Such is the Antarctic.

Christensen was from a Norwegian whaling family who took three expeditions to Antarctica to study conditions of the whaling industry at the time. He owned his own whaling ship, the M.T. Thorshaven, which he used for these trips. It is an engaging account from the perspective of a businessman, sentimentally attached to whaling. There is little about reading on these trips but a few indications of materials available. The book is notable for its discussions of the history of Bouvet and Norwegian attempts to occupy the island, despite its unsuitability for any whaling purposes and its only apparent use as a meteorological station. He also discusses the exploration of Enderby Land, and Riiser-Larsen’s discovery of Queen Maud Land.

p. 49-50, from his diary for January 30, 1933: The original chart for M/S Thorshavn, dated 1931, shows that soundings taken from this boat and quoted in the American Geographical Review chart of January 1932….

On comparing our course in the Thorshavn with the recent charts, there is no doubt that what we saw from the Thorshavn on February 5, 1931, was ice under which the land lies concealed.

Christensen goes on to describe the 1931-32 whaling season as the last in which the Norwegian whaling fleet “was still working to its full extent, subject to no limitations as to the number of whales that might be taken” (p. 51).

p. 92, in a footnote: The almanac stated that a partial eclipse would be visible in a direction including the southern portion of S. America, the southern part of the Atlantic Ocean, almost the whole of Africa, and the nearest parts of Asia and the Indian Ocean. The eclipse lasted in all from 10.5 a.m. till 4.37 p.m. [Friday, February 24, 1933]

p. 151, Christensen makes a strong case for the importance of the whalers in the discovery and exploration of Antarctica: Taking a general view of what explorers have achieved inthose Southern latitudes, I believe we may say that it is entirely due to the lives of industry and hard labour spent by hunters and sailors in this inclement ocean. The hunters were first in the field and the explorers followed them.

p. 166: Riiser-Larsen writes in his diary, on the memorable December 7, 1929: This evening I have entered on the chart the land we saw to-day. The chart published with the Antarctic Manual cannot be very correct. I hope we may get a chance to chart the whole of this region. [Enderby Land]

p. 234-35: This text-book information about Gough Island is, of course, not particularly interesting. All the same, I think I may claim to have added a little to the geography of the island by my expedition, and that in two ways. First, we have improved and corrected the chart very considerably. Secondly, the plants we brought home with us are of some interest….

The special chart in the great South Atlantic Map, showing “Anchorage of Gough Isle,” is altogether misleading. The tempting-looking anchorage marked on the inner side of Penguin Island ought to be ruled out. It was near there that I was stranded and overturned in my flat-bottomed boat, the Finbeck. The ‘huts” shown on the map are not to be found where they are indicated, and were probably not there at all, but possibly between the “G” and the “O” in “Gough.”