FROM 2-14. Cape Town-Kerguelens

Glimpse part 2

There's an easy discipline to this place which I recognise and love – I grew up with it in a different world. It's based on acceptance of a set of basic and common assumptions, a shared and universal trust in the competence and professionalism of others and an (always somewhat tentative) confidence in one's own ability to take part. It is easy to see these people as the same people who sailed with Diaz, with Kerguelen, DuFresne, de Rosnevet, Cook, Ross, Crozier and all the others. Kings Regulations and Admiralty Instructions or the Inquisition were always menacingly in the background – surfacing occasionally to create fear and consternation (Voltaire's acid remark that the English found it necessary on occasion to shoot an Admiral 'pour encourager les autres')- but mostly intrepid and courageous men, usually but not always volunteers, who were out here because it gave them a living. No more than that. There were, of course, the others, the leaders like Kerguelen perhaps, whose ambition drove them to excess. And the obsessives – Amundsen perhaps.

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