The ship has not righted herself

“Temperature —5deg. Still blowing hard from S (force 9). Overcast with drift. Until further orders each member takes an hour’s watch on deck and this is kept up continuously, day and night. The tramp of the watchman along the deck and the hourly relief makes this an unaccustomed disturbance which will take some getting used to.

“The gale continued to rage with undiminished force throughout the night. There wre a few creaks and groans accompanied by some vibration but the ship has not righted herself, still remaining heeled over at an angle of 6deg. This is not very much of a list certainly, but when one feels the ship suddenly lifted up bodily, heeled over 8deg to starboard, and as rapidly thrown over to port again by a solid force, in every way different to the rolling of the open sea, the person who is not filled with a certain amount of apprehension hardly exists. It reminded me exactly of the great earthquake on the Riviera which I experienced as a child: the movements, the sound and the sense of potential disaster were almost precisely the same.”

— Thomas Orde-Lees

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I have placed my Loved ones fotos inside my Bible

“Blowing a gale of southerly wind & the floe we were in has all broken up we got the dogs on board at 10-30 & every one got our warm clothes put up in as small a bundle as possible ready to get on to the floe it was noon before we had the boats & everything ready we have had a start out of our monotony if ever any one had one for the ice has all broken up & the worst part of it was it broke right through the middle of the ship one half going one way & one another it almost broke us in two halfs this hung on for about 20 minutes when the piece that was catching our bows split the other way one piece going under our bows which rectified us for a time but we are still in a precarious position it is 8 p.m. & there is no sign of a lull… I have placed my Loved ones fotos inside my Bible we got presented with from Queen Alexandra & put them in my bag.”

— Chippy McNeish

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A previous stranding: Antarctica, 1903


“We were forced to feed ourselves mainly by seals and penguins. Already during the first few days of our stay on the island, we were lucky enough to kill [enough] not only for our immediate needs but also for a winter supply. Thus, on the 11 March [1903] 184 penguins were killed, 326 on the 12th, 508 on the 13th and so on.”

— Captain Carl Anton Larsen, quoted in Nils Otto Nordenskjöld’s ‘Antarctica: Or, Two years amongst the ice of the South Pole

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A violent shock


“The captain himself was up in the crow’s nest, from where he directed the maneouvering. The orders ring out incessantly, and the helmsman is hard put to follow the constant changes… From his lookout point, the captain chooses his point of attack approximately on the same principle as a billiard player, so that the chosen ice floe is not only pushed in the right direction,… but the neighboring floe, through cannoning, is set in motion, and makes way for the vessel. At full speed, we go ahead, then the engines are stopped, and immediately there is a violent shock, so that the vessel shudders in every joint, and the uninitiated might imagine that each moment was his last. So serious, however, it is not. Slowly, the colossal floe begins to move, slowly the vessel glides ahead, while both sides scrape against the ice with a long drawn out roar that deceptively reminds one of the rumbling of thunder.

“There reigned a desolation and wildness which, perhaps, no other place on earth could show; I experienced a sense of helplessness as if standing alone and deserted amidst mighty natural forces.”

— Otto Nordenskjöld, Antarctica, vol. i.

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Diatoms are again appearing


“Clark finds that with returning daylight the diatoms are again appearing. His nets and line are stained a pale yellow, and much of the newly formed ice has also a faint brown or yellow tinge. The diatoms cannot multiply without light, and the ice formed since February can be distinguished in the pressure-ridges by its clear blue colour. The older masses of ice are of a dark earthy brown, dull yellow, or reddish brown.”

— Ernest Shackleton, South

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Rime of the Ancient Mariner, pt 2

Rime of the Ancient Mariner
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge



“The sun now rose upon the right:
Out of the sea came he,
Still hid in mist, and on the left
Went down into the sea.

And the good south wind still blew behind,
But no sweet bird did follow,
Nor any day for food or play
Came to the mariners’ hollo!

And I had done a hellish thing,
And it would work ’em woe:
For all averred, I had killed the bird
That made the breeze to blow.
Ah wretch! said they, the bird to slay,
That made the breeze to blow!

Nor dim nor red, like God’s own head,
The glorious sun uprist:
Then all averred, I had killed the bird
That brought the fog and mist.
‘Twas right, said they, such birds to slay,
That bring the fog and mist.

The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free;
We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea.

Down dropped the breeze, the sails dropped down,
‘Twas sad as sad could be;
And we did speak only to break
The silence of the sea!

All in a hot and copper sky,
The bloody sun, at noon,
Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the moon.

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

The very deep did rot: O Christ!
That ever this should be!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy sea.

About, about, in reel and rout
The death-fires danced at night;
The water, like a witch’s oils,
Burnt green, and blue, and white.

And some in dreams assured were
Of the Spirit that plagued us so;
Nine fathom deep he had followed us
From the land of mist and snow.

And every tongue, through utter drought,
Was withered at the root;
We could not speak, no more than if
We had been choked with soot.

Ah! well-a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.”


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What the ice gets, the ice keeps

“All hands is standing bye we had a slight shock last night… there was a noise under the bottom aft the same as if the ice had broken up…. the Boss thinks it was a whale but I thinks different.”

— Chippy McNeish


“She’s pretty near her end.”

— Shackleton to Worsley

“The wind howled in the rigging and I couldn’t help thinking it was making just the sort of sound you would expect a human being to utter if there were in fear of being murdered… Still I couldn’t believe that the Endurance would have to go… ‘The ship can’t live in this, Skipper,’ … Shackleton… said at length, pausing in his restless march up and down the tiny cabin. ‘You had better make up your mind that it is only a matter of time… What the ice gets, the ice keeps.’ I admired his self-control.”

— Frank Worsley

“Outside the cabin, no one knew what had been said.”

— Roland Huntford

“With another ship, Shackleton might have spoken in a different vein. Endurance, as he had come to realise, was no Fram. Her bilges were not round enough; her sides had too much tumble home. She was safe just as long as she was frozen in her floe. When that broke, she would be at the mercy of the ice. She would hardly rise to the inevitable squeeze, and would almost certainly be nipped. Shackleton had been warned about this before he bought Endurance, and so would have only himself to blame. […] Shackleton understood, however, that after moving west for several months, a circular current was pressing the ice up against land. It was not a pleasant thought.”

— Roland Huntford

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