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Shackleton's Voyage of Endurance

Escape Escape from Antarctica (669K)

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Escape from Antarctica
by Rick Groleau

In Ernest Shackleton's view, there was only one course of action. Never mind that it was an act of desperation. He and a few of his men would have to leave Antarctica's Elephant Island and summon help. It was the best hope for saving himself and the 27 other men stranded there. So on April 24, 1916, Shackleton, accompanied by Frank Worsley, Harry McNeish, Tom Crean, John Vincent, and Timothy McCarthy, set out on an 800-mile voyage through a stretch of ocean notorious for its extreme weather and raging seas. Seventeen days later, after enduring almost unceasing gales and even a hurricane, they landed their 22-foot boat, the James Caird, on the remote but inhabited island of South Georgia.

That they survived such a long voyage despite stormy weather and ferocious seas in a small boat is remarkable enough. That they successfully navigated to tiny South Georgia Island is a testament to the unparalleled navigating skills of Frank Worsley, who was able to take only four sightings during the voyage, and those on a boat pitching wildly on enormous seas. No wonder the voyage is considered one of the greatest ever completed.

This activity puts you aboard the James Caird in the place of Worsley. Your task will be to take three readings with your sextant over a 15-day period. Take accurate readings and your position will be accurately plotted on the chart and you'll make it to South Georgia. Take imprecise readings and the wind, waves, and current will push you beyond the island into the South Atlantic, where you will inevitably perish.

Don't be discouraged if you're not successful on the first try, though. Unlike Shackleton and his men, you'll be given more than one chance to make landfall.

Escape Escape from Antarctica (668k)
Shockwave required

How a Sextant Works

Navigation by Sextant

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