Stephen Haddelsey - Ice captain. The life of J.R. Stenhouse
Ever since news of its astonishing fate first broke over ninety years ago, Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition has been regarded as one of the supreme examples of man’s determination to overcome insurmountable odds. In that incredible story it is generally acknowledged that one of the most dramatic episodes is the epic small-boat voyage from Elephant Island to South Georgia. What is less well known, is that the expedition gave rise to not one but two heroic feats of seamanship, with matters of life and death hinging upon each in equal measure. This book tells, for the first time, the story of the man responsible for that other, less celebrated but equally remarkable odyssey: Joseph Russell Stenhouse.
Shackleton’s trial began in the Weddell Sea; but, on the other side of Antarctica, the expedition’s second ship, the Aurora, suffered a fate which closely paralleled that of the Endurance. Torn from her moorings and driven out to sea by a ferocious gale, she, too, became trapped in pack-ice which, for ten months, sawed relentlessly at her hull, lifting the 600-ton ship from the water like a toy and straining her timbers to breaking point. With her rudder smashed and water cascading from her seams, under Stenhouse’s command, the Aurora eventually broke free and embarked upon her own extraordinary and desperate voyage to reach safe harbour.
In Ice Captain Stephen Haddelsey tells this thrilling story for the first time. It is a book not only for those interested in the history of Antarctic exploration, but for anyone thrilled by the adrenaline-fuelled heroism of a bygone age.
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