Shackleton’s ship endures, like the fiction of his greatness

“Shackleton” is one of those names that are guaranteed to stir the blood of a certain type of Briton. In company with stablemates such as Churchill, Nelson, Scott and Lawrence, the surname evokes an association with a supposedly glorious past that somehow stiffens the sinews.

The sound of those sinews twanging tight was audible across Britain this month at the news that polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton’s lost ship, the Endurancehad indeed endured, having been discovered all but intact some 3 kilometers below the surface of the Weddell Sea, 106 years after it was crushed by the ice and sank in 1915.

Remarkably, thanks to the absence of wood-munching parasites in the cold antarctic waters, the ship was as whole as the day it went down.

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