|Sir Ernest Shackleton|
Despite all his effort, Shackleton would not be the first to stand at the southern most part of the planet. The Norwegian explorer, Ronald Amundsen, claimed the title in 1912. After the South Pole defeat, Shackleton knew of only one other glorious Antarctic adventure left: a transcontinental expedition. In 1914, Shackleton assembled a crew of 28 explorers, sailors, and adventurers with plans to trek across the frozen continent, a continent with a record low of 129 degrees below zero.
Before reaching Antarctica, vessels must navigate through the ice pack, the frozen ocean surrounding the continent. On January 18, 1915 The Endurance unintentionally wedged herself in the ice pack just in time for the antarctic winter. The 28-member crew waited through three months of Winter darkness on a floating sheet of ice. They hoped with Winter's death the Spring sun would melt the ice enough to set The Endurance free. After drifting over 150 miles that winter the pressure of the ice crushed The Endurance. The crew abandoned their sinking ship and set up camp on another floating piece of ice. Three row boats served as their only means of transportation.
|Hiking Through the Ice Floe|
A mind-blowing story, but one of my favorite pieces in the this tale is Shackleton's recruitment method. He found his crew of 28 by posting the following ad in a London newspaper:
"MEN WANTED: FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY. SMALL WAGES, BITTER COLD, LONG MONTHS OF COMPLETE DARKNESS, CONSTANT DANGER, SAFE RETURN DOUBTFUL. HONOUR AND RECOGNITION IN CASE OF SUCCESS. SIR ERNEST SHACKLETON"
Sir Ernest received over 100 applicants. Why would anyone take such risks and endure such suffering? Because, there was a group of men who knew there was more to life than sitting on the couch with a bag of Doritos, yelling at teenage boys fighting over an egg-shaped piece of leather. They knew a full life did not necessarily mean an easy life!
There are days I want to put Shackleton's ad in the Trenton paper, or on the slide presentation at Church with a few modifications:
"FOLLOWERS WANTED: FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY. SMALL WAGES, BITTER COLD, LONG MONTHS OF COMPLETE DARKNESS, CONSTANT DANGER, SAFE RETURN DOUBTFUL. HONOUR AND RECOGNITION IN CASE OF SUCCESS. -JESUS CHRIST"