The Cruise of the ‘Antarctic’ to the South Polar Regions.

Essentially a Norwegian/English whaling and sealing expedition in which the crew suffered no major deprivations or hardships other than hurricanes around the Kerguélens where the ship chiefly spent the ‘summer’ of 1893-94 before returning to Melbourne. The first part of the expedition made catches of £3000 pounds in value, but an intermediate voyage during the winter to the Campbell Islands almost wrecked the ship [Bull was back in Australia] and repairs ate up all the profits.

p. 10: A ridiculous scene occurred on the first occasion when he entered his own vessel, and presented the manifest of his own composition at the Custom House. The jealous brokers around him suggested that it was not written by himself, and he was therefore asked by the officials to read it

aloud. Keenly feeling the insult, he ‘sang out’ the manifest in such stentorian French that no work could proceed in the whole Custom House, and the officials had to beg of him to kindly desist, as there could be no further doubt as to his perfect mastery of the language.

p. 53: The rapidity with which these [Kerguelen hurricanes] arise, and their incredible violence, are described so graphically in the reports by Sir James Ross and others that we had no excuse for being unprepared. The books of sailing directions are also full of warnings in this respect. As an illustration of the force of the wind, it will be remembered that one of Ross’s men was lifted bodily off his feet and blown into the water during a squall; whilst it was at times necessary for the men ashore to lie down flat to avoid being similarly carried expense in preparing for the Antarctic visit of 1894-95.

p. 102: It is difficult to know whether I should laugh or cry on reading the Captain’s [Borchgrevink]story of the voyage: when the vessel is wrecked under his leadership, and the seas to which I have directed

him are swarming with Right whales, which he cannot reach on account of his own mistakes, this is the moment which he thinks suitable for

an attack on the sanguine manager, ‘who knows little about whaling, either in Southern or any other waters.’

p. 105: The Geographical Society [Australia] assisted me with the loan of charts and books, offered us the loan of instruments….

p. 107-08, Borchgrevink joined the later expedition and as elsewhere is regarded as a spoiled malingerer: [He] studied my library of books relating to Antarctic exploration, of which he was utterly ignorant on joining; and altogether he occupied a position of ease, leisure, and freedom from anxiety and responsibility, unparalleled by that of anyone else on board…. I supplied him with the very books and papers on which his notes were made, all with the greatest pleasure. But for subsequent events, I should be ashamed to enumerate the various ways in which I tried to show Mr. Borchgrevink the regard due to one gentleman from another.

[Curiously, the Antarctic was imprisoned in the ice in late Dec 1894 (cf. Endurance) but released into clear water on January 15 1895. Book ends with a judicious chapter on the results of the expedition.]

p. 204: One of the sailors is to-day reported ill. After much consultation of medical hand-books, we diagnose his ailment as ‘ melancholia.’ His work in the engine-room has no doubt had a bad effect on him, but, with his twenty-one years, we hope for a speedy improvement.