Sunken Endurance found off Antarctica; former teacher from the region who was part of the crew


With so much hot weather, we’re going to cool things down with a cool find that has a connection to South Bend.

The discovery is a sunken ship off Antarctica. It was an expedition with scientists with icebreakers, sonar, high-tech underwater cameras, and a former South Bend teacher from the Dickinson Intermediate Fine Arts Academy.

Tim Jacob is now director of the Traveler program for Reach the World, a New York-based nonprofit. He wrote about his own frozen experience in an email. He currently lives in Chicago.

“I help travelers (think study abroad undergraduates, Fulbright scholars conducting research or teaching English abroad, etc.) and explorers (think scientists on expeditions) share their experiences abroad or their fieldwork with K-12 students in the United States”

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He was in Antarctica to share his experience with students from all over the country and around the world. It’s about building relationships and sharing adventures.

Tim grew up in Wisconsin and moved to Mishawaka in 2007 when his wife started law school at Notre Dame. He worked as a substitute teacher in the school town of Mishawaka and earned his master’s degree/teaching license from Bethel College. He got a full-time teaching job at Dickinson. “My passion was teaching social studies and writing. I really wanted to include my love of travel and world cultures,” he said.

Let’s go back to the sunken ship with a bit of history. Then back to Tim.

The ship Endurance disappeared for 106 years. It was found under 10,000 feet of water in the Weddell Sea in the western part of Antarctica. Not on your list of places to visit this summer. Understandable.

This all dates back to 1914 and a famous explorer, Ernest Shackleton. Two ships – Endurance and Aurora – with a combined crew of 27 left England with a mission to cross Antarctica on foot. Well, things didn’t go well. Frankly, things went very badly.

The Endurance became stuck in the ice and the crew worked to free it. This does not happen. The men continued to live on the ship for several months before abandoning ship in October 1915. She sank in November.

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The crew moved towards an ice floe. Later they took lifeboats to uninhabited Elephant Island. Shackleton determined that the only way to save the crew was to get to a whaling station on South Georgia Island.

Shackleton and a select group took a lifeboat for the 800 mile journey to the island. Once there, the whaling station was on the other side of the island. The lifeboat wouldn’t do the trick. Shackleton and the men then crossed to the other side of the island on foot. It was successful. The remaining crew was selected in August 1916.

Shackleton never realized his dream of crossing Antarctica. He became famous as a hero, speaker and leader. He died in 1922 while preparing to return to Antarctica. He was 47 years old.

Advance a little. A search in 2019 failed.

The expedition which included Tim was called Endurance22 and was funded by the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust. The Endurance (1914 version) was found well preserved on the bottom. There was damage to the bow but it was straight. The wood was in remarkable shape due to the lack of creatures in this cold. The ship’s name was legible on the stern.

Back to Tim.

“Reach the World have been invited by the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust to set up a massive virtual exchange program which would share the story of the expedition with as many pupils from kindergarten to year 12 as possible,” said he declared. “I was fortunate to be able to represent my organization and serve as the face on board the expedition for our large audience of students.

More than 30,000 children in 27 countries watched over the mission.

“I was on the SA Agulhas II for about 45 days, from early February 2022 to mid-March 2022. The SA Agulhas II is a South African polar research and supply. I flew to Cape Town and joined the ship there, then we sailed about 3,000 miles across the southern Atlantic Ocean to the western Weddell Sea. After carrying out the Endurance search in the Weddell Sea, we stopped at South Georgia Island (where Shackleton is buried) on our way back to Cape Town,” he said.

It was a dream come true, he says.

Finding the wreckage was exhilarating. When the footage came back from the sea robot, it was thrilling. “It was a visceral connection to the past.” After the mapping of the ship was completed in three days, there was a big party on the ice above the wreck. A dinner party, a football game and visits from penguins checking the excitement, he said.

Sharing the experience with the children was equally exciting. “I will never forget seeing K-12 students in classrooms around the world jumping for joy in their little Zoom windows on my laptop screen. Children don’t fake that kind of excitement.

The internet can do good. “I think that’s the power of virtual exchange. Any class with an internet connection can connect in near real time to an international expedition to Antarctica and in the process make personal connections to the ocean, Antarctic wildlife, marine archaeology, ships, engineering, robotics and so much more – it’s a really fun way to teach and learn,” he said.

You can reach Kathy at [email protected]


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