Journey to the end of the world: the full horror of the Belgica’s Antarctic expedition

The epic story of the Antarctic voyage of the Belgica (1897-9) has all the ingredients of a truly glorious misadventure: an aristocratic expedition commander who carries the pride of a small nation on his shoulders; an eccentric American surgeon who was to become known as one of the greatest frauds in the history of polar exploration; a cantankerous crew, racked by madness, scurvy and mutiny; a desperate sunless polar winter stuck in shifting sea ice that threatens to crush the ship; and finally an escape plan that involves half a ton of explosives and hand-sawing through a mile and a half of sea ice. It is an extraordinary tale of