Stamps in my passport: marking territories and staking claims

Antarctica has no borders. It is a shared space, a place of peace and science. Those institutions which impose borders shelved them in 1957, and the first three articles of the Antarctic Treaty commit all signatories to peace, science and collaboration. It was fitting therefore that the artists Lucy and … Continue reading

Making places in Antarctica: history, science, and territories

I’ve commented before that so many human-made places in the far South are ugly buildings sitting in magnificent landscapes. We called at Esperanza station in Hope Bay, on the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula: it’s a busy research base and a stamp of Argentina’s territorial claims, a scatter of red corrugated … Continue reading

Fog and fur seals

Europa entered the islands of South Georgia on Monday after an astonishing run from Elephant Island. We sailed all of it in a kind, steady 25-35 knots westerly to northwesterly, sometimes with a steep swell, averaging over 170 nautical miles every 24 hours. Most often, ships head for the north/east … Continue reading

Penguins and elephants

Yesterday, Tuesday, we visited Penguin Island – the one just south of King George Island back in the South Shetlands. There are several others, dating from the times when penguins were a handy food source for sailors, marked as a place to refill your hold with salted meat. This one … Continue reading

The invisible Swedes: determination, survival and good timing

The northern part of the Weddell Sea is called the Erebus and Terror Gulf. Over a decade before Shackleton came here in Endurance, it earned the second part of its name. Otto Nordenskjold was a Swede (and Finnish too). Inspired by the discoveries of the south he put together a … Continue reading