Poseidon Expeditions Blog - Posts with tag "History"

Poseidon Expeditions Polar Book Club - The Terrors of Ice and Darkness

The dramatic events surrounding the Austro-Hungarian North Pole Expedition

There is probably no other novel that is as suitable for getting in the mood for an expedition to the remote Russian archipelago of Franz Josef Land than The Terrors of Ice and Darkness, the debut work of the Austrian author Christoph Ransmayr, first published in 1984. Thirty-six years later, Ransmayr, who was recently awarded the Ludwig Börne Prize, one of the most important literary awards in German-speaking countries, is now one of the major contemporary German-language authors.

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Poseidon Expeditions Polar Book Club - The Greatest Show in the Arctic

Walter Wellman (center), in Tromsø on board the Frithjof during his 1898-1899 expedition to Franz Josef Land.

Try, Try and Try Again: American Expeditions to the North Pole, 1898 to 1905

By Steve Wellmeier, Sales Director of Poseidon’s US office

For me, as an American who’s been involved in polar travel for more than 20 years, some of the most fascinating episodes about Franz Josef Land are the multiple times American adventurers in the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries selected it as a base station to reach the North Pole.

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Who Owns Antarctica?

Everyone and no one. Those four words describe perhaps the simplest way of answering questions about the sovereignty of the Seventh Continent. And, the description has been relatively accurate since 1961 when the Antarctic Treaty, signed two years earlier, came into force.

Claims of ownership by Spain of Terra Australis Incognita – lands south of South American and Africa – go back to the 15th and 16th centuries. But it wasn’t until the 18th and 19th centuries, when hardy navigators first set eyes on the continent and ice sheet surrounding it, that more serious stakes were put forth. Spain’s original claims became those of Argentina and Chile, and five other nations jumped into the picture: Norway, France, Britain and the latter’s major colonies of the time, Australia and New Zealand. Because any type of border was practically impossible to enforce, many of the territorial claims overlapped.

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Ernest Shackleton's Grave Site

Visiting the gravesite of Sir Ernest Shackleton is an emotional stop on an Antarctic cruise that includes exploration of South Georgia. A renowned polar explorer, Shackleton died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 1922, at the beginning of a new voyage. South Georgia played a key role in his previous expeditions and was very dear to him, and that is why Grytviken was chosen as the final resting place of Sir Ernest Shackleton. Paying respects to the great explorer is a special experience for many Antarctic travelers.

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Famous Arctic Expeditions

The same trip to the Arctic today and a hundred years ago are two drastically different things. For one, the time to get there – a few days on a modern expedition ship versus several years with dog sleds, skis, vessels getting stuck in the pack ice, and even on foot. Then there are everyday activities of the voyage – today, you may go on a Zodiac cruise and chill in the Jacuzzi among icebergs, when early explorers had their hands full with chipping ice off the decks, melting snow for freshwater or hunting for food. This makes us appreciate the early Arctic explorers even more – driven by sheer will and passion, they faced challenges and braved seas, making their way into history books and our memories.

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Poseidon Expeditions Book Club: Scott’s Fatal Antarctic Expedition

Early exploration of the polar regions seems to go hand in hand with heroism and drama. The tragic story of the race to the South Pole is one of the most resonate examples of that. In 1911, two teams set out for Antarctica to be the first ever to reach the southernmost point of the globe. There are several books depicting the endeavors of men led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott and Roald Amundsen, but one of our favorites is The Coldest March: Scott's Fatal Antarctic Expedition by Susan Solomon.

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Poseidon Expeditions Book Club: Shackleton's Expedition Diary

Currently, public and social life is standing still. And at Poseidon Expeditions, too, with almost all our colleagues currently work in the "home office" and practicing social distancing. For our marketing manager and avid bookworm Christian Hoppe, this is a perfect opportunity to realize a project that he’s had in mind for a long time: The Poseidon Expeditions Book Club.

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Exploration of Franz Josef Land: Part 2

In the decades following its discovery in 1873, Franz Josef Land continued to attract adventurers to the edge of the world. The remote and barely hospitable archipelago was at times a base of operations—and at times a place of refuge—for explorers hoping to travel even farther off the map, into the white places where no one had gone before.

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Exploration of Franz Josef Land: Part 1



Since its discovery 150 years ago, Franz Josef Land has been the setting of some of polar history’s most remarkable tales of exploration and survival. At the height of the brief Arctic summer, melting snow reveals relics from early adventurers who endured long, dark winters in icebound ships or makeshift stone huts awaiting frozen graves or serendipitous rescues. Read on to learn about the notable explorers who literally put Franz Josef Land on the map.

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Extreme Points in the Arctic


How to Visit the World’s Northernmost Tourist Destinations

Geographical extremes hold a great attraction for many people. Perhaps this is because we have not lost our evolutionary desire for exploration that caused us to become the most widespread animals on the surface of the planet. Or perhaps we are drawn to distant places because their remoteness allows us to feel a moment of freedom from the oppressive weight of civilization. Maybe we simply enjoy the feeling of exclusivity when we stand where very few people have stood before. Certainly, bragging rights are assumed whenever we visit a place where terms like “northernmost” are applied. Whatever your reasons for seeking out the far corners of the world, a polar cruise is a great way to achieve your geographical goals. Here are some of the northernmost places you can visit on an expedition cruise to the Arctic.

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