Silent Sound
The Story of Two Years in Antarctica & the
First Winter Occupation of Alexander Island

By Cliff Pearce
August 2004
Book Guild
ISBN: 1857768450
272 pages, Illustrated, 6 " x 9 "
$44.50 Hardcover


A year into his teaching career, Cliff Pearce spotted an advertisement for meteorological assistants to serve on bases in Antarctica. It seemed an exciting opportunity to escape from teaching for a few years and, after training, he set sail late in 1959 for his new life in the land of heroes, icebergs and auroras. The 110-day voyage to his base brought the first of many adventures as the ship was beset by ice for two weeks.

He went on to spend two amazing years in Antarctica - first on a base with ten companions, food facilities, abundant wildlife and with South American bases a few miles away. He then went further south, and was one of the first three men to over-winter on Alexander Island, in the base at Fossil Bluff at the edge of the shelf ice which formed 'The Silent Sound.' Here they were completely isolated, with dwindling supplies and increasingly frustrated by the three-month delay in the arrival of the summer sledging teams.

Cliff Pearce's wonderful descriptions of the magical land of snow and ice alternate with amusing tales of day-to-day problems and the stresses of being virtually trapped in a hut for four months. The author reflects on the whole history of the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey from 1944 to 1961, and gives a personal view of its performance in making Britain pre-eminent in Antarctic research and exploration in (what was) the British sector of Antarctica.

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