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Book Review: The Ship Beneath The Ice by Mensun Bound

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Review by Professor Fred Lockwood

The Ship Beneath the IceThere are thousands of ship wrecks around the world. Many are associated with both dramatic and tragic events. Some have been captured in paintings and photographs. Stories about a few, like the Titanic, have captured our imagination and entered folk law.

The loss of the Endurance, crushed by ice and sinking 3000 metres to the bottom of the Weddell Sea, Antarctica on 21st November 1915, and Ernest Shackleton’s incredible journey to safety, is one of these amazing stories. If one image captures this story it is the iconic photograph of the Endurance, taken by Frank Hurley, just before the ship sank. It appears on the cover of the book.

When the Endurance sank Shackleton and his crew spent months on the ice as they drifted north – waiting for the right time to drag lifeboats towards open water. They sailed in three open boats, in conditions difficult to imagine, 346 miles to the uninhabited Elephant Island. Then, with five crew, Shackleton sailed another 800 miles to South Georgia and then trekked overland to where the expedition had started months earlier. Not a single crew member was lost.

It is noteworthy that whilst virtually all the credit for their survival is given to Shackleton it was his captain, Frank Worsley, who’s navigation saved three open boats rowing in freezing conditions. It truly was ‘a remarkable feat of nautical wayfinding.’ p 79.

Mensun Bound’s book, The Ship Beneath The Ice, recounts two expeditions, in 2019 and 2022, to find the Endurance. It’s an account based on his daily observations during the two expeditions he led, intertwined with diary entries, books and note books written by those on Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. On each day of the search Bound provides precise coordinates for the search ship so that the reader can check their progress or rather the higgledy-piggledy trace around ice bergs, impenetrable ice flows and through sheets of sea ice.

Bound adopts a relaxed, conversational, uninhibited style that belies a forensic account of both his own search and Shackleton’s ill-fated expedition. In doing so he also provides a reassessment of the myths surrounding Shackleton, not to undermine his achievements, but to acknowledge the contribution of others. The unending cold, exhaustion, lack of food and looming death faced by Endurance’s crew mirrors the challenges and frustrations that Bound’s Expedition faced and their looming failure.

The Ship Beneath The Ice also reveals the pressure Bound and the expedition were under to find the ship. To the uninitiated it would seem to be a simple process to locate the Endurance; it wasn’t. The navigator on the Endurance, Captain Worsley, had provided a location – but it was based on extremely difficult sextant readings and chronometers of unknown accuracy. If Captain Worsley’s coordinates for the sinking of the Endurance were out by a mere one and a half degrees it equated to about 20 miles; they would never find the Endurance. What’s more, Bound’s search area was dominated by massive ice flows, treacherous weather and a limited window in time. He describes the ice as ‘…gnarled, mangled, multiyear stuff that was over five metres thick and tough as teak.’ p. 172. The brutal weather included driving snow, forty knot winds and seven metre waves! They also only had weeks to complete the search before winter. It is in this context that Bound shares his own emotions; the anticipation of success and the fear of failure; emotions similar to that of Endurance’s crew.

The author includes black and white photographs taken on Shackleton’s Expedition with colour photographs taken during the search. Throughout he draws upon published books, reports and accounts, provides detailed acknowledgements and appendices, text and picture credits, a selected Shackleton bibliography as well as a comprehensive index.

There is little to criticise in Mensun Bound’s account of the search for Endurance. It is a compelling read. If I have one criticism it would be the lack of a fold out map of his search area. It would allow the reader to follow the search more clearly and appreciate the difficulties they faced in such a hostile environment.

After reading The Ship Beneath The Ice I suspect you will reconsider the contribution of marine archaeologists, like Mensun Bound, and reassess the adulation given to Shackleton and possibly other famous figures.

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Mensun Bound is a British marine archaeologist and diver. He was born in the Falkland Islands in February 1953 and during his career has discovered many of the world’s most famous wrecks. These include the WWI Imperial German Navy cruiser the SMS Scharnhorst, an Etruscan 6th-century BC shipwreck off the coast of Italy and the Hoi An Wreck, off the coast of Vietnam.

He is a trustee of the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust. The Ship Beneath The Ice is his first book.

Dr Fred Lockwood is Emeritus Professor of Learning and Teaching, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. He is also a PADI Master Scuba Diver and dived in the waters of Central America and Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia, Australasia and the Pacific Islands. Follow Fred at www.fredlockwood.co.uk.

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Dive into Luxury: Bunaken Oasis Seeks Seventh Consecutive World Travel Awards Win

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In the vibrant heart of Sulawesi, Indonesia, nestled among the pristine waters of Bunaken Marine Park, lies Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort. For the past six years, this remarkable resort has been recognised as “Indonesia’s Leading Dive Resort” by the World Travel Awards, and it is now in contention for an unprecedented seventh consecutive win.

A Beacon of Excellence

The World Travel Awards are often referred to as the “Oscars of the travel industry,” celebrating the very best in global tourism and hospitality. Winning this award is no small feat and speaks volumes about the exceptional quality and service that Bunaken Oasis consistently delivers. This accolade is a testament to the resort’s unwavering commitment to providing unparalleled guest experiences.

Vote for Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort Here

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What Sets Bunaken Oasis Apart?

Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort is celebrated not just for its luxurious amenities but also for the deep, genuine care it extends to its guests. The resort offers a unique blend of elegance and adventure, providing world-class diving experiences in one of the planet’s richest marine biodiversity hotspots.

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The true magic of Bunaken Oasis lies in its people. The resort’s staff are renowned for their warmth, professionalism, and dedication. From personalised diving excursions to bespoke hospitality, every team member plays a crucial role in creating a welcoming and memorable atmosphere. Their passion for excellence and attention to detail are key reasons why guests return year after year.

Vote for Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort Here

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Show Your Support

As Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort vies for its seventh title, the support of its loyal guests and admirers becomes even more crucial. Voting for the World Travel Awards is an opportunity for fans of the resort to show their appreciation and help ensure that this gem continues to shine brightly on the world stage.

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How to Vote

Supporting Bunaken Oasis is simple and impactful. Click the link below to show your support and cast your vote for Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort as “Indonesia’s Leading Dive Resort” on the World Travel Awards website.

Vote for Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort Here

Looking Ahead

Winning this award for the seventh time would be a crowning achievement for Bunaken Oasis, solidifying its status as a premier destination for luxury diving and relaxation. But more than the award itself, it is the ongoing support and love from guests that fuels the resort’s continuous pursuit of excellence.

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Whether you are an experienced diver or simply in search of a serene escape, Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort offers a sanctuary of beauty, tranquillity, and unparalleled service. Join us in celebrating this exceptional resort and help Bunaken Oasis secure its place as Indonesia’s leading dive resort for another year.

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Vote for Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort Here

For more information about Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort and to experience its magic first-hand, visit their official website.

Dive into luxury and adventure at Bunaken Oasis Dive Resort – where every moment is crafted to perfection.

Email: info@bunakenoasis.com / WhatsApp: +44 7785 576331 / WhatsApp: +62 812 4649 6763 

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The Ocean Cleanup to Complete 100th Extraction Live from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

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  • The Ocean Cleanup marks 100th extraction of plastic pollution from the Pacific Ocean by livestreaming entire cleaning operation from start to finish.
  • Occasion brings together supporters, partners, donors and followers as the project readies its cleanup technology for scale-up.
  • Founder and CEO Boyan Slat to provide insight on the plans ahead.

The Ocean Cleanup is set to reach a milestone of 100 plastic extractions from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Extraction #100, scheduled for 28 or 29 May 2024, will be the first ever to be livestreamed direct from the Pacific Ocean, allowing supporters and partners around the world to see up close how the organization has removed over 385,000 kilograms (nearly 850,000 lbs) of plastic from the GPGP so far – more than double the bare weight of the Statue of Liberty.

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The mission of The Ocean Cleanup is to rid the oceans of plastic. To do this, the non-profit project employs a dual strategy: cleaning up legacy floating plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (the world’s largest accumulation of floating plastic), while stopping the flow of plastic from the world’s most polluting rivers.

The Ocean Cleanup captured its first plastic (the first ‘extraction’) in the GPGP in 2019 with System 001, following years of trials and testing with a variety of concepts. Through System 002 and now the larger and more efficient System 03, the organization has consistently improved and optimized operations, and is now preparing to extract plastic trash from the GPGP for the 100th time.

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Extraction #100 will be an interactive broadcast showing the entire extraction procedure live and in detail, with insight provided by representatives from across The Ocean Cleanup and partners contributing to the operations.

This is an important milestone in a key year for The Ocean Cleanup.’ said Boyan Slat, Founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup. ‘We’ve come a long way since our first extraction in 2019. During the 2024 season, with System 03, we aim to demonstrate that we are ready to scale up, and with it, confine the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to the history books.

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The livestream will be hosted on The Ocean Cleanup’s YouTube channel and via X. Monitor @theoceancleanup for confirmed timings.

www.theoceancleanup.com

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