• Epic hunt for shipwreck Endurance 100 years on

    The 'Endurance' leaning to one side during the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-17

    By Olivia Buxton -


    The name alone captures man’s innate desire to conquer the unknown perfectly. Endurance… Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated ship that lies entombed in the Antarctic.

    Endurance… the tale of survival, suffering and grit that would deliver Shackleton and his 27-strong crew to safety after months in sub-zero hell. And endurance… what a crew – including TV historian Dan Snow – will need as they set off to find the shipwreck 100 years after Shackleton died.

    The explorer made three polar expeditions but it was the Endurance mission which began in 1914 that is the stuff of legends. The ship lay stuck in ice for nine months before sinking in October 1915. Its crew, encamped on an ice floe, watched her go down in the Weddell Sea.

    Another four months passed before the shifting ice melted sufficiently for a six-day voyage in small boats to Elephant Island. Shackleton then took five men on an open lifeboat to seek help and, another four months later, the remaining the crew were rescued.

    The men were ravaged by frostbite and desperately hungry after surviving on penguins, seals and seaweed. Here, TV’s Dan, 43, explains why he is joining the bid to find Endurance:

    The harbour at Grytviken, in South Georgia, is a haven for mariners. In January 1922, the shore was littered with the rotting carcasses of the whales that drew a small group of hunters to this extremity, on the edge of Antarctica.


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