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taixyz1992



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Join date : 2010-10-10

PostSubject: New South Greenland   Fri Nov 05, 2010 8:49 pm

In the early 19th century the geography of Antarctica was almost completely unknown, though occasional sightings of land had been recorded.[1] In 1822 Benjamin Morrell, who had sailed to the South Sandwich Islands the previous year,[2] was appointed commander of the schooner Wasp for a two-year voyage of sealing, trading and exploration in the Antarctic seas and the southern Pacific Ocean.[3] In addition to his sealing duties Morrell had, as he put it, "discretionary powers to prosecute new discoveries."[3] He proposed to use this discretion to investigate the Antarctic seas "and to ascertain the practicality ... of penetrating to the South Pole."[3] This would be the first of four extended voyages that would keep Morrell at sea for most of the following eight years, although he would not revisit the Antarctic after the initial voyage.[4]

Wasp sailed south from New York on 22 June 1822. She reached the Falkland Islands late in October, after which Morrell spent 16 days in fruitless searches for the nonexistent Aurora Islands,[5][6] before heading for South Georgia, where the ship anchored on 20 November. In his account Morrell wrongly records the position of this anchorage, placing it in open sea about 60 miles (97 km) south-west of the island's coastline.[6] Wasp subsequently headed eastwards to hunt for seals and, according to Morrell, reached the remote Bouvet Island on 6 December, finding this elusive island without apparent difficulty. Historian H.R. Mill notes that Morrell's description of the island's physical features fails to mention the island's most singular characteristic—it is covered by a permanent ice sheet.[7][8] He then attempted to take the ship southwards but, reaching thick ice at around 60°S, turned northeast towards the Kerguelen Islands where he anchored on 31 December.[6][8]


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