Vanda Station: History of an Antarctic Outpost by historian Dr David Harrowfield.
During the 1958-59 Antarctic season, the year following the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 12 New Zealanders in 2 groups were carried north on the US Navy ice-breaker Glacier to reconnoitre Terra Nova Bay and Wood Bay. The plan was to explore and map the area using man hauling sledges. Serious damage to the propellers of the Glacier sent the ship back to New Zealand for repairs. This led to a complete rethink of the scientific programme, that now focused on the Dry Valleys, Granite Harbour and Cape Roberts, as well as Mt Discovery, Minna Bluff, Mt Terror and Cape Crozier. The book is based on a collection of the participant’s individual diaries (noted by their initials) and makes interesting reading without any frills but plenty of humour. It records a time when life was simpler without interference, when common sense reigned supreme and rules were self-imposed. Some photos in the book may seem substandard compared to today’s results, but they reflect the difficulties of using film at very low temperatures, combined with low film speed. In 1958 digital cameras were a long way in the future! Buy this book and reflect on how much Antarctic fieldwork has changed.
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