Scientists have discovered the Endurance, the ship of British explorer Ernest Shackleton, in the South Atlantic Ocean near Antarctica. That ship was wrecked by ice off the coast of Antarctica 107 years ago, and it’s the beginning of a crazy survival saga.
The story of endurance is almost harder than fiction. How an explorer left with an overland plan, seeing his ship wrecked in the ice, and how the entire crew of 28 finally made it home after surviving months on a desert island. The fact that the ship, a three-masted vessel, has now been found after several failed attempts, is a startling ending.
In late 1914, the Endurance set sail from the British island of South Georgia, in the South Atlantic, on a voyage across the North Pole. Shackleton wanted to be the first to cross Antarctica by land, from the Weddell Sea to the Ross Sea, via the Antarctic.
But in January 1915, the ship got stuck in the ice in the Weddell Sea. The ship remained trapped for several months, but eventually succumbed to ice pressure and sank in November 1915. The crew continued on the sea ice, feeding on seals and penguins, eventually reaching uninhabited Elephant Island in three lifeboats. From there, Shackleton and a handful of crew rowed 1,300 miles back to South Georgia. After four attempts, Shackleton was able to move the rest of the crew off Elephant Island in August 2016, two years after leaving the expedition.
An icebreaker from South Africa set out in February of this year on an expedition to recover the wreck. Scientists finally found it again in the Weddell Sea over the weekend. It is located at a depth of 3 km in the water and the video images that the expedition were able to show that the wreck is still more or less intact.
“We were overwhelmed with the feeling of being lucky,” Minson Pound, a member of the expedition, told Reuters news agency. “This is the most beautiful wooden shipwreck I have ever owned. It stands upright, intact, and is in a wonderful state of preservation.” The expedition was led by British polar explorer John Shears, and the ship was found four miles from the last recorded site.