Trinity student encourages Arctic crew
A Trinity student finds himself unexpectedly supporting a historic Arctic mission with poetry and prayers.
When part-time Trinity student Andrew Carnegie began writing micro poetry on his Twitter account, he did not have particularly high expectations regarding readership. He’d hardly used his account up to that point, and, knowing that some of the poems would reflect his faith, was a bit nervous about proclaiming his Christianity through social media. But he felt that this was something God wanted him to do.
‘Very rapidly, I had more than 3,000 people following for no good reason,’ he says, ‘and two years later it had grown to more than 8,000 with nearly 2,000,000 views a year. I’m not sure what Moses felt like when his staff became a snake, but my jaw ached from where it had dropped open.’
Last June, a fourteen-year-old who was sailing around the Arctic from Bristol connected with Andrew through his Twitter poetry. ‘My children had sailed with me for much of their childhoods,’ Andrew says, ‘and I had some insight into just how demanding this adventure might be for this brave young man. I sent the occasional humorous poem to keep his spirits up, and then the boat’s Twitter account also followed me.’
The boat was at that point calling in to Shetland, Andrew’s honeymoon destination. As the boat neared and the crew found themselves facing mechanical failures, Andrew contacted friends in Shetland to help find an engineer who could promptly resolve the issues when the boat docked. ‘As they left,’ Andrew explains, ‘I found myself supporting the boat with some humorous poetry based around their crew blogs. Around this time I started to realise that actually this was quite a high-profile trip—seeking to circumnavigate the Arctic Circle via both the Northeast and Northwest passages, a first for a British crew in one season.’
The boat, ‘Northabout‘, was circumnavigating the North Pole in order to demonstrate that the ice in the Arctic had shrunk back so far that areas formerly permanently locked up with ice now allowed passage through during the summer months. The crew hopes their journey will help bring attention to the effects of Arctic climate change.
‘I suddenly got a request from the crew to keep the poems coming,’ says Andrew. ‘The crew, isolated as they were, were finding them something to look forward to. So all aspects of their trip were covered, from problems with officialdom to blocked sea toilets, plus occasionally some thoughts about spirituality and God. It was a genuine pleasure to hold these brave people in my prayers, but also for them to know people here cared about them.’
This journey through the Northwest passage has only been possible since World War II. Prior to that it was impassible, and many lost their lives attempting it. Sadly, when ‘Northabout’ entered the Northwest passage, they met no ice—the ice caps are at their lowest level, and the crew found the ice loss to be much greater than many believed.
‘Northabout’ will be completing its voyage and returning to Bristol on or around 16 October 2016, and all can try either to visit the harbour to cheer her back or to watch for her on the news. A few weeks ago, Andrew received an invitation to come and finally meet the crew face to face when they return to Bristol. ‘What I treasure most is the tweet I received telling me I’d been made an honorary member of their crew.’
To learn about the crew and their voyage, they are on Twitter at @PolarOceanChall or visit www.polarocean.co.uk.
— PolarOceanChallenge (@PolarOceanChall) October 11, 2016