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.

About Ernest Shackleton

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