26-31 October, 1921 – Cape Verde Islands

Wednesday 26 October, 1921

In the afternoon, Quest arrives at St Vincent, Cape Verde Islands and sets about coaling.

Quest at St Vincent, lying next to an 80 year old whaler

Wilkins writes to his mother: “Owing to the ship being so much out of repair there is so much to do that it leaves us very little time for letter writing. We called at Madeira last week and I went into the country collecting birds, insects, plants, etc and in consequence had no time to write any letters at all.

..The delay at Rio will probably mean three weeks or another month and this will mean altering our programs, not reaching Cape Town until March or April next year instead of December of this year. One can never tell on expeditions just what one can do ahead. You can only make plans as the opportunity occurs.

I am not very much impressed with Sir Ernest’s leadership. He is far less competent that Stefansson and not such a big-minded a man. He cares only for newspaper notices and money while Stefansson besides that does really wish to do some scientific work

Thursday 27 October, 1921

A farewell dinner is held for “temporary helmsman” Gerald Lysaght who will be returning to England, having already stayed with the expedition longer than planned.

Shackleton writes a poem for his friend containing the lines:
“You have seen the force of the gale fierce as a thresher’s flail
Beat the sea white.
You have watched our reeling spars sweep past the steady stars
In the storm wracked night

Friday 28 October, 1921

7.00 am: Gerald Lysaght, the Quest’s “temporary helmsman”, boards RMSP Arlanza to return to England.

Saturday 29 October, 1921

18.10: Quest heaves anchor and leaves St Vincent, heading for Rio de Janeiro.

Sunday 30 October 1921

Sunday 30 October

Quest’s engines are running more smoothly but the coal loaded at St Vincent is poor quality and steam is hard to build, so the going is still very slow. At least the seas are calm.