Quotes from Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

282 pages

Rating: (59.9K votes)


“No matter what the odds, a man does not pin his last hope for survival on something and then expect that it will fail.”
― quote from Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage


“We had seen God in His splendors, heard the text that Nature renders. We had reached the naked soul of man.”
― quote from Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage


“In that instant they felt an overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment. Though they had failed dismally even to come close to the expedition's original objective, they knew now that somehow they had done much, much more than ever they set out to do.”
― quote from Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage


“Of all their enemies -- the cold, the ice, the sea -- he feared none more than demoralization.”
― quote from Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage


“He promised to write a book later about the trip. He sold the rights to the motion pictures and still photographs that would be taken, and he agreed to give a long lecture series on his return. In all these arrangments, there was one basic assumption - that Shackleton would survive.”
― quote from Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage



“Unlike the land, where courage and the simple will to endure can often see a man through, the struggle against the sea is an act of
physical combat, and there is no escape. It is a battle against a tireless enemy in which man never actually wins; the most that he can hope for is not to be defeated.”
― quote from Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage


“The rapidity with which one can completely change one’s ideas . . . and accommodate ourselves to a state of barbarism is wonderful.”
― quote from Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage


“In some ways they had come to know themselves better. In this lonely world of ice and emptiness, they had achieved at least a limited kind of contentment. They had been tested and found not wanting.”
― quote from Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage


“The whole undertaking was criticized in some circles as being too "audacious." And perhaps it was. But if it hadn't been audacious, it wouldn't have been to Shackleton's liking. He was, above all, an explorer in the classic mold—utterly self-reliant, romantic, and just a little swashbuckling.”
― quote from Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage


“They thought of home, naturally, but there was no burning desire to be in civilization for its own sake. Worsley recorded: "Waking on a fine morning I feel a great longing for the smell of dewy wet grass and flowers of a Spring morning in New Zealand or England. One has very few other longings for civilization—good bread and butter, Munich beer, Coromandel rock oysters, apple pie and Devonshire cream are pleasant reminiscences rather than longings.”
― quote from Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage



“This, then, was the Drake Passage, the most dreaded bit of ocean on the globe—and rightly so. Here nature has been given a proving ground on which to demonstrate what she can do if left alone. The”
― quote from Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage


“Even at home, with theatres and all sorts of amusements, changes of scene and people, four months idleness would be tedious: One can then imagine how much worse it is for us.”
― quote from Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage


“Lat. 65°43' South—73 miles North drift. The most cheerful”
― quote from Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage


“A forbidding-looking place, certainly, but that only made it seem the more pitiful. It was the refuge of twenty-two men who, at that very moment, were camped on a precarious, storm-washed spit of beach, as helpless and isolated from the outside world as if they were on another planet. Their plight was known only to the six men in this ridiculously little boat, whose responsibility now was to prove that all the laws of chance were wrong—and return with help. It was a staggering trust.”
― quote from Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage


“In all the world there is no desolation more complete than the polar night. It is a return to the Ice Age— no warmth, no life, no movement. Only those who have experienced it can fully appreciate what it means to be without the sun day after day and week after week. Few men unaccustomed to it can fight off its effects altogether, and it has driven some men mad.”
― quote from Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage



“The date was October 27, 1915. The name of the ship was Endurance. The position was 69°5´ South, 51°30´ West—deep in the icy wasteland of the Antarctic’s treacherous Weddell Sea, just about midway between the South Pole and the nearest known outpost of humanity, some 1,200 miles away. Few men have borne the responsibility Shackleton did at that moment. Though he certainly was aware that their situation was desperate, he could not possibly have imagined then the physical and emotional demands that ultimately would be placed upon them, the rigors they would have to endure, the sufferings to which they would be subjected. They were for all practical purposes alone in the frozen Antarctic seas. It had been very nearly a year since they had last been in contact with civilization. Nobody in the outside world knew they were in trouble, much less where they were. They had no radio transmitter with which to notify any would-be rescuers, and it is doubtful that any rescuers could have reached them even if they had been able to broadcast an SOS. It was 1915, and there were no helicopters, no Weasels, no Sno-Cats, no suitable planes. Thus their plight was naked and terrifying in its simplicity. If they were to get out—they had to get themselves out. Shackleton”
― quote from Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage


“Returning from a hunting trip, Orde-Lees, traveling on skis across the rotting surface of the ice, had just about reached camp when an evil, knoblike head burst out of the water just in front of him. He turned and fled, pushing as hard as he could with his ski poles and shouting for Wild to bring his rifle. The animal—a sea leopard—sprang out of the water and came after him, bounding across the ice with the peculiar rocking-horse gait of a seal on land. The beast looked like a small dinosaur, with a long, serpentine neck. After a half-dozen leaps, the sea leopard had almost caught up with Orde-Lees when it unaccountably wheeled and plunged again into the water. By then, Orde-Lees had nearly reached the opposite side of the floe; he was about to cross to safe ice when the sea leopard’s head exploded out of the water directly ahead of him. The animal had tracked his shadow across the ice. It made a savage lunge for Orde-Lees with its mouth open, revealing an enormous array of sawlike teeth. Orde-Lees’ shouts for help rose to screams and he turned and raced away from his attacker. The animal leaped out of the water again in pursuit just as Wild arrived with his rifle. The sea leopard spotted Wild, and turned to attack him. Wild dropped to one knee and fired again and again at the onrushing beast. It was less than 30 feet away when it finally dropped. Two dog teams were required to bring the carcass into camp. It measured 12 feet long, and they estimated its weight at about 1,100 pounds. It was a predatory species of seal, and resembled a leopard only in its spotted coat—and its disposition. When it was butchered, balls of hair 2 and 3 inches in diameter were found in its stomach—the remains of crabeater seals it had eaten. The sea leopard’s jawbone, which measured nearly 9 inches across, was given to Orde-Lees as a souvenir of his encounter. In his diary that night, Worsley observed: “A man on foot in soft, deep snow and unarmed would not have a chance against such an animal as they almost bound along with a rearing, undulating motion at least five miles an hour. They attack without provocation, looking on man as a penguin or seal.”
― quote from Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage


“There were the sounds of the pack in movement—the basic noises, the grunting and whining of the floes, along with an occasional thud as a heavy block collapsed. But in addition, the pack under compression seemed to have an almost limitless repertoire of sounds, many of which seemed strangely unrelated to the noise of ice undergoing pressure. Sometimes there was a sound like a gigantic train with squeaky axles being shunted roughly about with a great deal of bumping and clattering. At the same time a huge ship’s whistle blew, mingling with the crowing of roosters, the roar of a distant surf, the soft throb of an engine far away, and the moaning cries of an old woman. In the rare periods of calm, when the movement of the pack subsided for a moment, the muffled rolling of drums drifted across the air.”
― quote from Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage


“The ship reacted to each fresh wave of pressure in a different way. Sometimes she simply quivered briefly as a human being might wince if seized by a single, stabbing pain. Other times she retched in a series of convulsive jerks accompanied by anguished outcries. On these occasions her three masts whipped violently back and forth as the rigging tightened like harpstrings. But most agonizing for the men were the times when she seemed a huge creature suffocating and gasping for breath, her sides heaving against the strangling pressure.

More than any other single impression in those final hours, all the men were struck, almost to the point of horror, by the way the ship behaved like a giant beast in its death agonies.”
― quote from Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage


“They were for all practical purposes alone in the frozen Antarctic seas. It had been very nearly a year since they had last been in contact with civilization. Nobody in the outside world knew they were in trouble, much less where they were. They had no radio transmitter with which to notify any would-be rescuers, and it is doubtful that any rescuers could have reached them even if they had been able to broadcast an SOS. It was 1915, and there were no helicopters, no Weasels, no Sno-Cats, no suitable planes.

Thus their plight was naked and terrifying in its simplicity. If they were to get out—they had to get themselves out.”
― quote from Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage



“Whatever his mood—whether it was gay and breezy, or dark with rage—he had one pervading characteristic: he was purposeful.”
― quote from Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage


“be made of the wind’s actual speed,”
― quote from Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage


“Nor did the Antarctic represent to Shackleton merely the grubby means to a financial end. In a very real sense he needed it—something so enormous, so demanding, that it provided a touchstone for his monstrous ego and implacable drive. In ordinary situations, Shackleton's tremendous capacity for boldness and daring found almost nothing worthy of its pulling power; he was a Percheron draft horse harnessed to a child's wagon cart. But in the Antarctic—here was a burden which challenged every atom of his strength.

Thus, while Shackleton was undeniably out of place, even inept, in a great many everyday situations, he had a talent—a genius, even—that he shared with only a handful of men throughout history—genuine leadership. He was, as one of his men put it, "the greatest leader that ever came on God's earth, bar none.”
― quote from Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage


“The simple act of sailing had carried him beyond the world of reversals, frustrations, and inanities. And in the space of a few short hours, life had been reduced from a highly complex existence, with a thousand petty problems, to one of the barest simplicity in which only one real task remained—the achievement of the goal.”
― quote from Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage


“Then he opened the Bible Queen Alexandra had given them and ripped out the flyleaf and the page containing the Twenty-third Psalm. He also tore out the page from the Book of Job with this verse on it:

Out of whose womb came the ice?
And the hoary frost of Heaven, who hath gendered it?
The waters are hid as with a stone.
And the face of the deep is frozen.

The he laid the Bible in the snow and walked away.
It was a dramatic gesture, but that was the way Shackleton wanted it. From studying the outcome of past expeditions, he believed that those that burdened themselves with equipment to meet every contingency had fared much worse than those that had sacrificed total preparedness for speed.”
― quote from Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage



Popular quotes

“They feared you, and love can’t exist when there’s that much fear.”
― Michelle Sagara, quote from Cast in Fury


“You know about the Big Bang, right? They believe that the universe was born in a tremendous explosion twenty billion years ago. I can mathematically express the form of the universe, from its birth to the present. It's all about differential equations. Most phenomena in the universe can be expressed with differential equations, you know. Using them, you can figure out what the universe looked like a hundred million years ago, ten billion years ago, even a second or a tenth of a second after that initial explosion. But. No matter how far we go back, no matter how we try to express it, we just can't know what it looked like at zero, at the very moment of the explosion. And there's another thing. How is our universe going to end? Is the universe expanding or contracting? See, we don't know the beginning and we don't know the end; all we can know about is the in-between stuff. And that, my friend, is what life is like.”
― Kōji Suzuki, quote from Ring


“I am not a morning person. Never have been - never want to be. As a matter of fact, I am vaguely distrustful of people who bound out of bed early like demented puppies. It's barbaric to wake up before 9:00 a.m.”
― P.C. Cast, quote from Divine By Choice


“চিরকালের জানা যখন এক মুহূর্তে অজানা হয়ে ওঠে তখন সে এক বিভীষিকা।”
― Rabindranath Tagore, quote from The Home and the World


“I can't help giving her the Mummy Once-Over myself, and she's one of those mothers who wears Crocs over nubbly homemade socks. (Why would you do that? Why?)”
― Sophie Kinsella, quote from Mini Shopaholic


Interesting books

Touch Me
(740)
Touch Me
by T.H. Snyder
Between a Rock and a Hard Place
(17.6K)
Between a Rock and a...
by Aron Ralston
The Journey Home: Autobiography of an American Swami
(2.5K)
The Journey Home: Au...
by Radhanath Swami
Ice
(2K)
Ice
by Anna Kavan
The Pecan Man
(16.3K)
The Pecan Man
by Cassie Dandridge Selleck
Fall of Night
(9.9K)
Fall of Night
by Rachel Caine

About BookQuoters

BookQuoters is a community of passionate readers who enjoy sharing the most meaningful, memorable and interesting quotes from great books. As the world communicates more and more via texts, memes and sound bytes, short but profound quotes from books have become more relevant and important. For some of us a quote becomes a mantra, a goal or a philosophy by which we live. For all of us, quotes are a great way to remember a book and to carry with us the author’s best ideas.

We thoughtfully gather quotes from our favorite books, both classic and current, and choose the ones that are most thought-provoking. Each quote represents a book that is interesting, well written and has potential to enhance the reader’s life. We also accept submissions from our visitors and will select the quotes we feel are most appealing to the BookQuoters community.

Founded in 2023, BookQuoters has quickly become a large and vibrant community of people who share an affinity for books. Books are seen by some as a throwback to a previous world; conversely, gleaning the main ideas of a book via a quote or a quick summary is typical of the Information Age but is a habit disdained by some diehard readers. We feel that we have the best of both worlds at BookQuoters; we read books cover-to-cover but offer you some of the highlights. We hope you’ll join us.