Perseverance Outlasts—100 Year Anniversary Of Shackleton’s Voyage

Perseverance Outlasts—100 Year Anniversary Of Shackleton’s Voyage

It happened 100 years ago. Perhaps the greatest tale of heroism in the face of insurmountable odds. Eighteen explorers stranded on a small remote area of Antarctica, running low on supplies, morale, and hope.

But Ernest Shackleton, the brave explorer and leader, took a small crew of five men and set out to find help.

With nothing but a handful of small navigational tools, the team had to navigate through the frozen waters of the South Atlantic attempting to traverse to the remote Elephant Island 346 miles (557 km) away from where their boat, Endurance, sank.

Shackleton refused to pack supplies for more than four weeks, knowing that if they did not reach Elephant Island within that time, the boat and its crew would be lost.

They were blown off course and travelled 800 nautical miles (920 miles), approaching South Georgia Island. But just as they were approaching land they were hit by a gaelforce storm—the strongest hurricane any of these explorers had ever encountered. And they were in a lifeboat.

Remember this today:

Perseverance always outlasts persecution (or anything you’re facing).

You can read the full detailed account here and here.

Here’s an excerpt written about Shackleton’s incredible journey in the James Caird lifeboat:

The James Caird was launched on 24 April 1916; during the next fifteen days, it sailed through the waters of the southern ocean, at the mercy of the stormy seas, in constant peril of capsizing. On 8 May, thanks to Worsley's navigational skills, the cliffs of South Georgia came into sight, but hurricane-force winds prevented the possibility of landing. The party was forced to ride out the storm offshore, in constant danger of being dashed against the rocks. They would later learn that the same hurricane had sunk a 500-ton steamer bound for South Georgia from Buenos Aires. On the following day, they were able, finally, to land on the unoccupied southern shore. After a period of rest and recuperation, rather than risk putting to sea again to reach the whaling stations on the northern coast, Shackleton decided to attempt a land crossing of the island. Although it is likely that Norwegian whalers had previously crossed at other points on ski, no one had attempted this particular route before. Leaving McNish, Vincent and McCarthy at the landing point on South Georgia, Shackleton travelled 32 miles (51 km) with Worsley and Crean over mountainous terrain for 36 hours to reach the whaling station at Stromness on 20 May.

The next successful crossing of South Georgia was in October 1955, by the British explorer Duncan Carse, who travelled much of the same route as Shackleton's party. In tribute to their achievement, he wrote: "I do not know how they did it, except that they had to — three men of the heroic age of Antarctic exploration with 50 feet of rope between them — and a carpenter's adze".