Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance was lost over a century ago after it sank 10,000 feet into the ocean. Thankfully, a search team has finally recovered the vessel.
In 1914, Shackleton, a British explorer, tried to travel to Antarctica when World War I was just beginning. He planned to gather 27 men on two ships, Endurance and Aurora. They were to arrive at two different points on the continent and then go their separate ways. Sadly, in January 1915, Endurance got trapped in ice. For several months, the crew lived on the ship. But on October 27, Shackleton told his team to leave. Eventually, each man packed up two pounds of gear and left. On November 21, Endurance broke completely and sank into the Weddell Sea.
After leaving the ship, the crew trekked across the sea ice, surviving off seal and penguin meat, and sailed in three lifeboats to Elephant Island, which was devoid of human inhabitants. A few crew members joined Shackleton on a trip to South Georgia on James Caird, a lifeboat, to ask for help from a whaling station. Shackleton picked up the rest of the crew from Elephant Island in August 1916 — two years after he had embarked on the original journey. Unfortunately, two men from the mission died before the last members finally reached home. Even though the ship’s captain, Frank Worsley, had saved Endurance’s location, no one could recover the wreck because of the Weddell Sea’s terrible conditions.
Ernest Shackleton’s Ship Finally Recovered
Fortunately, this year, a new team from the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust went on a mission they called Endurance22. The team used hybrid underwater vehicles called Sabertooths. Packed with different high-definition cameras and scanners, these high-tech vessels finally found the remains of Endurance!
Photos of the old ship clearly depict its condition and the name on the stern. “We are overwhelmed by our good fortune…,” said Mensun Bound, the expedition’s director of exploration. “This is by far the finest wooden shipwreck I have ever seen. It is upright, well proud of the seabed, intact, and in a brilliant state of preservation.”
British polar explorer John Shears led Endurance22 as it operated from the South African ice-breaking ship Agulhas II. In addition to finding Endurance, the expedition also dabbled in climate change research. In the end, the remains were located four miles from Worsley’s noted position. The recovery is an outstanding milestone, which will help to reveal more details about past explorations of Antarctica. “We have also conducted an unprecedented educational outreach programme, with live broadcasting from on board, allowing new generations from around the world to engage with Endurance22 and become inspired by the amazing stories of polar exploration, and what human beings can achieve and the obstacles they can overcome when they work together,” Shears said in a statement.