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
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 currently teach and who sometimes
come here to check if Mr. Ward really does have a web site!
Who 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 1920's and 1930'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
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 you.
I can't remember anything actually
happening during my rounds but I certainly didn't hang around for that
part of my journey around the base to find out.
Forbush 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 |
English Gardening |