Home‎ > ‎

8-Start for Wood Bay

9 January 1912. 

Up by six the next morning, after four hours sleep, they were ready to start exploring this new and promising area.  Breakfast hoosh was prepared and consumed, and the tents packed away.  While sleeping bags and cooking gear were stowed on the sledges, Campbell worked on the fabricated sledge meter.  In their rushed departure at Cape Adare, the sledge-meters were forgotten. [i]  However, during the passage south Campbell and the Terra Nova’s carpenter mange to make a new one.  Now before they could get under way it had to be checked and fitted to the sledge. 

Although Campbell mentions the sledge meter here in his diary, he does not record distances travelled during this sledge trip.  However, he meticulously records daily distances on the final trip back to Cape Evans the next spring.  This could possibly have been because:

  • The sledge meter did not record accurately in the soft snow conditions encountered on this trip, but it functioned well on the sea ice of the final trip back to Cape Evans;
  •  Distances were not so important on this trip, but were necessary for dead reckoning navigation along the sea ice to Cape Evans.  (This is not really believable, as distances on this trip would be helpful in mapping.)

 Finally, the depot with the extra food and equipment was marked and secured.

Campbell, knowing the Terra Nova was to bring Debenham’s Western  party back to explore the Mount Nansen area to the Southwest,  wanted to ensure  the two parties worked in separate areas.  He wrote a note outlining his proposed route and working area, then, placed in a tin, it was attached to depot marker pole.

Communication in Antarctica in 1912 was difficult and simplistic by today’s standards.  Notes were left telling your companions and other expedition members what had happened and where you were going. Notes, usually in small tins, were attached to marker poles at each depot.  These poles, usually bamboo with a flag attached, were primarily to mark the depot, making it visible even when covered in snow, a practice that is still used today in the Antarctic. 

[i] Meredith Hooper, The Longest Winter: Scott’s Other Heroes (John Murray, 2010), p. 183.

Page 1 of 7 
godaddy stats