We came to probe its mystery, to reduce this land to terms of science, but there is always the indefinable, which holds aloof yet which rivets our souls”…
wrote the Australian geologist and explorer Sir Douglas Mawson of Antarctica, that majestic yet formidable continent located at the southernmost point of our planet, in his 1930 book ‘The Home of the Blizzard’.
My own closest brush with Antarctica thus far was earlier this year. It involved spying minute icebergs from the porthole of a rumbling Boeing 747 as it fought the trade winds, performing a semi circular loop between Sydney and Johannesburg over the Southern Ocean, near the edge of the Antarctic continent. Thus until recently I couldn’t even imagine what it must feel like to experience the mixed sense of wonderment, reverence and foreboding that Mawson, and many travellers to Antarctica since, have expressed of their first hand contact with this majestic and severe frozen continent.