Goodbye “Little Red Ship”


It took me by surprise. The BBC ticker ran on my computer with a heading saying : Tourist ship sinking off Argentina. As I have a strong emotional connection to this part of the world since I’ve been there I checked it out immediately. The Explorer, “the Little Red Ship” was MY boat. I spent two weeks aboard in December 2004/Jabuary2005. I couldn’t really believe it until the first images of a sinking ship were on the net.

explorerI still remember the noise of the ice scatching the boat, the strong winds, the waves. Going through the Drake passage the natural elements remind you at every moment that you have to accept them, live with them. Fighting them is nearly impossible.

I never felt as close to Nature, except underwater.


I wrote already about that experince earlier. You are surrounded by strange birds, penguins, unable to fly, taking a close, curious look at you, not frightened at all. In the water they become fast and elegant swimmers.

In the skies large flying birds, such as albatrosses , storm petrels and skuas play in the wind.

icebergEntering the Antartic convergence we came across huge tabular icebergs,deep blue, larger than our boat. The unfortunate sinking of the Explorer reminds us all that after all “Terra Australis Incognita” remains one of the most hostile and unpredictable places on earth. Nowadays more and more ships cruise the Antartic peninsula. Are we aware of being in a environnement never dominated by men? We’ll soon going for a holiday on the moon , so what could happen on earth? We get so much used to control every movement in our life, but a trip down South is not a sunny Sunday afternoon walk.

Another question rises in my mind : how much damage will be done by the sunken Explorer? Leaking problems of the tanks? Hopefully not. A sad ending!

More photos here

One thought on “Goodbye “Little Red Ship”

  1. We were on the Little Red Ship December 1999/January 2000. It was a wonderful trip — as soon as you spoke of the sound of the ship striking the sea ice, I could hear it again.
    I am heartbroken to have her come to this ignominious end.
    It was OUR ship, too and as much as I’d like to return to Antarctica, it’s hard to imagine another ship as happy.


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