Jack Cannon's American Destiny

Rachel Thompson

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ICE #Excerpt by @TheobaldSprague #Memoir #Family #Climate

On August 16, at 2 a.m. Bagan officially stopped making forward progress. We were hopelessly trapped, unable to make even an inch forward, backwards, or sideways. We were locked in with a haunting and deathly en- compassing fog and had completely and decisively run out of options. Ironically, despite our array of modern day electronics and safety devices we were no better off than those who went and died before us and could do nothing about it. The ice had caught us and we had lost.
“Have I brought my family together only to lead them to their deaths?” I wondered.
While the past eighteen hours were filled with physical and navigational challenges, the mental toll was also brutal. Although fairly recent cruisers had done The Passage over several seasons with seemingly no concern or fears, I found my experience to be the complete opposite. The myriad pre-trip pressures—losing funding, the personality conflicts, my health issues, the documentary, and now the responsibility of my kids’ lives—it was almost more than I could handle. Reading other reports of previous transits, I found my experience was entirely different because few of these books or articles mentioned the deep and raging fear that could start and grow inside of you.
When we had entered the ice, I was still being plagued by the black thoughts of how the trip could potentially end. Fears and fatigue showed nolimits to their depths and, as each futile hour ticked by, the sounds and experiences became more frightening. At first I thought that the great creaks, moans, and explosions I could hear from deep inside Bagan were her hull, her structure being overcome by the icy and deadly pressures. With each deep and rumbling snap I heard, I could “see” damage being done below the water line. At one point, I called Sefton into the pilothouse and quietly asked him to go below and pull some floorboards because I feared we had compromised the hull. After a few minutes below, Sefton found that the bilges were as dry as the day we left Newport, then headed back outside into the sharp Arctic air to continue fending ice off the bow. I’d be relieved momentarily, until the next groan and explosion told me that what I’d been listening to was the massive amounts of thick ice giving way with great protestations as Bagan gained another two or three feet.
At various times during that first day, we lost power in the bow thruster, lost two push poles, several sets of gloves, and a two-way radio over the side only to watch them get swallowed up in a matter of seconds by the ice. Baganand crew became a floating, small island of survival that at any moment could be broached, and if past history had anything to do with it, could be snuffed out and ground into the bottom in a heartbeat. These were my most fearful of thoughts, not based entirely in reality but by the same token entirely possible. They didn’t rule my thinking for the next few days but did manage to lower the bar of my experience; “Who the hell were we, was I, to think we could take on a transit in a part of the Arctic which had claimed so many hundreds of lives before?”
The audacity and seeming hubris of undertaking such a project gained a loud and unrelenting voice inside of me, one that I had to constantly struggle with and try to keep in check for had the others gotten a whiff of these fears and insecurities, I felt it would be detrimental to keeping their own fears at bay. It was a constant balance of letting them know that I felt our situation to be extremely difficult but not deadly. That first night of being held captive in the Arctic ice was brutal. That night potential headlines ran through myhead: “Father Leads Family To Icy Death,” “Half-assed Explorer Loses Not Only Funding But Boat As Well.”

TO WATCH THE OFFICIAL HD TEASER FOR “The Other Side of The Ice” [book and documentary] PLEASE GO TO: VIMEO.COM/45526226) 
A sailor and his family’s harrowing and inspiring story of their attempt to sail the treacherous Northwest Passage.
Sprague Theobald, an award-winning documentary filmmaker and expert sailor with over 40,000 offshore miles under his belt, always considered the Northwest Passage–the sea route connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific–the ultimate uncharted territory. Since Roald Amundsen completed the first successful crossing of the fabled Northwest Passage in 1906, only twenty-four pleasure craft have followed in his wake. Many more people have gone into space than have traversed the Passage, and a staggering number have died trying. From his home port of Newport, Rhode Island, through the Passage and around Alaska to Seattle, it would be an 8,500-mile trek filled with constant danger from ice, polar bears, and severe weather.
What Theobald couldn’t have known was just how life-changing his journey through the Passage would be. Reuniting his children and stepchildren after a bad divorce more than fifteen years earlier, the family embarks with unanswered questions, untold hurts, and unspoken mistrusts hanging over their heads. Unrelenting cold, hungry polar bears, and a haunting landscape littered with sobering artifacts from the tragic Franklin Expedition of 1845, as well as personality clashes that threaten to tear the crew apart, make The Other Side of the Ice a harrowing story of survival, adventure, and, ultimately, redemption.

TO WATCH THE OFFICIAL HD TEASER FOR “The Other Side of The Ice” [book and documentary] PLEASE GO TO: VIMEO.COM/45526226) 

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Memoir, adventure, family, climate
Rating – PG
More details about the author
 Connect with Sprague Theobald on Facebook & Twitter

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