Shackleton’s Return

“I believe it is in our nature to explore, to reach out into the unknown.
The only true failure would be not to explore at all.”
Ernest Shackleton

Along with Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott, Ernest Shackleton was an explorer who represented the heroic age of Antarctic exploration (1895-1922).

Antarctica was at the focal point of Shackleton's life. His work in Antarctica included the discovery of the South Magnetic Pole and the scientifically fruitful study of Mt. Erebus, the southernmost active volcano on Earth. On the Endurance Expedition (1914-1916), the first attempt in history to cross Antarctica, Shackleton and his men were stranded on pack ice for 2 years, but Shackleton's great leadership brought every one of his team members safely home.

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  • "I admire in the highest degree what [Shackleton] and his companions achieved with the equipment they had.
    They did not lack bravery, determination and strength.
    A little more experience …would have crowned their work with success."
    - Roald Amundsen -

    (the world's first explorer to reach the South Pole)

  • "For scientific leadership, give me Scott, for swift and efficient travel, Amundsen, but when you are in a hopeless situation, when you are seeing no way out, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton." - Raymond Priestley -

    (the geologist who explored with Shackleton, Scott, and Amundsen)

  • "If the odds are against you and there seems to be no way out,
    pray for leadership like that of Shackleton."
    - Edmund Hillary -

    (the world's first mountaineer to climb Mt. Everest)

Shackleton's Undiscovered Challenge

The World's First Antarctic Exploration by Automobile
Though not as well known as his other feats, Ernest Shackleton took an automobile to Antarctica for the first time in history.

During the preparations for the Nimrod Expedition (1907-1909), the first exploration in which Shackleton served as captain, Shackleton took a four-cylinder, air-cooled automobile with 15 horsepower to Antarctica. The snow and the freezing temperature of the continent rendered the vehicle immobile.

1914-1916 The Endurance Expedition

The name “Endurance” is a homage to Shackleton's family motto,
“To persevere and overcome.”
Ernest Shackleton is a historical figure who, after 634 days adrift in the Antarctic, returned safely with every one of his crew members.

This is the story of their expedition underpinned by their perseverance and Shackleton's great leadership.

  • Instargram
  • 27th December 1913

    Men Wanted
    There's an English proverb that goes, "Out of sight, out of mind.“
    This doesn't apply to me, though. I wonder why?
    I've been to the Antarctica twice already, but living in England, I can't help but long for that frozen land again.
    So I decided it is time to go back (I hope my family will forgive me for neglecting them) For the first time in the history of mankind, I'm going to cross the Antarctica.

    I am releasing the recruitment posting for the expedition for the first time to my followers!  
    Heads-up for further details on the expedition plan as it will be featured in 29th December edition of <The Times>! Let me read it for you.

    Men Wanted
    For hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful, honor and recognition in case of success . -Ernest Shackleton 4 Burlington St.

    I wonder if it sounds too intimidating?
    Will a lot of people sign up? Should I rewrite it?

    #Shackleton #Endurance #Expedition #Antarctica #Traverse #Travelmania #SurvivingAnotherChallenge #PenguinStew #SealSteak #EnduranceForEveryExpedition

  • 11th December 1914

    To Antarctica
    The Endurance is the ship carrying us to our fate at the Antarctica.
    Its name is a homage to our family motto:
    "To persevere and overcome.“
    Yes, I'm proud of my roots.
    Only a month into the voyage, we faced 1,100km of ice drifting in the Weddell Sea in the Southern Ocean blocking our way.
    I might be forced to make a tough decision.

    Hmm... Is it the name of the ship?
    The twenty-seven crew members, the dogs and we are all hanging in there.

    We’ll find a way. We always have.
    I'm about to be trapped in floating ice, but I'll never give up. Never.

    Wait for me.
    I'm coming.

    #Shackleton #Endurance #Expedition #Antarctica #Traverse #DidYouKnow #TheEnduranceSpacecraft #FeaturingIn #Interstellar #NamedAfterShackletonEndurance

  • 16th March 1915

    Winter Months
    Sorry about the late update.
    I wish I could post some pictures of the Antarctica.

    Unfortunately, I'm still drifting in the Weddell Sea. We had a go at the ice with our saws to clear the path so we could sail between the ice drifts, but it was no use.
    Today, I made a huge decision. I told the crew members that we have no choice but to spend the winter at the Antarctica. I ordered the ship's engine and boiler to be shut down.
    It's a huge disappointment.
    We sailed almost 20,000 km from the Thames to get here.
    With only 100 km to the Antarctica, we're stranded at sea! The Antarctica is dark all day long, every day in the winter.

    I find it hard to see hope in all this darkness, but I'm trying my best to keep up the mens' morale. I try to be funny and upbeat. I imitate the way some of the men talk, trying to get them to laugh.
    Seeing as how the men are avoiding baths now, that it's so cold, I'd say, "I'm trapped in the stink of twenty-seven men.”
    It's just my poor attempt at humor.

    #Shackleton #Endurance #Expedition #Antarctica #Traverse #WinterSurvival #WinterInAntarctica #2,0000kmVoyage #KillingTime #DrinkingGames #Manstink #28Men

  • 27th October 1915

    Loss of the Endurance
    The Endurance sank in the Weddell Sea after drifting for ten months. I was forced to change my objective. Our goal now was to leave the stabbing cold of the Antarctica for the warmth and familiarity of home.
    Our expedition was over.
    It was time to leave. So I told the men,

    "Ship’s gone, boys. We'll get home.“

    The Endurance had been having issues for past two months. The rising pressure of the ice drifts caused the wooden hull of the Endurance to creak loudly.
    It sounded like a scream, like the Endurance was in agony.
    The screams were muffled in the ocean today when the Endurance sank, ending my dream of crossing the Antarctica.

    It’s depressing.
    The sky is still black.

    #Shackleton #Endurance #Expedition #Antarctica #Traverse #RIPEndurance #SurvivingOnceAgain #EpitomeOfPositivity #NewGoal #BrimmingWithIdeas #10Months

  • 15th April 1916

    Escape from the Ice
    If you've ever experienced the horror of ice drifts, you'd know that it's a cold hell. We were drifting in the ocean for sixteen months.

    What's scary is that the movement of the ice drifts is so unpredictable. We were in fear as we tried to sleep on floating ice that might split and sink without any warning. Cold and hunger were our constant companions. The morale of the men was low. Our health was deteriorating. We were starting to fight with one another.

    Right now, Snowhill is probably the closest thing to heaven. I set up an emergency supply stash there fourteen years ago for an exploration party.
    The plan was for Wild and I to go there to get food and supplies. We thought that was the only way we could all get home.
    The problem is that it's really far from where we are. Impossibly far.

    So yesterday, we went out in a boat in search of the nearest piece of land.
    God hasn't abandoned us yet.
    God just doesn't know where we are.
    May God see our boats.

    #Shackleton #Endurance #Expedition #Antarctica #Traverse #OceanCamp #PatienceCamp #SnowHill #BoatJourney #3boats #16MonthsAdrift #Castaway

  • 24th April 1916

    Elephant Island
    What a surprise!

    One year and six months into our expedition, we finally set our foot on the land. We are on Elephant Island, an island off the coast of the Antarctic continent. There is a penguin habitat and glaciers nearby, which provide us with sustenance.
    The most attractive feature of Elephant Island, though, is that it's not an ice drift. And do you know what's even more amazing? As soon as I had set foot on land, I left for the Antarctic Ocean again. Leaving the men on the island in the charge of Wild, I boarded the James Caird with Worsley, McNish, Crean, Vincent and McCarthy and headed for South Georgia Island.

    The boat we had left in was too small to fit our entire crew of 27.

    Off to South Georgia Island, 1,200 km away, in a 6m long boat to bring back a rescue ship.
    May we sail with a fair wind... (I hope God double taps for 'Like' if he is reading this post.)

    #Shackleton #Endurance #Expedition #Antarctica #Traverse #CrossTheOcean #NeedMcNishForTheBoat #The5ManDreamTeam #BRB #1,200km #RescueShip

  • 10th May 1916

    If you ever want to flirt with death, try crossing the Antarctic Ocean on a 6m long boat with just an old compass and a chronometer. It was cramped in the boat, so we'd bump our heads as we moved between the cabin and deck. The small vessel was constantly rocked by the waves. The mens' bodies swelled up from being constantly wet with seawater.

    As temperatures dropped, the ice on the deck grew into a layer thick enough to sink the boat. We were forced to spend hours breaking the ice.

    Then there was the time when we ran into a giant wave which was more than 19 feet high. I don't like thinking about it.

    Finally, we made it to King Haakon Bay on South Georgia Island. We pulled ashore on the other side of the island, which was inhabited by people, but we didn't want to risk going back out into the ocean in the boat. We were forced to climb the mountains of South Georgia without a map. Ha ha!

    #Shackleton #Endurance #Expedition #Antarctica #Traverse #WorsleyTheGenius #19FootHighWave #SouthGeorgia #KingHaakonBay #MissingPeople #CraveForWater #JamesCairdBoat

  • 20th May 1916

    Across South Georgia
    We hiked for a grueling 36 hours to cross the mountains of South Georgia Island. Sleep made our bodies feel heavier in the blistering cold. Altitude sickness and dehydration threatened our lives. Any one of us could have dropped dead and would not have looked strange. When we made it to the whaling station at Port Stromness, the people there welcomed us.
    We were complete strangers to them, but they threw us a modest party to congratulate on our return. I was compelled to express our gratitude for their hospitality. (Clears throat)

    "After hearing Tom's praise, if I may say a few words, without coming across as falsely modest, because that would take away from the value of our achievement. Without God, we could not have succeeded on our voyage. We have overcome unspeakable hardship and dangers. And it has been my honour to have shared the experience with you all, veterans of the Antarctic Ocean.”

    Knowing that twenty-two crewmen still remained on Elephant Island, even the delicious food, the best we've had in two years, tasted like suffering. It was just difficult to chew and swallow. Now, we have to go and rescue them.

    #Shackleton #Endurance #Expedition #Antarctica #Traverse #MountaineerFromTodayOnwards #BrothersByFate #ElephantIsland #22ManCrew

  • 30th August 1916

    The Final Relief
    True that.
    We failed in our expedition to be the first men to cross the Antarctica. But, and here is the big "but”. After 634 days of fighting for survival, all 28 of us succeeded in coming back alive! The Chilean government lent us the Yelcho, a steam tug.

    We got back to Elephant Island and rescued the twenty-two men who had been left behind. There are many stories I could tell about what it took to rescue our crewmen.

    We actually failed in three rescue attempts, ran into pack ice again in the Weddell Sea, and survived on penguin and seal meat.

    I'll save all those details for later. At least my grandchildren will be happy. They'll have plenty of stories to hear.
    On that note, I shall leave you with these words:

    "I defeated death and won life for myself and my colleagues. To explore uncharted territory is human instinct. You haven't failed so long as you make the attempt."

    #Shackleton #Endurance #Expedition #Antarctica #Traverse #ReturnOfTheSurvivalChampion #AManOfQuotes #AllRescued #18Months #AGloriousFailure #Chile #Yelcho #MotivationalLeader

  • 10th January 1914

    Worsley's Journal: One Strange Dream

    One night I dreamed that Burlington Street was full of ice blocks and that I was navigating a ship along it.

    Next morning I hurried like mad into my togs, and down Burlington Street I went. 

    A sign on a doorpost caught my eye.

    It bore the words
    “Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition” 
    I turned into the building.

    I've decided to accompany Shackleton to Antarctica and I'll be doing so as a captain of the Endurance. 
    I had a strange dream last night which has given me some fresh inspiration.

    #Shackleton #Endurance #Expedition #Antarctica #Traverse #Premonition #Captain #NewDream #BurlingtonStreet #AStrangeDream

  • 29th Oct 1914

    Blackborow's Journal: The Hidden Boy

    My interview with Shackleton didn't go well, but I'm on board the Endurance and heading for Antarctica.
    How is this possible?

    Well, I've made myself a stowaway.
    I wanted to be part of Shackleton's expedition so much that I sneaked aboard. My gratitude goes out to Bakewell and How for helping me hide!

    However, three days after leaving the port, Shackleton discovered me.
    Furious with me for stowing away, Shackleton yelled, "If we run out of food and starve, you'll be the first to be eaten!"
    In other words, he accepted me as a member of his team, though he was reluctant about it. Yes!

    Starting tomorrow, I'll be helping out in the galley as an assistant cook I have to make sure there's always food on the table so I don't end up as lunch myself!
    My life is on the line. I'll be giving it my very best.

    #Shackleton #Endurance #Expedition #Antarctica #Traverse #AllGoodThingsComeToThoseWhoWait #DaringStowaway #28thMember #AllBarkNoBite #PricklyPear #WalnutBoss #PickyBoss #ChefBlackborow

  • 15th June 1915

    Wild's Journal: Dog Sledge Competition

    We had a husky race today.
    Our twenty-seven huskies ran as fast as their legs would carry them. It felt like we were kids again.

    We laughed so much.
    We shouted and whistled.
    We tripped over and fell.
    We made such fun of each other.
    We sang.
    and built ice kennels for the dogs.

    We'd been trapped in pack ice for five months.
    The sun disappeared over the horizon, and we were left with no light in Antarctic June.

    I'm amazed that the men's morale remains intact.
    Our passion still burns here in the coldest place on earth.

    We're having the time of our lives in a place most people would think of as a hell on earth.

    #Shackleton #Endurance #Expedition #Antarctica #Traverse #WeWon #HurleyTheLoser #Petstagram #ChessOnFloatingIce #FootballOnFloatingIce #IceKennels

  • 17th October 1915

    McNish's Journal: Fake Drawing

    In the end the Endurance sank.

    Shackleton ordered us to abandon the ship, so we unloaded the three boats, the huskies and all our supplies. We only have our sleeping bags for protection against the deadly cold.

    There were only eighteen leather sleeping bags of good quality , so we drew lots for them.
    Shackleton, Wild and Worsely, the high-ranking officers on the expedition all ended up with poor-quality sleeping bags while the crewmen got the good leather sleeping bags.

    The draw must have been rigged somehow.
    We all thought so anyway.

    I don't think I'll be able to sleep tonight.

    #Shackleton #Endurance #Expedition #Antarctica #Traverse #497days #Land #ElephantIsland #MyToes #ThePrivilegeForTheYoungest

  • 15th April 1916

    Blackborow's Journal: The First Step

    Shackleton may have caught me on his ship as a stowaway, but I'm still here, alive and kicking.
    They haven't eaten me yet.

    What's more, Shackleton even allowed me to have my own moment of glory.
    Elephant Island was the first piece of land which we set foot on after 497 days of exploration.
    Out of everyone, Shackleton gave me, the youngest on his team, the opportunity to set foot on Elephant Island first.

    As a man, it was just a small step, but as an explorer, it was a giant leap.

    Nevertheless, I couldn't actually move. I would have stepped onto the island, each one of my steps being a source of pride, but my limbs were frostbitten to hell. I couldn't even take one step.
    My legs gave way, and I sank right then and there.
    I want to remember this as a glorious failure.

    #Shackleton #Endurance #Expedition #Antarctica #Traverse #497days #Land #ElephantIsland #MyToes #ThePrivilegeForTheYoungest

  • 27th April 1916

    Marston's Journal: Boat Camp

    Just as I had guessed, there were no lodgings on Elephant Island. Ha-ha! That was a joke.

    So we turned the boats upside down to use them as temporary shelters.
    We pulled the little nails out of the heels of our boots and used them to fix our tents in place.

    Then we settled down in our new 'home sweet home'.
    It felt quite strange though, like we were special guests here.
    Our hosts were the penguins, who produced so much ‘guano’ or to be more blunt about it - bird poo.

    Our shelters gave off enough heat to melt the ice layer covering the guano, and its stench invaded our shabby home. There was no escaping the stink.
    It reeked so badly, that we really wished we had no sense of smell.

    No amount of endurance is enough to overcome the smell of guano!

    #Shackleton #Endurance #Expedition #Antarctica #Traverse #MovingInDay #HomeSweetHome #Catacombs #6MetresWide #3MetresHigh #PenguinPooEverywhere

  • 5th May 1915

    Vincent's Journal: The Worst Day

    I'm still in a state of shock as to what happened.
    We looked south, toward the spot of clear sky which Shackleton pointed out and saw a wave that was bigger than anything we'd seen up to now.
    It was almost nineteen feet!

    It was this colossal wall of water, looming over us just like the sky itself. Our ship, like a cork shooting straight out of a shaken champagne bottle, was flung right up into the air by the wave, but miraculously it didn't capsize.

    We spent the next ten minutes in a mad frenzy to keep our ship afloat, bailing out water because our lives depended on it.
    We've had many near-death experiences since leaving Elephant Island, but I still can't believe we survived this bout of rage from the sea.

    Maybe we're invincible.
    Maybe nothing can stop us from reaching our goal. After all, we seem to be performing miracles every day.

    #Shackleton #Endurance #Expedition #Antarctica #Traverse #12DaysAtSea #MiracleMen #10MinutesStaringDeathInTheFace #500kmToSouthGeorgia #MentalPandemonium #VincentGotCarried

  • 18th May 1916

    Crean's Journal: Icefall Sliding

    Shackleton is usually calm and methodical in making decisions, but sometimes he ventures into things against all the odds. Today was one such time.

    The mountain path which we were scarcely managing to follow suddenly disappeared and we came to a glacial waterfall.
    Shackleton's eyes had this lively glint in them and I felt a chill running down my spine.

    Ten minutes later, my colleagues and I were sitting on top of this 300m-high glacial waterfall, secured only by our ropes. "Yeeehaaaaaa…!

    The three of us, grown men in our thirties, screamed our way down the ice slide.
    Then we were writhing and rolling around in the snow. No one got hurt.

    Shackleton patted me on the back and stood up, and I saw his bare behind. And Worsley's, too.
    We had survived the glacial waterfall, but our trousers didn't.
    We can't sit down anymore!

    #Shackleton #Endurance #Expedition #Antarctica #Traverse #Slide #Gung-hoLeader #GlacierFall #HolesInTrousers #FlamingButtocks

  • 2nd September 1916

    Hurley's Journal: Thank you

    The arrival of some sunshine was like a pure miracle.
    The sight of the fog over Punta Arenas was also such. Knowing that today is Sunday is a miracle in itself.

    Catching up with people at church, decorating the Yelcho with countless flags, the uproar of the welcoming party at the wharf—these are all miracles.

    Compared to the past two years of what we endured and survived at Antarctica, the dismal weather of London and its equally uninviting food are all miracles.

    The fact that all twenty-eight of us arrived home, alive, is the biggest of miracle of all.

    Thank you.

    Shackleton and all my fellow comrades.

    #Shackleton #Endurance #Expedition #Antarctica #Traverse #Slide #AllSafeAndSound #RejoiceAtTheRescue

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