By rights Edward Bransfield ought to be a household name. Pressganged into the navy at the age of 18 he quickly rose to become a skilful navigator. So when merchant sailor William Smith spotted some mountains off the coast of South America, Bransfield was sent to investigate. He sailed from Chile in 1820 and pushing south through stormy seas eventually spotted the Trinity Peninsula – the northern most tip of Antarctica. He was the first person in the world to do so. The problem was no one in authority was much interested, and instead of being hailed a hero he ended his days in obscurity.
Had he known him he might have had some sympathy with St Peter, who made the greatest discovery of his age. Called from his life as a fisherman to follow a charismatic carpenter-turned-preacher Peter was the first to realise who Jesus really was – the longed-for Saviour of the world. Like Bransfield’s discovery it took a while for those in authority to realise the significance of what Peter had found, but once they did it changed the world forever; and where they led many have followed to see for themselves.
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