Tales of Antarctica
Balance – that is what the ancients thought. If there is an Arctic on the top of the world, then
surely there should be a correspondingly cold place at the bottom? What would it look like? How would we travel there? Who is brave enough?
We know now that Antarctica is larger than Europe, larger that Australia and larger than the USA.
Surrounded by stormy Oceans, the continent is accessible only in Summer. Seasonally, the ocean ice Antarctica
varies from 2.6 million square miles in Summer (December, January, February) to 18 million square miles in Winter
(June , July, August).
The Ice elevates Antarctica to the great maximum height of 4100 m, the average being 2300m.
This is the world’s supply of Fresh water – up to 90% frozen solid! This ice covers almost the whole continent of
Antarctica – there is only 2% of land exposed.
Antarctica is volcanic in nature. There are plenty of granite boulders, mysterious dry valleys and
fossil evidence of a more temperate era. Investigating this s is one of the projects Sir Douglas Mawson had in
Antarctica Temperatures can range from the frozen interior in
winter at -50°C (lowest ever recorded was -89°C) to the more reasonable coastal areas where the winter temperature
So --- Who wants to go? Sir Ernest Shackleton was said to have placed an ad in the paper:
“Men wanted for hazardous journey.
Small wages, bitter cold,
long months of complete darkness,
constant danger, safe return doubtful.
Honour and recognition in case of success.”
Today, the ships are no longer wooden, the pace is no longer slow, the map is no longer uncertain. What is
certain is the treacherousness of the Ice, the unchanged bitter cold, the bone-chilling wind …..
…..and the siren call of the ice….