OC returns to Antarctica in search of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s lost ship

We are proud to report that Thomas Ross (Class of 2020), has been living a life of adventure, since he matriculated from College just over a year ago. After working with Matt Botha (Class of 1997) from Wild Child Africa , he managed to get a seat on the first Airbus A340 to ever land in Antarctica, marking a historical feat. The plane flew from Cape Town, South Africa, and flew 2,500 nautical miles (2,877 miles) to Antarctica in five and a half hours. Landing in Antarctica poses unique challenges due to the glare created by the ice. Read the full story online here

First Airbus A530 in Antarctica
Photo credit: White Desert, Hi Fly

Thomas spent two months on the “Frozen Continent” surviving in a tent, as temperatures beyond his humble home plummeted to minus 30 degrees Celsius.

On the 5th of February this year, he started his return journey to Antarctica on the SA Agulhas II with a very specific mission.

The ship has a sacred task ahead of it: to find Sir Ernest Shackleton’s lost ship, the Endurance, which is said to be the last relic of the “Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration”. Read more online here

During the ill-fated 1914–1917 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, the Endurance was crushed by pack ice in the Weddell Sea in 1915, after which Shackleton led all of his stranded crew of 27 men on an arduous journey to safety that is labelled by some as the “Greatest Journey Ever Told”.

Original advertisement for crew members

He and his men endured life on the ice, then sailed their open lifeboats for five days to Elephant Island, Shackleton then then led five of his men on an 1300 km, 15-day open-boat journey to South Georgia Island using only dead-reckoning to navigate them across wild seas, and Shackleton and two of those companions – upon landing on the wrong side of that island – then traversed the as yet unconquered mountain range to safety at the old whaling station in Stromness Bay, where his grand adventure had started nearly three years earlier. It is said that when the gruff Norwegian whaling station commander was accosted by these bearded and bedraggled strangers, covered in whale blubber for insolation, he demanded, “And who the hell are you?” to which Sir Ernest replied quietly, “My name is Shackleton”. It is said that the old Norwegian turned away and wept. Good luck, Tom!