Ice Coffee: the history of human activity in Antarctica

Josh Jensen spent an austral summer keeping LC-130 Ski Hercules operational out of McMurdo.  I spoke to him about the challenges that throws up and found out the days of boiling a pot of oil over the stove and pouring it into the sump ended with the last big roundy engines to depart the continent in the 1970s.
Cheers to Josh for putting aside time to discuss the confluence of my two of my favourite things: Antarctica and aviation. 

Direct download: 145_Josh_Jensen_Herc_Maintainer.mp3
Category:Practical -- posted at: 5:04am EDT

Some historical and political context for the Russian return south in Soviet Union form. 
Bolsheviks: form soviets and roll out.

Direct download: 144_Russia_has_re_entered_the_chat.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:02am EDT

I haven't interviewed other Antarctic podcasters because that would make for dull content.
"Do you press record?  Wow!  I do, too!  Hey, how good is Audacity?  Antarctica's cold, huh?"
This episode I interview Samantha Hodder about her Antarctic podcast because the stories told in her series, "This Is Our Time," lie so far outside those recounted in my series that there's a lot to discuss beyond the bones of the medium.

Direct download: 143_Samantha_Hodder_This_is_our_Time.mp3
Category:Contemporary -- posted at: 7:39am EDT

Paul Emile-Victor's charges are ashore and charging. 
But wait, there's more.
Call now and get this free base fire valued at over five buildings.

Direct download: 142_Port_Martin_on_the_continent_and_on_Fire.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 8:04pm EDT

Port Martin.
Port Au Francaise.
Port Malloy.
Port Jean d'Arc.
You'd think the French would switch up it with some cognac or cointreau. 

Direct download: 141_France_returns_south.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 8:44pm EDT

If you set an AI process in motion to build a hard as nails nineteenth century seadog you'd likely arrive at Dave Donnelly in ninety-nine percent of your iterations.  Dave looks and moves through the world as though he just stepped out of the pages of a Joseph Conrad book. 
Have a listen to episode 140 to understand why I value Dave's company and regularly seek out his insights into whale biology. 

Direct download: 140_Dave_Donnelly_and_really_big_whales.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:06pm EDT

Professor Daniella McCahey of Texas Tech discusses sexism at Antarctic stations. 

* Except by HamiltonSuites, who should lie on their left side, raise their right knee to their chest, lubricate this episode and stick it up their arse.

Direct download: 139_Interview_with_Professor_McCahey_regarding_sexism_in_Antarctica.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:18pm EDT

Ice'll kill ya'
That's what I said
Ice'll kill ya'
And then you'll be dead

Direct download: 138_ice_breakers.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:41pm EDT

Thomas Walkington speaks about the wreck of the Pegasus and his time on the ice as part of VXE-6.
Jim Butler showers praise on me and my output after discussing how he engages with Antarctica from half a world away.
Jeff Maynard maps how he chose what to include and what to leave out of his most recent book about Sir Hubert Wilkins.

Strap your ears in, folks.
This is a big 'un. 

I wasn't expecting the Greek shipping magnate.

Direct download: 136_1950s_whaling.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 6:07am EDT

Three members of the NBSAE drown in an accident on the barrier edge. 
Every other member of the NBSAE does their bit in making the project one of the most productive and smooth running examples of its type and of its time. 
Besides kicking off or sustaining the high latitudes careers of several scientist with extremely long Ice Coffee legs the glaciology, geology and meteorology carried out during the two winters and three summers spent at Maudheim gave the footing for and set a high bar for subsequent scientific projects coming down the IGY pike. 

Direct download: 135_NBSAE_part_2.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:44am EDT

John Giaever storms it in as a high latitudes can-do-mo-fo with an international team of scientists.  No matter how many committees got involved and put their bureaucratic handbrake on the NBSAE, the residents of Maudheim got south and got on with their data gathering and trail prep.

Direct download: 134_NBSAE_Part_one.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 9:13pm EDT

The role of ham radio operators in keeping Antarcticans sane through the long dark is given some attention. 
Additional audio of Vivian Fuchs speaking to Donald Milner at the BBC was made available by Thomas Henderson of Graceful Willow Productions and with the permission of Jules Madey (

The music closing out this episode is "Can you hear me: part 1" composed by Wally Gunn ( and performed by Passepartout Duo (

Direct download: 133_Would_anyone_like_some_ham.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:52am EDT

A brief and patchy history of Chile as context for the nation's expeditions southward in the twentieth century. 

Direct download: 132_Chile.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 5:49am EDT

Heard and Macquarrie Islands: tragedy, rockets, sheep, and ham.

Direct download: 131_Straya_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:02am EDT

The first Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition gets moving.  Led my Campbell, informed by Mawson, and ignoring any potential input from Davis, the first foryas didn't kick all the committee proposed goals but a start is a start.
Heard Island.
Macquarrie Island.
The last Antarctic outing of the Wyatt Earp. 
The first Antarctic outing of LST 3501, which was almost also the last.

Direct download: 130_Straya.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 1:18am EDT

A mixed bag of achievements and tragedy for the 1948 FIDS.
New faces with big Antarctic careers ahead of them show up in the narrative.

If you are working through the series in order and don't usually listen to episodes immediately after they're released I urge you to give this one an early play as there's an important message about pies near the end that's only relevant for the weeks immediately after I hit the "Publish" button.

Direct download: 129_FIDS_other_than_those_at_Stonington_Island.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:12am EDT

Where the history of other nations involved in the Antarctic land grab received plenty of attention in the series to date, Argentina only received mention as being close to the Antarctic Peninsula.  I've sought to redress that in this episode.
Thanks to Jim for test piloting the new audio settings. 
Hope I don't blow anyone's speakers with unexpected volume.

Direct download: 128_Argentina.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:16pm EDT

While theft is rare in circumstances where most needs and wants are catered to by management other crimes occur in Antarctica with surprisingly monotonous regularity, given the small numbers of people in the far south at any given moment. 
Other podcasts have dedicated episodes to the matter but that doesn't mean I shouldn't cover it too, so I did.
The Australian Antarctic Division recently announced it was decreasing alcohol allowances and banning home-brew.  In part the change was geared to make women feel safer on base.  It doesn't deal with the root cause of that problem but if it helps bring about positive change then that's something.  We already tried doing nothing and it didn't work. 


Direct download: 127_Crime_in_Antarctica.mp3
Category:Contemporary -- posted at: 4:18am EDT

A formal book review of "With Scott Before the Mast," an informal review of "Operation Deep Freeze II Gooney Birds," and interviews with Associate Professor Priscilla Wehi, Elodie Camprasse, and Evan Townsend. 

Trail operations, survey flights, tension, and a surprise for the Darlingtons. 
The RARE comes to a close and departs Stonington Island with the aid of the Operation Windmill ice breakers.
The FIDS stay to keep the lights on at Base E. 

Direct download: 125_RARE_Coda.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 7:35am EDT

In this episode I fail to respect, let alone defer to, religious beliefs and the artifacts and structures dedicated to various deities' alleged glory while recounting the ongoing story of religion at high southern latitudes.  
Happy to take debates on the merits of religion generally or your religion specifically if this outing causes sufficient umbrage.  I've got a podcast for exactly that sort of dialogue and it's rare it gets an airing because most local theologians know to give me a wide berth.  Come at me if you need to.  Perspective adjustments on the merits of the apologia you've been fed by your faith leaders provided free.
Ice Coffee: brewing up, blaspheming, and shedding brittle snowflakes unable or unwilling to present a compelling case that I should respect their faith, let alone adopt it. 

Direct download: 124_Religion_in_Antarctica.mp3
Category:Contemporary -- posted at: 7:02am EDT

The Ronnes sulk about the FIDS as the RARE settle in to their digs on Stonington Island but realise they have to Voltron up or get little done.  
George Takei makes his series debut in company with Katie Sagal and Billy West. 

Direct download: 123_RARE_cont_first_half.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 6:19am EDT

Worried that you might be feeling cheated on the history front, this month, here's some hefty chunks of trail experiences from the pen of one who lived it. 
Do you want your word hoosh thick or thin?  I can add extra p flour, if you want. 

Direct download: 122_Kevin_Walton_quotathon.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 10:08pm EDT

Sean McBride intends taking electric flight to Antarctic and I am excited about it. 
I'm also excited about my own investigations into heading south to follow in Wilkins and Eilson's prop steps but uncertain whether it will or should happen. 

Direct download: 121_Aviation_future_and_past_and_future.mp3
Category:Contemporary -- posted at: 9:55pm EDT

US Navy ice breakers get ground control parties ashore to provide fixed points of reference for Operation Highjump aerial photographs. 
Helicopters work ship to Antarctic shore for the first time.

Direct download: 120_Operation_Windmill.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 2:32am EDT

The RARE draws nearer its destination and the FIDS head out on trail.  Will the confluence of two Antarctic expeditions in the same place at the same time conflict with the laws of physics? 
Listen to 119 and find out.

Oooh, see what I did there?
Sizzly call to action.
Getting good at this marketing shit, ay?


Direct download: 119_Stonington_collision_course.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 6:08am EDT

The largest ever Antarctic expedition runs its course.
The Sennet heads north with its bow in a sling, divers get with the diving, and the DC-3 makes its "Ice Coffee" debut while the Sea Bees make everything else. 

Direct download: 118_Operation_Highjump_Part_two.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 5:55pm EDT

The United States Navy returns to Antarctica, this time under Admiral Cruzen, though Admiral Byrd was there and waving hard at the cameras and yelling that we shouldn't forget that he's the mayor of Antarctica and firsted all the firsts. 
While not the first fatal air accident in Antarctica, the George 1 becomes the first fatal air accident in Antarctica anyone can recount with any degree of certainty, with white-out conditions leading to controlled flight into terrain, foreshadowing further aviation tragedies in the far south. 

Direct download: 117_Operation_Highjump_part_one.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 7:30am EDT

This month, in a very special episode of "Ice Coffee" Amanda Zimmerman shares her insights on life at McMurdo Station.
Timely stuff for those listeners applying for USARP slots for the first time.
Best of luck with your applications, people.

Direct download: 117_Amanda.mp3
Category:Contemporary -- posted at: 7:40pm EDT

Large quantities of stores, lumber and conviviality go ashore and become Trepassey House, home to FIDS and their dogs for several subsequent years. 

Direct download: 115_FIDS_first_iteration_part_2.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 2:56am EDT

The Tabarin mooted, Marr demurred Base E arises on Stonington Island, five nautical miles from the BGLE hut on Barry Island but two hundred yards from the Johnny-come-five-years-ago East Base. 
Ted Bingham leads the first iteration of the FIDS and sets the tone for subsequent cohorts. 
Scones, rum, freshies and the sort of treats that make Brits wave their hands about like Wallace from "Wallace and Gromit" while saying, "Ooooh, lovely," but which would leave anyone from any other culture saying "What the hell kind of celebratory repast is this?  Am I being punished for something in some passive aggressive British fashion, because that's the only reason I can conjure that you would feed me mince pies"
Or is that just me? 

Direct download: 114_FIDS_First_iteration.mp3
Category:History and tirade -- posted at: 1:28am EDT

Finn Ronne makes ready for his return to Stonington Island, getting away late, in debt and with morale already fraying at the edges. 

My apologies to anyone who downloaded the place holder episode used to keep this place held while I finished editing episode 113.  Here's the real deal.

Direct download: 113_RARE_Part_1.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 8:29pm EDT

With a hundred meg of storage in my name and a lot of audio snippets with nothing better to do I give you the bits episode. 
Mind the neck bolts.
This episode features the first competition I've run in a long time.  As usual it's biased in favour of early listeners who are old and who are me. 
Voices from the past.
Voices I hope will feature in the future.
One voice that long since broke.
We belong Dad.

Direct download: 112_Bits.mp3
Category:mixed bag -- posted at: 9:32pm EDT

Hope Bay's second tranche of winter residents settle in.
Then they head home to a less than heartening reception than their Swedish predecessors experienced, though Taylor didn't die in a public transport accident, so there's that. 

Direct download: 111_Operation_Tabarin_part_3.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 7:28am EDT

Penguin sex gets the attention it deserves after Murray Levick deprived the world of his observations due to his prudish Victorian era sensibilities.  Professor Lloyd Spencer Davis gives you the good oil on the oily birds getting it on (early birds only get worms).
Extended and diminished visibility and lights in the sky at high latitudes receive some attention from a non-physicist who will accept corrections with gratitude and alacrity. 

Direct download: 110_Professor_Spencer_Davis_Optical_Phenomena.mp3
Category:mixed bag -- posted at: 12:45am EDT

James Marr takes his military expedition south and sets up shop on Goudier Island at Port Lockroy in Bransfield House, and also Base A. 

Direct download: 109_Operation_Tabarin_part_2.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 5:21am EDT

Direct download: 108_Update.mp3
Category:Metageneral -- posted at: 3:39am EDT

Direct download: 107_Operation_Tabarin.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 7:33pm EDT

More fuck! than you can poke a stick at.

Direct download: 106_Women_in_Antarctica.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:47am EDT

So fuck! it warrants spelling fark!

Direct download: 105_USASE_Part_3.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 2:17am EDT


Direct download: 104_USASE_Part_2.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 11:47pm EDT

Keystone cops.
Byrd at his finest.
Fumes and fuming.

Direct download: 104_USASE_Part_1.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 7:14am EDT

Lincoln Ellsworth convinces Sir Hubert Wilkins to head south once again and achieves very little. 

Direct download: 102_Ellsworth_s_last_Antarctic_gasp.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 8:54am EDT

The War to End All Wars didn't do what it said on the box and political and economic pressures to fascist all over Europe, China and the Pacific led to another protracted period of bloodshed and barbarism. 
This episode is short and short on Antarctic content but it's important to understand the motives and outcomes of the morass of conflicts we came to call the Second World War because war and its wake once more held a lot of sway in what happened in Antarctica and by whom it happened to happen.  No mere happenstance but economic and politically driven outcomes lie in the offing and only those nations not completely economically crippled by conflict could afford to get south again in the short to medium term. 
Not a pleasant episode to write or record and likely little fun to listen to.  Huskie antics and people doing heroic and dumb things lie in the offing, I promise. 

Direct download: 101_World_War_Two.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 3:50am EDT

Nazis don't deserve theme music, soundscapes or even my best efforts at editing out narrating flubs. 

Direct download: 100_Nazis_on_ice_part_2.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 6:32am EDT

Driven south by the Third Reich's thirst for fat, the Schwabenland (ship version) carries two cool flying boats and a load of fucking nazis to Antarctic shores. 
No house keeping and no calls to action, this episode, because I hate nazis and writing, recording and editing this episode made me grumpy. 

Given that I parted brass rags with Quark expeditions because one of their guests called me a nazi and I told him to go fuck himself only re-doubles my anger at having to incorporate nazi assholes into my narrative.  Even Richard Byrd doesn't get me this pissed off. 

Direct download: 099_Nazis_on_ice.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 8:09am EDT

The British Graham Land Expedition comes to a close but it's not the last we'll hear of its members or the repercussions of the work they carried out.

Direct download: 098_BGLE_wrap_up_and_double_the_normal_number_of_McArthurs.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 11:37pm EDT

The British Graham Land Expedition near the end of their second year in Antarctica.  Much flying, sledging, surveying and the first crossing of Graham Land.

Direct download: 097_BGLE_part_2.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 12:10am EDT

John Rymill picks up where Gino Watkins' death left off and leads the most efficient Antarctic expedition to date. 
Lots of new discoveries, competent seamanship, sledging and flying ensue. 
The BGLE set the mold for safe and competent operations in the high southern latitudes.

Direct download: 096_The_British_Graham_Land_Expedition_01.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 9:35pm EDT

I've traveled with Santiago for three austral summers and his humour and humanity have buoyed my moods while his perspectives on the birds we encountered opened my eyes to biological vistas I'd previously not spotted due to my focus on the mud. 
I only just met John Marsden ten minutes before pressing record but his tales of high latitudes aviation warrant further attention than the ten minutes afforded at Seaworks. 
I hope to spend a lot more time in company with these people in the future but until then here's a sonic record of our encounters. 

And some faux advertising to let you know what I've saved you from/what you're missing out on.

Next month, the BGLE get moving. 

Direct download: 095_Santiago_the_ornithologist_and_John_the_pilot.mp3
Category:Contemporary -- posted at: 5:41pm EDT

Lincoln Ellsworth's money returns to Antarctica with new pilots, no meteorologist and Norwegians all but ready to throttle him. 
Job's a good 'un, though, in spite of the lack of oomph, patience and skill the money bags brought with him. 

Herbert Hollick-Kenyon nails one of the best put downs in Antarctic history while puffing on his pipe, munching on boiled sweets and reading westerns. 

Lots of penguins, seals and Swedes in the aural background.

Still holding off on throwing the switch on the Patreon account as there's one more episode in the offing, this month.

Direct download: 094_Ellsworth_triumphant_but_still_a_jerk.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 6:23am EDT

Ellsworth's money gets it into its head to be the first to cross Antarctica.
Wilkins, Balchen, Braathen and another polar pig get tangled up in his weak sauce Ahab routine.

Soundscapes featuring Port Circumcision and the waters just off Two Hummock Island, which I'm sure is the British Hydrographic Office's cleaned up label for a rude sailor name originally given that land mass by some sailors who'd been at sea for a really, really long time or who knew a woman with really unusually shaped breasts.   

Direct download: 093_Ellsworth_at_his_best_now_with_added_coda.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 11:54pm EDT

Two interviews with three fellow Drake Passage crossers and a thunder accompanied decompression after recent upheavals.
Anyone who feels hard done by in the third act is welcome to a right of reply. 

Also putting out my shingle via Patreon once more. outlines what's on offer in return for financial support but I won't start processing episode releases through the Patreon system until people who signed up years ago have a chance to check they still want to contribute at the levels they pledged. 

Back to history next episode with some more on-site recordings about Lincoln Ellsworth's further efforts to make a name for himself by paying other people to do all the things.

Direct download: 092_Ice_life_art_and_unemployment_4.mp3
Category:Contemporary -- posted at: 11:19pm EDT

In an epic episode spanning an hour and a half and featuring a singing leopard seal, blowing humpbacks and the tuneless honking of the penguins the residents of Little America and Bolling Advance Base and the various dog and half-track teams reconvene and get out of Dodge aboard the Jacob Ruppert and the Bear.

Direct download: 091_Little_america_Two_Finale.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:02am EDT

Byrd gets exactly what he asks for, what he deserves, and then saved, spoiling the symmetry of an otherwise well mapped story of hubris and punishment in the Greek myth mold. 

Direct download: 090_Little_America_two_part_three.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 11:22pm EDT

Byrd's second expedition re-colonises Byrd's first expedition's digs after lots of digging. 
Gentoo penguins under the hut floor provide ambience. 

Direct download: 089_Little_America_two_part_two.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 8:34am EDT

Two episodes in two days. 
Take that, incomprehensible download statistics.  Let's see me make sense of you now. 

Byrd returns south to finish...    something...  something brave and stirring and laudably scientific and humanitarian, no doubt.  Prolly work it out in payroll.  Or in a post-hoc rationalisation that will remain in publication for half a century. 

More importantly, I get to share music I love with you.
Egoism's song "What are we doing" rounds out this episode and I hope you're inspired to check out their offerings, available at

Direct download: 088_Little_America_two_part_one.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 7:14pm EDT

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

Jeff Maynard returns to the dive hut to discuss the non-voyage of the Nautilus and we receive a visitation from the ghost of an Antarctic feline.
Then the sustained influence of James Wordie and the efforts of Gino Watkins get some attention to set the scene for further British efforts in the south. 
Oooh, foreshadowing and ghosts.  Woooooooooooo!

Direct download: 086_Wilkins_Watkins.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 9:41pm EDT

Lars Christensen funds extensive coastal exploration in concert with his whaling exploits.  A decade of Norwegian effort gets compressed into a single chagrined episode. 

Direct download: 085_Norwegians.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 7:23am EDT

The best acronym in Antarctic history draws to a close and Sir Douglas leaves the southern continent for the last time. 
Similarly the Discovery makes its final transit of the Southern Ocean.  |
Some errors of fact that warrant addenda pass into your ears. 

Direct download: 084_BANZAR_Mawson_comes_in_out_of_the_coaled.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 4:27pm EDT

The first BANZARE voyage plays out with much tension, flying and coal.

Direct download: 083_BANZARE_Mawson_needs_a_gin.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 5:24am 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

Three interviews with staff at Bransfield House, Port Lockroy, one with a descendant of Bartholomew Sulivan, second mate on the Beagle under Fitzroy and Falklands Island farmer, and animal noises from the islands. 
Happy April, one and all. 

Direct download: 081_Interviews_and_soundscapes.mp3
Category:mixed bag -- posted at: 1:08am EDT

Sam Edmonds is good company at high and low latitudes but you'll know that for yourself by the end of the interview, conducted north of Sydney with sulphur crested cockatoo and DeHavilland Canada Beaver accompaniment.

Much has been written on high latitudes food but the residues receive less attention.  After finding out about Antarctic sewage and sewerage I now understand why, but having done the yards it's only right that I put the information in your ears.

The world didn't stand still and await the outcomes of Wilkins' and Byrd's efforts with bated breath.  This episode catches you up on Antarctic pertinent developments that the buzz caused by the aviators eclipsed.
The episode also features an interview I recorded with Dr Andrew Atkin while I was in Sydney.  Yes, if you get in touch and tell me you like the series there's a chance I could turn up in your home, drink your coffee, eat your food and sleep on the spare bed, too, all while talking non-stop about Antarctica.  You never know your luck.

Victor and I spent time in the Zodiacs around the Antarctic Peninsula in late 2018.  This unassuming man quickly demonstrated a tremendous experience in and love of Antarctica and cherished the opportunities our work offered him. 
I sat down with Victor to record a brief history of his Antarctic career after one of the presentations he gave to our team.  This episode comprises that interview and audio from another of the presentations he gave, detailing his experiences at Vostok Station, the most remote and coldest of the permanent human presences in Antarctica.  Vostok will feature in its own episode as the series approaches the era of the International Geophysical Year and again to re-recount the story of the winter without a power plant. 
I could write at length about Victor but I think he says it better and with a cooler accent, so get him in your ears. 

Direct download: 078_Victor_Serov.mp3
Category:Biographic -- posted at: 1:52am EDT

Byrd and Wilkins are done in Antarctica for the 1920s and head north, leaving many loose ends in the snow next to the dog corpses. 
With the depression changing the playing field it would fall to the primo fund raisers and the independently wealthy to pick those loose ends up in the 1930s but I'll get to that after covering some Australian and Norwegian 1929 action and knocking out some interviews I picked up in my travels through the austral summer. 
Victor the vostoknicchi coming your way in episode 078.

Direct download: 077_1929_Coda.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 10:00pm EDT

Some news and a correction.

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

Wilkins returns to the arena, negating the worth of the winter spent at Little America.
Byrd gets his pole flight and drunk.

Direct download: 075_Byrd_and_Wilkins_1929.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Sly grogging among a large company of over winterers makes Byrd's winter on The Barrier a very different experience to that of previous expeditions.

I set up a paypal account for anyone who wants to support the series.  You can flick me some bucks for books, hosting services and travel expenses at

Direct download: 074_Little_America_mid_winter_toast.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 8:56pm EDT

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

The first of the on site recordings for this Austral summer, episode 072 examines the preparations made to finally take aviation south and the echoes of Scott and Amundsen that resonate through the stories of Byrd and Wilkins. 

Direct download: 072_1928_part_01.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 9:52am EDT

The final full episode arising from my trip to Hobart.  Ron Hann, Peter Reid and Rob Nash speak about their time in Antarctica and I bloviate about my favourite podcasts.
Ah, narrowcasting, you path to digression, you. 
I'm hoping the next time you'll hear from me I'll be speaking about November 1928 events at Deception Island at Deception Island in November 2018.

Direct download: 071_ANARE_Club_Part_3.mp3
Category:Contemporary -- posted at: 8:29pm EDT

The second tranche of interviews from my time at the Australian Antarctic Festival in Hobart.  Barry Becker, Denise Alan and Trevor Luff discuss their time with ANARE and I look forward to seeing Dr Brewin in December. 

Direct download: 070_ANARE_Club_part_two.mp3
Category:Contemporary -- posted at: 6:48am EDT

A look at practical, political and ecological developments arising as the whaling fleet, largely comprising Norwegian vessels and crews, set about the business of ridding the Southern Ocean of those pesky cetaceans. 

I'm none too fond of the booze culture of my home nation, the other nations I've lived, and Antarctic bases, but Nicholas Johnson's legacy warrants light, so I recorded one of the articles missing from the resurrected Big Dead Place website for inclusion in this episode. 

Direct download: 069_Whaling_update.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 2:03am EDT

Four of the interviews I recorded at the 2018 Australian Antarctic Festival in Hobart. 
Bob Tompkins, Joe Johnson, Ian Toohill and John Gillies share some fo their experiences in the south and Dave Davies rounds the episode out with some Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Direct download: 068_ANARE_Club_part_one.mp3
Category:Contemporary -- posted at: 10:45pm EDT

Bringing to a close the trilogy of Arctic aviation episodes, this episode ties up loose ends sufficient to fully set the aviation scene for the first flights in Antarctica. 
I've really enjoyed putting these episodes together. 

Recent Tasmania adventures get some sizzle but the content won't reflect my time in Hobart until later this month.

Direct download: 067_Arctic_aviation_part_3.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 10:56am EDT

Flying in the Arctic posed a dodgy prospect but faint heart never ended up dead on a tundra. 

Direct download: 066_Polar_aviation_part_two.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 9:09pm EDT

With aircraft offering opportunities to keep the feet dry and singalling a possible end to the miseries of sledging in all its forms, key players were keen to get flying. Efforts in the north require some attention as the experiences in the Arctic shaped the approach those key players took when they brought flying machines south.

Direct download: 065_Arctic_aviation.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 8:07am EDT

Direct download: 064_Fingeewulf.mp3
Category:faffing about -- posted at: 1:55pm 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

With Sir Hubert Wilkins set to take a prominent role in several episodes I sat down for coffee and a chat with Jeff Maynard, who knows more about Australia's forgotten polar explorer than I know about most of my family.

Direct download: 062_Jeff_Maynard.mp3
Category:Biographic -- posted at: 10:24pm EDT

Two episodes in quick succession.
Weren't expecting that, were you?
I was too excited about sharing the story of Lester and Bagshawe to wait a month to get this out and so trebled the five buck monthly outlay on the hosting service to service my need to let you know about the two and the dogs. 
The most disarmingly charming chapter in Antarctic history. 

Direct download: 061_Lester_and_Bagshawe.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 8:01am EDT

Many Antarctic veterans served in the First World War.  This episode I outline the military service of several of those veterans who will make return appearances in the south.
The Great War also affected the political landscape of Antarctica and that gets some attention, too.

How long's it been since I published a short episode?
You'll be halfway through some task or errand and you'll hear me making the house keeping announcements, but don't freak out.  You haven't gone blank or nodded out  I'm just keeping things in their lane as much as I can.  Likely that won't last long as I can see multiple concurrent expeditions looming and with radio keeping them in touch and influencing outcomes where previously everyone operated in isolation it's likely that my discrete expedition/episode strategy is going to come to grief. 

Direct download: 060_Antarctica_War_and_its_wake.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 6:48am EDT

The various parties of the ITAE come in out of the cold and most of them immediately head off to war. 

Direct download: 059_ITAE_closer.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 10:13am EDT

Frank Worsley knocks it out of the park, navigating across eight hundred nautical miles of open ocean with four sextant shots.  Tom Crean breaks through thin ice for the final time in our saga.
Shackleton tries to get back to Elephant Island and the fourth time's the charm.

Direct download: 058_James_Caird_where_would_have_quit.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 9:27am EDT

The Endurance sinks.  Plans form, change, re-form, change again, get discarded, get reinstated and re-form after changing.  Hoosh is the only constant.

Direct download: 057_Boat_outta_Weddell.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 1:20pm EDT

The Ice eats The Endurance.
Plans form, change, re-form and change again as the Weddell Sea gives Shackleton's team a thorough stuffing about.

Category:History -- posted at: 12:23pm EDT

Sir Ernest Shackleton returns to Antarctica, this time in the Weddell Sea, where the two preceding voyages got stuck.  Guess what happens.  Go on, guess.

Direct download: 056_Into_the_Weddell.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 7:46am EDT

Present day geologists offer their perspectives on the Antarctic Peninsula and I record lots of the bow pushing through loose pack because it's mesmerising.

Direct download: 055_Geologists.mp3
Category:Practical -- posted at: 5:36am EDT

The Ross Ice Barrier claims its final victim of the Heroic Age as Joyce, Richards and Wild struggle to get the depot party back to safety, then McMurdo Sound takes two more lives when a gamble on the weather goes against Mackintosh and Hayward.

Direct download: 054_Ross_Sea_Party_part_two.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 7:26am 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

Hubert Wilkins makes his first appearance in the Ice Coffee narrative, albeit as a supporting character in someone else's nightmare in the Arctic, and I give you the good oil on sticking to tablets and behavioural responses to motion mediated nausea. 
The first episode recorded in Antarctica.  Muy excitamento.  Many spanglish. 

Direct download: 052_Mixed_bag.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 7:45am 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

The Cape Denison denizens get their science on and prepare for the spring sledging carnival.
The brown stuff gets closer to the whizzy-bladey thing.

Direct download: 050_Mawsons_Trek.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 9:03am EDT

Douglas Mawson gets a lot done in just twelve months.

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

I've been offered work in Antarctica and urgently need to renew some certs and get my teeth fixed and get a seafarer's medical and plane tickets and some coffee.
If you've paid all your bills and put some money aside for a rainy day and donated to some charities and had your fill of the caviar and lobster, please consider flicking a few bucks my way. 
Music, soundscapes and broad horizons lie in the offing, so take care and appreciate your coffee.

Direct download: 048_Falling_southward_fund.mp3
Category:begging -- posted at: 7:05am EDT

Prussian Army lieutenant Wilhelm Filchner led Germany's second expedition in the early 20th century.  While the government stayed largely hands off the expedition committee put their oar in enough to see der Deutschland sail under a syphilitic commander whose antics placed everyone's lives in danger and gave us a really good example of the sort of problems split leadership can cause in a high latitudes project. 
Suspected suicide, suspected fake appendicitis and very definite mania and toastiness characterised Filchner's time in the south.

Direct download: 047_Filchner.mp3
Category:History -- posted at: 9:28am EDT