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Episode 587             Episode 589
Episode 588

SY Aurora's drift
Fri, 2018-Dec-14 01:02 UTC
Length - 2:46

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Welcome to featured Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of the featured Wikipedia article every day.

The featured article for Friday, 14 December 2018 is SY Aurora's drift.

The drift of the Antarctic exploration vessel SY Aurora was an ordeal which lasted 312 days, during the Ross Sea chapter of Sir Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914–17. It began when the ship broke loose from its anchorage in McMurdo Sound in May 1915, during a gale. Caught in heavy pack ice and unable to manoeuvre, Aurora, with eighteen men aboard, was carried into the open waters of the Ross Sea and Southern Ocean, leaving ten men stranded ashore with meagre provisions.

Aurora, a 40-year-old former Arctic whaler registered as a steam yacht, had brought the Ross Sea party to Cape Evans in McMurdo Sound in January 1915, to establish its base there in support of Shackleton's proposed transcontinental crossing. When Aurora's captain Aeneas Mackintosh took charge of activities ashore, first officer Joseph Stenhouse assumed command of the ship. Stenhouse's inexperience may have contributed to the choice of an inappropriate winter's berth, although his options were restricted by the instructions of his superiors. After the ship was blown away it suffered severe damage in the ice, including the destruction of its rudder and the loss of its anchors; on several occasions its situation was such that Stenhouse considered abandonment. Efforts to make wireless contact with Cape Evans and, later, with stations in New Zealand and Australia, were unavailing; the drift extended through the southern winter and spring to reach a position north of the Antarctic Circle. In February 1916 the ice finally broke up, and a month later the ship was free. It was subsequently able to reach New Zealand for repairs and resupply, before returning to Antarctica to rescue the surviving members of the shore party.

Despite his role in saving the ship, after Aurora's arrival in Port Chalmers Stenhouse was removed from command by the organisers of the Ross Sea party relief expedition, so the ship returned to McMurdo Sound under a new commander and with a substantially different crew. Stenhouse was later appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his service aboard Aurora.

This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 01:02 UTC on Friday, 14 December 2018.

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