26 November 2012

Scientific expedition "un-discovers" Sandy Island

Sandy Island on a British map, 1922.
Sandy Island on Google Earth, 2012.
On November 22, 2012, an expedition of Australian scientists from the University of Sydney on the RV Southern Surveyor, studying plate tectonics in the Coral Sea, noticed that some maps showed an isle named Sandy Island between French-governed New Caledonia and Australia while others did not.  The expedition found no island at the location, though European maps dating back to Captain Cook's 1774 expedition showed a "Sandy Island" or "Île de Sable" somewhere near New Caledonia.  (Some maps showed two Sandy Islands.)  The Australian expedition instead found 4,600 feet (1,400 meters) of ocean depth.

18 November 2012

Antarctic expeditions set out to retrace Scott’s 1912 fateful attempt at the pole: teams include graduate students and injured veterans

The ill-fated final expedition of Robert Falcon Scott; from left to right: Wilson, Scott and Oates (standing), and Bowers and Evans (sitting)
The fated British Antarctic expedition of Robert Falcon Scott made it to the South Pole in January 1912 with Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans only to discover that Roald Amundsen and his team of Norwegians had beat them to the goal.  On their return, the British team ran out of food and all five perished.  The expedition still serves as an example of British perseverance and derring-do.

The International Scott Centenary Expedition (ISCE) selected 22-year-old Henry Evans, who recently completed his marine biology degree at Plymouth University, to trek to the South Pole in memory of Scott.  Evans raised £7,000 towards his trip by running in half-marathons in a penguin costume.  During the expedition, he will collect snow samples for Plymouth University and the British Antarctic Survey to note any changes in the stable isotopes of water, which could occur due to changing climate patterns.  This expedition leaves in December.

Polar explorer David Hempleman-Adams is leading three wounded British soldiers, Capt. Adam Crookshank, Cpl. Robbie Harmer, and L/Cpl. Nick Webb of the Royal Dragoon Guards, on a charity trek to the South Pole.  The soldiers are from the same regiment as Cpt. Lawrence Oates from Scott’s original expedition, who famously sacrificed himself in a vain attempt to help the team, stating, “I am just going outside and I may be some time.”  The charity expedition’s goal is to raise more than £1 million for Alzheimer’s Research UK and Walking With The Wounded (a rehabilitation service for wounded servicemen).  This expedition leaves in November.

11 November 2012

Another Saga in the Hunt For Old Prince Madoc by Ron Fritze

The DeSoto Falls in Lumpkin County, Georgia
Photo by Ron Fritze
SHD president Ronald Fritze offers the following blog post about supposed pre-Columbian Welsh sites in the eastern US:

Some of you are aware that I am very interested in the myths, legends, and histories of the theories concerning pre-Columbian contacts between the Old World and the Americas.  One myth that I have particularly focused on is the myth of Prince Madoc and the colony of the medieval Welsh in pre-Columbian North America.  The southeastern United States and the Ohio Valley are particularly rich in sites associated with the supposed Welsh settlers.  I have written essays about visiting some of these sites and written essays about the myths and legends associated with the site.  Here is a link to my latest essay.  The essay also contains links to four additional Madoc related essays.  So if you have an interest in the myth of Prince Madoc, I hope you find them helpful and enjoyable.

The link to his webpage is here: http://www.corndancer.com/fritze/fritze_040059/fritze054.html