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Adventurers re-enact Shackleton's Antarctic voyage

| Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, 9:57 p.m.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — It's been lauded as one of the greatest survival stories of all-time.

Nearly 100 years later, a group of British and Australian adventurers have discovered why. They re-enacted Ernest Shackleton's journey to save his crew when their ship got stuck and sank in Antarctica's icy waters.

Tim Jarvis and Barry “Baz” Gray reached an old whaling station on remote South Georgia island on Monday, 19 days after leaving Elephant Island. Just as Shackleton did in 1916, Jarvis and his team sailed 800 nautical miles across the Southern Ocean in a small lifeboat and then climbed over crevasse-filled mountains in South Georgia.

The modern-day team of six used similar equipment and clothes. But the harsh conditions forced several of them to abandon their attempt along the way.

“It was epic, really epic, and we've arrived here against the odds,” Jarvis told his project manager Kim McKay after reaching the station, adding that “we had more than 20 crevasse falls up to our knees and Baz fell into a crevasse up to his armpits.”

McKay said Jarvis was suffering frostbite in his right foot after the journey. He planned on Tuesday to hike to the grave site of Shackleton, who was buried on the island years after his journey.

Jarvis wasn't the only one suffering foot problems. Three of the men couldn't complete the climb after suffering the ailment trench foot, caused by prolonged exposure to cold and wet conditions.

“The boat was only 22½ feet long. At any one time, only four men could be below deck, while the other two had to be on deck. They had 26-foot waves crashing onto the boat,” McKay said. “It was like they were playing a game of twister. If one moved, they all had to move.”

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