Search for Shackleton’s lost Endurance ship defeated by bad weather and bad luck

Posted: February 14, 2019 by oldbrew in exploration, News, research, sea ice, Travel
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Antarctica [credit: Wikipedia]


It’s hard to be too surprised by this news even though it’s well into the Antarctic summer.

A British-led expedition to find the Endurance, Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, has been defeated by horrendous weather and pack ice – the very conditions that trapped the explorer’s vessel in Antarctica more than a century ago, reports the Daily Telegraph.

The expedition was called off on Thursday after “extreme weather conditions” led to the loss of an autonomous robotic submarine that, it was hoped, would have located the wreck.

The Endurance became trapped in pack ice and sank to the bottom of the Weddell Sea in 1915.

The expedition reached the wreck site earlier this week, relying on detailed records left by Frank Worsley, the captain of the Endurance, and deployed the submersible.

The underwater robot, known as AUV7, was on the final leg of a 30-hour mission, deep beneath the ice, when contact was lost between it and the expedition ship, the SA Agulhas II.

Running the risk of becoming trapped in the ice itself, as the Endurance was, the polar research vessel had to withdraw.

Frustratingly for the team, it is not known whether the submersible captured images of the Endurance wreck.

“As a team we are clearly disappointed not to have been successful in our mission to find Endurance,” said Mensun Bound, director of exploration.

“Like Shackleton before us, who described the graveyard of Endurance as ‘the worst portion of the worst sea in the world’, our well-laid plans were overcome by the rapidly moving ice, and what Shackleton called ‘the evil conditions of The Weddell Sea’.”

Full report here.

Comments
  1. Kip Hansen says:

    The image used in the original story in the Telegraph shows the expedition ship anchoring itself to the sea cliff by nosing up against the cliff and running the engines, props engaged, to push the bow into the cliff and maintain position.

    I can attest that this works for all kinds of boats, big and small, when one needs to be stationary and has something stationary to push against!

  2. oldbrew says:

    defeated by bad weather and bad luck

    Bad luck or bad judgement?

  3. phil salmon says:

    I had heard a while back that they were making a new movie about Shackleton’s expedition and escape from Antarctica. But now I can’t find any news – I guess it didn’t get the support it needed? Anyone know anything about this?

  4. phil salmon says:

    I just found this . Maybe there’s hope after all.

    http://film.britishcouncil.org/shackleton

  5. phil salmon says:

    Just think though – can there be any more powerful evidence of global warming than this – for any remaining doubters:

    A British-led expedition to find the Endurance, Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, has been defeated by horrendous weather and pack ice – the very conditions that trapped the explorer’s vessel in Antarctica more than a century ago..

    One hundred years of global warming.
    One hundred years and untold Teratonnes of CO2 pumped into the atmosphere.
    One hundred years of human desolation of the environment on land and sea, along with exponential population growth.
    Methane, CFCs, acid rain, new continents of plastic bottles, the election of Trump, Brexit – a century of anthropogenic devastation.

    And how do we find the Weddel Sea after such a century?

    IDENTICAL to a century ago. Wow 😮 !

    Le plus ca change, le plus c’est la meme chose. Apparently.

  6. oldbrew says:

    Phil S – yes, but the climate obsessives will ignore or wave away such inconvenient facts.
    – – –
    Shackleton’s granddaughter, Alexandra Shackleton, told a reporter she’s not terribly confident the research team will find the explorer’s ship. “People plan to do things in the Antarctic and the Antarctic decides otherwise, as my grandfather found.”

    https://www.adventure-journal.com/2019/01/can-new-antarctic-expedition-find-shackletons-lost-ship-1-15/

  7. RoswellJohn says:

    “Even though it’s well into the Antarctic summer”

    Actually, mid February is at the end of the season. People are pulling out now and will be mostly gone by March. Flying weather gets increasingly bad as I’m sure sailing weather was for the expedition to find the ship. Wintered over at Pole station in 1962 and two summers at McMurdo in 1965 and 1966. Lots of fun!

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