Shackleton's Boat Journey focuses on the amazing odyssey of the James Caird. This story was also the subject of Caroline Alexander's best-selling book, Endurance, published in 1999.
April 1916. Twenty-eight men in desperate condition are stranded on a barren island. Even the whalers of the South Atlantic never venture this far. All are doomed unless their leader can perform another miracle.
Fifteen months earlier, their ship, the Endurance, had been trapped in pack ice in the Antarctic's Weddell Sea. For ten months they had lived aboard ship, until the ice crushed and sank her. For five months the men drifted on ice floes before making a perilous sea voyage north to land -- the lifeless and uninhabited Elephant Island.
Facing the most savage ocean on earth, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men had only one escape -- an unthinkable and impossible journey of 800 miles in an open 23-foot-long boat, the James Caird. There was no chance of success, yet there was no choice.
It became the most courageous and extraordinary achievement in exploration history.
This is the story of that amazing voyage, produced by the James Caird Society and Shackleton's alma mater, Dulwich College, home of the James Caird. Extraordinary scholarship and insight, combined with original photographs from the expedition, make this a marvelous addition to Shackleton lore.
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Sir Ernest Shackleton's attempt to cross Antarctica in 1916 has become a legendary tale of human survival, and one of the most remarkable aspects of that troubled expedition--Shackleton's journey in a small boat to seek help for his stranded crew--is told in this documentary. With virtually no chance of success, Shackleton and three crewmen set out across some of the most violent seas on earth in a boat that was only 23 feet long. This documentary, produced by an organization dedicated to Shackleton's memory, seems to have had a modest budget, but what it lacks in fancy production it makes up for with dramatic and concise storytelling. The difficulties of navigating in perilous weather, on a tossing sea where the sun is seldom visible, is told by excerpts from Shackleton's own writings. Having miraculously reached the island they sought, Shackleton still had to traverse a mountain range before finally walking into a whaling camp and arranging for the rescue of his men who had been left behind in Antarctica. At the end of this video the actual small boat used by Shackleton on this remarkable voyage is shown, and seeing the small boat on display makes the great feat of seamanship and survival all the more remarkable. This is a very interesting little film, and those who can't get enough of the Shackleton legend will find it fascinating. --Robert J. McNamara
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