Shackleton Ship Found

The Antarctic environment which Shackleton and crew survived
The Antarctic environment which Shackleton and crew survived (source)

Endurance, the ship used by Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton on his most famous adventure, has been located under the sea. In 1915, the ship became stuck in ice, was crushed, and eventually sank to the bottom of the ocean in the Weddell Sea near Antarctica. This month, a team of adventurers and researchers fought freezing temperatures and sea ice to find the wreck with the help of undersea drones.

Shackleton and his crew were trying to become the first people to cross Antarctica, but the loss of the Endurance turned their journey into one of the great survival stories of the time. Their original plan was to walk from the Weddell Sea edge of Antarctica (closer to South America) to the South Pole, and from there to the Ross Sea that is closer to New Zealand and Australia. However, the ice in the Weddell Sea trapped their vessel before they could reach the land.

After drifting with the ice for months, the ship started to break apart, which forced the crew to spend more months camping on the ice. They floated further on the ice and eventually used their lifeboats to reach the uninhabited Elephant Island. From there, Shackleton and five of the crew members traveled an amazing 1300km in treacherous ocean conditions, in only an open lifeboat, to an island called South Georgia. Then Shackleton and two others crossed mountainous land to a whaling station, where they were able to organize a rescue of the other crew members. Miraculously, all the crew members survived.

Although their original mission failed, the crew of the ship came to embody the idea of endurance. Now that the Endurance has been found and photographed, their story is complete.


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Worksheet with activities


Hear the article spoken:

Useful Language

  • Endurance (n) - the quality of continuing for a long time, even while suffering
  • Antarctic (adj) - the adjective for the southern continent, Antarctica
  • Wreck (n) - a ship or other vehicle that has been badly damaged
  • Vessel (n) - a ship
  • Drift (v) - to move slowly on water or wind
  • Uninhabited (adj) - describing a place where no one lives
  • Treacherous (adj) - very dangerous
  • Mountainous (adj) - covered with many mountains
  • Whaling (n) - the hunting of whales
  • Embody (v) - to represent something exactly


Discuss the following questions with your partner(s).

  1. Why do some people want to explore the world (or universe)? Are they looking for recognition from other people? Or are they doing it for themselves?
  2. Do you have a desire to explore? If so, where would you like to explore?
  3. Have humans been everywhere on Earth? Is space the only place left for exploration?
  4. What kind of environment is the most difficult to survive in? Why is it tough? Do people live there?
  5. What kind of environment is most comfortable for you? Why do you like it?
  6. People sometimes say that ‘getting out of your comfort zone’ is a good thing. Do you agree?
  7. Do you think you could survive a long time in difficult conditions? Do you have endurance?
  8. Which part of Shackleton’s journey most impressed you?
  9. Have you ever found something that you thought you had lost? If so, talk about it.
  10. Do you know any other explorers in real life or in stories? Where did they explore?