Posted by: brigid benson | August 22, 2010

Anchors Aweigh! Or perhaps not…

I have done it. Damn the Admiralty…Not a life lost and we have been through hell.’

Sir Ernest Shackleton

I witnessed extraordinary events this week.

The Merseyside Maritime Museum is hosting, until January 2011, an outstanding exhibition of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ill fated 1914 quest to explore the frozen continent of Antarctica.

His proud Norwegian built ship, Endurance, which served often as a battering ram through the ice floes was famously destroyed by compacted ice in the Weddell Sea. Marooned for months, expedition leader Shackleton was forced to make  life and death decisions for his 28 crew members, including a stowaway, 69 dogs and one ship’s cat called Mrs Chippy. The drama is documented by crew member Frank Hurley’s outstanding film and photography.  To hear of the ordeal is one thing, to witness it, quite another. I know that many people in the room with me were so overwhelmed that they were already planning their second visit.

The exhibition, from the American Museum of Natural History, runs until January 3 2011.  You won’t regret seeing it, that’s for sure.

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