Monday, December 24, 2012


I just happened to be reading a book about the history of the U.S. merchant ships and sailors. In one of the chapters there the author writes about Arctic explorers. Including the ill fated  Greely Expedition.

 "In 1881, 25 men led by Adolphus Greely set sail from Newfoundland to Lady Franklin Bay in the high Arctic, where they planned to collect a wealth of scientific data from a vast area of the world’s surface that had been described as a "sheer blank." Three years later, only six survivors returned, with a daunting story of shipwreck, starvation, mutiny and cannibalism." - American Experience-The Greely Expedition

The book had a section from Greely's diary about what Christmas was like on their expedition as the supplies began to run low:

"Our breakfast was a thin pea-soup, with seal blubber, and a small quantity of preserved potatoes. Later two cans of cloudberries were served to each mess, and at half-past one o'clock Long and Frederick commenced cooking dinner, which consisted of a seal stew, containing seal blubber, preserved potatoes and bread, flavored with pickled onions; then came a kind of rice pudding, with raisins, seal blubber, and condensed milk. Afterward we had chocolate, followed later by a kind of punch made of a gill of rum and a quarter of a lemon to each man.... Everybody was required to sing a song or tell a story, and pleasant conversation with the expression of kindly feelings, was kept up until midnight." -Aldolphus Greely

So as you gather around the table this Christmas appreciate what you have and enjoy it and the day to the max. As the men of the Greely expedition did over one hundred years ago in the Arctic.

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