It’s not often you go to a part of the world that disappears from the map a few weeks later.
Luckily we weren’t on the Wilkins Ice Shelf (above) in Antarctica on April 4, when an ice bridge that may be holding ice the size of Jamaica in place shattered into dozens of giant pieces (story here).
The break-up was captured on satellite images by the European Space Agency (below left from today, with an image of the ice bridge intact from April 2, below right)
But we were there in January — Stuart McDill of Reuters TV and I travelled with a group of scientists from the British Antarctic Survey who landed on the flat-topped ice in sunshine in a bright red Twin Otter plane. (main photo above: the ice cliff at the front is about 20 metres high. Photo below left shows the plane on the ice).
It was the first, and last, visit by anyone to an area that has now cracked into a chaos of giant icebergs. We landed just by the narrowest part of the strip that stretched from Charcot Island southeast to the coast of Antarctica.