The Endurance's adventure

How Ernest Shackleton and his men made history
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Brief review of the expedition of Ernest Shackleton

After the conquest of the Pole by Amundsen in 1911, the great Antarctic journey was the next challenge to undertake And it is Sir Ernest Shackleton who organizes an expedition with the idea of starting to cross Antarctica from the Weddell Sea to the Ross Sea through the South Pole. The crossing time was estimated to be 120 days as per Shackleton’s calculations, but finally it took them some more time…

1914

On August 8, 1914, aboard the Endurance, Shackleton and his 27 crew members left the English port of Plymouth.

1914

In September, they arrived at the coast of South Georgia Island. There are small islands of ice everywhere and progress becomes very slow.

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1915

The ice is becoming thicker and thicker and on 19 January 1915, the Endurance is completely trapped in the ice on the Weddell Sea. Temperatures drop to -23 ° C. They get ready to spend the Antarctic winter aboard ship.

1915

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On October 27, 1915, dangerously heeled and damaged by the pressure of the ice, it has to be abandoned. Days later, it sinks. It had resisted trapped in the ice for 281 days.

1915

1915

After landing some food, dogs and 3 boats, the 28 men set up camp on the ice, which they called Ocean Camp, half a mile from the wreck of the Endurance. On 20 December, they break camp and decide to head to Paulet Island.

1916

Dragging the three boats rescued the sinking of the Endurance on the ice made the crossing a very slow and hard journey. Shackleton decided to move onto a large mass of ice and let the currents take them north. On 31 December 1915, they pass the line of the Antarctic Circle.

1916

Frank Wild, one of the lieutenants of Shackleton, organized life on the ice pack. They put the boats upside down so as to serve them as a cabin, while they hunted seals and penguins. They practised choral singing, celebrated birthdays and read the Encyclopedia Britannica. They had to maintain morale.

1916

1916

In April 1916, the ice mass began to fragment. They decided to jump into the water and lead on the three vessels (James Caird, Dudley Docker and Stancomb Wills). They reach Elephant Island in the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. They had not set foot on land land for 16 months. They had travelled at least 3,500 miles.

But all was not actually done there, isolated in a small island. It was useless to expect any help. Shackleton decides to head to the island of South Georgia, 800 miles away, at the northern side of which was situated a Norwegian whaling station, crossing the sea in the James Caird, a sailing whaleboat 6.7 meters long and 1.8 meters wide.

In his journey, his is accompanied by Worsley, commander of the Endurance, the second officer Crean, MacNeish, the carpenter, and two sailors: MacCarthy and Vincent. They had to dodge icebergs and fight the hellish conditions of one of the seas most feared by all the world’s seafarers.

1916

On 10 May, after several failed attempts, the land safely on a beach on the south coast of South Georgia Island. The landscape in front of their eyes was spectacular: ice peaks and glaciers. And, on the other side, the Stromness Bay and the whaling station. They were about 25 miles of salvation. McNeish and Vincent were too weak and Shackleton decided to leave them in the care of MacCarthy. On 15 May 1916, Shackleton, Worsley and Crean depart towards Stromness Bay, having to walk across icy mountains and glaciers. The next day they hear the siren of the Norwegian whaling station.

With their gaunt faces covered with beard and ragged clothes, they ask to see the person in charge (Mr. Sorlle), who immediately welcomes them. “Don’t you know me? My name is Shackleton.”

Worsley Immediately heads to the south of the island to pick up the three men who had been left there. Meanwhile, Shackleton gets the SouthernSky whaler and two days later leaves to Elephant Island to pick up the rest of his team-mates, together with Crean and Worsley. The ice makes them go back to the Falkland Islands, where the Uruguayan government gives them a trawler. New failure. From Punta Arenas, with the help of the British residents, he charters a schooner, Emma, which also fails in the attempt.

1916

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Finally, on 30 August 1916, on board the Chilean tug Yelcho, Shackleton gets to Elephant Island. From deck, he counts the men milling around the beach and yells Wild: “Are you all right?” Wild replies: “All safe, all fine.”

In the 634 days the expedition finally took them, Shackleton had not lost a single man.