To be sure, I was shocked to read about the sinking of the MS Explorer in the waters north of the Antarctic Peninsula.
I got a host of emails one day, all titled "Explorer". I hadn't heard anything about it until reading the news at the end of the attached links. I couldn't believe it. And even as I was reading about how a hole the size of a fist was the cause of the trouble, I was thinking "That can't be possible, can it?"
As the news came in over the next couple of days, I was increasingly in amazement. It's strange to know I was on that boat just eight months ago, in those very same waters. Were we lucky? Was this voyage just extremely unfortunate?
In March, I remember steaming around the waters of the Antarctic peninsula and thinking about how much ice is floating all around us. Some we see, most we don't. Giant tabular iceburgs floated by on either side. Jagged pieces of razor sharp blue ice wandered just meters away. Hell, we even cut through some ice on our way to the Gerlache Straight. I remember hearing the sound of ice scraping along the hull. Were we just lucky?
I can barely imagine what would have gone through my mind at that time. To hear the bing-bong (that's what they called the on-board intercom) squawk out "Abandon Ship" and know it was no joke. To know that you have about 30 seconds to grab what you can. To be on board a lifeboat and see the vessel that brought you here listing to the side in the ice.
To now realize the boat you were on is now at the bottom of the ocean.
Admittedly, a part of me was almost a little sad I wasn't on the ship for this experience. I obviously wouldn't have enjoyed seeing all my stuff and everyone elses' slip beneath the icy water. However, it would have been a tale unlike any other. And one I would have liked to tell. Now, having said that, I'm pretty damn happy to be safe and sound in New Zealand right now, with my belongings and psyche in tact. Still... it would have been a good story...