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The story of a deserter and a hero
on December 25, 2009
The Karluk's story really is one of a deserter and a hero. The expedition leader Stefansson, realizing his old and run-down vessel will not carry him to the promise land (being trapped in ice), desert ship and left Robert Bartlett holding the faith of the crew in his hand.
Barlett, a couragous, ressourful man takes it upon himself to save those under him, by leading a desesperate walk over the ice-flow to Wrangel Island. What makes this desesparate struggle stand apart from other Artic or Antarctic adventure is that 3 of the men under Bartlett (James Murray, Dr Allister Mackay and Henri Beauchat) thought they knew better and slipt rank. Murray (Endurance) and Mackay (Nimrod) had served under Shackelton and coudn't bear being ordered by a "lesser" man like Bartlett (who himself served under Peary).
Result? Bartlett saved most of the men under him and the trio of deserters was never heard of again...
Bartlett ultimatly had to leave most of his charges on Wrangel Island, while he and an Eskimo ally made an extraordinary, unbelievable journey through Siberia, Bering Strait and Alaska to get help.
Bottom line, The Ice Master is a Master of a book.