Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hold that ship!

Chirpoy, Kuril Islands, Russia.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Click on pics to enlarge.

This afternoon was my unexpected, somewhat frightening, Zodiac experience. It's funny when I look back at the pics Paula was able to take. Later, when I receive a copy of the expedition DVD and can actually watch the video a crew member shot of the afternoon wild ride..........I'll be laughing even more.

A lovely afternoon, slight swell, sunshiny, breezy and 
thousands of seabirds nesting and flying overhead.

Magnificent rock formations........this water, 
the Snou Strait separating the 
two Chirpoy Islands, being a caldera 
surrounded by three overlapping stratovolcanoes.

Lianna, expedition Zodiac driver; Edwin, ship's wine 
steward; Adorely, waiter; and Marilou, bartender....
met us on the water with smiles and warming hot chocolate spiked 
with Baileys - if you wanted, and who wouldn't! 

Raising his glass in the background, Tim Soper our expedition leader, son of Tony Soper whom the British readers here will know as the writer/broadcaster/wildlife cameraman/expedition leader 
who co-founded the famous BBC's Natural History Unit 
and became its first producer.

Jamie, our afternoon Zodiac driver/Naturalist expedition 
team member....fighting with the kelp which kept 
invading our outboard motor.........

Off in the distance our lovely home away from home, 
ship of our dreams. 
Formerly the plaything of an Arabian prince (truly!), 
now the base from which we jumped into Zodiacs to 
experience the treasures of the oceans, wildlife and 
Nature ashore.......BUT

 .....making the return to the ship was a little difficult 
when the weather changed and the water became quite choppy.............

.....Paula and others managed to exit the Zodiac, Sheila, a delightful, adventuresome 80 year old lady from England, and I were still waiting when a huge wave hit us just as I was being helped out. One rope gave way, the boat was tossed sideways and fortunately I fell flat on my stomach into the bottom rather than over the edge into the sea! Completely saturated, I was concerned more for what was happening to Sheila - she was hanging on to the ropes for dear life but was a real trouper and fine! The guys had to cut us free from the ship, and driver Jamie managed to get us away from the waves churning about the loading deck. Somehow, one of the two crew on the deck fell into the Zodiac with us during all the commotion, so we ended up four slightly stunned passengers. Luckily I didn't have my big SLR camera with me that afternoon, just my point and shoot in my pocket - it was wet like everything I was wearing, but still worked thankfully.

Paula's pics above..................

................and how did we eventually get on board again? 
The ship hoisted the anchor and had to sail away without us.......eventually repositioning in calmer waters!

Here we were chasing the Caledonian Sky................

...and here I am (Sheila too) being assisted back on board, wet through but grateful all ended up well.
As you can imagine, our afternoon boating experience 
was the talk of the evening recap that day!


  1. Yikes Mary!! That was a scary adventure, I am sure! So glad no one got tossed out of the boat.

  2. WOW! That had to be frightening at the time. Great stories now that you're safe and home! I must ask, this 'adventure' trip was so soon after your Antarctica 'adventure' trip, was it still fun, or actually rather tiresome? I was on a long South American adventure for the month of November and frankly wouldn't want to do another similar trip for a long time. I did go to Florence for art and gardens in March, so it's not that I'm tethered to the home front, but 'hard' trips, though I enjoy, I also love the easy ones!

    I enjoy your blog and it truly is 'A breath of fresh air'. Thank you.

  3. Oh my, I am thankful it all ended up safely. That will be one of those unforgettable experiences!! Thanks for taking us along on this trip to unfamiliar territory.

  4. Whew! Glad you all made it. Scary, but what a story. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  5. Such a wild adventure! I'm not sure I would have enjoyed the splashing experience, LOL.

  6. I went back to read all your entries as I knew this would be an extraordinary trip. We went to TN then California so I was away from a computer. Your photos are outstanding and your narrative is enlightening. These are places that I would dream to visit so I am pleased that I can visit them with you, virtually. But – I would not have enjoyed your incident in the zodiac! You certainly have many adventures.


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