Cutting Ice

ship cutting ice 12So I was thinking about some of the highlights of the past month travel.  Of course, we traveled from Rio, all around Argentina — from far north to the furthest southern town in the world.  Still blows my mind.  Yes, we visited Chile, trekked, climbed some areas where I was scared shitless — overlooking cliffs.  I am scared of heights where my feet and balance depend on my success.  Not sure why, but I don’t have great confidence in some situations.  We saw Iguasu Falls which was just incredible.  Last stop was in Buenos Aires, but by then, it was just another South American city which we already had 2 months of experience in that.  Not really a big deal, although always interesting to see new stuff.  Argentina is proud of their horses and their cattle and beef.  Yup, saw lots of stuff in the past month.

Anyway, I thought about it and I have to say that the one thing that I just could not believe was when the Nat Geo Ice Breaker broke through ice to get us to a specific location.  So lets say this, its not just normal ice — were talking about blue ice.ship cutting ice 7  Lots of ice.  Each time we broke through a big chunk, the ship rattled and shacked.  Hard to describe and the pictures enclosed just can’t replicate the feeling of amazement and shock.  This ship was just eating the ice.

Paula and I happened to be in the Wheelhouse of the ship while the ship was cutting through a huge field of ice for some time.  This wheelhouse or bridge is a pretty large area where the captain, pilot crew and some mechanical people hang out to navigate the ship.  Their are typically one or two staff on watch for large ice with binoculars and radar.  It would be pretty horrible if we hit an iceberg or something large which is not totally unlikely since bergs are scattered everywhere in the Antarctica Peninsula.  Of course we all know that icebergs are huge and massive above the water — and that only represents a fraction of what is below.  Read about Titanic if your confused.

The ship had a 100% open privileges policy on the bridge, allowing guests to enter and watch the activity, 24 hours a day, even interact with respect all of the crew there.  Hard to believe that they allow this.  That is what National Geographic is all about.

While hanging around, we entered the ice patch that seemed to last for about an hour or two.  As we kept advancing, more and more people entered the wheelhouse.  Probably because the ship was shaking on eat few yards.  The Captain was extremely focused along with his team. I just ate it up and loved it.  So memorable.

captain cutting iceWhat is so hard to describe, is the feeling that you are in an area of the world that is absolutely void of life, support or possible help.  Likely their is another ship around somewhere, but at least a day away.  Your in fucking the southern most part of the earth and no helicopter can reach you.  No coast guard.  No-b-o-d-y anywhere close.   So if the Captain ripped the hull, then he rips the hull.  Your fucked.  That is what is so hard to understand.  Of course you know its an ice-breaking machine.  Its designed for that.  The hull must be made of lots of layers of tough steel skins, but still, what if?

You also have confidence in the Captain who has as he stated, he had been on over 150 crossings with 25 years of experience.  Now let me tell you, its not like crossing over to Nassau, Bahamas from Miami.  Its not like crossing the North Atlantic.  This is the most horrible seas in the world.  Not for debate.  So you feel comfortable, but what if?

Anyway, we survived.  I saw something and experienced an event which only hundreds or a few thousand in the entire earth have had that experience.  That feels great.  Would I want to do it again?  Nope.  Seas were horrible and I was sick for broken Ice fieldtoo long.  But I did do it and that feels great.

Leave a Comment