Header image of Antartica with signature of Louis Bernacchi

Southern Cross Expedition (1898 - 1900)

To the South Polar Regions

Originally published in 1901 with a new edition hoped for in the future.

Picture of the Southern Cross in the Ice Pack

The Antarctic Expedition of 1898 - 1900 was organised and led by Mr. C. E. Borchgrevink with the object of the expedition to spend a winter on shore for the purpose of collecting meteorological and magnetic observations covering an entire year. The ship was an adapted whaler purchased in Norway and re-christened the Southern Cross after that much-quoted constellation near the South Pole. She was small but admirably adapted for navigating in the heavy and dense South Polar ice-packs, where a small ship, answering her helm very readily, is essential.

The aim of this book is to present to the general reader a simple account of our experiences and of the phenomena witnessed in those little-known regions. The recorded minutiae of monotonous months have been, as far as possible, avoided. So that it is hoped these pages may be read without weariness and, perhaps, with a certain amount of profit, for although in no way a scientific narrative of the voyage, great care has been taken to make any scientific information and fresh facts as accurate as possible.

To ordinary readers the most desolate region imaginable is that within the Arctic Circle Yet the intrepid explorers who have furthest penetrated into the northern wilds, encountered there bears, wolves, musk oxen, walrus, seals and other mammals, and saw flocks of birds steering northwards beyond the utmost limit of discovery. Infinitely more desolate are the mysterious Antarctic regions. Enveloped in an atmosphere of universal death, wrapped in its closely-clinging cerements of ice and snow, the one expression of the Antarctica of today is that of lifeless silence. Life in the Antarctic is one of hardship, privation, monotony and isolation, but it has a subtle charm which is indefinable, and you look back with a vivid and a lingering recollection to those days spent in geographical and scientific research near the South Pole.

(Edited from the author's preface).

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