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Spinning Yarn:
Tales of Antarctica

Balance – that is what the aSpinning Yarn|Siren Callncients 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 mind.

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 is -30°C.

So --- Who wants to go? Sir Ernest Shackleton was said to have placed an ad in the paper:


Sponning Yarn|Shackleton Ad“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.”
 

Thousands applied.

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….

 

SpinningYarn|Otago Daily Pic[

Photo Courtesy
OTAGO DAILY TIMES, New Zealand

 

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