Status: Indexed


supposed to be covered by eternal ice and that there is more eternal ice
in Mexico than there is in an equal area of Arctic and sub-Arctic] Canada.
We know that bees and butterflies go about among the midsummer flowers
on the north coasts of the most northerly lands in the world.

But we might have in our minds all this and more of the new knowl-
edge about the Arctic and still the dream of the middle ages about a
short route to the Far Fast might be as remote as ever. The climate is
not eternally cold, for the summers are warm; the lands are not eternally
ice-covered, for few of them are mountainous; the sea is not covered with
one vast expanse of ice, for the ice is not strong enough to stand the
strain, and we have even in mid-winter millions of floes of varying
sizes drifting about and jostling each other, with large patches of open
water between them. All these things are true and still it remains
equally true that for ordinary ships the Arctic is not a navigable
ocean on the direct route from Europe to the Pacific.

But there lies above the partly ice-filled water the wide unhampered
ocean of the air, free to be navigated in any direction by ships of the

The most optimistic students consider that flying conditions over
the Arctic throughout the year are on the average better than over the
North Atlantic. The most pessimistic consider them probably worse, but
conquerable. Those who hold a middle ground think that the Arctic is
perhaps more favourable than the North Atlantic in summer but that it
would be less favourable in winter. Some of the highest authorities
have said that it will probably turn out an actual trial that January
flying across the Arctic will probably turn out to be not only less difficult easier than North
Atlantic flying in January but actually easier than Arctic flying in
July. One reason why The authorities differ partly because in that some think only
of our flying technique as it is today. But there is likely to be as

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