Monday, February 27, 2023

The Ship Beneath the Ice

The Ship Beneath the Ice: The Discovery of Shackleton's Endurance by Mensun Bound
2/28/23; 416 pages
Mariner Books; HarperCollins

The Ship Beneath the Ice: The Discovery of Shackleton's Endurance by Mensun Bound is a very highly recommended account of the two expeditions undertaken in 2019 and 2022 to successfully find the Endurance.

Briefly, on November 21, 1914, Ernest Shackleton and his crew sailed the Endurance to Antarctica to become the first to cross the continent, but early season pack ice trapped them in place and the Endurance sank. Since this the Endurance was one of the most legendary lost ships and the most unreachable due to the hostile environment. The Ship Beneath the Ice is the account of marine archeologist Mensun Bound and an elite team of explorers set out to find the lost shipwreck.

This real life adventure story is told through diary entries of Bound and extracts of diary entries of Shackleton and his men. The first recovery operation in 2019 was proceeded by years of preparation and then they had many technical challenges with the AUV. Finally they had to stop the first expedition once the weather deteriorated and the ship got stuck in the ice. The team launched their second attempt in 2022 with new equipment, a Sabertooth diving vessel with a tilt camera, and had success.

For those who enjoy maritime history, the story of the Endurance, or following searches for lost parts of history will likely appreciate this story of successfully uncovering a part of history while also presenting the historical facts of the original expedition. The book is well written and descriptive, although the diary entries require some getting used to at first. The presentation of the history and current situation are expertly written and the tension involved is clearly shown in both timelines.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins and Mariner Books via Edelweiss.

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