When, according to Apsley-Gerard, Scott’s last attempt to reach the Southpole had been the worst journey, then Shackleton’s bid to cross Antartica which turned into an ongoing struggle under the worst conditions you can imagine, is the greatest story of survival ever.
First, imagine Shackleton going back to Antarctica after having suffered enourmously on a previous Antarctic expedition with Scott.
Second, imagine you are going to a literally white spot on the map. A place nobody has set foot on yet (the part of the continent they Chose for their starting point.), extreme cold and unknown dangers.
Third, no long range communications available, as they first had to be invented. So if something happened nobody received any updates on their Position or their whereabouts.
Fourth, if things go wrong, they really go wrong. Having bad luck with the weather they couldn’t get all the way to the safe Harbor when approaching their destination at Vahsel Bay. Only a 2 days journey away the ice froze solid and forced them to drift with it to the Northwest. As the ship was not constructed to withstand heavy ice-pressings like Nansens Fram, it happened what nobody believed: the ship was crushed by the ice, making the men castaways in subzero conditions.
After a long and hazardous journey of unbelievable discomfort across the ice and open water, they finally reached Elephant Island, terra firma, the first time after months since they had to Abandon their ship.
But they were not safe yet. The Island bore nothing but rock, ice and colony of penguins. So Shackleton decided to make for South Georgia some 800 nautical miles away and a needle in the haystack which resembled the Southern Ocean.
Against the Odds they made it but had to make landfall on the uninhibited south coast. In a final attempt to get back to civilization to call for help for the stranded men on elephant Island, Shackleton, his skipper Frank Worsley and Tom Crean traversed mountains and glaciers of the unexplored interior of South Georgia, to finally reach the Whaling Station of Grytviken.
Shackleton and the men who set out to reach SOuth Georgia, but it took another couple of months to get the rest of the People off Elephant Island due to ice and weather.
If you have read the book, you will definitely enough this moving and riveting documentary. If you haven’t you certainly want to read the accounts of those men!