Tag Archives: dogs

‘The Blinding Sea’, documentary film by George Tombs

5 Mar

My attention has been drawn to this film, (which is due for release this month), by the Canadian writer and film maker, George Tombs.  The work emphasises how Amundsen was extremely well versed  in dealing with Polar conditions, well before his attempt on the Pole in 1911. He  lived with and learnt from the Inuits. He understood how to manage dog teams, when to kill weaker dogs and importantly how to ward off scurvy by eating meat regularly as well as undigested seaweed from the intestines of slaughtered seals. Amundsen’s recognition  and appreciation of Inuit skills stood him in good stead in the Antarctic. They apparently thought of him as ‘one of their own’.

These were skills that  Scott had no opportunity to learn. Although diligent in acquiring every piece of information and technical advance, his time was completely taken up  between 1904 and 1909 with his naval career (and supporting his mother and sisters). There was no space for exploration. The fact that he did not take dogs onto the glacier and plateau in 1911 contributed significantly to the final tragic outcome.

Scott’s last expedition. One hundred years ago to-day.

24 Nov

Scott’s party of sixteen were progressing over the Ross ice barrier. It was snowing a little, but soon bands of blue sky soon broke through. The snow surface was tiring, at each step the men broke through by two or three inches. The first pony was shot providing food for 20 dogs. As planned, Day and Hooper turned for home, their work done. The mood was cautiously optimistic. Scott wrote, ‘I feel we ought to get through now’.