November 29th, 2001

Chalkboard

(no subject)



This book on Amazon sounds so good;
South with Endurance: Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition, 1914-1917
by Frank Hurley

Here's a review that a customer wrote;

Reviewer: Bill Marsano (see more about me) from New York City
For most of the last century the definitive story of Antarctic exploration was that of Robert Falcon Scott's failed race to be first to reach the South Pole. It was a particular favorite in Britain because it had all the favorite elements of British myth-making: danger, daring and, best of all, failure. Scott ran second to the Norwegian Raold Amundsen at the Pole and there were lots of stiff-upper-lip fatalities. "I'm just going outside," said one of the last to die, "and I may be some time." Then he went outside and cheerfully, one presumes, froze to death.

Only in the last few years have clearer heads examined this story and brought some reality to it, mainly the hard-to-dismiss judgment that Scott was something of a twit who doomed his own adventure. Simultaneously those heads began to acknowledge the primacy of Ernest Shackleton's grand expedition to cross the Antarctice continent.

This too was a failure--the explorers never got onto the continent proper--but it turned into an epic of human survival and a glorous success, because not a single life was lost under the most horrific of circumstances.

The expedition's ship, Endurance, was trapped in the pack ice offshore for months; the party lived aboard it for months, then transferred to the pack ice when their ship was finally crushed and sunk. Eventually, when the pack cracked apart beneath their camp several times they made a daring escape to barren Elephant Island nearby, and from there Shackleton and some companions sailed a small boat several hundred miles across the world's most violent ocean to South Georgia Island, where there was a whaling station. When the weather forced them to come ashore on the wrong side of the island, Shackleton and one or two others managed to climb across the island's mountain range--which had never been done before, or even considered--and staggered, stumbled and even slid to safety. They were so battered and starved no one even recognized them at first. Eventually, Shackleton returned to Britain, then he returned to South American and organized--more than a year had passed by now--a rescue expedition to Elephant Island, where he picked of all the rest of his party.

This incredible story is welltold in "The Worst Journey in the World," one of the greatest of adventure epics, but you have to see it to believe it--and now you can.

With Shackleton's expedition there was the pioneering Australian photographer Frank Hurley, one of the early masters of the camera. He didn't have handy little point-and-shoot cameras but heavy and cumbersome wooden box cameras using glass-plate negatives, and he took great risks to make many of his images.

This book at last assembles the bulk of Hurley's work, pulling together several hundred photos from widely scattered sources and displays them, together with examples of Hurley's earlier and later work, in a superb large-format gallery for the armchair explorer. It's a stunning work. You may not want to believe your eyes, but you'll have to.

--Bill Marsano
(The author is a travel writer and a devotee of exploration stories.)

I'm buying my own Christmas presents for my Mom to give me. I won't see it though till Christmas. I love stories like this, I have so much admiration for people like this. I'm also interested in Robert Scott. Whatever happened last year at the Pole, remember Art Bell was talking about some kind of undercover rescue operation. Then of course there was the story about that brave doctor who had to operate on her own breast cancer to keep herself alive long enough to be rescued, and the recuers who risked their lives to come get her. Amazing.
Chalkboard

(no subject)

Awwwww, I'm watching a scuba diving wedding on The Learning Channel. I'm a certified advanced open water diver, I love diving sooo much, but I don't get to do it very much because I don't ahve a dive buddy. I want Scott to learn so badly but it would be too hard to try to get him certified here, it's too rough and cold for a baby diver, we would need to do it somewhere warm and calm, and that would take money and time off work, big sigh.

God I love scuba diving, just being underwater in this completely other world, this beautiful, amazing, underwater world, is heaven to me.