“Thanks!”

Thanks to all the bloggers who have left lovely words of appreciation on the site. It has been very encouraging to hear how interested you have all been. During the journey back I have had regrets about the short time I actually had to do the things I wanted to – the narrow windows of good weather and the resupply organisation priorities meant that I had no time to review my recordings and work on getting the best sound, and wind has marred a lot of the sounds I was looking for. So I am happy that even the small amount of what I have achieved has been stimulating for the imagination. I will now be spending time going over the material I have to see what I can make of it. Certainly the Centennial program is something that would not have happened without the focus and meaning of the voyage itself, and that is something I hope to build on and present many more times at home during the next few years of the celebrations.

We are rolling home quite speedily now, but will not make up the two days we lost due to the poor visability and blizzards at the end of resupply at Mawson. Most of the people on board are in a kind of let-down or relaxed holiday mood after a strenuous season of work, or they are busy catching up on paper-work and writing articles. We are losing one hour each night for six nights, which is a most peculiar adjustment and turning up for meals has become rather haphazard.

Bird life is still quite active, with a large albatross seen this morning around the ship for a couple of hours. Yesterday I marvelled at the dipping of the small shearwaters – they use the wind from the waves and swoop suddenly so close, making my heart leap as they disappear from sight for a moment as they change angle. I learnt that these little birds can dive up to 60-70 meters underwater to catch their food which I think is quite extraordinary. As the size of the sea birds increases, their diving depth decreases – the largest albatross might dive up to 2 meters – their wings are heavy to move underwater. Other small birds get up to 20 meters.

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5 responses to ““Thanks!”

  • Catherine Rogers

    Thank you so much for letting us vicariously share in your amazing experience. I can’t wait to check your blog every day. What you have accomplished is wonderful from conception to realization. It has been so exciting to follow your adventure and be able to hear the music that is the heart of this project. Thank you also for setting an example to all of us on the vital role of music in life–even at the ends of the earth! I really hope you will publish an article about your trip in the American Harp Society Journal and/or the Harp Column magazine. Safe journey!

    • alicegiles

      Hi Catherine – thanks. You are right – music is such an important part of human presence. I believe that if people are involved in habitation in Antarctica – and they most definitely are – then music is an essential part of that process actually ‘in situ’. Musical and artistic endeavour has been focused so far on what can be brought back in terms of inspiration, which is also important but not the only thing. Music actually in Antarctica has been left to the very keen and talented expeditioners themselves. Will be happy to send an article to AHSJ and Harp Column, once I get my material organised.

  • Lynette Willshire

    Have just returned from Melbourne and been catching up on your blog. I have enjoyed very much following your experiences and listening to your music. Also have loved the way you have bought CTM’s experiences to life. Dynamics galore.

  • Lisa Roberts

    Alice, I look forward to hearing the music that comes from your Antarctic experience.

    For Fred Elliot, who worked in Antarctica in the 1950s, the music of Beethoven served as a totem of his connection to Antarctica. He writes:

    ‘Totems provide the physical expression of metaphysics. To the person unaware of the metaphysics, the totem is merely an object, or music, or dance, or ritual or whatever, and that’s as far as it goes. However, it is possible to use someone else’s totem for your own thoughts. Whatever Beethoven had in mind in his Fifth, it is my totem for a year spent at Heard Island. I hope we never lose our wondering, nor arrive at the point where all is explained and there is no mystery left.’

    Interview with Fred Elliott, Melbourne 2008

  • Lisa Roberts

    Alice, Perhaps your music will serve as a totem for the Antarctic experience of many people.

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