The South Pole, Volumes 1 and 2
Roald Amundsen

Part 2 out of 11

could there go farther south in the ship than at any other point
-- a whole degree farther south than Scott could hope to get in
McMurdo Sound, where he was to have his station. And this would be
of very great importance in the subsequent sledge journey toward the
Pole. Another great advantage was that we came right on to our field
of work, and could see from our hut door the conditions and surface we
should have to deal with. Besides this, I was justified in supposing
that the surface southward from this part of the Barrier would be
considerably better, and offer fewer difficulties than the piled-up
ice along the land. In addition, animal life in the Bay of Whales was,
according to the descriptions, extraordinarily rich, and offered all
the fresh meat we required in the form of seals, penguins, etc.

Besides these purely technical and material advantages which the
Barrier seemed to possess as a winter station, it offered a specially
favourable site for an investigation of the meteorological conditions,
since here one would be unobstructed by land on all sides. It would be
possible to study the character of the Barrier by daily observations on
the very spot better than anywhere else. Such interesting phenomena as
the movement, feeding, and calving of this immense mass of ice could,
of course, be studied very fully at this spot.

Last, but not least, there was the enormous advantage that it was
comparatively easy to reach in the vessel. No expedition had yet been
prevented from coming in here.

I knew that this plan of wintering on the Barrier itself would be
exposed to severe criticism as recklessness, foolhardiness, and so
forth, for it was generally assumed that the Barrier was afloat here,
as in other places. Indeed, it was thought to be so even by those who
had themselves seen it. Shackleton's description of the conditions
at the time of his visit did not seem very promising. Mile after
mile had broken away, and he thanked God he had not made his camp
there. Although I have a very great regard for Shackleton, his work
and his experience, I believe that in this case his conclusion was
too hasty -- fortunately, I must add. For if, when Shackleton passed
the Bay of Whales on January, 24, 1908, and saw the ice of the bay in
process of breaking up and drifting out, he had waited a few hours,
or at the most a couple of days, the problem of the South Pole would
probably have been solved long before December, 1911. With his keen
sight and sound judgment, it would not have taken him long to determine
that the inner part of the bay does not consist of floating barrier,
but that the Barrier there rests upon a good, solid foundation,
probably in the form of small islands, skerries, or shoals, and from
this point he and his able companions would have disposed of the South
Polar question once for all. But circumstances willed it otherwise,
and the veil was only lifted, not torn away.

I had devoted special study to this peculiar formation in the Barrier,
and had arrived at the conclusion that the inlet that exists to-day in
the Ross Barrier under the name of the Bay of Whales is nothing else
than the self-same bight that was observed by Sir James Clark Ross
-- no doubt with great changes of outline, but still the same. For
seventy years, then, this formation -- with the exception of the
pieces that had broken away -- had persisted in the same place. I
therefore concluded that it could be no accidental formation. What,
once, in the dawn of time, arrested the mighty stream of ice at this
spot and formed a lasting bay in its edge, which with few exceptions
runs in an almost straight line, was not merely a passing whim of
the fearful force that came crashing on, but something even stronger
than that -- something that was firmer than the hard ice -- namely,
the solid land. Here in this spot, then, the Barrier piled itself up
and formed the bay we now call the Bay of Whales. The observations we
made during our stay there confirm the correctness of this theory. I
therefore had no misgivings in placing our station on this part of
the Barrier.

The plan of the shore party was, as soon as the hut was built and
provisions landed, to carry supplies into the field, and lay down
depots as far to the south as possible. I hoped to get such a quantity
of provisions brought down to lat. 80° S., that we should be able to
regard this latitude as the real starting-place of the actual sledge
journey to the Pole. We shall see later that this hope was more than
fulfilled, and a labour many times greater than this was performed. By
the time this depot work was accomplished winter would be before us,
and with the knowledge we had of the conditions in the Antarctic
regions, every precaution would have to be taken to meet the coldest
and probably the most stormy weather that any Polar expedition had
hitherto encountered. My object was, when winter had once set in, and
everything in the station was in good working order, to concentrate
all our forces upon the one object -- that of reaching the Pole.

I intended to try to get people with me who were specially fitted for
outdoor work in the cold. Even more necessary was it to find men who
were experienced dog-drivers; I saw what a decisive bearing this would
have on the result. There are advantages and disadvantages in having
experienced people with one on an expedition like this. The advantages
are obvious. If a variety of experiences are brought together and
used with common sense, of course a great deal can be achieved. The
experience of one man will often come in opportunely where that
of another falls short. The experiences of several will supplement
each other, and form something like a perfect whole; this is what I
hoped to obtain. But there is no rose without a thorn; if it has its
advantages, it also has its drawbacks. The drawback to which one is
liable in this case is that someone or other may think he possesses
so much experience that every opinion but his own is worthless. It
is, of course, regrettable when experience takes this turn, but
with patience and common sense it can be broken of it. In any case,
the advantages are so great and predominant that I had determined
to have experienced men to the greatest extent possible. It was my
plan to devote the entire winter to working at our outfit, and to
get it as near to perfection as possible. Another thing to which we
should have to give some time was the killing of a sufficient number
of seals to provide fresh meat both for ourselves and our dogs for
the whole time. Scurvy, the worst enemy of Polar expeditions, must
be kept off at all costs, and to achieve this it was my intention
to use fresh meat every day. It proved easy to carry out this rule,
since everyone, without exception, preferred seal meat to tinned
foods. And when spring came I hoped that my companions and I would
be ready, fit and well, with an outfit complete in every way.

The plan was to leave the station as early in the spring as
possible. If we had set out to capture this record, we must at any
cost get there first. Everything must be staked upon this. From the
very moment when I had formed the plan, I had made up my mind that
our course from the Bay of Whales must be set due south, and follow
the same meridian, if possible, right up to the Pole. The effect
of this would be that we should traverse an entirely new region,
and gain other results besides beating the record.

I was greatly astonished to hear, on my return from the South, that
some people had actually believed we had set our course from the Bay
of Whales for Beardmore Glacier -- Shackleton's route -- and followed
it to the south. Let me hasten to assure them that this idea never
for a single instant crossed my mind when I made the plan. Scott
had announced that he was going to take Shackleton's route, and that
decided the matter. During our long stay at Framheim not one of us
ever hinted at the possibility of such a course. Without discussion
Scott's route was declared out of bounds.

No; due south was our way, and the country would have to be difficult
indeed to stop our getting on to the plateau. Our plan was to go
south, and not to leave the meridian unless we were forced to do so
by insuperable difficulties. I foresaw, of course, that there would
be some who would attack me and accuse me of "shabby rivalry," etc.,
and they would perhaps have had some shadow of justification if we had
really thought of taking Captain Scott's route. But it never occurred
to us for a moment. Our starting-point lay 350 geographical miles from
Scott's winter quarters in McMurdo Sound, so there could be no question
of encroaching upon his sphere of action. Moreover, Professor Nansen,
in his direct and convincing way, has put an end once for all to this
twaddle, so that I need not dwell upon it any longer.

I worked out the plan, as here given, at my home on Bundefjord, near
Christiania, in September, 1909, and as it was laid, so was it carried
out to the last detail. That my estimate of the time it would take
was not so very far out is proved by the final sentence of the plan:
"Thus we shall be back from the Polar journey on January 25." It was
on January 25, 1912, that we came into Framheim after our successful
journey to the Pole.

This was not the only time our calculations proved correct; Captain
Nilsen showed himself to be a veritable magician in this way. While I
contented myself with reckoning dates, he did not hesitate to go into
hours. He calculated that we should reach the Barrier on January 15,
1911; this is a distance of 16,000 geographical miles from Norway. We
were at the Barrier on January 14, one day before the time. There
was not much wrong with that estimate.

In accordance with the Storthing's resolution of February 9, 1909,
the Fram was lent for the use of the expedition, and a sum of 75,000
kroner (4,132 pounds sterling) was voted for repairs and necessary

The provisions were chosen with the greatest care, and packed with
every precaution. All groceries were soldered in tin boxes, and then
enclosed in strong wooden cases. The packing of tinned provisions
is of enormous importance to a Polar expedition; it is impossible to
give too much attention to this part of the supplies. Any carelessness,
any perfunctory packing on the part of the factory, will as a rule lead
to scurvy. It is an interesting fact that on the four Norwegian Polar
expeditions -- the three voyages of the Fram and the Gjöa's voyage --
not a single case of scurvy occurred. This is good evidence of the
care with which these expeditions were provisioned.

In this matter we owe a deep debt of gratitude above all to Professor
Sophus Torup, who has always been the supervising authority in the
matter of provisioning, this time as well as on the former occasions.

Great praise is also due to the factories that supplied our tinned
goods. By their excellent and conscientious work they deserved well
of the expedition. In this case a part of the supplies was entrusted
to a Stavanger factory, which, in addition to the goods supplied to
order, with great generosity placed at the disposal of the expedition
provisions to the value of 2,000 kroner (£110). The other half of the
tinned foods required was ordered from a firm at Moss. The manager
of this firm undertook at the same time to prepare the necessary
pemmican for men and dogs, and executed this commission in a way that
I cannot sufficiently praise. Thanks to this excellent preparation,
the health both of men and dogs on the journey to the Pole was always
remarkably good. The pemmican we took was essentially different from
that which former expeditions had used. Previously the pemmican had
contained nothing but the desired mixture of dried meat and lard;
ours had, besides these, vegetables and oatmeal, an addition which
greatly improves its flavour, and, as far as we could judge, makes
it easier to digest.

This kind of pemmican was first produced for the use of the Norwegian
Army; it was intended to take the place of the "emergency ration." The
experiment was not concluded at the time the expedition left, but
it may be hoped that the result has proved satisfactory. A more
stimulating, nourishing, and appetizing food, it would be impossible
to find.

But besides the pemmican for ourselves, that for our dogs was equally
important, for they are just as liable to be attacked by scurvy as
we men. The same care had therefore to be devoted to the preparation
of their food. We obtained from Moss two kinds of pemmican, one made
with fish and the other with meat. Both kinds contained, besides the
dried fish (or meat) and lard, a certain proportion of dried milk
and middlings. Both kinds were equally excellent, and the dogs were
always in splendid condition. The pemmican was divided into rations of
1 pound 1.5 ounces, and could be served out to the dogs as it was. But
before we should be able to use this pemmican we had a five months'
voyage before us, and for this part of the expedition I had to look
for a reliable supply of dried fish. This I found through the agent of
the expedition at Tromsö, Mr. Fritz Zappfe. Two well-known firms also
placed large quantities of the best dried fish at my disposal. With
all this excellent fish and some barrels of lard we succeeded in
bringing our dogs through in the best of condition.

One of the most important of our preparations was to find good
dogs. As I have said, I had to act with decision and promptitude if
I was to succeed in getting everything in order. The day after my
decision was made, therefore, I was on my way to Copenhagen, where
the Inspectors for Greenland, Messrs. Daugaard-Jensen and Bentzen,
were to be found at that moment. The director of the Royal Greenland
Trading Company, Mr. Rydberg, showed, as before, the most friendly
interest in my undertaking, and gave the inspectors a free hand. I then
negotiated with these gentlemen, and they undertook to provide 100
of the finest Greenland dogs and to deliver them in Norway in July,
1910. The dog question was thus as good as solved, since the choice
was placed in the most expert hands. I was personally acquainted
with Inspector Daugaard-Jensen from former dealings with him, and
knew that whatever he undertook would be performed with the greatest
conscientiousness. The administration of the Royal Greenland Trading
Company gave permission for the dogs to be conveyed free of charge
on board the Hans Egede and delivered at Christiansand.

Before I proceed to our further equipment, I must say a few more
words about the dogs. The greatest difference between Scott's and
my equipment lay undoubtedly in our choice of draught animals. We
had heard that Scott, relying on his own experience, and that of
Shackleton, had come to the conclusion that Manchurian ponies were
superior to dogs on the Barrier. Among those who were acquainted with
the Eskimo dog, I do not suppose I was the only one who was startled
on first hearing this. Afterwards, as I read the different narratives
and was able to form an accurate opinion of the conditions of surface
and going, my astonishment became even greater. Although I had never
seen this part of the Antarctic regions, I was not long in forming
an opinion diametrically opposed to that of Shackleton and Scott, for
the conditions both of going and surface were precisely what one would
desire for sledging with Eskimo dogs, to judge from the descriptions
of these explorers. If Peary could make a record trip on the Arctic
ice with dogs, one ought, surely, with equally good tackle, to be
able to beat Peary's record on the splendidly even surface of the
Barrier. There must be some misunderstanding or other at the bottom
of the Englishmen's estimate of the Eskimo dog's utility in the Polar
regions. Can it be that the dog has not understood his master? Or
is it the master who has not understood his dog? The right footing
must be established from the outset; the dog must understand that
he has to obey in everything, and the master must know how to make
himself respected. If obedience is once established, I am convinced
that the dog will be superior to all other draught animals over these
long distances.

Another very important reason for using the dog is that this small
creature can much more easily cross the numerous slight snow-bridges
that are not to be avoided on the Barrier and on the glaciers. If a
dog falls into a crevasse there is no great harm done; a tug at his
harness and he is out again; but it is another matter with a pony. This
comparatively large and heavy animal of course falls through far more
easily, and if this happens, it is a long and stiff job to get the
beast hauled up again -- unless, indeed, the traces have broken and
the pony lies at the bottom of a crevasse 1,000 feet deep.

And then there is the obvious advantage that dog can be fed on
dog. One can reduce one's pack little by little, slaughtering the
feebler ones and feeding the chosen with them. In this way they get
fresh meat. Our dogs lived on dog's flesh and pemmican the whole way,
and this enabled them to do splendid work.

And if we ourselves wanted a piece of fresh meat we could cut off a
delicate little fillet; it tasted to us as good as the best beef. The
dogs do not object at all; as long as they get their share they do not
mind what part of their comrade's carcass it comes from. All that was
left after one of these canine meals was the teeth of the victim --
and if it had been a really hard day, these also disappeared.

If we take a step farther, from the Barrier to the plateau, it would
seem that every doubt of the dog's superiority must disappear. Not
only can one get the dogs up over the huge glaciers that lead to the
plateau, but one can make full use of them the whole way. Ponies, on
the other hand, have to be left at the foot of the glacier, while the
men themselves have the doubtful pleasure of acting as ponies. As I
understand Shackleton's account, there can be no question of hauling
the ponies over the steep and crevassed glaciers. It must be rather
hard to have to abandon one's motive power voluntarily when only a
quarter of the distance has been covered. I for my part prefer to
use it all the way.

From the very beginning I saw that the first part of our expedition,
from Norway to the Barrier, would be the most dangerous section. If we
could only reach the Barrier with our dogs safe and well, the future
would be bright enough. Fortunately all my comrades took the same view
of the matter, and with their cooperation we succeeded not only in
bringing the dogs safely to our field of operations, but in landing
them in far better condition than when we received them. Their number
was also considerably increased on the way, which seems to be another
proof of a flourishing state of things. To protect them against damp
and heat we laid a loose deck of planed boards about 3 inches above
the fixed deck, an arrangement by which all the rain and spray ran
underneath the dogs. In this way we kept them out of the water, which
must always be running from side to side on the deck of a deep-laden
vessel on her way to the Antarctic Ocean. Going through the tropics
this loose deck did double service. It always afforded a somewhat cool
surface, as there was a fresh current of air between the two decks. The
main deck, which was black with tar, would have been unbearably hot
for the animals; the false deck was high, and kept fairly white during
the whole voyage. We carried awnings in addition, chiefly on account
of the dogs. These awnings could be stretched over the whole vessel
and give the dogs constant protection from the burning sun.

I still cannot help smiling when I think of the compassionate voices
that were raised here and there -- and even made their way into
print -- about the "cruelty to animals" on board the Fram. Presumably
these cries came from tender-hearted individuals who themselves kept
watch-dogs tied up.

Besides our four-footed companions, we took with us a two-footed one,
not so much on account of the serious work in the Polar regions as for
pleasant entertainment on the way. This was our canary "Fridtjof." It
was one of the many presents made to the expedition, and not the
least welcome of them. It began to sing as soon as it came on board,
and has now kept it going on two circumnavigations through the most
inhospitable waters of the earth. It probably holds the record as a
Polar traveller among its kind.

Later on we had a considerable collection of various families: pigs,
fowls, sheep, cats, and -- rats. Yes, unfortunately, we knew what it
was to have rats on board, the most repulsive of all creatures, and
the worst vermin I know of. But we have declared war against them,
and off they shall go before the Fram starts on her next voyage. We
got them in Buenos Aires, and the best thing will be to bury them in
their native land.

On account of the rather straitened circumstances the expedition had
to contend with, I had to look twice at every shilling before I spent
it. Articles of clothing are an important factor in a Polar expedition,
and I consider it necessary that the expedition should provide each
of its members with the actual "Polar clothing." If one left this
part of the equipment to each individual, I am afraid things would
look badly before the journey was done. I must admit that there was
some temptation to do this. It would have been very much cheaper if
I had simply given each man a list of what clothes he was required
to provide for himself. But by so doing I should have missed the
opportunity of personally supervising the quality of the clothing to
the extent I desired.

It was not an outfit that cut a dash by its appearance, but it was warm
and strong. From the commissariat stores at Horten I obtained many
excellent articles. I owe Captain Pedersen, the present chief of the
Commissariat Department, my heartiest thanks for the courtesy he always
showed me when I came to get things out of him. Through him I had about
200 blankets served out to me. Now, the reader must not imagine a bed
and bedding, such as he may see exhibited in the windows of furniture
shops, with thick, white blankets, so delicate that in spite of their
thickness they look as if they might float away of their own accord,
so light and fine do they appear. It was not blankets like these
that Captain Pedersen gave us; we should not have known what to do
with them if he had. The blankets the commissariat gave us were of an
entirely different sort. As to their colour -- well, I can only call
it indeterminable -- and they did not give one the impression that
they would float away either, if one let go of them. No, they would
keep on the ground right enough; they were felted and pressed together
into a thick, hard mass. From the dawn of time they had served our
brave warriors at sea, and it is by no means impossible that some of
them had gruesome stories to tell of the days of Tordenskjold. The
first thing I did, on obtaining possession of these treasures, was
to get them into the dyeing-vat. They were unrecognizable when I
got them back -- in ultramarine blue, or whatever it was called. The
metamorphosis was complete: their warlike past was wiped out.

My intention was to have these two hundred blankets made into Polar
clothing, and I took counsel with myself how I might get this done. To
disclose the origin of the stuff would be an unfortunate policy. No
tailor in the world would make clothes out of old blankets, I was
pretty sure of that. I had to hit upon some stratagem. I heard of
a man who was a capable worker at his trade, and asked him to come
and see me. My office looked exactly like a woollen warehouse, with
blankets everywhere. The tailor arrived. "Was that the stuff?" "Yes,
that was it. Just imported from abroad. A great bargain. A lot of
samples dirt cheap." I had put on my most innocent and unconcerned
expression. I saw the tailor glance at me sideways; I suppose he
thought the samples were rather large. "A closely woven stuff,"
said he, holding it up to the light. "I could almost swear it was
'felted.' " We went carefully through every single sample, and took
the number. It was a long and tedious business, and I was glad when
I saw that at last we were nearing the end. Over in a corner there
lay a few more; we had reached the one hundred and ninety-third, so
there could not be many in the pile. I was occupied with something
else, and the tailor went through the remainder by himself. I was
just congratulating myself on the apparently fortunate result of the
morning's work when I was startled by an exclamation from the man
in the corner. It sounded like the bellow of a mad bull. Alas! there
stood the tailor enveloped in ultramarine, and swinging over his head
a blanket, the couleur changeante of which left no doubt as to the
origin of the "directly imported" goods. With a look of thunder the man
quitted me, and I sank in black despair. I never saw him again. The
fact was that in my hurry I had forgotten the sample blanket that
Captain Pedersen had sent me. That was the cause of the catastrophe.

Well, I finally succeeded in getting the work executed, and it is
certain that no expedition has ever had warmer and stronger clothing
than this. It was in great favour on board.

I also thought it best to provide good oilskins, and especially
good sea-boots for every man. The sea-boots were therefore made to
measure, and of the very best material. I had them made by the firm
I have always regarded as the best in that branch. How, then, shall
I describe our grief when, on the day we were to wear our beautiful
sea-boots, we discovered that most of them were useless? Some of the
men could dance a hornpipe in theirs without taking the boots off
the deck. Others, by exerting all their strength, could not squeeze
their foot through the narrow way and reach paradise. The leg was so
narrow that even the most delicate little foot could not get through
it, and to make up for this the foot of the boot was so huge that
it could comfortably accommodate twice as much as its owner could
show. Very few were able to wear their boots. We tried changing,
but that was no use; the boots were not made for any creatures of
this planet. But sailors are sailors wherever they may be; it is not
easy to beat them. Most of them knew the proverb that one pair of
boots that fit is better than ten pairs that you can't put on, and
had brought their own with them. And so we got out of that difficulty.

We took three sets of linen underclothing for every man, to wear
in the warm regions. This part of the equipment was left to each
individual; most men possess a few old shirts, and not much more is
wanted through the tropics. For the cold regions there were two sets
of extra thick woollen underclothing, two thick hand-knitted woollen
jerseys, six pairs of knitted stockings, Iceland and other lighter
jackets, socks and stockings from the penitentiary.

Besides these we had a quantity of clothing from the army depots. I
owe many thanks to General Keilhau for the kind way in which he fell
in with all my wishes. From this quarter we obtained outer clothing for
both cold and warm climates, underclothes, boots, shoes, wind-clothing,
and cloths of different kinds.

As the last item of our personal equipment I may mention that each
man had a suit of sealskin from Greenland. Then there were such things
as darning-wool, sewing-yarn, needles of all possible sizes, buttons,
scissors, tapes -- broad and narrow, black and white, blue and red. I
may safely assert that nothing was forgotten; we were well and amply
equipped in every way.

Another side of our preparations which claimed some attention was
the fitting up of the quarters we were to inhabit, the saloons and
cabins. What an immense difference it makes if one lives in comfortable
surroundings. For my part, I can do twice the amount of work when I
see tidiness and comfort around me. The saloons on the Fram were very
handsomely and tastefully fitted. Here we owe, in the first place, our
respectful thanks to King Haakon and Queen Maud for the photographs
they presented to us; they were the most precious of our gifts. The
ladies of Horten gave us a number of pretty things for decorating the
cabins, and they will no doubt be glad to hear of the admiration they
aroused wherever we went. "Is this really a Polar ship?" people asked;
"we expected to see nothing but wooden benches and bare walls." And
they began to talk about "boudoirs" and things of that sort. Besides
splendid embroideries, our walls were decorated with the most wonderful
photographs; it would have rejoiced the giver of these to hear all
the words of praise that have been bestowed upon them.

The sleeping quarters I left to individual taste: every man could
take a bit of his home in his own little compartment. The bedclothes
came from the naval factory at Horten; they were first-class work,
like everything else that came from there. We owe our best thanks to
the giver of the soft blankets that have so often been our joy and
put warmth into us after a bitter day; they came from a woollen mill
at Trondhjem.

I must also mention our paper-supply, which was in all respects as fine
and elegant as it could possibly be: the most exquisite notepaper,
stamped with a picture of the Fram and the name of the expedition,
in large and small size, broad and narrow, old style and new style --
every kind of notepaper, in fact. Of pens and penholders, pencils,
black and coloured, india-rubber, Indian ink, drawing-pins and
other kinds of pins, ink and ink-powder, white chalk and red chalk,
gum arabic and other gums, date-holders and almanacs, ship's logs
and private diaries, notebooks and sledging diaries, and many other
things of the same sort, we have such a stock that we shall be able to
circumnavigate the earth several times more before running short. This
gift does honour to the firm which sent it; every time I have sent
a letter or written in my diary, I have had a grateful thought for
the givers.

From one of the largest houses in Christiania we had a complete set
of kitchen utensils and breakfast and dinner services, all of the
best kind. The cups, plates, knives, forks, spoons, jugs, glasses,
etc., were all marked with the ship's name.

We carried an extraordinarily copious library; presents of books were
showered upon us in great quantities. I suppose the Fram's library
at the present moment contains at least 3,000 volumes.

For our entertainment we also had a good many different games. One
of these became our favourite pastime in leisure evenings down in
the South. Packs of cards we had by the dozen, and many of them have
already been well used. A gramophone with a large supply of records
was, I think, our best friend. Of musical instruments we had a piano,
a violin, a flute, mandolins, not forgetting a mouth-organ and an
accordion. All the publishers had been kind enough to send us music,
so that we could cultivate this art as much as we wished.

Christmas presents streamed in from all sides; I suppose we had about
five hundred on board. Christmas-trees and decorations for them,
with many other things to amuse us at Christmas, were sent with us
by friends and acquaintances. People have indeed been kind to us,
and I can assure the givers that all their presents have been, and
are still, much appreciated.

We were well supplied with wines and spirits, thanks to one of the
largest firms of wine-merchants in Christiania. An occasional glass of
wine or a tot of spirits were things that we all, without exception,
were very glad of. The question of alcohol on Polar expeditions has
often been discussed. Personally, I regard alcohol, used in moderation,
as a medicine in the Polar regions -- I mean, of course, so long as
one is in winter quarters. It is another matter on sledge journeys:
there we all know from experience that alcohol must be banished --
not because a drink of spirits can do any harm, but on account of
the weight and space. On sledging journeys one has, of course, to
save weight as much as possible, and to take only what is strictly
necessary; and I do not include alcohol under the head of strictly
necessary things. Nor was it only in winter quarters that we had use
for alcohol, but also on the long, monotonous voyage through raw, cold,
and stormy regions. A tot of spirits is often a very good thing when
one goes below after a bitter watch on deck and is just turning in. A
total abstainer will no doubt turn up his nose and ask whether a cup
of good warm coffee would not do as well. For my part, I think the
quantity of coffee people pour into themselves at such times is far
more harmful than a little Lysholmer snaps. And think of the important
part a glass of wine or toddy plays in social gatherings on such a
voyage. Two men who have fallen out a little in the course of the week
are reconciled at once by the scent of rum; the past is forgotten,
and they start afresh in friendly co-operation. Take alcohol away from
these little festivities, and you will soon see the difference. It is
a sad thing, someone will say, that men absolutely must have alcohol to
put them in a good humour -- and I am quite ready to agree. But seeing
that our nature is what it is, we must try to make the best of it. It
seems as though we civilized human beings must have stimulating drinks,
and that being so, we have to follow our own convictions. I am for a
glass of toddy. Let who will eat plum-cake and swill hot coffee --
heartburn and other troubles are often the result of this kind of
refreshment. A little toddy doesn't hurt anybody.

The consumption of alcohol on the Fram's third voyage was as follows:
One dram and fifteen drops at dinner on Wednesdays and Sundays,
and a glass of toddy on Saturday evenings. On holidays there was an
additional allowance.

We were all well supplied with tobacco and cigars from various firms
at home and abroad. We had enough cigars to allow us one each on
Saturday evenings and after dinner on Sundays.

Two Christiania manufacturers sent us their finest bonbons and drops,
and a foreign firm gave us "Gala Peter," so that it was no rare thing
to see the Polar explorers helping themselves to a sweetmeat or a
piece of chocolate. An establishment at Drammen gave us as much fruit
syrup as we could drink, and if the giver only knew how many times
we blessed the excellent product he supplied, I am sure he would be
pleased. On the homeward march from the Pole we looked forward every
day to getting nearer to our supply of syrup.

From three different firms in Christiania we received all our
requirements in the way of cheese, biscuits, tea, sugar, and
coffee. The packing of the last-named was so efficient that, although
the coffee was roasted, it is still as fresh and aromatic as the day
it left the warehouse. Another firm sent us soap enough for five
years, and one uses a good deal of that commodity even on a Polar
voyage. A man in Christiania had seen to the care of our skin, hair,
and teeth, and it is not his fault if we have not delicate skins,
abundant growth of hair, and teeth like pearls, for the outfit was
certainly complete enough.

An important item of the equipment is the medical department, and
here my advisers were Dr. Jacob Roll and Dr. Holth; therefore nothing
was wanting. A chemist in Christiania supplied all the necessary
medicines as a contribution, carefully chosen, and beautifully
arranged. Unfortunately no doctor accompanied the expedition, so that
I was obliged to take all the responsibility myself.

Lieutenant Gjertsen, who had a pronounced aptitude both for drawing
teeth and amputating legs, went through a "lightning course" at the
hospital and the dental hospital. He clearly showed that much may be
learnt in a short time by giving one's mind to it. With surprising
rapidity and apparent confidence Lieutenant Gjertsen disposed of the
most complicated cases -- whether invariably to the patient's advantage
is another question, which I shall leave undecided. He drew teeth
with a dexterity that strongly reminded one of the conjurer's art;
one moment he showed an empty pair of forceps, the next there was a
big molar in their grip. The yells one heard while the operation was
in progress seemed to indicate that it was not entirely painless.

A match factory gave us all the safety matches we wanted. They were
packed so securely that we could quite well have towed the cases
after us in the sea all the way, and found the matches perfectly dry
on arrival. We had a quantity of ammunition and explosives. As the
whole of the lower hold was full of petroleum, the Fram had a rather
dangerous cargo on board. We therefore took all possible precautions
against fire; extinguishing apparatus was fitted in every cabin and
wherever practicable, and pumps with hose were always in readiness
on deck.

The necessary ice-tools, such as saws from 2 to 6 metres long,
ice-drills, etc., were not forgotten.

We had a number of scientific instruments with us. Professors Nansen
and Helland-Hansen had devoted many an hour to our oceanographical
equipment, which was therefore a model of what such an equipment
should be. Lieutenants Prestrud and Gjertsen had both gone through the
necessary course in oceanography under Helland-Hansen at the Bergen
biological station. I myself had spent a summer there, and taken part
in one of the oceanographical courses. Professor Helland-Hansen was a
brilliant teacher; I am afraid I cannot assert that I was an equally
brilliant pupil.

Professor Mohn had given us a complete meteorological outfit. Among the
instruments belonging to the Fram I may mention a pendulum apparatus,
an excellent astronomical theodolite, and a sextant. Lieutenant
Prestrud studied the use of the pendulum apparatus under Professor
Schiotz and the use of the astronomical theodolite under Professor
Geelmuyden. We had in addition several sextants and artificial
horizons, both glass and mercury. We had binoculars of all sizes,
from the largest to the smallest.

So far I have been dealing with our general outfit, and shall now pass
to the special equipment of the shore party. The hut we took out was
built on my property on Bundefjord, so that I was able to watch the
work as it progressed. It was built by the brothers Hans and Jörgen
Stubberud, and was throughout a splendid piece of work, which did
honour to both the brothers. The materials proved excellent in every
way. The hut was 26 feet long by 13 feet wide; its height from the
floor to the ridge of the roof was about 12 feet. It was built as an
ordinary Norwegian house, with pointed gable, and had two rooms. One
of these was 19 1/2 feet long, and was to serve as our dormitory,
dining-room, and sitting-room; the other room was 6 1/2 feet long,
and was to be Lindström's kitchen. From the kitchen a double trap-door
led to the loft, where we intended to keep a quantity of provisions and
outfit. The walls consisted of 3-inch planks, with air space between;
panels outside and inside, with air space between them and the plank
walling. For insulation we used cellulose pulp. The floor and the
ceiling between the rooms and the loft were double, while the upper
roof was single. The doors were extraordinarily thick and strong, and
fitted into oblique grooves, so that they closed very tightly. There
were two windows -- a triple one in the end wall of the main room,
and a double one in the kitchen. For the covering of the roof we
took out roofing-paper, and for the floor linoleum. In the main room
there were two air-pipes, one to admit fresh air, the other for the
exhaust. There were bunks for ten men in two stages, six on one wall
and four on the other. The furniture of the room consisted of a table,
a stool for each man, and a Lux lamp.

One half of the kitchen was occupied by the range, the other by shelves
and cooking utensils. The hut was tarred several times, and every part
was carefully marked, so that it could easily be set up. To fasten it
to the ground and prevent the Antarctic storms from blowing it away I
had strong eyebolts screwed into each end of the roof-ridge and the
four corners of the roof; we carried six strong eyebolts, a metre
long, to be rammed into the barrier; between these bolts and those
on the hut, steel wires were to be stretched, which could be drawn
quite tight. We also had two spare cables, which could be stretched
over the roof if the gales were too severe. The two ventilating pipes
and the chimney were secured outside with strong stays.

As will be seen, every precaution was taken to make the hut warm and
comfortable, and to hold it down on the ground. We also took on board
a quantity of loose timber, boards and planks.

Besides the hut we took with us fifteen tents for sixteen men each. Ten
of these were old, but good; they were served out to us from the naval
stores; the other five were new, and we bought them from the army
depots. It was our intention to use the tents as temporary houses;
they were easily and quickly set up, and were strong and warm. On the
voyage to the South Rönne sewed new floors of good, strong canvas to
the five new tents.

All cases of provisions that were intended for winter quarters were
marked and stowed separately in the hold in such a way that they
could be put out on to the ice at once.

We had ten sledges made by a firm of sporting outfitters in
Christiania. They were built like the old Nansen sledges, but rather
broader, and were 12 feet long. The runners were of the best American
hickory, shod with steel. The other parts were of good, tough Norwegian
ash. To each sledge belonged a pair of spare runners, which could
easily be fitted underneath by means of clamps, and as easily removed
when not required. The steel shoeing of the runners was well coated
with red lead, and the spare runners with tar. These sledges were
extremely strongly built, and could stand all kinds of work on every
sort of surface. At that time I did not know the conditions on the
Barrier as I afterwards came to know them. Of course, these sledges
were very heavy.

We took twenty pairs of ski, all of the finest hickory; they were
8 feet long, and proportionately narrow. I chose them of this length
with a view to being able to cross the numerous cracks in the glaciers;
the greater the surface over which the weight could be distributed, the
better prospect we should have of slipping over the snow-bridges. We
had forty ski-poles, with ebonite points. The ski-bindings were a
combination of the Huitfeldt and the Höyer Ellefsen bindings. We also
had quantities of loose straps.

We had six three-man tents, all made in the navy workshops. The
workmanship could not have been better; they were the strongest and
most practical tents that have ever been used. They were made of the
closest canvas, with the floor in one piece. One man was sufficient to
set up the tent in the stiffest breeze; I have come to the conclusion
that the fewer poles a tent has, the easier it is to set up, which
seems quite natural. These tents have only one pole. How often one
reads in narratives of Polar travel that it took such and such a time
-- often hours -- to set up the tent, and then, when at last it was
up, one lay expecting it to be blown down at any moment. There was
no question of this with our tents. They were up in a twinkling,
and stood against all kinds of wind; we could lie securely in our
sleeping-bags, and let it blow.

The arrangement of the door was on the usual sack principle, which is
now recognized as the only serviceable one for the Polar regions. The
sack patent is quite simple, like all patents that are any good. You
cut an opening in the tent of the size you wish; then you take a sack,
which you leave open at both ends, and sew one end fast round the
opening of the tent. The funnel formed by the open sack is then the
entrance. When you have come in, you gather up the open end of the
funnel or sack, and tie it together. Not a particle of snow can get
into a tent with the floor sewed on and an entrance of this kind,
even in the worst storm.

The cases for sledging provisions were made of fairly thin, tough ash,
which came from the estate of Palsgaard in Jutland, and the material
did all it promised. These cases were 1 foot square and 15 1/2 inches
high. They had only a little round opening on the top, closed with an
aluminium lid, which fitted exactly like the lid of a milk-can. Large
lids weaken the cases, and I had therefore chosen this form. We did
not have to throw off the lashing of the case to get the lid off,
and this is a very great advantage; we could always get at it. A case
with a large lid, covered by the lashing, gives constant trouble;
the whole lashing has to be undone for every little thing one wants
out of the case. This is not always convenient; if one is tired and
slack, it may sometimes happen that one will put off till to-morrow
what ought to be done to-day, especially when it is bitterly cold. The
handier one's sledging outfit, the sooner one gets into the tent and
to rest, and that is no small consideration on a long journey.

Our outfit of clothing was abundant and more complete, I suppose, than
that of any former Polar expedition. We may divide it into two classes,
the outfit for specially low temperatures and that for more moderate
temperatures. It must be remembered that no one had yet wintered on
the Barrier, so we had to be prepared for anything. In order to be
able to grapple with any degree of cold, we were supplied with the
richest assortment of reindeer-skin clothing; we had it specially
thick, medium, and quite light. It took a long time to get these
skin clothes prepared. First the reindeer-skins had to be bought
in a raw state, and this was done for me by Mr. Zappfe at Tromsö,
Karasjok, and Kaatokeino. Let me take the opportunity of thanking
this man for the many and great services he has rendered me, not
only during my preparations for the third voyage of the Fram, but
in the fitting out of the Gjöa expedition as well. With his help
I have succeeded in obtaining things that I should otherwise never
have been able to get. He shrank from no amount of work, but went
on till he had found what I wanted. This time he procured nearly
two hundred and fifty good reindeer-skins, dressed by the Lapps,
and sent them to Christiania. Here I had great trouble in finding
a man who could sew skins, but at last I found one. We then went
to work to make clothes after the pattern of the Netchelli Eskimo,
and the sewing went on early and late -- thick anoraks and thin ones,
heavy breeches and light, winter stockings and summer stockings. We
also had a dozen thin sleeping-bags, which I thought of using inside
the big thick ones if the cold should be too severe. Everything was
finished, but not until the last moment. The outer sleeping-bags were
made by Mr. Brandt, furrier, of Bergen, and they were so excellent,
both in material and making-up, that no one in the world could
have done better; it was a model piece of work. To save this outer
sleeping-bag, we had it provided with a cover of the lightest canvas,
which was a good deal longer than the bag itself. It was easy to tie
the end of the cover together like the mouth of the sack, and this kept
the snow out of the bag during the day's march. In this way we always
kept ourselves free from the annoyance of drifting snow. We attached
great importance to having the bags made of the very best sort of skin,
and took care that the thin skin of the belly was removed. I have seen
sleeping-bags of the finest reindeer-skin spoilt in a comparatively
short time if they contained a few patches of this thin skin, as
of course the cold penetrates more easily through the thin skin,
and gives rise to dampness in the form of rime on meeting the warmth
of the body. These thin patches remain damp whenever one is in the
bag, and in a short time they lose their hair. The damp spreads,
like decay in wood, and continually attacks the surrounding skin,
with the result that one fine day you find yourself with a hairless
sleeping-bag. One cannot be too careful in the choice of skins. For
the sake of economy, the makers of reindeer-skin sleeping-bags are in
the habit of sewing them in such a way that the direction of the hair
is towards the opening of the bag. Of course this suits the shape of
the skins best, but it does not suit the man who is going to use the
bag. For it is no easy matter to crawl into a sleeping-bag which is
only just wide enough to allow one to get in, and if the way of the
hair is against one it is doubly difficult. I had them all made as
one-man bags, with lacing round the neck; this did not, of course,
meet with the approval of all, as will be seen later. The upper
part of this thick sleeping-bag was made of thinner reindeer-skin,
so that we might be able to tie it closely round the neck; the thick
skin will not draw so well and fit so closely as the thin.

Our clothing in moderate temperatures consisted of thick woollen
underclothing and Burberry windproof overalls. This underclothing
was specially designed for the purpose; I had myself watched the
preparation of the material, and knew that it contained nothing
but pure wool. We had overalls of two different materials: Burberry
"gabardine" and the ordinary green kind that is used in Norway in the
winter. For sledge journeys, where one has to save weight, and to work
in loose, easy garments, I must unhesitatingly recommend Burberry. It
is extraordinarily light and strong, and keeps the wind completely
out. For hard work I prefer the green kind. It keeps out the wind
equally well, but is heavier and more bulky, and less comfortable
to wear on a long march. Our Burberry wind-clothes were made in the
form of anorak (blouse) and trousers, both very roomy. The others
consisted of trousers and jacket with hood.

Our mits were for the most part such as one can buy in any shop; we
wanted nothing else in and around winter quarters. Outside the mits
we wore an outer covering of windproof material, so as not to wear
them out too quickly. These mits are not very strong, though they are
good and warm. Besides these, we had ten pairs of ordinary kid mits,
which were bought at a glove-shop in Christiania, and were practically
impossible to wear out. I wore mine from Framheim to the Pole and back
again, and afterwards on the voyage to Tasmania. The lining, of course,
was torn in places, but the seams of the mits were just as perfect as
the day I bought them. Taking into consideration the fact that I went
on ski the whole way and used two poles, it will be understood that
the mits were strongly made. We also had a number of woollen gloves,
which, curiously enough, the others greatly prized. For myself, I was
never able to wear such things; they simply freeze the fingers off me.

But most important of all is the covering of the feet, for the feet
are the most exposed members and the most difficult to protect. One
can look after the hands; if they grow cold it is easy to beat them
into warmth again. Not so with the feet; they are covered up in the
morning, and this is a sufficiently troublesome piece of work to make
one disinclined to undo it again until one is turning in. They cannot
be seen in the course of the day, and one has to depend entirely on
feeling; but feeling in this case often plays curious tricks. How
often has it happened that men have had their feet
frozen off without knowing it! For if they had known it, they could not
possibly have let it go so far. The fact is that in this case sensation
is a somewhat doubtful guide, for the feet lose all sensation. It
is true that there is a transitional stage, when one feels the
cold smarting in one's toes, and tries to get rid of it by stamping
the feet. As a rule this is successful; the warmth returns, or the
circulation is restored; but it occasionally happens that sensation is
lost at the very moment when these precautions are taken. And then one
must be an old hand to know what has happened. Many men conclude that,
as they no longer feel the unpleasant smarting sensation, all is well;
and at the evening inspection a frozen foot of tallow-like appearance
presents itself. An event of this kind may ruin the most elaborately
prepared enterprise, and it is therefore advisable in the matter of
feet to carry one's caution to lengths which may seem ridiculous.

Now, it is a fact that if one can wear soft foot-gear exclusively
the risk of frost-bite is far less than if one is compelled to wear
stiff boots; in soft foot-gear, of course, the foot can move far more
easily and keep warm. But we were to take ski and to get full use
out of them, so that in any case we had to have a stiff sole for the
sake of the bindings. It is of no use to have a good binding unless
you can use it in the right way. In my opinion, on a long journey
such as that we had before us, the ski must be perfectly steady. I
do not know anything that tires me more than a bad fastening -- that
is, one that allows the foot to shift in the binding. I want the
ski to be a part of oneself, so that one always has full command of
them. I have tried many patents, for I have always been afraid of a
stiff fastening in cold temperatures; but all these patents, without
exception, are worthless in the long-run. I decided this time to
try a combination of stiff and soft foot-gear, so that we could use
the splendid Huitfeldt-Höyer Ellefsen bindings; but this was no easy
matter. Of our whole outfit nothing caused me more worry or gave us
all more work in the course of the expedition than the stiff outer
covering which we had to have; but we solved the problem at last. I
applied to one of the leading makers of ski-boots in Christiania, and
explained the difficulty to him; fortunately I had found a man who
was evidently interested in the question. We agreed that he should
make a sample pair after the pattern of ski-boots. The sole was to
be thick and stiff -- for we had to be prepared to use crampons --
but the uppers as soft as possible. In order to avoid leather, which
usually becomes stiff and easily cracked in the cold, he was to use
a combination of leather and thin canvas for the uppers -- leather
nearest the sole, and canvas above it.

The measurements were taken from my foot, which is not exactly a
child's foot, with two pairs of reindeer-skin stockings on, and ten
pairs were made. I well remember seeing these boots in civilized
Christiania. They were exhibited in the bootmaker's windows -- I
used to go a long way round to avoid coming face to face with these
monsters in public. We are all a trifle vain, and dislike having our
own shortcomings shown up in electric light. If I had ever cherished
any illusions on the subject of "a dainty little foot," I am sure the
last trace of such vanity died out on the day I passed the shoemaker's
window and beheld my own boots. I never went that way again until
I was certain that the exhibition was closed. One thing is certain,
that the boots were a fine piece of workmanship. We shall hear later
on of the alterations they had to undergo before we at last made them
as large as we wanted, for the giant boots turned out much too small!

Among other equipment I must mention our excellent Primus cooking
apparatus. This all came complete from a firm in Stockholm. For cooking
on sledge journeys the Primus stove ranks above all others; it gives
a great deal of heat, uses little oil, and requires no attention --
advantages which are important enough anywhere, but especially when
sledging. There is never any trouble with this apparatus; it has come
as near perfection as possible. We took five Nansen cookers with
us. This cooker utilizes the heat more completely than any other;
but I have one objection to make to it -- it takes up space. We used
it on our depot journeys, but were unfortunately obliged to give it up
on the main southern journey. We were so many in a tent, and space was
so limited, that I dared not risk using it. If one has room enough,
it is ideal in my opinion.

We had with us ten pairs of snow-shoes and one hundred sets of
dog-harness of the Alaska Eskimo pattern. The Alaska Eskimo drive
their dogs in tandem; the whole pull is thus straight ahead in the
direction the sledge is going, and this is undoubtedly the best way of
utilizing the power. I had made up my mind to adopt the same system
in sledging on the Barrier. Another great advantage it had was that
the dogs would pass singly across fissures, so that the danger of
falling through was considerably reduced. The exertion of pulling is
also less trying with Alaska harness than with the Greenland kind,
as the Alaska harness has a shallow, padded collar, which is slipped
over the animal's head and makes the weight of the pull come on his
shoulders, whereas the Greenland harness presses on his chest. Raw
places, which occur rather frequently with the Greenland harness, are
almost entirely avoided with the other. All the sets of harness were
made in the navy workshops, and after their long and hard use they
are as good as ever. There could be no better recommendation than this.

Of instruments and apparatus for the sledge journeys we carried
two sextants, three artificial horizons, of which two were glass
horizons with dark glasses, and one a mercury horizon, and four spirit
compasses, made in Christiania. They were excellent little compasses,
but unfortunately useless in cold weather -- that is to say, when the
temperature went below -40° F.; at this point the liquid froze. I had
drawn the maker's attention to this beforehand and asked him to use as
pure a spirit as possible. What his object was I still do not know,
but the spirit he employed was highly dilute. The best proof of this
was that the liquid in our compasses froze before the spirits in a
flask. We were naturally inconvenienced by this. Besides these we had
an ordinary little pocket-compass, two pairs of binoculars, one by
Zeiss and the other by Goertz, and snow-goggles from Dr. Schanz. We
had various kinds of glasses for these, so that we could change when
we were tired of one colour. During the whole stay on the Barrier I
myself wore a pair of ordinary spectacles with yellow glasses of quite
a light tint. These are prepared by a chemical process in such a way
that they nullify the harmful colours in the sun's rays. How excellent
these glasses are appears clearly enough from the fact that I never
had the slightest touch of snow-blindness on the southern journey,
although the spectacles were perfectly open and allowed the light to
enter freely everywhere. It will perhaps be suggested that I am less
susceptible to this ailment than others, but I know from personal
experience that such is not the case. I have previously had several
severe attacks of snow-blindness.

We had two photographic cameras, an air thermometer, two aneroids with
altitude scale to 15,000 feet, and two hypsometers. The hypsometer
is only an instrument for determining the boiling-point, which gives
one the height above the sea. The method is both simple and reliable.

The medical stores for sledging were given by a London firm,
and the way in which the things were packed speaks for the whole
outfit. There is not a speck of rust on needles, scissors, knives,
or anything else, although they have been exposed to much damp. Our
own medical outfit, which was bought in Christiania, and according
to the vendor's statement unusually well packed, became in a short
time so damaged that the whole of it is now entirely spoilt.

The sledging provisions must be mentioned briefly. I have already
spoken of the pemmican. I have never considered it necessary to
take a whole grocer's shop with me when sledging; the food should be
simple and nourishing, and that is enough -- a rich and varied menu
is for people who have no work to do. Besides the pemmican, we had
biscuits, milk-powder, and chocolate. The biscuits were a present
from a well-known Norwegian factory, and did all honour to their
origin. They were specially baked for us, and were made of oatmeal with
the addition of dried milk and a little sugar; they were extremely
nourishing and pleasant to the taste. Thanks to efficient packing,
they kept fresh and crisp all the time. These biscuits formed a great
part of our daily diet, and undoubtedly contributed in no small degree
to the successful result. Milk-powder is a comparatively new commodity
with us, but it deserves to be better known. It came from the district
of Jæderen. Neither heat nor cold, dryness nor wet, could hurt it;
we had large quantities of it lying out in small, thin linen bags in
every possible state of the weather: the powder was as good the last
day as the first. We also took dried milk from a firm in Wisconsin;
this milk had an addition of malt and sugar, and was, in my opinion,
excellent; it also kept good the whole time. The chocolate came from
a world-renowned firm, and was beyond all praise. The whole supply
was a very acceptable gift.

We are bringing all the purveyors of our sledging provisions samples
of their goods that have made the journey to the South Pole and back,
in gratitude for the kind assistance they afforded us.


On the Way to the South

The month of May, 1910, ran its course, beautiful as only a spring
month in Norway can be -- a lovely dream of verdure and flowers. But
unfortunately we had little time to admire all the splendour that
surrounded us; our watchword was "Away" -- away from beautiful sights,
as quickly as possible.

From the beginning of the month the Fram lay moored to her buoy
outside the old walls of Akershus. Fresh and trim she came from the
yard at Horten; you could see the shine on her new paint a long way
off. Involuntarily one thought of holidays and yachting tours at the
sight of her; but the thought was soon banished. The first day after
her arrival, the vessel's deck assumed the most everyday appearance
that could be desired: the loading had begun.

A long procession of cases of provisions made its way unceasingly
from the basement of the Historical Museum down into the roomy hold
of the Fram, where Lieutenant Nilsen and the three Nordlanders were
ready to receive them. This process was not an altogether simple one;
on the contrary, it was a very serious affair. It was not enough to
know that all the cases were duly on board; the problem was to know
exactly where each particular case was placed, and, at the same time,
to stow them all in such a way that they could easily be got at in
future. This was a difficult piece of work, and it was not rendered
any more easy by the attention that had to be paid to the numerous
hatches leading down into the lower hold, where the big petroleum
tanks stood. All these hatches had to be left accessible, otherwise
we should have been cut off from pumping the oil into the engine-room.

However, Nilsen and his assistants accomplished their task with
brilliant success. Among the hundreds of cases there was not one that
was misplaced; not one that was stowed so that it could not instantly
be brought into the light of day.

While the provisioning was going on, the rest of the equipment was
also being taken on board. Each member of the expedition was busily
engaged in looking after the needs of his own department in the best
way possible. Nor was this a question of trifles: one may cudgel one's
brains endlessly in advance, but some new requirement will constantly
be cropping up -- until one puts a full stop to it by casting off
and sailing. This event was becoming imminent with the arrival of June.

The day before leaving Christiania we had the honour and pleasure
of receiving a visit from the King and Queen of Norway on board the
Fram. Having been informed beforehand of their Majesties' coming, we
endeavoured as far as possible to bring some order into the chaos that
reigned on board. I do not know that we were particularly successful,
but I am sure that every one of the Fram's crew will always remember
with respectful gratitude King Haakon's cordial words of farewell.

On the same occasion the expedition received from their Majesties
the gift of a beautiful silver jug, which afterwards formed the most
handsome ornament of our table on every festive occasion.

On June 3, early in the forenoon, the Fram left Christiania, bound
at first for my home on Bundefjord. The object of her call there was
to take on board the house for the winter station, which stood ready
built in the garden. Our excellent carpenter Jörgen Stubberud had
superintended the construction of this strong building. It was now
rapidly taken to pieces, and every single plank and beam was carefully
numbered. We had quite an imposing pile of materials to get aboard,
where even before there was not much room to spare. The bulk of it
was stowed forward, and the remainder in the hold.

The more experienced among the members of the expedition were evidently
absorbed in profound conjectures as to the meaning of this "observation
house," as the newspapers had christened it. It may willingly be
admitted that they had good reason for their speculations. By an
observation house is usually meant a comparatively simple construction,
sufficient to provide the necessary shelter from wind and weather. Our
house, on the other hand, was a model of solidity, with three double
walls, double roof and floor. Its arrangements included ten inviting
bunks, a kitchener, and a table; the latter, moreover, had a brand-new
American-cloth cover. "I can understand that they want to keep
themselves warm when they're making observations," said Helmer Hanssen;
"but what they want with a cloth on the table I can't make out."

On the afternoon of June 6 it was announced that everything was ready,
and in the evening we all assembled at a simple farewell supper in
the garden. I took the opportunity of wishing good luck to every man
in turn, and finally we united in a

"God preserve the King and Fatherland!"

Then we broke up. The last man to get into the boat was the second
in command; he arrived armed with a horseshoe. In his opinion it is
quite incredible what luck an old horseshoe will bring. Possibly he
is right. Anyhow, the horseshoe was firmly nailed to the mast in the
Fram's saloon, and there it still hangs.

When on board, we promptly set to work to get up the anchor. The
Bolinder motor hummed, and the heavy cable rattled in through the
hawse-hole. Precisely at midnight the anchor let go of the bottom,
and just as the Seventh of June[3], rolled in over us, the Fram stood
out of Christiania Fjord for the third time. Twice already had a band
of stout-hearted men brought this ship back with honour after years
of service. Would it be vouchsafed to us to uphold this honourable
tradition? Such were, no doubt, the thoughts with which most of us
were occupied as our vessel glided over the motionless fjord in the
light summer night. The start was made under the sign of the Seventh
of June, and this was taken as a promising omen; but among our bright
and confident hopes there crept a shadow of melancholy. The hillsides,
the woods, the fjord -- all were so bewitchingly fair and so dear to
us. They called to us with their allurement, but the Diesel motor knew
no pity. Its tuff-tuff went on brutally through the stillness. A little
boat, in which were some of my nearest relations, dropped gradually
astern. There was a glimpse of white handkerchiefs in the twilight,
and then -- farewell!

The next morning we were moored in the inner harbour at Horten. An
apparently innocent lighter came alongside at once, but the lighter's
cargo was not quite so innocent as its appearance. It consisted
of no less than half a ton of gun-cotton and rifle ammunition,
a somewhat unpleasant, but none the less necessary, item of our
equipment. Besides taking on board the ammunition, we availed
ourselves of the opportunity of completing our water-supply. When
this was done, we lost no time in getting away. As we passed the
warships lying in the harbour they manned ship, and the bands played
the National Anthem. Outside Vealös we had the pleasure of waving a
last farewell to a man to whom the expedition will always owe a debt
of gratitude, Captain Christian Blom, Superintendent of the dockyard,
who had supervised the extensive repairs to the Fram with unrelaxing
interest and obligingness. He slipped past us in his sailing-boat;
I do not remember if he got a cheer. If he did not, it was a mistake.

Now we were on our way to the South, as the heading of this
chapter announces, though not yet in earnest. We had an additional
task before us: the oceanographical cruise in the Atlantic. This
necessitated a considerable détour on the way. The scientific results
of this cruise will be dealt with by specialists in due course;
if it is briefly referred to here, this is chiefly for the sake
of continuity. After consultation with Professor Nansen, the plan
was to begin investigations in the region to the south of Ireland,
and thence to work our way westward as far as time and circumstances
permitted. The work was to be resumed on the homeward voyage in the
direction of the North of Scotland. For various reasons this programme
afterwards had to be considerably reduced.

For the first few days after leaving Norway we were favoured with
the most splendid summer weather. The North Sea was as calm as a
millpond; the Fram had little more motion than when she was lying
in Bundefjord. This was all the better for us, as we could hardly be
said to be absolutely ready for sea when we passed Færder, and came
into the capricious Skagerak. Hard pressed as we had been for time,
it had not been possible to lash and stow the last of our cargo as
securely as was desirable; a stiff breeze at the mouth of the fjord
would therefore have been rather inconvenient. As it was, everything
was arranged admirably, but to do this we had to work night and day. I
have been told that on former occasions sea-sickness made fearful
ravages on board the Fram, but from this trial we also had an easy
escape. Nearly all the members of the expedition were used to the sea,
and the few who, perhaps, were not so entirely proof against it had a
whole week of fine weather to get into training. So far as I know, not
a single case occurred of this unpleasant and justly dreaded complaint.

After passing the Dogger Bank we had a very welcome north-east breeze;
with the help of the sails we could now increase the not very reckless
speed that the motor was capable of accomplishing. Before we sailed,
the most contradictory accounts were current of the Fram's sailing
qualities. There were some who asserted that the ship could not be
got through the water at all, while with equal force the contrary
view was maintained -- that she was a notable fast sailer. As might
be supposed, the truth as usual lay about half-way between these two
extremes. The ship was no racer, nor was she an absolute log. We
ran before the north-east wind towards the English Channel at a
speed of about seven knots, and with that we were satisfied for the
time being. The important question for us was whether we should keep
the favourable wind till we were well through the Straits of Dover,
and, preferably, a good way down Channel. Our engine power was far
too limited to make it of any use trying to go against the wind,
and we should have been obliged in that case to have recourse to the
sailing-ship's method -- beating. Tacking in the English Channel -- the
busiest part of the world's seas -- is in itself no very pleasant work;
for us it would be so much the worse, as it would greatly encroach on
the time that could be devoted to oceanographical investigations. But
the east wind held with praiseworthy steadiness. In the course of a
few days we were through the Channel, and about a week after leaving
Norway we were able to take the first oceanographical station at the
point arranged according to the plan. Hitherto everything had gone
as smoothly as we could wish, but now, for a change, difficulties
began to appear, first in the form of unfavourable weather When the
north-wester begins to blow in the North Atlantic, it is generally a
good while before it drops again, and this time it did not belie its
reputation. Far from getting to the westward, we were threatened for
a time with being driven on to the Irish coast. It was not quite so
bad as that, but we soon found ourselves obliged to shorten the route
originally laid down very considerably. A contributing cause of this
determination was the fact that the motor was out of order. Whether it
was the fault of the oil or a defect in the engine itself our engineer
was not clear. It was therefore necessary to make for home in good
time, in case of extensive repairs being required. In spite of these
difficulties, we had a quite respectable collection of samples of
water and temperatures at different depths before we set our course
for Norway at the beginning of July, with Bergen as our destination.

During the passage from the Pentland Firth we had a violent gale from
the north, which gave us an opportunity of experiencing how the Fram
behaved in bad weather. The trial was by no means an easy one. It
was blowing a gale, with a cross sea; we kept going practically
under full sail, and had the satisfaction of seeing our ship make
over nine knots. In the rather severe rolling the collar of the mast
in the fore-cabin was loosened a little; this let the water in, and
there was a slight flooding of Lieutenant Nilsen's cabin and mine. The
others, whose berths were to port, were on the weather side, and kept
dry. We came out of it all with the loss of a few boxes of cigars,
which were wet through. They were not entirely lost for all that;
Rönne took charge of them, and regaled himself with salt and mouldy
cigars for six months afterwards. Going eight or nine knots an hour,
we did not make much of the distance between Scotland and Norway. On
the afternoon of Saturday, July 9, the wind dropped, and at the same
time the lookout reported land in sight. This was Siggen on Bömmelö. In
the course of the night we came under the coast, and on Sunday morning,
July 10, we ran into Sælbjömsfjord. We had no detailed chart of this
inlet, but after making a great noise with our powerful air-siren,
we at last roused the inmates of the pilot-station, and a pilot
came aboard. He showed visible signs of surprise when he found out,
by reading the name on the ship's side, that it was the Fram he had
before him. "Lord, I thought you were a Russian!" he exclaimed. This
supposition was presumably intended to serve as a sort of excuse for
his small hurry in coming on board.

It was a lovely trip through the fjords to Bergen, as warm and
pleasant in here as it had been bitter and cold outside. We had a
dead calm all day, and with the four knots an hour, which was all
the motor could manage, it was late in the evening when we anchored
off the naval dockyard in Solheimsvik. Our stay in Bergen happened
at the time of the exhibition, and the committee paid the expedition
the compliment of giving all its members free passes.

Business of one kind and another compelled me to go to Christiania,
leaving the Fram in charge of Lieutenant Nilsen. They had their
hands more than full on board. Diesel's firm in Stockholm sent their
experienced fitter, Aspelund, who at once set to work to overhaul the
motor thoroughly. The work that had to be done was executed gratis by
the Laxevaag engineering works. After going into the matter thoroughly,
it was decided to change the solar oil we had on board for refined
petroleum. Through the courtesy of the West of Norway Petroleum
Company, we got this done on very favourable terms at the company's
storage dock in Skaalevik. This was troublesome work, but it paid in
the future.

The samples of water from our trip were taken to the biological
station, where Kutschin at once went to work with the filtering
(determination of the proportion of chlorine).

Our German shipmate, the oceanographer Schroer, left us at Bergen. On
July 23 the Fram left Bergen, and arrived on the following day at
Christiansand, where I met her. Here we again had a series of busy
days. In one of the Custom-house warehouses were piled a quantity
of things that had to go on board: no less than 400 bundles of dried
fish, all our ski and sledging outfit, a waggon-load of timber, etc. At
Fredriksholm, out on Flekkerö, we had found room for perhaps the most
important of all -- the passengers, the ninety-seven Eskimo dogs,
which had arrived from Greenland in the middle of July on the steamer
Hans Egede. The ship had had a rather long and rough passage, and the
dogs were not in very good condition on their arrival, but they had
not been many days on the island under the supervision of Hassel and
Lindström before they were again in full vigour. A plentiful supply
of fresh meat worked wonders. The usually peaceful island, with the
remains of the old fortress, resounded day by day, and sometimes at
night, with the most glorious concerts of howling. These musical
performances attracted a number of inquisitive visitors, who were
anxious to submit the members of the chorus to a closer examination,
and therefore, at certain times, the public were admitted to see the
animals. It soon turned out that the majority of the dogs, far from
being ferocious or shy, were, on the contrary, very appreciative of
these visits. They sometimes came in for an extra tit-bit in the form
of a sandwich or something of the sort. Besides which, it was a little
diversion in their life of captivity, so uncongenial to an Arctic dog;
for every one of them was securely chained up. This was necessary,
especially to prevent fighting among themselves. It happened not
infrequently that one or more of them got loose, but the two guardians
were always ready to capture the runaways. One enterprising rascal
started to swim over the sound to the nearest land -- the object of
his expedition was undoubtedly certain unsuspecting sheep that were
grazing by the shore -- but his swim was interrupted in time.

After the Fram's arrival Wisting took over the position of dog-keeper
in Hassel's place. He and Lindström stayed close to the island where
the dogs were. Wisting had a way of his own with his four-footed
subjects, and was soon on a confidential footing with them. He also
showed himself to be possessed of considerable veterinary skill -- an
exceedingly useful qualification in this case, where there was often
some injury or other to be attended to. As I have already mentioned,
up to this time no member of the expedition, except Lieutenant Nilsen,
knew anything of the extension of plan that had been made. Therefore,
amongst the things that came on board, and amongst the preparations
that were made during our stay at Christiansand, there must have
been a great deal that appeared very strange to those who, for the
present, were only looking forward to a voyage round Cape Horn to San
Francisco. What was the object of taking all these dogs on board and
transporting them all that long way? And if it came to that, would any
of them survive the voyage round the formidable promontory? Besides,
were there not dogs enough, and good dogs too, in Alaska? Why was
the whole after-deck full of coal? What was the use of all these
planks and boards? Would it not have been much more convenient to
take all that kind of goods on board in 'Frisco? These and many
similar questions began to pass from man to man; indeed, their very
faces began to resemble notes of interrogation. Not that anyone asked
me -- far from it; it was the second in command who had to bear the
brunt and answer as well as he could -- an extremely thankless and
unpleasant task for a man who already had his hands more than full.

In order to relieve his difficult situation, I resolved, shortly before
leaving Christiansand, to inform Lieutenants Prestrud and Gjertsen
of the true state of affairs. After having signed an undertaking of
secrecy, they received full information of the intended dash to the
South Pole, and an explanation of the reasons for keeping the whole
thing secret. When asked whether they wished to take part in the
new plan, they both answered at once in the affirmative, and that
settled it.

There were now three men on board -- all the officers -- who were
acquainted with the situation, and were thus in a position to parry
troublesome questions and remove possible anxieties on the part of
the uninitiated.

Two of the members of the expedition joined during the stay at
Christiansand -- Hassel and Lindström -- and one change was made:
the engineer Eliassen was discharged. It was no easy matter to find
a man who possessed the qualifications for taking over the post of
engineer to the Fram. Few, or perhaps no one, in Norway could be
expected to have much knowledge of motors of the size of ours. The
only thing to be done was to go to the place where the engine was
built -- to Sweden. Diesel's firm in Stockholm helped us out of the
difficulty; they sent us the man, and it afterwards turned out that
he was the right man. Knut Sundbeck was his name. A chapter might be
written on the good work that man did, and the quiet, unostentatious
way in which he did it. From the very beginning he had assisted in
the construction of the Fram's motor, so that he knew his engine
thoroughly. He treated it as his darling; therefore there was never
anything the matter with it. It may truly be said that he did honour
to his firm and the nation to which he belongs.

Meanwhile we were hard at work, getting ready to sail. We decided to
leave before the middle of August -- the sooner the better.

The Fram had been in dry dock, where the hull was thoroughly coated
with composition. Heavily laden as the ship was, the false keel was
a good deal injured by the severe pressure on the blocks, but with
the help of a diver the damage was quickly made good.

The many hundred bundles of dried fish were squeezed into the main
hold, full as it was. All sledging and ski outfit was carefully stowed
away, so as to be protected as far as possible from damp. These
things had to be kept dry, otherwise they, would become warped and
useless. Bjaaland had charge of this outfit, and he knew how it should
be treated.

As is right and proper, when all the goods had been shipped, it was
the turn of the passengers. The Fram was anchored off Fredriksholm,
and the necessary preparations were immediately made for receiving
our four-footed friends. Under the expert direction of

Bjaaland and Stubberud, as many as possible of the crew were set to
work with axe and saw, and in the course of a few hours the Fram had
got a new deck. This consisted of loose pieces of decking, which could
easily be raised and removed for flushing and cleaning. This false
deck rested on three-inch planks nailed to the ship's deck; between
the latter and the loose deck there was therefore a considerable space,
the object of which was a double one -- namely, to let the water, which
would unavoidably be shipped on such a voyage, run off rapidly, and
to allow air to circulate, and thus keep the space below the animals
as cool as possible. The arrangement afterwards proved very successful.

The bulwarks on the fore-part of the Fram's deck consisted of an iron
railing covered with wire-netting. In order to provide both shade and
shelter from the wind, a lining of boards was now put up along the
inside of the railing, and chains were fastened in all possible and
impossible places to tie the dogs up to. There could be no question of
letting them go loose -- to begin with, at any rate; possibly, we might
hope to be able to set them free later on, when they knew their masters
better and were more familiar with their surroundings generally.

Late in the afternoon of August 9 we were ready to receive our new
shipmates, and they were conveyed across from the island in a big
lighter, twenty at a time. Wisting and Lindström superintended the
work of transport, and maintained order capitally. They had succeeded
in gaining the dogs' confidence, and at the same time their complete
respect -- just what was wanted, in fact. At the Fram's gangway the
dogs came in for an active and determined reception, and before they
had recovered from their surprise and fright, they were securely
fastened on deck and given to understand with all politeness that
the best thing they could do for the time being was to accept the
situation with calmness. The whole proceeding went so rapidly that
in the course of a couple of hours we had all the ninety-seven dogs
on board and had found room for them; but it must be added that the
Fram's deck was utilized to the utmost. We had thought we should be
able to keep the bridge free, but this could not be done if we were
to take them all with us. The last boat-load, fourteen in number, had
to be accommodated there. All that was left was a little free space
for the man at the wheel. As for the officer of the watch, it looked
as if he would be badly off for elbow-room; there was reason to fear
that he would be compelled to kill time by standing stock-still in
one spot through the whole watch; but just then there was no time for
small troubles of this sort. No sooner was the last dog on board than
we set about putting all visitors ashore, and then the motor began
working the windlass under the forecastle. "The anchor's up!" Full
speed ahead, and the voyage towards our goal, 16,000 miles away,
was begun. Quietly and unobserved we went out of the fjord at dusk;
a few of our friends accompanied us out.

After the pilot had left us outside Flekkerö, it was not long before
the darkness of the August evening hid the outlines of the country
from our view; but Oxö and Ryvingen flashed their farewells to us
all through the night.

We had been lucky with wind and weather at the commencement of our
Atlantic cruise in the early summer; this time we were, if possible,
even more favoured. It was perfectly calm when we sailed, and the
North Sea lay perfectly calm for several days after. What we had
to do now was to become familiar with and used to, all these dogs,
and this was enormously facilitated by the fact that for the first
week we experienced nothing but fine weather.

Before we sailed there was no lack of all kinds of prophecies of the
evil that would befall us with our dogs. We heard a number of these
predictions; presumably a great many more were whispered about, but
did not reach our ears. The unfortunate beasts were to fare terribly
badly. The heat of the tropics would make short work of the greater
part of them. If any were left, they would have but a miserable respite
before being washed overboard or drowned in the seas that would come
on deck in the west wind belt. To keep them alive with a few bits of
dried fish was an impossibility, etc.

As everyone knows, all these predictions were very far from being
fulfilled; the exact opposite happened. Since then I expect most of us
who made the trip have been asked the question -- Was not that voyage
to the South an excessively wearisome and tedious business? Didn't
you get sick of all those dogs? How on earth did you manage to keep
them alive?

It goes without saying that a five months' voyage in such waters as we
were navigating must necessarily present a good deal of monotony; how
much will depend on what resources one has for providing occupation. In
this respect we had in these very dogs just what was wanted. No doubt
it was work that very often called for the exercise of patience;
nevertheless, like any other work, it furnished diversion and
amusement, and so much the more since we here had to deal with living
creatures that had sense enough fully to appreciate and reciprocate
in their own way any advance that was made to them.

From the very first I tried in every way to insist upon the paramount
importance to our whole enterprise of getting our draught animals
successfully conveyed to our destination. If we had any watchword at
this time it was: "Dogs first, and dogs all the time." The result
speaks best for the way in which this watchword was followed. The
following was the arrangement we made: The dogs, who at first were
always tied up on the same spot, were divided into parties of ten; to
each party one or two keepers were assigned, with full responsibility
for their animals and their treatment. For my own share I took the
fourteen that lived on the bridge. Feeding the animals was a manoeuvre
that required the presence of all hands on deck; it therefore took
place when the watch was changed. The Arctic dog's greatest enjoyment
in life is putting away his food; it may be safely asserted that
the way to his heart lies through his dish of meat. We acted on this
principle, and the result did not disappoint us. After the lapse of
a few days the different squads were the best of friends with their
respective keepers.

As may be supposed, it was not altogether to the taste of the dogs to
stand chained up all the time; their temperament is far too lively for
that. We would gladly have allowed them the pleasure of running about
and thus getting healthy exercise, but for the present we dared not run
the risk of letting the whole pack loose. A little more education was
required first. It was easy enough to win their affection; to provide
them with a good education was of course a more difficult matter. It
was quite touching to see their joy and gratitude when one gave up
a little time to their entertainment. One's first meeting with them
in the morning was specially cordial. Their feelings were then apt
to find vent in a chorus of joyful howls; this was called forth by
the very sight of their masters, but they asked more than that. They
were not satisfied until we had gone round, patting and talking to
every one. If by chance one was so careless as to miss a dog, he at
once showed the most unmistakable signs of disappointment.

There can hardly be an animal that is capable of expressing its
feelings to the same extent as the dog. Joy, sorrow, gratitude,
scruples of conscience, are all reflected as plainly as could be
desired in his behaviour, and above all in his eyes. We human beings
are apt to cherish the conviction that we have a monopoly of what is
called a living soul; the eyes, it is said, are the mirror of this
soul. That is all right enough; but now take a look at a dog's eyes,
study them attentively. How often do we see something "human" in their
expression, the same variations that we meet with in human eyes. This,
at all events, is something that strikingly resembles "soul." We will
leave the question open for those who are interested in its solution,
and will here only mention another point, which seems to show that
a dog is something more than a mere machine of flesh and blood --
his pronounced individuality. There were about a hundred dogs on
board the Fram. Gradually, as we got to know each one of them by
daily intercourse, they each revealed some characteristic trait, some
peculiarity. Hardly two of them were alike, either in disposition or
in appearance. To an observant eye there was here ample opportunity
for the most amusing exercise. If now and then one grew a little
tired of one's fellow-men -- which, I must admit, seldom happened --
there was, as a rule, diversion to be found in the society of the
animals. I say, as a rule; there were, of course, exceptions. It was
not an unmixed pleasure having the whole deck full of dogs for all
those months; our patience was severely tested many a time. But in
spite of all the trouble and inconvenience to which the transport of
the dogs necessarily gave rise, I am certainly right in saying that
these months of sea voyage would have seemed far more monotonous and
tedious if we had been without our passengers.

During the first four or five days we had now been making our way
towards the Straits of Dover, and the hope began to dawn within us
that this time, as last, we should slip through without any great
difficulty. There had been five days of absolute calm; why should it
not last out the week? But it did not. As we passed the lightship at
the western end of the Goodwins the fine weather left us, and in its
place came the south-west wind with rain, fog, and foul weather in
its train. In the course of half an hour it became so thick that it
was impossible to see more than two or three ship's lengths ahead;
but if we could see nothing, we heard all the more. The ceaseless
shrieks of many steam-whistles and sirens told us only too plainly
what a crowd of vessels we were in. It was not exactly a pleasant
situation; our excellent ship had many good points, but they did not
prevent her being extraordinarily slow and awkward in turning. This is
an element of great danger in these waters. It must be remembered that
a possible accident -- whether our own fault or not -- would to us be
absolutely fatal. We had so little time to spare that the resulting
delay might ruin the whole enterprise. An ordinary trading vessel can
take the risk; by careful manoeuvring a skipper can almost always keep
out of the way. Collisions are, as a rule, the result of rashness
or carelessness on one side or the other. The rash one has to pay;
the careful one may perhaps make money out of it. Carefulness on our
part was a matter of course; it would have been a poor consolation
to us if another ship had had to pay for her carelessness. We could
not take that risk; therefore, little as we liked doing so, we put
into the Downs and anchored there.

Right opposite to us we had the town of Deal, then in the height
of its season. The only amusement we had was to observe all these
apparently unconcerned people, who passed their time in bathing, or
walking about the white, inviting sands. They had no need to worry
themselves much about what quarter the wind blew from. Our only wish
was that it would veer, or in any case drop. Our communication with
the land was limited to sending ashore telegrams and letters for home.

By the next morning our patience was already quite exhausted, but
not so with the south-wester. It kept going as steadily as ever,
but it was clear weather, and therefore we decided at once to make
an attempt to get to the west. There was nothing to be done but
to have recourse to the ancient method of beating. We cleared one
point, and then another, but more than that we could not manage for
the time being. We took one bearing after another; no, there was no
visible progress. Off Dungeness we had to anchor again, and once more
console ourselves with the much-vaunted balm of patience. This time
we escaped with passing the night there. The wind now thought fit to
veer sufficiently to let us get out at daybreak, but it was still a
contrary wind, and we had to beat almost all the way down the English
Channel. A whole week was spent in doing these three hundred miles;
that was rather hard, considering the distance we had to go.

I fancy most of us gave a good sigh of relief when at last we were
clear of the Scilly Isles. The everlasting south-west wind was still
blowing, but that did not matter so much now. The main thing was
that we found ourselves in open sea with the whole Atlantic before
us. Perhaps one must have sailed in the Fram to be able fully to
understand what a blessing it was to feel ourselves altogether clear
of the surrounding land and the many sailing-ships in the Channel --
to say nothing of constantly working the ship with a deck swarming with
dogs. On our first voyage through the Channel in June we had caught
two or three carrier pigeons, which had come to rest in the rigging
utterly tired out. On the approach of darkness we were able to get
hold of them without difficulty. Their numbers and marks were noted,
and after they had been taken care of for a couple of days and had
recovered their strength, we let them go. They circled once or twice
round the mast-heads, and then made for the English coast.

I think this episode led to our taking a few carrier pigeons with us
when we left Christiansand; Lieutenant Nilsen, as a former owner of
pigeons, was to take charge of them. Then a nice house was made for
them, and the pigeons lived happily in their new abode on the top
of the whale-boat amidships. Now, in some way or other the second
in command found out that the circulation of air in the pigeon-house
was faulty; to remedy this defect, he one day set the door a little
ajar. Air certainly got into the house, but the pigeons came out. A
joker, on discovering that the birds had flown, wrote up "To Let"
in big letters on the wall of the pigeon-house. The second in command
was not in a very gentle frame of mind that day.

As far as I know, this escape took place in the Channel. The pigeons
found their way home to Norway.

The Bay of Biscay has a bad name among seamen, and it fully deserves
it; that tempestuous corner of the sea conceals for ever in its
depths so many a stout ship and her crew. We for our part, however,
had good hopes of escaping unharmed, considering the time of year,
and our hopes were fulfilled. We had better luck than we dared to
anticipate. Our stubborn opponent, the south-west wind, got tired at
last of trying to stop our progress; it was no use. We went slowly,
it was true, but still we got along. Of the meteorological lessons
of our youth, we especially recalled at that moment the frequent
northerly winds off the coast of Portugal, and as a pleasant surprise
we already had them far up in the Bay. This was an agreeable change
after all our close-hauled tacking in the Channel. The north wind held
almost as bravely as the south-west had done before, and at what was
to our ideas quite a respectable rate, we went southward day after day
towards the fine-weather zone, where we could be sure of a fair wind,
and where a sailor's life is, as a rule, a pleasant one.

For that matter, as far as seamanship was concerned, our work
had gone on smoothly enough, even during these first difficult
weeks. There were always willing and practised hands enough for what
was wanted, even though the work to be done was frequently of a not
very pleasant kind. Take washing decks, for instance. Every seaman
will have something to say about what this is like on board ships
that carry live animals, especially when these are carried on deck,
in the way of all work that has to be done. I have always held the
opinion that a Polar ship ought not, any more than any other vessel,
to be a wholesale establishment for dirt and filth, however many dogs
there may be on board. On the contrary, I should say that on voyages
of this kind it is more than ever vitally necessary to keep one's
surroundings as clean and sweet as possible. The important thing is
to get rid of anything that may have a demoralizing and depressing
effect. The influence of uncleanliness in this way is so well known
that it is needless to preach about it here.

My views were shared by everyone on board the Fram, and everything
was done to act in accordance with them, in spite of what may
be considered great difficulties. Twice a day the whole deck was
thoroughly washed down, besides all the extra turns at odd times with
bucket and scrubber. At least once a week the whole of the loose deck
was taken up, and each separate part of it thoroughly washed, until
it was as clean as when it was laid down at Christiansand. This was
a labour that required great patience and perseverance on the part of
those who had to perform it, but I never saw any shortcomings. "Let's
just see and get it clean," they said.

At night, when it was not always easy to see what one was doing,
it might often happen that one heard some more or less heated
exclamations from those who had to handle coils of rope in working
the ship. I need not hint more explicitly at the cause of them,
if it is remembered that there were dogs lying about everywhere,
who had eaten and drunk well in the course of the day. But after a
time the oaths gave way to jokes. There is nothing in the world that
custom does not help us to get over.

It is the universal practice on board ship to divide the day and
night into watches of four hours; the two watches into which the
crew is divided relieve each other every four hours. But on vessels
that sail to the Arctic Ocean, it is customary to have watches of six
hours. We adopted the latter plan, which, on its being put to the vote,
proved to have a compact majority in its favour. By this arrangement
of watches we only had to turn out twice in the course of twenty-four
hours, and the watch below had had a proper sleep whenever it turned
out. If one has to eat, smoke, and perhaps chat a little during four
hours' watch below, it does not leave much time for sleeping; and if
there should be a call for all hands on deck, it means no sleep at all.

To cope with the work of the engine-room, we had from the beginning the
two engineers, Sundbeck and Nödtvedt; they took watch and watch, four
hours each. When the motor was in use for a long time continuously,
this was a rather severe duty, and on the whole it was just as well
to have a man in reserve. I therefore decided to have a third man
trained as reserve engineer. Kristensen applied for this post, and it
may be said in his praise that he accomplished the change remarkably
well. Thorough deck-hand as he was, there might have been reason to
fear that he would repent of the transfer; but no, he quickly became
life and soul an engineer. This did not prevent our seeing him on
deck again many a time during the passage through the west wind belt,
when there was need of a good man during a gale.

The motor, which during the Atlantic cruise had been a constant source
of uneasiness and anxiety, regained our entire confidence under
Sundbeck's capable command; it hummed so that it was a pleasure to
hear it. To judge from the sound of the engine-room, one would have
thought the Fram was moving through the water with the speed of a
torpedo-boat. If this was not the case, the engine was not to blame;
possibly, the screw had a share of it. The latter ought probably
to have been somewhat larger, though experts are not agreed about
this; in any case, there was something radically wrong with our
propeller. Whenever there was a little seaway, it was apt to work
loose in the brasses. This disadvantage is of very common occurrence
in vessels which have to be fitted with lifting propellers on account
of the ice, and we did not escape it. The only remedy was to lift the
whole propeller-frame and renew the brasses -- an extremely difficult
work when it had to be done in the open sea and on as lively a ship
as the Fram.

Day by day we had the satisfaction of seeing how the dogs found
themselves more and more at home on board. Perhaps, even among
ourselves, there were one or two who had felt some doubt at first
of what the solution of the dog question would be, but in any case
all such doubts were soon swept away. Even at an early stage of the
voyage we had every reason to hope that we should land our animals
safe and sound. What we had to see to in the first place was to let
them have as much and as good food as circumstances permitted. As
already mentioned, we had provided ourselves with dried fish for their
consumption. Eskimo dogs do not suffer very greatly from daintiness,
but an exclusive diet of dried fish would seem rather monotonous
in the long-run, even to their appetites, and a certain addition of
fatty substances was necessary, otherwise we should have some trouble
with them. We had on board several great barrels of tallow or fat,
but our store was not so large that we did not have to economize. In
order to make the supply of fat last, and at the same time to induce
our boarders to take as much dried fish as possible, we invented a
mixture which was called by a sailor's term -- dænge. This must not
be confused with "thrashing,"[4] which was also served out liberally
from time to time, but the dænge was more in demand. It consisted
of a mixture of chopped-up fish, tallow, and maize-meal, all boiled
together into a sort of porridge. This dish was served three times
a week, and the dogs were simply mad for it. They very soon learned
to keep count of the days when this mess was to be expected, and
as soon as they heard the rattling of the tin dishes in which the
separate portions were carried round, they set up such a noise that
it was impossible to hear oneself speak. Both the preparation and the
serving out of this extra ration were at times rather troublesome,
but it was well worth it. It is quite certain that our complement of
dogs would have made a poor show on arrival at the Bay of Whales if
we had shrunk from the trouble.

The dried fish was not nearly so popular as the dænge, but to make up
for that there was plenty of it. Not that the dogs themselves ever
thought they could have enough; indeed, they were always stealing
from their neighbours, perhaps more for the sake of the sport than
for anything else. In any case, as a sport it was extremely popular,
and it took many a good hiding to get the rascals to understand
that it could not be allowed. I am afraid, though, that they kept
up their thieving even after they knew very well that it was wrong;
the habit was too old to be corrected. Another habit, and a very bad
one, that these Eskimo dogs have fallen into in the course of ages,
and of which we tried to break them, at all events during the sea
voyage, is their tendency to hold howling concerts. What the real
meaning of these performances may be, whether they are a pastime, or
an expression of gratification or the reverse, we could never decide
to our satisfaction. They began suddenly and without warning. The
whole pack might be lying perfectly still and quiet, when a single
individual, who for that occasion had taken upon himself the part of
leader of the chorus, would set up a long, blood-curdling yowl. If
they were left to themselves, it was not long before the whole pack
joined in, and this infernal din was kept going at full steam for two
or three minutes. The only amusing thing about the entertainment was
its conclusion. They all stopped short at the same instant, just as
a well-trained chorus obeys the baton of its conductor. Those of us,
however, who happened to be in our bunks, found nothing at all amusing
in these concerts, either in the finale or anything else, for they
were calculated to tear the soundest sleeper from his slumbers. But if
one only took care to stop the leader in his efforts the whole affair
was nipped in the bud, and we usually succeeded in doing this. If
there were some who at first were anxious about their night's rest,
these fears were soon dispersed.

On leaving Norway we had ninety-seven dogs in all, and of these no
less than ten were bitches. This fact justified us in expecting an
increase of the canine population on our voyage to the South, and
our expectations were very soon fulfilled. The first "happy event
" occurred when we had been no more than three weeks at sea. An
incident of this kind may seem in itself of no great importance; to
us, living under conditions in which one day was almost exactly like
another, it was more than enough to be an object of the greatest
interest. Therefore, when the report went round that "Camilla"
had got four shapely youngsters, there was general rejoicing. Two
of the pups, who happened to be of the male sex, were allowed to
live; the females were sent out of this world long before their
eyes were opened to its joys and sorrows. It might be thought that,
seeing we had nearly a hundred grown-up dogs on board, there would
be little opportunity for looking after puppies; that this was done,
nevertheless, with all the care that could be wished, is due in the
first instance to the touching affection of the second in command
for the little ones. From the very first moment he was their avowed
protector. Gradually, as the numbers increased, there was a difficulty
in finding room on the already well-occupied deck. "I'll take them
in my bunk," said the second in command. It did not come to that,
but if it had been necessary he would certainly have done so. The
example was catching. Later on, when the little chaps were weaned,
and had begun to take other nourishment, one might see regularly,
after every meal, one after another of the crew coming on deck with
some carefully scraped-up bits of food on his plate; the little hungry
mouths were to have what was left over.

Something more than patience and punctual performance of duty is
displayed in such things as those of which I have been speaking;
it is love of, and a living interest in, one's work. From what I saw
and heard every day, I was certain that these necessary incentives
were present; although, as far as most of the men were concerned,
our object was still the protracted one of drifting for years in
the Arctic ice. The extension of the plan -- the far more imminent
battle with the ice-floes of the South -- was still undreamt of by the
majority of the ship's company. I considered it necessary to keep it
to myself for a little while yet -- until our departure from the port
we were now making for: Funchal, Madeira. It may possibly appear to
many people that I was running a pretty big risk in thus putting off
till the last moment the duty of informing my comrades of the very
considerable détour we were to make. Suppose some, or perhaps all,
of them had objected! It must be admitted that it was a big risk,
but there were so many risks that had to be taken at that time.

However, as I got to know each man during these first few weeks of our
long voyage, I soon arrived at the conviction that there was nobody
on board the Fram who would try to put difficulties in the way. On
the contrary, I had more and more reason to hope that they would all
receive the news with joy when they heard it; for then their whole
prospect would be so different. Everything had gone with surprising
ease up to this time; in future it would go even better.

It was not without a certain longing that I looked forward to our
arrival at Madeira: it would be grand to be able to speak out! No
doubt the others who knew of the plan were equally eager. Secrets
are neither amusing nor easy to carry about -- least of all on board
a ship, where one has to live at such close quarters as we had. We
were chatting together every day, of course, and the uninitiated
could not be deterred from leading the conversation round to the ugly
difficulties that would embitter our lives and hinder our progress
when rounding the Horn. It was likely enough that we should manage
to bring the dogs safely through the tropics once, but whether we
should succeed in doing so twice was more doubtful; and so on to
infinity. It is easier to imagine than to describe how awkward all
this was, and how cunningly one had to choose one's words to avoid
saying too much. Among inexperienced men there would have been no
great difficulty, but it must be remembered that on the Fram pretty
nearly every second man had spent years of his life in Polar voyages:
a single slight hint to them would have been enough to expose the
whole plan. That neither those on board nor anyone else discovered
it prematurely can only be explained by its being so obvious.

Our ship was a good deal too dependent on wind and weather to
enable us to make any accurate estimate of the time our voyage would
occupy, especially as regards those latitudes in which the winds are
variable. The estimate for the whole voyage was based on an average
speed of four knots, and at this very modest rate, as it may seem,
we ought to arrive at the lce Barrier about the middle of January,
1911. As will be seen later, this was realized with remarkable
exactness. For reaching Madeira we had allowed a month as a reasonable
time. We did a good deal better than this, as we were able to leave
Funchal a month to the day after our departure from Christiansand. We
were always ready to forgive the estimate when it was at fault in
this way.

The delay to which we had been subjected in the English Channel
was fortunately made up along the coast of Spain and to the south
of it. The north wind held until we were in the north-east trade,
and then we were all right. On September 5 our observations at noon
told us that we might expect to see the lights that evening, and
at 10 p.m. the light of San Lorenzo on the little island of Fora,
near Madeira, was reported from the rigging.


From Madeira to the Barrier

On the following morning we anchored in Funchal Roads. My brother
was to arrive at Funchal, by arrangement, early enough to be sure
of preceding us there. It was, however, a good while before we saw
anything of him, and we were already flattering ourselves that we had
arrived first when he was suddenly observed in a boat coming under our
stern. We were able to tell him that all was well on board, and he
brought us a big packet of letters and newspapers that gave us news
of home. A little officious gentleman, who said he was a doctor, and
as such had come in an official capacity to inquire as to the state
of our health, was in an amazing hurry to leave the ship again when,
at the top of the gangway, he found himself confronted with a score
of dogs' jaws, which at the moment were opened wide on account of the
heat. The learned man's interest in our health had suddenly vanished;
his thoughts flew to the safety of his own life and limbs.

As Funchal was the last place where we could communicate with the
outside world, arrangements were made for completing our supplies
in every possible way, and in particular we had to take on board all
the fresh water we could. The consumption of this commodity would be
very large, and the possibility of running short had to be avoided
at any price. For the time being we could do no more than fill all
our tanks and every imaginable receptacle with the precious fluid,
and this was done. We took about 1,000 gallons in the long-boat
that was carried just above the main hatch. This was rather a risky
experiment, which might have had awkward consequences in the event of
the vessel rolling; but we consoled ourselves with the hope of fine
weather and a smooth sea during the next few weeks. During the stay at
Funchal the dogs had two good meals of fresh meat as a very welcome
variety in their diet; a fair-sized carcass of a horse disappeared
with impressive rapidity at each of these banquets. For our own
use we naturally took a plentiful supply of vegetables and fruits,
which were here to be had in abundance; it was the last opportunity
we should have of regaling ourselves with such luxuries.

Our stay at Funchal was somewhat longer than was intended at first,
as the engineers found it necessary to take up the propeller and
examine the brasses. This work would occupy two days, and while the
three mechanics were toiling in the heat, the rest of the ship's
company took the opportunity of becoming acquainted with the town
and its surroundings; the crew had a day's leave, half at a time. An
excursion was arranged to one of the numerous hotels that are situated
on the heights about the town. The ascent is easily made by means of
a funicular railway, and in the course of the half-hour it takes to
reach the top one is able to get an idea of the luxuriant fertility of
the island. At the hotels one finds a good cuisine, and, of course,
still better wine. It is scarcely necessary to add that we did full
justice to both.

For the descent a more primitive means of transport was employed:
we came down on sledges. It may be startling to hear of sledging in
Madeira, but I must explain that the sledges had wooden runners, and
that the road was paved with a black stone that was very smooth. We
went at a creditable pace down the steep inclines, each sledge being
drawn or pushed by three or four swarthy natives, who seemed to be
possessed of first-rate legs and lungs.

It may be mentioned as a curiosity that the newspapers of Funchal did
not hesitate to connect our expedition with the South Pole. The native
journalists had no idea of the value of the startling piece of news
they were circulating. It was a canard invented on the supposition
that when a Polar ship steers to the south, she must, of course,
be making for the South Pole. In this case the canard happened to be
true. Fortunately for us, it did not fly beyond the shores of Madeira.

By the afternoon of September 9 we could begin to make our preparations
for departure. The engineers had replaced the propeller and tested it;
all supplies were on board, and the chronometers had been checked. All
that remained was to get rid of the importunate bumboat -- men who
swarmed round the vessel in their little craft, each looking like
a small floating shop. These obtrusive fellows were quickly sent
off down the gangway: besides ourselves only my brother was left
on board. Now that we were thus completely isolated from the outer
world, the long-expected moment had arrived when I could proceed to
inform all my comrades of my decision, now a year old, to make for
the South. I believe all who were on board will long remember that
sultry afternoon in Funchal Roads. All hands were called on deck:
what they thought of I do not know, but it was hardly Antarctica and
the South Pole. Lieutenant Nilsen carried a big rolled-up chart; I
could see that this chart was the object of many interrogative glances.

Not many words were needed before everyone could see where the
wind lay, and what course we should steer henceforward. The second
in command unrolled his big chart of the southern hemisphere, and
I briefly explained the extended plan, as well as my reasons for
keeping it secret until this time. Now and again I had to glance at
their faces. At first, as might be expected, they showed the most
unmistakable signs of surprise; but this expression swiftly changed,
and before I had finished they were all bright with smiles. I was
now sure of the answer I should get when I finally asked each man
whether he was willing to go on, and as the names were called,
every single man had his "Yes" ready. Although, as I have said,
I had expected it to turn out as it did, it is difficult to express
the joy I felt at seeing how promptly my comrades placed themselves
at my service on this momentous occasion. It appeared, however, that
I was not the only one who was pleased. There was so much life and
good spirits on board that evening that one would have thought the
work was successfully accomplished instead of being hardly begun.

For the present, however, there was not much time to spare
for discussing the news. We had first to see about getting away;
afterwards there would be many months before us. Two hours' grace was
allowed, in which every man could write to his people at home about
what had just passed. The letters were probably not very long ones;
at all events, they were soon finished. The mail was handed over to
my brother to take to Christiania, from whence the letters were sent
to their respective destinations; but this did not take place until
after the alteration of our plans had been published in the Press.

It had been easy enough to tell my comrades the news, and they could
not have given it a better reception; it was another question what
people at home would say when the intelligence reached their ears. We
afterwards heard that both favourable and unfavourable opinions were
expressed. For the moment we could not trouble ourselves very greatly
with that side of the matter; my brother had undertaken to announce the
way we had taken, and I cannot say that I envied him the task. After
we had all given him a final hearty shake of the hand he left us, and
thereby our communication with the busy world was broken off. We were
left to our own resources. No one can say that the situation oppressed
us greatly. Our long voyage was entered upon as though it were a dance;
there was not a trace of the more or less melancholy feeling that
usually accompanies any parting. The men joked and laughed, while
witticisms, both good and bad, were bandied about on the subject of
our original situation. The anchor came up more quickly than usual,
and after the motor had helped us to escape from the oppressive heat
of the harbour, we had the satisfaction of seeing every sail filled
with the fresh and cooling north-east trade.

The dogs, who must have found the stay at Funchal rather too warm for
their taste, expressed their delight at the welcome breeze by getting
up a concert. We felt we could not grudge them the pleasure this time.

It was pure enjoyment to come on deck the morning after leaving
Madeira; there was an added note of friendliness in every man's
"Good-morning," and a smile twinkled in the corner of every eye. The
entirely new turn things had taken, and the sudden change to fresh
fields for thought and imagination, acted as a beneficent stimulus
to those who, the day before, had contemplated a trip round the
Horn. I think what chiefly amused them was their failure to smell a
rat before. "How could I have been such an ass as not to think of it
long ago?" said Beck, as he sent a nearly new quid into the sea. "Of
course, it was as plain as a pikestaff. Here we are with all these
dogs, this fine 'observation house,' with its big kitchen-range and
shiny cloth on the table, and everything else. Any fool might have
seen what it meant." I consoled him with the remark that it is always


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