THE OUTFITTING AND VOYAGE TO WRANGEL 113
sewing is needed only for skin boats and waterproof
sealskin boots. But there is another sewing almost as
difficult to acquire and quite as necessary—that of the
warm, soft and pliable skin clothes that keep out the
winter cold. It is possible to dress in silk, cotton or
en clothing, if one wants to follow such methods as
have been used in the Antarctic by Scott and Shackleton.
But no one will do that if he has the chance of Eskimo
clothing, for it is apparently not possible to be thoroughly
comfortable at all in the antarctic clothing, and the suits
actually used have weighed about double. 3 The best sort
of Eskimo suit, complete with outer and inner garments
from top to toe, will weigh about ten pounds, where a
corresponding antarctic outfit of wool, silk and Burberry
goes to twenty or more pounds.
It is impractical under ordinary circumstances to take
Eskimos on expeditions otherwise than in entire families.
Almost any Eskimo man might be willing to engage him-
self for a year’s job in a mining camp or on a whaling
ship, relying, perhaps somewhat reluctantly, upon Euro-
pean or American clothes. But for a residence in an
island like Wrangel it would be almost impossible to
engage an Eskimo man unless he knew that there would
be women along to do suitable sewing.
With these ideas clearly in mind, the Wrangel party
tried to engage at Nome some Eskimo families, and did
so actually. But when the time came to sail there arrived
at the boat landing only the Eskimo woman, Ada Black-
jack, who had been expecting to go along as a member of
3For a description of the troubles of polar explorers who did not use Eskimo
clothes, or who did not understand how clothes can be kept dry in winter, see
Nansen, “Farthest North,” Vol. II, pp. 142, 145-6, and Shackleton, “Heart of the
Antarctic,” Vol. I, p. 340. A summary of the difficulties of explorers with their
winter clothing and of the modern methods for avoiding them is also found in
“The Friendly Arctic.” See index of that book.
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