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Search For Shackleton’s Ship Abandoned As Sea Ice Moves In

February 17, 2019

By Paul Homewood


From the BBC:



The attempt this week to find Sir Ernest Shackleton’s missing ship, the Endurance, has ended – without success.

A UK-led expedition to the Weddell Sea sent a sub to the ocean floor to look for the sunken polar yacht, but this robot was itself lost in the process.

The team has now withdrawn from the area because of deteriorating weather and sea-ice conditions.

Shackleton and his crew were forced to give up the Endurance in 1915 when frozen floes crushed its hull.

Their escape across the Antarctic sea-ice on foot and in lifeboats is an astonishing story of fortitude and survival.

The idea of finding the remains of the Endurance has captivated maritime historians and archaeologists for decades.

"As a team we are clearly disappointed not to have been successful in our mission to find Endurance," said Mensun Bound, the director of exploration for the Weddell Sea Expedition 2019 group.

"Like Shackleton before us, who described the graveyard of Endurance as ‘the worst portion of the worst sea in the world’, our well laid plans were overcome by the rapidly moving ice, and what Shackleton called ‘the evil conditions of The Weddell Sea’."




Although the BBC story is a bit vague, the expedition website makes absolutely clear that the ship got out because of the real risk of being trapped in sea ice:




Indeed, the ship was already surrounded by sea ice before leaving:










Given that the Antarctic is now at the end of summer, it shows that there is just as much sea ice around in that part of the world as there was in Shackleton’s time a century ago.


This should not come as a surprise, as Scott and Shackleton’s log books gave exactly the same message, as did my analysis of Shackleton’s voyage.

  1. February 17, 2019 12:59 pm

    You mean there is still ice up there. You mean the palm trees have not sprouted yet?

  2. bobn permalink
    February 17, 2019 3:57 pm

    Mid February is usually the hottest time of year in Souh Australia and New Zealand. So this is probably the peak warm time in Antarctica. Looks like the sea ice extent is greater than in Shackleton’s day if a modern steel ship (ice-breaker??) has to retreat from where a wooden sailship went.

    • dave permalink
      February 17, 2019 5:07 pm

      If you click through to ‘Antarctica’ and then ‘Daily’ you will find that the extent of sea-ice in the Weddell Sea is completely normal for the time of year.

  3. John Palmer permalink
    February 17, 2019 7:51 pm

    Ho, Ho, Ho!!!

  4. February 17, 2019 9:15 pm

    Was it all over in just 3 days ?
    11th Feb BBC news announce
    : Search for Shackleton’s lost ship Endurance begins.

    14th Feb BBC news announces
    : Search for Shackleton’s lost Endurance ship called off

    • dave permalink
      February 17, 2019 10:04 pm

      “…in just three days…”

      There is a pattern. All recent stunts, to either of the polar regions, in the late days of the local summer, to “prove global warming,” have collapsed in the face of the fact that – somehow – they have not become tropical paradises following a “death spiral” of the ice regime.

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