For eight months, “Endurance” defied the pressure of the Antarctic ice pack, and finally gave in: the ice crushed the side of the hull, the water penetrated inside and on November 21, 1915 it sank into the depths. When the ice closed over the gap, all traces of their presence were erased. So far in March 2022, 107 years later, a camera tracked a remote-controlled underwater vehicle beneath the exceptionally well-preserved wreck.
The drone was controlled by the South African polar research and logistics ship SA Agulhas II, which set off from Cape Town to the South Pole as part of the Endurance22 expedition. According to a statement about the discovery, the wreck was found in the exact search area that was previously identified. Former “endurance” captain Frank Worsley himself gave the best clue to research by writing down the coordinates of the sinking with relative accuracy.
However, the Endurance Ship was considered one of the most inaccessible wrecks in the world simply for its location in what Shackleton himself described as “the worst part of the worst sea in the world”. The expedition team had already begun searching for Endurance last year, but lost the underwater drone in the process. Now they found what they were looking for at a depth of 3,008 meters.
This is by far the most beautiful wooden shipwreck I have ever seen. “It stands upright and emerges from the sea floor, intact and in excellent condition of protection,” Exploration Research Director Minson Pound said in the statement. The remoteness of the site and the conditions prevailing in the deep Antarctic seas have preserved their “endurance” excellently. The ship was declared a Historic Landmark under the rules of the Antarctic Treaty and placed under protection. According to Mission Endurance22, which is already on its way back, it will only photograph the wreck but leave it as is.
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