Thursday, October 8, 2015


SHACKLETON’S ANTARCTIC DREAM:                           A Saga of Extraordinary Leadership and Survival
A one-act, one person play about Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition

“… They told me a wondrous tale
And I strove to write it down
But my pen refused its duty:
And I lost my chance for reknown
But since that vision left me:
I have looked on those sailor men
As worthy the brightest idyll
That poet ever could pen.”
- Ernest Shackleton, age 21, third officer on the Monmouthshire

Guests at the Trumansburg theater for Louise Adie’s one-woman, one-act play, “Shackleton’s Antarctic Dream: A Story of Extraordinary Leadership and Survival” on Oct. 17 and 18, 2014 at 7:30 p.m., will get to hear the thrilling story of the Endurance expedition, acted by one who knows it well. “It's not everyone who gets to go to Antarctica, then come back and talk about it,” claims Adie. "I guess I'm lucky." This is her 12th season in Antarctica, during the Austral summer. She returns each year to Trumansburg to tell stories about her trips, but this time she’s telling the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton, Antarctic explorer, and the incredible journey of the crew of the Endurance. Working from books, his diaries and the writings of his crew members, Adie has reconstructed the trip – complete with props and changes of costume – as a one-woman play.
Shackleton was not the first explorer of the South Pole, nor was he, in his time, the best known. Robert Falcon Scott, under whom Shackleton served in the 1901-03 Discovery expedition, and who died of cold and starvation on a subsequent expedition to the Pole, upstaged Shackleton in the public eye for many years.
Times change, and the definition of a hero changes with the times. Biographies of Roald Amundsen, the Norwegian explorer who made it to the South Pole first, and of Scott, took their reputations down a few pegs; while Amundsen was famously well prepared and marched single-mindedly to the Pole, Scott seemed hardly to understand what he was doing and was dubbed “a heroic bungler.”
“Scott had delusions… It’s a very sad story,” said Adie. Adie’s great grandfather was the first Norwegian to be allowed to start taking whales from the South Shetland Islands, in the Antarctic in 1905. A sort of Antarctic explorer herself, Adie has led “about 50” kayak trips to the southern continent. “My parents were Norwegian, so I know these stories well.”
Although Shackleton almost made it to the Pole in 1909, coming within 97 miles, that honor went to Amundsen two years later. Since then, however, Shackleton has become a model for inclusive management. Famously known for the care of his men, Shackleton gave away his one-biscuit-a-day ration during the Nimrod voyage to a crew member who was in worse shape. In his diaries, Shackleton’s concern for each member, down to the ponies and the dogs, comes through. Although he didn’t succeed in reaching the pole first, or even in crossing the southern continent (his second-choice goal), he brought himself and his men alive through extraordinary hardship. After their ship the Endurance was caught in pack ice, they drifted with the ice for ten long months before the ice finally crushed it, leaving them stranded.
Said Adie, “It took a month for the ship to die, and they described it as ‘shrieking’. The ship sounded like a living creature being squeezed to death in the ice.”
Spreading out a map on the table in the Falls Restaurant, Adie lights up, tracing the path of the doomed voyage. From November to March they camped on a drifting ice floe, hoping to come within boating distance of land. On April 9, their ice floe broke up and they took to the sea in three lifeboats. “The Weddell sea is known as the most dangerous sea in the world due to the currents and massive amounts of ice, grinding and piling up against itself,” said Adie. They managed to land on Elephant Island, 350 miles from where the ship sank, and hardly a hospitable place. And, “Nobody knew where they were.”
“Basically, he gets all 28 men back alive,” said Adie. “So, how does he do that? Come to the play and find out!”

Trumansburg Free Press
October 11, 2014

“You brought history to life in a very realistic way for me in this play. You started a dialogue I carried into many conversations afterward. I was inspired to purchase one of the books for my father, who absolutely enjoyed it. Your knowledge is vast, your ability to teach and inspire outstanding and your enthusiasm contagious to those who have the privilege of conversing with you. Your attention to detail is remarkable from text to props to costumes. I was convinced Shackleton and his men looked exactly as you portrayed.”
D. Melito

​“This Shackleton play was spellbinding. You really reminded us these explorers were human as well as heroic. You depicted it as freshly as if it had just happened and you had just been there. I loved your props and costumes - each one different, providing some authenticity, illustrating something rather than just telling us, and keeping us, the audience, entranced.  I’d had some idea of the story, but to hear it all together, along with enough information about logistics, ships, and personalities, that made it 'real' for me.  I’m looking forward to your next show!”
N. Tubbs

“This one-woman show really brought to life one of the most extraordinary stories of survival in Antarctica. In the process she revealed the many difficulties of exploration on that forbidding continent, and also Shackleton's strength of character in leading his men to survival and safety.”
D. Nathanielsz

“What wonderful show! The stage sets looked authentic and Ms. Adie’s performance and knowledge were spot on. I particularly enjoyed the way she peppered the performance with side stories of the various team players. These and other small details added so much to bringing these individuals to life.”
T. Shaver

“Adie is the real McCoy!  There is no one I know that has her expertise or showmanship.  This is a subject that has become her heartfelt passion. She has a magnificent story to tell and people would be privileged to hear it.  She has my highest recommendation.”
D. Dore

"Louise is a natural storyteller and her passions combined with her enthusiasm truly captures a listener's attention. She offered a unique perspective in this play and as she weaved together the events of Shackleton's crew she was able to captivate the audience with her thoughtful words and purposefully chosen set. The photos that she included were stunning and fostered in me an urge to learn more about Antarctica."
C. Salabrici

“I really felt taken back in time for a walk through history with Shackleton and his crew while taking in a performance of Louise Adie's one-woman play about the struggles of the Endurance crew.  Adie handled multiple male roles well and brought out the important points of the story. I have such an enriched appreciation of what they went through and how amazing it all was. Mesmerizing performance. Dare I ask, what's next?"
V. Rice

If you need a movie to watch I highly recommend the 2002 version, simply called Shackleton, starring Kenneth Branagh. He appeared to truly capture the spirit of the man. The other characters were totally believable as well: Frank Wild, Capt. Frank Worsley and the others. I wish they'd given the Tom Crean role a bit more oomph...he was a mainstay in the strength, courage and humor department.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


A joyful moment above Neko Harbour.
I don't get to climb this very often as we're mostly kayaking
in this beautiful protected spot, a frequent stop on many of our trips.
What you see in the above banner is in a nearby and even more beautiful bay, Paradise Bay.
Breathtakingly beautiful in all directions with mountain ranges covered in glaciers
as far as the eye can see, well over 100 miles on a clear day.

Monday, April 1, 2013


Our professional photographer from Leica, Oliver,
produced this little kayaking video out of our own footage.
His is the opening shot, you can see the difference Leica quality gear makes!
Find the video HERE.

You'll see three earlier videos below.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


I feel like I've won the Lottery.
I get to return for one last trip this season...eureka!
I'm sure I'll have stories for you about the ice forming outward,
blocking our attempts to get into the inland waterways
 as it's now approaching winter down there.
These are the views that bring me back again and again.
Oh, that LIGHT!

 And of course, the critters!
This crab eater seal pup was with two adults, checking us out.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Working backward, here are three videos I created this year. 
It was my first attempt at using a GoPro camera.
There are loads of action packed, fast paced and adrenaline rush GoPro videos out there.
These would not be among them.
The last one puts me to sleep in a comforting way.

KAYAKING IN PARADISE, the most recent video.

KAYAKING IN ANTARCTICA, the second one I created.

PADDLING THE ICE, and the first one, narcotics provided.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Double-fisted expedition guide.
One hand on the zodiac throttle,
the other on the microphone at lecture time.
We all wear many hats.
Mine now include history lecturer and driver (well, I've always been a driver...)
as well as kayak guide for nine years now.
By default I've become a historian.
It all started with lectures about the early whaling industry,
featuring excerpts from great grandfather's diaries.
Alexander Lange was Norway's first whaling manager
to begin the taking of whales in Antarctica in what became known as the modern whaling era.
I now give talks about Amundsen's successful quest to reach the South Pole,
Shackleton's Endurance expedition (and his 3 others)
as well as the other explorers of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.
It was a pleasure to have two full trips
as a guide/lecturer/zodiac driver.
AND both were out to the Falkland Islands,
South Georgia as well as the Antarctic Peninsula.
My first return to those far flung places in
five years!