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In 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton set out from England on a daring expedition. His goal was the first crossing of the Antarctic continent.
The Endurance set sail from South Georgia at 8:45 a.m. on December 5th. On the evening of December 7, she encountered the first pack ice. For the next six weeks, the ship dodged and weaved between loose floes, or particularly under the watch of her high-spirited captain, Frank Worsley rammed through them. Judging from their surviving diaries, a majority of the men seemed to regard this journey as at worst inconvenient, at best thrilling.
On January 18, only one day short of her destination, the Endurance entered dense pack ice and was trapped in the ice in the Weddell Sea for 11 months, from January 1915 until it was squashed and sank in November 1915, leaving 28 men on the ice with 3 small ship's boats. They then spent 5 months on an iceberg floating away from the continent. With great good fortune they landed on Elephant Island on the 15th of April 1916 a small island of rock and ice with a few penguins and seals for food.
So there they were in April 1916, lost to the civilized world, and heading into an Antarctic winter. Losing no time Shackleton's next move was to be one of the greatest small boat journeys ever made. Shackleton and 5 others set off in the 22 foot boat the "James Caird" on an 800 mile journey across one of the roughest seas in the world to the island of South Georgia to get help. Their extraordinary journey was not yet over - to reach help, Shackleton, Crean and Worsley then had to cross the mountains, glaciers and snowfields of South Georgia to get to the whaling station at Stromness. Three and a half months later, at the fourth attempt, Shackleton, in a Chilean tug the "Yelcho' rescued the remaining 22 crew on Elephant Island on the 30th August 1916. It was amazing that all the crew had survived.
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