“Endurance”: Shackleton’s Lost Ship Found in Antarctica More Than 100 Years Later. Abercrombie & Kent’s Expedition Team offer perspectives on historic discovery

The first Endurance in 1912The “Endurance”, a 144-foot, three-masted wooden ship, holds a revered place in polar history because it spawned one of the greatest survival stories in the annals of exploration.

The ship was crushed by sea ice and sank in 1915, forcing Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men to make an astonishing escape on foot and in small boats. A century later, scientists have discovered the wreck more than 9,000 feet under the Weddell Sea, four nautical miles south of the position recorded by the ship’s captain. Video of the remains provided by the Falklands Heritage Trust show the Endurance to be in a remarkable state of preservation.

Why the Discovery of Endurance Matters

Members of Abercrombie & Kent’s Expedition Team, who have spent decades immersed in Antarctica and its history, provide personal observations about what this historic discovery means to them.

“As a firm believer in coincidence, isn’t it serendipitous that the Endurance was found 100 years after Shackleton’s death? Rather like the Mackinlay’s Whisky, which Shackleton stashed beneath the Cape Royds hut in 1907, that was found in 2007. This is absolutely the stuff of legends. Kudos to the search teams who persevered after previous unsuccessful attempts to find this legendary ship.”

Rob Caskie, historian with a flair for storytelling who shares lessons to be learned from the tales of early Antarctic exploration.

“The finding of the Endurance encourages us to pause and reflect on the human spirit; how heroic people leading expeditions to expand the boundaries of the known world exemplify the desire to go farther and do better. It is good to remember not only Shackleton but the bravery of all the men who went forth to explore Antarctica. When we travel, even in great comfort and without the determination of these explorers to be first, we share that common desire to break through the darkness and find knowledge.”

Dr. T.H. Baughman, professor emeritus at the University of Central Oklahoma, teaches history at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and is the author of 10 books on the polar regions.

“My first thought upon learning of the discovery of Shackleton’s ship Endurance was “Thank God, I lived to see this day!” Not only is this one of the most significant historic shipwrecks of all time, but its discovery will also focus much needed global attention on a region of our planet undergoing unprecedented climate change. Shackleton and his men would have celebrated their ship’s return to humanity’s main stage in time to help set the sails that will propel us through a global bottleneck wrought by climate change.”

Dr. Jim McClintock, Professor of Polar and Marine Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, is an expert on Antarctic climate change. He recently returned from his 31st expedition to Antarctica.

All Abercrombie & Kent Luxury Expedition Cruises to Antarctica include engaging lectures by the A&K Expedition Team on the life and exploits of Sir Ernest Shackleton, Antarctica’s greatest explorer. On cruises that include South Georgia Island, guests can pay homage to “The Boss” at his final resting place at Grytviken, as well as sail by Elephant Island, where the Endurance crew were marooned for more than four months during Shackleton’s heroic open ocean crossing and return for the rescue. If conditions permit, guests may have the opportunity to land at Point Wild where the Endurance crew set up their camp.

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Share an unforgettable Christmas and New Year’s Eve while experiencing otherworldly landscapes on daily Zodiac excursions. Dedicated Young Explorers Guides lead fun, informative, hands-on learning experiences for students. 18 days from $19,495 (was $23,495)

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Explore the colorful Falkland Islands and unspoiled South Georgia with vast rookeries of king penguins alongside an award-winning Photo Enrichment Coach who shares photo tips for all levels of photographers. 18 days from $19,995 (was $23,995)

All-Inclusive Luxury Exploration, the A&K Way

Travellers appreciate the all-inclusive nature of A&K Luxury Expedition Cruises, from every meal and unlimited house drinks to complimentary Wi-Fi, complimentary Traveller’s Valet® laundry service, gratuities, transfers, port charges and shore excursions. Included city visits in Buenos Aires feature A&K guided tours and a luxury stay at one of the city’s finest hotels.

Abercrombie & Kent charters the ideal small expedition ship for each itinerary, selecting from the most advanced mega-yachts to offer an unmatched experience. The eco-friendly ‘Le Lyrial’ boasts a 1C ice class rating and cutting-edge technology to operate with minimal impact on the environment.

In keeping with the private-yacht-like ambiance, Abercrombie & Kent limits capacity to approximately 80% — no voyage exceeds 199 guests – ensuring each stateroom and suite has a private balcony. This affords the utmost in luxury, complete with butler service in all suites (an A&K exclusive), and an intimate 1 to 1.3 staff-to-guest ratio. The same commitment to added space is also reflected on shore excursions, with Zodiac boats limited to 8 guests, and coaches filled to only 60% capacity.

Onboard, strict protocols for health and safety reflect best practices for cleanliness and disinfection established by the World Health Organization (WHO). In addition to constant and systematic cleaning and sanitizing of all areas on board — and stringent management of air circulation with a UV sterilization system — a doctor and nurse are available 24/7 with access to advanced hospital equipment and isolation areas.

(Abercrombie & Kent)