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  • Writer's pictureEdward Riederich

Shackleton's Endurance

Ernest Shackleton was an Anglo-Irish explorer to the Antarctic. His ship the "Endurance" departed in October of 2015. Conditions grew worse as the "Endurance" became frozen in the ice floe. Their ship sunk and for months Shackleton and his men camped on the ice floe. Finally, fourteen months later the ice cracked and they were able to escape on lifeboats. 

After six harrowing days at sea they landed at Elephant Island. Shackelton had such loyal concern for his men that he gave his mittens to his photographer who lost his at sea. Shackleton suffered frostbite because of it. 

At Elephant Island, Shackleton picked five men to risk a journey 800 miles back to South Georgia in a twenty foot boat. They sealed the boat with oil paint and seal blood. He sailed at the mercy of the stormy seas in constant peril of capsizing. They miraculously made it to South Georgia but they landed on the wrong side of the island. They still had to make it to the whaling station. 

Shackleton picked two men to hike extremely dangerous mountainous terrain for 36 hours. They reached the other side of the island and he kept his promise to save his men alive. All three men said they had this uncanny feeling that there was a fourth man with them in the mountains. Twenty-one months later they all were rescued. 

Shackleton said, "Difficulties are just things to overcome, after all. When I look back at those days I have no doubt that Providence guided us."

There is a true story of Ernest Shackleton

Who pressed on when all hope was done

"By endurance we conquer" was his family's motto

27 men to frigid Antarctica would soon follow

Shackleton and his men embarked on their mission

Sailing forth on this dangerous expedition

This journey demanded fortitude from these men

As they faced extreme difficulty again and again

This 144 foot vessel would make the trip

Not knowing they would have to survive without the ship

This treacherous voyage came at a great price

As the "Endurance" became trapped in the ice

The ship hull cracked under great pressure

But the strength of these men no one could measure

Though the hull cracked Shackleton was sure

In spite of the elements they would endure

The ship eventually sunk but these men were tenacious

He wrote that they possessed their souls in patience

14 months on the ice in the bitter cold

With gale force winds and frostbite to behold

The ice eventually cracked and freedom took shape

The men launched the boats and were able to escape

As these small lifeboats were set out in motion

They endured the freezing spray from the ocean

They pressed on surviving this harrowing mission

As strong men were brought to the fetal position

At times it felt like there was nothing to gain

As half of these men had become insane

Pressing forward on under Shackleton's command

After six grueling days they finally spotted land

Elephant Island now appeared in the distance

These men arrived there because of their persistence

They had overcome the journey in the ocean deep

Persevering on 80 hours of no sleep

Shackleton persisted and kept his composure

But the whole ordeal was far from over

The chance of being spotted was vanishingly small

So five brave men with Shackleton answered the call

After nine necessary days of rest and recuperation

These six courageous men made preparations 

They had been heroic through their present trials

But now they had to sail 800 miles

Shackleton gave all for his men to survive

Shackleton gave all to get his men out alive

These lionhearted men set out with no delays

Their turbulent trip took 16 prolonged days

They fought angry winds and monstrous swells

Beating ice off the sails as history tells

Ultimately, they made it to South Georgia's shore

But in being rescued they still had to do more

In the gale a diversion happened with the wind force

Their lifeboat had been blown way off course

They landed on South Georgia's wrong side

Between them and safety was a mountainous divide

Three of the men camped out along the shore

While Shackleton and two others set out for more

All these men had was an axe and a 50 foot rope

But they kept pressing on believing there was hope

As they began this hike of total desperation

God looked down on them and saw their situation

One part of this story Shackleton didn't fail to discuss

He wrote "I know that providence had guided us"

The men in the mountains felt something quite odd

Later he wrote it was the presence of God

Each of the three exploring men later would agree

They felt there was four of them and not just three

Just like the three men in the fiery furnace of old

Again this mysterious visitor these men would behold

Finally, at the whaling station arrived this sailor

The first one to greet him was a Norwegian whaler

"Who are you?" is where this whaler had begun

He answered quietly, "My name is Shackleton"

The shocked whaler turned away and wept

But Shackleton's promise he had kept

To get all his men off of the frozen ice alive

Because of his endurance they would all survive

But deliverance was more than his own plan

His survival starts with that mysterious fourth man

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