Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

16 articles on this Page

SHIPPING COMMERCE AT CONNAH'S…

DEE SHIPS IN THE STORM. +

HOME-COMING OF MR. AND MRS.…

Advertising

WIRRAL WATER SUPPLY. 0

SHARP PRACTICES AT AUCTION…

Advertising

ARCTIC EXPLORATIONS. +

News
Cite
Share

ARCTIC EXPLORATIONS. + THE RETURN OF MR. JACKSON. INTERESTING STORY. Mr. Frederick G. Jackson, the leader of the Jackson-Harms worth expedition, who left the Thames on Wednesday, July 11th, 1894, for the North Polar regions, arrived at Gravesend on Friday afternoon on board the steam yacht Windward, having with his companions spent three winters in the Arctic. Besides Mr. Jackson himself there were on board Lieutenant Armitage, R.N.R., the astronomer of the expedition; Dr. Koettlitz, the medical officer; Mr. W. S. Bruce, the zoologist; and Messrs. Wilton and Heywood. The Windward left Franz Josef Land on August 6. Mr. Jackson's brother and other friends and a representative of Reuter's Agency met the Windward on her arrival in the river, and hearty cheers were raised as Mr. Jackson and his companions were seen on the bridge of the vessel. They all looked in the best of health, and said they had not had a day's illness during their long stay in the Polar regions. In the course of a long interview with Reuter's representative, Mr. Jackson gave the following account of the expedition:— Having practically completed the explora- tion of Franz Josef Land with the exception of some odd corners, we left Cape Flora on August 6. It was towards evening when we sailed, and before leaving I carefully sealed up Elmwood, which had been our home for three years. With the exception of our luggage, specimens, &c., we left Elmwood just as it had been during our stay. I also left behind for the use of subsequent explorers six tons of coal and anything that I con- sidered might be useful. In the room of our living house I left a quantity of supplies, including tobacco, cheese, and butter, in case Andree should turn up in that region. Of course I did not know of the safety of the Fram until the arrival of the Windward, and I bad established a dep6t on Bell Island in Leigh Smith's old house in case any of Nansen's companions should have gone in that direction. This contains a good supply of provisions, and can be easily found, the house being on a prominent part of the island. After leaving Elmwood we steamed north-west for 50 miles, but saw no indication of land. The water was very open, and there was less ice than I have ever seen before. We landed at Cape Mary Harmsworth for a few hours, and collected some specimens from a low spit projecting beyond the ice-covered cape. This was done with the object of refuting or confirming the opinion I had formed in the spring that Gillis Land had no existence in the position assigned to it on the charts. We then steamed within ten miles of the situation given for the east coast of the Eastern Johannessen Island in very clear weather, but failed to see any land. South of Bear Island we met with bad weather, —persistent head winds and gales—but, thanks to the skilful navigation of Captain Brown and the staunch little Windward, we have reached home safely. Speaking of the work of the expedition since the departure last year of the Windward with Dr. Nansen, Mr. Jackson said We passed the winter (1896-97) very busily, happily, and comfortably. Scientific observations and researches of all kinds were conducted to the utmost extent. On March 16 Mr. Armitage and I left with sledges and two teams, con- sisting of the pony and 13 dogs, to go round Western Franz Josef Land and define its limits. We met with bad weather at the very outset, and found the snow lying deep and soft, with very trappy, rough ice on the western side of the British Channel, up which we laid our course. On March 28 we discovered a new headland and fjord, and on the 29th we rounded the north-east extremity of the western land and proceeded west, having explored all the western shores of the British Channel to the Queen Victoria Sea. The weather continued exceedingly bad, with almost constant gales and driving snow, with temperatures often more than 40deg. below zero, which played havoc with our animals. On April 7 we had lost all but five dogs when north of the head of Cambridge Bay, and on the 10th were forced to take to the high glaciated land, as open water up to the glacier face cut off all advance upon sea ice. On the 12th our pony died, which necessitated leaving behind all equipment not absolutely essential. The weather, at an altitude of 1,500ft., now grew worse than ever, with exceedingly dense and constant mist in addition to gales and driving snow. On the 19th we descended the high glaciated land behind Cape Mary Harms- worth (the land does not extend west of the point, and no land could be seen during the short clear intervals anywhere off the coast) from an altitude of 1,500ft. We crossed over behind Cape Lofley as the sea ice was broken up all along the coast and kept us on the glacier, and found a little fast ice at the head ? A\ eyPrecbt Bay stretching towards Cape Ludlow. On approaching the cape we again met open water, which obliged us to climb the high glaciated land behind the cape. In Wey- precht Bay we left a canoe behind, as we could not get along with it owing to' the bad- ness of the ice. The weather continued excessively bad, and gales of wind gave us no rest. Above Cape Ludlow I shot the only bear we bad seen, which supplied us with meat and blubber for cooking. On the 29th of April we rounded Cape Neale. We encountered exceed- ingly rough ice crushed up against the land. To get along at all we had to avail ourselves of every minute of fine weather offered to us, and frequently marched for 24 hours at a stretch, marching from the time one gale ceased until another began. The rough ice of the sea and the steep inclines of the glaciers forced us for a great part of the journey to go three times over the same ground. I hauled in the traces in front of the five dogs and steered a course while Mr. Armitage whipped them up and shouted at them, and whenever they stopped, which they did at the smallest obstacle, by hauling and tugging started them again. On May 3 we crossed Gray Bay, but on approaching Cape Grant we were again cut off by open water, and had to climb the steep glacier behind, hauling our sledges with a purchase up the glacier face (45ft.), aided by a snowdrift, and descended at the head of the bay to the west of Cape Stephen. On May 5 we reached Bell Island, where we were met by the Doctor Koettlitz, and Messrs. Bruce and Wilton, who had brought a sledge with provisions to look for us, and had got anxious as we were nearly a fortnight overdue. This journey was entirely successful in every way, but had occupied two months. We had only 13 fine days. After staying at Elmwood for 10 days to refit. Mr. Armitage and I started off east, taking with us, however, no canoe or boat, as we could not carry it and go along rapidly. We covered 21 miles in the first day, but on the second, when nearing Cape Cecil Harmsworth (south-east extreme of Hooker Island) the ice became very thin, and when within 400 yards of the cape the sledge broke through, and in spite of our utmost endeavours we lost all our provisions and dog meat, except the food which we had kept for lunch, and all our cartridges were wetted. As we could not reach the shore owing to the very thin ice, which bent down under our ski, we retraced our steps and tried to approach Hooker Island further to the west, with the intention of crossing the glacier to Cape Cecil Harms- worth, to ascend it, and map in the neighbour- hood of Brady Island from there. But when- ever we approached Hooker Island very thin ice stopped us, and our advance east also being cut off we returned. There was open water visible in many directions, and the ice generally was remarkably thin. Owing to the loss of our provisions we were compelled to march for 25i hours consecutively, and in that time covered 42 miles, completing the 20 miles back to Elmwood the next day." In the course of this journey Mr. Jackson solved a most interestingjgeographical problem. For he not only determined the northern coasts of Franz Josef Land hitherto absolutely unknown-but he has also been able to decide the much vexed problem of Gillis Land. Proceeding to give details of the explorer's daily life in the Arctic, Mr. Jackson said "Not one of our party has had a minute's illness since we left England, even a jollier, healthier, and busier little community never existed. Every minute of our time was occupied; even during the long Arctic winters time never hung heavily on our hands. Although there were several houses at Elmwood soon after our arrival in Franz Joseph Land, we found that the canvas houses were quite unsuitable to live in, and so we all lived together in the Russian log-house. In the Arctic the sun sets for the last time about the middle of October, and is not again visible until the third week in Feb- ruary. During those long four months our days were spent as follows: We break- fasted at 8.30, after which we performed our household duties, sweeping up, washing and attending to the dogs. After that we all went for a run on ski, or, when the weather was so bad as to prevent this, took exercise round the house. Returning in two or three hours we set to work on any jobs that were in hRnd, such as the making of tents, of which we completed two last winter, the repairing and manufacture of fresh sledge harness for the dogs, and any- thing else that was wanted. We dropped having lunch, but at two o'clock we had tea, bread and butter, and cheese. At 7.30 we dined, and till 11.30, when we turned in for the night, amused ourselves with reading and smoking. It may be interesting to persons other than Arctic men to know that from the date of the disappearance of the sun until the second week in November there is a period of two or three hours' twilight in the middle of the day. From November till February mid-day and mid-night are practically alike. During the whole of our stay in Franz Josef Land we always had plenty of provisions. We practically lived on loon, an Arctic bird, of which I shot no fewer than 1,400 last autumn and froze for the winter. Last autumn I set free 10 loon and 22 kittiwakes, to each of which I attached a copper label marked with the letter I J.' It will be a matter of great interest if any of these are shot in Norway, the north of Scotland, or elsewhere, as it will indicate the place to which these birds migrate for the winter. "On the whole, last winter was mild for the Arctic. The thermometer registered as low as 48 deg. below zero, but on occasions jumped to 20 deg. Of course we had to exercise the greatest care not to expose ourselves unneces- sarily, and with the exception of the eyes we were always completely covered. We did our best to remember those occasions which are dear to Britishers all over the world, and on the Queen's birthday we, the most northern British community in the world, drank the toast of the' Queen, God bless her,' in our last bottle of wine." On the question of reaching the North Pole, Mr. Jackson said While I have no sympathy with anybody who by a mere athletic feat tries to reach the Pole, I am certain that in spite of any assertion to the contrary, the desire to attain that point lies deep in the heart of every Arctic explorer. I still think it is possible to do so, but no matter what plans are adopted, the difficulties must be enormous. When I left England my idea of reaching the Pole was based upon existing maps and the belief which was shared by most Arctic experts that land reached still farther north. As a result of this expedition, I believe that the possibility of reaching the Pole by way of Franz Josef Land is more than doubtful. We have, in my opinion, established the non-exist- ence of Gillis Land in the longitude assigned to it. The existence of Petermannland is doubtful; certainly there is no land of any extent there. We, like Nansen, failed to see King Oscar Land. We have obtained pretty good evidence that no land exists to the north- west of Franz Josef Land, the ice being carried away in such a manner as to indicate the non- existence of land of any consequence in that direction. It has been satisfactorily proved that there is no land north of 82 deg. Natur- ally all this completely changed my ideas of reaching the Pole, but yet I think had I re- mained another year in the Arctic I should have made a shot at it. I have returned with 'I tine inrention ot running another expedition entirely on my own account, but my plans are not yet formulated. I think, however, if I were to attempt to reach the Pole by means of sledges I should go either by way of North Grinnell Land or North Greenland. Nansen's idea of reaching the Pole by drifting north from Behring Straits is, of course, feasible, especially considering the success of his expedition. I am not a balloonist, and that method of reaching the Pole never entered into my calculations, but I see nothing to prevent Andree, with good luck, from accomplishing his project. I have seen or heard nothing of Andree, and it is quite im- possible for anyone to say where he is likely to be. In conclusion, as to the success of the expe- dition I must leave others to judge. Any success we have achieved is due entirely to the hearty co-operation of my companions, who all worked to the utmost of their power. Captain Browne, by his careful and skilful work has established a record in Arctic navigation, and the officers and crew of the Windward all worked with a will."

REMARKABLE RECOVERY FROM A…

[No title]

Advertising

Literarg Notices,

. A WELSH 'FRAME' HORSE. ♦

LADY CYCLISTS IN RATIONALS.…

BREWSTER SESSIONS. +

Advertising