Antarctica

There are no time zones there, you don’t need a passport and now it’s no longer part of the Pacific Ocean.

I should have written this before June because the bottom part of the Pacific Ocean, which had been known as the Southern Pacific, lost its name and has been relabeled by the International Geographic Society as the Southern Ocean because it wraps the continent. So what’s next are we going to kick Pluto out of the club?

Antarctica has a lot of wild stuff going on. Sure I could tell you about the explorers and the pioneers but we’ve all heard about Shackleton and the rest. I want to tell you about the strange goings on. For instance, this is one of only two places where meteorite hunters can successfully find meteorites. A word here: a meteor is a falling bit of space rubble but once it hits the ground (or in this case, ice) it’s a meteorite. ‘ite’ is of the ground. In Antarctica the stony or metallic rocks end up working their way to the top of the ice and can be spotted. What is the other place? See if you can guess (and it isn’t the North Pole). I’ll put the answer in next week’s comments.

Antarctica was named by the ancient Greek Marinus of Tyer who never went there nor did he hear about it.  The name Arctic comes from the Greek word Arktos, which means bear. The bears in question are not polar, but celestial: the Great and the Little Bear, constellations are visible only in the Northern Hemisphere. Antarktikos – Antarctica – is thus the opposite of “the land of the bear” and is situated on the other side of the planet.

In the 150s AD Marinus came up with the idea of ringing the world with lines thus establishing longitude and latitude. He’s the father of geographical mathematics. Ptolemy likes to take credit but he came much later…as you know.

Antarctica has the world’s largest desert. It’s a stony barren wasteland dusted with windblown snow and glaciers formed thousands of years ago.

There is also a 16,000-foot peak. People climb this for kicks. https://www.adventureconsultants.com/expeditions/seven-summits/mount-vinson/  Me, I’d rather watch TV. And on TV you will find some really terrific things. Like this guy who upended the idea that leopard seals are vicious killers of humans. Well not this one at least.

Yikes!

The life cycle of the Penguins is so unlike any other animal. They perform unbelievable feats of endurance to hatch and rear their young and in a field of thousands of chicks, all screaming for mom and dad, somehow they find each other. The mates can find one another as well and this is done by listening for a specific cry they learn when they mate and which their young copy.

Then there is the ice. Antarctica has 70% of the world’s water and nearly 90% of the freshwater ice. Because much of it is at altitude it is in less danger of melting than Greenland which is melting faster than a popsicle dropped on July-Texas manhole cover. The North Pole ice melts in summer now but doesn’t raise the sea level as it is floating ice.

There are active volcanos below the ice which is over two miles thick in places. There are also over 200 lakes (most frozen solid) under the ice one the size of Lake Ontario. One has ten times the salinity of the ocean and never freezes. Antarctica can be a tad windy. At the foot of the main mountain range the winds have been recorded at 200 mph and that’s when it’s 40 below. If you stood there it would feel like well over 100 below and you would also be frozen solid in seconds. You would look interesting though with a frozen look on your face. 

People cross the continent with well-equipped crews and there is a station at the South Pole. Many incredible trucks have been built all with aim of supporting research stations …researching what exactly? I dunno, stuff, I guess. They report that it’s very cold and there is lots of ice and meteorites.

Others cross on skis or sleds and there is a lot of controversy over the records of who did what. Considering the weather, I think this a poor place to hold a dick measuring contest.

Antarctica is also a place where people with…ahhh, fuzzy thinking claim that ancient civilizations erected massive stone cities including this pyramid proving they were Egyptians. People have actually gone there and said no, it’s a mountain but the Egyptians built pyramids so what more proof do you really need.

Me, I think there is enough wonder in the world without resorting to such hocus pocus as this last video attests. Watch the amazing event that happens at the end.

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3 Comments

  • This is such a feel good voyage, love love the positive ness the entire view
    as Always Aye captain another in the captains log stardate 2021

  • Amazingly interesting article with three equally amazing attached videos….
    with some of the finest underwater nature videography I have ever seen.
    Nicely done, Captain Jamis!

  • I’m a little late on commenting on this entry, but I have been busy, and like to wait to check out Pacific voyages when I can take the time to enjoy it properly. And this was a good one to enjoy!
    The final video was beautiful… But melancholy in a way to me. When I think that humans can’t even communicate among themselves rationally, and to see an alien species interact with a closeness most people never feel with most other humans is both inspiring and depressing.
    Thanks for a great half hour.

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