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No Force on Earth

Updated: May 8, 2020


Oil on panel

“The northerly gale had compressed and crowded the whole Weddell Sea pack against the face of the land, and no force on earth could open up the ice again . . .”

-Alfred Lansing, Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage

Orca whales are known for their amazing ability to pierce through the ice when hunting for a seal. Though they are typically not a threat to humans, they are strong and sophisticated hunters who travel in packs like wolves.

When the Endurance eventually became unsafe, the crew moved out of the boat and onto the ice and lived in tents on a large ice floe. During their time camping on the ice, there was a constant concern that their dwellings might suddenly become submerged by an orca striking through the floe. Yet while the Endurance was still held fast in the ice, no force on earth, not even a mighty orca could cut through so that the ship could get free.

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