The White Stuff

The first thing I did on discovering Google Earth (a few years ago) was to steer to the snaking, ridged vast expanses of a big hot arid desert ‐ probably it was the Sahara. The second thing I did was to soar over Antarctica. Wild.. remote.. harsh.. spare.. fascinating.. enthralling.. thrilling… ? It was disappointing. Not the crevasse crazed crisp ice glacial terrain I’d hoped for – mostly a white fuzziness. So, with isolation still in tact, it’s all the more exciting to see the continent’s first marker on the World Beach map. Now we can witness but a transitory moment in time – the stark bright light and cold sea ice – through the eyes of someone actually standing on that land. We contacted Susan, who made the piece and works in the US Antarctic Program, to find out a little more. ‘… Hut Point, a small peninsula that sticks out between the Ross Sea and Winter Quarters Bay. The station has been socked in with sea ice for about 10 years now… many folks are thinking that the ice will blow out this year, and potentially there will be open water in front of the station.’ ‘Ross Island is a volcanic island, created by Mount Erebus, the southernmost active volcano in the world… I looked for more different shades of rock… my choices were pretty much black (with a little grey) and these orange rocks…’ Hut Point was so named by Scott’s Discovery expedition. They were the first to overwinter at McMurdo Sound and their hut still stands close by. The cross silhouetted against the sky was erected by them in1902 to commemorate George T Vince, the first man to lose his life on the continent. Susan is a poet and has been writing about Antarctica since her first trip 10 years ago, She says… ’Somehow this landscape is very much a mirror to look inward, but at the same time, a place that forces me to see myself through a different lens.’ Read one of her poems: What Happens Here. … Oh! And back on the World Beach site, we’ve just clipped 800 entries. Great.


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