Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author of "Cool Creatures, Hot Planet," "Endangered Edens," and the "Time Is Irreverent" series.

The Endurance, trapped in the ice

Marty’s photo of the day #2281: I don’t post about personal possessions, but I’m going to make the exception today, because the story behind it is so fascinating. Many of you know the story of Ernest Shackleton and his ill-fated Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. On January 19, 1915 the Endurance became trapped in the ice off the coast of Antarctica, and it sank on November 21, 1915. Amazingly, due to Shackleton’s heroics, the entire crew survived, with the final rescue taking place on August 30, 1916.

When I traveled to Antarctica, I often thought about Shackleton, and even wrote about him in my first book, Cool Creatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents. Consequently, when I learned that a limited run of this photo, from the expedition’s photographer, Frank Hurley, was for sale, I had to buy one. I have photo #177 of 400 from the original glass negative. Many of the glass negatives were still in the Endurance as it was sinking, and Hurley had to get permission from Shackleton and then dive under the water to retrieve them. Whether this photo was one that Hurley saved from the icy water, I will never know. Either way, the fact that any of the glass negatives survived the ordeal was a miracle.

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