Friday, March 28, 2008

Readers Digest Presents "Lifeboat in Antarctica" On Newstands Around the World Now, Posted by Robert Paisola

Mr. Robert  Paisola  Motivational Speaker on THE SECRET

Dateline November 2007,
Salt Lake City, Utah

"Hello, Is this Robert Paisola?" 'Yes, I replied'. "Hello, she said, I am Cathy Free, and I am a Senior Feature Writer for Readers Digest in New York" We would love to do a story on your sister Lisa Paisola" She Continued.

Having been dealing with the media for days on end since my sister Lisa Paisola and my Aunt Kay Van Horne had been on a sinking ship called the MS EXPLORER, I shouted "Contact our Agent, Max Marxon at Marxon Sparks, they are based in Australia, and we will see if we can work you in" I said. The thought never crossed my mind again.

But then she said something that no other reporter had said..

"Oh thats not a problem, We do not need to do the interview now, we want her to get better first...we are looking to do a story on Lisa for the April issue of Readers Digest" she said.

Wow! I began to think, "Wasn't this the same magazine my grandparents subscribed to when I was a kid?" "No, She Said, It is much different now!" Just go to and you can see.

Guess what, I did just that, and as I traveled the world for the next three months, I saw the same magazine in Russia, Mexico, England, France, Costa Rico, Argentina, Every Airport in the United States and even in Kiev, Ukraine. "There is something to this magazine" I said to our publicist, Max Marxon in Australia, "So, Lets Do It!" I said... Lisa Agreed.

To our friends around the globe who monitor this blog, to the Worldwide Media and to the rest of the passengers and Crew of the MS Explorer, we present you with The Readers Digest International Version (in 21 different languages and 50 different editions) of what happened to the famed "Little Red Boat", The MS Explorer, in Antarctica.

To your Success,
Robert Paisola


Lifeboat in Antarctica
After her cruise ship sank in the Antarctic, one world traveler found herself on the ultimate adventure.
By Cathy Free
From Reader's Digest
April 2008

Shrill Announcement

Lisa Paisola had spent almost two weeks aboard a cruise ship in Antarctica's freezing temperatures, but she'd never felt cold like this. Huddled with 32 others in a metal lifeboat tossed by a fierce wind, she held her breath each time the craft dipped into the ocean and was splashed by heaving waves. The icy spray gave her an instant headache and numbed her cheeks. Dressed in long underwear, a thick sweater and waterproof pants and parka, Paisola still shivered uncontrollably and realized that she could no longer feel her toes.

She turned to her 63-year-old aunt, Kay Van Horne, who was pressed next to her. "This could be the last sunrise we'll ever see," she said, pointing to an orange glow in the distance. In a way, the scene was oddly beautiful, the towering icebergs cast in pastels by the dawning light.

Van Horne squeezed her niece's hand. "Let's not worry about something we can't control," she said quietly. "If it's our time to go, it's our time." For the next five hours, the women, floating in a freezing sea, relied on each other to keep hope alive.

A substitute teacher from Denver, Van Horne lived to travel. She and her equally adventurous niece had once trekked across Morocco on camelback. Paisola, 38, a real estate investor from North Salt Lake, Utah, had taken cruises to six different continents. The women each paid $15,000 for the Antarctica trip that, following the trail of the Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton, would take them to the bottom of the world.

But in Ushuaia, Argentina, where they were to board ship, Paisola laid eyes on the 39-year-old MS Explorer -- purposely compact to traverse the Southern Ocean's fjords -- and had second thoughts. As much as she wanted to make it to that seventh continent, she suddenly questioned the idea of spending 19 days on what looked like a fishing boat.

The laid-back Van Horne convinced her to put aside her concern, and the two settled into life on board, getting to know their 89 fellow passengers over leisurely dinners, taking wildlife tours led by seasoned experts to surrounding islands and enjoying the unspoiled frozen landscape around them.

After 12 days at sea, Paisola and Van Horne were getting ready for bed in their cozy cabin when they felt a sharp, jarring jolt. They had become accustomed to the sound the ship made as it cut through icy waters, but this was a loud thud that, to Paisola, signaled trouble. "Hurry -- dry your hair," she told her aunt, who'd just showered. "If anything happens, you don't want your hair wet."

"I feel like I should be watching Titanic," Van Horne responded sarcastically. "Since this could be a long night, maybe I'd better put on long johns." Sitting casually on the edge of her bed, she turned her hair dryer on high.

Minutes later, at around midnight, an alarm sounded, and the Explorer's captain, Bengt Wiman, made a shrill announcement over the intercom: "This is not a drill. Get on your arctic gear and come immediately to the muster station!" The passengers had been briefed before leaving port that, in an emergency, they would be called to the muster station, or lounge, the designated gathering place.

Tempting Fate

Paisola began to tremble. "Hearing that alarm," she says, "I just knew that I was going to die." Re-creating Shackleton's voyage suddenly seemed like tempting fate. In 1915 his ship, the Endurance, had been crushed by ice in the Southern Ocean, and his team, marooned on Elephant Island, wasn't rescued for almost two years.

Major cruise ship disasters are rare today. Medical crises, men overboard and petty crime occur, but the risk of a modern liner sinking is extremely low. Still, last April, the luxurious MS Sea Diamond went down after running aground off Santorini, Greece. Two of its nearly 1,200 passengers are missing and believed to have drowned. The Explorer was about to make news in much colder waters.

Paisola and Van Horne pulled on their polar gear and rushed to the lounge. Seeing that a few passengers were still in their pajamas, Paisola dashed back to her cabin to fetch a large bag of winter wear. "I brought extra because I don't like to be cold," she says.

She set the bag of long underwear, gloves and socks in the middle of the room so that anybody who needed them could take them. The captain quickly explained that the ship had hit submerged ice and, despite a reinforced hull, sustained a fist-size tear. Several crew members were attempting to repair the leak, but, the captain admitted, flood-control efforts didn't appear to be working. Water was seeping up through the toilets, a sign the ship was going down.

Paisola took a seat at the lounge computer and dashed off e-mails to family members, saying she loved them and attaching a rough copy of her will. Then she offered her e-mail account to her shipmates, but none came forward. "Everybody was sitting there in shock," she says. "They couldn't believe we were sinking."

Wiman announced that he had put out a distress call and that three ships in the area had offered help, but the closest was six hours away. A little after 1 a.m., with the Explorer listing dramatically, he came over the intercom once more. "Abandon ship!" he repeated three times. They would have to ride out the night in lifeboats.

Linking arms as they made their way to the now steeply pitched deck, Paisola and Van Horne looked down on a black sea, roiling with whitecaps. Ever optimistic, Van Horne quipped, "At least there are enough lifeboats." She watched crew members hurriedly assemble rescue equipment. "We had to believe we would survive," she says, "or we'd have torn our hair out."

To break the tension, a couple broke out in the Monty Python song "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life." All Paisola could think about, she admits, was the orchestra playing for the doomed passengers on the Titanic.

Thirty-one people, including two crew members, squeezed into lifeboat No. 3 with Paisola and Van Horne. With a screech, their small craft swung away from the ship. "We held our breath," recalls Van Horne, "hoping we wouldn't tumble out."

Seconds later, the boat dropped into the sea. The crew members struggled unsuccessfully to start the engine as the next lifeboat descended overhead, its propellers spinning. "They can't see us!" shouted one passenger, Andy White. "We've got to get away from the ship or we'll be crushed!"

A naval architect from Essex, England, White, 51, had been a champion rower. He grabbed an oar to push off from the Explorer. When it snapped in two, he found another. This time, he and a passenger next to him were able to maneuver the boat far enough away to start rowing, only to find they were headed directly into a seven-foot-high block of pack ice. The winds made navigating impossible; with no engine, they were at the mercy of the waves. White figured they'd slam into the huge mass within minutes.

Spotting an ax mounted on the lifeboat's forward bulkhead, he got an idea. "I decided that if we came alongside the pack, I could cut some steps," he says, "and lead people onto the ice." They had a chance.

Kindness and Hope

The boat grew quiet, and seasickness took hold. Several people leaned overboard to vomit. Paisola found an old Dramamine tablet in her camera case and told her aunt to open her mouth. She and Van Horne then passed out some extra hand warmers they'd brought along. "Keep the circulation going!" Van Horne called out.

There were other small acts of kindness as they drifted in the cold. Eli Charne, 38, a photographer from Irvine, California, had fled his flooding cabin when the Explorer hit the ice, leaving behind all his camera equipment. He found himself in the lifeboat without a stitch of waterproof clothing. A passenger gave him one of his gloves, and another shared a blanket. Next to him, two women encouraged him to wiggle his hands and feet. "I was so weak, I couldn't stop shivering," says Charne. "But any help that anybody offered gave you hope."

Paisola raised spirits when she rolled out a yellow rain poncho. Her shipmates had teasingly called her Superman for wearing the billowing cape on excursions to view penguins and seals. But in the lifeboat, as many as a dozen passengers found protection under the enormous slicker.

Hunkered down in the bow, White spotted two crew members approaching in an inflatable raft. The pair tossed over a rope so they could tow the disabled lifeboat behind them. White wouldn't need the ax after all, but he feared they were still in danger. So did his girlfriend, Lee Moulton, a 50-year-old nurse, who noticed that many of her shipmates were pale and trembling. Within hours, they would be at risk of hypothermia.

Moulton was especially worried about Braden Hanna of Ontario, Canada, at 18 the Explorer's youngest passenger. Wanting to see Antarctica's icebergs firsthand and warn others about the effects of global warming, he had saved for years to pay for the cruise. "I was looking for adventure, and I got it," he told Moulton. "This is a pretty weird situation to be in without my mum and dad."

Hanna's thin trousers were soaked through. Wrapping her arms around the rangy teen, Moulton whispered, "Cuddle up to me. I'll keep you warm." The nurse noticed another man, who was sweating profusely, even in the frigid wind. "I was concerned for all of us," she says. "Our bodies were starting to chill down." Though a few people carried on muted conversations, most waited in silence.

Van Horne thought about her grandchildren while Paisola prayed quietly. "I was making every deal with God you can imagine," she says.

Shortly before dawn, a helicopter, believed to have been sent from a nearby military base, buzzed overhead. As the lifeboaters waved and shouted, Paisola turned to her aunt and said, "Finally somebody else on the planet knows that we're out here."

Andy White noticed that Bob Flood, an ornithologist who had led the group on shorebird-watching tours, looked pale and withdrawn. "Hang on, Bob," White told him. "By this time tomorrow, I'll be buying you a drink."

About two hours later, a passenger spotted a ship on the horizon. "It was a flicker of light the size of a pinhead," recalls Paisola. Slowly the speck became larger until everyone could make out the Nordnorge, a Norwegian cruise ship. It had braved numerous ice floes to reach the doomed Explorer in under five hours.

All 154 of the marooned travelers were transferred to the Nordnorge, where they were offered dry clothing by cruisers eager to help. When a woman handed Paisola a blanket, "I started to cry and couldn't stop," she says. She was joined by others who wept openly when the Nordnorge captain took them past the Explorer, tipped on its side like a dying whale.

"It broke my heart," says Van Horne. "There's something about Antarctica -- the whites, the blues, the grays, that barren landscape of ice and rock. It's a spiritual place. Knowing the ship was going down was hard to take."

Amazingly, most of the Explorer's passengers, from 14 different countries, came through no worse for wear. Two crew members suffered mild hypothermia, and a passenger twisted an ankle climbing onto the rescue craft. Transported to King George Island, two and a half hours from where their ship went down, the group spent a few nights at an Antarctic research center before they were airlifted to a military base in Chile to begin their individual journeys home.

An investigation into the disaster is under way, and representatives for G.A.P Adventures, owner of the Explorer, will not confirm reports that the company has offered to reimburse passengers $8,000 for the portion of the trip they didn't complete, along with $1,300 for the belongings they left behind. That doesn't come close to covering what Paisola lost to the sea, but, safely back in Utah, she prefers to focus on the positive. "The stars had to have been lined up perfectly for all of us to survive," she says.

She has joined two online newsgroups, set up by Andy White and Eli Charne, to stay in touch with fellow passengers. So far, some 60 others have logged on, posting photos, comments and messages of support.

Meanwhile, Paisola is ready to plan her next trip. Though she didn't make it to Antarctica's mainland to cross that seventh continent off her list, she's got other priorities. "From now on when I travel," she says, "I want to be warm."

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