At the beginning of the 20th century, several expeditions set out to explore Antarctica, one of the last unexplored corners of the world. Among the protagonists of this “Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration” was Anglo-Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton. In 1907 he came within 180 kilometres of the South Pole, closer than anybody before.
Five years later, upon hearing the news that Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen had beaten him to the South Pole, Shackleton set himself a new challenge: to be the first to cross on foot and by sled the whole Antarctic continent. Unfortunately, at the start of the journey, his ship the Endurance was trapped in ice and Shackleton and his men spent 9 months on board, hoping that the ice would break away. Instead, the ice slowly crushed and sank the ship.
In their lifeboats, Shackleton and his men embarked on a dangerous sea voyage looking for rescue. After incredible difficulties, all members of the expedition were saved.
This February, an international scientific expedition, named Endurance22, was launched to find Shackleton’s sunken ship. Using modern technology, the expedition was able to locate the wreck at a depth of 3,000 meters. A small underwater vehicle was sent to film the wreck. The expedition reported: “She is upright, well proud on the seabed and in an excellent state of preservation.” Her name, Endurance, can still be seen engraved at the stern. “We hope,” said the expedition leader, “that our discovery will engage young people and inspire them with the pioneering spirit, courage and fortitude of those who sailed Endurance to Antarctica.”
(Image: Wikimedia Commons)