Polar Mariner

Polar Mariner

Beyond the Limits in Antarctica

Captain Tom Woodfield

  • A dramatic story of true endeavour and exploration in the footsteps of the early pioneers
  • Navigating Antarctic seas for 20 years supporting British scientific stations,  the author explored and surveyed the uncharted, ice-filled waters in often ferocious weather
  • Descriptions of the majestic scenery and wildlife plus historical tales of exploration and seamanship

This is an account of polar exploration, seamanship and human endeavour that is rarely found in this modern age and I am sure you will enjoy reading it. Extract from Foreword by HRH The Princess Royal

eBook
978-184995-353-5
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£18.99
978-184995-166-1
240 × 170mm
244 pages
inc. 8pp b/w and 12pp colour section
Softback
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Captain Woodfield made 20 seasonal voyages to the Antarctic on three research ships between 1955 and 1974. Starting as a Junior Deck Officer he worked for The Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey which in 1964 became the British Antarctic Survey. He played a paramount role in the gradual change from using under-powered and poorly-equipped ships to the professionally-managed and sophisticated vessels of his last command.

The arts of exploration and survival during his early years in this majestic but unforgiving continent are described as attempts were made to establish research stations, support science, and survey in totally uncharted, ice-filled waters amidst often ferocious weather.  Dramatic stories are featured such as the near loss of a ship in pack ice, the stranding of another in hurricane force winds and the collapse of an ice-cliff onto the vessel.

The pioneers of Antarctic exploration, the area’s history, the hardships and incredible achievements of those original seafarers are described. Yet polar navigation during the author’s years was not without peril and the near loss in ice of his first ship, the RRS Shackleton, the demise of her Master, and his ill-judged replacement and consequent dramas are fully told.

After a voyage of enormous responsibility, aged just 25, he transferred to the RRS John Biscoe as Chief Officer under a fine seaman but difficult disciplinarian. The highs and lows of their relationship are told as are vivid descriptions of predicaments they overcame such as being blown ashore in hurricane force winds and beset and crushed in pack ice. The first ventures of the John Biscoe into the Weddell Sea are recounted with information on the nature and movement of ice, its interrelationship with weather, and the methods of navigation in ice before the age of satellites.

Appointed to command the RRS Bransfield,  he recounts her extraordinary maiden voyage when it was feared she would split in two. The battle with a horrendous storm at the end of his last voyage is fully described together with his final sentimental return to the Falklands.

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