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The Other Side of the Ice: One Family's Treacherous Journey Negotiating the Northwest Passage [Kindle Edition]

Sprague Theobald , Allan Kreda
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (201 customer reviews)

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  • Length: 240 pages
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Book Description

A sailor and his family's harrowing and inspiring story of their attempt to sail the treacherous Northwest Passage.
Sprague Theobald, an award-winning documentary filmmaker and expert sailor with over 40,000 offshore miles under his belt, always considered the Northwest Passage--the sea route connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific--the ultimate uncharted territory. Since Roald Amundsen completed the first successful crossing of the fabled Northwest Passage in 1906, only twenty-four pleasure craft have followed in his wake. Many more people have gone into space than have traversed the Passage, and a staggering number have died trying. From his home port of Newport, Rhode Island, through the Passage and around Alaska to Seattle, it would be an 8,500-mile trek filled with constant danger from ice, polar bears, and severe weather.
What Theobald couldn't have known was just how life-changing his journey through the Passage would be. Reuniting his children and stepchildren after a bad divorce more than fifteen years earlier, the family embarks with unanswered questions, untold hurts, and unspoken mistrusts hanging over their heads. Unrelenting cold, hungry polar bears, and a haunting landscape littered with sobering artifacts from the tragic Franklin Expedition of 1845, as well as personality clashes that threaten to tear the crew apart, make The Other Side of the Ice a harrowing story of survival, adventure, and, ultimately, redemption.


50 color illustrations

Editorial Reviews


BOOK LIST:Theobald writes movingly of bringing together his adult children to join him as they sail from RI, to Seattle. The trip takes them  into history as they revisit the last known locations of the doomed Franklin Expedition of 1845...  revealing just how tenuous relationships can be in what is undeniably a thrilling voyage.THE ALPHA WIFE:Sprague is a talented writer and draws the reader in from the first page - and almost immediately, it's clear that this story is about more than the ocean.  Sprague paints a vivid and honest picture of his relationship with his kids. Sprague talks just enough about the boat to educate the reader and set the stage for the story. --Book List

From the Author

Attempting to transit The Northwest Passage, in my view, is one of the last true maritime adventures to be found.  Man has been trying to find this Nautical Grail since the 1600s and in that time hundreds of lives have been lost in the attempt.  Sir John Franklin's attempt in 1845 ended in tragedy of untold proportions in that both his 100' ships and 120 men basically vanished without a trace.  To this day neither he nor his ships have been found. As a documentarian and sailor with over 40,000 off-shore miles the challenge of such a transit had haunted me for most of my life.

In the summer/fall of 2009, aboard my 57' Nordhavn trawler Bagan, my family and I set out from Newport, RI to attempt this remarkable challenge; to try and do something that approximately only 24 other personal craft have ever accomplished. For five months and 8,500 miles we had to deal with all that Mother Nature threw at us, many times not knowing if we were going to add to that long list of dead who have tried to find this passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

As the book will tell, this was a trip that physically and emotionally changed us all.  Writing The Other Side of The Ice was a very difficult journey back into a mind set and experience that was, at times, very dark and terrifying for me.  So much was the power and desolation of the Arctic that I found it took almost two years to be able to approach my personal journals again.

The Other Side of The ice  as well as my first book, The Reach, reflect my deep, powerful love and respect for Mother Ocean and all of her visible and invisible denizens, benign and deadly.  Both books try to express the thinking that we are simply visitors in her realm and at that, can be snuffed out in the slightest of her breaths.

Product Details

  • File Size: 4306 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Antenna Books (July 27, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008QD8OTC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,124 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If ever I think I have it hard... August 8, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
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!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Other Side of the Ice July 1, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I went to high school with the author-but didn't know him well at that time. This book is an incredible story of braving a crossing of the Northwest Passage in a 57 foot boat-with all of the challenges of equipment failure, bad weather, and being stalked by polar bears. In addition, the author describes the challenge of reconnecting with his estranged children (who were his crew) during the journey, all while under harrowing conditions. I really enjoyed reading it.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars more than I bargained for. June 20, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Since I was a child in Canada, I have been fascinated by the stories of the arctic an Antarctic. This was a real adventure to me, and I actually got up at 3am after going to bed at 12:30 to finish it. It was exceptionally well written and I don't recall any typos or grammar errors as I have seen in other books of this length. It is both a story of family and mystery tale that keeps you wondering what the heck will happen next. Highly recommended for any one with kids or just a desire to explore the impossible!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written, exciting and thrilling read ! March 25, 2013
By Do Art
You won't be disappointed with this thriller and page turner ! It's a real life adventure filled with the challenge of negotiating not only the Northwest Passage but family and crew members as well. The exciting combination of the two makes you want to finish it without stopping. Kudo's to Sprague Theobald for this well written adventure! I felt as if I was on the journey without all the challenges, hardships and obstacles they faced. This story would make a terrific movie and I know someone will pick up on it! I'm sure you'll love it as much as I did !
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read for Passagemaker Fans February 16, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you are an avid reader of nonfiction maritime adventures (as I am) or someone who aspires to buy a passage-capable trawler and take an extended journey (as I do) then this is a very interesting and worthwhile read. It lacks a strong narrative but is chock full of insight into the reality of day-to-day life under the kind of adverse conditions one might expect from such a bold and dangerous undertaking as traversing the Inside Passage in a small boat. And certainly one of the heroes is the boat itself - the Nordhavn 57 - a wondrous workhorse of a trawler that took it all in stride. It was actually bickering among the crew (group dynamics!) far more than the inevitable (and surprisingly infrequent) equipment malfunction - or the ice itself - that nearly sunk this incredible expedition.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book about a journey both physical and mental September 11, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Wonderfully written as I almost felt I was part of the crew at times. A true show of how strong and complicated the bonds of family can be. Thanks for taking the readers along on your journey.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant June 28, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Sprague shares his story of doing what very few people can say they have done. He can lay on his death bed and know that he Chase the impossible dream, cheated death a few times, brought his family closer together and risk it all and make the journey of a lifetime. Sprague reminds us with amazing stories that It's not the dazzling voice that makes a singer. Or clever stories that make a writer. And it's not piles of money that make a tycoon. It's having a dream and wanting to live it so greatly that one would rather move with it an fail than succeed in another realm. It's an excellent read and a close look at what it really takes to take a pleasure boat where none has gone before.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, editing would make it really good! August 13, 2012
By Petra
I enjoyed this book, even though I normally don't read about exploration, or boating. The writer did a good job conveying the setting, its beauty and its terrors, and an interesting job, too, of portraying the personalities on board.

The writer did his job, but I'm afraid the editor did a poor one. That said, the book is well worth reading, and I hope a second printing (more professionally edited) is in the wings.

Once it is properly edited, the book will certainly deserve an extra star or two.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting!
Interesting adventure. I enjoyed going along on this adventure and learning about how a family worked together and neat things they saw along the way.
Published 6 days ago by Tasha
5.0 out of 5 stars That is an excellent book, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it
That is an excellent book, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I learned a lot, and it was written very well. Excellent!
Published 7 days ago by Janet Fournier
4.0 out of 5 stars Frantastic Read!
Great story about a trip that very few people will ever experience in their lifetime. The author's descriptions of surroundings were detailed to the point that I could envision... Read more
Published 24 days ago by Ann Dean
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it on my Kindle then had to buy the book to pass it on to others...
It was an exciting read, could not put it down. Read it on my Kindle then had to buy the book to pass it on to others I thought would enjoy it.
Published 1 month ago by Barbara Whitford
3.0 out of 5 stars Not technical enough
A good read but too much about the writers personal feelings & not enough about the boat's workings & otherv technical information. Read more
Published 1 month ago by mike stockwell
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring
It was kinda boring and not a very treacherous they talked a lot Nd they didn't even get lost like I was hoping
Published 2 months ago by geana davis
4.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed the whole book
Very educational. I really enjoyed the whole book. Audio, I lIke very much.
Published 2 months ago by Liz Angier
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Kept me up until midnight reading it.
Published 2 months ago by Sandra Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling!
This is a vivid description of sights, fears and relationships during a family's trip on a 57' boat and their 5 month journey through the Northwest Passage. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Sharon V. Davidian
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great story!
Published 4 months ago by Kelly Barfuss
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