On November 21, 1915, Ernest Shackleton left Endurance for the last time and watched as his ship — his only refuge in the bleakest spot in the world — was slowly crushed by the Antarctic floes.
“Huge blocks of ice, weighing many tons, were lifted into the air and tossed aside as other masses rose beneath them,” he wrote. “We were helpless intruders in a strange world, our lives dependent upon the play of grim elementary forces that made a mock of our puny efforts.”
Over a century later, grim elementary forces continue to mock those who venture to the bottom of the world. The team seeking the final resting place of Endurance has given up, defeated once again by Shackleton’s “evil ice”. In a statement yesterday, the expedition said that after losing one submersible to the sea ice, and amid the risk of their own ship being caught in the same floes that doomed the Endurance, they had decided to abort.
Mensun Bound, director of exploration on the expedition, said that over the course of the search he came to appreciate how he and Shackleton shared the same implacable enemy.
“It all comes down to ice, ice, ice and more ice,” he told The Times, speaking from his research vessel. “A massive jigsaw of it is always shifting and mutating as well as expanding and contracting with the tide. Even for a ship like this it is a struggle, charging, reversing, charging again. And we have been caught in its embrace.”
I consider Ernest Shackleton to be one of the all time bad asses in history. The loss of The Endurance during the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition is an amazing story of courage, leadership, and endurance. Stuck overwintering in Antarctica and didn’t lose a single member of the crew.
South: the story of Shackleton’s 1914–1917 expedition at Project Gutenberg by Sir Ernest Shackleton
And here is a picture I took of the HMS Endurance’s namesake back in 1993 sailing near the Antarctic Peninsula~ctm