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Birmingham Bar Association - Bulletin Fall 2017

Book Review Robert R. Kracke by James B. McClintock, Palgrave Macmillan, a division of St. Martin’s Press LLC, N.Y., 2012, 220 pages In 1955 this reviewer was assigned by the United States Navy to a naval air station at Quonset Point, Rhode Island. Davisville, adjoining Quonset Point, was the home of the Seabees (Construction Battalion of the United States Navy). From time to time at the bachelor offi cers’ quarters at Quonset Point where Seabee offi cers were living, conversation would revolve around an upcoming Antarctic expedition which was dubbed “Operation Deepfreeze”. Operation Deepfreeze was headed up by Admiral Richard Byrd. Some of the offi cers who were going to the Antarctic would describe the expected isolated living conditions there and such preparations being made to keep the crew of 200 entertained for several months, including then unreleased movies from Hollywood, special birthday cakes, and other distractions to try to keep the crew’s attention from thoughts of home and to keep them focused on the work of building a facility at Mc- Murdo Sound in Antarctica. Dr. James McClintock, author of Lost Antartica and a professor of Polar and Marine Biology at UAB, beginning in the 1980’s led and co-directed 14 scientifi c expeditions to the Antarctic for the purpose of research in ma- rine chemical ecology. Most of his work was done at the McMurdo Station (Ross Sea) built by the Seabees and at the Palmer Station on the Antarctic Peninsula. Dr. McClintock is considered an expert on climate change and how it has aff ected the Antarctic and the Arctic circles. He will describe to you, either as a listener or reader, experiments that have been conducted by boring holes in the ice to great depths to study the impacts of ocean acidifi cation (the absorption of CO2 by ocean water). Th is book describes some of his many encounters with rising sea water temperatures and animals that have calcifi ed body parts. One of the book’s interesting quotes is his description of walking two miles from McMurdo Sound to Scott Base the neighboring New Zealand Antarctic station. “On the appointed day I would dress up in all my cold weather clothing and walk the two miles to Scott. Th e road wound east around the edge of Observation Hill key landmark topped with a large wooden cross honoring Robert Scott and his men - Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates, and Edgar Evans - all lost in 1912 in unseasonably late summer storms on their return from the South Pole. Emerging from Ob Hill you can see Scott Base nestled on the edge of McMurdo Sound at the bottom of a long, gently descending snow-covered hill. With clear weather, one can catch a stunning view of Mount Terror to the northeast and Mount Erebus to the north, the latter being the only active volcano in Antarctica and towering 12,280 feet above our station. Across the frozen McMurdo Sound to the south lies Black Island, a landmark pointing in the direction of Beardmore Glacier that Scott’s party climbed, hand-hauling their heavy sleds on their fated journey to the South Pole. “I walked to keep warm, inhaling air so cold it hurt my chest, yet as clear and fresh as any on the planet, devoid of the diesel fumes that typifi ed the air in bustling McMurdo Station. Th e depth of the silence and solitude was uncanny. As I dropped toward Scott Base, the road passed close to the edge of frozen sea, and I often stopped to ponder the evenly spaced frozen waves comprised of long pressure ridges in the sea ice that stretched to the horizon. Having spent much of my youth surfi ng in Southern California near Santa Barbara, I couldn’t help thinking that this was a frozen version of the surfer’s iconic vision of ‘endless waves.’ ” At fi rst, he would use telegrams at four dollars a word. Th en later, he would talk with his wife Ferne once a week on the teleby Continued on page 32 30 Birmingham Bar Association


Birmingham Bar Association - Bulletin Fall 2017
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