The First Antarctic Expedition

The polynesians are the real explorers having explored the Pacific Ocean and populated its many islands hundreds of years ago. What is more amazing is that they took on the might of the Pacific in columns of canoe.

But, what is even more amazing is that way back in the 7th Century a more intrepid one amongst them, Ui-te-Rangiora had led a successful expedition south till the Antarctic. 

Ui-te-Rangiora is said to have led a fleet of Waka Tīwais southwards in the Southern Ocean until they reached “rocks that grow out of the sea, in the space beyond Rapa”.

His description seems to match what the Titanic ran into on that ill-fate night. What an exploration it must have been. With no ships, no compass and most importantly no ideas that the world was round. This meant that their biggest fear would not have been the 30-foot swells of the Pacific, the 20-foot Great Whites or even a whole in their boat. Their biggest fear must have been just tipping over the end of the edge of the Earth. And they still went ahead. Respect.

Even the first sight of the ice-bergs as the fog cleared on that day 1300 years ago must have been a scary sight for a race whose landscape, till then, had was ubiquitous coconut trees. What they must have thought they were. Giant Rocks of Salt, Pieces of God when he fought the Demons or the tails of Giant monsters. Or did they know that it was the crystalline form of water that had broken of from the ice shelfs of the Antarctic because of the seasonal weather patterns of the Earth as it rotates around the sun? Their description of it being “rocks that grow out of the sea, in the space beyond Rapa” mean that whatever they thought it was they definitely did not bite into and enjoy the cool relief of the ice made from the ultra-pure “Antarctic Freshwater.”

 

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