Yachting Interviews Sprague Theobald

Yachting Interviews Sprague Theobald

YACHTING: "So, how was the trip?" ST: "The trip was amazing. I would think that is sort of the word you'd expect to hear, but it really was. Visually it was more than I expected, it was harder than I expected, the desolation and isolation of being in the passage was far more powerful than I expected, the ability of the boat was better than I expected." Credit: HITW Production

Yachting Interviews Sprague Theobald

"Being caught in the ice was horrific. I mean that was probably the 'highlight' I guess you could say, when it was a bad call from the Canadian ice service and the ice got us. It was the first time in my life I have actually known the experience of not having any options. I mean, if you're in a boat in a hurricane you can do something: you can heave to, you can call a boat around you¿something." Credit: HITW Production

Yachting Interviews Sprague Theobald

"There was nothing we could do and the ice was just having with us as it wanted and was pushing us slowly to a rock bound coast. It was either I was going to wreck the boat on the coast or I was going to turn the boat around and wreck the boat in the ice trying to get out of there. It was something else. The first day we made 17 miles in 18 hours, the second day we made three miles in five or six hours, and we anchored to ice flows both nights." Credit: HITW Production

Yachting Interviews Sprague Theobald

"Luckily, we caught a current we didn't know about, and it took us seven miles south of the point we were trying to get around. We were slowly able to push and break our way free of the ice. It was just an amazing, amazing trip. Even to the end, when we got to the Bering Sea, we were saying 'Whoo, we're through, we're in the Gulf of Alaska'-we got the crap kicked out of us in the Gulf of Alaska!" Credit: HITW Production

Yachting Interviews Sprague Theobald

"When we got to Beechey Island and saw the graves...Greg and I dove as well. And as we were diving on the bottom I was thinking, 'okay, maybe 800 people have walked these graves. I don't think anyone has ever gone under that water with gear and swam around.' That was pretty humbling in itself." Credit: HITW Production

Yachting Interviews Sprague Theobald

YACHTING: "How was the route in terms of ability to pass through? Was it largely caked in ice?" ST: "It was interesting-once we got in there we were dealing with Peter [a local guide] who is in Cambridge Bay. He deals with a lot of people going through the ice [and has] for years and years, especially shipping. And he said it was one of the toughest ice years in 10 years." Credit: HITW Production

Yachting Interviews Sprague Theobald

"When I got to Cambridge Bay I made a point of doing some interviews with elders and then with young geologists. To make the global warming matter all the more confusing, the elders, the hunters, said the winters are getting longer, there's more ice. The younger geologists said the winters are getting shorter, the ice has a different characteristic. So even at ground zero there doesn¿t seem to be a consensus." Credit: HITW Production

Yachting Interviews Sprague Theobald

YACHTING: "Are you going to try to go back? Is this a trip you'd like to repeat?" ST: "No (laughing), no-I wouldn't mind going back on somebody else's boat, but as an owner-operator it was a tremendous amount of weight on my shoulders. You know, taking a normal trek on a boat, you have to worry about the boat, but you don't have to worry about the crew that much. This was worrying about the safety of the boat, the safety of the crew, are we actually going to be able to get out of here?" Credit: HITW Production

Yachting Interviews Sprague Theobald

Yachting Interviews Sprague Theobald

"For about a day I was talking to Peter and I was looking at the ice reports and I thought 'this could very well end right here.' And yea, there was a day that was pretty low, for a multitude of reasons. Then a lane opened up, but Mother Nature doesn't necessarily pay attention to ice charts, and the lanes shut down all around us, and that's when that happened. But the two days that we were in the ice, that was very much at the front of my mind, that this could be the end. Not of our lives, we had camping gear and we could have trucked out, but it certainly could have been the end of the expedition and the boat." Credit: HITW Production