Renowned Explorer’s Iconic Ship, ‘The Quest,’ Finally Found


Famous Arctic explorer Ernest Shackleton perished in 1922 aboard the ship The Quest.

According to the Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s announcement on June 12, it was discovered intact off the coast of Canada’s Newfoundland and Labrador, lying at a depth of 1,280 feet.

On January 5, 1922,  Shackleton had a heart attack while on board the Quest on his fourth expedition to the Antarctic.

Shackleton, who was born in County Kildare, Ireland, in 1874, entered the merchant marine when he was sixteen years old and went on to serve on Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s 1901–1904 Antarctic expedition.

In 1907 and 1909, under Shackleton’s leadership, the British Antarctic Expedition sailed the Nimrod to an unprecedented 97 miles from the South Pole, breaking the previous record. Upon his return, he was made a knight.

As part of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, Shackleton intended to traverse Antarctica by way of the South Pole after Amundsen and Scott had reached the pole in 1911. One of the most remarkable leadership and survival accomplishments in expedition history was Shackleton leading his whole crew to safety despite the fact that their ship, the Endurance, was crushed by ice.

At the request of his wife, Shackleton was laid to rest in South Georgia upon his death from a heart attack in 1922 at the age of 47.

A Norwegian corporation purchased the ship for use in excursions after his death. During WWII, it was also deployed with the Royal Canadian Navy. Forty years after Shackleton’s death, The Quest would reach its final chapter. While being employed by seal hunters in 1962, it suffered damage by ice and sunk.

In the last two years, two of Shackleton’s ships have been discovered.

The Endurance went down in the Weddell Sea in November 1915, but it wasn’t until March 2022 that her wreckage was found.

Considering the Endurance went down more than a century ago, it is still in incredible shape. While there is damage to the bow from impact with the sea bed, the hull is otherwise in good condition. Footage from the disaster site clearly shows the word ENDURANCE prominently displayed on the stern as it sits on the seafloor.