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Pourquoi-Pas (1908) (wikipedia.org)
38 points by vinnyglennon on Sept 8, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 10 comments

Amazing to see this here! The father of my grandma (she is turning 100 next week!) was a sailor on these Antarctic missions.

She still lives in the same village where several of these sailors were from. She recently told me that more than a year after the planned end of one of these missions, they still had no news of the boat. Everyone in the village fully expected all the crew to have been dead for a long time. But then one day the great-grandpa just walked in into the village after 3 years away, like it’s nothing! The boat had been stuck in the ice and had to spend one more winter stuck in the Antarctic ice pack.

At one point during that winter, food was running low, my great-grandpa and a few other pals had to row a small boat to an island 80km away to get food from a stash they left there on a previous mission 8 years prior.

These days were... epic!

That disastrous Amundsen-Nobile-everyone else collective Arctic rescue failure was a perfect illustration of how the human urge to do something to fix a bad situation often is worse than the seeming callousness of accepting that a bad thing had happened and we can't make it better. It happens in the Arctic, it happens in swamps, and it happens in economies.

This reminds me I still have to read "Le Pourquoi pas dans l'Antarctique" that I bought some years ago.

I've always been quite fascinated by Antarctic exploration, and one of my all times favourite books still is The Worst journey in the world by Cherry-Garrard, that relates Scott's last expedition and lost race to the Pole (highly recommended if you're keen on adventure books).

The interesting thing is that it literally translates to “why not?”, which I find quite amusing, considering the mission

Came her to also offer the translation, which I do not see noted in the article.

I'm guessing it's from the saying “There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

(Sources suggest George Bernard Shaw said this and he was born in 1856.)


Indeed I find the naming fascinating, maybe the only ship I know of named as a question, with literally the question mark in its name.

Very relevant to an amazing book I am reading I wish will never finish: The Terror, by Dan Simmons. A very descriptive novel about an antarctic expedition in the 19th.


The TV Show is also pretty nice.

Also the name of a modern research vessel:


There are a few more photos of the ship in the French page.

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