Tom Crean – Quotes
Sir Ernest Shackleton – Quoted from “South”
As the tiny James Caird lifeboat made its way across the convulsive Weddell Sea, and the weary six man crew struggled to cope with numerous dangers, hunger, cold and unrelenting soakings, sometimes Tom Crean would sing, especially when he would take up his shift at the boat’s tiller. Crean’s singing has been mentioned in many Polar memoirs, and none allude to anything other than the fact that he was not particularly adept at it, though it did in some strange way help raise his comrades morale. During moments of intense peril or indeed at times when some of the mens spirits were starting to flag, Crean’s crooning would begin.
Below is Sir Ernest Shackleton’s take on Crean’s intoning on the voyage of the James Caird.
The Voyage Of The James Caird Begins.
The Endurance Expedition.
April 24th 1916.
“The 20-ft. boat had never looked big; she appeared to have shrunk in some mysterious way when I viewed her in the light of our new undertaking.”
Ernest Shackleton on viewing the James Caird prior to the voyage.
The 28 men of the Endurance were stranded on Elephant Island, having reached the desolate outcrop on April 16th, after an utterly gruelling seven day voyage. They had sailed there in three lifeboats, salvaged from the expedition ship, before it was crushed and sunk, by the ice floes that had held it captive for months.
While it was a welcome relief for the crew to be back on land, after surviving on the drifting floes, since abandoning the ship on October 27th 1915, their survival chances were still very slim.
Elephant Island is a 29 mile long, fog shrouded, ice covered mountain, that supports virtually no vegetation, and was not remotely near any shipping lanes, which meant there was no hope of rescue from passing vessels. On examining their supplies, Shackleton estimated that they had approximately five weeks food, which could possibly be stretched to three months, at half rations. There was always the contingency of supplementing the stock with seals and sea elephants, but they appeared to have deserted the beach as soon as the men arrived.
“The Shackleton Epic began in 2008, when Alexandra Shackleton, granddaughter of Sir Ernest, approached Tim Jarvis with the idea of an expedition to honour one of the greatest leadership and survival stories of all time.
A crew of five British and Australian adventurers joined expedition leader Tim Jarvis AM FRGS, and on 11 February 2013 became the first to authentically re-enact Sir Ernest Shackleton’s perilous voyage from Elephant Island to South Georgia and the dangerous crossing of its mountainous interior.
The Shackleton Epic were the first to successfully re-enact Shackleton’s complete ‘double’ journey across sea and land using traditional gear. British/Australian adventurer Jarvis, 47, a veteran of multiple polar expeditions, believes it was the most challenging expedition of his life.”
From The Shackleton Epic