Shackleton’s Famous Shipwreck Endurance Discovered in Antarctica
On Saturday, March 5th, 2022, exactly one hundred years to the day after Sir Ernest Shackleton was buried on the island of South Georgia, scientists and researchers located the wreck of Endurance, Shackleton’s ship. The vessel was discovered at a depth of 3,008 meters (10,000 feet) in the Weddell Sea, approximately four miles south of the position originally recorded by crew member Frank Worsley.
Endurance, lost after being crushed in the sea ice in 1915, was found sitting upright on the seabed, in remarkably preserved condition. The exceptional state of the ship is partly due to the absence of wood consuming marine parasites as well as the cold waters in which it lays. Some of the highlights captured in the recording are the ship’s name in brass on the stern with the five-pointed star below, anchors, dishes, and even a pair of boots. Also spotted was a porthole that was Shackleton’s cabin. It was said, “At that moment, you really do feel the breath of the great man upon the back of your neck.” Watch the incredible footage and an interview with the lead Marine Archeologist in this video from the BBC UK.
With the ship now designated a monument protected by the Antarctic Treaty, Endurance cannot be disturbed, nor any artifacts removed from it.
Director of Exploration Mensun Bound said, “This is a milestone in polar history. However, it is not all about the past; we are bringing the story of Shackleton and Endurance to new audiences, and to the next generation, who will be entrusted with the essential safeguarding of our polar regions and our planet.”
The mission’s leader, polar geographer Dr John Shears, described the moment cameras landed on the ship’s name as “jaw-dropping”. He added, “We have successfully completed the world’s most difficult shipwreck search, battling constantly shifting sea-ice, blizzards, and temperatures dropping down to -18C. We have achieved what many people said was impossible.”
The story of Shackleton and his men is a story much loved by the team at Polar Latitudes. In fact, Shackleton’s experience of leadership and bravery in the direst conditions is regarded by our team as one of the most epic stories ever told.
A quick recap of Shackleton’s incredible journey: After Endurance sunk into the sea, Shackleton and his crew rowed their lifeboats on a gruelling five-day journey to Elephant Island. Following that, Shackleton and five of his men left the remainder of the crew behind to sail one of their 20-foot lifeboats over 800 miles to South Georgia Island. This astonishing journey took fifteen days in hurricane-strength winds, and upon landing on the island, Shackleton and two others persevered on a trek across a mountain range to reach Stromness, the whaling station in Grytviken, for rescue.
We honor this incredible journey by inviting our guests to safely follow in Shackleton’s footsteps. During our Falklands, South Georgia, and Antarctica itinerary we journey through the icy waters to visit Shackleton and Frank Wild’s graves on South Georgia, the fabled mountain trek, and Elephant Island.
The news of the discovery of Endurance has added yet another incredible chapter to the legendary Shackleton story. It will almost certainly inspire more people to want to explore the Antarctic continent for themselves.
Congratulations to the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust and the Endurance22 Expedition on locating Endurance. It is truly one of the greatest Antarctic finds of this century.