Below the Convergence: Voyages Toward Antarctica, 1699-1839

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2007 M02 27 - 328 pages
This wonderfully written book tells of the first Herculean expeditions to Antarctica, from astronomer Edmond Halley's 1699 voyage in the Paramore to the sealer John Balleny's 1839 excursion in the Eliza Scott, all in search of land, glory, fur, science, and profit. Life was harsh: crews had poor provisions and inadequate clothing, and scurvy was a constant threat. With unreliable--often homemade--charts, these intrepid explorers sailed in the stormy waters of the Southern Ocean below the Convergence, that sea frontier marking the boundary between the freezing Antarctic waters and the warmer sub-Antarctic seas. These men were the first to discover and exploit a new continent, which was not the verdant southern island they had imagined but an inhospitable expanse of rock and ice, ringed by pack ice and icebergs: Antarctica.

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User Review  - auntmarge64 - LibraryThing

A dense history of early voyages to the high south latitudes to determine if there was land and, if so, inhabitants and resources to be exploited. After a chapter on ancient and medieval propositions ... Read full review

BELOW THE CONVERGENCE: Voyages Toward Antarctica, 1699-1839

User Review  - Kirkus

In this comprehensive account—written with sufficient wit and historical asides to offset the tedium of names, dates, and geographic minutiae—yacht designer and photographer Gurney shows how the ... Read full review

Contents

The Plague of the Sea
35
The Southern Ocean
53
Mr James Cook
86
The Voyage of the Resolution and Adventure
109
The Continent Discovered
146
The Third Circumnavigation
240
The Last Discoveries by Sealers
259
Epilogue
276
Maps follow page 282
299
Index
305
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About the author (2007)

Alan Gurney is a former yacht designer and photographer living in Suffolk, England. His previous books include Compass and Race to the White Continent.

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