Via Mætenloch, comes this fascinating tidbit of a news story from GlobalPost: Two cases of whisky that were part of the supplies of the great antarctic explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton, have been discovered in the crawlspace beneath one of his
summer cottages, located in Cape Royds, Antarctica. Strong drink was (and probably is) an important part of surviving a Summer in Antarctica. With mind-numbing wind and snow, unrelenting darkness, and giant, flesh-eating penguins lurking outside your shelter, you need booze just to get some sleep. (I may have made up that last threat.) What surprises me about this find is that there were two cases still left over!
Shackleton, incidentally, seems to have been a fairly rational dude, a trait for which polar explorers were not generally known. On the expedition which ended up leaving all this booze behind, he turned back about 100 miles from the pole, telling his wife,
I thought you’d rather have a live donkey than a dead lion.
The article is a good read, so click the link above and enjoy. I’ll just poach two more items.
First, the last line of the piece, a quote from Richard Paterson, of Whyte & Mackay, which owns the brand of the whisky Shackleton left behind, will tell you absolutely everything you need to know about the makers of all Scotch Whisky:
“It’s been laying there lonely and neglected,” he said. “Can it not come back to Scotland where it was born?”
Second, as I write this, there are four comments on the story, which encapsulate virtually all that is silly about Internet comments. The first contains speculation that reveals that “david wayne osedach” clearly didn’t read the article. The second is from NorthernExposure, who clearly is massively more sensible than any of the experts on the scene. Chazmotic posts the third, sarcastic reply, wherein he belittles the second in multiple ways. And finally RonnieB turns the discussion pointlessly to politics, although I will grant that he manages to be mildly funny in so doing.
UPDATE: A team from New Zealand has announced an expedition this year to rescue a few bottles of the whisky, making this the world’s most expensive, long-distance booze run.
Further Update: The team has successfully extracted five cases of liquor from the ice. They believe that there are some bottles still intact, as they can hear it sloshing around inside. In a fun development, they have discovered that two of the crates are brandy, not whisky.