Shackleton’s ‘Endurance’ Expedition, August 1, 1915: “The break-up of our floe came suddenly. . .”

–from Sir Ernest Shackleton’s account “South”–

“The break-up of our floe came suddenly on Sunday, August 1, just one year after the ‘Endurance’ left the South-West India docks on the voyage to the Far South. The position was lat 72º 26′ S., long. 48º 10′ W. The morning brought a moderate south-westerly gale with heavy snow, and at 8 a.m., after some warning movements of the ice, the floe cracked 40 yds. off the starboard bow. Two hours later the floe began to break up all round us under pressure and the ship listed over 10 degrees to starboard.

“I had the dogs and sledges brought aboard at once and the gangway hoisted. The animals behaved well. They came aboard as eagerly as though they realized their danger, and were placed in their quarters on deck without a single fight occurring.

“The pressure was cracking the floe rapidly, rafting it close to the ship and forcing masses beneath the keel. Presently the ‘Endurance’ listed heavily to port against the gale, and at the same time was forced ahead, astern, and sideways by the grinding floes. She received one or two hard nips, but resisted them without so much as a creak.”

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