James Wordie, Alfred Cheetham and Alexander Macklin (left to right) washing the galley floor of the Endurance
The Weddell Sea Expedition has been forced to conclude its search for the wreck of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance.
Earlier this week, the expedition reached the site where the vessel was crushed by ice and sank 3,000 metres below the surface in 1915. However, extreme weather and deteriorating sea ice conditions led to the loss of one of the Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) being used to look for the wreck of Endurance. After round the clock efforts to retrieve AUV7, and with the risk of the SA Agulhas II becoming trapped in the ice, the expedition leaders decided to abandon the search.
Dr John Shears, polar geographer and the expedition leader said: “The Weddell Sea Expedition team are truly disappointed that after such a huge effort, and overcoming several major setbacks, we have not been able to find Endurance. We are, however, very proud of our other achievements over the past weeks in Antarctica. We have greatly surpassed our primary expedition objective of undertaking pioneering scientific research at the Larsen C Ice Shelf. We have also conducted an unprecedented educational outreach programme, allowing children from around the world to engage in real time with the expedition and our adventures from the outset.”
Over the past two months the Weddell Sea Expedition has investigated the Larson C Ice Shelf and begun to document the little studied marine life of the western Weddell Sea ecosystem. The expedition has had to endure heavy sea ice, freezing temperatures and harsh weather in order to improve our understanding of this remote environment.
The Society wishes all the members of the Weddell Sea Expedition and the crew of the SA Agulhas II a swift and safe journey home.
As the expedition’s educational partner, we have produced a series of resources to support teaching about this expedition, and the Weddell Sea environment and ecosystem. Find out more.
Find out more about the Weddell Sea Expedition.
If you want to learn more about the Endurance expedition and see some of Frank Hurley’s amazing images for yourself, why not visit our touring Enduring Eye exhibition which is currently at the Wilson Gallery in Cheltenham until the 24 February. Alternatively, the Antarctic Witness exhibition, which also showcases a number of Hurley images, has recently opened at the Clydebank Museum.
If you want a piece of Shackleton’s historic journey in your own home, we have created the first ever platinum prints using the original glass plate negatives of 42 of Hurley’s images. Find out more about purchasing your own prints.
A pioneering Antarctic expedition into the depths of the frozen Weddell Sea.
Honouring the achievements of Sir Ernest Shackleton and the men of the Endurance expedition of 1914-1917, our Enduring Eye exhibition is on display in Cheltenham until 24 February 2019.
The Society is joining the Weddell Sea Expedition as educational partner and will be sharing the expedition’s scientific findings with schools across the UK and internationally through specially written schools resources.
The Society has launched a new set of educational resources to help UK schools engage with the Weddell Sea Expedition.
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