9/10 It’s so well written that you feel guilty for enjoying the adventure without none of the suffering. The title truly sums up what these men went through - an epic feat of endurance. Literally every time the author said that this was their toughest day/night thus far, the next one topped them all.
The most epic aspect though is that all this happened over one hundred years ago. Crazy to think about the state of technology at the time - making their survival so much more incredible. That said, although what they went through was truly treacherous, it makes me crave an adventure. I’ll keep it light though, maybe a night of camping in the forest. Fulfill the craving.
A group of British men set out on a voyage to Antarctica where they aim to be the first people to cross the continent on sledges. On the way their boat gets stuck in ice so thick and powerful that their vessel is eventually crushed under its pressures. From there on, they camp and travel on top of moving ice floes in an attempt to reach one of the northern Antarctic islands inhabited by whalers. Their incredible survival journey lasts 17 months during which they face hunger, extreme temperatures, winds and terrible seas. They survive, but at what cost…
- at the end, when they finally reach the whaling station at one of the northern Antarctic islands, they are seen as incredible adventurers and capable seamen. They are congratulated by the most rugged and experienced of the whalers on the achievement they’ve accomplished - crossing the worst sea on the planet Earth in a small boat while surviving on seal meat and living on the ice for over a year. They see the appreciation that they get from the whalers as the highest possible reward since only the whalers will ever be truly capable of comprehending what they went through.
- this very much reminded me of my end of chemotherapy. Nobody will truly understand what I have went through, except for those who went through it as well. Those who know the pain, the suffering, the willpower and endurance needed to survive. A tap on a back and an acknowledgment of respect from someone who went through it means much more than any other reward ever could.
- I finally came across a proper English translation of a commonly used Slovak proverb Človek mieni, Pán Boh mení in this book. It’s Man supposes. God disposses.