The South Pole, Volumes 1 and 2
Roald Amundsen

Part 3 out of 11

easy to be wise after the event, and that I thought it very lucky no
one had discovered our destination prematurely.

Those of us who had been obliged hitherto to keep to themselves what
they knew, and to resort to all kinds of stratagems to avoid making
any disclosure, were certainly no less pleased at being rid of the
secret; now they could talk freely to their heart's content. If we
had previously had to resort to mystification, there was now nothing
to prevent our laying our cards on the table. So many a conversation
had come to a standstill because those who had a number of questions
to ask did not dare to put them, and those who could have told held
their tongues. Hereafter it would be a very long time before we were
at a loss for subjects of conversation; a theme had suddenly presented
itself, so varied and comprehensive that it was difficult at first
to know where to begin. There were many men on board the Fram with
a wealth of experience gained during years spent within the Arctic
Circle, but to almost all of us the great Antarctic continent was
a terra incognita. I myself was the only man on board who had seen
Antarctica; perhaps one or two of my companions had in former days
passed in the vicinity of an Antarctic iceberg on a voyage round Cape
Horn, but that was all.

What had previously been accomplished in the way of exploration in the
South, and the narratives of the men who had endeavoured to extend
our knowledge of that inhospitable continent, were also things that
very few of the ship's company had had time or opportunity to study,
nor had they perhaps had any reason to do so. Now there was every
possible reason. I considered it an imperative necessity that every man
should acquaint himself as far as possible with the work of previous
expeditions; this was the only way of becoming in some measure familiar
with the conditions in which we should have to work. For this reason
the Fram carried a whole library of Antarctic literature, containing
everything that has been written by the long succession of explorers
in these regions, from James Cook and James Clark Ross to Captain
Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton. And, indeed, good use was made of
this library. The works of the two last-named explorers were in chief
request; they were read from cover to cover by all who could do so,
and, well written and excellently illustrated as these narratives are,
they were highly instructive. But if ample time was thus devoted to the
theoretical study of our problem, the practical preparations were not
neglected. As soon as we were in the trade-winds, where the virtually
constant direction and force of the wind permitted a reduction of
the watch on deck, the various specialists went to work to put our
extensive wintering outfit in the best possible order. It is true that
every precaution had been taken beforehand to have every part of the
equipment as good and as well adapted to its purpose as possible, but
the whole of it, nevertheless, required a thorough overhauling. With
so complicated an outfit as ours was, one is never really at the end
of one's work; it will always be found that some improvement or other
can be made. It will appear later that we had our hands more than
full of the preparations for the sledge journey, not only during the
long sea voyage, but also during the still longer Antarctic winter.

Our sailmaker, Rönne, was transformed into a -- well, let us call it
tailor. Rönne's pride was a sewing-machine, which he had obtained from
the yard at Horten after considerable use of his persuasive tongue. His
greatest sorrow on the voyage was that, on arriving at the Barrier, he
would be obliged to hand over his treasure to the shore party. He could
not understand what we wanted with a sewing-machine at Framheim. The
first thing he did when the Fram reached Buenos Aires was to explain
to the local representative of the Singer Sewing Machine Company how
absolutely necessary it was to have his loss made good. His gift of
persuasion helped him again, and he got a new machine.

For that matter, it was not surprising that Rönne was fond of his
machine. He could use it for all sorts of things -- sailmaker's,
shoemaker's, saddler's, and tailor's work was all turned out with
equal celerity. He established his workshop in the chart-house,
and there the machine hummed incessantly through the tropics, the
west wind belt, and the ice-floes too; for, quick as our sailmaker
was with his fingers, the orders poured in even more quickly. Rönne
was one of those men whose ambition it is to get as much work as
possible done in the shortest possible time, and with increasing
astonishment he saw that here he would never be finished; he might
go at it as hard as he liked -- there was always something more. To
reckon up all that he delivered from his workshop during these months
would take us too long; it is enough to say that all the work was
remarkably well done, and executed with admirable rapidity. Perhaps
one of the things he personally prided himself most on having made
was the little three-man tent which was afterwards left at the South
Pole. It was a little masterpiece of a tent, made of thin silk, which,
when folded together, would easily have gone into a fair-sized pocket,
and weighed hardly a kilogram.

At this time we could not count with certainty on the possibility of
all those who made the southern journey reaching latitude 90°. On
the contrary, we had to be prepared for the probability of some
of the party being obliged to turn back. It was intended that we
should use the tent in question, in case it might be decided to let
two or three men make the final dash, and therefore it was made as
small and light as possible. Fortunately we had no need to use it,
as every man reached the goal; and we then found that the best way
of disposing of Rönne's work of art was to let it stay there as a mark.

Our sailmaker had no dogs of his own to look after; he had no time
for that. On the other hand, he often assisted me in attending to
my fourteen friends up on the bridge; but he seemed to have some
difficulty in getting on terms of familiarity with the dogs and all
that belonged to them. It did not quite agree with his idea of life
on board ship to have a deck swarming with dogs. He regarded this
abnormal state of things with a sort of scornful compassion. "So you
carry dogs, too, aboard this ship," he would say, every time he came on
deck and found himself face to face with the "brutes." The poor brutes,
I am sure, made no attempt to attack Rönne's person more than anyone
else's, but he seemed for a long time to have great doubts about it. I
don't think he felt perfectly safe until the dogs had been muzzled.

A part of our equipment to which we gave special care was, of course,
the ski; in all probability they would be our chief weapon in the
coming fight. However much we might have to learn from Scott's and
Shackleton's narratives, it was difficult for us to understand their
statements that the use of ski on the Barrier was not a success. From
the descriptions that were given of the nature of the surface and
the general conditions, we were forced to the opposite conclusion,
that ski were the only means to employ. Nothing was spared to provide
a good skiing outfit, and we had an experienced man in charge of it --
Olav Bjaaland. It is sufficient to mention his name. When, on leaving
Norway, it was a question of finding a good place for our twenty pairs
of ski, we found we should have to share our own quarters with them;
they were all disposed under the ceiling of the fore-cabin. At any
rate, we had no better place to put them. Bjaaland, who during the
last month or two had tried his hand at the unaccustomed work of a
seaman, went back to his old trade of ski-maker and carpenter when
we came into the trade-winds. Both ski and bindings were delivered
ready for use by Hagen and Co., of Christiania; it remained to adapt
them, and fit the backstraps to each man's boots, so that all might
be ready for use on arrival at the Barrier. A full skiing outfit had
been provided for every man, so that those who were to be left on board
might also have a run now and then during their stay at the ice edge.

For each of our ten sledges, Bjaaland made during the voyage a pair
of loose runners, which it was intended to use in the same way as the
Eskimo use theirs. These primitive people have -- or, at all events,
had -- no material that was suited for shoeing sledge-runners. They
get over the difficulty by covering the runners with a coating of
ice. No doubt it requires a great deal of practice and patience to put
on this kind of shoeing properly, but when it is once on there can be
no question that this device throws all others into the shade. As I
say, we had intended to try this on the Barrier; we found, however,
that the pulling power of our teams was so good as to allow us to
retain our steel-shod runners with an easy conscience.

For the first fourteen days after leaving Madeira the north-east trade
was fresh enough to enable us to keep up our average rate, or a little
more, with the help of the sails alone. The engine was therefore
allowed a rest, and the engineers had an opportunity of cleaning
and polishing it; this they did early and late, till it seemed as if
they could never get it bright enough. Nödtvedt now had a chance of
devoting himself to the occupation which is his delight in this world
-- that of the blacksmith; and, indeed, there was opportunity enough
for his use of the hammer and anvil. If Rönne had plenty of sewing,
Nödtvedt had no less forging -- sledge-fittings, knives, pickaxes,
bars and bolts, patent hooks by the hundred for dogs, chains, and so
on to infinity. The clang and sparks of the anvil were going all day
long till we were well into the Indian Ocean. And in the westerly
belt the blacksmith's lot was not an enviable one; it is not always
easy to hit the nail on the head when one's feet rest on so unstable
a foundation as the Fram's deck, nor is it altogether pleasant when
the forge is filled with water several times a day.

While we were fitting out for the voyage, the cry was constantly
raised in certain quarters at home that the old Fram's hull was in a
shocking state. It was said to be in bad repair, to leak like a sieve
-- in fact, to be altogether rotten. It throws a curious light on these
reports when we look at the voyages that the Fram has accomplished in
the last two years. For twenty months out of twenty-four she has kept
going in open sea, and that, too, in waters which make very serious
demands on a vessel's strength. She is just as good as when she sailed,
and could easily do it all over again without any repairs. We who were
on board all knew perfectly well before we sailed how groundless and
foolish these cries about her "rottenness" were; we knew, too, that
there is scarcely a wooden ship afloat on which it is not necessary
to use the pumps now and then. When the engine was stopped, we found
it was sufficient to take a ten minutes' turn at the hand-pump every
morning; that was all the "leaking" amounted to. Oh no! there was
nothing wrong with the Fram's hull. On the other hand, there might be
a word or two to say about the rigging; if this was not all it should
have been, the fault lay entirely with the plaguy considerations of our
budget. On the foremast we had two squaresails; there ought to have
been four. On the jib-boom there were two staysails; there was room
enough for three, but the money would not run to it. In the Trades
we tried to make up for the deficiency by rigging a studding-sail
alongside the foresail and a sky-sail above the topsail. I will not
assert that these improvised sails contributed to improve the vessel's
appearance, but they got her along, and that is a great deal more
important. We made very fair progress southward during these September
days, and before the month was half over we had come a good way into
the tropical belt. No particularly tropical heat was felt, at any
rate by us men; and as a rule the heat is not severely felt on board
ship in open sea so long as the vessel is moving. On a sailing-ship,
lying becalmed with the sun in the zenith, it might be warmer than
one would wish; but in case of calms we had the engine to help us, so
that there was always a little breeze -- that is, on deck. Down below
it was worse; sometimes "hoggishly mild," as Beck used to put it. Our
otherwise comfortable cabins had one fault; there were no portholes
in the ship's side, and therefore we could not get a draught; but
most of us managed without shifting our quarters. Of the two saloons,
the fore-saloon was decidedly preferable in warm weather; in a cold
climate probably the reverse would be the case. We were able to
secure a thorough draught of air forward through the alleyway leading
to the forecastle; it was difficult to get a good circulation aft,
where they also had the warm proximity of the engine. The engineers,
of course, had the hottest place, but the ever-inventive Sundbeck
devised a means of improving the ventilation of the engine-room,
so that even there they were not so badly off under the circumstances.

One often hears it asked, Which is to be preferred, severe heat or
severe cold? It is not easy to give a definite answer; neither of
the two is pleasant, and it must remain a matter of taste which is
least so. On board ship no doubt most people will vote for heat, as,
even if the days are rather distressing, one has the glorious nights
to make up for them. A bitterly cold day is poorly compensated for
by an even colder night.

One decided advantage of a warm climate for men who have to be
frequently in and out of their clothes and their bunks is the
simplicity of costume which it allows. When you wear hardly anything
it takes a very short time to dress.

If we had been able to take the opinion of our dogs on their existence
in the tropics, they would probably have answered as one dog: "Thanks,
let us get back to rather cooler surroundings." Their coats were not
exactly calculated for a temperature of 90° in the shade, and the
worst of it was that they could not change them. It is, by the way,
a misunderstanding to suppose that these animals absolutely must have
hard frost to be comfortable; on the contrary, they prefer to be nice
and warm. Here in the tropics of course they had rather too much of
a good thing, but they did not suffer from the heat. By stretching
awnings over the whole ship we contrived that they should all be
constantly in the shade, and so long as they were not directly exposed
to the sun's rays, there was no fear of anything going wrong. How
well they came through it appears best from the fact that not one of
them was on the sick-list on account of the heat. During the whole
voyage only two deaths occurred from sickness -- one was the case of
a bitch that died after giving birth to eight pups -- which might
just as easily have caused her death under other conditions. What
was the cause of death in the other case we were unable to find out;
at any rate, it was not an infectious disease.

One of our greatest fears was the possibility of an epidemic among
the dogs, but thanks to the care with which they had been picked,
there was never a sign of anything of the sort.

In the neighbourhood of the Equator, between the north-east and
the south-east trades, lies what is called the "belt of calms." The
position and extent of this belt vary somewhat with the season. If
you are extremely lucky, it may happen that one trade-wind will
practically take you over into the other; but, as a rule, this region
will cause quite a serious delay to sailing-ships; either there are
frequent calms, or shifting and unsteady winds. We arrived there at
an unfavourable time of the year and lost the north-east trade as
early as ten degrees north of the line. If we had had the calms we
looked for, we could have got across with the help of the engine in
a reasonably short time, but we saw very little sign of calms. As a
rule, there was an obstinate south wind blowing, and it would not have
taken very much of it to make the last few degrees of north latitude
stiffer than we cared for.

The delay was annoying enough, but we had another disappointment
of a more serious kind, for, curiously enough, we never had a
proper shower of rain. Generally in these latitudes one encounters
extremely heavy downpours, which make it possible to collect water
by the barrelful in a very short space of time. We had hoped in this
way to increase our store of fresh water, which was not so large
but that extreme economy had to be practised if we were to avoid
running short. However, this hope failed us, practically speaking. We
managed to catch a little water, but it was altogether insufficient,
and the husbanding of our supply had to be enforced in future with
authority. The dogs required their daily ration, and they got it --
measured out to a hair's-breadth. Our own consumption was limited
to what was strictly necessary; soups were banished from the bill
of fare, they used too much of the precious fluid; washing in fresh
water was forbidden. It must not be supposed from this that we had
no opportunity of washing. We had a plentiful supply of soap, which
lathered just as well in salt water as in fresh, and was thus capable
of keeping ourselves and our clothes as clean as before. If for a time
we had felt a certain anxiety about our water-supply, these fears were
banished comparatively quickly, as the reserve we had taken in the
long-boat on deck lasted an incredibly long time, almost twice as long
as we had dared to hope, and this saved the situation, or very nearly
so. If the worst came to the worst, we should be obliged to call at one
of the numerous groups of islands that would lie in our route later on.

For over six weeks the dogs had now been chained up in the places
assigned to them when they came on board. In the course of that time
most of them had become so tame and tractable that we thought we
might soon let them loose. This would be a welcome change for them,
and, what was more important, it would give them an opportunity for
exercise. To tell the truth, we also expected some amusement from
it; there would certainly be a proper shindy when all this pack got
loose. But before we gave them their liberty we were obliged to
disarm them, otherwise the inevitable free fight would be liable
to result in one or more of them being left on the battle-field,
and we could not afford that. Every one of them was provided with a
strong muzzle; then we let them loose and waited to see what would
happen. At first nothing at all happened; it looked as if they had
abandoned once for all the thought of ever moving from the spot they
had occupied so long At last a solitary individual had the bright idea
of attempting a walk along the deck. But he should not have done so;
it was dangerous to move about here. The unaccustomed sight of a
loose dog at once aroused his nearest neighbours. A dozen of them
flung themselves upon the unfortunate animal who had been the first
to leave his place, rejoicing in the thought of planting their teeth
in his sinful body. But to their disappointment the enjoyment was
not so great as they expected. The confounded strap round their jaws
made it impossible to get hold of the skin; the utmost they could do
was to pull a few tufts of hair out of the object of their violent
onslaught. This affair of outposts gave the signal for a general
engagement all along the line. What an unholy row there was for the
next couple of hours! The hair flew, but skins remained intact. The
muzzles saved a good many lives that afternoon.

These fights are the chief amusement of the Eskimo dogs; they follow
the sport with genuine passion. There would be no great objection
to it if they had not the peculiar habit of always combining to set
upon a single dog, who is chosen as their victim for the occasion;
they all make for this one, and if they are left to themselves they
will not stop until they have made an end of the poor beast. In this
way a valuable dog may be destroyed in a moment.

We therefore naturally made every effort from the first to quench their
love of fighting, and the dogs very soon began to understand that we
were not particularly fond of their combats; but we had here to deal
with a natural characteristic, which it was impossible to eradicate;
in any case, one could never be sure that nature would not reassert
itself over discipline. When the dogs had once been let loose, they
remained free to run about wherever they liked for the remainder
of the voyage; only at meal-times were they tied up. It was quite
extraordinary how they managed to hide themselves in every hole and
comer; on some mornings there was hardly a dog to be seen when daylight
came. Of course they visited every place where they ought not to have
gone. Several of them repeatedly took the opportunity of tumbling into
the forehold, when the hatches were open; but a fall of 25 feet did
not seem to trouble them in the least. One even found his way into
the engine-room, difficult as it might seem to gain access to it,
and curled himself up between the piston-rods. Fortunately for the
visitor, the engine was not started while he was there.

When the first furious battles had been fought out, a calm soon
settled upon the dogs' spirits. It was easy to notice a feeling of
shame and disappointment in the champions when they found that all
their efforts led to nothing. The sport had lost its principal charm
as soon as they saw what a poor chance there was of tasting blood.

From what has here been said, and perhaps from other accounts of the
nature of Arctic dogs, it may appear as though the mutual relations
of these animals consisted exclusively of fighting. This, however,
is far from being the case. On the contrary, they very often form
friendships, which are sometimes so strong that one dog simply cannot
live without the other. Before we let the dogs loose we had remarked
that there were a few who, for some reason or other, did not seem as
happy as they should have been: they were more shy and restless than
the others. No particular notice was taken of this, and no one tried to
find out the cause of it. The day we let them loose we discovered what
had been the matter with the ones that had moped: they had some old
friend who had chanced to be placed in some other part of the deck,
and this separation had been the cause of their low spirits. It was
really touching to see the joy they showed on meeting again; they
became quite different animals. Of course in these cases a change of
places was arranged between the different groups, so that those who
had associated from their own inclination would in future be members
of the same team.

We had expected to reach the Equator by October 1, but the unfavourable
conditions of wind that we met with to the north of it caused us to be
a little behind our reckoning, though not much. On the afternoon of
October 4 the Fram crossed the line. Thus an important stage of the
voyage was concluded: the feeling that we had now reached southern
latitudes was enough to put us all in holiday humour, and we felt
we must get up a modest entertainment. According to ancient custom,
crossing the line should be celebrated by a visit from Father Neptune
himself, whose part is taken for the occasion by someone chosen
from among the ship's company. If in the course of his inspection
this august personage comes upon anyone who is unable to prove that
he has already crossed the famous circle, he is handed over at once
to the attendants, to be "shaved and baptized." This process, which
is not always carried out with exaggerated gentleness, causes much
amusement, and forms a welcome variety in the monotonous life of a
long sea voyage, and probably many on board the Fram looked forward
with eagerness to Neptune's visit, but he did not come. There simply
was no room for him on our already well-occupied deck.

We contented ourselves with a special dinner, followed by coffee,
liqueurs, and cigars. Coffee was served on the fore-deck, where by
moving a number of the dogs we had contrived to get a few square yards
of space. There was no lack of entertainment. A violin and mandolin
orchestra, composed of Prestrud, Sundbeck, and Beck, contributed
several pieces, and our excellent gramophone was heard for the first
time. Just as it started the waltz from "The Count of Luxembourg,"
there appeared in the companion-way a real ballet-girl, masked, and
in very short skirts. This unexpected apparition from a better world
was greeted with warm applause, which was no less vigorous when the
fair one had given proof of her skill in the art of dancing. Behind
the mask could be detected Gjertsen's face, but both costume and
dance were in the highest degree feminine. Rönne was not satisfied
until he had the "lady" on his knees -- hurrah for illusion!

The gramophone now changed to a swinging American cake-walk, and at
the same moment there opportunely appeared on the scene a nigger in
a tail-coat, a silk hat, and -- a pair of wooden shoes. Black as he
was, we saw at once that it was the second in command who had thus
disguised himself. The mere sight of him was enough to set us all
shrieking with laughter, but he made his great success when he began
to dance. He was intensely amusing.

It did us a great deal of good to have a little amusement just then,
for this part of the voyage was a trial of patience more than anything
else. Possibly we were rather hard to please, but the south-east trade,
which we were expecting to meet every day, was, in our opinion, far too
late in coming, and when at length it arrived, it did not behave at all
as becomes a wind that has the reputation of being the steadiest in the
world. Besides being far too light, according to our requirements,
it permitted itself such irregularities as swinging between the
points of south and east, but was mostly in the neighbourhood of
the former. For us, who had to lie all the time close-hauled to the
westward, this had the effect of increasing our western longitude a
great deal faster than our latitude. We were rapidly approaching the
north-eastern point of South America -- Cape San Roque. Fortunately
we escaped any closer contact with this headland, which shoots so far
out into the Atlantic. The wind at last shifted aft, but it was so
light that the motor had to be constantly in use. Slowly but surely
we now went southward, and the temperature again began to approach
the limits that are fitting according to a Northerner's ideas. The
tiresome, rather low awning could be removed, and it was a relief to
be rid of it, as one could then walk upright everywhere.

On October 16, according to the observations at noon, we were in the
vicinity of the island of South Trinidad, one of the lonely oases
in the watery desert of the South Atlantic. It was our intention
to go close under the island, and possibly to attempt a landing;
but unfortunately the motor had to be stopped for cleaning, and
this prevented our approaching it by daylight. We caught a glimpse
of the land at dusk, which was, at all events, enough to check our

South of the 20th degree of latitude the south-east trade was nearly
done with, and we were really not sorry to be rid of it; it remained
light and scant to the last, and sailing on a wind is not a strong
point with the Fram. In the part of the ocean where we now were there
was a hope of getting a good wind, and it was wanted if we were to
come out right: we had now covered 6,000 miles, but there were still
10,000 before us, and the days went by with astonishing rapidity. The
end of October brought the change we wanted; with a fresh northerly
breeze she went gallantly southward, and before the end of the month
we were down in lat. 40°. Here we had reached the waters where we
were almost certain to have all the wind we wished, and from the
right quarter. From now our course was eastward along what is known
as the southern west wind belt. This belt extends between the 40th
and 50th parallels all round the earth, and is distinguished by the
constant occurrence of westerly winds, which as a rule blow with great
violence. We had put our trust in these west winds; if they failed us
we should be in a mess. But no sooner had we reached their domain than
they were upon us with full force; it was no gentle treatment that we
received, but the effect was excellent -- we raced to the eastward. An
intended call at Gough Island had to be abandoned; the sea was running
too high for us to venture to approach the narrow little harbour. The
month of October had put us a good deal behindhand, but now we were
making up the distance we had lost. We had reckoned on being south of
the Cape of Good Hope within two months after leaving Madeira, and this
turned out correct. The day we passed the meridian of the Cape we had
the first regular gale; the seas ran threateningly high, but now for
the first time our splendid little ship showed what she was worth. A
single one of these gigantic waves would have cleared our decks
in an instant if it had come on board, but the Fram did not permit
any such impertinence. When they came up behind the vessel, and we
might expect at any moment to see them break over the low after-deck,
she just raised herself with an elegant movement, and the wave had
to be content with slipping underneath. An albatross could not have
managed the situation better. It is said that the Fram was built for
the ice, and that cannot, of course, be denied; but at the same time
it is certain that when Colin Archer created his famous masterpiece
of an ice boat, she was just as much a masterpiece of a sea boat --
a vessel it would be difficult to match for seaworthiness. To be able
to avoid the seas as the Fram did, she had to roll, and this we had
every opportunity of finding out. The whole long passage through the
westerly belt was one continual rolling; but in course of time one
got used even to that discomfort. It was awkward enough, but less
disagreeable than shipping water. Perhaps it was worse for those who
had to work in the galley: it is no laughing matter to be cook, when
for weeks together you cannot put down so much as a coffee-cup without
its immediately turning a somersault. It requires both patience and
strong will to carry it through, but the two -- Lindström and Olsen
-- who looked after our food under these difficult conditions, had
the gift of taking it all from the humorous point of view, and that
was well.

As regards the dogs, it mattered little to them whether a gale was
blowing, so long as the rain kept off. They hate rain; wet in any form
is the worst one can offer an Arctic dog. If the deck was wet, they
would not lie down, but would remain standing motionless for hours,
trying to take a nap in that uncomfortable position. Of course, they
did not get much sleep in that way, but to make up for it they could
sleep all day and all night when the weather was fine. South of the
Cape we lost two dogs; they went overboard one dark night when the ship
was rolling tremendously. We had a coal-bunker on the port side of the
after-deck, reaching up to the height of the bulwarks; probably these
fellows had been practising boarding drill, and lost their balance. We
took precautions that the same thing should not happen again.

Fortunately for our animals, the weather in the westerly belt was
subject to very frequent changes. No doubt they had many a sleepless
night, with rain, sleet, and hail; but on the other hand they never had
to wait very long for a cheerful glimpse of the sun. The wind is for
the most part of cyclonic character, shifting suddenly from one quarter
to another, and these shifts always involve a change of weather. When
the barometer begins to fall, it is a sure warning of an approaching
north-westerly wind, which is always accompanied by precipitation,
and increases in force until the fall of the barometer ceases. When
this occurs, there follows either a short pause, or else the wind
suddenly shifts to the south-west, and blows from that quarter with
increasing violence, while the barometer rises rapidly. The change
of wind is almost always followed by a clearing of the weather.

A circumstance which contributes an element of risk to navigation in
the latitudes where we found ourselves is the possibility of colliding
with an iceberg in darkness or thick weather; for it sometimes happens
that these sinister monsters in the course of their wanderings find
their way well up into the "forties." The probability of a collision
is of course in itself not very great, and it can be reduced to
a minimum by taking proper precautions. At night an attentive and
practised look-out man will always be able to see the blink of the
ice at a fairly long distance. From the time when we had to reckon
with any likelihood of meeting icebergs, the temperature of the water
was also taken every two hours during the night.

As Kerguelen Island lay almost directly in the course we intended to
follow, it was decided for several reasons that we should call there,
and pay a visit to the Norwegian whaling-station. Latterly many of
the dogs had begun to grow thin, and it seemed probable that this was
owing to their not having enough fatty substances in their food; on
Kerguelen Island there would presumably be an opportunity of getting
all the fat we wanted. As to water, we had, it was true, just enough to
last us with economy, but it would do no harm to fill up the tanks. I
was also hoping that there would be a chance of engaging three or four
extra hands, for the Fram would be rather short-handed with only ten
men to sail her out of the ice and round the Horn to Buenos Aires after
the rest of us had been landed on the Barrier. Another reason for the
contemplated visit was that it would be an agreeable diversion. We now
only had to get there as quickly as possible, and the west wind helped
us splendidly; one stiff breeze succeeded another, without our having
any excessive weather. Our daily distance at this time amounted as a
rule to about one hundred and fifty miles; in one twenty-four hours
we made one hundred and seventy-four miles. This was our best day's
work of the whole voyage, and it is no bad performance for a vessel
like the Fram, with her limited sail area and her heavily-laden hull.

On the afternoon of November 28 we sighted land. It was only a barren
rocky knoll, and according to our determination of the position it
would be the island called Bligh's Cap, which lies a few miles north
of Kerguelen Island; but as the weather was not very clear, and we
were unacquainted with the channels, we preferred to lie-to for the
night before approaching any nearer. Early next morning the weather
cleared, and we got accurate bearings. A course was laid for Royal
Sound, where we supposed the whaling-station to be situated. We were
going well in the fresh morning breeze, and were just about to round
the last headland, when all at once a gale sprang up again, the bare
and uninviting coast was hidden in heavy rain, and we had the choice
of waiting for an indefinite time or continuing our voyage. Without
much hesitation we chose the latter alternative. It might be tempting
enough to come in contact with other men, especially as they were
fellow-countrymen, but it was even more tempting to have done with the
remaining 4,000 miles that lay between us and the Barrier as quickly as
possible. It turned out that we had chosen rightly. December brought us
a fair wind, even fresher than that of November, and by the middle of
the month we had already covered half the distance between Kerguelen
Island and our goal. We fortified the dogs from time to time with
a liberal allowance of butter, which had a marvellous effect. There
was nothing wrong with ourselves; we were all in the best of health,
and our spirits rose as we drew nearer our goal.

That the state of our health was so remarkably good during the whole
voyage must be ascribed in a material degree to the excellence of
our provisions. During the trip from home to Madeira we had lived
sumptuously on some little pigs that we took with us, but after these
luxuries we had to take to tinned meat for good. The change was not
felt much, as we had excellent and palatable things with us. There was
a separate service for the two cabins, but the food was precisely the
same in each. Breakfast was at eight, consisting of American hot cakes,
with marmalade or jam, cheese, fresh bread, and coffee or cocoa. Dinner
as a rule was composed of one dish of meat and sweets. As has already
been said, we could not afford to have soup regularly on account of
the water it required, and it was only served on Sundays. The second
course usually consisted of Californian fruit. It was our aim all
through to employ fruit, vegetables, and jam, to the greatest possible
extent; there is undoubtedly no better means of avoiding sickness. At
dinner we always drank syrup and water; every Wednesday and Saturday
we were treated to a glass of spirits. I knew from my own experience
how delicious a cup of coffee tastes when one turns out to go on
watch at night. However sleepy and grumpy one may be, a gulp of hot
coffee quickly makes a better man of one; therefore coffee for the
night watch was a permanent institution on board the Fram.

By about Christmas we had reached nearly the 150th meridian in
lat. 56° S. This left not much more than 900 miles before we might
expect to meet with the pack-ice. Our glorious west wind, which had
driven us forward for weeks, and freed us from all anxiety about
arriving too late, was now a thing of the past. For a change we again
had to contend for some days with calms and contrary wind. The day
before Christmas Eve brought rain and a gale from the south-west,
which was not very cheerful. If we were to keep Christmas with any
festivity, fine weather was wanted, otherwise the everlasting rolling
would spoil all our attempts. No doubt we should all have got over
it if it had fallen to our lot to experience a Christmas Eve with
storm, shortened sail, and other delights; worse things had happened
before. On the other hand, there was not one of us who would not be
the better for a little comfort and relaxation; our life had been
monotonous and commonplace enough for a long time. But, as I said,
the day before Christmas Eve was not at all promising. The only sign
of the approaching holiday was the fact that Lindström, in spite of
the rolling, was busy baking Christmas cakes. We suggested that he
might just as well give us each our share at once, as it is well known
that the cakes are best when they come straight out of the oven, but
Lindström would not hear of it. His cakes vanished for the time being
under lock and key, and we had to be content with the smell of them.

Christmas Eve arrived with finer weather and a smoother sea than we had
seen for weeks. The ship was perfectly steady, and there was nothing to
prevent our making every preparation for the festivity. As the day wore
on Christmas was in full swing. The fore-cabin was washed and cleaned
up till the Ripolin paint and the brass shone with equal brilliance;
Rönne decorated the workroom with signal flags, and the good old
"Happy Christmas" greeted us in a transparency over the door of the
saloon. Inside Nilsen was busily engaged, showing great talents as a
decorator. The gramophone was rigged up in my cabin on a board hung
from the ceiling. A proposed concert of piano, violin, and mandolin
had to be abandoned, as the piano was altogether out of tune.

The various members of our little community appeared one after
another, dressed and tidied up so that many of them were scarcely
recognizable. The stubbly chins were all smooth, and that makes a
great difference. At five o'clock the engine was stopped, and all
hands assembled in the fore-cabin, leaving only the man at the wheel
on deck. Our cosy cabins had a fairy-like appearance in the subdued
light of the many-coloured lamps, and we were all in the Christmas
humour at once. The decorations did honour to him who had carried
them out and to those who had given us the greater part of them --
Mrs. Schroer, and the proprietor of the Oyster Cellar at Christiania,
Mr. Ditlev-Hansen.

Then we took our seats round the table, which groaned beneath
Lindström's masterpieces in the culinary art. I slipped behind
the curtain of my cabin for an instant, and set the gramophone
going. Herold sang us "Glade Jul."

The song did not fail of its effect; it was difficult to see in the
subdued light, but I fancy that among the band of hardy men that
sat round the table there was scarcely one who had not a tear in
the corner of his eye. The thoughts of all took the same direction,
I am certain -- they flew homeward to the old country in the North,
and we could wish nothing better than that those we had left behind
should be as well off as ourselves. The melancholy feeling soon
gave way to gaiety and laughter; in the course of the dinner the
first mate fired off a topical song written by himself, which had
an immense success. In each verse the little weaknesses of someone
present were exhibited in more or less strong relief, and in between
there were marginal remarks in prose. Both in text and performance
the author fully attained the object of his work -- that of thoroughly
exercising our risible muscles.

In the after-cabin a well-furnished coffee-table was set out, on
which there was a large assortment of Lindström's Christmas baking,
with a mighty kransekake from Hansen's towering in the midst. While
we were doing all possible honour to these luxuries, Lindström was
busily engaged forward, and when we went back after our coffee we
found there a beautiful Christmas-tree in all its glory. The tree was
an artificial one, but so perfectly imitated that it might have come
straight from the forest. This was also a present from Mrs. Schroer.

Then came the distribution of Christmas presents. Among the many
kind friends who had thought of us I must mention the Ladies'
Committees in Horten and Fredrikstad, and the telephone employées
of Christiania. They all have a claim to our warmest gratitude for
the share they had in making our Christmas what it was -- a bright
memory of the long voyage.

By ten o'clock in the evening the candles of the Christmas-tree were
burnt out, and the festivity was at an end. It had been successful
from first to last, and we all had something to live on in our thoughts
when our everyday duties again claimed us.

In that part of the voyage which we now had before us -- the region
between the Australian continent and the Antarctic belt of pack-ice --
we were prepared for all sorts of trials in the way of unfavourable
weather conditions. We had read and heard so much of what others had
had to face in these waters that we involuntarily connected them with
all the horrors that may befall a sailor. Not that we had a moment's
fear for the ship; we knew her well enough to be sure that it would
take some very extraordinary weather to do her any harm. If we were
afraid of anything, it was of delay.

But we were spared either delay or any other trouble; by noon on
Christmas Day we had just what was wanted to keep our spirits at
festival pitch; a fresh north-westerly wind, just strong enough to
push us along handsomely toward our destination. It afterwards hauled
a little more to the west, and lasted the greater part of Christmas
week, until on December 30 we were in long. 170° E. and lat. 60°
S. With that we had at last come far enough to the east, and could now
begin to steer a southerly course; hardly had we put the helm over
before the wind changed to a stiff northerly breeze Nothing could
possibly be better; in this way it would not take us long to dispose
of the remaining degrees of latitude. Our faithful companions of the
westerly belt -- the albatrosses -- had now disappeared, and we could
soon begin to look out for the first representatives of the winged
inhabitants of Antarctica.

After a careful consideration of the experiences of our predecessors,
it was decided to lay our course so that we should cross the 65th
parallel in long. 175° E. What we had to do was to get as quickly
as possible through the belt of pack-ice that blocked the way to
Ross Sea to the south of it, which is always open in summer. Some
ships had been detained as much as six weeks in this belt of ice;
others had gone through in a few hours. We unhesitatingly preferred
to follow the latter example, and therefore took the course that the
luckier ones had indicated.

Of course, the width of the ice-belt may be subject to somewhat
fortuitous changes, but it seems, nevertheless, that as a rule the
region between the 175th and the 180th degrees of longitude offers the
best chance of getting through rapidly; in any case, one ought not to
enter the ice farther to the west. At noon on New Year's Eve we were
in lat. 62° 15' S. We had reached the end of the old year, and really
it had gone incredibly quickly. Like all its predecessors, the year
had brought its share of success and failure; but the main thing was
that at its close we found ourselves pretty nearly where we ought to
be to make good our calculations -- and all safe and well. Conscious of
this, we said good-bye to 1910 in all friendliness over a good glass of
toddy in the evening, and wished each other all possible luck in 1911.

At three in the morning of New Year's Day the officer of the watch
called me with news that the first iceberg was in sight. I had to go up
and see it. Yes, there it lay, far to windward, shining like a castle
in the rays of the morning sun. It was a big, flat-topped berg of the
typical Antarctic form. It will perhaps seem paradoxical when I say
that we all greeted this first sight of the ice with satisfaction and
joy; an iceberg is usually the last thing to gladden sailors' hearts,
but we were not looking at the risk just then. The meeting with the
imposing colossus had another significance that had a stronger claim
on our interest -- the pack-ice could not be far off. We were all
longing as one man to be in it; it would be a grand variation in the
monotonous life we had led for so long, and which we were beginning
to be a little tired of. Merely to be able to run a few yards on an
ice-floe appeared to us an event of importance, and we rejoiced no
less at the prospect of giving our dogs a good meal of seal's flesh,
while we ourselves would have no objection to a little change of diet.

The number of icebergs increased during the afternoon and night,
and with such neighbours it suited us very well to have daylight all
through the twenty-four hours, as we now had. The weather could not
have been better -- fine and clear, with a light but still favourable
wind. At 8 p.m. on January 2 the Antarctic Circle was crossed,
and an hour or two later the crow's-nest was able to report the
ice-belt ahead. For the time being it did not look like obstructing
us to any great extent; the floes were collected in long lines, with
broad channels of open water between them. We steered right in. Our
position was then long. 176° E. and lat. 66° 30' S. The ice immediately
stopped all swell, the vessel's deck again became a stable platform,
and after two months' incessant exercise of our sea-legs we could
once more move about freely. That was a treat in itself.

At nine in the morning of the next day we had our first opportunity of
seal-hunting; a big Weddell seal was observed on a floe right ahead. It
took our approach with the utmost calmness, not thinking it worth while
to budge an inch until a couple of rifle-bullets had convinced it of
the seriousness of the situation. It then made an attempt to reach
the water, but it was too late. Two men were already on the floe,
and the valuable spoil was secured. In the course of a quarter of an
hour the beast lay on our deck, flayed and cut up by practised hands;
this gave us at one stroke at least four hundredweight of dog food,
as well as a good many rations for men. We made the same coup three
times more in the course of the day, and thus had over a ton of fresh
meat and blubber.

It need scarcely be said that there was a great feast on board that
day. The dogs did their utmost to avail themselves of the opportunity;
they simply ate till their legs would no longer carry them, and we
could grant them this gratification with a good conscience. As to
ourselves, it may doubtless be taken for granted that we observed some
degree of moderation, but dinner was polished off very quickly. Seal
steak had many ardent adherents already, and it very soon gained
more. Seal soup, in which our excellent vegetables showed to advantage,
was perhaps even more favourably received.

For the first twenty-four hours after we entered the ice it was so
loose that we were able to hold our course and keep up our speed for
practically the whole time. On the two following days things did
not go quite so smoothly; at times the lines of floes were fairly
close, and occasionally we had to go round. We did not meet with any
considerable obstruction, however; there were always openings enough
to enable us to keep going. In the course of January 6 a change took
place, the floes became narrower and the leads broader. By 6 p.m. there
was open sea on every side as far as the eye could reach. The day's
observations gave our position as lat. 70° S., long. 180° E.

Our passage through the pack had been a four days' pleasure trip,
and I have a suspicion that several among us looked back with secret
regret to the cruise in smooth water through the ice-floes when the
swell of the open Ross Sea gave the Fram another chance of showing
her rolling capabilities.

But this last part of the voyage was also to be favoured by
fortune. These comparatively little-known waters had no terrors to
oppose to us. The weather continued surprisingly fine; it could not
have been better on a summer trip in the North Sea. Of icebergs there
was practically none; a few quite small floebergs were all we met
with in the four days we took to cross Ross Sea.

About midday on January 11 a marked brightening of the southern sky
announced that it was not far to the goal we had been struggling to
reach for five months. At 2.30 p.m. we came in sight of the Great
Ice Barrier. Slowly it rose up out of the sea until we were face
to face with it in all its imposing majesty. It is difficult with
the help of the pen to give any idea of the impression this mighty
wall of ice makes on the observer who is confronted with it for the
first time. It is altogether a thing which can hardly be described;
but one can understand very well that this wall of 100 feet in height
was regarded for a generation as an insuperable obstacle to further
southward progress.

We knew that the theory of the Barrier's impregnability had long ago
been overthrown; there was an opening to the unknown realm beyond
it. This opening -- the Bay of Whales -- ought to lie, according
to the descriptions before us, about a hundred miles to the east of
the position in which we were. Our course was altered to true east,
and during a cruise of twenty-four hours along the Barrier we had
every opportunity of marvelling at this gigantic work of Nature. It
was not without a certain feeling of suspense that we looked forward
to our arrival at the harbour we were seeking What state should we
find it in? Would it prove impossible to land at all conveniently?

One point after another was passed, but still our anxious eyes were
met by nothing but the perpendicular wall. At last, on the afternoon
of January 12, the wall opened. This agreed with our expectations;
we were now in long. 164°, the selfsame point where our predecessors
had previously found access.

We had before us a great bay, so deep that it was impossible to see
the end of it from the crow's-nest; but for the moment there was no
chance of getting in. The bay was full of great floes -- sea-ice --
recently broken up. We therefore went on a little farther to the
eastward to await developments. Next morning we returned, and after
the lapse of a few hours the floes within the bay began to move. One
after another they came sailing out: the passage was soon free.

As we steered up the bay, we soon saw clearly that here we had every
chance of effecting a landing. All we had to do was to choose the
best place.


On the Barrier

We had thus arrived on January 14 -- a day earlier than we had reckoned
-- at this vast, mysterious, natural phenomenon -- the Barrier. One
of the most difficult problems of the expedition was solved -- that
of conveying our draught animals in sound condition to the field
of operations. We had taken 97 dogs on board at Christiansand; the
number had now increased to 116, and practically all of these would
be fit to serve in the final march to the South.

The next great problem that confronted us was to find a suitable place
on the Barrier for our station. My idea had been to get everything --
equipment and provisions -- conveyed far enough into the Barrier to
secure us against the unpleasant possibility of drifting out into
the Pacific in case the Barrier should be inclined to calve. I had
therefore fixed upon ten miles as a suitable distance from the edge
of the Barrier. But even our first impression of the conditions
seemed to show that we should be spared a great part of this long
and troublesome transport. Along its outer edge the Barrier shows an
even, flat surface; but here, inside the bay, the conditions were
entirely different. Even from the deck of the Fram we were able to
observe great disturbances of the surface in every direction; huge
ridges with hollows between them extended on all sides. The greatest
elevation lay to the south in the form of a lofty, arched ridge, which
we took to be about 500 feet high on the horizon. But it might be
assumed that this ridge continued to rise beyond the range of vision.

Our original hypothesis that this bay was due to underlying land
seemed, therefore, to be immediately confirmed. It did not take long
to moor the vessel to the fixed ice-foot, which here extended for
about a mile and a quarter beyond the edge of the Barrier. Everything
had been got ready long before. Bjaaland had put our ski in order,
and every man had had his right pairs fitted. Ski-boots had long ago
been tried on, time after time, sometimes with one, sometimes with two
pairs of stockings. Of course it turned out that the ski-boots were on
the small side. To get a bootmaker to make roomy boots is, I believe,
an absolute impossibility. However, with two pairs of stockings we
could always get along in the neighbourhood of the ship. For longer
journeys we had canvas boots, as already mentioned.

Of the remainder of our outfit I need only mention the Alpine ropes,
which had also been ready for some time. They were about 30 yards long,
and were made of very fine rope, soft as silk, specially suited for
use in low temperatures.

After a hurried dinner four of us set out. This first excursion
was quite a solemn affair; so much depended on it. The weather was
of the very best, calm with brilliant sunshine, and a few light,
feathery clouds in the beautiful, pale blue sky. There was warmth in
the air which could be felt, even on this immense ice-field. Seals
were lying along the ice-foot as far as the eye could reach -- great,
fat mountains of flesh; food enough to last us and the dogs for years.

The going was ideal; our ski glided easily and pleasantly through the
newly fallen loose snow. But none of us was exactly in training after
the long five months' sea voyage, so that the pace was not great. After
half an hour's march we were already at the first important point --
the connection between the sea-ice and the Barrier. This connection had
always haunted our brains. What would it be like? A high, perpendicular
face of ice, up which we should have to haul our things laboriously
with the help of tackles? Or a great and dangerous fissure, which
we should not be able to cross without going a long way round? We
naturally expected something of the sort. This mighty and terrible
monster would, of course, offer resistance in some form or other.

The mystic Barrier! All accounts without exception, from the days
of Ross to the present time, had spoken of this remarkable natural
formation with apprehensive awe. It was as though one could always
read between the lines the same sentence: "Hush, be quiet! the mystic
Barrier !"

One, two, three, and a little jump, and the Barrier was surmounted!

We looked at each other and smiled; probably the same thought was in
the minds of all of us. The monster had begun to lose something of
its mystery, the terror something of its force; the incomprehensible
was becoming quite easy to understand.

Without striking a blow we had entered into our kingdom. The Barrier
was at this spot about 20 feet high, and the junction between it
and the sea-ice was completely filled up with driven snow, so that
the ascent took the form of a little, gentle slope. This spot would
certainly offer us no resistance.

Hitherto we had made our advance without a rope. The sea-ice, we knew,
would offer no hidden difficulties; but what would be the condition
of things beyond the Barrier was another question. And as we all
thought it would be better to have the rope on before we fell into
a crevasse than afterwards, our further advance was made with a rope
between the first two.

We proceeded in an easterly direction up through a little valley formed
by "Mount Nelson" on one side, and "Mount Rönniken" on the other. The
reader must not, however, imagine from these imposing names that we
were walking between any formidable mountain-ranges. Mounts Nelson
and Rönniken were nothing but two old pressure ridges that had been
formed in those far-off days when the mighty mass of ice had pushed
on with awful force without meeting hindrance or resistance, until
at this spot it met a superior power that clove and splintered it,
and set a bound to its further advance. It must have been a frightful
collision, like the end of a world. But now it was over: peace -- an
air of infinite peace lay over it all. Nelson and Rönniken were only
two pensioned veterans. Regarded as pressure ridges they were huge,
raising their highest summits over 100 feet in the air. Here in the
valley the surface round Nelson was quite filled up, while Rönniken
still showed a deep scar -- a fissure or hollow. We approached it
cautiously. It was not easy to see how deep it was, and whether it
had an invisible connection with Nelson on the other side of the
valley. But this was not the case. On a closer examination this deep
cleft proved to have a solid, filled-up bottom. Between the ridges
the surface was perfectly flat, and offered an excellent site for
a dog-camp.

Captain Nilsen and I had worked out a kind of programme of the work to
be done, and in this it was decided that the dogs should be brought
on to the Barrier as quickly as possible, and there looked after
by two men. We chose this place for the purpose. The old pressure
ridges told the history of the spot plainly enough; we had no need
to fear any kind of disturbance here. The site had the additional
advantage that we could see the ship from it, and would always be in
communication with those on board.

From here the valley turned slightly to the south. After having
marked the spot where our first tent was to be set up, we continued
our investigations. The valley sloped gradually upwards, and reached
the ridge at a height of 100 feet. From this elevation we had an
excellent view over the valley we had been following, and all the other
surroundings. On the north the Barrier extended, level and straight,
apparently without interruption, and ended on the west in the steep
descent of Cape Man's Head, which formed the eastern limit of the inner
part of the Bay of Whales, and afforded a snug little corner, where we
had found room for our ship. There lay the whole of the inner part of
the bay, bounded on all sides by ice, ice and nothing but ice-Barrier
as far as we could see, white and blue. This spot would no doubt show
a surprising play of colour later on; it promised well in this way.

The ridge we were standing on was not broad -- about two hundred yards,
I think -- and in many places it was swept quite bare by the wind,
showing the blue ice itself. We passed over it and made for the pass
of Thermopylae, which extended in a southerly direction from the
ridge and after a very slight descent was merged in a great plain,
surrounded by elevations on all sides -- a basin, in fact. The bare
ridge we passed over to descend into the basin was a good deal broken
up; but the fissures were narrow, and almost entirely filled up again
with drift, so that they were not dangerous. The basin gave us the
impression of being sheltered and cosy, and, above all, it looked
safe and secure. This stretch of ice was -- with the exception of a
few quite small hummocks of the shape of haycocks -- perfectly flat
and free from crevasses.

We crossed it, and went up on the ridge that rose very gently on the
south. From the top of this all was flat and even as far as we could
see; but that was not saying much. For a little while we continued
along the ridge in an easterly direction without finding any place
that was specially suited for our purpose. Our thoughts returned to
the basin as the best sheltered place we had seen.

From the height we were now on, we could look down into the
south-eastern part of the Bay of Whales. In contrast to that part
of the ice-foot to which we had made fast, the inner bay seemed to
consist of ice that had been forced up by pressure. But we had to leave
a closer examination of this part till later. We all liked the basin,
and agreed to choose it as our future abode, And so we turned and went
back again. It did not take long to reach the plain in our own tracks.

On making a thorough examination of the surface and discussing the
various possibilities, we came to the conclusion that a site for the
hut was to be looked for on the little elevation that rose to the
east. It seemed that we should be more snug there than anywhere else,
and we were not mistaken. We soon made up our minds that we had chosen
the best place the Barrier had to offer. On the spot where the hut
was to stand we set up another ski-pole, and then went home.

The good news that we had already found a favourable place for the
hut naturally caused great satisfaction on all sides. Everyone had
been silently dreading the long and troublesome transport over the
Ice Barrier.

There was teeming life on the ice. Wherever we turned we saw great
herds of seals -- Weddells and crab-eaters. The great sea-leopard,
which we had seen occasionally on the floes, was not to be found
here. During our whole stay in the Bay of Whales we did not see a
single specimen of it. Nor did we ever see the Ross seal. Penguins had
not shown themselves particularly often, only a few here and there;
but we appreciated them all the more. The few we saw were almost all
Adélie penguins. While we were at work making the ship fast, a flock of
them suddenly shot up out of the water and on to the ice. They looked
about them in surprise for a moment: men and ships do not come their
way every day. But it seemed as if their astonishment soon gave way to
a desire to see what was happening. They positively sat and studied
all our movements. Only now and then they grunted a little and took
a turn over the ice. What specially interested them was evidently
our work at digging holes in the snow for the grapnels. They flocked
about the men who were engaged in this, laid their heads on one side,
and looked as if they found it immensely interesting. They did not
appear to be the least afraid of us, and for the most part we left
them in peace. But some of them had to lose their lives; we wanted
them for our collection.

An exciting seal-hunt took place the same day. Three crab-eaters had
ventured to approach the ship, and were marked down to increase our
store of fresh meat. We picked two mighty hunters to secure the prey
for us; they approached with the greatest caution, though this was
altogether unnecessary, for the seals lay perfectly motionless. They
crept forward in Indian fashion, with their heads down and their
backs bent. This looks fine; I chuckle and laugh, but still with a
certain decorum. Then there is a report. Two of the sleeping seals
give a little spasm, and do not move again. It is otherwise with the
third. With snakelike movements it wriggles away through the loose snow
with surprising speed. It is no longer target practice, but hunting
real game, and the result is in keeping with it. Bang! bang! and
bang again. It is a good thing we have plenty of ammunition. One of
the hunters uses up all his cartridges and has to go back, but the
other sets off in pursuit of the game. Oh, how I laughed! Decorum
was no longer possible; I simply shook with laughter. Away they
went through the loose snow, the seal first and the hunter after. I
could see by the movements of the pursuer that he was furious. He
saw that he was in for something which he could not come out of with
dignity. The seal made off at such a pace that it filled the air with
snow. Although the snow was fairly deep and loose, the seal kept on
the surface. Not so the hunter: he sank over the knees at every step,
and in a short time was completely outdistanced. From time to time
he halted, aimed, and fired. He himself afterwards asserted that
every shot had hit. I had my doubts. In any case the seal seemed to
take no notice of them, for it went on with undiminished speed. At
last the mighty man gave up and turned back. "Beastly hard to kill,"
I heard him say, as he came on board. I suppressed a smile -- did
not want to hurt the fellow's feelings.

What an evening! The sun is high in the heavens in spite of the late
hour. Over all this mountainous land of ice, over the mighty Barrier
running south, there lies a bright, white, shining light, so intense
that it dazzles the eyes. But northward lies the night. Leaden grey
upon the sea, it passes into deep blue as the eye is raised, and pales
by degrees until it is swallowed up in the radiant gleam from the
Barrier. What lies behind the night -- that smoke-black mass -- we
know. That part we have explored, and have come off victorious. But
what does the dazzling day to the south conceal? Inviting and
attractive the fair one lies before us. Yes, we hear you calling,
and we shall come. You shall have your kiss, if we pay for it with
our lives.

The following day -- Sunday -- brought the same fine weather. Of
course, there could now be no thought of Sunday for us. Not one of
us would have cared to spend the day in idleness. We were now divided
into two parties: the sea party and the land party. The sea party --
ten men -- took over the Fram, while on this day the land party took
up their abode on the Barrier for a year or two, or whatever it might
be. The sea party was composed of Nilsen, Gjertsen, Beck, Sundbeck,
Ludvig Hansen, Kristensen, Rönne, Nödtvedt, Kutschin, and Olsen. The
land party consisted of Prestrud, Johansen, Helmer Hanssen, Hassel,
Bjaaland, Stubberud, Lindström, and myself. Lindström was to stay
on board for a few days longer, as we still had to take most of our
meals on the ship. The plan was that one party, composed of six men,
should camp in a sixteen-man tent in the space between Rönniken and
Nelson, while another party of two were to live in a tent up at the
but site and build the hut. The two last were, of course, our capable
carpenters, Bjaaland and Stubberud.

By eleven o'clock in the morning we were at last ready to start. We had
one sledge, eight dogs and provisions and equipment weighing altogether
660 pounds. It was my team that was to open the ball. The sea party
had all collected on deck to witness the first start. All was now
ready; after countless efforts on our part, or, if it is preferred,
after a thorough thrashing for every dog, we had at last got them in a
line before the sledge in Alaska harness. With a flourish and a crack
of the whip we set off. I glanced at the ship. Yes; as I thought --
all our comrades were standing in a row, admiring the fine start. I am
not quite sure that I did not hold my head rather high and look round
with a certain air of triumph. If I did so, it was foolish of me. I
ought to have waited; the defeat would have been easier to bear. For
defeat it was, and a signal one. The dogs had spent half a year in
lying about and eating and drinking, and had got the impression that
they would never have anything else to do. Not one of them appeared
to understand that a new era of toil had begun. After moving forward
a few yards, they all sat down, as though at a word of command,
and stared at each other. The most undisguised astonishment could be
read in their faces. When at last we had succeeded, with another dose
of the whip, in making them understand that we really asked them to
work, instead of doing as they were told they flew at each other in a
furious scrimmage. Heaven help me! what work we had with those eight
dogs that day! If it was going to be like this on the way to the Pole,
I calculated in the midst of the tumult that it would take exactly a
year to get there, without counting the return journey. During all this
confusion I stole another glance at the ship, but the sight that met me
made me quickly withdraw my eyes again. They were simply shrieking with
laughter, and loud shouts of the most infamous encouragement reached
us. "If you go on like that, you'll get there by Christmas," or,
"Well done! stick to it. Now you're off." We were stuck faster than
ever. Things looked desperate. At last, with the combined strength
of all the animals and men, we got the sledge to move again.

So our first sledge trip could not be called a triumph. We then set
up our first tent on the Barrier, between Mounts Nelson and Rönniken
-- a large, strong tent for sixteen men, with the sheet for the floor
sewed on. Round the tent wire ropes were stretched in a triangle, fifty
yards on each side. To these the dogs were to be tethered. The tent was
furnished with five sleeping-bags and a quantity of provisions. The
distance we had come was 1.2 geographical miles, or 2.2 kilometres,
measured by sledge-meter. After finishing this work, we went on up
to the site selected for the station. Here we set up the tent --
a similar tent to the other, for sixteen men -- for the use of the
carpenters, and marked out the hut site. According to the lie of
the ground we elected to make the house face east and west, and not
north and south, as one might have been tempted to do, since it was
usually supposed that the most frequent and violent winds came from
the south. We chose rightly. The prevailing wind was from the east,
and thus caught our house on its most protected short wall. The door
faced west. When this work was done, we marked out the way from here
to the encampment below and thence to the vessel with dark flags
at every fifteen paces. In this way we should be able to drive with
certainty from one place to another without losing time if a storm
should set in. The distance from the hut site to the vessel was 2.2
geographical miles, or 4 kilometres. On Monday, January 16, work began
in earnest. About eighty dogs -- six teams -- drove up to the first
encampment with all the provisions and equipment that could be loaded
on the sledges, and twenty dogs -- Stubberud's and Bjaaland's teams --
went with a full load up to the other camp. We had some work indeed,
those first days, to get the dogs to obey us. Time after time they
tried to take the command from their masters and steer their own
course. More than once it cost us a wet shirt to convince them that
we really were the masters. It was strenuous work, but it succeeded
in the end. Poor dogs! they got plenty of thrashing in those days. Our
hours were long; we seldom turned in before eleven at night, and were
up again at five. But it did not seem particularly hard; we were
all alike eager for the work to be finished as soon as possible,
so that the Fram might get away. The harbour arrangements were not
of the best. The quay she was moored to suddenly broke in pieces,
and all hands had to turn out to make her fast to a new quay. Perhaps
they had just got to sleep again when the same operation had to be
repeated; for the ice broke time after time, and kept the unfortunate
"sea-rovers" in constant activity. It is enervating work being always
at one's post, and sleeping with one eye open. They had a hard time to
contend with, our ten comrades, and the calm way in which they took
everything was extraordinary. They were always in a good humour, and
always had a joke ready. It was the duty of the sea party to bring up
all the provisions and outfit for the wintering party from the hold,
and put them on the ice. Then the land party removed them. This work
proceeded very smoothly, and it was rare that one party had to wait
for the other. During the first few days of sledging all the members
of the land party became quite hoarse, some of them so badly that
they almost lost their voices. This came from the continual yelling
and shouting that we had to do at first to make the dogs go. But this
gave the sea party a welcome opportunity of finding us a nickname;
we were called "the chatterers."

Apart from the unpleasantness of constantly changing the anchorage,
on account of the breaking up and drifting out of the ice, the
harbour must in other respects be regarded as very good. A little
swell might set in from time to time and cause some disagreeable
bumping, but never anything to embarrass the vessel. One very great
advantage was that the currents in this corner always set outward,
and thus kept off all icebergs. The sledging between the ship and
the Barrier was done by five men to begin with, as the carpenters
were engaged in building the house. One man had also to be told off
as tent guard, for we could not use more than half our teams -- six
dogs -- at a time. If we harnessed the full team of twelve, we only
had trouble and fights. The dogs which were thus left behind had to
be looked after, and a man was required for this duty. Another of
the duties of the tent guard was to cook the day's food and keep the
tent tidy. It was a coveted position, and lots were cast for it. It
gave a little variety in the continual sledging.

On January 17 the carpenters began to dig the foundations of the
house. The effect of all we had heard about the Antarctic storms was
that we decided to take every possible precaution to make the house
stand on an even keel. The carpenters therefore began by digging
a foundation 4 feet down into the Barrier. This was not easy work;
2 feet below the surface they came upon hard, smooth ice, and had to
use pickaxes. The same day a stiff easterly breeze sprang up, whirling
the snow high into the air, and filling up the foundations as fast
as the men dug them. But it would take more than that to stop those
fellows in their work. They built a wind-screen of planks, and did
it so well that they were able to work all day, unhindered by drifts,
until, when evening came, they had the whole foundation dug out. There
is no difficulty in doing good work when one has such people to work
for one. The stormy weather interfered somewhat with our sledging,
and as we found our Alaska harness unsuitable to the conditions,
we went on board and began the preparation of Greenland harness for
our dogs. All hands worked at it. Our excellent sailmaker, Rönne,
sewed forty-six sets of harness in the course of the month. The rest
of us spliced the ropes and made the necessary tackles, while others
spliced wire-rope shafts to our sledges. When evening came we had
an entirely new set of tackle for all our sledges and dogs. This was
very successful, and in a few days the whole was working smoothly.

We had now divided ourselves between the two tents, so that five men
slept in the lower tent, while the two carpenters and I inhabited the
upper one. That evening a rather amusing thing happened to us. We were
just turning in when suddenly we heard a penguin's cry immediately
outside the tent. We were out in a moment. There, a few yards from the
door, sat a big Emperor penguin, making bow after bow. It gave exactly
the impression of having come up simply to pay us its respects. We
were sorry to repay its attention so poorly, but such is the way of
the world. With a final bow it ended its days in the frying-pan.

On January 18 we began bringing up the materials for the hut,
and as soon as they arrived the builders began to put them up. It
is no exaggeration to say that everything went like a well-oiled
machine. One sledge after another drove up to the site and discharged
its load. The dogs worked splendidly, and their drivers no less,
and as fast as the materials arrived our future home rose into
the air. All the parts had been marked before leaving Norway,
and were now discharged from the ship in the order in which they
were wanted. Besides which, Stubberud himself had built the house,
so that he knew every peg of it. It is with gladness and pride that
I look back upon those days. With gladness, because no discord was
ever heard in the course of this fairly severe labour; with pride,
because I was at the head of such a body of men. For men they were,
in the true sense of the word. Everyone knew his duty, and did it.

During the night the wind dropped and the morning brought the
finest weather, calm and clear. It was a pleasure to work on days
like this. Both men and dogs were in the best of spirits. On these
journeys between the ship and the station we were constantly hunting
seals, but we only took those that came in our way. We never had to
go far to find fresh meat. We used to come suddenly upon a herd of
them; they were then shot, flayed, and loaded on the sledges with the
provisions and building materials. The dogs feasted in those days --
they had as much warm flesh as they wanted.

On January 20 we had taken up all the building materials, and could
then turn our attention to provisions and stores. The work went
merrily, backwards and forwards, and the journey to the Fram in the
morning with empty sledges was specially enjoyable. The track was
now well worn and hard, and resembled a good Norwegian country road
more than anything else. The going was splendid. On coming out of the
tent at six o'clock in the morning one was instantly greeted with
joy by one's own twelve dogs. They barked and howled in emulation,
tugged and jerked at their chains to get to their master, and jumped
and danced about with joy. Then one would first go down the line and
say "Good-morning" to each of them in turn, patting them and saying a
few words. Splendid beasts they were. The one who was taken notice of
showed every sign of happiness. The most petted of our domestic dogs
could not have shown greater devotion than these tamed wolves. All the
time the others were yelling and pulling at their chains to get at the
one who was being petted, for they are jealous in the extreme. When
they had all received their share of attention the harness was brought
out, and then the jubilation broke out afresh. Strange as it may
seem, I can assert that these animals love their harness. Although
they must know that it means hard work, they all show signs of the
greatest rapture at the sight of it. I must hasten to add, however,
that this only happens at home. Long and fatiguing sledge journeys
show a very different state of things. When it came to harnessing,
the first trouble of the day began. It was impossible to get them to
stand still. The full meal of the previous evening, followed by the
night's rest, had given them such a superabundance of energy and joy
of life that nothing could make them stand still. They had to have a
taste of the whip, and yet it was a pity to start that. After having
securely anchored the sledge, one was ready at last with one's team
of six dogs harnessed. Now it might be thought that all was plain
sailing and that one had only to cast off one's moorings and be taken
straight down to the ship. But that was far from being the case. Round
about the camp a number of objects had collected in a short time,
such as packing-cases, building materials, empty sledges, etc., and to
steer clear of these was the great problem of the morning. The dogs'
greatest interest was, of course, concentrated upon these objects,
and one had to be extremely lucky to avoid a spill.

Let us follow one of these morning drives. The men are all ready
and have their dogs well harnessed. One, two, three, and we let them
all go at once. We are off like the wind, and before one has time to
swing the whip one finds oneself in the middle of a heap of building
materials. The dogs have achieved the desire of their lives -- to
be able to make a thorough investigation of these materials in the
way that is so characteristic of the dog and so incomprehensible
to us. While this process is going on with the greatest enjoyment,
the driver has got clear of the sledge and begins to distentangle
the traces, which have wound themselves round planks and posts and
whatever else maybe lying handy. He is far from having achieved the
desire of his life -- to judge from the expressions he uses. At last
he is clear again. He looks round first and finds he is not the only
one who has met with difficulties in the way. Over there among the
cases he sees a performance going on which makes his heart leap with
joy. One of the old hands has come to grief, and in so decisive a
fashion that it will take him a long time to get clear again. With a
triumphant smile he throws himself on the sledge and drives off. So
long as he is on the Barrier as a rule everything goes well; there
is nothing here to distract the dogs. It is otherwise when he comes
down to the sea-ice. Here seals lie scattered about in groups basking
in the sunshine, and it may easily happen that his course will be
rather crooked. If a team of fresh dogs have made up their minds
to turn aside in the direction of a herd of seals, it takes a very
experienced driver to get them in the right way again. Personally,
on such occasions, I used the only remedy I could see -- namely,
capsizing the sledge. In loose snow with the sledge upset they soon
pulled up. Then, if one was wise, one put them on the right course
again quietly and calmly, hoisted the sledge on to an even keel,
and went on. But one is not always wise, unfortunately. The desire to
be revenged on the disobedient rascals gets the upper hand, and one
begins to deal out punishment. But this is not so easy as it seems. So
long as you are sitting on the capsized sledge it makes a good anchor,
but now -- without a load -- it is no use, and the dogs know that. So
while you are thrashing one the others start off, and the result is
not always flattering to the driver. If he is lucky he gets on to the
capsized sledge again, but we have seen dogs and sledges arrive without
drivers. All this trouble in the early morning sets the blood in active
circulation, and one arrives at the ship drenched with perspiration,
in spite of a temperature of -5°F. But it sometimes happens that there
is no interruption, and then the drive is soon over. The dogs want
no encouragement; they are willing enough. The mile and a quarter
from the lower camp to the Fram is then covered in a few minutes.

When we came out of the tent on the morning of January 21 we were
greatly surprised. We thought we must be mistaken, rubbed our eyes,
opened them wider; but no, it was no good. The Fram was no longer
to be seen. It had been blowing pretty strongly during the night,
with snow-squalls. Presumably the weather had forced them to put
out. We could also hear the roar of the sea dashing against the
Barrier. Meanwhile we lost no time. The day before Captain Nilsen and
Kristensen had shot forty seals, and of these we had brought in half
the same day. We now began to fetch in the rest. During the forenoon,
while we were flaying and shooting seals, we heard the old, well-known
sound -- put, put, put -- of the Fram's motor, and presently the
crow's-nest appeared above the Barrier. But she did not get into her
old berth before evening. A heavy swell had forced her to go outside.

Meanwhile the carpenters were busily constructing the hut. By January
21 the roof was on, and the rest of the work could thus be done under
cover. This was a great comfort to the men; at that time their job
was undoubtedly the worst of any. Bitterly cold it was for them,
but I never heard them talk about it. When I came up to the tent
after the day's work, one of them was busy cooking. The meal always
consisted of pancakes and pitch-black, strong coffee. How good it
tasted! A rivalry soon arose between the two cook-carpenters as to
which of them could make the best pancakes. I think they were both
clever at it. In the morning we had pancakes again -- crisp, hot,
delicate pancakes, with the most glorious coffee -- before I was even
out of my sleeping-bag. That is what the carpenters had to offer me at
five o'clock in the morning. No wonder I enjoyed their society. Nor
did the men in the lower camp suffer any privation. Wisting showed
himself to be possessed of eminent talents as cook for the day. His
special dish was penguins and skua gulls in cream sauce. It was served
under the name of ptarmigan, of which it really reminded one.

That Sunday we all went on board -- with the exception of the necessary
tent guards for both camps -- and enjoyed life. We had worked hard
enough that week.

On Monday, January 23, we began to carry up the provisions. In order
to save time, we had decided not to bring the provisions right up to
the hut, but to store them for the time being on an elevation that
lay on the other side, to the south of Mount Nelson. This spot was
not more than 600 yards from the hut, but as the surface was rather
rough here, we should save a good deal in the long-run. Afterwards
when the Fram had sailed, we could take them the rest of the way. As
it turned out, we never had time for this, so that our main store
remained here. Sledging up to this point offered some difficulties at
first. The dogs, who were accustomed to take the road to the lower camp
-- between Nelson and Rönniken -- could not understand why they might
not do the same now. The journey with empty sledges down to the ship
was often particularly troublesome. From this point the dogs could
hear their companions on the other side of Nelson in the lower camp,
and then it happened more than once that the dogs took command. If they
once got in the humour for playing tricks of that sort, it was by no
means easy to get them under control. We all of us had this experience
without exception. Not one of us escaped this little extra turn. As
the provisions came up each driver took them off his sledge, and laid
the cases in the order in which they should lie. We began by placing
each sort by itself in small groups over the slope. This plan had the
advantage that everything would be easy to find. The load was usually
660 pounds, or 6 cases to each sledge. We had about 900 cases to bring
up, and reckoned that we should have them all in place in the course
of a week. Everything went remarkably well according to our reckoning.

By noon on Saturday, January 28, the hut was ready, and all the 900
cases were in place. The depot of provisions had quite an imposing
appearance. Great rows of cases stood in the snow, all with their
numbers outward, so that we could find what we wanted at once. And
there was the house, all finished, exactly as it had stood in its
native place on Bundefjord. But it would be difficult to imagine more
different surroundings: there, green pinewoods and splashing water;
here, ice, nothing but ice. But both scenes were beautiful; I stood
thinking which I preferred. My thoughts travelled far -- thousands
of miles in a second. It was the forest that gained the day.

As I have already mentioned, we had everything with us for fastening
the but down to the Barrier, but the calm weather we had had all the
time led us to suppose that the conditions would not be so bad as we
had expected. We were therefore satisfied with the foundation dug in
the Barrier. The outside of the but was tarred, and the roof covered
with tarred paper, so that it was very visible against the white
surroundings. That afternoon we broke up both camps, and moved into
our home, "Framheim." What a snug, cosy, and cleanly impression it
gave us when we entered the door! Bright, new linoleum everywhere --
in the kitchen as well as in our living-room. We had good reason to be
happy. Another important point had been got over, and in much shorter
time than I had ever hoped. Our path to the goal was opening up; we
began to have a glimpse of the castle in the distance. The Beauty is
still sleeping, but the kiss is coming, the kiss that shall wake her!

It was a happy party that assembled in the hut the first evening,
and drank to the future to the music of the gramophone. All the
full-grown dogs were now brought up here, and were fastened to
wire ropes stretched in a square, 50 yards on each side. It may be
believed that they gave us some music. Collected as they were, they
performed under the leadership of some great singer or other daily,
and, what was worse, nightly concerts. Strange beasts! what can they
have meant by this howling? One began, then two, then a few more, and,
finally, the whole hundred. As a rule, during a concert like this they
sit well down, stretch their heads as high in the air as they can,
and howl to their hearts' content. During this act they seem very
preoccupied, and are not easily disturbed. But the strangest thing
is the way the concert comes to an end. It stops suddenly along the
whole line -- no stragglers, no "one cheer more." What is it that
imposes this simultaneous stop? I have observed and studied it time
after time without result. One would think it was a song that had been
learnt. Do these animals possess a power of communicating with each
other? The question is extraordinarily interesting. No one among us,
who has had long acquaintance with Eskimo dogs, doubts that they have
this power. I learned at last to understand their different sounds
so well that I could tell by their voices what was going on without
seeing them. Fighting, play, love-making, etc., each had its special
sound. If they wanted to express their devotion and affection for
their master, they would do it in a quite different way. If one of
them was doing something wrong -- something they knew they were not
allowed to do, such as breaking into a meat-store, for example --
the others, who could not get in, ran out and gave vent to a sound
quite different from those I have mentioned. I believe most of us
learned to distinguish these different sounds. There can hardly be
a more interesting animal to observe, or one that offers greater
variety of study, than the Eskimo dog. From his ancestor the wolf
he has inherited the instinct of self-preservation -- the right of
the stronger -- in a far higher degree than our domestic dog. The
struggle for life has brought him to early maturity, and given him
such qualities as frugality and endurance in an altogether surprising
degree. His intelligence is sharp, clear, and well developed for the
work he is born to, and the conditions in which he is brought up. We
must not call the Eskimo dog slow to learn because he cannot sit up
and take sugar when he is told; these are things so widely separated
from the serious business of his life that he will never be able to
understand them, or only with great difficulty. Among themselves the
right of the stronger is the only law. The strongest rules, and does
as he pleases undisputedly; everything belongs to him. The weaker ones
get the crumbs. Friendship easily springs up between these animals --
always combined with respect and fear of the stronger. The weaker,
with his instinct of self-preservation, seeks the protection of the
stronger. The stronger accepts the position of protector, and thereby
secures a trusty helper, always with the thought of one stronger than
himself. The instinct of self-preservation is to be found everywhere,
and it is so, too, with their relations with man. The dog has learnt to
value man as his benefactor, from whom he receives everything necessary
for his support. Affection and devotion seem also to have their part in
these relations, but no doubt on a closer examination the instinct of
self-preservation is at the root of all. As a consequence of this, his
respect for his master is far greater than in our domestic dog, with
whom respect only exists as a consequence of the fear of a beating. I
could without hesitation take the food out of the mouth of any one
of my twelve dogs; not one of them would attempt to bite me. And
why? Because their respect, as a consequence of the fear of getting
nothing next time, was predominant. With my dogs at home I certainly
should not try the same thing. They would at once defend their food,
and, if necessary, they would not shrink from using their teeth; and
this in spite of the fact that these dogs have to all appearance the
same respect as the others. What, then, is the reason? It is that
this respect is not based on a serious foundation -- the instinct
of self-preservation -- but simply on the fear of a hiding. A case
like this proves that the foundation is too weak; the desire of food
overcomes the fear of the stick, and the result is a snap.

A few days later the last member of the wintering party -- Adolf Henrik
Lindström -- joined us, and with his arrival our arrangements might be
regarded as complete. He had stayed on board hitherto, attending to
the cooking there, but now he was no longer necessary. His art would
be more appreciated among the "chatterers." The youngest member of
the expedition -- the cook Karinius Olsen -- took over from that day
the whole of the cooking on the Fram, and performed this work in an
extremely conscientious and capable way until the ship reached Hobart
in March, 1912, when he again had assistance. This was well done for
a lad of twenty. I wish we had many like him.

With Lindström, then, the kitchen and the daily bread were in
order. The smoke rose gaily from the shining black chimney, and
proclaimed that now the Barrier was really inhabited. How cosy it was,
when we came sledging up after the day's work, to see that smoke rising
into the air. It is a little thing really, but nevertheless it means
so much. With Lindström came not only food, but light and air -- both
of them his specialities. The Lux lamp was the first thing he rigged
up, giving us a light that contributed much to the feeling of comfort
and well-being through the long winter. He also provided us with air,
but in this he had Stubberud as a partner. These two together managed
to give us the finest, purest Barrier air in our room during the whole
stay. It is true that this was not done without hard work, but they did
not mind that. The ventilation was capricious, and liable to fail now
and then. This usually happened when there was a dead calm. Many were
the ingenious devices employed by the firm to set the business going
again. Generally a Primus stove was used under the exhaust pipe, and
ice applied to the supply pipe. While one of them lay on his stomach
with the Primus under the exhaust, drawing the air up that way,
the other ran up to the roof and dropped big lumps of snow down the
supply to get the air in that way. In this fashion they could keep it
going by the hour together without giving up. It finally ended in the
ventilation becoming active again without visible cause. There is no
doubt that the system of ventilation in a winter-station like ours
is of great importance, both to health and comfort. I have read of
expeditions, the members of which were constantly suffering from cold
and damp and resulting sickness. This is nothing but a consequence
of bad ventilation. If the supply of fresh air is sufficient, the
fuel will be turned to better account, and the production of warmth
will, of course, be greater. If the supply of air is insufficient,
a great part of the fuel will be lost in an unconsumed state, and
cold and damp will be the result. There must, of course, be a means
of regulating the ventilation in accordance with requirements. We
used only the Lux lamp in our hut, besides the stove in the kitchen,
and with this we kept our room so warm that those of us in the upper
berths were constantly complaining of the warmth.

Originally there were places for ten bunks in the room, but as
there were only nine of us, one of the bunks was removed and the
space used for our chronometer locker. This contained three ordinary
ship's chronometers. We had, in addition, six chronometer watches,
which we wore continually, and which were compared throughout the
whole winter. The meteorological instruments found a place in the
kitchen -- the only place we had for them. Lindström undertook the
position of sub-director of the Framheim meteorological station and
instrument-maker to the expedition. Under the roof were stowed all the
things that would not stand severe frost, such as medicines, syrup,
jam, cream, pickles, and sauces, besides all our sledge-boxes. A
place was also made for the library under the roof.

The week beginning on Monday, January 30, was spent in bringing
up coal, wood, oil, and our whole supply of dried fish. The
temperature this summer varied between +5° and -13°F. -- a grand
summer temperature. We also shot many seals daily, and we already
had a great pile of about a hundred of them lying just outside the
door of the hut. One evening as we were sitting at supper Lindström
came in to tell us that we need not go down any more to the sea-ice
to shoot them, as they were coming up to us. We went out and found
he was right. Not far away, and making straight for the hut, came
a crab-eater, shining like silver in the sun. He came right up,
was photographed, and -- shot.

One day I had a rather curious experience. My best dog, Lassesen, had
his left hind-paw frozen quite white. It happened while we were all out
sledging. Lassesen was a lover of freedom, and had seen his chance of
getting loose when unobserved. He used his freedom, like most of these
dogs, for fighting. They love fighting, and cannot resist it. He had
picked a quarrel with Odin and Thor, and started a battle with them. In
the course of the fight the chains that fastened these two had got
wound round Lassesen's leg, and twisted so that the circulation was
stopped. How long he had been standing so I do not know. But when I
came, I saw at once that the dog was in the wrong place. On a closer
examination I discovered the frost-bite. I then spent half an hour in
restoring the circulation. I succeeded in doing this by holding the
paw continuously in my warm hand. At first, while there was no feeling
in the limb, it went well; but when the blood began to flow back,
of course it was painful, and Lassesen became impatient. He whined,
and motioned with his head towards the affected place, as though he
wanted to tell me that he found the operation unpleasant. He made no
attempt to snap. The paw swelled a good deal after this treatment,
but next day Lassesen was as well as ever, though a little lame in
that leg.

The entries in my diary at this time are all in telegraphic style,
no doubt owing to the amount of work. Thus an entry in February ends
with the following words: "An Emperor penguin just come on a visit --
soup-kettle." He did not get a very long epitaph.

During this week we relieved the sea party of the last of the dogs
-- about twenty puppies. There was rejoicing on board when the last
of them left the deck, and, indeed, one could not be surprised. With
the thermometer about -5°F., as it had been lately, it was impossible
to keep the deck clean, as everything froze at once. After they had
all been brought on to the ice, the crew went to work with salt and
water, and in a short time we recognized the Fram again. The puppies
were put into boxes and driven up. We had put up a sixteen-man tent
to receive them. From the very first moment they declined to stay in
it, and there was nothing to be done but to let them out. All these
puppies passed a great part of the winter in the open air. So long
as the seals' carcasses were lying on the slope, they stayed there;
afterwards they found another place. But the tent, despised by the
youngsters, came in useful after all. Any bitch that was going to
have a litter was put in there, and the tent went by the name of
"the maternity hospital." Then one tent after another was put up, and
Framheim looked quite an important place. Eight of the sixteen-man
tents were set up for our eight teams, two for dried fish, one for
fresh meat, one for cases of provisions, and one for coal and wood --
fourteen altogether. They were arranged according to a plan drawn up
beforehand, and when they were all up they had quite the appearance
of a camp.

At this time our dog-harness underwent important alterations, as one
of the members of the expedition had the happy idea of combining
the Alaska and the Greenland harness. The result satisfied all
requirements; in future we always used this construction, and we all
agreed that it was much superior to any other harness. The dogs also
seemed to be more comfortable in it. That they worked better and more
easily is certain, and raw places, so common with Greenland harness,
were absolutely unknown.

February 4 was an eventful day. As usual, we all came down to the
Fram, driving our empty sledges, at half-past six in the morning. When
the first man got to the top of the ridge, he began to wave his arms
about and gesticulate like a madman. I understood, of course, that
he saw something, but what? The next man gesticulated even worse,
and tried to shout to me. But it was no use; I could not make anything
of it. Then it was my turn to go over the ridge, and, as was natural,
I began to feel rather curious. I had only a few yards more to go --
and then it was explained. Along the edge of the ice, just to the
south of the Fram, a large barque lay moored. We had talked of the
possibility of meeting the Terra Nova -- Captain Scott's vessel --
when she was on her way to King Edward VII. Land; but it was a great
surprise all the same. Now it was my turn to wave my arms, and I am
sure I did it no worse than the two first. And the same thing was
repeated with all of us, as soon as each one reached the top of the
ridge. What the last man did I have never been able to find out for
certain -- but no doubt he waved his arms too. If a stranger had stood
and watched us that morning on the ridge, he would surely have taken
us for a lot of incurable lunatics. The way seemed long that day,
but at last we got there and heard the full explanation. The Terra
Nova had come in at midnight. Our watchman had just gone below for
a cup of coffee -- there was no harm in that -- and when he came up
again, there was another ship lying off the foot of the Barrier. He
rubbed his eyes, pinched his leg, and tried other means of convincing
himself that he was asleep, but it was no good. The pinch especially,
he told us afterwards, was horribly painful, and all this led him to
the conclusion that there really was a second vessel there.

Lieutenant Campbell, the leader of the eastern party, which was
to explore King Edward VII. Land, came on board first, and paid
Nilsen a visit. He brought the news that they had not been able to
reach land, and were now on their way back to McMurdo Sound. From
thence it was their intention to go to Cape North and explore the
land there. Immediately after my arrival Lieutenant Campbell came on
board again and gave me the news himself.

We then loaded our sledges and drove home. At nine o'clock we had the
great pleasure of receiving Lieutenant Pennell, the commander of the
Terra Nova, Lieutenant Campbell, and the surgeon of the expedition, as
the first guests in our new home. We spent a couple of very agreeable
hours together. Later in the day three of us paid a visit to the Terra
Nova, and stayed on board to lunch. Our hosts were extremely kind,
and offered to take our mail to New Zealand. If I had had time,
I should have been glad to avail myself of this friendly offer,
but every hour was precious. It was no use to think of writing now.

At two o'clock in the afternoon the Terra Nova cast off again,
and left the Bay of Whales. We made a strange discovery after this
visit. Nearly all of us had caught cold. It did not last long -- only
a few hours -- and then it was over. The form it took was sneezing
and cold in the head.

The next day -- Sunday, February 5 -- the "sea rovers," as we
called the Fram party, were our guests. We had to have them in
two detachments, as they could not all leave the ship at the same
time. Four came to dinner and six to supper. We had not much to offer,
but we invited them, not so much for the sake of the entertainment
as to show them our new home and wish them a successful voyage.


Depot Journeys

There was now too little work for eight of us in bringing up stores
from the Fram, and it became evident that some of us might be more
usefully employed elsewhere. It was therefore decided that four
men should bring ashore the little that remained, while the other
four went southward to lat. 80° S., partly to explore the immediate
neighbourhood, and partly to begin the transport of provisions to the
south. This arrangement gave us all enough to do. The four who were
to continue the work at the station -- Wisting, Hassel, Stubberud,
and Bjaaland -- now had as much as their sledges could carry. The
rest of us were busy getting ready. For that matter, everything was
prepared in advance, but as yet we had had no experience of a long
journey. That was what we were going to get now.

Our departure was fixed for Friday, February 10. On the 9th I went on
board to say good-bye, as presumably the Fram would have sailed when
we came back. I had so much to thank all these plucky fellows for. I
knew it was hard for all of them -- almost without exception -- to
have to leave us now, at the most interesting time, and go out to sea
to battle for months with cold and darkness, ice and storms, and then
have the same voyage over again the next year when they came to fetch
us. It was certainly a hard task, but none of them complained. They
had all promised to do their best to promote our common object,
and therefore all went about their duty without grumbling. I left
written orders with the commander of the Fram, Captain Nilsen. The
substance of these orders may be given in a few words: Carry out
our plan in the way you may think best. I knew the man I was giving
orders to. A more capable and honourable second in command I could
never have had. I knew that the Fram was safe in his hands.

Lieutenant Prestrud and I made a trip to the south to find a suitable
place for ascending the Barrier on the other side of the bay. The
sea-ice was fairly even for this distance; only a few cracks here
and there. Farther up the bay there were, curiously enough, long
rows of old hummocks. What could this mean? This part was really
quite protected from the sea, so that these formations could not
be attributed to its action. We hoped to have an opportunity of
investigating the conditions more closely later on; there was no time
for it now. The shortest and most direct way to the south was the one
we were on now. The bay was not wide here. The distance from Framheim
to this part of the Barrier was about three miles. The ascent of the
Barrier was not difficult; with the exception of a few fissures it
was quite easy. It did not take long to get up, except perhaps in
the steepest part. The height was 60 feet. It was quite exciting to
go up; what should we see at the top? We had never yet had a real
uninterrupted view over the Barrier to the south; this was the first
time. As it happened, we were not surprised at what we saw when we got
up -- an endless plain, that was lost in the horizon on the extreme
south. Our course, we could see, would take us just along the side of
the ridge before mentioned -- a capital mark for later journeys. The
going was excellent; a thin layer of conveniently loose snow was spread
over a hard under-surface, and made it very suitable for skiing. The
lie of the ground told us at once that we had the right pattern of ski
-- the kind for level ground, long and narrow. We had found what we
wanted -- an ascent for our southern journeys and an open road. This
spot was afterwards marked with a flag, and went by the name of "the
starting-place." On the way back, as on the way out, we passed large
herds of seals, lying asleep. They did not take the least notice
of us. If we went up and woke them, they just raised their heads a
little, looked at us for a moment, and then rolled over on the other
side and went to sleep again. It was very evident that these animals
here on the ice have no enemies. They would certainly have set a watch,
as their brothers in the North do, if they had had anything to fear.

On this day we used skin clothing for the first time -- reindeer-skin
clothes of Eskimo cut -- but they proved to be too warm. We had the
same experience later. In low temperatures these reindeer clothes are
beyond comparison the best, but here in the South we did not as a rule
have low temperatures on our sledge journeys. On the few occasions
when we experienced any cold worth talking about, we were always
in skins. When we returned in the evening after our reconnoitring,
we had no need of a Turkish bath.

On February 10, at 9.30 a.m., the first expedition left for the
South. We were four men, with three sledges and eighteen dogs, six
for each sledge. The load amounted to about 550 pounds of provisions
per sledge, besides the provisions and outfit for the journey. We
could not tell, even approximately, how long the journey would take,
as everything was unknown. The chief thing we took on our sledges
was dogs' pemmican for the depot, 350 pounds per sledge. We also
took a quantity of seal meat cut into steaks, blubber, dried fish,
chocolate, margarine, and biscuits. We had ten long bamboo poles,
with black flags, to mark the way. The rest of our outfit consisted
of two three-man tents, four one-man sleeping-bags, and the necessary
cooking utensils.

The dogs were very willing, and we left Framheim at full gallop. Along
the Barrier we went well. Going down to the sea-ice we had to pass
through a number of big hummocks -- a fairly rough surface. Nor
was this without consequences; first one sledge, then another, swung
round. But no harm was done; we got our gear tested, and that is always
an advantage. We also had to pass rather near several large groups of
seals, and the temptation was too great. Away went the dogs to one side
in full gallop towards the seals. But this time the load was heavy,
and they were soon tired of the extra work. In the bay we were in sight
of the Fram. The ice had now given way entirely, so that she lay close
to the Barrier itself. Our four comrades, who were to stay at home,
accompanied us. In the first place, they wanted to see us on our way,
and in the second, they would be able to lend us a hand in getting
up the Barrier, for we were rather apprehensive that it would cost
us a wet shirt. Finally, they were to hunt seals. There was plenty
of opportunity here; where-ever one looked there were seals -- fat
heavy beasts.

I had put the home party under Wisting's command, and given them
enough work to do. They were to bring up the remainder of the stores
from the ship, and to build a large, roomy pent-house against the
western wall of the hut, so that we should not have to go directly
on to the ice from the kitchen. We also intended to use this as a
carpenter's workshop. But they were not to forget the seal-hunting,
early and late. It was important to us to get seals enough to enable
us all, men and dogs, to live in plenty. And there were enough to
be had. If we ran short of fresh meat in the course of the winter,
it would be entirely our own fault.

It was a good thing we had help for the climb. Short as it was,
it caused us a good deal of trouble; but we had dogs enough, and by
harnessing a sufficient number we got the sledges up. I should like
to know what they thought on board. They could see we were already
hard put to it to get up here. What would it be like when we had to
get on to the plateau? I do not know whether they thought of the old
saying: Practice makes perfect.

We halted at the starting-place, where we were to separate from
our comrades. None of us was particularly sentimental. An honest
shake of the hand, and so "Good-bye." The order of our march was as
follows: Prestrud first on ski, to show the direction and encourage
the dogs. We always went better with someone going in front. Next
came Helmer Hanssen. He kept this place on all our journeys -- the
leading sledge. I knew him well from our previous work together,
and regarded him as the most efficient dog-driver I had met. He
carried the standard compass on his sledge and checked Prestrud's
direction. After him came Johansen, also with a compass. Lastly,
I came, with sledge-meter and compass. I preferred to take the last
sledge because it enabled me to see what was happening. However careful
one may be, it is impossible to avoid dropping things from sledges
in making a journey. If the last man keeps a lookout for such things,
great inconvenience may often be avoided. I could mention many rather
important things that were dropped in the course of our journeys and
picked up again by the last man. The hardest work, of course, falls on
the first man. He has to open up the road and drive his dogs forward,
while we others have only to follow. All honour, then, to the man who
performed this task from the first day to the last -- Helmer Hanssen.

The position of the "forerunner" is not a very enviable one either. Of
course he escapes all bother with dogs, but it is confoundedly tedious
to walk there alone, staring at nothing. His only diversion is a
shout from the leading sledge: "A little to the right," "A little
to the left." It is not so much these simple words that divert him
as the tone in which they are called. Now and then the cry comes
in a way that makes him feel he is acquitting himself well. But
sometimes it sends a cold shiver down his back; the speaker might
just as well have added the word "Duffer!" -- there is no mistaking
his tone. It is no easy matter to go straight on a surface without
landmarks. Imagine an immense plain that you have to cross in thick
fog; it is dead calm, and the snow lies evenly, without drifts. What
would you do? An Eskimo can manage it, but none of us. We should turn
to the right or to the left, and give the leading dog-driver with the
standard compass endless trouble. It is strange how this affects the
mind. Although the man with the compass knows quite well that the man
in front cannot do any better, and although he knows that he could not
do better himself, he nevertheless gets irritated in time and works
himself into the belief that the unsuspecting, perfectly innocent
leader only takes these turns to annoy him; and so, as I have said,
the words "A little to the left" imply the unspoken addition --
perfectly understood on both sides -- "Duffer!" I have personal
experience of both duties. With the dog-driver time passes far more
quickly. He has his dogs to look after, and has to see that all are
working and none shirking. Many other points about a team claim his
attention, and he must always keep an eye on the sledge itself. If
he does not do this, some slight unevenness may throw the runners in
the air before he knows where he is. And to right a capsized sledge,
weighing about eight hundredweight, is no fun. So, instead of running
this risk, he gives his whole attention to what is before him.

From the starting-place the Barrier rises very slightly, until at a
cross-ridge it passes into the perfect level. Here on the ridge we
halt once more. Our comrades have disappeared and gone to their work,
but in the distance the Fram lies, framed in shining, blue-white
ice. We are but human; uncertainty always limits our prospect. Shall
we meet again? And if so, under what conditions? Much lay between
that moment and the next time we should see her. The mighty ocean
on one side, and the unknown region of ice on the other; so many
things might happen. Her flag floats out, waves us a last adieu,
and disappears. We are on our way to the South.

This first inland trip on the Barrier was undeniably exciting. The
ground was absolutely unknown, and our outfit untried. What kind
of country should we have to deal with? Would it continue in this
boundless plain without hindrance of any kind? Or would Nature present
insurmountable difficulties? Were we right in supposing that dogs were
the best means of transport in these regions, or should we have done
better to take reindeer, ponies, motor-cars, aeroplanes, or anything
else? We went forward at a rattling pace; the going was perfect. The
dogs' feet trod on a thin layer of loose snow, just enough to give
them a secure hold.

The weather conditions were not quite what we should have wished
in an unknown country. It is true that it was calm and mild, and
altogether pleasant for travelling, but the light was not good. A
grey haze, the most unpleasant kind of light after fog, lay upon the
landscape, making the Barrier and the sky merge into one. There was
no horizon to be seen. This grey haze, presumably a younger sister
of fog, is extremely disagreeable. One can never be certain of one's
surroundings. There are no shadows; everything looks the same. In a
light like this it is a bad thing to be the forerunner; he does not
see the inequalities of the ground until too late -- until he is right
on them. This often ends in a fall, or in desperate efforts to keep
on his feet. It is better for the drivers, they can steady themselves
with a hand on the sledge. But they also have to be on the lookout for
inequalities, and see that the sledges do not capsize. This light is
also very trying to the eyes, and one often hears of snow-blindness
after such a day. The cause of this is not only that one strains one's
eyes continually; it is also brought about by carelessness. One is
very apt to push one's snow-goggles up on to one's forehead, especially
if they are fitted with dark glasses. However, we always came through
it very well; only a few of us had a little touch of this unpleasant
complaint. Curiously enough, snow-blindness has something in common
with seasickness. If you ask a man whether he is seasick, in nine
cases out of ten he will answer: "No, not at all -- only a little
queer in the stomach." It is the same, in a slightly different way,
with snow-blindness. If a man comes into the tent in the evening with
an inflamed eye and you ask him whether he is snow-blind, you may
be sure he will be almost offended. "Snow-blind? Is it likely? No,
not at all, only a little queer about the eye."

We did seventeen miles[5] that day without exertion. We had two tents,
and slept two in a tent. These tents were made for three men, but were
too small for four. Cooking was only done in one, both for the sake
of economy, so that we might leave more at the depot, and because it
was unnecessary, as the weather was still quite mild.

On this first trip, as on all the depot journeys, our morning
arrangements took far too long. We began to get ready at four, but
were not on the road till nearly eight. I was always trying some means
of remedying this, but without success. It will naturally be asked,
What could be the cause of this? and I will answer candidly -- it was
dawdling and nothing else. On these depot journeys it did not matter so
much, but on the main journey we had to banish dawdling relentlessly.

Next day we did the allotted seventeen miles in six hours, and pitched
our camp early in the afternoon. The dogs were rather tired, as it
had been uphill work all day. To-day, from a distance of twenty-eight
miles, we could look down into the Bay of Whales; this shows that we
had ascended considerably. We estimated our camp that evening to be 500
feet above the sea. We were astonished at this rise, but ought not to
have been so really, since we had already estimated this ridge at 500
feet when we first saw it from the end of the bay. But however it may
be, most of us have a strong propensity for setting up theories and
inventing something new. What others have seen does not interest us,
and on this occasion we took the opportunity -- I say we, because I
was one of them -- of propounding a new theory -- that of an evenly
advancing ice-slope from the Antarctic plateau. We saw ourselves in
our mind's eye ascending gradually to the top, and thus avoiding a
steep and laborious climb among the mountains.

The day had been very warm, +12.2° F., and I had been obliged to
throw off everything except the most necessary underclothes. My
costume may be guessed from the name I gave to the ascent --
Singlet Hill. There was a thick fog when we turned out next morning,
exceedingly unpleasant. Here every inch was over virgin ground, and we
had to do it blindly. That day we had a feeling of going downhill. At
one o'clock land was reported right ahead. From the gesticulations
of those in front I made out that it must be uncommonly big. I saw
absolutely nothing, but that was not very surprising. My sight is
not specially good, and the land did not exist.

The fog lifted, and the surface looked a little broken. The
imaginary land lasted till the next day, when we found out that it
had only been a descending bank of fog. That day we put on the pace,
and did twenty-five miles instead of our usual seventeen. We were
very lightly clad. There could be no question of skins; they were
laid aside at once. Very light wind-clothing was all we wore over
our underclothes. On this journey most of us slept barelegged in
the sleeping-bags. Next day we were surprised by brilliantly clear
weather and a dead calm. For the first time we had a good view. Towards
the south the Barrier seemed to continue, smooth and even, without
ascending. Towards the east, on the other hand, there was a marked
rise -- presumably towards King Edward VII. Land, we thought then. In
the course of the afternoon we passed the first fissure we had met
with. It had apparently been filled up long ago. Our distance that
day was twenty-three miles.

On these depot journeys we were always very glad of our Thermos
flasks. In the middle of the day we made a halt, and took a cup of
scalding hot chocolate, and it was very pleasant to be able to get one
without any trouble in the middle of the snow plateau. On the final
southern journey we did not take Thermos flasks. We had no lunch then.

On February 14, after a march of eleven and a half miles, we reached
80° S. Unfortunately we did not succeed in getting any astronomical
observation on this trip, as the theodolite we had brought with us
went wrong, but later observations on several occasions gave 79°
59' S. Not so bad in fog. We had marked out the route up to this
point with bamboo poles and flags at every 15 kilometres. Now, as


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