The Endurance set sail December 5, 1914. It was near the beginning of the
Antarctic summer, but just two days later she made her first encounter with
pack ice, farther north than anyone could remember. At first the ship was
able to break through, but on January 18, 1915, she got trapped for good.
For more than six months the Endurance was carried along, tracking first
west, then north, for hundreds of miles, scribbling a route ever farther
from the intended landing. The men hunkered down and waited, amusing
themselves as best they could while hoping that the ship might be released.
Again and again they tried to free the Endurance by following a narrow
crack that appeared or chopping their way through thick ice when open water
tantalized them in the distance.
In the end the ship was crushed by the floes. A wrenching and snapping of
the ship's stout timbers accompanied the men as they moved supplies to the
surface of the ice sheet, sliding their dogs off the deck down a canvas
ramp. They saved food and tools and three lifeboats. They watched as the
Endurance gradually crumpled in the grip of the ice.
Next: Part Three, Our Ship