Friday, September 10, 2010

Weddell seal

James Weddell
August 24th, 1787 to September 9th, 1834

Some people should never take up pen and ink to draw.

Bill Ashworth [University of Missouri at Kansas City professor] wrote...

James Weddell, an American sealing captain, died Sep. 9. 1834, at age 47. Weddell was an odd sealer, in that he liked to explore and make scientific observations while looking for new sealing grounds, and since his domain was the southern ocean in the 1820s, there was plenty of unexplored territory to examine. He made his first voyage to the Antarctic in a brig named Jane in 1821, and two more voyages followed in the next three years. This, mind you, was before Antarctica had been discovered, and when only a few of the southern islands had been sighted, such as South Georgia and the South Shetlands islands. Weddell visited them all, and in 1823, he sailed down into what is now the Weddell Sea of Antarctica to a latitude of 74° 15’ south, which would be a "furthest south" record for almost 20 years. This is the same area where Ernest Shackleton and his Endurance would be imprisoned in ice in 1915, if you are familiar with that most famous of all survival sagas. Also on this 1823 voyage, Weddell discovered a new kind of seal, which he called a spotted sea-leopard. He brought back a specimen, and when it was found to be a new species, it was named the Weddell seal. When he published his Voyage towards the South Pole in 1825, he included an engraving of his seal, which he drew himself.

The Weddell seal by James Weddell...

A real Weddell seal...

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