I've been thinking about Antarctica
- and not (just) because it is so hot here, and has been for months.
Many New Zealanders have a strong sense of connection to Antarctica.
Growing up in Christchurch, we had a keen awareness of the US base
adjacent to Christchurch airport, where Americans came in large
numbers in (our) spring, to prepare for their summers on the ice.
Operation Deep Freeze began in 1955, and continues today.
I remember seeing the huge Air Force Globemasters when I was young,
and being taken to visit the Antarctic wing at the Christchurch museum.
A statue of Sir Robert Falcon Scott stood in the city, commemorating his death in 1912,
while he was returning from his journey to the South Pole.
Sadly, it was one of the many monuments and statues which was toppled by the
earthquake in 2011.
In 1979 we lived near the airport, and another strong memory is of lying awake for hours on a night in November, desperately hoping to hear the engines of Flight TE-901 which was hours overdue from its sightseeing flight from Christchurch to Antarctica and back.
The plane had collided with Mt Erebus; all 257 people on board died.
These musings about the frozen continent are happening because I have been reading a beautiful book on the subject. I had intended to tell you about it, but this post is long enough, so I'll keep it for another time.
Pictures 1 and 6 by Anne Noble, from here; picture 2 from here; pictures 3 and 4 from here; picture 5 from here