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Councilor clears up cruise confusion

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By Carol A. Clark

Los Alamos County Councilor Robert Gibson and his wife, Lori Heimdahl Gibson, were not on the M/S Explorer that sank Nov. 23 in Anarctica, as reported in Sunday's Monitor. They were actually on an expedition in the same area on the National Geographic Endeavor, which was the first of three ships that responded to the scene to offer assistance to the passengers and crew of the sinking ship.“Things get confused in emergency situations,” Gibson said during a telephone conversation Monday. “A miscommunication occurred that caused the mix-up,” Gibson said.  Heimdahl Gibson described their 12-day adventure as “a trip of a lifetime … We had a phenomenal experience.“She said she and her husband were not, however, on a cruise ship.“It was an expedition ship in which we went out on kayaks and Zodiacs and saw penguins, seals and whales and glaciers and icebergs,” she said.The crew of the Endeavor was made up of scientists and biologist. “They gave presentations each day about what we were seeing,” Heimdahl Gibson said. “The emphasis of our trip was on taking care of the earth.”Gibson explained that the Explorer was the prototype and predecessor to the Endeavor. He said seeing her sink was an emotional time for everyone involved, especially the Endeavor's captain and several crew members who had previously served on her.“The Explorer had a nickname – they called her ‘the little red ship,’ ” Heimdahl Gibson said. She told of how the captain of the Endeavor slowly circled the Explorer and sounded his horn three times as a farewell signal.“After rendering what assistance we could and saluting the sinking hulk, Endeavor sailed on and we continued what was otherwise a grand adventure.” Gibson said. The Gibsons expressed their gratitude that all passengers and crew from the Explorer were placed on another ship and none sustained significant injuries.