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About the Film
1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton set sail with his twenty-seven-man
crew, most of whom responded to the following recruitment
wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold.
Long months of complete darkness. Constant danger.
Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of
the Antarctic journey, ice conditions were unusually harsh,
and the wooden shipwhich Shackleton named the Endurance
after his family motto, Fortitudine Vincimus, by
endurance we conquerbecame trapped in the pack
ice of the Weddell Sea. For ten months, the Endurance
drifted, locked within the ice. When the pressure of the ice
crushed their ship, Shackleton and his men were stranded on
ice floes in hopelessly barren, frigid conditions, camping
on ice and snow. Their clothes were torn to rags, and they
were left with meager food and shelter.
in the Pack Ice
this scene from the reenactments of Shackleton's Antarctic
Adventure, the Stancomb Wills lifeboat is trapped
in the pack ice of the Weddell Sea.
1999 WGBH Educational Foundation. Photo: Kelly Tyler
morale, Shackleton kept everyone busyand everyone equal.
University professors ate beside Yorkshire fishermen. The
men participated in group sing-alongs and toasts to loved
ones back home. Through all of these distractions, Shackleton
inspired a sense of camaraderie, telling his crew that strength
lay in unity.
the floe on which they were living drifted into open water,
the men sailed the three small lifeboats they had salvaged
to a bleak crag called Elephant Island. They were on land
for the first time in 497 days; however, the island was uninhabited
and provided no hope for rescue.
the severity of the physical and mental strains on his men,
Shackleton and five others immediately set out to take the
crews rescue into their own hands. In a twenty-two-foot
lifeboat named the James Caird, they accomplished the
impossiblesailing 800 miles through the worlds
worst seas to South Georgia Island, where a whaling station
was located. This feat is considered one of the greatest open-boat
journeys of all time.
Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure, modern climbers
re-create Shackleton's original traverse of South Georgia
2000 WGBH Educational Foundation. Photo: Susanne Simpson
men landed on an uninhabited part of the island. Here, their
last challenge was to cross nearly thirty miles of uncharted
mountains and glaciers, considered impassible, to reach the
whaling station on the other side. With just three days of
provisions, two compasses, a rope, and a carpenters
adze to be used as an ice ax, Shackleton and two others made
the trek. In August 1916, twenty-two months after the initial
departure of the Endurance, Shackleton returned to
rescue the men on Elephant Island. Not one member of the twenty-eight-man
crew was lost.
information, visit the official
Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure Web site.
here for IMAX®