The Endurance22 Expedition Finds Ernest Shackleton’s Ship

Ethan Smits, Contributor

On a cold November day in 1914, grand explorer Shackleton and his crew made up of 27 men found themselves trapped in a sea of ice.

With a goal to complete the first land crossing of Antarctica, the men had prepared for a two-year trip in a specially made reinforced three-masted vessel. Upon the arrival of the Weddell Sea, Shackleton and his men were met with an impassable sea of ice. With no obvious way around, the men set up camp onshore to wait in hopes the ice would melt over time. Progressively the ship got more and more stuck until the ice penetrated the hull and the ship sank. Shackleton and his men were left with only one option, make it to the mainland alive. 

They traveled on a small chunk of ice for weeks hunting penguins and seals until their humble ice melted away beneath their feet and they were forced to continue their journey in the small lifeboat they had salvaged from the wreck. After 18 long months at sea, they had finally found land at Elephant Island. Unfortunately, the island was bare and abandoned. Shackleton and 5 other men continued their journey through treacherous seas and over mountains in search of asylum. After almost two years the men were finally rescued, marking the end of one of the most courageous and brave explorations into the unknown.

Over a century later, a team was assembled to unearth the lost wreckage. For two weeks an ice breaker filled with scientists and explorers traveled across The Weddell Sea. The team used advanced drones to scan the ocean floor using sonar. Just four days before the team was scheduled to abandon hope and return to port, they got a hit! 

Because of the cold temperatures and remote location the ship was maintained in a pristine condition. The freezing temperatures maintained the vessel along with keeping away deteriorating bacteria with the inhabitable conditions.