Saturday, July 13, 2019

7 Things I Learned from Reading Marooned in the Arctic by Peggy Caravantes

Marooned in the Arctic is the true story of Ada Blackjack, the "Female Robinson Crusoe" who went on an expedition in 1921 to Wrangel Island with four men.  Ada and a cat were the lone survivors of her expedition party for two years.  I came across the following things I didn't know before reading it and thought I'd share them here:

(1)  I had never heard of Wrangel Island and had no idea where it was.  Now I know--north of Alaska and Russia.

(2) It gets as cold as -50 degrees F.  Burr, I would never want to live there! 

(3) The wildlife included polar bears, foxes, walruses, seals, ducks and snow geese.

(4) The thick fur of the Arctic fox changes color--white in the winter to blend in with the snow and brown or gray in the summer.  (page 111)

(5) Cats are companions to lonely sailors on ships.  Some sailors believe black cats have magical powers that can protect their ships at sea.  Another superstition is that if a cat walks toward a sailor on the deck, it is a sign of good luck.  But if the cat turns back, something dire will happen.  Another popular believe if that cats have magical tails with  which they can start storms if they are dissatisfied.  Sailors strive to keep their cats happy.  Even today, felines are valuable members of crews on many ships.  (page 13)

(6)   Scurvy is a nutritional deficiency caused by insufficient amounts of vitamin C.  Symptoms include fatigue, irritability, pain in the legs, small red-blue spots on the skin, swollen gums that bleed or soften to the point that teeth loosen or fall out.  Joints may bleed, causing severe pain.  Shortness of breath is common after physical exertion.  (page 81)

(7)  Today, about 100 Eskimos live in a small village which serves as a base camp for an additional 30 seasonal reserve staff who work from field stations during all but the winter months.  Wrangel island is one of Russia's most treasured wildlife sanctuaries. (page 174)

I'd like to see a Survivor show from a place like this for a change.  I also wonder how the polar bears even survive in our zoos since even our winters are no where near 50 below zero. 

Check out our review of Marooned in the Arctic at Grab a Book from Our Stack.

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