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Explorers Plan New Mission to Locate the Wreck of the Endurance

endurance Shackleton
(Frank Hurley / public domain)

The expedition to find the wreck of Sir Ernest Shackleton ‘s Endurance is set to sail next month. Endurance was one of two ships used by the Imperial Trans-Antarctic expedition of 1914–1917, which hoped to make the first land crossing of the Antarctic.

Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton (15 February 1874 – 5 January 1922) was an Anglo-Irish Antarctic explorer who led three British expeditions to the Antarctic. He was one of the principal figures of the period known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.

Shackleton and his crew abandoned the ship in 1915 after it was crushed by ice. In April 1916, members of the crew set off in three small boats, eventually reaching Elephant Island. Taking five crew members, Shackleton went to find help. In a small boat, the six men spent 16 days crossing 1,300 km of ocean to reach South Georgia and then trekked across the island to a whaling station. The remaining men from the ‘Endurance’ were rescued in August 1916. Not one member of the expedition died. ‘South’, Shackleton’s account of the ‘Endurance’ expedition, was published in 1919

The Endurance now lies somewhere at the bottom of the Weddell Sea, a large bay in the western Antarctic. Its exact location remains unknown, but a new expedition plans to find it.

In 2019, another attempt to find the wreck ended in disappointment. The effort was abandoned due to encroaching sea-ice and loss of equipment, despite managing to reach the suspected wreck site. “The 2019 Weddell Sea Expedition came so close to finding Endurance and I’m confident that we have learned the hard lessons from our past experience,” noted Dr. John Shears.

Now, the crew of the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust’s Endurance22 Expedition is making final preparations to set sail from Cape Town, South Africa, on February 5.

Read more about the incredible Shackleton’s voyage of Endurance.

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