Importance Of Polar Expeditions In Shipwreck At The Bottom Of The World By Ernest Shackleton

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“By endurance we conquer.” - Ernest Shackleton. Polar expeditions are some of the most dangerous expeditions out there and are very demanding. Planning the trip, animals, living conditions, food and each crew member struggling to help each other out and keep their sanity are just some of the hurdles in these treacherous expeditions. You might already have a clue about how hard these expeditions are because well, everyone knows how harsh Antarctica is being known as a “frozen desert”, but in this essay I’m going to delve deeper into the hurdles that Shackleton and his crew endured in “Shipwreck at the Bottom of the world”.

What are polar expeditions? Well, polar expeditions are the process of exploring polar areas around the earth, the goal
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We will be taking a look at just these three obstacles. Of course, the animals of the Antarctic were a plentiful food source for Shackleton and the crew of Endurance but they also posed a threat. When the crew were on the ice enjoying hockey or soccer they had to take great care to keep on the lookout for killer whales. Frequently, the killer whales would break through the ice to grab seals and couldn’t distinguish between the men and seals. In addition, they could not let their guard down when in the boats because the whales and the crashing waves could topple their boats. “These beasts have a habit of locating a resting seal by looking over the edge of a floe, and then striking through the ice from below in search of a meal; they would not distinguish between a seal and a man.” (p.21). Not only killer whales, but Leopard seals also posed a threat. In one instance, one of the men were skiing around the edge of the floe and were chased fervently by one. “Ordelees was skiing near the edge of the floe when a twelve-foot long, fanged leopard seal lunged up out of the water and began humping toward him at an astonishing speed” (p.66). Additionally the living conditions off the boat were usually very poor. On the floe it was very dangerous because the ice could’ve tipped over or melted so much that the ice would break away entirely …show more content…
How did they do it? Well Shackleton being a strong leader, continuously put his skills to work when the crew were in a dire strife. On Patience camp there were many who were sure they would be stuck there and were in constant agony. However Shackleton visited each man in each tent to keep their optimism up. Generously, in the boats whenever he noticed one crew member freezing he would order a round of hot drinks for all the men so that the one crew member would not feel like he was burdening anyone. Working together, each crew member did their part to do different tasks and keep their spirits high. When they were waiting on Elephant Island for Shackleton to return, Wild would say to the crew to pack their things because the boss could return that day. Even though that statement did not come true for a very long time it gave all the men a slight pang of hope. When they were around the fire at night they would read out different recipes and discuss them just to have something blissful to do. “One ritual the men looked forward to was hearing a recipe from a small paperback book that Marston had. Each night he read one recipe aloud to the crew, and at the end of the recitation the men spent hours discussing the recipe, comparing it to others, they had known, reminiscing about meals they had had back home.”

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