Thursday, January 9, 2014

Chasing Shackleton - Episodes 1 and 2 | PBS

In 1999 I went to the Shackleton Antarctic Expedition exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History.  I was stunned by the beautiful photographs of Frank Hurley, the amazing story of survival after the Endurance was crushed in the ice, capped by Shackleton's rescue mission from Elephant Island 800 miles across the southern ocean to South Georgia Island in the 21 foot James Caird lifeboat (which was there at the museum).
For months I was obsessed, reading the many accounts of the journey.  Though nothing can match South - Ernest Shackleton's own account - the most vivid and dramatic is journalist Alfred Lansing's Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage.

But my obsession pales in light of mountaineer Tim Jarvis, who organized an expedition to repeat the legendary voyage of the Caird, in a replica - The Alexandra Shackleton.  They undertook to repeat it in original equipment - oil skins clothing, contemporary rations (4,500 unpalatable calories/day of "hoosh"), sextant, compass.  Though regulations required an escort vessel, VHF and AIS those electronics systems proved to be shaky.

Jarvis and crew did have cameras, which made  possible much of the video in the excellent PBS film, the second episode of which will air January 15, 2014.  Meanwhile the link below will bring you to Episode 1.   Enjoy.  - GWC
Chasing Shackleton | PBS: Episode 1
Episode 2
"The series follows a crew of five intrepid explorers led by renowned adventurer, scientist and author Tim Jarvis as they re-create Shackleton’s epic sea-and-land voyage in a replica of the original explorers’ boat, using only the tools and supplies his team used.
Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Trans-Antarctic Expedition, which launched in 1914, met with disaster when his ship The Endurance was crushed by arctic ice and sank. His heroic leadership in the face of almost certain death saved the lives of 27 men stranded in the Antarctic for more than 500 days, and has inspired explorers and leaders across every continent over many generations."

'via Blog this'

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I went to the same exhibit at the AMNH George, and it had the same effect. I read everything I could find on the expedition, and completed the journey by reading a copy of Shackleton's own journal of his incredible survival story "South". This so-called re-creation understandably has a well founded 75 foot yacht keepng watch, and the men attempting the feat have not been homeless on a sheet of ice, eating penguin for a year and a half prior to setting out on the dare devil feat of sailing over a thousand miles of open antarctic waters in a somewhat converted 22 foot lifeboat. Still, their bravery and dedication to re-creating this most awesome record of survival in the antarctic, is laudable, even if it is a wee bit crazy as well, and this cool multi-part documentary should be a feast for the eyes of any and all Shackletonians. The greatest story of survival in the age of arctic exploration.