Paul Ward - Cool Antarctica
At the age of about 14 I was at home
on a school day with a real or imagined illness and while laying
there suffering (it's hard when you're 14 and a bit poorly)
there came a film on the tv "Mr.
Forbush and the Penguins"*
(Cry of the Penguins in the USA). This was a film about a young
man who went to Antarctica to study penguins (starring
John Hurt) and it planted a seed.
At the age of about 17 I was in the college
careers library with little to do (or at least little that I
wanted to do), so I started looking through what was
there and came across some information on working in Antarctica.
This struck me as an exciting and worthwhile thing to do, so
I resigned myself to the rest of the day spent on the humdrum
and stored it away for some years. The seed had germinated.
A degree in Zoology later and a desire
to use this to do something I might never be able to do again
met with my love of nature and wild places and the memory of
what a great place Antarctica might be to go to led me to start
looking through the job section in New Scientist magazine. Like
many people I know who eventually went South, I wasn't successful
the first time, but I got the second job I went for - I was
to be a marine biologist on the British Antarctic Survey base
on Signy Island in the South Orkneys (in retrospect far more
appropriate than the first job I went for).
I spent just over 2 years in Antarctica
from 1985 to 1987 doing this job, in particular focusing on
the metabolism and muscle of Notothenia neglecta, an
Antarctic fish. This was when I took the photographs in this
web-site and developed a deep admiration for Antarctica and
a love of its wildlife (I suspected I might before I went!).
On return to the UK I became a teacher
and after giving many illustrated talks to pupils and seeing
what else was available on the web about Antarctica decided
to put what I had together into a web site (about 14 years after
I returned - when the interweb had been invented), and so here
I hope you enjoy this site and its pictures.
Since this site started it has snowballed
(pun intended) into an ever expanding hobby/facility/job in
directions that I never thought it would. I did think that after
about 3 years of part-time work this site would be "finished",
now about 14 years later my to-do list is bigger than it ever
was and from where I am at the moment there will be no end as
the longer I go on, the bigger the plans get.
Cool Antarctica has now had many tens
of millions of visitors, a truly astonishing number to me for
my hobby-site and show-case for my pictures that I took. I am
so glad now that photography and making the most of the Antarctic
Experience are what guided me while South rather than only focusing
on the intricacies of the muscle metabolism of Notothenia
I now find myself in a fairly unique
position where I can relate my own Antarctic experiences and
act as a hub for other people to send me their own pictures
and information to further promote the status of Antarctica
a wonderful and unique part of our planet. I can't think of
another website I'd rather be responsible for.
You can contact me if you want via
p.s. Hi to any pupils at Cromwell Community College,
Chatteris, Cambridgeshire UK where I taught up to
December 2014 and who sometimes come here to check if
Mr. Ward really does have a web site!
is danthewhaler? I use this as my email address. The
Island I was stationed on in Antarctica (Signy) was the site
of an old Norwegian whaling station that was active in the 1910's
and 1920's. About half a mile as the skua flies from the base
is a small graveyard containing the graves of five whalers who
died while in Antarctica.
The story was that the
ghost of one of these whalers, Dan, haunted the base and in
particular Tonsberg house, the oldest building on the base.
This building took the form of a long hut with a central corridor
with rooms coming off it on each side, there was a fire door
half way along (that I always called the Dostoyevsky, think
about it, night-watch was long and boring) . We took it in turns
to spend a week on night-watch and people would tell of how
as they did a round of the base, the far half of Tonsberg was
prone to "noises", chairs scraping and moving, doors opening
or closing as the ghost of Dan the Whaler did his rounds alongside
I can't remember anything
actually happening during my rounds but I certainly didn't hang
about for that part of my journey around the base to find out.
and the Penguins / Cry of the Penguins - I've seen it again
a little while ago, it's not very good really, some things are
best left as memories rather than being revisited.
My other sites
Anglian Gardener |
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