More than 100 years after the Norwegian Endurance was crushed by ice in Antarctica, the ship from Ernest Shackleton’s expedition has been found – 3,000 meters beneath the polar ice.
– We are overwhelmed by the luck we have at finding and accepting Endurance photos. This is the most beautiful wooden carcass I have ever seen. It stands proudly at the bottom, intact and very well preserved. You can even read the stern name, said Mensun Bound, who is in charge of the search for the polar ship.
The ship was found at a depth of 3,008 meters, about six kilometers from where it was pulled into the ice on a November day in 1915. The discovery was made on Saturday – the centenary day after expedition leader Ernest Shackleton was buried in England. South Georgia – but it was first announced on Wednesday.
Remote-controlled mini-submarines are used to find and record shipwrecks on the seabed. The shipwreck does not appear to have been damaged by the anemones, fungi, and other organisms that “were on board” after the shipwreck. Resilience is protected by cultural law as a cultural monument, and it is not allowed to take objects from shipwrecks. Expeditions looking for the Shackleton ship were allowed to watch – and film – but not touch.
Endurance, built at Framnæs Mekaniske Værksted in the Sandefjord, is at the center of one of the most famous stories of polar survival. Just a few years after Roald Amundsen became the first at the South Pole, Shackleton would be the first to cross the continent. The Irish-British explorer had been to Antarctica several times and was the furthest south before Amundsen. In 1909, Shackleton and the entourage he led had to turn just 180 kilometers from the mast. Nearly three years later, Amundsen reached the top.
Just before Christmas 1914, Endurance set sail for the Weddell Sea as part of a Transantarctic expedition, but Shackleton and his men never landed on the southern continent. After sailing southwest along the coast, the ship froze and drifted with the ice for more than ten months.
Meet the Norwegian whalers
Finally, Shackleton must command all of his men on “land” – more specifically on ice – before embarking on an arduous journey with lives at stake. Three lifeboats were pulled across the ice, and when they were no longer carrying, they set sail for Elephant Island.
One of the boats was reinforced to travel across the Southern Ocean for help. Shackleton took five men with him and made arrangements for South Georgia, while the rest of the crew remained on the island. After reaching South Georgia, three men cross the mountains to the Grytviken whaling station. From there, work began to retrieve those left on the south side of the island and those left on Elephant Island. The last one was taken in August 1916. The goal of crossing Antarctica was not achieved, but all who had been with the southern Endurance, survived the expedition.
In 1922, Shackleton returned to Grytviken, on his way to another expedition in Antarctica. While in South Georgia, Shackleton died of a heart attack. The 47-year-old man was buried in the island’s cemetery on March 5, 1922. This weekend, the centenary, including with a military honor guard at the cemetery.
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