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ANTARCTIC TRIP WAS A BIG SUCCESS.
DeGerlache Expedition Reaches Puenta Arenas, Patagonia, Returning Home.
Result of Their Researches.
Dr. Cook Cables a Brief Report of the Work of the Party in the Far South.
Original Plans Altered.
The Steamer Will Not Return for Another Winter, as Was First Intended -- Party Icebound for Two Months -- History of the Expedition.
Buenos Ayres (sic), April 4.
The steamer Belgica, having on board the De Gerlache Antarctic expedition, has arrived at Puenta Arenas, Patagonia. She was ice-bound for two months.
Dr. Cook's Despatch (sic).
Brooklyn, April 4. -- The "Standard Union" prints the following cable despatch, dated Montevideo, April 4, signed by Dr. Frederick A. Cook, surgeon of the Belgica expedition: --
"The Belgica arrived here this morning. All well. Our Antarctic voyage has been a complete success. Much new land in Weddell sea and open water to the far south discovered.
"Active volcanoes were also seen. I (sic) come home direct by early steamer. The Belgica will not return for another Winter, as originally planned. We lost men by acicdent (sic), but none by disease."
The last previous communication from the expedition was from Ushuala, the southern part of Terra del Fuego, December 30, 1897, stating that on the next day the steamer would sail for the unknown South.
Originally the purpose was to return last Fall and refit in Melbourne, Australia, but to-day's despatches make it certain that the Belgica party was the first to Winter south of the Antarctic circle.
The Belgica left Antwerp on August 16, 1897, bound for the Antarctic regions. She had on board a crew numbering twenty-one men and provisions for two years. She was commanded by Adrian de Gerlache, who had with him two lieutenants, one of them being a French naval officer named Lecomte.
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The scientific staff consisted of a geologist, a lieutenant of artillery, in charge of the magnetic and meteorological observations; an expert dredger and a physician. The sum of 250,000 francs was subscribed to defray the expenses of the expedition.
It was expected that the Belgica would reach the Antarctic Ocean about the middle of October, 1897, and after pushing as far south as the sea of George IV, or further, if possible, she was to return some time in March, 1898, making her way to Australia.
The Belgica was originally built for Polar whaling, but was entirely refitted for this voyage on the plans made famous by Dr. Nansen. She was considered proof against the most severe ice pressures, had an auxiliary engine and carried an immense captive balloon, which was to be used in surveying the sea at great distances.
Reproduced with permission: L.L. Dyche, Explorations (Newspaper Clippings Related to Polar Exploration), Vol. 1 & 2. University Archives, Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries, Lawrence, KS.
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