We have two different shirts that represent the planning, preparation, knowledge, and expertise that went into this expedition which required surviving 22 months in Antartica.
During the polar expeditions, your ship was your clout. The ship used by Ernest Shackleton was the Endurance and was a total of 144 feet in length and was steam-powered from coal. The ship had 350 horsepower, giving it a forward thrust around 12 miles per hour. The Endurance was designed by Ole Aanderud Larsen, a ship designer and businessman from Norway, and she was constructed under the supervision of master wood shipbuilder Christian Jacobsen. Every detail of the Endurance was planned and constructed for maximum strength and dependability in extreme polar conditions. She was constructed with some of the hardest woods (oak and greenheart), allowing it to successfully ram and break through the ice.
Upon launch of the Trans-Antarctic Expedition, there were 69 dogs which—some cross-bred with wolves—consisting of hounds, mastiffs, and collies. It was the job of these dogs to help transport the crew of the Endurance safely across Antarctica in a timely manner. The crew consisted of cross-trained members, including dog-handlers. However, these dogs faced many hardships leading up to their death once the Endurance became trapped in ice. Some of these dogs, unfortunately, passed during the 9 months the Endurance was trapped in ice due to worms. Others passed during attempts to cross over ice sheets. When living on the ice, the crew members of the Endurance constructed ice kennels to keep the dogs warm. However, after the crew successfully made it to Elephant Island, Shackleton made the difficult decision to kill the remaining dogs due to the excesses of seal meat they required. The dogs’ deaths were not in vain—their meat was welcomed to the crew’s rations—helping in their overall survival.
To learn more about this expedition you can watch our podcast here: