This unbelievable expedition couldn’t have been possible without Sir Ernest Shackleton, a famous polar explorer. However, his ambition was to get to the southernmost territory and completely cross Antarctica. The journey was unfortunately stopped by icy seas. The crew found themselves stranded hundreds of miles away from civilization without a way to contact others to get help. We have read the whole story and found some of the photos from that time. Wondering how the expedition ended? Let’s check it out!
20. FAR IN THE SOUTH
Ernest Shackleton knew what he was getting into when he planned a new expedition to Antarctica after the previous two. He was expecting many hazards ahead and even said that in an ad in a London paper, where he was looking for a crew: “Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in event of success.”
Did he even find a couple of lunatics thirsty for success?
19. THOUSANDS OF REQUESTS
Believe it or not, but his ad gathered thousands of courageous men with nothing to lose. Shackleton hand-picked 28 men as part of the crew – they even had a stowaway on the ship called “The Endurance.” Other 28 men would tag along on a support ship for the destination. The expedition set out from England on August 8, 1914, and the crew was dreaming of what they would find in Antarctica…
18. THE SCIENTIFIC STAFF
The crew also had six men that were part of the scientific staff: a cook, an artist and a photographer – Frank Hurley, who captures the next amazing shots. But until they would get to see what Antarctica looked like, the ship had to first arrive in Buenos Aires and then towards the South Pole. That’s when the expedition started encountering some problems…
17. HEAVY ICE
Unfortunately, the eager crew had to wait a month on the South Georgia Island with the Norwegian whaling stations because the ice conditions were too harsh. After a month, the waters cleared and the Endurance was ready to go forth. Two days after leaving the island, the Endurance encountered a thick pack of ice that made the crew battle their way through the Weddell Sea…
16. SLOW PROGRESS
The icy sea made the ship change course many times, frustrating the crew as they saw the slow progress. Thankfully, the ship was built for these icy waters. Then, after so many battles with the ice, the Endurance arrived almost at 100 miles distance from the Antarctic coast. They’d cover this distance in a day, but then fate was not on their side!
15. AN ICY TOMB
The temperature got lower and lower, and the ship found itself hostage on top of the frozen surface of the water. Ernest Shackleton knew that it was a major setback for his goal. He was already five months into the voyage, and everyone was disappointed by the outcome so far…
The crew turned to their leader, who had just one idea – would it work?
14. CUT THROUGH THE ICE
The crew was instructed to somehow break the ice with saws and chisels, but they couldn’t get the ship out if the frozen water. Shackleton then thought of a more extreme solution. Everyone’s dream to reach the initial goal turned into the aim of surviving the winter in the God-forsaken place. The leader had only one option…
13. SET OUT CAMP
The ice kept building around the ship, so Shackleton had to take a decision. He instructed his crew to set up camp on the ice and wait until the winter gets friendlier. They started taking out the supplies from the ship and the 69 dogs they had in the kennels. Then they turned the interior of the ship into winter quarters to wait out the winter – that meant wait for four long months!
12. WAIT AND HOPE
What all the 28 men of the crew had to do was wait and hope that in the spring, the ship would be freed from the ice so that they can go back home. But the main concern was food rations. To pass out the time, they would play games in the cabin or do this amazing thing on the icy continent – #8!
Frank Hurley photographed all the moments, but wouldn’t this much time take a toll on the crew?
11. TRAPPED IN THE ICE
The Endurance was caught in the ice for 10 months! The ship slowly moved with the ice, which closed in around it, threatening to crush it. Shackleton ordered to clear everything from the ship, and 14 months after they started the journey, the boat was finally crushed. The crew was watching it splintered to death, losing all hope. The worst was yet to come!
10. MARCHING TO FIND HELP
After watching the only means to get back home being crushed by the ice and sinking, the crew had to prepare for a long march to get somewhere safe and easier to be spotted by other ships.
They started to pack the camp, lifeboats, and supplies to dog sleighs and made their way into the frozen labyrinth… They had to hunt penguins, seals and they even killed some dogs to make food. But one thing the crew didn’t know was that they were floating on a mass of ice!
9. THE ICE SPLIT
The crew found themselves on a patch of ice which started to melt. Football had to wait! Shackleton ordered them to pack up camps and get on the three lifeboats towards a safer place. In the horizon, they could see land, so they sailed towards it.
They reached a place called Elephant Island, but after a week of sailing towards it, the crew was disappointed. The island was uninhabited and remote. What did they do next?
8. A CHANCE TO GO HOME
The only way to get help was to go back to the South Georgia Island, but it was 920 miles away! A week after reaching Elephant Island, Shackleton chose five men to go with him on the long journey towards civilization on one of the lifeboats. They gathered a month of provisions and got on the lifeboat. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew would stay and wait for help while also building a shelter and prepare for other disasters…
7. TWO WEEKS ON THE SEA
It took the six men two weeks to get to the inhabited island. Through icy waters, harsh winds and constant soaking, the small crew was now happy to finally get to the land. But there was one more issue: the rescue party was on the unexplored part of the island and had to walk through the glaciers and icy mountains to finally get help!
6. A DAY AND A HALF…
Shackleton and the other five men walked a day and a half without making a stop. They finally made it to the outpost at Stromness and didn’t rest until they made plans to rescue the men on the Elephant Island. Back there, the stranded men were struggling both with physical and mental hardships. They knew winter was creeping back and they had to prepare a better shelter…
5. DID THEY MAKE IT?
But after the small crew left, they thought the ones left behind on the Elephant Island thought they’d be rescued within a month… Still, the months passed, and morale sank deeper… The second-in-command was Frank Wild, made a set of routines and activity to keep the crew healthy – they even had concerts, games, and celebrations, but thoughts ran back as days passed and no ship came to save them.
4. WE’RE DOOMED
The crew lost hope after three months passed and the crew that left Elephant Island wasn’t back with help. The sea was getting icy and penguins didn’t come back to the shore. Men started considering desperate measures and had unsettling thoughts. They even contemplated using the second lifeboat to get help…
3. OVER TWO YEARS LATER…
One morning, on 30 August 1916, over two years since they started the expedition, the men on Elephant Island were looking into the distance. Fog started to lift, and it finally revealed a ship coming straight towards them. Meanwhile, Ernest Shackleton has made four attempts to come to get the crew, and he finally made it.
2. WE’RE SAVED!
One hour after they saw the Chilean steam tug Yelcho approaching, the crew was aboard! Everyone was crying tears of joy, relieved they would go back home! Believe it or not, all 28 men made to back to England.
1. THE EPIC SURVIVAL STORY
The crew might not have achieved the initial objective, but it remained in history as being the most epic survival story. The expedition showed a feat of endurance and the crew has remained known in history as being strong and courageous!