Saturday October 22nd at 5:00 PM, Midge Raymond will give a presentation on My Last Continent, set in a world many of us may never experience.
My Last Continent is a love story with Antarctica as the adored. Deb Gardner, a scientist researching penguins, met Keller Sullivan when he was a dishwasher at McMurdo Station on a journey to rediscover himself. In this austere landscape he found a home and a cause in the plight of the penguins. Keller’s affinity for Antarctica and the resident penguins made him a natural for Deb’s affections too. This stark, pristine landscape, so isolated and desolate, has lured many an explorer to their death. Yet it speaks to both Deb and Keller in defining ways that bring them back year after year. They found work as tour guides on the Cormorant, a vessel plying the waters around Antarctica. In return for help with the tourists, they are granted passage to and from their research site where they study the effect on penguins of increasing numbers of humans. It is an uneasy alliance. Places that were once protected by their remoteness and danger are now tourist destinations, pristine places with fragile eco-systems. How many tourists are too many? Mt. Everest claims lives, still they come. In the frigid waters around Antarctica, passengers are fed gourmet meals and cossetted. But as the ships get larger to satisfy the demand, what would happen if one of them went down? The waters are so cold; survival beyond a few minutes would not be possible. The seas around Antarctica have the potential for devastating violence, waves the size of ten story buildings, in icy cold water. Ferocious storms, with powerful wind and temperatures so low they are practically unimaginable, batter the continent. Icebergs shift and close. The sinking of a cruise ship would be devastating in loss of life and impact on a very fragile yet deadly environment. Deb watches in horror with a sense of dread as the Australis, a gigantic new cruise liner, moves through those icy waters.
Sign up to attend this free event by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 541-593-2525, or stopping by Sunriver Books & Music.