Sunday, January 26, 2014

CHAPTER 4: LOSS OF THE ENDURANCE

            SOUTH! THE STORY OF SHACKLETON’S LAST                      EXPEDITION 1914–1917
"Then came a fateful day—Wednesday, October 27. The position was lat. 69° 5´ S., long. 51° 30´ W. The temperature was —8.5° Fahr., a gentle southerly breeze was blowing and the sun shone in a clear sky. 


“After long months of ceaseless anxiety and strain, after times when hope beat high and times when the outlook was black indeed, the end of the Endurance has come. But though we have been compelled to abandon the ship, which is crushed beyond all hope of ever being righted, we are alive and well, and we have stores and equipment for the task that lies before us. The task is to reach land with all the members of the Expedition. It is hard to write what I feel. To a sailor his ship is more than a floating home, and in the Endurance I had centred ambitions, hopes, and desires. Now, straining and groaning, her timbers cracking and her wounds gaping, she is slowly giving up her sentient life at the very outset of her career. She is crushed and abandoned after drifting more than 570 miles in a north-westerly direction during the 281 days since she became locked in the ice. The distance from the point where she became beset to the place where she now rests mortally hurt in the grip of the floes is 573 miles, but the total drift through all observed positions has been 1186 miles, and probably we actually covered more than 1500 miles. We are now 346 miles from Paulet Island, the nearest point where there is any possibility of finding food and shelter."

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