“What the ice gets, the ice keeps”: Endurance Expedition

Endurance in the background. The dogs housed in "dogloos" are fed by expedition members (Credit: Library of Congress)

“As ice pushed from three different directions converging at one point, which happened to be where Endurance sat, the ship shuddered as she was twisted. And then she began to take on water. If they wanted to save Endurance, the crew would have to move fast. The water was pumped … Continue reading

Seventy Days: SS Anglo-Saxon

Jolly-Boat, top left (Courtesy Wikipedia)

Numbers in brackets proceeding names indicate age. The evening of 21 August 1940 found the SS Anglo-Saxon steaming along peacefully having departed Newport, Wales days earlier. The tramp steamer carried 40 in crew. Among her crewmen were Robert Tapscott (19) … Continue reading

Deserted: USS Juneau

USS Juneau (Courtesy Wikipedia)

On 25 October 1941 an Atlanta-class cruiser, the USS Juneau, was launched in Kearny, New Jersey. In February of the next year she was commissioned. In command was Captain Lyman Swenson. Although Swenson didn’t have much of a home life … Continue reading

“We Have Been Stoved By a Whale” : Whaler Essex

The Essex and the whale by Thomas Nickerson (Courtesy Wikipedia)

By the time of her final voyage in 1819, the Nantucket whaler Essex was an aged lady, but a very successful one. That was about to change. Her captain was George Pollard, a first mate from the previous voyage. On 12 … Continue reading

A Superior Menace: SS Mataafa

Great Lakes Freighter.Duluth, Minnesota Courtesy Library of Congress

Built in 1899 and named the Pennsylvania the freighter was sold to the Minnesota Steamship Company and renamed the SS Mataafa. Throughout her career, which spanned from 1900 to 1965, the Mataafa suffered one mishap after another. The shipping season had been … Continue reading

Castaways: Shipwrecked on Auckland Island

Schooners (1892) Courtesy Library of Congress

Captain Thomas Musgrave and Raynal François were planning to head for Campbell Island at the urging of the less than trustworthy pair “Uncle” Musgrave and Charles Sarpy. Looking for a sturdy vessel they located the schooner, Grafton. Then came the gathering … Continue reading