Saturday, December 19, 2009

19 December, 1910

Keeping the Captain's Log is a lonely business. I am required to make note of our position and the various particulars of our maneuvers and major events, and so forth -- but what a merely technical account reveals is really nothing like the reality of sailing in these conditions. It cannot portray, for example, how desperately nervous I am about our prospects.

Have made copious notes about the kind of pack ice we are in, describing the bergs. Have Asked Pennell to make a map of the pack. We know so little about it, where it comes from, how it travels, under what conditions it forms and breaks up.

This evening felt a little smug at the thought of being proved right in insisting we push on despite Evans suggesting twice that we stop. If indeed we break through, I will have won a major victory in the confidence of the men.

Saw first Emperor penguin today, and sea leopards. Also saw one of Wilson's new whales with a sabre dorsal fin I estimated to be 4 feet high.

Listed the officer's nicknames in the journal today. Men confined in close quarters always develop nicknames. Here it is:

Evans: Teddy
Wilson: Uncle Bill
Simpson: Sunny Jim
Ponting: Ponco
Campbell: The Mate
Pennell: Penelope
Rennick: Parnie
Bowers: Birdie
Taylor: Griff and Keir Hardy
Nelson: Marie and Bronte
Cherry-Garrard: Cherry
Wright: Silas
Priestly: Raymond
Debenham: Deb
Drake: Francis
Atkinson: Jane
Oates: Titus, Soldier, "Farmer Hayseed"
Levick: Toffarino, Old Sport
Lillie: Hercules

Mears, Day, Gran and Bruce don't appear to have nicknames.

I am known as "The Owner." At least it's not a girl's name.

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