James Weddell

One of the great 19thcentury Antarctic explorers, James Weddell’s 1823 voyage (his third here) was a record southing, three degrees beyond that of Cook’s journey of 1774. Weddell’s record, completed in the 160-tonne brig Jane, stood for nearly a century, and an aerial view of the area he explored – now named in his honour – gives a powerful demonstration why. Beautiful and treacherous, the Weddell Sea is notorious for its ice conditions: huge, tabular icebergs greet adventurers here, white and topaz against the surrounding dark waters. Three ice shelves feed these waters, calving icebergs into the sea, helping make the Weddell one of the Southern Ocean’s most inhospitable, starkly captivating areas. Track your journey against Weddell’s: he sailed to the latitude of 74°15' S, principally to hunt seals, before returning to the Falkland Islands. Weddell Island, one of the group’s westerly islands, is named after the explorer, as is the Weddell Seal – appropriately named, as this is the mammal that is said to live further south than any other.

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