Saturday 17 September, 1921 – the day of departure
On the Quest, at St Katharine Docks, the Union Jack presented by The King and Queen is hoisted by Scouts Marr and Mooney, watched by John Quiller Rowett. At 12.30 the order is given for friends and visitors to disembark.
At 1.00pm, Sir Ernest Shackleton, “The Boss”, wearing a blue lounge-suit, gives the order “Cast off” and Quest departs St Katharine Docks, guided by the tug Adder. She turns upstream and passes through Tower Bridge before turning by London Bridge and then heading back downstream on the north (Tower) bank and away, under the on-board guidance of a Thames pilot.
7.00 pm – Quest anchors off Gravesend. John Quiller Rowett and Shackleton both disembark and return to London. Meanwhile, the Quest crew set to work to better store and secure much of the equipment and provisions that were late to be loaded, including aviation fuel for the seaplane, particularly as rough weather is forecast for the trip around North Foreland and into The Channel.