The story of what happened to Shackleton and the crew once the ship got stuck in ice trying to reach the South Pole, has been told in books and movies. How they were able to stay alive and make their way to land via icebergs until they melted, then used rafts in an open ocean with humungous waves, to find safety, is absolutely incredible especially since not one crew member died. I find this shocking.
Add to this that Sir Shackleton, the captain, and two crew members, were brave enough to take a raft around 800 miles from the uninhabited area they landed on, to a whaling port on South Georgia Island (British territory), to find a ship willing to go back and rescue his men. The men weren’t very confident that they’d be saved so when they saw a ship coming, they went wild with excitement. At this point, Shackleton said that half the crew had gone slightly mad because of the horrific conditions they dealt with. A whaling ship eventually took them back to London.
The story is way more amazing than what I can share in such few words, thus why the discovery of the Endurance is such a hot topic among historians. The fact that they had access to water via the icebergs saved them and food wasn’t that difficult for them to find as they ate penguins and seals.
Endurance was located remarkably intact about 10,000 feet underwater in the Weddell Sea. I’ve skied down mountains this tall and if it weren’t for new technology, the researchers never would’ve been able to find it. The find is "a milestone in polar history," said a maritime archaeologist and the director of exploration on the expedition, called Endurance22. "This is by far the finest wooden shipwreck I have ever seen and that’s saying something. The freezing cold water kept it in remarkably great shape.”
Pictured below is the Endurance stuck in ice before the 27 men and one cat, left to try and get rescued. Unfortunately, 69 dogs that were used to move sleighs, couldn’t make the trip because they wouldn’t have room. The dive crew said it just sunk straight down from where it was stranded and stayed pretty much the way it was over 100 years ago. The research team gave credit to the captain of the Endurance and the logs that he kept up so well because it was his notes which helped them figure out where the ship might have gone down.
Just a few years after Sir Shackleton survived the expedition, he went on another one with some of the same crew and during it he died suddenly at the age of 47, of what was a complication from heart disease. One of the interesting stories about him is that many people claim he was the first to provide a video of their exploits, which he narrated. It was about 15 years later that Hollywood began offering pictures with sound. His best friend, Frank Wild, a fellow explorer who went on several expeditions with Shackleford, was laid to rest to the right of him and his tombstone read: “Frank Wild 1873–1939, Shackleton's right-hand man." Now that’s friendship.
Some pictures below of the Endurance and Sir Shackleford.