Northward: Peary’s 1908-09 Expedition

Strange emotions

After dinner today we started on a boat trip to Littleton Island to determine condition of the ice in Kane Basin. Party composed of Captain, George, Bob, Inughito and myself. We were scarcely out of sight of the vessel when we began to shoot eider ducks, female (Somateria mollissima borealis) and we continued shooting until we got back. With strange emotions I stepped on Littleton Island where Dr. Kane in 1853 built his first cairn, hoisted the American flag and cheered as it snapped in the wind. This is also the island where Greeley hoped to find provisions, promised by the United States Government, and toward which he directed all his energy. Across the Sound in plain sight fifteen of his companions died of starvation.
    As we neared the shore McGary's Island just outside of Littleton we were astounded at the number of aucks which rose from its shores. Walking over the Island we found it to be the breeding place of the arctic aucks, hundreds and hundreds of nests every where, some still filled with the down from the mother's breast.
    In a few nests we found eggs, still warm, also young ones. Beneath piles of rocks we discovered hundreds of eggs which had been collected by the Esquimaux for future use. These we tried boiled and found them delicious. We killed about a hundred ducks here. "Boiled the kettle", had tea and crackers and endeavored to get some sleep on the rocks.

Adolphus Greeley: First-Lieutenant Adolphus Greeley commanded the Lady Franklin Bay expedition to the Arctic from 1881 until the party's rescue in 1884. Out of the 25 original expedition members, only 7 survived. 

 

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