Shackleton’s ‘Endurance’ Expedition, May 9, 1916: “. I think most of us had a feeling that the end was very near.”

–from Shackleton’s account “South”—

“There was nothing for it but to haul off until morning, and so we stood away on the starboard tack until we had made what appeared to be a safe offing. At 5 a.m. the wind shifted to the northwest and quickly increased to one of the worst hurricanes any of us had ever experienced. A great cross-sea was running, and the wind simply shrieked as it tore the tops off the waves and converted the whole seascape into a haze of driving spray. . . .We were on a dead lee shore, and we could gauge our approach to the unseen cliffs by the roar of the breakers against the sheer walls of rock. . . .The chance of surviving the night, with the driving gale and the implacable sea forcing us onto the lee shore seemed small. I think most of us had a feeling that the end was very near.”

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