Essay: The Path of Discovery
“Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold. Long months of complete darkness. Constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.” This was the help wanted sign posted by Ernest Henry Shackleton when he recruited for a crew for his journey to the Antarctic in 1914.
On August 8, 1914, the Endurance, a wooden sailing ship, set sail from England for Antarctica never to return. Over the next two years, Shackleton led his crew of twenty-seven men through one of the greatest survival adventures of all time. Shackleton proved to be a selfless and dedicated leader of men, and turned a maritime disaster into a saga of sacrifice, survival and success.
Shackleton’s plan was to sail the Endurance to western Antarctica. When the ship reached the coast, Shackleton and six companions would disembark and set off by dogsled across the continent. The Endurance would return to England and its sister ship, the Aurora, would take up position on the far side of Antarctica to meet Shackleton.
On January 19, 1915, with the Endurance 12,000 miles from London and fewer than 100 miles from the coast of Antarctica, pack ice closed in all around, locking the ship into position. Over the next nine months, the Endurance traveled a thousand miles north and west, without ever breaking free of the pack ice until. Eventually the boat sank. When it sank, Shackleton revised his objectives. The goal of the expedition became the survival of his crew.
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