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January 21, 2020


#AWW2020 Wild Sea: a history of the southern ocean

by N@ncy

  • Author:  Joy McCann
  • Title: Wild Sea: a history of the southern ocean  (258 pg)
  • Published: 2018
  • Genre: non-fiction
  • Rating: C+
  • Trivia:  2019 Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) longlist
  • List of Challenges 2020
  • Monthly plan
  • #AWW2020   @AusWomenWriter


The Southern Ocean:

  1. Solo sailors call it ‘the South’, as if to emphasize its alien difference.
  2. The Southern Ocean is a place most of us have never been to
  3. …and never wish to visit.
  4. It is a realm of cold grey skies and raging winds
  5. …that eternally circulate round the bottom of the world.


Antartic Circumpolar Ocean Current:



Ch 1 Ocean – continental drift

  1. Pangaea –> current pattern of continents –> creation of oceans
  2. The continents  don’t change or move independently
  3. …but are transported by the shifting tectonic plates.




Ch 2  Winds

Clipper Route…. took advantage of the Roaring Forties and Furious Fifties winds….92 days London — Sydney 1862.




Ch 3  Coast

Located in the southern Indian Ocean off the eastern coast of Africa and just north of Antarctica are the Kerguelen Islands. A French territory, this island group (known as Îles de la Desolation in French) is considered to be one of the most isolated places on Earth.  (…2 little white dots!)



Ch 4  Ice     

  1. To sail from the Southern Ocean towards the open waters of the Ross Sea you have  to push through the ice a number of times….an ice barrier 100 miles wide.
  2. As the Southern Ocean is dominated by strong westerly winds it encourages a clockwise route.
  3. Antartica is only accessible for a few weeks in summer (January-February).
  4. By March ships risk being trapped in sea ice until the next spring.
  5. The ice begins to close in trapping you for the winter
  6. ….an experience no one is likely to survive.



Ch 5  Deep

  1. The ‘twilight zone is formally known as the dysphotic zone.
  2. Below 1000 meters lies the midnight zone…complete darkness.



Ch 6  Current

  1. ANIMATION of Antarctic Bottom Water
  2. A remarkably detailed animation of the movement of the
  3. …densest and coldest water in the world around Antarctica.
  4. The whale  is the totem of the Mirning people (Ngargangurie)



Ch 7   Convergence

  1. The Southern Ocean is no longer simply a remote space devoid of human habitation.
  2. The Earth is dependent upon the ocean’s heartbeat of seasonal ice
  3. …its carbon-filled lungs and slow circulation of its deep currents.
  4. Ocean covers 80 per cent of the Southern Hemisphere.
  5. Australia sits at an ocean cross-roads.
  6. Changes in the southern oceans may also alter the
  7. ….climate processes that control rainfall over Australia.
  8. We need to understand the influence of the
  9. …southern oceans on climate and sea levels.
  10. This book is a good place to start!
  11. #Bravo Joy McCann



  1. Detailing a mysterious realm that’s as vital to our existence as the air we breathe.
  2. Wild Sea: a history of the southern ocean
  3. is instructive, covering an area of knowledge that receives very little press.
  4. As the title says …it is a history
  5. …and Joy McCann uses many 19th C references.
  6. I must applaud the author because in her NOTES
  7. …she also  includes many links to websites
  8. …(Kindle edition) with a trove of information.
  9. The only weak point in the book is
  10. ….I was  always tempted to leave the text to often and explore
  11. the links  she provided!
  12. PS:  book contains some beautiful illustrations
  13. ….perfect viewing with Kindle!
  14. (…I never knew an albatross could be so big!! …see foto)
  15. Reading tips:
  16. Roving Mariners: Australian Aboriginal Whalers and Sealers in the Southern Oceans (2012)
  17. Slicing the Silence: Voyaging to Antarctica T. Griffiths (2010)
3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jan 25 2020

    Love the whale picture 🐳



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