Saturday, March 9, 2013

Thinking about Antarctica

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 


  1. I'm a long way from Antarctica, but it's always sounded so fascinating. Perhaps someday I'll at least be able to go on one of those trips that takes visitors around the coastline....

    1. To tell you the truth, Lisa, I wish those trips wouldn't happen. See thunder's comment, below :(

  2. Lately, I feel my surroundings resemble the Antarctica a bit too much. I would enjoy more on this subject and information from the book you're reading if you care to share more.

  3. I went to Antarctica using my inheritance after my mother died. I LOVED it, and would go back in a heart beat. When you are ready, I would love to hear about the book you have been reading.

    1. I remember your posts and your fantastic photos, EC. Don't worry, I will do another post about this :)

  4. I fear we're f'-ing up the planet, big time, Alexia.

    1. I fear that too, thunder. I worry greatly about Antarctica, and the Arctic - once pristine beautiful places - it's still beautiful, but the marks of man are all over it. Progress, right?

  5. Wow ..... I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't really understand the close connection that NZ had/has to Antarctica, and would love to know the title of the book you're reading too.

  6. I got to thinking about this post of yours, it's so incredible, photos and story, and that it really fits perfectly with Carmi;s theme this week! I bet he'd enjoy seeing this too!


It's great when you leave a note!