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Diary of Frank Hurley1–2 November 1915

by Frank Hurley

1 Mon November
Shot a seal tonight & had a seal hoosh. Seals are both food & fuel as the blubber provides the necessary fire for the flesh & everything is sodden & wet owing to the high temperature. Snowing heavily & light atrocious. Sir Ernest, Wild, Worsley & self who comprise a directive committee climbed to some adjacent hummocks. The prospect was frightfully rough & the surface so soft that we sank to our hips. Under these conditions with boats & large party further travelling is impossible & the quorum unanimously agreed to erect a permanent camp on the floe – having selected one unlikely to crack up & await the breaking up of the ice – we will then navigate the leads with the boats.

Went to wreck this afternoon to rescue whatever foodstuffs or fuel possible endeavoured to rescue negatives. Alas! Covered by 3 feet water ice. Hands employed in breaking spurs etc. on back, cut away [indecipherable] & mizzen.

2 Tuesday
Spent day taking team to & from ship for salvage. Salved canvas True milk & case [indecipherable]. Have now in camp food 1lb per diem per man for 180 days. Hacked the side out of refrigerator etc to try & salve negatives & bared from head to waist probed for same by the mushy ice. The cases which fortunately were zinc lived & soldered & containing the negatives in soldered tins I located submerged beneath 3 feet of mushy ice & practically all were intact. Returning team startled by killer breaking through ice only about 20 yards ahead. 3 seals killed.