Not a topic destined to get many hits. I’ve been following the Mawson Antarctic ship stuck in the ice for the last week with its dramatic cast of Chinese and Russian icebreakers and echoes of past expeditions. Not a Brit icebreaker in site of course. Maybe they’ll have to overwinter in Antarctica like those who went before but now forgotten – FABIEN VON BELLINGHAUSEN in that long antartic night. As study of polar exploration has become more mainstream I’ve increasingly been drawn to failed expeditions or expeditions by countries that no longer exist. So I am currently reading about the AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN ARCTIC EXPEDITION 1874-78. Led by Julius Player they discovered FRANZ JOSEF LAND to the East of Novaya Zemlya and named everything they discovered after the Habsburg monarchs and aristocracy. Names which surprisingly survived the Bolshevik revolution where other icons of royalty did not. I’m surprised that Franz Josef land was not renamed SVERDLOV land after the Bolshevik leader who died in 1919 OF THE INFLUENZA EPIDEMIC.



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  1. b

    It’s summer at this time of year in Antarctica. If they stay there, they’ll get a long antarctic day!

  2. Beam me up Scott of the Antarctic

    With global warming there should be no ice to get stuck in. Mawson, 100 years ago, got to 500 yards of the coast. This expedition is stuck 100 miles off the coast. Oh dear, a theory crashes

  3. bragget

    Ian, check out “The Ice Balloon” by Alec Wilkinson. Briefly:
    1897…S.A. Andree plus two other Swedes…attempt to fly hydrogen balloon from Spitsbergen over North Pole…never heard of again…1930…chance discovery at remote island of Kvitoya..3 bodies plus notes and photos…balloon crashed after 2 days.

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