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

About Ernest Shackleton

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