Monday, June 14, 2010

12 June, 1911

The weather is not kind to us. Not much wind today, but the moon has been hidden behind stratus cloud. One feels horribly cheated in losing the pleasure of its light. I scarcely know what the Crozier party can do if they don't get better luck next month.

Wilson has chosen Bowers and Cherry to accompany him on this journey which was a condition of his accepting a place on the expedition. He insists on going out to Cape Crozier to the Emperor Penguin colony there to collect samples of embryos, which have never before been seen by man. But they will be traveling in the dead of Antarctic winter, in total darkness.

Debenham and gran have not yet returned; this is their fifth day of absence.

Bowers and Cherry went out to Cape Royds today to spend the night. Taylor and Wright walked there and back after breakfast this morning. They returned shortly after lunch. I went for two quick spins on the skis.

Evans has given us a lecture this evening on surveying. He was shy and slow, but very painstaking, taking a great deal of trouble with pictures. I took the opportunity to note hurriedly the few points to which I want attention especially directed. No doubt others will occur to me. I think I understand now very well how and why the old surveyors failed in their work.

Here are my points:

1) Every member of the Southern Journey ought to have in his memory the compass variations at every point in the journey so that they may obtain true courses from the compass. Compasses behave irregularly the nearer one gets to the Pole, of course.

2) He ought to know the true course from one depot to another.

3) He ought to be able to take an observation with a theodolite.

4) He should be able to work out a meridian altitude observation.

5) He could advantageously add to his knowledge the ability to work out a longitude observation or an ex-meridian altitude.

6) He should know how to read the sledgemeter.

7) He should note and remember the error of the watch he carries and the rate which is ascertained for it form time to time.

8) He should assist the surveyor by noting the coincidences of objects, opening out of valleys, new peaks, etc.

I suppose we better get a move on with having all the chaps learn this stuff.

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