Saturday 9 Dec. [Actually December 08]
Haved stayed put today, rested, and prepared for the final onslaught. We have put down a depot here to lighten the sledges. HH keeps his sledge unchanged, while the two others have been lightened.
Bj.’s dogs have weakened a lot recently, and yesterday evening one of W.’s – The Major – a steady old dog, disappeared. Presumably he had gone away to die. Each of these two sledges has been lightened by ca. 50 kg. Bj. has got rid of 42.5 kg dog and human pemmican. W. has unloaded his case of biscuits containing – 2,200, together with 11.5 kg pemmican. In addition a tin of alcohol57 and a ball of string have been left in this depot. This depot is marked transversely E-W. 60 planks from packing cases have been laid out on each side 100 paces from each other. Every other plank carries a black pennant. Those planks to the E. all have a notch under the pennant to indicate the direction they lie in relation to the depot. The weather has been really good today. On several occasions the sun has been absolutely clear.
–24° this evening. Light SE’ly breeze. We leave here well supplied to get back here – ca. 30 days for humans, ca. 20 days for dogs. Three of us – HH, W, and I look quite awe-inspiring since our faces were frostbitten in the SE storm a few days ago. Bj. & Hass., who went last, got off Scot free. The dogs have begun to be quite dangerous and must be considered as mortal enemies when one leaves the sledges. Oddly enough they have not tried to break in. In addition to the transverse marking we will put up a few snow blocks every other nautical mile on the way south.
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.