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We have been kee­ping an eye on the ice chart for days with qui­te some exci­ti­ment. What appears like some colour­ful squa­re cen­ti­me­tres on paper is hund­reds of miles of drift ice in real life, covering much of the Ross Sea. Yel­low is not vit­amin-rich lemon, but half open water. Pur­p­le is not blu­e­ber­ry, but a very den­se pack ice cover, tougher than a cher­ry stone and abso­lute­ly ine­di­ble.

In the arc­tic, the sea ice is shrin­king rapidly. In the Ant­arc­tic, it is brea­king records. The­re is a lot of ice in the Ross Sea this year.

The ice is the focus of ever­y­bo­dies atten­ti­on here on Orte­li­us. We are all regu­lar­ly exami­ning the ice­chart, fol­lowing the deve­lo­p­ment, dis­cus­sing what all the colours may mean for us. The degree of expe­ri­ence that goes into the­se dis­cus­sions is varia­ble, and so is the pati­ence that Shack­le­ton iden­ti­fied as a polar traveller’s most important qua­li­ty. The­se ice charts are always rough and some­ti­mes ama­zin­gly mis­lea­ding, and even the satel­li­tes don’t know what will hap­pen over the next days.


Tal­king about Shack­le­ton. It was on 20th Janu­a­ry 1914 that the Endu­ran­ce got stuck in the ice of the Wed­dell Sea. That is 100 years ago today.

So we are eager­ly awai­t­ing the deve­lo­p­ment over the next days. The first ice floes are drif­ting around the ship. A beau­ti­ful view in the sunshi­ne.

last modification: 2015-01-22 · copyright: Rolf Stange