CCA Pulse Magazine
106-Year-Old History Uncovered | Zach Danon
Just a few days ago on March 8, 2022, the famous ship, Endurance, was found in Antarctica. This ship wrecked in 1915 after it crashed into ice and was crushed. It was one of the first ships that were sent to Antarctica to explore its unique surroundings. Explorer Ernest Shackleton was in charge of the voyage, hoping to complete the first land crossing of Antarctica.
The Endurance is a 144-foot long ship with three masts and it was found nearly 10,000 feet below the ocean’s surface. The unique story of all 28 crew members as well as the purpose of the ship has made the Endurance one of the most famous shipwrecks of all time.
In December of 1914, the ship became stuck in pack ice and slowly began to drift away while being stuck in ice. The crew stayed on board for many months until the ship became too crushed up to continue staying on. They abandoned the ship on October 27, 1915. The Endurance is estimated to have sunk shortly after the crew had abandoned it, taking three lifeboats and all of the supplies they could manage.
Ernest Shackleton led the three lifeboats across Antarctica for months while surviving off the supplies they had that had been dropped off by another ship prior to the crash into the ice. They spent quite some time trying to make it to land when on April 14, 1916, the crew made it to the uninhabited Elephant Island. They turned over two of the three lifeboats to use as shelter. The last boat, the James Caird, was used by Shackleton and five other crew members to search for people to help them.
Over the 17 days at sea, the James Caird traveled over 800 miles and managed to operate through cold weather as well as large and fast-moving waves. They reached the southern coast of South Georgia, an area with plenty of whaling stations. Once arriving in South Georgia, the crew trekked for a day and a half until they got to Stromness Station. At this station, the crew arranged a boat to pick up the remaining crew at Elephant Island.
After recovery attempts had been canceled, Shackleton himself took matters into his own hands. The Chilean government lent him a tugboat and he navigated himself to Elephant Island and saved the rest of his crew.
106 years later, the Endurance was located at the bottom of the Weddell Sea. A group of scientists, biologists, and technicians using modern technology including underwater drones in order to find and locate this iconic piece of history. They had been searching for over two weeks in a 150-mile radius where they believed the ship would have sunk in 1915. They searched day in and day out in freezing temperatures and plenty of sea ice in the way.
It is quite remarkable that the Endurance was finally found, especially due to how far down it sank and because of the conditions that it sank in. Modern technology combined with a smart team managed to make this discovery possible and remind people of this story of constant major setbacks that didn’t crush the crew’s spirit and allowed them to return home safely.