The intention was to cross the Antarctic continent from one coast to the other via the South Pole.
Ernest Shackleton's Trans-Antarctica expedition of 1914 - 1917 is one of the most incredible adventure stories of all time. It is simply remarkable.
The Endurance would sail, through the ice, for just over a month until January 18, 1915 when the ship was trapped in the crushing ice of the Antarctic pack. Despite the efforts of the crew, The Endurance would remain lodged in the ice for the next nine months.
The thick ice of the Antarctic pack pressed constantly, threatening to crush Endurance to splinters. That threat forced the crew to abandon ship in October 1915. From now on the party would live on the ice. One month later, the ship sank, stranding the crew -- with minimal supplies and three short-boats -- on the drifting pack ice. The men survived for the next six months, killing seals, penguins, and ultimately their own sled-dogs for food.
In April 1916, the 28 men spotted an island on the horizon. The ice broke just enough, allowing them to put to sea in some of the roughest waters on Earth. Seven days later they landed on the uninhabited Elephant Island. Far from regular shipping lanes, Shackleton knew the chances of a rescue from their location were nonexistent. They may be on land but they were far from safe, and farther from home. On April 24th he set sail, with a crew of five men, for the populated island of South Georgia -- 800 miles away.
They sailed for 17 days, fighting through stormy high seas of freezing water....they made it. They reached South Georgia Island! The weather and their own condition forced them, however, to land on the uninhabited side of the island. They were forced to trek on foot across the island. In 36 hours they traversed 22 miles across the glacier-clad, thousand-feet high mountains to reach the whaling port of Stromness on May 20, 1916.
On August 30, 1916, a full 22 months after they'd initially set out, Shackleton rescued the men on Elephant Island. Incredibly all 28 men survived this amazing ordeal!
Nearly a century later, the tale of Endurance remains one of the most fascinating examples of human triumph in the face of adversity. It is a classic tale of leadership and heroism.
What it means to us? The next time we face an obstacle that seems impossible to overcome let's remember the story of The Endurance.
An example that true success is gained not by taking the easiest path (or even the one you planned on taking); it is achieved by taking consistent and persistent action until your goals have been achieved.
While the story is as unbelievable as it is grand, its message is a simple, universal truth: If you have the will, you have a chance.
Here are some take aways from Ernest Shackleton and The Endurance expedition:
1. Never lose sight of the ultimate goal, and focus energy on short-term objectives.
2. Set a personal example with visible, memorable symbols and behaviors.
3. Instill optimism and self-confidence, but stay grounded in reality.
4. Take care of yourself
5. Reinforce the team message constantly: "We are one- we live or die together."
6. Minimize status differences and insist on courtesy and mutual respect.
7. Master conflict- deal with anger in small doses, engage dissidents, and avoid needless power struggles.
8. Find something to celebrate and something to laugh about.
9. Be willing to take big risks.
10. Never give up
A Final thought:
Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it.......When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! Hebrews 12:1-3 The Message