#AntarcticAlphabet: H is for home

Home is where the heart is, where we hope and plan, even dream. Not-home, elsewhere, is transition, a coming or a going, a place whose future is not our business. Almost every building we’ve seen since Puerto Williams has been ugly, bases and settlements of corrugated metal, old machinery and … Continue reading

#AntarcticAlphabet: G is for geography

The map is not the geography. Its presentation, our knowledge, is always partial, biased and incomplete, in the process of becoming. We measure the unknown on maps, progress towards a new geography. Our inching forwards (or backwards) takes us to a new place, or an old place seen again for … Continue reading

#AntarcticAlphabet: F is for fur

Fur sealers were first. Cook sent back reports of the millions of seals to be found in South Georgia and immediately they came. When Larson began industrial whaling he named his base Grytviken, Pot Cove, for the old cauldrons littering the beach, remnants of the seals melted for blubber. Mostly, … Continue reading

#AntarcticAlphabet: E is for Europe/Europa

Europa is named after a young princess for whom Zeus, as was his habit, felt an overwhelming desire. He turned himself into a white bull and behaved so sweetly she climbed on his back. He plunged into the ocean and carried her across the sea to Crete. One of the … Continue reading

#Antarctic Alphabet: D is for Degrees

Degrees: on Sunday we reached our furthest south. My screenshot chart records us at 64 degrees, 12.518 minutes. Beyond us ice stretches for thousands of kilometres, to 90 south and as far again beyond. Degrees of longitude and latitude locate us with precision, pin us to the planet. Long before … Continue reading

A is for: an #antarcticalphabet

Antarctica lies hidden behind the cold-current fringes of the Southern Ocean, ancient lands shrouded in white and blue. Sleeping Beauty, bramble-fenced, breathing in rhythm with the tick of the clock, awaits the destined prince. Cold, storied emblems of passivity and pride. Amundsen and Shackleton have come and gone though Scott remained, … Continue reading