The sinking of the Antarctic


January 10, 1903:

“In his diary on January 10, 1903, scientist Carl Skottsberg wrote, “During the afternoon the pressure on the sides of the vessel — which had begun yesterday — could scarcely be marked, but after dinner, just as we sat down to a hand at cards, the ship began to tremble like an aspen leaf, and a violent crash sent us all up on deck to see what the matter was. The pressure was tremendous; the vessel rose higher and higher, while the ice was crushed to powder along her sides”.”

“We stand in a long row on the edge of the ice”, wrote Skottsberg, “and cannot take our eyes off her…The pumps are still going, but the sound grows fainter and fainter…she is breathing her last. She sinks slowly deeper and deeper…Now the name disappears from sight. Now the water is up to the rail, and with a rattle, the sea and bits of ice rush in over her deck. That sound I can never forget, however long I may live. Now the blue and yellow colours are drawn down into the deep. The mizzen-mast strikes against the edge of our floe and is snapped off; the main-mast strikes and breaks; the crow’s nest rattles against the ice-edge, and the streamer, with the name ANTARCTIC disappears in the waves. The bowsprit — the last mast-top — She is gone!””

October 12, 1903:

“[Gunnar] Andersson wrote, “At 1 PM we had halted at the cape in order to prepare dinner. Groups of seals lay here and there upon the ice; we had just passed by a couple of the animals, and a large family lay some distance further out. ‘What the deuce can those seals be, standing up there bolt upright?’ says one of us, pointing to some small, dark objects far away on the ice, in towards the channel. ‘They are moving’, cries another. A delirious eagerness seizes us. A field-glass is pulled out. ‘It’s men! It’s men!’ we shout”.”

— excerpts at; from Antarctica: Or, Two years amongst the ice of the South Pole, by Otto Nordenskjöld

About Ernest Shackleton

Polar Explorer. Leader of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-1917.
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1 Response to The sinking of the Antarctic

  1. larryzb says:

    Yes, Shackleton was a great explorer and knew how to survive. I have read of some of his Antarctic expeditions – interesting reading. Thanks for sharing.

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