National Geographic : 1956 Jan
The National Geographic Magazine it hit a rock, it exploded in sparkling foam. Then it formed again and continued its roar ing run toward us. Now it was on us; we could do nothing because it all happened too fast. The wave lifted the motorboat and turned it over, throw ing four men and twenty boxes of rations into the freezing water. It reached for a 22-ton steel cable roll dangling 15 feet above sea level and swallowed it in a gulp. Then it was gone, leaving our anchored ship dancing as if on a stormy sea. A glacier, Eqip Sermia, had calved. Three miles away and 90 seconds before, a mass of ice had broken off and sent this towering wave that welcomed us with a mighty slap. "A pretty good start," Robert Guillard, chief of transport, observed with a wry grin. But now the supplies came ashore quickly -90 tons of dehydrated food and surgical instruments, typewriter ribbons and snow ve hicles, glue and seismographs, mustard and sextants, a few bottles of champagne for birthdays, spare lenses for spectacles, and al most anything else you can name. Beachhead on a Forbidding Shore The crates were painted in bright colors, each color representing a particular branch of the expedition's program. In addition, the cases bore red, green, or blue stripes indicat ing their importance: red for essential, blue for useful, green for desirable. We set up Camp I at Port Victor-as my comrades called our landing place-on a rock platform some 140 feet above sea level. To carry our tons of equipment up the slope, we strung a cable with a winch for power.