Wednesday, December 30, 2009

30 December, 1910

1111 fathoms! We are at the lip of the continental shelf and out of the pack at last! Twenty godforsaken days we lingered there, eating an astonishing ton of coal for every six miles progress.

How Lady Fortune turns us on her cruel wheel. On every occasion she seems to have decided against us.

Still, while held up we have managed some important scientific work and I have grown strangely attached to the Terra Nova, plucky little ship that she is. Certainly the Nimrod would never have reached the south water had she been caught in such pack. So strike one for us and none for Shackleton so far!

All the while, I have never seen a party of men so anxious to be doing work or so cheerful in doing it. When there is anything to be done, such as making or shortening sail, digging ice from floes for the water supply, or heaving up to the sounding line, it goes without saying that all the afterguard turn out to do it. There is no hesitation and no distinction. It will be the same when it comes to landing stores or doing any other hard manual labour.

the spirit of enterprise is as bright as ever. Every one strives to help every one else, and not a word of complaint or anger has been heard on board. the inner life of our small community is very pleasant to think upon and very wonderful considering the extremely small space in which we are confined.

The attitude of the men (the crew) is equally worthy of admiration. In the forecastle as in the wardroom there is a rush to be first when work is to be done, and the same desire to sacrifice selfish consideration to the success of the expedition. It is very good to be able to write in such high praise of one's companions, and I feel that the possession of such support ought to ensure success.

Fortune would be in a hard mood indeed if it allowed such a combination of knowledge, experience, ability, and enthusiasm to achieve nothing.

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