Chasing Shackleton: Re-creating the World's Greatest Journey of Survival

Chasing Shackleton: Re-creating the World's Greatest Journey of Survival

Tim Jarvis

Language: English

Pages: 272

ISBN: 0062282735

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In this extraordinary adventure memoir and tie-in to the PBS documentary, Tim Jarvis, one of the world's leading explorers, describes his modern-day journey to retrace, for the first time ever—and in period clothing and gear—the legendary 1914 expedition of Sir Ernest Shackleton.

In early 1914, British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton and his team sailed for Antarctica, attempting to be the first to reach the South Pole. Instead of glory, Shackleton and his crew found themselves in an epic struggle for survival: a three-year odyssey on the ice and oceans of the Antarctic that endures as one of the world’s most famous tales of adventure, endurance, and leadership ever recorded.

In the winter of 2013, celebrated explorer Tim Jarvis, a veteran of multiple polar expeditions, set out to recreate Sir Ernest Shackleton’s treacherous voyage over sea and mountain, outfitted solely with authentic equipment—clothing, boots, food, and tools—from Shackleton’s time, a feat that has never been successfully accomplished.

Shackleton's Epic is the remarkable record of Jarvis and his team’s epic journey. Beautifully designed and illustrated with dozens of photographs from the original voyage and its modern reenactment, it is a visual feast for readers and historians alike, and an essential new chapter in the story that has inspired adventurers across every continent for a century.

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Eternal optimism is one thing but I was, after all, trying to pull off an expedition to re-create the world’s greatest survival journey during perhaps the worst recession the world has seen. Despite this, three wonderful sponsors signed on in 2012—Intrepid Travel became our naming rights sponsor; Whyte & Mackay Scotch whisky supported us with both funds and whisky (actual replica bottles of the same Mackinlay’s whisky Shackleton had taken on his expedition); and St. George Bank ensured we would

about fitting the fixed camera rig of standard and high-definition cameras that would not have been out of place on a space shuttle. According to Ed, it was by far the most complex camera rig ever fitted to a boat of this size (and probably the most expensive). Old and new: (left) the 360-degree infrared camera and (right) the 174-year-old wooden block. Courtesy of Tim Jarvis In June the Olympic Games sailing events began moving in to our Portland home, so the Alexandra Shackleton was

after 3 days of toil and exposure, without sleep, we were forty miles farther from Elephant Island. . . . The men like true British seamen ceased complaining and said grin and bear it. Growl and Go.” Nevertheless, we faced some disadvantages Shackleton did not. Most significantly, we had gone from a position of safety and predictability, where we were largely able to control our circumstances, to one filled with danger and unpredictability. In some respects Shackleton had at least arrived at a

asking how we were getting on. “All good and ready to go,” said Baz as we got down to the detail of how we would proceed. Baz would lead; I, as the heaviest man, would be the anchor at the back; and Larso would travel in the middle. All gear except the food we could carry in our small packs would go back down to Australis with Jamie and Joe, who had come to film our departure. Larso would remain in his modern gear and carry a tent and bivvy bag for emergencies. Baz and I, of course, would stick

Baz had taken on cooking duties among the six of us and, like Crean, also regularly provided musical offerings. While Baz’s songs were recognizable, Shackleton wrote of Crean’s singing at the helm: “Nobody ever discovered what the song was. It was devoid of tune and as monotonous as the chanting of a Buddhist monk at his prayers; yet somehow it was cheerful.” Which was preferable, I can’t be sure. Inevitable comparisons would be made between Shackleton and me as expedition leader, in terms of our

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