In the early hours of the morning following theThanksgiving holiday, the captain and crew of the National Geographic Endeavour, Lindblad Expeditions’ flagship that explores the Antarctic, the Arctic and other remote regions around the world, heard the distress call of the M.V. Explorer. Immediately, Endeavour Captain Oliver Kruess turned the ship around and headed toward the distressed vessel known to many as ‘the little red ship’, the GAP Adventure’s expedition ship that hit ice and began to take in water.
Together with the Norwegian cruise ship that loaded passengers to safety, the National Geographic Endeavour lifted zodiac boats and drivers, stayed on to assist and remembered happier days of the first expedition travel ship built to explore the icy waters of the Arctic and Antarctic.
“It’s a sad day for all of us who knew and traveled aboard the Explorer”, said Sven Lindblad,whose late father commissioned the ship in 1969 for Arctic and Antarctic exploration. The ship was sold by Lindblad in 1982 and has had several owners since. GAP Adventures, a Canadian company, owned her most recently. While the ship remained listing in Antarctic waters yesterday, Lindblad spoke by phone to many of his top expedition leaders, staff and crew who knew and had remembered happier times aboard the little red ship. “In some ways”, he said, “ending her illustrious career in Antarctic waters, where she began, is fitting for a ship of her great stature. Certainly, her legacy will continue through the stories and memories she gave to all who knew her.”