It was obvious that a group would need to leave for help immediately. The
shattered crew could not survive indefinitely on the stony, storm-swept
beach of Elephant Island, and no one would be searching for them there.
Shackleton selected a party of five to accompany him in the James Caird,
the strongest of the lifeboats. Their goal was a whaling station on South
Georgia Island, 800 miles away across terrifying waters.
The six men in their tiny boat endured gales, dangerous ice buildup, and stupefying
waves. Navigation was based on occasional glimpses of the sun, so they were uncertain
that they were even heading towards their goal. After 14 days they sighted the
island, and they managed to land after two more days of being buffeted by ocean
and weather. But they were on the wrong side of the island, separated from the
station by 22 miles of mountainous terrain.
After eight days of rest, Shackleton again divided his crew. He and two others
made the overland trek across glaciers, crags, and crevasses. They made their
entry into the whaling station through a waterfall.
Next: Part Six, Rescued