The barometer at noon on December 24 stood at 30.18 in., which is not veryhigh in this region. All the ice was in our favour, and the average speed wasabout 6.5 knots. We had run about 350 miles in fifty hours. About 11 a.m. onDecember 25 there was a slight breeze from the N.E., with thin snow-flurries,and the weather became clearer. A little after noon the gale settled intoa south-easterly wind with fine weather, and by 2 p.m. we had run offour and a half miles. The pack was still in the same places as on December 21,but the lanes were wider, and the ice was so much softer that the shiphad to be handled more cautiously. The gale moderated to a zephyr, and weturned south-east at 4.30 p.m. to take advantage of the tail-wind to gain moredistance to our credit. Altogether we made a gain of 60 miles on the twenty-firstand twenty-fourth, and made the first bee-line south to the position of thecamp. I wanted to get as far south as we could before the pack closed. At9.50 p.m. on December 25 we found ourselves in lat. 74° 23´ S., long.20° 06´ E., the magnetic meridian being 74° 24´ E. We had run about 150miles to our credit, and had gained twenty-six hours. The result of the day wasfive bergs and a Weddell whale. The stranding of the Weddell on the 23rd showedthat the pack was not as strong as we imagined, and it proved that thetemperature had been somewhat influenced by our progress through the pack. Theair was still very cold, but the temperature in the interior of the Weddel wascomparatively high. The fast-ice obtained by placing the metal man in thestern of the ship and releasing him when the ice was loose, broke awayin a few minutes.
On December 26 we were still steaming north-east, but the breeze wasincreasing in force, and the cold was worse. Two bergs came close alongside,and the dog-watchmen claimed a Walrus and a Weddell. The pack was veryopen, and I was able to make a speed of 9.5 knots in a light wind, withvery thin ice.
A sharp lookout was kept during the night, but there were no leads. At 2 a.m.the lookout reported a black berg about a mile to the east of our track. It layin the surface water, and was covered with snow. It was cold, and the temperature wasdown to below zero. It was evidently the pack-ice of a previous year, as wewere not able to make near it. It was very high, and no snow was visible.
The wind freshened during the afternoon and night, and we made goodweather of it. It was now rather feeble, and the barometer was falling. Wehad therefore to be rather careful in the management of the ship. The afternoonof the 12th was fine, with light variable cloud about the horizon. There was avery small westerly swell, and we made progress both to the north-east andsouth-east. There were very few leads, and the pack-ice extended over a verygreat area. At about 5 p.m. we were bearing south-west by south. The afternoonand night were quiet and fine, but we had no good leads. The weather had beenfavourable, and had continued so. We had not made more than six miles to northeasterly. The barometer was falling, and the forecasters were not too sureabout the weather. At midnight the barometer had fallen to 29.58 in. Haze wasappearing in the N.E., and the wind had freshened to about a souwesterly breeze with a clear sky. There was a slight haze, and the weatherwas not very clear. According to the forecasters, the temperature had fallen toabout 32° F., and a high was expected in the morning. The weather was calm,but was likely to become rough later in the day. 827ec27edc