Category Archives: Travel

The wind turbines of Scott Base

“Fuel is life in Antarctica,” Jonathan Leitch told me at Scott Base last month. Leitch is in charge of asset management at the permanent New Zealand station that sits near the end of Hut Point Peninsula on Ross Island. This volcanic … Continue reading

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Ernest Shackleton’s 100-year-old whisky

When Ernest Shackleton was ordering provisions for his 1907 expedition to Antarctica, he made it clear that along with the requisite tins of herrings, mulligatawny soup, gooseberry jam and marmalade, he and his men required a supply of whisky. Not … Continue reading

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Galileo in Florence

This story first appeared in The Listener, issue 3688, 15 January 2011.  I’d come a long way to see Galileo’s arthritic middle finger, but recognised the great 17th-century astronomer’s aged appendage – displayed in a gilt-edged glass egg in a … Continue reading

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Kermadecs voyage #2: The mystery of the floating pumice

I was planning to write this personal blog at the same time as writing one for Scientific American, but I’m so busy circumnavigating islands in a RHIB, flying into volcanic craters in a Navy Seasprite, fishing for sharks off the … Continue reading

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Kermadecs voyage #1: On the HMNZS Canterbury

In 1955, when the US and USSR were involved in a nuclear arms race, the British Prime Minister asked New Zealand’s permission to test hydrogen bombs in the Kermadecs, a small group of islands about 800 km north of Auckland. … Continue reading

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Antarctic playlist update

Before I went to Antarctica I asked people for recommendations on music to listen to while there, and I put together an Antarctic playlist. Turned out I didn’t listen to much music while I was in Antarctica. It was too … Continue reading

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