We use cookies to give you a great online experience. Please let us know if you agree to them.

See our Privacy Policy for more information.

Plan to Build a Replica of Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance Unveiled

Plan to Build a Replica of Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance Unveiled

Anonymous Explorer image

This article was published on April 1st 2022.

Plans are underway to build a replica of Ernest Shackleton’s ship the Endurance which sank in the Weddell Sea in Antarctica over a century ago, it was revealed today.

The discovery of the wreck of the original Endurance last month after years of searching, with many people believing its discovery was not possible, awoke a childhood dream in entrepreneur David Wilder Jr. 

‘I was watching the discovery on the TV, these haunting underwater images of the steering wheel of Endurance and I said to myself now is the time’.

shackleton's endurance

Shackleton’s Endurance 106 years after she foundered in the Weddell Sea. Photo Credit: Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust

The Endurance 2 will be a near exact replica of the original built from the same materials with the main difference that the new ship will be 1 / 10th of the size of the original. 

‘The price of planks of oak and Norwegian fir have risen considerably since 1912 when the original Endurance was launched. And having a smaller vessel will help to make her move navigable in the ice flows.’

Shackleton's Endurance in Antarctica

The original Endurance pictured in the sea ice prior to her sinking. Photo Credit: GETTY IMAGES/SPRI

Join Our newsletter

Join our mailing list and get a free copy of our Explorers Club Magazine delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

One of the big challenges is recreating Endurance’s coal fired steam engine in miniature using a metal working process known as industrial shrinkage.

‘We had to overcome how do you fit large lumps of coal in a miniature engine?  We solved that problem by switching the coal for the manure of small horses.

A steam engine similar to the ones used in 1:8th scale model railways is currently being tested. Photo by J-E Nyström

The only noticeable differences other than the smaller size will be a large inflatable heated tube dubbed ‘The Fender of all fenders’ which will run around the entire hull to protect her from icebergs.  

There will also be the addition of two undersea portholes for guests to view penguins swimming from the unholy cold of the damp wooden hull. 

The Endurance 2 is being built primarily to take tourists to visit the many beautiful sites that Antarctica has to offer. 

Her maiden voyage is scheduled for April 2024 and is led by the world’s leading penguin whisperer, John Godfeather.

‘The penguins in Antarctica are incredible. When you talk to them they just stare back at you. It is like they know what you are thinking. It’s magical.’ He commented. ‘Endurance 2 will be the ultimate way to see them.’

The voyage offers to sail guests across a despicable ocean in search of the mythical ‘Beagle Penguin’, the only penguin that doesn’t emit any odor. 

‘Due to the high projectile way the Beagle Penguin propels its excrement, its poo can reach distances up to 100 meters. Effectively, it doesn’t sh*t where it sleeps.’  Commented John. 

To keep the experience authentic guests will have to don reindeer boots and wear seal skins when the mercury goes below zero.

Some of the suggested ideas for the project however have proved controversial.

In keeping with seagoing tradition at the time there will be no life jackets onboard. Any crew man doing so will be locked up in the Brig until dawn and then tried for insubordination. 

Modern day navigation equipment is also banned. The captain will instead rely on celestial navigation, the ship’s compass which only points to south, and by following a rookery of Wandering Albatrosses known to keep all good sailors from foundering to the abysmal depths of the ice cold ocean. 

Don’t expect to bring your iPhone onboard. Any form of technology created after 1915 has to be left ashore.

For photographers looking to capture that once in a lifetime shot of a polar bear feasting on the carcass of a smiling Gentoo penguin they are welcome to bring onboard ‘Film cameras available on the common market prior to 1915’.  A square bellows stand plate still camera such as used by Frank Hurley on the original Endurance expedition is the recommended favourite. 

The menu onboard offers the savoury delights of barely cooked seal, fresh penguin marinated in salt water at a dozen fathoms, and a selection of tinned meats from the turn of the 20th century.  

When we asked David Wilder Jr. what is your intention for this project he replied

‘I’m doing it for the love of exploration. Oh and I also want to fund my childhood vision of building a 5 bedroom penthouse apartment with heated outdoor swimming pool, inaccessible glacial ice spa, and forlorn looking penguin statue at Point Wild where Shackleton and his men were stranded.’ 

‘A part of my dream was always to be stranded in the wild but with hints of self absorbent luxury’

You can find out more about the totally absurd and somewhat dangerous project here. 

If Endurance 2 isn’t for you and you would like to visit Antarctica in safety and comfort on a small ship check out our Secret Atlas voyage here.

This article was published on April 1st 2022. If you enjoyed it please don’t forget to share. 

Greenland Travel Guides