The story of Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance expedition is one of the most legendary tales of survival in the history of mankind. When his ship became stuck in Antarctic pack-ice, and was eventually crushed and sank, Shackleton and his crew were forced to survive out on the ice for months on end. The crew endure difficult weather conditions, supply shortages and daring open water crossings in a desperate attempt to stay alive. Eventually, Shackleton himself led a small team in search of help to South Georgia Island, where he and his men used their remaining strength to cross the island on foot, a feat that wouldn’t be matched again for another 40 years. All told, the Shackleton and his men managed to survive for more than 16 months before being rescued, and it was testament to their leader that not a single member of the crew lost their life.
Shackleton’s expedition began in 1914, so in the coming months you can expect numerous celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the launch of the expedition, which had originally intended to cross the length of Antarctica, via the South Pole, for the first time. There will no doubt be a number of centenary expeditions to celebrate the occasion. Most of those expeditions won’t be open to you and I, but one travel company is offering a unique opportunity for adventurous folks looking to follow in Shackleton’s footsteps – provided they have plenty of spare cash.
Intrepid Travel’s Shackleton Epic is a 56-day journey that traces the same route as the legendary British explorer. It gets underway on January 3rd, 2013 when the TS Pelican sets sail from Punta Arenas, Chile. The ship will explore the Southern Ocean, visiting such places as Deception Island, King George Island, Elephant Island and of course, South Georgia, before eventually finishing in Rio de Janeiro in late February. Along the way, the crew, led by British/Australian explorer Tim Jarvis, will recreate Shackleton’s 800-mile open water crossing between Elephant Island and South Georgia aboard a replica boat no less. Upon their completion of that undertaking, there will also be an opportunity to cross the island on foot, just as Shackleton had.
While this itinerary is being offered by one of the best adventure travel companies in the world, this is far from a typical trip. This will be a long and demanding journey that will test those who embark on it. But it is also the chance to trace the path of one of the greatest explorers of the 20th century and catch a glimpse of how difficult Shackleton’s adventure must have been.
There are just ten berths available aboard the Pelican and they don’t come cheap. If you’re interested in joining the crew, the price is $30,000 with reservations being taken now. You can find out more specific information about the expedition, the ship you’d be sailing on, and leader Tim Jarvis by clicking here.
Now if only I could come up with the $30k to join this excursion.
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