Seafaring History: Shackleton Traverses South Georgia Island | Cruising World

Seafaring History: Shackleton Traverses South Georgia Island

On this day in 1916, Ernest Shackleton arrived at the Stromness whaling station, signifying the end of the ill-fated journey of the Endurance.

On this day in 1916, Ernest Shackleton, along with his Captain and Navigator Frank Worsley, and Second Officer Tom Crean arrived at the whaling station of Stromness, after hiking over South Georgia’s interior mountain range. This they did after completing a 720 nm 15 day open boat journey through storm-tossed seas, from Antarctica’s Elephant Island. In crossing the island, the trio traveled 32 miles over the course of 36 hours, a feat that had never been accomplished over this route and on foot, and has yet to be repeated in this time.

This journey was not repeated until October 1955, by British explorer Duncan Carse, traveling a route similar to that of Shackleton’s party. Afterward he wrote: "I do not know how they did it, except that they had to — three men of the heroic age of Antarctic exploration with 50 feet of rope between them — and a carpenter's adze". In Worsley’s account of the traverse he noted that while exhausted, they feared if they stopped to rest they would all perish.

Cruising World contributor Steve D'Antonio visited South Georgia in 2003 photographing the Stromness and Grytviken whaling stations and the view from the final segment of Shackleton’s route.

Steve D'Antonio

Steve D'Antonio

Steve D'Antonio

Steve D'Antonio

Steve D'Antonio

Steve D'Antonio

Steve D'Antonio

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