King penguins

Farthest south!


Day 10 (b) - The Historic Huts - Cape Evans


     This journal is constructed as one web page for each day of my journey, including the arrival day in Auckland, and the final two days, which I spent in Hobart.  I have tried to keep the picture images of a reasonable size for easy web page loading.  To see a much larger view of (practically) any image, just left-click on the photo.

     Because of the morning visit to Shackleton's hut, lunch was delayed until 1:30 p.m.  Two hours later, we were starting our helicopter journeys to Scott's 1911 hut at Cape Evans, named for his second in command, Lt. "Teddy" Evans, who had once entertained thoughts of his own expedition to Antarctica.

     The weather was much nicer for this visit, than for our morning foray onto Ross Island.  There was an overcast, which persisted for a few days, but it wasn't as windy.  This hut is the highlight.  It was Scott's second expedition, and his last, as his party perished on the return journey from the pole.  We landed about a quarter mile away and walked over to the hut.  I was in the first group to go, so I think that gave us a bit more time to spend in the hut.  That is, as more passengers arrive, the line at the door lengthens - only eight of us were allowed in at a time - and there is more of an effort to hurry us on our way.  I am sure that at least half of us would have spent a couple of hours in here if we had the chance!

     The hut had been surrounded by a snow drift, but a path was shoveled out all around it, as you can see, below.  This hut is also referred to as the Terra Nova Hut, named for Scott's ship, which dropped off the winter party in 1910.

Scott's hut at Cape Evans.  Dennis and the Terra Nova Hut. Snow shoveled around hut.
     Besides the remains of Scott's hut, there are two other historically interesting things about this site.  In front of the hut is the anchor from the ship, Aurora, which had been used to transport Borchgrevink and his party to Cape Adare, the first party to ever land on the continent (see day 7) .  It is half buried in the ground out in front of this hut.

     Also, there is a cross, on a nearby hill, that commemorates the loss of three members of Shackleton's Transantarctic expedition, in1916.  Shackleton had intended to cross the continent, but his ship was icebound in the Weddell Sea and he, and his men, were forced to leave the ship and, in an amazing feat of survival, make their way to a rocky island.  From there, Shackleton, and three others, made their way across 800 miles of stormy sea, in a covered lifeboat, to reach South Georgia Island.  None of these men perished.  But, there was a small party of men dropped off in the Ross Sea area, where the Transantarctic team was to end up.  It was three of these men that died in this area.

Cross commemorates the loss of Captain MacKintosh, VG Hayward and the Rev. Spencer-Smith, part of the Ross Sea party that was preparing for the arrival of Shackleton and his Trans-Antarctic party.  Shackleton did not make the crossing as his ship, the Endurance, was trapped and crushed in the ice in the Weddell Sea.  However, he, and all his men, survived that ordeal.

An obscured sun lights up a gray
world at the Terra Nova hut on Cape Evan, used by Robert Falcon Scott
on his last Antarctic expedition. 

Anchor from the Aurora outside hut. 

Hut from Wind Vane Hill. 

Captain Scott's bunk and table. 

Expedition crate. 

     The space inside the hut is dominated by a large table.  This has been made famous because of a photo taken on Scott's birthday, in 1911, with flags hanging from the ceiling and the men crowded around the table.  In one corner is Scott's bunk and writing table.  In another is a lab, and there is a darkroom in here.  There are old supplies, many of which are deteriorating in place.  Our reverie is all too short in this place.  And, while our historian, John, commented that the place conveyed to him a sense of loss, I had a different reaction.  I felt like I was surrounded by a sense of excitement - here was a well-provisioned expedition, on the cutting edge of exploration, on the cusp of a new era.  At that time, this really was "the" place to be.

Table that dominates the center of the hut.  There is a famous photo which shows Scott and men at this table, celebrating his birthday. 

Deteriorating stores. 



Lab materials. 

     The front of the hut, and one side, is an enclosed porch area.  The ponies were housed out here, and their names have been stenciled onto the sides of the hut, in front of their stalls.  There is a remarkable stack of seal blubber, and a crate of penguin eggs.  It certainly was cooler out here, but the shelter helps quite a bit.  We didn't have any time constraint in this area, so I got to poke around quite a bit through here.  The stable area was plagued by ice on the dirt floor, which may be cause for concern by those trying to preserve this site.

Out in the covered porch is a layered pile of seal blubber, which never got used by this, or any later, party. 

Pony's name stenciled on wall. 


Crate of penguin eggs. 

A cheese ball. 

     Outside the hut, and a bit up the hill, is a fuel dump.  Scott had brought along some motorized sleds, but they didn't perform well in this climate.  Also, in that area, is the skeleton of one of their dogs.  I continued on up the hill, to the site of the cross, where I spent about 20 minutes sitting and taking in the views before me.  I could almost visualize that my fellow passengers were the original residents, spread about the site, engaged in a variety of activities.

     Behind the hut, up on a higher spot, is Skua Lake.  I took a walk up to it, and then around it - it isn't really all that big - before heading back to the helicopter.  Once back on board the Khlebnikov, a few of us chatted up our experiences in the lounge, over some freshly brewed hot tea.  It was a day that will stay fresh in our memories for a long time.  Later, on the bridge, as we headed towards McMurdo, I could spot the hut with my binoculars.

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