In 1915, British polar explorer Nestor Shackleton’s ship, The Endurance, sank off the coast of Antarctica, leaving its crew stranded on floating sea ice. Although all 28 people were eventually rescued, no one can tell where the “Fortitude” sank. On March 9, 2022, the British government announced that they had found the wreck on the Weddell Seabed at the northernmost tip of Antarctica! The legendary experience of “Endurance” a hundred years ago was also made public by the media.
28-year-old Nestor Shackleton is one of the persistent fanatics
of the Antarctic exploration boom in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1902, he followed the explorer Scott to the South Pole, which was the first human exploration of the Antarctic interior.
The expedition was unsuccessful, but Shackleton was fascinated by the unknown white realm. Five years later, he came to the South Pole again as the leader of the expedition, enduring snow blindness, starvation and frostbite, and led the expedition to 88°23′ south latitude, just 97.5 miles from the South Pole. The cruel environment, coupled with the worn-out equipment, may be life-threatening at any time if he insists on moving forward. After weighing it again and again, Shackleton decided to turn back.
Back in the UK, Shackleton always regretted his failure to return. Later, he learned from the media that the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen had reached the South Pole in 1911, becoming the first person in history. The British explorer Robert arrived a month later and tragically died on the way back, becoming a world-famous tragic hero. There was no point in pinpointing the destination, and Shackleton thought of a new feat: becoming the first person to cross the Antarctic continent.
The idea was so crazy that the family thought he was crazy. In order to gain support, Shackleton wrote to King George V of the United Kingdom, and soon he received a reply. The king not only encouraged him to go forward, but also said that the British royal family could bear the full cost of the trip. Soon, Shackleton published an advertisement in the newspaper: “The strong are invited to join, the journey is dangerous, the salary is meager, the cold is bitter, the polar night lasts for several months, and it is impossible to ensure a safe return. If successful, the only available Only honor.”
Out of 5,000 applicants, Shackleton picked 26, including doctors, meteorologists, cooks, photographers and vendors. Interestingly, before the departure, a stowaways also boarded the ship, and Shackleton was happy and made him the housekeeper of the expedition. In order to pass the boring along the way, Shackleton also brought a dog and a male cat named Mrs Chippy.
However, just as Shackleton was looking forward to the day of departure, bad news came: Germany declared war on Russia, and a world war was imminent. Standing on the “Endurance” ship that was about to set sail, Shackleton was in a complicated mood. He had been waiting for this day for so many years, but he felt that it was too risky to have the 27 people accompanying him accompany him. A few days later, Shackleton received a brief cable from the British Navy: keep going.
On the morning of the departure, the rain that had lasted for several days suddenly turned sunny. Standing on the deck, Shackleton was in a complicated mood. He could not predict whether the trip would succeed in crossing the South Pole. Compared with Shackleton’s worries, the crew was much more relaxed, chatting and laughing while playing with the dogs. In this way, in the haze of war, the expedition headed south.
Everything went well at first, but when he came to South Georgia Island near the Antarctic, Shackleton encountered a problem: the bad ice conditions at sea still showed no signs of relieving, and local whalers suggested that the plan be postponed until the next season.
For Shackleton, delaying was tantamount to giving up, and the war behind him made it impossible for him to look back. After waiting on South Georgia Island for a month, Shackleton didn’t want to waste any more time. He told the crew of the various dangers they might encounter next, and he would not stop those who wanted to go back. The crew rejected Shackleton’s offer, saying that they had already made all kinds of preparations when they set off.
After departure, Shackleton ate, told jokes, led choruses, and organized games with the crew, who affectionately called him “The Boss.” Three months later, Shackleton arrived at the whaling station on South Georgia Island, which is on the fringes of human activity, and there is no help if he goes further and encounters danger.
Farewell to the whaling station, icebergs and ice floes float on the sea, reflecting a faint blue light under the sunlight. Shackleton had no intention of admiring such a beauty, and he stood on the side of the ship from time to time, reminding the crew to pay attention to the ice floes. Despite Shackleton’s caution, it didn’t take long for the Fortitude to encounter an ice floe.
Different from the past, the floating ice here is composed of snow, which is broken down into pieces of crushed ice and tightly surrounded by the hull. Shackleton decided to stay put and wait for the wind to stop to see if the ice floes would separate naturally. However, the wait was six days, the wind was blowing, and the ice floes were frozen together. Shackleton was at full throttle, but the boat couldn’t get out.
“Brothers, it looks like we only have one channel left!” Following Shackleton’s order, the crew descended to the ice with pickaxes and crowbars, but the strong wind blew the crew to the ground. Force can’t make it out. Shackleton had to let everyone go back to the cabin first and wait for the wind to stop. Hearing the cold wind howling outside the ship, Shackleton was worried, and now they were stranded 80 miles from the landing site as planned.
After two days of waiting, the wind finally weakened. Shackleton came to the side of the ship, and the scene in front of him made him take a deep breath. There was a vast expanse of white everywhere, and the area that was still ice floes a few days ago was connected. Shackleton tried to call for help via the radio, but no matter how he contacted him, there was no response. The polar night is slowly approaching, and the dullness and loneliness is driving everyone crazy.
In order to resolve this situation, Shackleton made arrangements: cancel the rotating sailing watch, set up a single observation post, so that other crew members can enjoy adequate sleep; divide the sled dogs on board into six teams, and designate clear caregivers . The crew is not idle either. They play poker, play chess, and hold weekly song parties.
To Shackleton’s slight relief, the ship was well-supplied, and he was optimistic that the expedition could continue as long as the spring ice melted.
Dangerous, extreme rescue
Late one night, Shackleton was woken up by the loud noise of ice moving against the ship, and he got dressed and went outside to check while he woke the crew. The ice floes were far more terrifying than Shackleton had imagined. The wind was raging, and the moving ice was squeezing each other, and the Fortitude was squeezed in the middle, rocking from side to side. Under the enormous pressure, the ship shuddered and made a terrifying sound. The ship tilted 40 degrees in an instant, and Shackleton clung to the mast to avoid falling.
“Iceberg…Iceberg…” A crew member exclaimed, Shackleton turned around, and saw a huge iceberg swiping directly across the stern, the stern post was twisted off in an instant, and then a large amount of seawater poured into the cabin. Shackleton rushed into the cabin and instructed the crew to turn on the drainage pump, but with little success. Shackleton had no choice but to instruct the crew to leave. Just when everyone was on the deck, the huge iceberg hit again under the strong wind. Soon the deck lifted up, the keel fell apart, and the “Tough” began to sink slowly.
Shackleton didn’t have time to grieve at all. He directed everyone to get on the lifeboat, and after half an hour, the “Fortitude” slowly disappeared among the icebergs. After counting the number of people, Shackleton breathed a sigh of relief. 28 people were there.
Shackleton immediately began to plan the next step: first walk to ice-free waters, then take a boat to Paulette Island, where he had left emergency supplies in 1902. However, the harsh environment of Antarctica suddenly brought him back to reality. The snow got heavier and heavier, advancing less than a mile on the first day and half a mile on the second. Only tossed a quarter mile on day three and they had to stop. Realizing the futility of such attempts, Shackleton ordered a new camp, which he named “Camp Ocean.”
After waiting for a long time, the supplies he carried gradually became insufficient. The warehouse keeper believed that the food was only enough for 100 days at most. Shackleton had to hunt seals and penguins as supplements.
After three months of trimming, Shackleton decided to set off again. “I don’t want to go anymore!” some crew members shouted hysterically. More crew members protested: “After the ‘Fortitude’ sank, we no longer fulfilled our crew obligations.”
Shackleton knew that in such a cold place, any gap in the team could be fatal. He had to get everyone together, read the crew regulations aloud, and told them that salaries would be paid until they reached the safe harbor, and that they would all be bound by him until then.
Reassuring the crew, Shackleton realizes that the bad is just beginning. Late one night, a shrill voice cut through the night sky. Shackleton followed the sound and saw a crew member screaming like crazy. After the crew had calmed down a little, Shackleton sat quietly beside him. Shackleton knew that with fuel and food running out, hunger and cold afflicting everyone all the time, people could collapse at any moment, and that patience was the only thing they could do.
In this way, Shackleton waited for another half a year. Fortunately, the ice floes began to crack. Shackleton gave the long-awaited order – to go. They rammed through the ice floes, navigating narrow waterways in blizzards.
Strong winds carried huge waves towards the lifeboats, and the crew quickly lost their strength due to a chronic lack of carbohydrates. To make matters worse, they chose to camp on a solid ice floe, but a few hours later the iceberg broke and everyone was nearly thrown into the sea, and Shackleton ordered to take turns resting on the boat.
After seven days sailing in the wind and snow, they made landfall on Elephant Island, and Shackleton wept with joy. It had been 497 days since they left South Georgia without an inch of land.
However, after a moment of excitement, Shackleton fell into a new fear.
Shackleton faced a huge dilemma: should he go to South Georgia for help, or should he wait for help? This time Shackleton handed over the decision to the crew, and everyone voted to select five team members to join Shackleton on the lifeboat “James Kelder” to South Georgia Island for help.
But before they set off, Shackleton discovered that the “James Calder” was leaking, and it was likely to capsize before it reached South Georgia. Shackleton had to go on foot with the crew. Soon, a row of hills appeared in front of them, blocking the way like five fingers. They climbed to the top of the mountain, only to find in desperation that there were undulating ice peaks under their feet, and there was no way to go.
At this time, it was getting dark, and if we didn’t go back down the mountain, everyone would freeze to death. But the fog swallowed the way down, and after thinking for a moment, Shackleton decided to slide down the hill.
The teammates couldn’t believe that Shackleton, who has always been cautious, made such a crazy decision. What if he hit a stone on the way? What if the hillside was a cliff? Facing the hesitation of his teammates, Shackleton asked sharply, “Do you think we can still stay where we are?” As soon as the voice fell, Shackleton took a deep leap, and the biting wind suddenly blew into his neck. In fact, he didn’t know that this jump might be shattered, but if they didn’t take the risk, they would all be buried on the top of the mountain.
For about ten minutes, Shackleton only felt dark in front of his eyes after the huge impact. When he woke up, he found that there was soft snow around him, and the other team members were surrounding him. Shackleton was fine except for a few bruises.
The six set off again, and after a few hours of trekking, there was no mountain in front of them. “We’re safe!” Shackleton turned to look at a few people, and he hugged them excitedly.
Overcome difficulties and create legends
However, this walk is another week, there is not enough food, a few people persevere with perseverance. At 6:30 in the morning, Shackleton heard the whistle, and he hurriedly told his teammates that if it was really a whistle, at 7:10, the whistle representing Shanggong would sound again.
At 6:57, 6:58, 6:59… The three people stared at the timer, the hands moved one by one, and at the last second, the whistle really sounded again. Shackleton looked at his teammates excitedly: “It’s human, we have finally returned to human civilization.”
Following the direction of the whistle, Shackleton walked for another ten minutes, and finally came to the whaling station. Clothes then knocked on the door. The stationmaster of the whaling station standing in front of him, Thoralf Soller, was surprised that no one would suddenly appear here: “Where did you come from?” For a time, Shackleton didn’t know how to answer. , he hugged Soller tightly, and then tremblingly spoke of his experience during this time.
Soller was stunned. If it weren’t for their strong will, they would not have been lucky enough to come out after going through this series of risks. Soller had doctors examine several of Shackleton’s men, who were found to be fine except for malnutrition.
Shackleton and several teammates were saved, but his heart was always on the 22 people on Elephant Island. After a little rest, he soon sailed to the rescue, because there was too much ice floes and the constant detours led to a serious lack of fuel, so he had no choice but to return to the Falkland Islands. The second time, the Uruguayan government provided a boat to rescue, but the road was also trapped by ice floes.
Seeing the time passing by, Shackleton was so anxious that if he stayed one more day, his teammates would be more dangerous. In order to set off as soon as possible, Shackleton decided to buy a ship, but he had no money and had to send a telegram to the British royal family. George V immediately contacted the Chilean government and allocated a special fund of 10,000 pounds. On August 15, 1916, Shackleton finally set off again.
On August 30, Shackleton stood at the bow of the ship, his eyes fixed on Elephant Island in the distance. At noon, a figure appeared on the coast, and a windbreaker rose to the flagpole, but stopped in the middle. Shackleton’s heart sank suddenly. Could it be that someone was killed and he was still late after all? As Elephant Island got closer, he took out his binoculars and carefully scanned everyone on the shore. Their hair and hair are disheveled, and their clothes are dirty and rotten. He murmured, “1, 2, 3…21, 22!” Great, they were all alive.
As the whistle blew, teammates ashore spotted Shackleton and cheered his name. After disembarking, Shackleton carefully looked at the team members. It had been 700 days since the sinking of the “Fortitude”. Can’t tell who is who. Shackleton turned to wipe away the tears, only he could understand the meaning of this moment, and the haze of the past two years was finally swept away.
The adventure journey of nearly two years came to an end, and all 28 crew members survived.
After returning to England, they were treated like heroes, and Shackleton was regarded as a legendary British adventurer, giving speeches everywhere. But Shackleton still has a lump in his heart. He has never been to the South Pole or crossed Antarctica. Is this an adventurer?
So, in 1922, he set sail again, from South Georgia to Antarctica. Many crew members of the “Fortitude” rejoined, but they noticed that the captain who had given them infinite encouragement became weak and timid. It seemed that he had exhausted his mental strength and was worried all day long.
On January 5, 1922, Shackleton died of a heart attack on board at the age of 47. Assistant Wilder took his place and continued on to Antarctica. For the next month, he tried to cross the ice floes, but in vain, he finally had to sail to Koh Chang. In the safety of the sea, Wilder and the crew peered through binoculars at islands that were both familiar and unfamiliar. “We saw it again and heard the sounds of the past. There are traces of past adventures everywhere.” Life is like this, there are always regrets, and they turned north and sailed home.
Time flies to 2021. Over the past 100 years, the British government has tried many times to find the “Endurance”, but it has been stranded for various reasons. On the 100th anniversary of Shackleton’s death, an anonymous person donated $10 million to the Falkland Islands Maritime Archaeology Foundation to plan a boat hunt.
The Foundation has organized a luxury search team, consisting of geographers, historians, marine archaeologists and technicians, to leave Cape Town, South Africa in early February 2022, and come to Shackleton’s Notebook. Shipwreck point. They searched for two weeks in an area of 400 square kilometers near the wreck. Relying on the underwater drone, the “Tough” was finally found at a depth of 3,008 meters, 6 kilometers south of the wreck point.
However, according to the Antarctic Treaty, “Endurance” will be regarded as a historical relic, can not be shipped out to sea, only here. The Foundation scanned images of “Fortitude” for future educational material and museum exhibits. They plan to make a documentary to tell more people the story. In the words of the search and rescue member Lincolnton, this ship connects a piece of history, a failed expedition, a Jedi survival, and a miracle.