Captain Sir George Hubert Wilkins with his airplane pilot Lieutenant Carl Ben Eielson, last week, discovered that Graham Land is separate from the Antarctic continent. Between them is an ice-covered strait. Graham Land itself seems to be fringed with an archipelago. Between a great plateau to its north and a double mountain chain to its south is a broad expanse of white, which may indicate a valley or another strait.
The two men made their observation? while flying their Lockhead-Vega plane in a 1,200-mile sally from their base on Deception Island, situated between Antarctica and Cape Horn.
A collateral marvel of their work was the speed with which their news reached the world. As soon as they relanded at Deception Island, Captain Wilkins sent a long news despatch from the whaler Hektoria, which is standing by him. The despatch went 7,500 miles by short wireless wave to the office of the San Francisco Examiner, one of the Hearst papers financing his expedition. The Examiner and its sister papers made adequate and proper ado about their exclusive news.
Then press and science joined in mutual courtesy. The New York Times, which is supporting Commander Richard Evelyn Byrd's Antarctic expedition, wirelessed him Captain Wilkins' achievement. The message went 10,000 miles to the Ross sea where Commander Byrd, last week, was ice-locked on his City of New York. He rewired the Times an invitation to Captain Wilkins: "Hearty congratulations on your splendid flight. Don't forget you will find a warm welcome if you fly to our base." This message the Times forwarded by land telegraph to the Examiner in San Francisco, 3,000 miles across this continent; the Examiner pushed it by wireless the 7,500 miles to Captain Wilkins. So it went a 20,500-mile triangle although the two explorers were only 2,000 miles apart.