On the Floes main content.

On the Floes

Part of the Shackleton exhibition.

"Magnificent day, the finest since leaving South Georgia."

- Frank Hurley, Diary


On January 14, 1915, only days before disaster struck, Antarctica presented the men with a day of special majesty, preserved in the diary keepers' words and Frank Hurley's photographs. "Chippy" McNish, the gruff carpenter, was less impressed.

"14 January, 1915. Tied up all day to the floe ice.... The heavy pressure ice, gleaming in the sunshine with its deep blue shadows, was one of the finest sights I ever beheld in the South. This ice was...tossed, broken & crushed. Great pressure ridges thrown up 15 to 20 feet in height bear evidence of the terrific force & pressure of the ice in these latitudes." - Frank Hurley, Diary


"1-14-15 I was up in the crow's nest this afternoon with Sir Ernest.... The view was wonderful and extensive, but tremendous pressure pack everywhere seemed to hem us in on every side. It has been a perfectly glorious day, a real Swiss winter day, dead calm, temperature about 20 degrees (12 degrees of frost only) and the most perfect blue sky and bright sunshine." - Thomas Orde-Lees, Diary

"Thursday 14th Lat 74.11 S Long 26.20 W Temp 25 still in the floe." - Henry "Chippy" McNish, Diary