Shackleton....

I've just been watching Kenneth Branagh - as Shackleton...lead his men to safety from their abortive trip to cross Antarctica....Branagh is magnificent....Shackleton truly did the incredible....after his ship, the Endurance, was caught in the ice and crushed...he led his men...in boats that were open to the elements...across the ice shelf...and across the water...to South Georgia Island....and THEN, he crossed a mountain range on foot to fetch help....He was one unbelievable guy...even in spite of his business concerns and his pursuit of funds for more expeditions....he, as a Man, was a FORCE....he is one of my heroes....

I've been on the deck of RSS Discovery many times....walked the same paths that he had walked...he had been to the Antarctic with Captain Scott on The Discovery a few years before leading his own mission......The Discovery became trapped in the ice as well...and the Captain and Crew remained locked in for two Winters...I admire those men incredibly.....The sheer guts that those men had....the pure fortitude that they had to possess to go on Antarctic expeditions, is incredible to me....

Here is a quote I found about his epic trip..

"In 1914, explorer Ernest Shackleton and a crew of 27 men set out aboard his ship, Endurance, in pursuit to be the first to cross the continent of Antarctica via the South Pole. Instead, Endurance became locked in sea ice, and for nine grueling months he fought a losing battle to save his ship, which was finally crushed by the relentless pack ice.

Shackleton and his crew then drifted for five more months on ice floes, enduring inhuman cold and violent storms until they reached a barren rock called Elephant Island. Then, he and four members of his crew embarked on a treacherous 850-mile voyage across dangerous open seas in a tiny 22-foot boat and miraculously reached South Georgia Island."

He left behind most of his crew on Elephant Island...they lived under the shelter of an overturned row boat and awaited his return...the fact that he made it to South Georgia is a complete miracle...either that, or a showing off of the best leadership skills ever displayed...so...when he and the other four set off, those left behind must have thought they were goners...his leadership kept those men alive...his example kept them from giving up hope....and, through all of these hardhips, he managed never to lose a single member of his crew....it is truly a story that everyone should hear about....

Shackleton....and men like him....are still around...but sometimes, they seem harder to identify ...their determination, integrity, strength, endurance, and fortitude should be a shining example to us all...

...the strange thing is....that these days, we might not lead an expedition to the South Pole...but, sometimes....leading ourselves can be just as challenging...

by Eric on January 10, 2004 | Comments(4) | SWG Stories

Comments so far:

Great story. Thanks.

posted by: Parkway Rest Stop on January 10, 2004 01:17 PM

Good story...I'm always facinated by what some people accomplished so many years ago...But, when you add COLD weather into the mix - I am amazed..

posted by: Sam on January 10, 2004 01:48 PM

yeah...thanks guys....the movie is playing over the weekend on A&E...if you get a chance, make SURE you watch it...it is incredible..

posted by: Eric on January 10, 2004 01:54 PM

Amundsen's and Scott's race to the Pole is another classic of that era.

posted by: The Commissar on January 10, 2004 09:31 PM