A few weeks before we took our Antarctica trip, we read of the sinking of the MS Explorer and the rescue of her passengers by the Nordnorge, the ship we would be sailing on.
On our polar bear trip we met an Australian from Brisbane named Scott. Not only was Scott on the ill-fated Explorer, but he was actually the passenger who sounded the alarm. He was awakened by the sound of running water and, thinking the faucet in the bathroom had been left running, he swung his feet out of bed only to land in ankle deep ice cold water.
Leaving his cabin he found some crew members in a lounge and alerted them to the water. They returned with him to his cabin and radioed the Captain. One of the crew member dipped a finger into the water and put it to his tongue. Apparently the Captain asked the crew member to taste the water to find out if it was fresh or salty. Salty! The Captain then came to the cabin and did the same thing, followed by an expletive. The abandon ship order was soon given.
Passengers congregated in the lounge, some bringing suitcases and tote bags. The crew grabbed the bags and tossed them into the middle of the lounge, making it clear that the life boats were for passengers only.
After about 3 hours bobbing around the Arctic Ocean, Scott climbed aboard the Nordnorge. It took about 5 hours for all passengers to be brought safely aboard. Fortunately the MS Explorer purser had collected all of the passports and had the presence of mind to grab them before climbing into a lifeboat, making the trip home for the Explorer’s passengers just a bit easier.