Tearing up the Scotia Sea (March 25th)

Making between seven and eleven knots over the ground, Europa is charging up the Scotia Sea, that bit of water ringed by the Cape, the Falklands, South Georgia and the archipelagos of the Peninsula and South Shetlands. We have covered some 200 miles, almost all under sail, in the 26 … 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

Staying the right way up: wind and knots

I have just downloaded the US Sailing Directions to Antarctica, a weighty tome full of dark warnings. The British would call it the Pilot Book, the detailed description of the coastline and sailing conditions of the area. (The Admiralty Pilot is not available electronically and costs at least £60.)  In addition to … Continue reading

Pulchritudinous Pirates Women on tall ships (part 2)

Pirates always excite the imagination, at least the ones on tall ships in the Golden Age. Stevenson’s and Barrie’s fantasies played their part in the popularisation and Johnny Depp has a lot to answer for. Now there’s even International Pirate’s Day. The wicked, bare-breasted, cutlass-wielding woman pirate is an alluring … Continue reading

Feeling seasick: throw up and carry on

I get seasick. Not just a little nauseous, but aggressively, stomach-emptyingly, endlessly sick. I can be seasick in a puddle. Over several thousand sea miles I can grade key trips by their vomit quotient. Top of the list remains Sines to Sines in Portugal when we beat for hours in … Continue reading

Picturing the Far (far) South

There are thousands of pictures about the Far South but many of them are more or less incidental or ‘amateur reportage’. They are stunning because the scenery is amazing, or historically interesting. I wanted to explore how people, particularly women, are present and represented, how we see ‘science being done’ … Continue reading