Ernest Shackleton's Endurance ship found in Antarctica after 107 years

Bodhisattva

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Aug 22, 2001
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Years ago, when I read about this expedition, I thought you have to be half-crazy to want to spend significant time on the coldest part of the planet. What incredible fortitude to survive such an ordeal.

Endurance departed from the UK in 1914 and reached Antarctica's McMurdo Sound the following year on a journey called the the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition.

However, due to the extreme conditions, the ship got stuck amid thick, impenetrable ice in the Weddell Sea. The 28 men on board, including Shackleton himself, abandoned the Endurance and set up rudimentary camp facilities on board ice floes that were floating northward.

Eventually, the team made it to the uninhabited Elephant Island, then some -- including Shackleton -- volunteered to get in a lifeboat and head toward South Georgia Island, finally crossing it on foot to reach Stromness whaling station, which was then manned by the Norwegians, and organize a rescue of the men left behind on Elephant Island.

Although the expedition was a failure, the team's survival and eventual rescue months later, without any loss of life, was seen as a triumph of their tenacity and the incredible leadership skills of Shackleton.

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As per the guidelines of the Antarctic Treaty -- which was signed by 12 countries in 1959 and is the closest thing to a constitution for the southernmost continent -- Endurance will not be moved or taken apart.
Instead, she will remain where she is and be studied, mapped and photographed there.