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ERNEST SHACKLETON: THE LAST EXPEDITION
(Special Nook Edition)
The Great World Adventures and Adventurers Series
[Explorer of the North Pole and South Pole]
COMPLETE AND UNABRIDGED VERSION OF ERNEST SHACKLETON'S THE LAST EXPEDITION
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Into the Weddell Sea
Loss of the Endurance
The March Between
Escape from the Ice
The Boat Journey
Across South Georgia
The Ross Sea Party
Wintering in McMurdo Sound
Laying the Depots
The ‘Aurora’s’ Drift
The Last Relief
The Final Phase
"On April 7 at daylight the long-desired peak of Clarence Island came into view; bearing nearly north from our camp. At first it had the appearance of a huge berg, but with the growing light we could see plainly the black lines of scree and the high, precipitous cliffs of the island, which were miraged up to some extent. The dark rocks in the white snow were a pleasant sight. So long had our eyes looked on icebergs that apparently grew or dwindled according to the angles at which the shadows were cast by the sun; so often had we discovered rocky islands and brought in sight the peaks of Joinville Land, only to find them, after some change of wind or temperature, floating away as nebulous cloud or ordinary berg; that not until Worsley, Wild, and Hurley had unanimously confirmed my observation was I satisfied that I was really looking at Clarence Island. The land was still more than sixty miles away, but it had to our eyes something of the appearance of home, since we expected to find there our first solid footing after all the long months of drifting on the unstable ice. We had adjusted ourselves to the life on the floe, but our hopes had been fixed all the time on some possible landing-place. As one hope failed to materialize, our anticipations fed themselves on another. Our drifting home had no rudder to guide it, no sail to give it speed. We were dependent upon the caprice of wind and current; we went whither those irresponsible forces listed. The longing to feel solid earth under our feet filled our hearts.
In the full daylight Clarence Island ceased to look like land and had the appearance of a berg of more than eight or ten miles away, so deceptive are distances in the clear air of the Antarctic. The sharp white peaks of Elephant Island showed to the west of north a little later in the day.
“I have stopped issuing sugar now, and our meals consist of seal meat and blubber only, with 7 ozs. of dried milk per day for the party,” I wrote. “Each man receives a pinch of salt, and the milk is boiled up to make hot drinks for all hands. The diet suits us, since we cannot get much exercise on the floe and the blubber supplies heat. Fried slices of blubber seem to our taste to resemble crisp bacon. It certainly is no hardship to eat it, though persons living under civilized conditions probably would shudder at it. The hardship would come if we were unable to get it.”
I think that the palate of the human animal can adjust itself to anything. Some creatures will die before accepting a strange diet if deprived of their natural food. The Yaks of the Himalayan uplands must feed from the growing grass, scanty and dry though it may be, and would starve even if allowed the best oats and corn."
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An amazing adventure and a vivid testament to the Great Age of Exploration.