Image by sandwichgirl via Flickr
December 14, 1911 was an extraordinary day in south polar history. Roald Amundsen became the first human being to stand at the bottom of the world, 90S. What will you be doing December 14, 2011 on the 100th anniversary of the accomplishment?
Amundsen first visited Antarctica between 1897 and 1899. He was first mate on the Belgica Expedition led by Adrien de Gerlache, the man after whom the Gerlache Strait was named. The expedition’s doctor was Frederick Cook, who eventually claimed to be the first man to reach the North Pole.
Together the two, who eventually became rivals, commanded the expedition when Gerlache and the Captain fell ill. During that expedition, Amundsen learned how not to prepare an expedition for the harsh environment south of 60.
Amundsen had been at sea since he turned 15. The Belgica Expedition, he hoped, would enable him to gain his Master’s license. Qualifying as a ship’s captain, he believed, would reduce conflicts of leadership with the ship’s captain when he led his polar expedition. Amundsen’s polar ambitions were well formed even then.
The American Antiques Roadshow evaluated some Northwest Passage Amundsen memorabilia. Watch the video.
Image via Wikipedia
We’re five days away from the 100th anniversary of Roald Amundsen‘s arrival at the South Pole: The first time a human being stood where every direction is north. I found an amateur video on youtube that uses historic photos and footage of the event.
Odd and Sods about Amundsen
- Full name – Roald Engebreth Gravning Amundsen.
- He was over 6 feet tall – I always imagined him as 5′, 7″ – don’t know why.
- He was the first man to successfully navigate the Northwest Passage.
- In 1926 he flew over the North Pole in a dirigible – some say he was the first to do so.
- Prophetic quote: “If only you knew how splendid it is up there, that’s where I want to die.”
- He died in 1928 participating in a rescue in the Arctic
Perhaps his greatest strength as a polar explorer was his willingness to learn from others with greater skill or experience.
Image via Wikipedia
#JackieRichardson was the number one keyword search that brought new readers to this blog. The irreplaceable Ms. Jackie has lost the top spot to two searches that indicate trending issues.
People Seeking Information about Tumblr
I’m not the only one who had problems with tumblr’s email confirmation. Based on the number of people who drop by my site to read that post, the problem is ongoing. Note to tumblr’s boffins – your to-do list is missing an item.
People, you must trust polarprisca on this…HRH was not in Antarctica this year. He was in the Arctic. Harry didn’t tell his grandmother he was going to walk part way to the North Pole, because he didn’t want to worry her. Thoughtful lad.
I met an octogenarian when I sailed to the North Pole who hadn’t told the management of his senior’s home where he was going, for exactly the same reason. True story.
An extra hit of adrenalin
Some people ride roller-coasters, jump out of airplanes, or travel to war zones for an extra hit of adrenaline. My personal choice are the polar regions – the Arctic and Antarctica. Because the danger is basic – humankind against the elements.
Image via Wikipedia
Frowned upon: exporting of national artifacts by travelers. Illegal: the removal by archaeologists and scientists of artifacts of national importance with the intent of keeping the original permanently. Arrangements are usually made for examination by the discoverer for a limited period, after which a “cast” or facsimile is made, and the original returned to the country from which it came.
In situ finds are rather simple to manage. Then there is Maud… The battle over the ownership of Maud, Roald Amundsen‘s ship that is grounded in Cambridge Bay illustrates the dilemma of exploration. Amundsen was Norwegian, exploring Canada‘s North in the early 1900s. Who owns the rights to Maud, a century later? Norwegians? Canadians?
Current practice supports the repatriation of the bones of the ancestors of indigenous peoples. Does current practice apply to the bones of a ship?
The resolution of this dispute will be interesting. Perhaps international law is already on the side of the Norwegians?
For six and a half years I immersed myself in all things polar. The day began with a perusal of Arctic and Antarctic news, which I shared through this blog, and most recently, the Linkedin group – Polar Professionals. Five days a week, from 9 to 5, the polar regions were forefront, and when the worked called for it, the weekends too!
I am now free to redefine myself: free to take on a new persona. Evolve, as my pal Trish is wont to say. Yet, I am not ready to let go of the polar in me. There are places in the North I’ve yet to see. The South is my siren’s call.
First step, then, is to consider how I can retain polar in the evolution of me. Redefining is out. Evolution is in. Stay tuned.