Confrontations between Japanese whalers and anti-whaling protesters in Antarctica’s Ross Sea have put the Balleny Islands in the news lately. It is a spotlight to which they are unaccustomed. Fewer than 30 landings have been made on these remotest islands in the 168 years since they were discovered. These are not the kind of islands on which celebrity Survivor television is made (unfortunately). Far, far to the south of our subantarctic islands, they constitute 400 square kilometres of rock and ice cocooned in gales, freezing ocean and icebergs.