I am not very susceptible to emotion, but…

“I am not very susceptible to emotion, but this happy reunion with our comrades, whom we had almost given up as lost and our unhappy release, with the lonely peaks like mute sentinels witnessing our departure has left an indelible impression… Oh! the bliss of once more feeling the motion of the sea, the music of fresh though foreign voices and to sense at last that our anxieties and privations are ended.”

“I lay on the floor wrapped in a blanket meditating and thinking how ineffably more pleasing to be kept awake by the throb of the engines that are hurrying us back to life, than like smoldering logs on Elephant Isle, harking to the stentorious snores that ebbed away our existence.”

— Frank Hurley

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We are like men awakened from a long sleep

“Soon we were tumbling into the boat, and the Chilean sailors, laughing up at us, seemed as pleased at our rescue as we were. Twice more the boat returned, and within an hour of our first having sighted the boat we were heading northwards to the outer world from which we had had no news since October 1914, over twenty-two months before. We are like men awakened from a long sleep. We are trying to acquire suddenly the perspective which the rest of the world has acquired gradually through two years of war. There are many events which have happened of which we shall never know.”

“Our first meal, owing to our weakness and the atrophied state of our stomachs, proved disastrous to a good many. They soon recovered though. Our beds were just shakedowns on cushions and settees, though the officer on watch very generously gave up his bunk to two of us. I think we got very little sleep that night. It was just heavenly to lie and listen to the throb of the engines, instead of to the crack of the breaking floe, the beat of the surf on the ice-strewn shore, or the howling of the blizzard.”

— Ernest Shackleton, South

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Routes of the 4 rescue journeys to Elephant Island

The boat journey from Elephant Island to South Georgia; and routes of the four rescue attempts to Elephant Island

The route of the Endurance, the months of ice drift, and boat journey to South Georgia

Key events along the route of the Endurance, the months of ice drift, and boat journey to South Georgia

Color map from the Kodak website

Color map from the Kodak website

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Years literally seemed to drop from him

“He put his glasses back in their case and turned to me, his face showing more emotion than I had ever known it show before. Crean had joined us, and we were all unable to speak… It sounds trite, but years literally seemed to drop from him as he stood before us.”

— Frank Worsley

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“At last someone shouted out to Sir Ernest “are you all well…” to which he laughingly replied “Don’t we look all right now that we’ve washed” for evidently our filthy condition had not failed to attract his notice and then we burst into a hearty laugh which was followed… by the rowers as soon as they saw what he was laughing at, then like silly school-girls, we all started giggling and looking at each other’s black faces.”

— Thomas Orde-Lees

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They might not have seen us

“We had the fear that those on board… might not have seen us. The terrible thought crept into our minds that we would then be left on Elephant Island to die, for by this time we could not have held out for more than a few days.”

—Leonard Hussey

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Ship O

“Whilst the party were in [the hut] at lunch Marston & I were without shelling limpets, when I called Marston’s attention to a curious piece of ice on the horizon, which bore a striking resemblance to a ship. Whilst we were so engaged a ship rounded the [point]! We immediately called out Ship O, which was instantly followed by a general exodus of cheering & semi hysterical… inmates.”

— Frank Hurley

“Before there was time for a reply, there was a rush of members tumbling over one another, all mixed up with mugs of seal hoosh, making a simultaneous dive for the door-hole which was immediately torn to shreds so that those members who could not pass through it, on account of the crush, made their exits through the ‘wall,’ or what remained of it.”

— Thomas Orde-Lees

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“Wild has it all nicely cut and dried, and has revealed his plans to the favoured few. He and four other members are to go in the Dudley Docker, and will make their way carefully along under the lee of the land from island to island of the South Shetlands… until they reach Deception Island about 150 miles away to our S.W.”

— Thomas Orde-Lees

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Lionel Greenstreet

Lionel Greenstreet

“Things don’t look too well now for our getting relief from the Cairds party as it is now over 126 days since they left and even if they had been waiting for the Aurora to come round they should have been down here by now. I shall give them till about Sept. 10th and after that I shall think that something has happened to them and that we shall have to rely on getting to Deception Island and getting relief from there.”

—Lionel Greenstreet

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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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