Gallery - Past Exhibitions - 2001 - Antarctica
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South, past Tierra del Fiego, beyond Cape Horn and the legendary Drake Passage, lies the icebound continent of Antarctica. Although massive in scale, (much larger than Europe) it remained the last unexplored region on earth.
In December of 2001 I was invited to go to Antarctica asElephant Island, watercolour part of an amazing program called Students on Ice. I joined a team of preeminent researchers, scientists, filmmakers, adventures and educators to help interpret and explore the fascinating regions of the Antarctic Archipelago with a group of 40 international high school students.
On the Canadian icebreaker Polar Star we investigated numberous biological and historic sites. Deception Island, watercolour These included Point Wild, where Ernest Shackleton left 22 of his men clinging to life for four months on Elephant Island while he and four others left to get help. We saw the massive glaciers of Andvord Bay, thousands of Gentoo penguins on Cuverville Island, Adelie penguins on Paulet Island and Chinstrap penguins at Whaler's Bay. We encountered Fin whales patrolling the North Weddell Sea, along with grand tabular icebergs moving in slow procession north. Orcas dove in and around our zodiacs, against the mirror reflections of Paradise Bay. North Weddell Sea, watercolour Like much of the wild life in Antarctica, the Leopard, Weddell and Crabeater seals we constantly came across showed no fear of people.
Although there are obvious similarities with the Arctic, the sheer scale of the features of Antarctica is a predominate difference. The ice sheets that cover Antarctica are so vast that 70% of the world's fresh water are held in it's grip. A single iceberg calved from these sheets can be thousands of square kilometers in size. It is the coldest, windiest and most extreme place on earth. It is also one of the most beautiful.
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