A World of Ice
"Bergs and pack are thrown up in the sky and distorted into the most fantastic shapes. They climb trembling upwards, spreading out along lines at different
levels, then contract and fall down, leaving nothing but an uncertain,
wavering smudge which comes and goes. Presently the smudge swells and
grows, taking shape until it presents the perfect inverted reflection of a berg
on the horizon, the shadow over the substance. More smudges appear at
different points on the horizon. These spread out into long lines till they
meet, and are girdled by lines of shining snow-cliffs, laved at their bases by
waters of illusion in which they appear to be faithfully reflected. So the
shadows come and go silently, melting away finally as the sun declines to the
"The distant pack is thrown up into towering barrier-like cliffs, which are
reflected in blue lakes and lanes of water at their base. Great white and golden
cities of Oriental appearance at close intervals along these cliff-tops indicate
distant bergs, some not previously known to us. Floating above these are
wavering violet and creamy lines of still more remote bergs and pack. The
lines rise and fall, tremble, dissipate, and reappear in an endless
transformation scene. The southern pack and bergs, catching the sun's rays,
are golden, but to the north the ice masses are purple. Here the bergs assume
changing forms, first a castle, then a balloon just clear of the horizon, that
changes swiftly into an immense mushroom, a mosque, or a cathedral."
"At the head of the ice-tongue that nearly closed the gap through which we
might enter the open space was a wave-worn berg shaped like some curious
antediluvian monster, an icy Cerberus guarding the way. It had head and
eyes and rolled so heavily that it almost overturned. Its sides dipped deep in
the sea, and as it rose again the water seemed to be streaming from its eyes, as
though it were weeping at our escape from the clutch of the floes."
"Icebergs hang upside down in the sky; the land appears as layers of silvery or golden cloud. Cloud-banks look like land, icebergs masquerade as islands..."
All quotations are from, Sir Ernest Shackleton, "South: A Memoir of the Endurance Voyage." 1998. Carroll and Graf Publishers, Inc., New York, NY.