National Geographic : 1936 Jul
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE ing the wall. Both were partly filled with snow that had sifted in. How good it seemed after 22 days to find ourselves enclosed by four walls, in a place where we could sleep to our hearts' content, undistressed by the perpetual day light glare from the snow which had so disturbed our rest since leaving the Wyatt Earp! Next day we went on a foraging expedi tion: found two sacks of coal and half a drum of fuel for our primus stove, which we used for cooking; also a sack of hard tack and a can of bully beef partly buried in the snow. LITTLE AMERICA OFFERS SILENT HOSPITALITY We dug a shaft and made steps in the side of it so that we could get in and out of the door of the shack without having to enter through the skylight. We found other skylights and were able to assemble an en joyable assortment of odds and ends-such as flour, jams, and sauces. Then we settled down to await the arrival of the Wyatt Earp, whenever that might be. One morning about two weeks later when I awoke, Kenyon already was at the stove cooking oatmeal. "I hope they won't bother us for at least another week," he said. We certainly were grateful to Byrd for the sustenance we found at Little America, because our own supplies would not have held out longer than three weeks. With the additional supplies we found there, we could have lived three months. Besides, there were many seals on the bay ice. We were short of coal and fuel for our primus stove. When we were found we were on the last sack of coal, and only a quarter of a drum of fuel for our primus remained of what we had found in Little America. I recalled Byrd's willingness to help us out with radio weather reports the year previous when he sent us two daily over a period of two months. I have repeatedly been asked since re turning why we did not use the radio equip ment left at Little America. There was no radio equipment of any kind left there. To live there, our daily routine was as follows: Supper around 9 p. m.; in our sleeping bags until 3 or 4 p. m. the following day; a light meal, possibly oatmeal with raisins and tea; clean up cabin; maybe wash up dishes, depending upon how clean they were left from the previous meal; melt snow for the evening meal. Then I would walk six miles to the mouth of the Bay of Whales to look out to sea for the Wyatt Earp; return home generally to find Kenyon had opened the skylight of another cabin and found an other sack of coal, or more Worcestershire sauce, or marmalade, cans of tobacco, or magazines. January 15 will forever remain mem orable in the minds of Kenyon and me. It was 10 p. m. I was awakened from a sound sleep to see Kenyon standing over me with a note in his hand. "Read it," he said, nonchalantly. "It's probably from Wilkins." "Wilkins!" I excitedly replied. "Is he here?" "No," he said, "but it has just dropped." Kenyon had heard the roar of a motor overhead, although our dugout home was 15 feet beneath the surface of the snow. He had crawled up the shaft leading to the surface above in time to see a parachute de scending through the enshrouding fog which had enveloped us for two weeks. We opened the parcel delivered by para chute and in amazement spread its contents out on the table-packages of chocolate, raisins, and a can of very sweet, highly con centrated orange syrup, which we promptly drank undiluted. It almost made us ill. AN INVITATION DROPS FROM THE SKIES This note was from Captain Hill of the Royal Research ship Discovery II, and re quested us to march until we met some of his men whom he was sending ashore. Within ten days after the failure of our radio a relief expedition had been set in motion at the suggestion of the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Austra lia, a suggestion which was promptly sec onded by the Governments of the United Kingdom and New Zealand. The Discov ery II, then carrying out whaling investi gations in the south, was summoned post haste to Melbourne to be loaded with sup plies for an exhaustive search by both land and air if this should prove necessary. Carrying two airplanes, flyers of the Royal Australian Air Force, sledges, and extra rations for long marches over the ice, the Discovery II left Melbourne for Dun edin and the Bay of Whales just one month from the day we started our flight.