It's the summer of 2009. Sprague Theobald, a filmmaker and expert sailor, decides it's time to do something interesting with his life. Hmmm...What to do? What to do? O, why not take an 8,500-mile danger-filled trek across the Northwest Passage in a 57-foot boat? This happens to be one of the most treacherous trips a sailor can take, one that few have had the audacity to take, much less survive. I think knowing this alone would make the decision for me. Stay home. Watch the Discovery Channel. Not so for Sprague.
Why would anyone want to go out on a limb financially to take a trip on frigid, hostile, faraway seas? Were there no warning bells? Does this man have no fear?
From the minute I opened The Other Side of the Ice, I couldn't put it down. Sometimes it reads like a captain's log, but this captain is awake to many levels of experience. He offers a rich chronicle of life on the edge, physical, emotional and spiritual. It's not enough that he runs out of money before casting off, but he and his crew of estranged family members are dogged by white-knuckle storms, hidden icebergs, broken satellite connections, fog, hungry polar bears, underwater rocks, freezing water, ice floes and faulty equipment. Against the backdrop of profound arctic beauty, interspersed with fond reminiscences of the past, forging through impassable frozen bays, the crew deals with physical ailments, being lost, exhausted, discouraged, sibling tension and self-doubt and exceeds the limits of each other's patience.
This is truly a unique, self-effacing, compelling memoir of transcendence through a life lived fully. I've ordered the movie!