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Ice Journey

A Story of Adventure, Escape and Salvation

(10 customer reviews)
Authors: Dave Morgan

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“I was a 52-year-old man, married with two teenage children, trying to get down to Antarctica. “Everyone has an Antarctica”, Thomas Pynchon once wrote. As a young bloke standing on the edge of a windy, wintery Melbourne beach… I just knew, staring towards the cold vastness of the Southern Ocean, that one day I’d go beyond the horizon.” Dave Morgan

Ice Journey is the biography of Vietnam veteran Dave Morgan, a self confessed ordinary bloke who has lead anything but an ordinary life.

From the terror of a young soldier fighting far from home to exhilaration in Antartica far from the rest of the world, Ice Journey is a story of vivid landscapes and adventure before ending in a shocking, heart-wrenching final twist.

Like many of his fellow Vietnam vets, Dave tried to present a “normal” face to the world while battling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It was a debilitating struggle that sparked an obsession to escape the bonds of suburban Australia and embark on a journey to Antarctica, an experience that would change his life forever.

In his early fifties and unable to find peace, Dave turned to the seclusion and hardship of Antarctic research, earning a rare and highly sort after posting to Macquarie Island and then Davis and Casey Stations. Carrying his deeply buried demons from the jungles of Vietnam to the icy peaks of Antarctica; Dave’s journey fulfilled a lifelong dream, while making him feel safe for the first time in 30 years.

His experiences as an expeditioner on the starkly beautiful, harsh and inhospitable ‘ice’ was at once intoxicating and isolating, providing the catalyst for Dave to finally face his fears. It is an emotional journey that transports the reader from the terror of a young soldier fighting far away from home, to exhilaration on the ice far from the rest of the world.

While the ghosts of Vietnam still exist inside Dave, Ice Journey is an invitation to share in an incredible journey, from the moment that would destroy his long cherished dream to ultimately finding a new way forward and the beginning of a new life.

“Antarctica gets into your soul and consumes you–the beauty, the contrasts, the challenge of man working with Mother Nature. Not everybody who goes down gets consumed, but those that do are transformed.”

Dave Morgan

Dave Morgan

Dave Morgan was born in Melbourne in 1948. He, his twin Don, older brother Gerald and sister Sybil (Patsy) were raised single-handedly by their mother, Sybella, widowed when husband Gerald (Gus) died suddenly during her pregnancy with the twins. With a childhood filled with many moves due to Sybella’s ill heath and her need to […]

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10 reviews for Ice Journey

  1. ‘It was a good read about a profound and personal journey and I wish the author all the best

  2. Really Interesting I particularly enjoy biographies of people based with unusual occupations or based in unusual locations. This fits in perfectly with that. Well written, entertaining. Definitely worth a read.

  3. `Ice Journey A story of adventure, escape and salvation’ is Dave Morgan’s debut novel, it is based on his dream of going beyond the horizon, across the vastness of the Southern Ocean to Antarctica. “Everyone has an Antarctica” is how Morgan describes his urge to find peace within himself, escape suburbia and deal with the remnants of the Vietnam War. Vietnam veteran, Dave Morgan is haunted by his memories of being nearly buried alive during a mortar attack one night when the side of his weapon pit collapsed in on him. His nightmares are as vivid today as that defining day 40 years ago. Morgan was diagnosed just prior to his first trip to Antarctica with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) due to his war service in Vietnam. After discharging from the Army, Morgan worked for the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) from 1972 until retirement. He was transferred from Darwin to the Brisbane office and interestingly was involved with the Brisbane floods caused by Cyclone Wanda in January 1974. Reading `Ice Journey A story of adventure, escape and salvation’ bought back memories of my posting to Watsonia Army Barracks in the late 70’s. During this period the drivers of the LARCS that are used to ferry stores from ship to shore lived at the barracks during training for Antarctica missions, there was also a small stores and training base in Port Melbourne. I must admit, it sounded very exotic and enticing when speaking to the Army guys that went there. The LARCS are still in use today albeit by a private contractor. Leading up to his expedition trips to Macquarie Island, Davis and Casey Stations in Antarctica, Morgan knew that he would have to prove that he could handle isolation. He applied to the Bureau of Meteorology to go to the isolated weather station at Giles, some 750 kms South-West of Alice Springs on the edge of the Gibson Desert. Morgan thrived in this isolated environment and was away from the family for six months during 1998. Morgan has tunnel vision when it comes to Antarctica. Morgan sat down one night to discuss Antarctica with his wife and two teenage children; I don’t think they had a chance to say no. He was definitely single minded in his focus (PTSD symptom) on achieving his goal of going to Antarctica. With their blessing, Morgan was ready to make that journey he had yearned for. Morgan and his tunnel vision changed dramatically with his last trip to Casey Station. You will have to go on his incredible adventure with him to understand the hold that Antarctica & PTSD had over him and how that last trip changed his and his family lives forever. 2001, saw Morgan board the `Aurora Australis’ the bright orange ice breaker that takes the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions (ANARE) groups to Antarctica. Morgan would see his trips there and back from the comfort of his bunk with sea sickness. Morgan has beautiful black and white images dispersed throughout the book which has a calming effect. Or is it just me wishing, I would love to be there! He also uses vibrant coloured photos that stand out against the stark white backdrop of Antarctica. Morgan describes what it is really like to be one of a few people to live and work in Antarctica. His love of remoteness, work, and beautiful scenery is echoed in his writing of how Antarctica changed him forever and how for the first time he found peace within. Morgan’s family also had to face up to hardship and loneliness back in Australia during his trips away for training or being on an expedition. `Ice Journey A story of adventure, escape and salvation’ is well written and his descriptive writing is a feature that I liked. It shows that Morgan is a team player and that people could relate to him on a work and social level whilst isolated in Antarctica. Dave Morgan and his family have started another `new’ chapter of life now in Queensland. If you are feeling the urge to spend time in Antarctica or if you crave adventure, or knowledge of our desolate snow covered frontier of Antarctica, this is a must read. I really enjoyed it.

  4. I found this book to be quite interesting. Being a person who hates the cold I wanted to find out what would attract someone to want to serve in the Antartic. This gave me insight as to why he chose to be that isolated plus it told me more regarding living under those conditions. I found the book to be enjoyable and was glad that I opted to read it.

  5. I gave this book four stars based on my fascination with stories about people who venture into very cold climates and situations. So, yes, I love all the Mount Everest mountain climbing stories. But this book is really the story about a guy who has PTSD and seeks isolation in order to deal with his psychological problems. The book is very informative about the different Australian sites in the Antarctic and how they function. It is not a hardcore ice survival story. Rather, it is a true story about one man’s survival of PTSD and that it occurs primarily in the Antarctic. I did enjoy and learn from the book.

  6. Very well done memoir. Morgan acknowledges his family’s sacrifice while he was off on his adventures. He captures life on the ice, the camaraderie within the isolated community, and the beauty and danger of the environment. He makes his struggles real and exposes his vulnerability and his courage in dealing with the PTSD. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in antartica, PTSD, or men of courage.

  7. I really like the way Morgan describes the areas he visits. I can just see the icebergs and the ship breaking the ice, feel the lonliness and the beauty of the place. The only thing I would change would be to take out some of the writing about technical things. I don’t know anything about metres and machines and I don’t read an adventure book to learn about them. I’m sure there are many readers who would enjoy reading those very parts of the book so they would know it was real. I also felt he stretched the part about his sea-sickness in order to make the book longer. He is a little wordy. Otherwise, it’s an exciting read. I felt sorry for his family because they got left out of his life in pursuit of his dream. As a woman, I know how it feels to chuck your own dreams to the wind so the man you love can pursue his. Maybe he should have fulfilled his dream before he had a wife and children.

  8. Very well done memoir. Morgan acknowledges his family’s sacrifice while he was off on his adventures. He captures life on the ice, the camaraderie within the isolated community, and the beauty and danger of the environment. He makes his struggles real and exposes his vulnerability and his courage in dealing with the PTSD. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in antartica, PTSD, or men of courage.

  9. thankyou for your wonderful book on Vietnam. Dave your book is a wonderful and worthwhile addition to our knowledge of the Vietnam war and it’s impact on our nation. My copy is already with a vet mate up the road.

  10. I have had the pleasure of interviewing Dave in my role with ABC radio. A great character who has an easy flow when writing. Congratulations Dave, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and recommend it to anyone who wants to read about an incredible part of our history

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