You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take – Wayne Gretzky
With less than 100 nautical miles to go, the crew of the Alexandra Shackleton are in a very, delicate position. They think they are closer to King George Island than they are. But we do know, and they are bang on target to sail straight into King Haakon Bay. Right now, they’ve got a great shot at making it.
Since my last post yesterday, they’ve corrected their course a little and now all they need to do is sail dead ahead. Their last estimated position revealed that they think they are more than 40 nautical miles ahead of where they actually are, so while they are sailing in the right direction they must be wondering why they haven’t hit land yet. If they get nervous or doubtful, they may be tempted to change course but the worst thing they could do right now is second guess themselves. They need to hold fast, dig in and not alter their course. Click here for live tracking.
But how could they not be doubtful? They are tired and weak with hunger. They are down to the very last of their rations. They are wetter than ever before, courtesy of two large waves that swept down the hatch, straight below deck into their living space. They haven’t had a good sun sight in days, making navigation very difficult. The fog has returned to add an extra burden to their ever-growing list of things to endure. But as Shackleton said “Difficulties are just things to overcome, after all” and none of these challenges are insurmountable for the crew of the Alexandra Shackleton. They are sailing with the spirit of Shackleton tucked under their sleeves – with resilience, resourcefulness and courage.
As much as I’d love to motor up next to them and hold out a banner emblazoned with the words ‘Go you good thing’ the reality is that we have to watch them doubt themselves. The old ‘you have to be cruel to be kind’ saying applies here. In the short term, it feels like we are being cruel not letting them know how close they are and how true their course is. But ultimately we are being kind by allowing them to claim the rewards of this epic sea journey as their own.
The sense of accomplishment they will feel will be immense – something that none of us on the support vessel would want to take away from them. We want them to feel the elation of finding South Georgia Island on their own. We won’t have it any other way.
- Jo Stewart, Shackleton Epic blogger
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