The Other Side of The Ice - A Memoir by Sprague Theobald

I hadn’t been able to gather my son and two stepchildren under the same roof since their mom & I divorced twelve years earlier. An extended cruise on my 57’ boat seemed like the perfect way to bring us all back together.

Attempting to transit The Northwest Passage, in my view, is one of the last true maritime adventures to be found.  Man has been trying to find this Nautical Grail since the 1600s and in that time hundreds of lives have been lost in the attempt.  Sir John Franklin's attempt in 1845 ended in tragedy of untold proportions in that both his 100' ships and 120 men basically vanished without a trace.  To this day neither he nor his ships have been found. As a documentarian and sailor with over 40,000 off-shore miles the challenge of such a transit had haunted me for most of my life.

In the summer/fall of 2009, aboard my 57' Nordhavn trawler Bagan, my family and I set out from Newport, RI to attempt this remarkable challenge; to try and do something that approximately only 24 other personal craft have ever accomplished. For five months and 8,500 miles we had to deal with all that Mother Nature threw at us, many times not knowing if we were going to add to that long list of dead who have tried to find this passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

As the book will tell, this was a trip that physically and emotionally changed us all.  Writing The Other Side of The Ice was a very difficult journey back into a mind set and experience that was, at times, very dark and terrifying for me.  So much was the power and desolation of the Arctic that I found it took almost two years to be able to approach my personal journals again.