Monday, September 23, 2013

The Waybacks "Beyond The Northwest Passage"

You meet a lot of interesting people in my job.

The first time I talked to Sprague Theobald was when he called in to win the Mindbender.  I can't remember the question exactly, but it related to shipwrecks or underwater life or something like that.  On the call he told me that he'd just been scuba-diving off the Rhode Island coast, exploring a wreck.

I also learned that he happened to work next door to the office MVY used to have in Newport, RI.

Not long after, and because of this connection, we got involved with Sprague's Northwest Passage trip.

Just a few weeks before they were to set sail, Joe Gallagher and I went down to a Goat Island dock, and I remember walking aboard the "Bagan" thinking, "This is it?"  It wasn't much bigger than a party/fishing boat.

The Northwest Passage is a trip of almost mythical proportions.  Many have tried to sail from the East Coast to the West Coast of North America, using a northerly route.  Many have died trying, trapped in the ice.

But because of Global Warming, it seemed as if the route was opening up again.  If they could time things just right, there would be a window of opportunity to navigate the ice and break through.

This is what I knew about his plan to traverse the Northwest Passage.

What I didn't fully know, was that his crew was largely comprised of his estranged adult children, and others close to the family.

I know Sprague had set out to make a documentary about the changes he would see in the Arctic.  What he returned with was something that is also highly personal, as a large portion of the trip, and therefore the film, is effected by the relationships of the people aboard.

During the initial trip, Sprague was calling in reports to MVY whenever Satellite communication would allow him to send us MP3s from the arctic.  And around that time, The Waybacks had a new album that just happened to include a song called "Beyond The Northwest Passage."  It became the unofficial theme song of our coverage.

We pulled the song out of the library this week, as we prepare for Sprague's much less dangerous sail, from the mainland to The Vineyard.

He'll be at the MV Film Center on Wednesday night, to show his finished documentary, "The Other Side Of The Ice," with a book signing and Q&A to follow the screening.  And part of the ticket price supports Friends of mvyradio.

For more on the screening, visit the MV Film Center site.

Note that if you are not on the Vineyard, but want to come to the show (I know many of our friends in the Woods Hole/Marine Sciences community will be interested), you can take the 6:15 boat from WH over to the Island.  It's a short walk to the MV Film Center.  And the screening will be over in plenty of time to hop back on the 9:30 boat to return to the mainland.

Hear The Waybacks on Youtube.

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