My 3rd birthday was spent in the ward room of HMS Endurance… it all came to mind this week so I thought I would tell you the story…
As many of you know, I am a teacher in a Special Support Centre locally. The children’s topic this term was to do with Antarctica. My Dad LOVES coming into any school that I work in (I think to secretly embarrass me!!). However, this was such an amazing opportunity to get him in. I mean, how many people can say that they have been to Antarctica?!
His story is very cool. He was on board HMS Endurance from 1987 – 1988.
While Endurance spent her time supporting scientists in Antarctica and surveying the oceans, they got stuck in the ice. This is reminiscent of the journey of Ernest Shackleton in 1915. However, as my Dad had great fun telling the children, on HMS Endurance, they couldn’t do any work so had a party! They set up the BBQ’s on the ice and made DIY volleyball courts for some entertainment! How amazing is that?
My Dad was diving officer and dove down to check the damage to the ship. They managed to fix three gashes in the ship using wedges, a gym mat and some strapping that went the whole way around the hull. Luckily, by this point, the wind swept some of the ice out to sea and they were able to continue their journey. They headed to the Falkland Islands to undergo more permanent repairs. He has some amazing photos of his journey.
It was so lovely having my Dad share his knowledge and his stories of such a fascinating time in his life. During that time, he was away a lot. It was hard when I was growing up (not at this point, but later) and I’m not sure I always handled it brilliantly. Hearing these stories again made me realize how amazing his adventures were and what he got to experience. I think it also made me reflect on the experiences that I had because of his job. I got to live in Norway, where I learnt to ski; our PE lessons in the winter were cross-country skiing lessons. Later, we lived out in America. I made friends that I am still in touch with; friends that came to my wedding and I went to theirs. It also took me back to this amazing place that we now live in.
Here is a recent photo of my family (minus one brother) that we took at West Wittering!
Now… the only really irritating thing is that my Dad left his 6 ft long skis at the school…. I’m not quite sure how I’m going to fit them in my car!!!