Shackleton’s ‘Endurance’ Expedition, April 26, 1916: “This sleeping place was indescribably uncomfortable. . . .”

–from Frank Worsley’s account ‘Endurance’—

[aboard the ‘James Caird’ on the second night since leaving Elephant Island]

“The least soaked portion of the boat was in the bows, and there we placed our sleeping-bags. This sleeping place was indescribably uncomfortable, for it was only seven feet long and five feet broad, tapering to nothing at the bows, and in this three of us had to pack ourselves on top of cases of food, sharp angular boulders and bags of shingle. On account of the stores beneath and the canvas cover above there was scarcely any room. In addition we had to crawl under the thwart to reach this wretched place, and it was an ordeal in our heavy, wet clothes; for we would often get stuck half way and lie there temporarily giving up the struggle, until the next man’s head or shoulders bumping behind would remind one that two other poor devils wanted to get into their bags and snatch a little sleep. . . .

“Within the bows of the boat our unfortunate bodies were swung up and banged down on mountainous seas as we rushed up hills and plunged down valleys, shivering as we were slung from side to side of the boat; while to our imagination she seemed to wag like a dog’s tail or flap like a flag in a gale of wind.”

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