Antarctica Adventure - 2002

complain of anything this evening as the sky was blue and resplendent with clear and glowing light playing on the ice and snow and picking out every texture in rocks and ash and buildings. The stations were kept so neatly that the ground around the buildings could stand the scrutinizing stares we sent in their direction. No human detritus lying about. Antarctica looked pristine in the miraculous light. Day 9 After a very stormy night in the Antarctic Sound where the Weddell Sea and the Southern Ocean clash and blend in a small area just at the top of the Antarctic Peninsula, we awoke to mixed skies with cold temperatures. The wind and the waves had been strong and the boat rocked quite a bit. The morning did not look too promising for Zodiac landings and indeed it was not. P AULET I SLAND The first try was at Paulet Island one of the spots that Shackleton had hoped to reach when he and his men first took the lifeboats but both wind and waves precluded a landing. Probably all of us aboard were secretly relieved since the weather looked particularly foul outside our warm cabins. So our resourceful captain turned the ship and cruised back down the Peninsula towards Vega and/or Devil Island hoping for an after lunch landing. Lunch was particularly good as we had our favorite American fare hamburgers and fries with a most delicious catsup! However, whereas the anchor wouldn’t hold at Paulet, the winds were the preventive at Devil and Vega and much too strong to allow the Zodiacs to operate safely. However, we were shown Cape Well-Met where two parties of Nordenskjold’s 1903 expedition found each other after having been separated for weeks without either group have any idea where the other one was. It has to be one of the more freakishly accidental meetings in exploration history anywhere. There was also a third party trying to survive on its own too and eventually, all three groups met but not as strange as this “Dr. Livingston, I presume” type encounter. On Devil Island, our experts pointed out a medial moraine; these are very unusual in Antarctica. We had already been instructed about lateral and terminal moraines but this was our first look at this third variety. Moraines are the piles of rubble that glaciers push around them as they bulldoze their way through the terrain on which they flow. So the terms are descriptive of where the pile sits in relation to the glacier’s flow.


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