By: Marcus Amine
Leading Up To The Expedition
My name is Ernest Shackleton, and I was born in County Kildare, Ireland, on February 15, 1874. I have 9 siblings and I am the oldest son. My family moved to London when I was young and that is where I received my education. My father, Henry, was a doctor and wanted me to join him in his profession, but I always knew that I was going to be an explorer someday. When I was 16 I joined the Merchant Navy and I became a first mate at the age of 18 and a master mariner at the age of 24. In 1901, when I was 27, I had my first expedition on the Discovery to Antarctica. Our crew had gotten closer to Antarctica then any one had ever gotten before. Unfortunately, mid trip I had become seriously ill I had to return home to England early. In 1908, I led my own expedition to Antarctica, on the Nimrod. During this fruitful expedition we unveiled many discoveries about the South Pole. Upon my return to England I was knighted by Edward VII.
In 1914, on my third trip to Antarctica, I traveled with a crew of 28 men on the Endurance. We planned to reach Antartica on the Eastern Side and make our way across all of Antartica to the Western coast. This was the first time a journey like this was planned and our trip was widely publicized. Our journey was going very smoothly when we arrived until we had to abandon our ship because it had become trapped in ice. We lived on the floating ice and set up a camp near the Endurance hoping for the ice to give up and free our ship. 10 months later the Endurance finally gave up and sunk. One of our crew mates, who was on night guard, woke us to witness the horrific event. In April of 1916, we left Antarctica on three small boats and eventually made it to Elephant Island, where we set up a home camp. From there I set off with 5 crew members to go find help while others stayed back at our home camp. After traveling across 1,300 kilometers of ocean we reached South Georgia. Stationed there was a whaling station which we had to cross the entire island to get to. Our small crew got help for the rest of us back at home camp and they all were rescued. Throughout the whole expedition, no one was killed in the entire crew.
The Great Pull
Here in this photo taken by the expedition's photographer, we can see the crew pulling the Endurance's life boat across the treacherous ice, with ropes and sled dogs.