On 29 March 1912, today exactly 107 years ago, Captain Robert F. Scott made his last entry in his diary. He wrote the following:
“Every day we have been ready to start for our depot 11 miles away, but outside the door of our tent it remains a scene of whirling drift. I do not think we can hope for any better things now. We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker, of course, and the end cannot be far. It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write any more.
For God’s sake look after our people.”
He was on his way back from his successful attempt to reach the South Pole, however, he was beaten by Roald Amundsen by a few weeks. He and his men died most likely shortly after, only 17 kilometres from the next food depot and 160 kilometres from their home base at Cape Evans. Two years ago I had the privilege to visit his hut at Cape Evans, Ross’ Sea, Antarctica. It is a bit like walking into a time capsule. The hut has been restored in the original state and all artefacts are at the place where they were (or at least could have been) when Scott’s men were walking around. The hut is one of the largest of the explorers’ huts and had enough space for all men and even the ponies they took with them. With the temperatures below freezing for most of the year (if not all year), even the seal and penguin skins they had left were still intact, with a small pool of blubber underneath. It really looked like Captain Scott could open the door and come in at any moment. If only that blizzard would have come one day later…