Ice on the Horizon

I had forgotten about this story. It was one of the stories that I wrote when I was doing the Family History Diploma. This story is about Edwin Gransden and one of his experiences on the ship that migrated to Australia on. Edwin was an ‘Able Seaman’ on the Washington Irving when it came across ice one morning.

The call came out- ice ahoy! The air was heavy with the scent of frost and the call of men looking out at the horizon. The wind was blowing fresh and strong and the scent of salt had permeated everything. It could not be avoided. The deck was slippery and the ropes hard to hold in his hand. Each step was treacherous with the ice and the cold building up, with the wind was blowing us along at a good speed.

All the sailors were watching. Ice could sneak up on you, going through the side of the ship like a knife. This was the worst time to have ice on the horizon. No daylight and fast winds meant that ice could suddenly catch a ship unawares.

Many of the passengers were up. They were on the decks getting underfoot and wanting to see a sight to them that was exciting and different. But for the sailors, it was another matter. We knew what that could mean. Ice could be the death of a ship. At least as the sun rose the visibility may get better helping to keep us away from the threat of the ice.

The shouting rose to a crescendo as more and more ice appeared. By 4am we were surrounded. Myself and others had climbed the slippery masts and bought the sails down. We needed to slow the ship and take it slowly through an icy passage of it would be our last passage.

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