Fort Point: fit for Westeros

After Yankee Harbour we travelled the six miles to Fort Point on the south easterly side of Greenwich Island. It’s obviously named after its rocks, and it wouldn’t be out of place guarding a strategic river crossing in the Seven Kingdoms.  The rocks are piled up in basalt slabs from … Continue reading

Arrival in Antarctica

I finally recovered from seasickness enough to stand my watch our very last night in the Drake. It was bitterly cold and pitch dark at at 1900 when I went on deck. A big swell was still running, so Europa was pitching and bouncing around. It is hard to take … Continue reading

#AntarcticAlphabet: I is for ice

Ice strains, cracks and sometimes breaks, under the burden, slips and slides, does not stay in place, does not stay still.Glaciers, like poems, appear solid, inevitable, perfect at their heart, but are not. Impermanent ice weathers like epigraphs in the graveyard, words written on the changing world. Rivers flow, scouring … Continue reading

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

Puerto Williams: southernmost city in the world

Puerto Williams sits at the eastern end of the Beagle Channel on the northern coast Isla Navarino, a large island with a toothed mountain range at its heart. It’s very proud of its ‘southernmost city’ tag, despite having less than 3000 residents, and marks Chile’s ownership of the south side … Continue reading

Garibaldi, Pia and the matter of harnesses

The folded, twisted landscape of the southern tip of south America creates ing fjords leading off the Beagle Channel, twisting lines in the rock where the water is still and opaque under the dark sky. The cliffs end in ice, slow rivers coming to a shattered blue and white wall wall. … Continue reading

Hills, glaciers and rain

During the dark hours of 7 March we rounded the corner from the Pacific into the Beagle Channel, and had our first 15 minutes of ocean swell. My notes from the day record all the voyage crew were nervous of seasickness at this early stage: it wasn’t only me. Very … Continue reading