It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes a village idiot to fork out many thousands of dollars to go out on an arctic research cruise, get really stuck, and then expect the world to drop everything to rescue their sorry asses.
"Who knew it would be THAT cold? We just went for the open bar with promises of pure, virgin glaciated ice for our cocktails."
(Note: I might be paraphrasing the actual quote of the passenger.)
No doubt you have heard about the frigid fate of the 52 “tourists” on the Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy, whose mission was to explore frozen worlds, to seek out climate change proof, to boldly go where no one in their right mind would go—and certainly not pay a minimum of $8,050, plus airfare, to get there. (With apologies to Star Trek aficionados.)
Apparently, the goal of the recent Australasian Antarctic Expedition was to prove the ice caps are melting, apparently, by getting inexorably stuck in thickening sea ice, which surrounded their ship in a frozen stranglehold.
As stated by Graham Lloyd, in the online news website The Australian,
“Climate scientist Chris Turney’s team of embedded global media and paying science-minded tourists has spent the festive season trapped in sea ice instead of exploring what melting ice caps mean for mankind. Turney is lamenting that he has become trapped in his own experiment. But the bottom line is, once again, nature has drifted from the script. Unfortunately for Turney the take-out of the mission for a legion of skeptical bloggers worldwide has been global warming scientists forced to admit defeat because of too much ice.”
Hence, the people who insist on characterizing climate change as “global warming,” are at continued risk of looking foolish, providing fodder for skeptics to ignore scientific evidence, and finding themselves the brunt of contrarians—otherwise known as Republican congressmen and Fox commentators.
And Donald Trump.
As Jon Stewart rails against the self-deceivers, it is not only the icecap’s receding that Trump chooses to ignore.
I raise the contentious subject of global warming to bring up the more personal matter of getting yourself stuck, and subsequently others—whether personal friends or foreign countries—really stuck along with you.
Take for example the ongoing plight of the Russian ship Shokalskiy, who sought assistance from others to free themselves from their frozen position.
The first ship to attempt an act of international cooperation towards warming relations with their neighbor, was the Chinese icebreaker Xue Long, which translates to Snow Dragon, or quite possibly, Ice Dragging.
Unfortunately, the 101-crew members of the Chinese ship were so busy attending to the demands for Aussie beer and a wifi connection to watch rugby back home, they, too, became mired in the frozen muck which now had captured their boat in ice up to 13-feet thick.
Speaking of the Aussies, next up in the line-up of ships in this frozen aquatic Kabuki theater, came the Australian icebreaker, Aurora Australis.
There was an initial scheme between the Russian and Chinese crews of somehow using a barge—possibly to be pulled by reindeer—to transfer the stuck tourists to the Australian, Australis, which to this point, had avoided capture by the icecap.
Unfortunately, someone realized that they were at the wrong end of the globe for that method of transport, and had to resort to a helicopter shuttle, but only after they went through the mandatory TSA pat-down to make sure they were not trying to smuggle any of that soon-to-be extinct sea ice to take back home for their cocktails.
In this ongoing tale of a trail of stuck ships, the yanks were asked to dispatch the 300-foot cutter, Polar Star, with their crew of 120, ostensibly, to join the party on the ice with the stuck Russian and Chinese crews, which, hopefully at this point, resembled one of those Coors Light commercials.
Whatever could go wrong with yet another boat carving their way into the supposedly disappearing Antarctic ice cap that already securely ensconced two large ships in solid ice?
While I can’t say I have been ever in the middle of a daisy chain¹, including one involving a growing number ice-bound ships attempting to get ahold of each other until someone gets released, I have seen similar outcomes—albeit at a much smaller scale—where a pickup truck get stuck in the mud or snow, which leads to one-after-another becoming immobile as they try to free the previous struck truck.
Fact is, if you are not the one who is really stuck, finding a good vantage point to view the performers can be quite amusing to watch the circus ensue.
Well, except for the time where we stuck two fire engines and a huge bulldozer in the muddy, melting snow, and found the fire chief to possess very little humor in it all.
Ironically, once the 52 tourists were safely ensconced on that one ship down there that was NOT stuck in the impenetrable ice, the group leader was quoted as saying,
“ One of the aims of the expedition was to track how quickly the Antarctic’s sea ice was supposedly disappearing.”
But apparently, not disappearing quickly enough to convince the group to hang around to witness it for themselves.
Hey, it’s almost rugby season (and they really wanted to get back home before all those ice cubes in their luggage melted).
Late Breaking News: supposedly all the ships are now floating free of the frozen ice jamb, but stand by; the same folks who set up this whole scenario in the first place are still seeking funds to continue their Antarctic adventures.
If you don’t mind others getting themselves serially stuck, and wish to, at least virtually, participate in the next arctic research cruise, you can contribute to the crowd-sourcing effort in helping pay their way.
For a mere $25 the website promises contributors “a warm feeling.”
Wait…aren’t these the same people who are trying to reduce the warm feeling that is gripping the planet?
¹NO, not THAT kind. (Caution: if you don’t already know, don’t look it up).