In 1914, the Endurance, a sailing ship under the command of Sir Ernest Shackleton, set sail for Antarctica. The objective of the expedition was to drop off a landing party at Vahsel Bay on the Weddell Sea, who would then attempt to cross the Antarctic Continent overland to the South Pole and then to the Ross Sea. In October, 1915, still 85 miles from the drop-off point, the ship was trapped in ice floes, then crushed and sank, leaving the crew stranded on the ice. For many months Shackleton and his 27 crewmen, drifting on ice floes, were castaways in one of the most savage regions of the world. This is a magnificent story of leadership in time of crisis, and one of history’s greatest epics of survival.
June Melby is a writer and performer with an MFA in nonfiction writing from the University of Iowa. Her work has appeared in several publications including The Utne Reader, National Lampoon Magazine, and LA Weekly. My Family and Other Hazards, her humorous, award-winning memoir about working summers at her family’s mini-golf course in Waupaca, WI, was released in 2014.
She lives in a cabin in the woods with her husband and their 20-lb. cat, Ferdinand Magellan. She can be found at junemelby.com.