New Years 1915


“The ship had a serious encounter with the ice on the morning of December 31. We were stopped first by floes closing around us, and then about noon the Endurance got jammed between two floes heading east-north-east. The pressure heeled the ship over six degrees while we were getting an ice-anchor on to the floe in order to heave astern and thus assist the engines, which were running at full speed. The effort was successful. Immediately afterwards, at the spot where the Endurance had been held, slabs of ice 50 ft. by 15 ft. and 4 ft. thick were forced ten or twelve feet up on the lee floe at an angle of 45°. The pressure was severe, and we were not sorry to have the ship out of its reach. The noon position was lat. 66° 47´ S., long. 15° 52´ W., and the run for the preceding twenty-four hours was 51 miles S. 29° E.
“Since noon the character of the pack has improved,” wrote Worsley on this day. “Though the leads are short, the floes are rotten and easily broken through if a good place is selected with care and judgment. In many cases we find large sheets of young ice through which the ship cuts for a mile or two miles at a stretch. I have been conning and working the ship from the crow’s-nest and find it much the best place, as from there one can see ahead and work out the course beforehand, and can also guard the rudder and propeller, the most vulnerable parts of a ship in the ice. At midnight, as I was sitting in the ‘tub’ I heard a clamorous noise down on the deck, with ringing of bells, and realized that it was the New Year.” Worsley came down from his lofty seat and met Wild, Hudson, and myself on the bridge, where we shook hands and wished one another a happy and successful New Year.”

– Ernest Shackleton

“…the Scotch members insisted upon singing Auld Lang Syne at midnight and woke us all up, as all the respectable members had retired. But Scotchmen always are a nuisance at New Year, and never have voices worth speaking of.”

— Thomas Orde-Lees

“Saw the New Year in at the wheel, under snowy conditions. A few enthusiasts joined in an Auld Lang Syne, but the majority were all sound in slumber. During the day had a very gratifying run, passing through vast fields of young ice, or rather recently formed ice in a rapid state of dissipation. The ship cut her way through in noble style, leaving a long wake which could be traced and remained open for a mile or so. I had a platform suspended from the job boom and secured some fine film. As well as pictures from the foretop yard…”

— Frank Hurley

About Ernest Shackleton

Polar Explorer. Leader of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-1917.
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