Lost and Found

Natalie Selensky, News Writer

One hundred and six years passed as a ship sat almost 10,000 meters below sea level. The shipwreck that was said to require the most challenging search was over. On March 5, a large sailing vessel, the Endurance, was finally located at the bottom of the Weddell Sea, east of the Antarctic Peninsula. The original trek of the Endurance was set to be from Norway to Antarctica over 100 years ago in 1912. Eventually, the ship was slowly crushed by packed ice, causing it to sink on November 12, 1915. Led by the heavily credited Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton, the crew on the ship all survived, escaping once they were aware that the ship was going down. “The end came at last about 5 p.m. She was doomed, no ship built by humans could have withstood this strain,” Shackleton reportedly wrote. A team of expeditionists, marine archaeologists and technicians led by Mensun Bound and John Shears, searched for the ship for two weeks before finding it on March 5. The ship was found in better condition than expected despite its old age. Underwater drones were able to obtain clear photos and videos of the ship, where it rested four miles south of where the original ship’s captain had said it was when it originally sank. “We are overwhelmed by our good fortune in having located and captured images of Endurance. This is the finest wooden shipwreck I have ever seen. It is upright, well proud of the seabed, intact and in a brilliant state of preservation,” Bound said. “You can even see ‘Endurance’ arced across the stern.” While the ship’s exact location has been finally found, under international law, the ship is to remain in its shipwrecked position. One reason for this is to preserve the ship’s condition, as researchers are unsure what could happen if they tried bringing it out of the water. The ship will still be filmed, photographed and studied but no artifacts or pieces of the ship can be removed. “We hope our discovery will engage young people and inspire them with the pioneering spirit, courage and fortitude of those who sailed Endurance to Antarctica. We pay tribute to the navigational skills of Captain Frank Worsley, the captain of the Endurance, whose detailed records were invaluable in our quest to locate the wreck,” Bound said. The crew who located the ship hopes that this can set a precedent for future explorers, hoping to bring this story to the next generation to inspire future generations of explorers and expeditionists.