stefansson-wrangel-09-30-007-003

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3

important to start by the first daylight after the midwinter darkness so
as to have the advantage of the low temperatures which then prevail for
cementing quickly together the ice that is broken now and again by the
gales.

STEFANSSON TAKEN ILL

Five days later, on January 9th, when the preparations were nearly
completed, an Indian messenger arrived from the east, bringing a letter
from the Commander saying he had been taken ill at the Mackenzie and now
was in bed at Herschel Island, to which place he requested me to come
immediately.

So, leaving the remaining work again in the care of Captain Hadley, I
started for Herschel Island, where I arrived on January 24th, finding the
Commander in bed and suffering from the latter stages of typhoid fever,
from which disease, by the account of himself and others, he was getting
better but he was still a pretty sick man. Immediately on my arrival he
was anxious to talk about the affairs of the expedition and commenced
asking how the work of preparing our equipment was progressing and discus-
sing our plans for the proposed work, which had been to start north from
Cross Island at north latitude 70.5°, west longitude 148°, with all our
available force of men, sleds and dogs, and proceed to north latitude 75°
or 76° , thence on a great circle course west towards Wrangel Island or
Siberia.* This, I now was told, was not the thing for us to do, as the
Commander had received information while up the Mackenzie that the Nor-
wegian explorer. Captain Amundsen, and the American, Captain Bartlett,
each on his separate expedition, intended with their ships to go into
the ice somewhere to the north or west of Point Barrow and try to drift
with the current across the Polar Basin. This meant that they would
explore the territory through which we intended to go to Wrangel Island,
and, as our object on the Canadian Arctic Expedition was to acquire as

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* To understand Storkerson's discussion here, consult the large map
published with "The Friendly Arctic" or any large map of the arctic regions.

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