Oceans & Arctic

One of my cherished books is “The Open Polar Sea,” by Isaac Hayes, MD, 1867. From the time I first met Dr. Hayes through his narrative, I have read his book from cover-to-cover several times. I tweet Hayes as @openpolarsea from a well-worn 1867 first edition. As an “OPS” follower tweeted, “Books should not be used as furniture.” If interested, please follow for a while. During this “golden age” of 19 th century exploration, the ocean, the Arctic, and Dr. Hayes (and his contemporary explorers) are inseparable – and are essential readings.

Isaac I. Hayes, MD. "The Open Polar Sea," 1st edition, 1867.
Isaac I. Hayes, MD. “The Open Polar Sea,” 1st edition, 1867.
  • Southampton Island
    When scrambling up the rugged shore to rolling heights of Southampton Island, the eye is captured by a desolate world held within recesses of time. Remnants of the ice age, […]
  • 329. Reaching for Dreams
    Until I read my grandfather’s journals, I did Not understand his dream-visions, accounts Of early Inuit, their struggles, and how the People prospered before machinations of Quallunaat. For I am […]
  • Dr. Isaac Israel Hayes: Logistical Planner, Fund Raiser
    Dr. Hayes in his first book, An Arctic Boat Journey, demonstrated his abilities at gaining both scientific and financial support for his second Arctic expedition, search for the legendary Open […]
  • Jacopee’s Journal, Part 2
    Haunted by her previous readings, Ahnah studied her grandfather’s old photos and sketches. Many were made during his travels across the eastern Arctic from Kuujjuaq to Iqaluit (then Frobisher Bay) and to Pangnirtung. Ahnah now felt disconnected […]
  • Jacopee’s Journal
    Upon her first overflight of Ellesmere Island, Ahnah thought nothing was there but snow and polar bears, a notion both correct and clearly mistaken. She had returned to her childhood […]
  • Poetic Prose of Isaac I. Hayes: “The Arctic Night”
    Isaac I. Hayes, MD. “The Open Polar Sea,” 1st edition, 1867. When first reading The Open Polar Sea, “The Arctic Night” chapter became my “quintessential Hayes” and one of the […]
  • Understanding by Degrees: The Open Polar Sea (Part 3 of 3)
    During the 19th century, some scientists and explorers believed (or wanted to confirm) that an Open Polar Sea existed north of Ellesmere Island and Greenland, presumably as an ice-free area […]
  • 62. “Panther” Obscured in Fog
    T Fog descends just above the ocean on the marine layer. For several Greenlandic summer nights, Hayes on The screw-steamer Panther transited the Arctic Circle. Drifting amongst icebergs, a floating […]
  • Understanding by Degrees: Determining Longitude (Part 2 of 3)
    In the previous post, I outlined the basic concepts for obtaining latitude by sextant sightings at local solar noon, and illustrated how masters and astronomers on 19th century Arctic-exploring ships […]
  • Understanding by Degrees: Determining Latitude (Part 1 of 3)
    Arctic explorers in the 19th century routinely used a sextant for celestial navigation to determine their location at sea and when trekking across glaciers and other terrain on foot or […]
  • 54. Silenced in Arctic Eternity
    Scattered rocks amongst a weather-worn Headstone marked August Sonntag’s humble Gravesite. On a desolate moraine, Donald MacMillan bore witness to the isolated tomb, In stark solemenity, a single photograph taken […]
  • “An Arctic Boat Journey” Signed 1st Edition, Presentation Copy
    After purchasing an 1860, 1st edition of An Arctic Boat Journey in the Autumn of 1854 by Isaac I. Hayes, I found two pages were stuck together. Upon separation, I […]
  • 28. Full Fathom of Duty
    No flowers graced three graves on Snow-swept Beechey Island, resting Place for the first deaths of Sir John Franklin’s doomed expedition. Humble wooden plaques, names and Dates of passing young […]
  • “The Open Polar Sea” signed 1st edition
    This weekend, I have the opportunity to examine a signed, 1st edition presentation copy of The Open Polar Sea by Isaac I. Hayes, MD. The inside inscription reads: “To Mr. […]
  • Book Review – “Arctic Spectacles” by Russell A. Potter, PhD
    Arctic Spectacles: The Frozen North in Visual Culture, 1818 – 1875, Russell A. Potter, PhD, University of Washington Press, Seattle, 2007. To review a book written by an English professor […]
  • 2. Silurian Headlands
    Along rocky shores of Kennedy Channel, Wind and tide force abrasive groans from Colliding ice floes. As winter releases its Reluctant grip, flocks of chanting Dovekies Return to roost on higher […]
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