On our way to Antarctica, we went to a funeral

Ernest Shackleton, in addition to rescuing his crew by sailing 800 miles across the Drake Passage and scaling mountains of glaciers on South Georgia Island, had a very wide part in his hair.

This, oddly, was the first thing I noticed when I met his granddaughter, Alexandra, on board our ship.

I could hardly believe it, that first night, when I found out what a historic voyage this was. We had on board not only Shackleton’s granddaughter, but the ashes of Frank Wild, his right-hand man; Angie Butler, the journalist who found the ashes in South Africa; Wild’s nieces and nephews from Australia; and a documentary crew from the BBC covering the whole event.

Some background: Frank Wild, who actually had more Antarctic experience than Shackleton, died obscurely in South Africa in 1939. According to his widow, he’d always wanted to be buried next to Shackleton in the Grytvicken whalers’ cemetery on South Georgia Island – but his ashes were lost.

Angie Butler found them, wrote a book about him, and planned this voyage to return him to “The Boss.” We picked up a minister and a tombstone in the Falkland Islands, and we all went to the funeral service in Grytiviken – the now-abandoned whaling town.

The ashes, the minister, and the BBC went too.

Then, flanked by growling seals, we all processed to the cemetery.

Now he’s there, in his proper place …

and we hadn’t even made it to Antarctica yet!

This entry was posted in My so-called-life, Politics and history, Travel and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to On our way to Antarctica, we went to a funeral

  1. Tina says:

    I listen to BBC regularly; it will be fun to listen to this report knowing you and Chip were there!

  2. Nate says:

    Wow, very interesting. I’m extremely jealous of you, I’ve always wanted to go to Antarctica. As a lover of nature, mountains, glaciers, and wide-open places with little people, I have to get there at some point. Looking forward to reading more and seeing more photos!
    Thanks for sharing,

  3. terrymarotta says:

    fascinating ! The pictures are so haunting!

    People get a wide part when the keep it always parted in that place. My hair stylist had to give me the word in the long-hair-parted down the middle 70s 🙂

    He was a very handsome guy. You have sent me to the search engines here.

    SO glad you’re back and blogging again!

  4. Pingback: » Frank Wild in final journey out of Shackleton’s shadow Globe News

  5. Pingback: BBC News – Frank Wild in final journey out of Shackleton’s shadow « Mind Your Language

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