Of Ice and Men
To get in the proper frame of mind for my impending Antarctic adventure, I’m reading Alfred Lansing’s Endurance, Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage. It’s perfect if you’re inspired by those who overcome impossible odds, frostbite, starvation and overwhelmingly bleak circumstances.
In 1914, Intending to be the first to cross Antarctica on foot, Ernest Shackleton and crew of the Endurance, were seized by the ice of the Weddell Sea. For months on end the ship drifted, trapped until finally it was destroyed by the immense pressure of the ice.
The crew abandon ship and lived on the ice flows until they were able to make landfall at remote Elephant island. Starving and cold, the crew was marooned as Shackleton and two brave men set sail in a tiny boat to the closest outpost, 850 miles away.
This completely true and well attested journey was made the more dramatic by the presence of a professional photographer, who captured the life and death of the ship in stunning fashion. This is the last photo taken, as the stranded men waved to Shakleton’s tiny boat, their last hope for survival:
To say the least, my journey won’t be fractionally this intense. A story like this helps one look differently at the banal stresses of the day. As with most things in life, a healthy dose of perspective sets things right. That of course, is precisely the frame of mind I seek.
My Antarctica odyssey serves a worthy cause. Please join the adventure and support penguin conservation!
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Posted in: Antarctica