21:00 on Friday the 24th November, 2006
Today after passing through the Peltire Channel we turned north and landed back on the Continent in a place called Paradise Harbour. Aptly named, as an enclosed haven, it is shielded by the Forbidden Plateau (2350m) to the south and east. The seaward side is protected by Lemaire and Bryde Islands. On each of the islands and throughout the mainland there are numerous monstrous glaciers cascading into the sea. While climbing on the mainland we witnessed our first glacier calving. While still in the Antarctic spring season it is early for calving (the breaking off of huge blocks of ice from the snout of the glacier at the point where it reaches the sea), they can occur at any time and they are impressive. Like an avalanche the huge mass of ice crashes into the sea and causes a massive splash and a sizable wave fanning out in all directions. The noise was thunderous.
Witnessing the calving in Paradise Harbour gave us some indication of the power of the glaciers and the overall impact of the climate on the continent. Mankind and its use of fossil fuels resulting in an increase in carbon emissions and continue to contribute to global warming. In turn the glaciers are melting more rapidly. The frozen sea and the ice shelves are breaking up at an alarming rate.
While this is happening, half way around the world Ireland procrastinates over the ratification of the Antarctic Treaty, yet at the same time our country continues to contribute unduly to global warming.
Donal is the managing director of Cappanalea OEC, the premier...
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