After being lost over a century ago once it sunk to the floor of the Weddell Sea off the coast of Antarctica, the ship of Ernest Shackleton, an Anglo Irish explorer, has been discovered.
The ship, called the Endurance, was trapped in 1915 by dense pack ice, which forced Shackleton and other members of his crew to make an escape.
Now, 107 years after the event, the vessel made of wood has been located, and according to Mensun Bound, the director of exploration at the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust, “it is virtually intact.”
The Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust was the group that organized the expedition to find the boat. “The preservation is beyond imagination,” Bound said on Wednesday, noting that the ship’s name could still be read on the front of the stern.
Bound went on, “It’s beautiful,” adding that he had “never, ever seen a wreck as bold and beautiful as this” in the three decades he has spent working on shipwrecks. “It just doesn’t get any better,” he said.
It seems likely that the cold temperatures of the Weddell Sea, as noted by Dan Snow, a British historian whose platform History Hit partnered with the expedition team to record the discovery. “It is super cold. It’s probably just below zero,” Snow said. This meant that at that depth there were “no wood-eating microbes and microorganisms” alive to damage the vessel.
The discovery of the ship now comes right around a century over Shackleton’s death, in 1922. His Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition started out to achieve the first land crossing of Antarctica, and with his crew, Shackleton began his journey in late 1914 just after the outbreak of World World I.
The Endurance never reached land because it became trapped in pack ice. After 10 months stuck, the 28 men on board eventually abandoned the ship on lifeboats and on foot.
ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: DATELINE.NG