The Reality of Success!
Captain Jim Wright sent me a wonderful message about navigating an ice field, ironically shortly after my girlfriend sent me the above photo.
"During Valdez assignments, we often had to take loaded tankers through heavy ice fields enroute to the pilot station. On approach, the ice looked impenetrable from several miles away. This was typically the point where some Masters began pacing back and forth across the wheelhouse showing signs of increasing stress.
Often in this situation my strategy was to remark that going through the ice field was like going through life – from a distance the ice field looks impassable. Then, as the ship comes closer to the icebergs, open leads begin to appear between the icebergs with sufficient clearance to allow safe passage (taking into account that “close” only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades). Recounting the “ice field analogy” took about 2 cups of coffee and 4 or 5 miles (including the injection of additional sea stories as might be required). By that point, we were well into the ice field and observable stress began subsiding.
The actual process of transiting the ice fields was simply to lay out a vector over the heading flasher on the radar then adjust the vector line to reckon a course to make good that did not bisect iceberg targets directly ahead. We would then continually readjust the course so that the heading flasher overlaid the vector line.
In life, a good many course changes
may be necessary to avoid
Enjoy the Journey!