Retiring on a pension after being torpedoed in WWII, Tristan Jones embarks on a test of endurance that will last over two years, nearly killing him more than once. Attempting to sail farther North than anyone ever has, he embarks from Iceland on the Cresswell in the summer of 1959. His only companion A three-legged, one-eyed Labrador named Nelson. He spends his first winter holed up near an Eskimo village in a Greenland fjord. After a violent snowstorm and without an adequate supply of food, he spends a full week digging himself out of enormous snow drifts until he is able to be seen and rescued. This incident kicks off a series of impossible adventures as he voyages to the treacherous waters of the North Pole. His second winter at sea finds him trapped in an enormous ice pack in the Arctic Ocean. For 366 days he is marooned on the craft. As he faces his loneliness and the possibility of his own death under the dazzling Northern lights, Tristan Jones's incomparable sailing adventure reaches an unimaginable climax. Ice! is a classic tale of adventure, its author acclaimed by Time magazine as "someone Lindbergh would have understood".
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September 01, 1995
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Excerpt from Ice! by Tristan Jones
Oh, they say there's a troopship just leaving Bombay, Bound for old Blighty's shores,
Heavily laden with time-expired men,
Bound for the land they adore,
There's many a soldier just finishing his time,
There's many a twirp signin' on,
You'll get no promotion this side of the ocean,
So cheer up my lads, bless 'em all!
Bless 'em all, bless 'em all,
The long and the short and the tall, Bless all the sergeants and W.O. Ones,
Bless all the corporals and their bleedin' sons,
'Cos we're sayin' goodbye to them all,
As back to their billets they crawl,
They'll get no promotion, this side of the ocean,
So cheer up my lads, bless 'em all!
Song of the British Army in India (origin in 1920s).
In Aden Military Hospital everything was hot, dry, and sandy: the walls, the floors, the nurses, the sheets, even me. After six weeks of lying painfully on my stomach with a badly bruised spine, I had taken the first hobbling steps over to the shady veranda and had gazed with pained eyes across the dun-colored town to the and escarpment of the Crater. Ships lay at anchor beyond the shimmering docks, waiting like mother-hens for the long, black, sinister-looking barges to be bustled alongside by tiny, tooting tugs.
The British army doctor's verdict had been quite definite--no more heavy work; certainly no more seagoing. I would be lucky ever to be able to walk properly again. Ever again, at twenty-eight years of age! Just arrived in full manhood and condemned to idle ashore for the rest of my life--never again to feel the lift of a ship's hull under my feet as she departed her haven and danced to the sea's welcome swell; never again to meet the first flying fish glittering in the midforenoon sunlight as the vessel drew the waiting tropics to her heaving forefoot; never again to sense the magic anticipation of a new, strange shore rising over the horizon ahead, or to hear the icebergs calving from their mother mountains in the low, long, bittersweet dawn of the Arctic; never again to know the utter comfort of a mug of cocoa more softly, gratefully sipped from a great china mug than any wine from any chalice, as the iced hull slipped through the hazy, freezing fog of the Denmark Strait.