Friday 20 October [Actually October 19]
At long last we managed to get off.
The weather was not quite settled. Breeze first from one quarter, then another. Fog and mist. 9.30 a.m. it cleared a little to the E. with a light breeze thence.
We saddled our steeds, 13 before each of the four sledges, and set out. Pr. stood with the cine camera at the foot of the run down to the sea ice and filmed us all. Twenty seal lay in a group shielding a couple of new-born pups. He shot us again on the climb on the other side of the bay. The fog came down again after we had covered a little ground. HH ran first and set a course with his compass. For some reason we ran too far East, and into an unknown maze of cracks and crevasses. I sat together with W. His sledge was last. Suddenly a large piece of the surface fell away next to the sledge and exposed a gruesome abyss – big enough to swallow us all. Luckily we were so far to the side that we were saved.
We understood from the surroundings that we had strayed too far to the East, and therefore set a course directly East by the compass (S. by W. true). That soon brought us within sight of some flags, and a short time afterwards reached the place where we shot «Kaisa» on our last trip – 20.2 nautical miles. We managed splendidly in our improved tent. Although we were five, there is plenty of space.
This transcript comes from “Race for the South Pole - The Expedition Diaries of Scott and Amundsen” by Roland Huntford. It appears by courtesy of the author and The Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.