February 20, 2009

Married in Antarctica!

Andy (Leading Deckhand)

Molly and I were married by Captain Watson, on Scott Island, Antarctica on February 12th.  It was the first wedding ceremony ever held on Scott Island, and we were quite possibly only the ninth and tenth people to have ever even set foot on this craggy island as it is inaccessible from the water due to its high-cliff coastline.  So, our wedding vehicle for the day was a two-seater Bell Helicopter.

blog_090212_weddingThe island is tiny, rugged, volcanic looking and snow covered.  At one end there's a huge arch, off to one side about a couple of hundred metres away a massive spire shoots 100 metres out of the water.  And to the horizons it's surrounded by smatterings of ice: growlers, bergy-bits and icebergs further off.

We also had both a still and video photographer on hand to record the whole thing - and possibly air some of it on the upcoming season of Whale Wars.

The site of the ceremony itself was right on the edge of a cliff at the very highest point of the island; perhaps 100m high.  I even had to get a rock to chock my footing so my grip-less boots wouldn't see me slip over the edge and into the crashing seas below.  The 'pulpit' was a rock formation with a Jolly Roger draped over it.   Our wedding outfits?  Matching Atlantic-class all-weather Mustang suits in orange and grey with reflective trim.  It really is the latest in wedding formal-wear this season in Antarctica.

The ceremony began and I had absolutely no idea what to expect, or how much effort or of himself Captain Watson would put into it.  But I had only ever expected a 'quick-and-nasty' on the bow of the ship anyway, so already all my expectations had been well-exceeded; so I'm not too fussed.  Then he began... his words were both poetic and beautiful, spoken in English and Maori in recognition of Scott Island being in New Zealand's Antarctic territory.  I was momentarily blown-away; and so indescribably happy.  Molly and I swapped our vows halfway through the ceremony.  Her words were profoundly beautiful.  Mine?  Entirely adequate.

And then there we were: married.  As corny as it may sound, it really was one of the happiest moments of my life.  Made even happier no doubt by the complete absence of stress in the whole planning process and ceremony, and that all I had to focus on was Molly and my infinite love for her.  We kissed for the first time as husband and wife.

And then as if the ceremony wasn't perfect enough, Captain Watson presented us with two scrolls printed, as are all Sea Shepherd scrolls and certificates, on the backs of old sea charts.  One scroll was a printout of Captain Watson's words for the ceremony: The Marriage of Andrew Perry and Molly Kendall.  The second was a Marriage Certificate complete with Sea Shepherd's Jolly Roger motif and seal.

We are now currently on our honeymoon: a 10-day cruise through the Southern Ocean aboard the M/Y Steve Irwin, finishing in the beautiful harbour-city of Hobart, Tasmania on the 21st of February.


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