I have lived in Wisconsin my entire life yet by the end of March I always find myself in a sour mood that winter is still here. But, I tell myself, at least it’s staying lighter out longer now and, more importantly, the frequency of sunny days is increasing!
However, if you’re tired of winter but still want to experience it, read on to learn about a book that will fulfill your wishes! From the comfort of your warm and cozy chair you can travel to the hostile Weddell Sea where the Endurance22 Expedition team experienced temperatures as low as -40°C. In danger several times of becoming icebound themselves they managed to accomplish what no one else has, that is finding Ernest Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance, under the ice in 10,000 feet of water.
Shackleton set out for Antarctica during the Heroic Age of Exploration. This was an era in exploration that began at the end of the 19th century and ended after the First World War. During this time there were 17 major Antarctic explorations of scientific and geographical significance. The “heroic” label, bestowed later on the era, spoke to the limited nature of the resources available at the time and also to the adversities which had to be overcome. Not all who set out on these expeditions survived. They set out to a land barely recorded on maps, experienced the horrors of scurvy, not knowing what it was or how to treat it, and were holed up in icebound ships while outside was three months of constant, complete darkness.
The Ship Beneath the Ice by Mensun Bound
On November 21, 1914, after sailing more than ten thousand miles from Norway to the Antarctic Ocean, the Endurance finally succumbed to the surrounding ice. Ernest Shackleton and his crew had navigated the 144-foot, three-masted wooden vessel to Antarctica to become the first to cross the barren continent, but early season pack ice trapped them in place offshore. They watched in silence as the ship’s stern rose twenty feet in the air and disappeared into the frigid sea, then spent six harrowing months marooned on the ice in its wake. Seal meat was their only sustenance as Shackleton’s expedition to push the limits of human strength took a new form: one of survival against the odds.
As this legendary story entered the annals of polar exploration, it inspired a new global race to find the wrecked Endurance, by all accounts “the world’s most unreachable shipwreck.” Several missions failed, thwarted, as Shackleton was, by the unpredictable Weddell Sea. Finally, a century to the day after Shackleton’s death, renowned marine archeologist Mensun Bound and an elite team of explorers discovered the lost shipwreck. Nearly ten thousand feet below the ice lay a remarkably preserved Endurance, its name still emblazoned on the ship’s stern.
The Ship Beneath the Ice chronicles two dramatic expeditions to what Shackleton called “the most hostile sea on Earth.” Bound experienced failure and despair in his attempts to locate the wreck, and, like Shackleton before him, very nearly found his vessel frozen in ice.
Complete with captivating photos from the 1914 expedition and of the wreck as Bound and his team found it, this inspiring modern-day adventure narrative captures the intrepid spirit that joins two mariners across the centuries–both of whom accomplished the impossible.
If your curiosity about Antarctica has been satiated and you’re ready to explore more in book form, let me suggest some more books for you!
Madhouse at the End of the Earth: the Belgica’s Journey into the Dark Antarctic Night by Julian Sancton.
Labyrinth of Ice: the Triumphant and Tragic Greely Polar Expedition by Buddy Levy.
In the Kingdom of Ice: the Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides.