Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Shackleton, Scott, shrapnel and Sholes*

Skipping over for the moment the slight awkwardness of finding myself having to write advertorial for the Azamara cruise line straight after having sailed with Silversea - it's not ideal, people, the only comparison possible is not flattering to Azamara, however "luxurious" they claim to be - I was diverted to discover, nevertheless, some connections. The Silversea cruise to Antarctica, as regular readers (gidday, Queen!) will remember, was heavy on Shackleton, what with visiting his grave at Grytviken on South Georgia, and then snooping around Elephant Island and all.
Well, it turns out - and hooray for this blog, which is now indispensable as my defacto memory - that my Azamara cruise almost a year ago had its own Shackleton links too. In Akaroa, strolling back to the waterfront after my visit to the delightfully idiosyncratic - and also lovely to look at - Giant's House, I stopped to take a photo of one of that little town's characteristic pretty wooden villas. It was only then that I saw the plaque by the gate and read that it was the birthplace of Frank Wolsey, the magnificently skilled captain of the Endurance on Shackleton's doomed 1914-16 exploration. It was down to him that, when six of them left the rest of the ship's crew on Elephant Island and made their run for rescue in the hastily-adapted lifeboat James Caird, he steered them, despite rough weather and almost continuous cloud cover, straight to South Georgia. Impressive. If he'd missed by even a smidgen, the boat would have headed into the South Atlantic and the whole lot of them would have died.
And then, strolling again back towards the Journey at our next stop, Dunedin, I went into the Maritime Museum in Port Chalmers and found, amongst other miscellaneous items (including a bit of shrapnel from the Japanese attack on Darwin - that's how miscellaneous) a standard issue Overseas Expeditionary Service typewriter, claimed to have been used by not only Shackleton, but also by the fated Scott. A bit more primitive than the Imperial I learned to type on, but clearly a relation.
Well, at least now, having been reminded about other kinds of cruise maritime journey, I can type on, and be a bit more complimentary about Azamara. Thank you once again, random connections.**

* Real name, as you see in the photo - so no, I didn't omit the ellipsis. Probably a good thing they went out of business before these sweary times, eh?

**Which can also be more than a bit creepy. Only this morning, reading about Chicago's blizzard and mayor Rahm Emanuel's reassurance that the city can handle it, I was remembering having shaken his hand at IPW in 2014. And when I publish today's post, what does Blogger throw up at the bottom of it as a suggestion to read? Sinister...

4 comments:

the queen said...

Hey - when did you go to Chichen Itza? I want to compare my cruise ship shore excursion there to yours and feel envy.

Pamela Wade said...

No envy necessary - from your end, anyway. I've never been there or anywhere near Mexico, even. Yet!

the queen said...

Huh! I could have sworn you scaled the pyramid and saw the equinox. Now that I'll have to solve that mystery. Maybe it was Macchu Pichu.

Pamela Wade said...

Oh, Machu Picchu, certainly. Twice!

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