flame shot up & flashed back to the can exploding the can with a fairly loud report but by good luck the can did not entirely burst but only bulged out all over like this a football.


It was perhaps a lucky escape & will certainly make me more careful in future, but I have often wondered what would happen in such a case. Now I know. Nothing like research.


Hurley & Kerr were finishing off the stove all day, working in the big tent. It is a wonderful piece of ingenuity & excellent work considering the paucity of tools.


I had many stores to open & store lists to make out.


Breakfast - Bovril breakfast ration (16 rations).

Luncheon - 4 cakes Beauvais pemmican, 7 tins beetroot, 1 1/2 lbs. flour, 2 lb. potato.

Dinner - 14 lbs. corned beef & flour & desiccated potato.


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