National Geographic : 1896 Oct
THE NANSEN POLAR EXPEDITION 380 fathoms, below which it is again cold. This may, possibly, be owing to the Gulf stream. There was a great dearth of organic life, none whatever being found in the greater ocean depths, and no signs of animal life in the higher latitudes, excepting an occa sional migratory bird, so that the idea of organic life prevailing in the upper regions about the Pole is erroneous. While many contend that Nansen's theory of a Polar current flowing across the Pole on to the east coast of Greenland seems to have been correct, there are strong arguments against it, and Sverdrup, who was in command of the Fram when she made her most northerly record, seems to think that there is no regular current, but that the movements of the ice masses are mainly governed by the winds. On the other hand, from a look at the chart showing the entire drift of the Fram, there would seem to be a reasonable probability that if the Fram had taken the course originally intended by Nansen, viz., had gone farther to the east ward and entered the ice-fields to the northeast of the New Sibe rian islands instead of the northwest, she might have drifted farther north, if not over the Pole itself. However that may be, it is said that Dr Nansen himself has stated that should he undertake another expedition in that direction it would not be by means of a ship, but with sleds, kayaks, and dogs, with Franz Josef land as a starting-point, and depending mainly on the re sources of the regions about him for subsistence. Whatever may be thought of the wisdom and usefulness of such expeditions, all must admire the superior courage of these two Norwegians, and especially Dr Nansen, who, fully appreci ating the full extent of the deadly perils they were to encounter, had also the sagacity and ability to foresee and prepare for almost the minutest details of their undertaking. The fact of these men, after having passed through the terrible rigors of two Arctic winters, stepping over the side of their sheltering ship into the unknown wastes of this high latitude, with no expectation of rejoining her there, and marching with their dogs straight into the terrible north, required an amount of splendid courage im possible to excel; and that they were able to live through fifteen months of these conditions shows a physical superiority as great as their daring, in which, no doubt, their well-known abilities as sportsmen and athletes was a very important factor.