Notoriously Inhospitable

But the Weddell Sea was notoriously inhospitable, and already we knew that its sternest face was turned towards us. All the conditions in the Weddell Sea are unfavorable from the navigator’s point of view. The winds are comparatively light, and consequently new ice can form even in the summertime. The absence of strong winds has the additional effect of allowing the ice to accumulate in masses, undisturbed. Then great quantities of ice sweep along the coast from the east under the influence of the prevailing current, and fill up the bight of the Weddell Sea as they move north in a great semicircle. Some of this ice doubtless describes almost a complete circle, and is held up eventually, in bad seasons, against the South Sandwich Islands. The strong currents, pressing the ice masses against the coasts, create heavier pressure than is found in any other part of the Antarctic. The pressure must be at least as severe as the pressure experienced in the congested North Polar basin, and I am inclined to think that a comparison would be to the advantage of the Arctic. All these considerations naturally had a bearing upon our immediate problem, the penetration of the pack and the finding of a safe harbor on the continental coast.

— Ernest Shackleton, South

About Ernest Shackleton

Polar Explorer. Leader of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-1917.
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One Response to Notoriously Inhospitable

  1. My first time here. Nice blog and great post. Well done.

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