Antarctica Adventure - 2002

Finally, we reached the stony beach, littered with quarrelsome fur seal youngsters of all ages, and there on our right was the derelict Stromness Whaling Station, which must have looked like a paradise to Shackleton. Where we saw death and destruction of not only the great whales but now of the “mighty works of man,” those three men were looking at “civilization,” a human abode, where for them waited rescue—food, shelter, warmth, rest, and clean clothing! It is such a testament to the British customs and manners of the time that Shackleton walked to the end of the Station where the manager’s house lay, knocked at the door and waited for it to be answered. Naturally, he and all the men on the Endurance had already been presumed dead, so there was certainly no way that the manager would have thought to guess that the cadaverous, filthy, blackened-face man was Ernest Shackleton and some of his crew! When the Norwegian whalers came to realize who these men were and what lay behind the fact of their standing before them, many wept. Shackleton’s survival story will live in the annals of exploration as long as men read such stories. And we were privileged to walk just a couple of miles in his steps! Soaked to the skin as we were when we returned to the ship, we too enjoyed the blessings of civilization. We gave the sodden parkas to our cabin stewardess, took warm showers, and then hung all the rest of the wet clothing around the bathroom and cabin areas, hoping they would dry. We were quite pleased to get the parkas back from Monica only about an hour later. What an exciting and satisfyingday!

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