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
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
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
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