Ice Coffee: the history of human activity in Antarctica (general)

Iceolation and why it's not a big deal these days, a fourteen year old interview with Professor Timothy Naish, and an excuse to use my favourite quote from my favourite robot.

Direct download: 087_What_happens_on_the_ice_ANDRILL_go_boil_your_head_ed.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:37am EDT

Old Dux Ipse thought he was the ducks nuts but the BANZARE looks more a dog's breakfast than the dog's bollocks. 
Another not-a-race sees the Discovery racing south on its penultimate voyage. 
Sir Douglas Mawson and John King Davis get on each other's nerves ninety years ago. 

Direct download: 082_BANZARE_Mawson_rides_again.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:31am EDT

Some news and a correction.

Direct download: 076_Updates.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:09am EDT

Byrd gets on my nerves ninety years ago.
Direct download: 073_1928_part_02.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:06am EDT

Sir Ernest makes his final alive foray to South Georgia before making two further Atlantic voyages while dead. 

Direct download: 063_Quest.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:48pm EDT

Shackleton's depot laying party head to the Ross Sea and fight to get food and fuel to the foot of the Beardmore. 
Part one of a two parter recounting one of the most harrowing chapters to arise in the heroic era.

Direct download: 053_Ross_Sea_Party_part_one.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:07am EDT

I've got a few tidbits left to add about the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, and Mawson will be back in the narrative before you know it, but this ties up some loose ends and resolves the cliff hanger from the end of episode 050.

Direct download: 051_AAE_Wind_Up.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:51am EDT

Douglas Mawson gets a lot done in just twelve months.

Direct download: 049_Mawson_Macquarie.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:06am EDT

What's this?
Three episodes in quick succession?
Blame the hosting service download counter.  I'm now obsessed with topping last month's total downloads.  This was easy when I only had two and a dog listening but now I have to release more episodes to scratch that itch.  Expect shorter and shorter episodes until I'm editing single words and releasing them.

Anyhoo, this one explains some clothing terms and concepts which warranted more attention than I was giving them.

Direct download: 043_What_not_to_not_wear.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:44am EDT

Japan comes in out of the cold and heads back out into the cold again.
Nobu Shirase - an explorer of honour and determination, now available in ship form. 

Direct download: 042_Shirase.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:26am EDT

Pemmican and sledging biscuit have received several mentions in the series and it's high time I let you in on what I'm on about.

Direct download: 041_Pemmican_WTF.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:21am EDT

The Eastern Party make their dogged way back to Cape Evans while Atkinson led teams onto the barrier to look for evidence of the pole party. 
The Terra Nova arrives and the BAE heads home.

Direct download: 040_The_BAE_comes_to_an_end.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:08am EDT

Dammit - it happened again.
This story always ends the same way.
All of the driving forces behind Scott's polar ambition push him to his death.
Poor weather, broken tractors, crap ponies, leaky fuel cans, crevasse fields - lots of things contributed to the tragedy in the physical sense but the expectations placed on Captain Robert Falcon Scott by his nation, his mentors and his peers did their part, too.

Direct download: 038_Terra_Nova_Southern_party.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:50am EDT


Scott leads his team south while Amundsen and Mawson keep his clockwork wound up tight. Stormy seas, pack ice and a four way split in the transport preparations frustrate efforts to meld scientific, geographic and historical goals.

Direct download: 037_Terra_Nova_Depots.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:18am EDT


I'm sick of 2016.  A friend just died for stupid reasons and my extended family and many friends are facing life in the USA under president Donald Trump and his cabinet of elite racists.
I really have not been in the mood to read about noble suffering under the Victorian model of manliness and my notes about Scott's death on his return from the pole came to a grinding halt about two weeks ago. 
Here's a Frankenstein's episode stop gap comprising essays from the past about ice diving and contrasting Scott Base and McMurdo Station.
I'll get back to the history in time for Christmas but in the mean time 2016 can fuck right off.

Direct download: 036_Ice_Diving.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:57am EDT

A dark clockwork comprising duty, ambition and hurt pride winds up Captain Scott and sets him on his path back to Antarctica.

Direct download: 035_Terra_Nova_BAE2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:48pm EDT

At the start of the twentieth century whaling in the Southern Ocean was on the uptick.  The players and mechanisms in play held considerable sway in geographic outcomes, with claims and counter claims taking on a new urgency once the parties operating in the south had some oil in the game.

Direct download: 034_I_am_whaling.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:55am EDT

With just seven minutes up my data storage sleeve and some expeditions featuring weird relationships between officers and men in the offing, this seems an opportune time to map the boundary between the commissioned and the other ranks in the Victorian era and its immediate aftermath.

Direct download: 033_Upstairs_downstairs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:05am EDT

Charcot leads his second Antarctic expedition aboard a new ship with a new engine.  What could possibly go wrong?
More groundings, more whimsy and more coastline explored.
Well done those Frenchmen.

Direct download: 032_Charcot_Pourqoui_Pas.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:24pm EDT

Photography, sledging, hypothermia, frostbite and snow blindness have been getting a lot of mentions in episodes addressing the heroic age and I thought it high time these things be given some attention, as they’re not leaving the narrative anytime soon and I don’t want anyone left in the dark regarding photo-keratitis.

Dr Jacinda Amey is one of New Zealand’s hardest case people and I was privileged to spend time with her at Scott Base in 2005.  Another Radio Tuna interview that never went anywhere is resurrected.

Direct download: 030_Photography_Sledging_Maladies.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:38am EDT

Jean Baptiste Charcot heads south, in yet another ship named after a place, looking for adventure, science and Swedes.
Good food, good wine and inadequate heating and propulsion characterised life aboard the Francais but the French got a lot done, showed their mettle in a miserable display of hard as nailsness, and came home with all hands.

Professor Craig Franklin first came on my radar in an interview with Richard Fidler.  His range of research interests includes but is far from limited to the physiology of ice fish.  He spoke to me about his work below the circle and I look forward to getting my hands on the “Antarctic Cruising Guide” he wrote with Peter Carey.  The author combination of a scientist and a national laureate could make this the Australasian “The Log of the Sea of Cortez.”  The appended link leads to a review of the 2006 first edition but the book is now in its third iteration.  Guess who it’s published by.

Direct download: 029_Charcot_Francais_Craig_Franklin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:48am EDT

Robert Falcon Scott makes his first but far from his last appearance in the series and a two year voyage to McMurdo Sound. 
Much sledging.  Very scurvy.
Sir Clements Markham continues to kick downhill to have his way but the back of his bullying breaks when someone take his prophecies of doom at face value.
Wilson, Shackleton, Crean, Frank Wild, Taffy Evans, Lashly and Joyce make their Ice Coffee debuts appearances while Louis Bernacchi is back for an encore. 

I struggled to keep this episode to a reasonable time, as I knew I would.  So much has been written about Scott and his story looms so large in my early understanding of the continent that I really had to work to keep this as concise as I did, which isn't very. 
I see a shadow on the horizon in the form of Scott's second voyage south.  I don't think I can keep that to one episode no matter how many reefs I put in my script.

Among others we've got Charcot's efforts and the return of Shackleton to navigate before we get to the Terra Nova expedition, though, so set stunsails and topgallants and we'll make what way we can before 1912 and the five concurrent expeditions of that year catch us up.

The addendum appended to the episode refers to this crew.

Direct download: 028__Scott_Discovery.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:48pm EDT

William Spiers Bruce showed the world what a team could achieve if they ignored the south pole and got on with some science.  Under his guidance the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition established the longest continually occupied meteorological station and discovered large numbers of Antarctic marine species but what I like most about the Scot is how much he got on Sir Clements Markhams' nerves.

Direct download: 027_Bruce_and_the_SNAE.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:49pm EDT

Germans winter in fast pack ice, make some geographic discoveries, fly, sledge, and science as much as they can, but it's the diving that sets the voyage of the Gauss apart, in my eyes. 
Willy Heinrich - die Achtung!

Direct download: 025_Drygalski_and_the_Guass.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:54pm EDT

More Norwegians head south seeking whales.  A kerfuffle over who's on first marks the start of the Heroic Age.

In 2005 I recorded an interview with Rob Robbins, head of the USAP diving programme.  This was slated for a New Zealand radio programme that never came about, itself a rip off of RRR's "Radio Marinara" in Australia, and was captured using a badly battered Mini-Disc unit.  It's not the best audio but I could have been using sticky tape and iron filings as a recording medium, for all I cared.  Rob Robbins is legend among my circle and I was stoked to have his time and attention.
With "Radio Tuna" failing to launch, this is the material's first outing.

Direct download: 022_Bull.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:22am EDT

With many Arctic winters and more Arctic summers under their belts, Ross and Crozier got a lot done and brought their crews home safely.  Gongs all round.

Direct download: 020_Ross_Crozier.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:16am EDT

It's just a word sometimes employed by people pretending to be pirates to most modern ears but until recently scurvy stood as a perplexing and deadly problem for mariners and polar explorers.  In this episode I discuss how sailors and scientists solved the scurvy riddle, screw up an attempt to say "very low levels," and make myself sad. 

Direct download: 019_Scurvy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:18pm EDT

For my money, Charles Wilkes is the first of the Antarctic matinets.  Drawn south by the opportunity to lead a large expedition and little else, his attempts to coordinate six poorly fitted out and ill matched ships crewed by people who largely thought little of him went every bit as well as that sentence presages.

Direct download: 018_Wilkes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:47am EDT

First out of the blocks in the three way race south, Dumont d'Urville does a fair job with the resources France can throw at the project after much war and revolution and war and blockades and war. 

Often described as a nineteenth century analogue to the Space Race, I think of this period in Antarctic history as the nineteenth century race southward, of which the Space Race was a twentieth century analogue, because causality.

Direct download: 017_Dumont_d_Urville.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:41pm EDT

Reynolds returns to the narrative but his efforts at getting the US a toehold in the cold see him get an even colder shoulder than his last outing.
Ross earns his ice chops in the north.
Dumont d'Urville, after wowing the crowds with an armless display of Greek marbility, languishes in Cholera riddled Toulon, until his big chance beckons.
Balleny fulfills Enderby funded duties and adds information to the growing polynya of knowledge.
I came here to podcast and to drink coffee, and I'm all out of coffee.  The shakes are setting in.

Direct download: 016_Reynolds_Ross_Wilkes_dUrville_Balleny.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:34pm EDT

Peter Kemp isn't well recorded, so there's little to tell about him other than he sailed on the Magnet and saw a coast that's now named after him.

Jason Kimberley traveled to Antarctica in 2005 and did the hauling and the crevasse fields that make up much of my nightmare material.  On his return, in addition to writing one of the most accessible recent books about life on the ice, Jason established "Cool Australia," an online science education resource for school children.
Finally, I give a brief account of getting toasty, which is, in addition to snaws, a thing.

Direct download: 015_Kemp_Kimberley_Toasty.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:51am EDT

Morrell was a liar, Symmes was a looper and Reynolds was a bona-fide genuine slick talker.  Running to catch up in the claims stakes, US politics gets in the way and Morrell adds confusion.  More on Reynolds later.

Sue Haliwell, Antarcticartican makes what is hope will be the first of many appearances between her northern exposures.

After switching to a new hosting plan to free up money for a second podcast series, this, the longest episode to date, ate up the space allocation for this month.  An episode about Biscoe and the Enderby's is recorded but won't reach the feed for some weeks. 

Direct download: 013_Morrell_Symmes_Reynolds_Sue.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:38am EDT

Smith - the competent, dutiful sealer who got the job done and got no reward, plaudits or even much of a mention in the history books.  He should have taken the money and ran, but hindsight's not a lot of use without a time machine.

Direct download: 009_Smith.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:32am EDT

An overview of the state of the art in maritime extraction industries at the start of the ice rush.

Direct download: 008_SWALK_seals.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:46pm EDT

The chronology gets thrown out early in the piece, as the case of the empty H4n case unravels and some temporal anomalies are narrowly prevented from becoming time travel paradoxes.  Karl, I need the Delorean back last week.

The Bellingshausen episode is in the editing suite as I type, and should be available last Sunday.

Direct download: 007_Pop_culture_on_ice.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:35pm EDT

Hard as nails Russian sea-dog braves the southern ocean in inadequate ships and after a rushed preparation and without biologists and...  You get the picture.  Up against it, Bellingshausen shone when the sun refused to do so, and it's not his fault most people haven't heard of him.

Direct download: 006_Bellingshausen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:46am EDT

One of the most iconic names in maritime history does his empirical bit to show the world where Antarctica isn't.

Direct download: 005_Cook.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:21am EDT

A brief look at what was going on around the world as the exploration of the Southern Ocean began.

Direct download: 004_State_of_play.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:12am EDT

Imagining, seeking, and then shrinking Terra Australis Incognita to manageable proportions.  Philosophers, geographers, clergy and sailors vie for the final word on what and where Antarctica is, and who lives there.

Only one more preliminary episode to go and we'll get into some history.

Direct download: 003_Prelude.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:01am EDT

A quick study of the setting of the series, covering the geology, climate, glaciology and biology of the Antarctic.

Only two more preliminary episodes and we'll get to the history the series is supposed to be about, I promise.

Direct download: 002_Geography.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:46am EDT