Timeline for Shackleton's Endurance Expedition - An Epic Rescue Story
A Timeline of Ernest Shackleton’s Nimrod Expedition
Shackleton, a seasoned-explorer, had his sights set on the venturing to the South Pole. Though he was unsuccessful in being the first to reach the South Pole (he fell 180km short), his epic journey of the Nimrod Expedition is well noted in history, and he continues to be one of the most notable southern explorers of the Heroic Era.
December 5, 1914: Shackleton sets sail for Antarctica aboard the Endurance and heads for Vahsel Bay. The ship encounters ice early on and slows their progress.
January 19, 1915: The Endurance becomes trapped in ice in the Weddell Sea.
February 1915: Knowing that the ship is trapped in ice until the following spring, Shackleton orders his crew to abandon the ship's original plan, and instead convert the ship to a winter station until the spring.
February – September 1915: The Endurance drifts north along with the ice floe until spring (September), when the ship finally brakes free of the ice. The harsh conditions and pressure from the ice, however, put extreme wear and tear on the ship.
October 1915: The Endurance begins to take on massive amounts of water, and Shackleton orders the crew to take the provisions and equipment off the ship and make camp along an ice floe.
November 21, 1915: The Endurance sinks.
November 1915 – March 1916: Shackleton and his crew camp on the large ice floe, hoping the floe drives them towards Paulet Island, 402 km from the location where the ship sank. Several failed attempts to cross the island on foot led to the residence and permanent camp on another ice flow, called Patience Camp.
March 1916: Patience Camp has successfully made its way on the ice flow only 97 km from Paulet Island, but impassable and un-trekable conditions make floating to the island an impossible goal.
April 9, 1916: The ice floe where Patience Camp is located brakes into two, and the crew is forced to get into lifeboats and head for land. Five days at sea later, the crew reaches Elephant Island--346 miles from where the Endurance sank!
After nearly 500 days at sea, the entire crew made it safely to land without a single loss of life. The series of events that led Shackleton and his crew through the 495 day Antarctic adventure with no loss of life make Shackleton a fascinating historical leader whose travels intrigue historians even to this day.
Polar Cruises has a variety of Antarctic cruise adventures that retrace Shackleton's epic attempt at the Imperial Trans-Antarctic journey, with stops in South Georgia, Elephant Island, the Falkland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. If you are interested in finding out more about joining one of these epic historical trips, call Polar Cruises today. Find out more about the travel options we offer, and how you can start preparing for your Antarctic adventure: Toll Free at 888-484-2244 (US or Canada) or 541-330-2454 (Outside the US).