Nearly through the ice!

August 17th, 2008 by Kip "Galley Master" Jones

We are going to make it! We have successfully worked our way through numerous bands of ice last night and today. We just talked to the Canadian Ice Service and learned the worst is behind us and we should expect minimal ice from here on. We will again run through the night traversing Larsen Sound into Victoria Straight. The day is grey, overcast, foggy with snow flurries. We are all up at the moment and feeling pretty jovial but not wanting to let down our guard until we are really through. We have started a tradition that Sunday means Chocolate Chip Cookies and they are about to appear!

We had a good laugh today. There is a guy, Juan, from Majorca, Spain who’s boat passed us yesterday. We were on the radio hooked in with Peter (our boat-traffic and ice updater) and having a conversation with Juan. He wanted Walt’s email. Walt goes: “alpha queen uncle alpha tango oscar alpha delta dot com.” Silence. Juan replies, “Walter, you sound like hiccups. Say again.” Walt says it again only with the q being Quebec. Juan tried to respond back, repeating the sequence, but accents and trucker lingo prevented it from ever working. By the end of it we were all hysterical. Maybe you had to be there!

Last night it was much darker than we have experienced from 11:30 to 2:30am so we are seeing the days shortening as we head south and August advances. Walt and I were on our shift at sunrise and it rose at our backs for the first time. We are headed home! We saw a huge male polar bear up on a cliff and Pat thinks he was eating bird eggs. He just stopped and watched us motor by, probably wishing we’d hang around a while so he could move beyond eggs. Fat Chance!

You may wonder what it is like to sleep while the boat is running. The waves crash against the side for huge slamming noise effects, throwing Geraldine up an down and side to side for weightlessness effects. So it is like trying to sleep riding a bronco bareback at a rodeo. But if you are tired enough you can do it! Pat has seen Shane levitated in bed with only the cacoon of his blankets restraining him!

Photos from 8/17:

Photos from 8/18:

15 Responses to “Nearly through the ice!”

  1. Jaeik & Kathleen Says:

    It’s Sunday and we’re wondering where our cookies are?!?!?! We hope you haven’t eaten them all already! We’ve enjoyed reading your blog and are praying for you. We are happy to hear that it’s smooth sailing (relatively speaking) from now on.

    Oh, Nora says she wants a cookie. . .

  2. M & M Alden Says:

    Congratulations! It appears you have evaded the ice. You do realize that once you pass Cape Felix you are almost clear of the area of the loss of Sir John Franklin’s 1845 expedition in HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. That is the English attempt that was foiled by ice packing into the James Ross Straight and Lower Queen Maud Gulf, and, by likely lead poisioning from lead sealed cans. They were iced in and befuddled by lead poisioning. A bad combination.

    Please try to send Latitude and longitude each day. It makes it easier to track your successes. Hooray for you.

    Mike Alden

  3. Russ and Mary Says:

    If you were close enough to tell the sex of the polar bear maybe you were a little too close!

    Maybe Pat used his telephoto as a spotting scope or perhaps a bear without cubs and that is very large could only have been a male.

    Congratulations on getting through the ice! We continue to pray for you daily. Now if the water will warm up enough to test the water maker….


  4. Russ and Mary Says:

    Forgot a question that I have been thinking about – Is Kip going to publish the recipes that she is using? It all sounds very good!!

  5. Charlotte Coulter Says:

    What wonderful news!!! I am anxiously awaiting news of the water maker. Pray all goes well when you turn it on…….

    Kip, I think I gained 3 pounds just thinking about the CCC’s. You are amazing !!!

  6. David Dalling Says:

    Looks like you guys are having fun. Shane just remember I need you back, 3from is dyeing without you!!!!

  7. Ed Wright Says:

    Great news!! Congrats on getting through the ice and putting most of it behind you! Glad you are “keeping up your guard”. We’ll keep you in our prayers.

    Ed and Eva

  8. Ryan Hare Says:

    It must be erie to sail over waters that have taken many lives over the centuries. I am glad to hear you guys are getting through the tight spot safely. It is funny to read how Pat has seen Shane levitated in bed only held back by sheets. Next time you have dinner together (which I guess is all the time 🙂 ask Shane to tell you about the “bats that attack” him while he sleeps.

  9. Cecile Kiesel (Pat's cousin) Says:

    I’m so happy to hear you’ve made it through the worst of the ice! Congratulations! It’s been a real nail biter watching your progress over the weeks. What an amazing journey you are all on. Thank you for letting us experience this with you.

    Pat and Shane, I wanted to tell you that the Robertson family reunion was a great success. We had 85 people show up which isn’t too bad for the new generation of family reunions. Still, I wish you could have been there. I put up a big poster at the reunion all about your trip on the Geraldine and have also posted links to this website on our family’s website so we all can follow you along. I’m so relieved to know that you’re finally on the home stretch. I can’t imagine rocking and rolling on a boat for so many weeks on end. You are all exceptional people!

  10. Kevin DeBella Says:

    Congratulations! I’m sure happy you guys are going to make it through the Ice. What an experience.

    Sleeping on a bronco? I can’t imagine. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

  11. Paul Kennedy Says:

    Walt, hurry back! Wall Street needs you! 🙂


    Save some cookies for me!


  12. Michael Pounds Says:

    Shirley and I really enjoyed the taped Q & A…and enjoy the regular updates.The replies from friends and family are insightful.

    “Rock and Roll” has new meaning to us now.

    Hurry back to CA.


  13. Rebekah Says:

    Hooray! So good to hear that the tides have turned (hahaha, sort of…)! Come back soon – we miss you!

  14. Marcie Bowerman Says:

    Every time I imagine what it must have been like to give Juan from Mallorca Walt’s email address, I just crack up. Little did you know, crew, that you’d be entertaining us with the crazy things that make for unexpected fun in your wild adventure. Always looking forward to hearing about your progress without the Dr. Zhivago effect. Maybe it’s time to join the Professional Bull and Bronc Riders Association when you get back. Yee Haw! MarcieB.

  15. Pauline and Tom Says:

    Soooo good to hear you’re through the worst of it. I just listened to the audio interview, and it was so good to hear your voices. Can’t wait to see you!

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