Antarctic Peninsula Map

‘I’m no actor, Mature replied, ‘and I’ve got a score of films and notices to prove it. The ladies however loved him and every year he threw a birthday party inviting only former girlfriends and they all still came. The parties just got bigger and bigger. Only he stayed the same age.

Steve has also worked with an actor I’ve had some dealings with. He is such a heavy drinker that Steve spent his entire time on location in the rainforest hiding the alcohol from him or finding excuses why he couldn’t fetch any. Somehow the actor still found his own supply, so there were many hairy jungle moments and the other actors had to shoot their scenes talking alone to the camera. The director was going completely crazy by the end and probably took to the bottle himself! The actor is extremely talented and skilful but I think now his drinking reputation precedes him and that’s why he’s not as successful as he might have been. Unfortunately, those who drink heavily usually become ‘might-have-beens or ‘has-beens’.

Antarctic Peninsula Map Photo Gallery

Steve also tells about one film crew member who broke both legs and needed to be airlifted out. Steve eventually got a helicopter to fly into the jungle area but they needed to keep the man lying flat out and there was not enough room to do this inside the helicopter. So all they could do is strap him underneath with two huge pillows under him for support. The story then becomes very gruesome; one pillow flies up into the blades, the pilot loses control and the helicopter crashes, killing the man underneath. The pilot staggers out of the crashed helicopter but the engine is still running, the blades are still rotating and he is hit by one and loses an arm. It’s a story to end all the stories and there is utter silence at this very sad tale. I imagine it will make Max even more likely to hold back from flying, if there is the slightest question of a problem. It’s a story we could have done without.

I try to break the gloom by putting on the Ella Fitzgerald tape I’ve brought with me but it takes some time before everyone calms down and conversation picks up. I try to lighten the mood and throw in a kind of self-explanatory conundrum. ‘A man suspects his wife is being unfaithful and she goes off with some friends, including the one he suspects, to an island. There are no bridges, no boats and no airstrip. She thinks she is perfectly safe. But no such luck, by helicopter! Some faces are blank but Steve laughs immediately, he is such good fun to be with. He is very sympathetic about my concerns on making it to the Pole before I have to return and advises me to talk to Max’s girlfriend, Ann. She is staying out here with him for a few weeks and Steve suggests she might persuade him to move the flying schedule ahead. Ann is actually British and has been with Max for some years. I ask her about his torn jersey and why he doesn’t throw it away and wear another one and she laughs out loud. ‘You should see the state of the other ones he has back home in New Zealand!’

Steve tries to buck Ian and me up and tells us that if we don’t fly tomorrow he will arrange an excursion on ski-doos. We can travel to the nearby mountains where we can tent overnight and explore the ice and rock ranges. That sounds just great and my mood improves immediately. Ian Ford is keen and the doctor Ann Ward wants to join us. One of the cooks, Fran Orio, hears our plans and asks if she can come with us. As there are so few in the camp her colleague, Ros, readily agrees.

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