Endurance

Pertinacious Tom

Importunate Member
62,124
1,894
Punta Gorda FL
"The water both on the island and on the opposite continent is excellent, and preserves well at sea as water from the Thames, for after it has been in the cask a day or so it begins to purge itself, and stinks most intolerantly, and is soon covered over with green scum. But this, in a few days, subsides to the bottom, and leaves the water pure as crystal and perfectly sweet."

Spanish sailors would locate artesian springs in the gulf by the rotten egg smell. On a calm day, they could scoop up the spring water floating on top of the salt water. I've drunk that water as a kid. It's not good but works if you're thirsty. I always wondered just how bad their shipboard water must have been to make them want to scoop up rotten egg water. That fills in the picture a bit. Yuck.
 

Point Break

Super Anarchist
26,327
3,992
Long Beach, California
I am amazed at how again and again in sub zero temps the crew could get and stay soaked through……for months…….wet clothes even falling into the water and still survive. Given what we know about hypothermia it boggles the mind.
 

billy backstay

Backstay, never bought a suit, never went to Vegas
Received this a gift a couple years ago, it still sits on our reception room coffee table.

https://www.biblio.com/book/pacific-sail-four-centuries-western-ships/d/1118807268

Roger Morris was one of the captains of the replica HMS Bounty, and delves into the history of the Age of Exploration with an eye mainly towards the ships, but the history of those expeditions fills most of the book. He is also a very good sketch artist and his work in that area is what makes it a "coffee table" kinda book.

One of the mind-blowing accounts is about Anson's terrible "successful" voyage, left with:

"Out of about 1900 men who sailed from England, four died from enemy action and about 1300 died of disease and accident, and several hundred deserted at ports along the way. Only 145 of the 1900 made it back to England."

An interesting remark about the water they took on at St. Catherines (now part of Brazil) before going to round the Horn (and in that brief stop they lost 28 men to disease):

"The water both on the island and on the opposite continent is excellent, and preserves well at sea as water from the Thames, for after it has been in the cask a day or so it begins to purge itself, and stinks most intolerantly, and is soon covered over with green scum. But this, in a few days, subsides to the bottom, and leaves the water pure as crystal and perfectly sweet."

At one point on of the ships, the Gloucester, had a lot of trouble getting into St Vincent. The problem was of only 71 of the 271 who had been aboard when they rounded the Horn were still not-quite-dead-yet of scurvy, and of that 71 only three were still capable of standing on their feet. Could only set a couple sails and just failed to made it in before the tide shifted and swept them back out. Had to wait for the right wind direction to try again. That last half-mile to safety would take that boat 32 days to complete, and kill off about half of that 71.


The tales of the Age of Exploration are truly frightening.

Thanks Mark!! Just ordered the book on Amazon!
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Mark_K

Super Anarchist
Thanks Mark!! Just ordered the book on Amazon!
.
I found it a great index to some of the best stories. As he deals so much with the ships the history of the expeditions isn't delved in very deeply, to do so would make it several volumes. One of the most amazing expedition series is the story of the Russians getting to Alaska.

First they had to organize an expedition across about 4,000 miles of wild tundra and forest, nothing like cities or even towns the whole way, and no roads. carrying everything they needed to build ships once they got to the east coast. Then they cut down trees, built boats and sailed first to Kamchatka, crossed the peninsula, cut down more trees and build more boats and sailed them to the Aleutians and all the way to Sitka. Roughly another 4,000 miles.

Here's the kicker for me: This was before Cook. Longitude was still mostly wild guesses. No maps, only vague ideas of how far they had to sail to get to North America...and they kept at it until they got there. Crazy shit.
 

Ed Lada

Super Anarchist
19,351
4,917
Poland
Indeed! Take care of your people first and foremost, and they'll take care of you.
After 8 years of active duty army service and 12 years of working a a civilian for the army, I learned a lot about leadership and met some very impressive leaders both military and civilian.

When I was in Japan in the army, was a friend of mine, Mac, a medic with an alcohol problem. He went over to Korea where the Army had a residential treatment program at the army hospital there. The 3 star commanding general, Jack Woodall, at our army post had come to that position after being the 2 star commander of the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea. For some reason the general had an interest in soldiers with alcohol problems and if he could he would go to the graduation from the treatment program in Korea if we had a soldier there. So Mac was graduating from the program and he called me to talk. I told him the general would be there to see him. I told Mac if he had the balls, to ask the general if he could fly back to Japan with him on the general's plane. I told Mac that I was pretty sure the general would agree if he was coming straight back. Sure enough, Mac asked and the general agreed. Imagine being a low ranking enlisted guy flying in a Beech King Air with a 3 star general!

One of the best bosses I ever had was a former enlisted Marine that was rising through the ranks of civil service in logistics. He came to Germany to work in the logistics directorate (G4) of the US Army HQ Europe. Chris Lowman was the chief of the Sustainment Operations Division, the largest division in the G4 with about 150 people in it. I was Chis' executive assistant and was heavily involved daily with him for 3 years during which we were every busy planning and executing a good part of the logistics effort for the the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2003. Chris never yelled at anybody, always took responsibility for screw ups, no matter who in our division actually screwed up. He firmly believed in the management principle of praise in public and reprimand in private. He was one of those rare leaders that when you made a mistake, you felt terrible for letting him down, no reprimand was necessary, you already felt bad enough. Chris had a plaque in his office hanging above the door so he could see it from his desk. It said "To err is human, to forgive is divine. Neither of which is Marine Corps policy".

I knew Chris would be promoted to higher positions, and when he left Germany to go back to the Pentagon he was promoted to the Senior Executive Service, the civil service equivalent to flag officers. Chris worked in various positions in the army logistics directorate in the Pentagon. While I knew Chris was extremely good at what he did, and I knew he would attain higher positions, I was quite impressed at his latest promotion. Chris is now the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment, and is the civilian equivalent to a 3 star general. Chris works directly under the Secretary of Defense and is responsible for logistics for the entire US military and a multi billion dollar budget. I am extremely proud and grateful for the 3 years I worked with Chris, we became good friends while always being aware of and respecting the employee-boss line. I learned a lot about logistics and good management and leadership. I would have done anything for Chris and the DoD has a great man leading the logistics effort for the worlds finest military.
 

Steam Flyer

Sophisticated Yet Humble
44,336
9,650
Eastern NC
Leadership is a difficult thing to describe, there are certain keys but a very wide spectrum of effective styles, and conditions affect things greatly.

It's a fine line, always.

"Leadership" is what makes people get things done, working as a group, that they would be unable to accomplish singly and probably would not have accomplished without leadership.

The very first thing, in the gentle art of leadership, is to encourage teamwork and followership among the people around you.
 

burndoc

Super Anarchist
1,268
314
South Jersey
I am amazed at how again and again in sub zero temps the crew could get and stay soaked through……for months…….wet clothes even falling into the water and still survive. Given what we know about hypothermia it boggles the mind.
I was also surprised when frost bite was thrown around. Surprised more people did not lose toes. Must be the old Burberry before it was a fashion statement. Sir Hillary wore them to top of Everest I believe
 

Mark_K

Super Anarchist
I was also surprised when frost bite was thrown around. Surprised more people did not lose toes. Must be the old Burberry before it was a fashion statement. Sir Hillary wore them to top of Everest I believe
Google-fu reveals them to have been Bally Reindeer-Himalayas. https://www.ballyofswitzerland.com/en/sept-event-article-04.html#:~:text=When Sherpa Tenzing Norgay took,brand to this momentous achievement.

Pretty sure they were loose fitting, even with layers of socks. That has been a key aspect of the modern situation of hundreds of people going up there and the losing-toes condition having almost entirely become a thing of the past. Something the Eskimos figured out a few thousand years ago. For whatever reason it was a habit for quite some time to be more worried about blisters than frostbite. But feet can toughen up against blisters..

Note Toensing used his traditional, village made Sherpa boots.

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valis

Super Anarchist
3,782
610
Friday Harbor, WA
Adapting to circumstances with leadership and optimism: (quotes snipped from the www)

Shackleton makes his last push to the South Pole​

On January 9, 1909, at four in the morning, the men left a makeshift depot that contained all the remaining supplies they would need to take them back to their previous camp. They then made a last push to get within 100 miles of the South Pole. Carrying only a supply of chocolate, biscuits, and sugar, the men ran as hard as they could over the snow. Stopping at the highest latitude anyone on Earth had yet reached, they unfurled the Union Jack.

Exhausted, hungry, and disappointed Shackleton wrote, “We have shot our bolt, and the tale is 88.23 S. 162 E.” They were 112 miles (180 km) from the Pole.
Shackleton then turned around and headed for home. They could have continued on and been first to the pole, but Shackleton knew that by doing so it would have been impossible to survive the return trek.

Endurance expedition:
On October 27, 1915, the Endurance sank. Shackleton stayed up all night, and the next morning, after serving his crew coffee at five a.m., he announced, "Ship and stores have gone — so now we'll go home."

While he made significant discoveries in Antarctica, Shackleton is most remembered for his failures and his leadership in the face of adversity. It is telling that many of his companions would join his subsequent expeditions.
 

Point Break

Super Anarchist
26,327
3,992
Long Beach, California
He got beat to the South Pole and the North Pole, and not by much but because of that he constructed the idea of the first trans continent expedition……hence the famous voyage of the Endurance and the struggles to survive. Fascinating times and people.
 
422
222
Perth WA
I have a great uncle who sailed on one of Shackeltons later voyages as a cabin boy. He would remark on how much Shackelton smoked!
I think of those poor sods who got through the Endurance “adventure“, only to find themselves enjoying the western front. Tough time.
 




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