This richly illustrated book Ordeal by Ice is destined to become the reference book on ships of the Antarctic. Surrounded by some of the most hazardous seas, Antarctica was first sighted less than three centuries ago. Since then, hundreds of ships have voyaged in Antarctic waters, challenged by poorly-charted waters, storms, pack ice, icebergs, and disease. This is the story of these ships, the expeditions they supported, and their subsequent history, from the fifteenth-century fleets of the Ming Emperors of China to the tourist ships and powerful icebreakers of today.
Using extensive research in archives, museums, libraries and private sources around the world, Rorke Bryan brings the stories of these ships into a single, comprehensive record. Familiar names such as Terra Nova and Endurance feature with unfamiliar but equally important ships. From the hundreds of tales of heroic seamanship, the extraordinary 1830-1832 circumnavigation by Captain John Biscoe in the tiny Tula is perhaps matched only by Shackleton's voyage in the James Caird.
Plans, photos, paintings and maps enhance description of the expeditions and activities of the ships. This authoritative work fills an important gap in Antarctic literature.
Rorke Bryan has had a lifelong interest in Antarctica, triggered by seeing Scott of the Antarctic as an eight-year old in his native Dublin. The son of a merchant mariner, he has visited many parts of the world during his career with the British Antarctic Survey and in environmental conservation, forestry and development at the Universities of Alberta and Toronto. His interests include sailing, mountaineering and skiing.