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Posted by on May 27, 2014 in Top Picks | 0 comments

5 Best Voyages: Magellan, Drake, Cook, Bligh, and Shackleton

There are good reasons why we still recognize these names, a century or three after they actually went to sea.

Forget about satellite navigation. Some of these guys went to sea half-wondering if they would sail off the edge of a completely flat world.

Here’s a very quick review of the 5 best voyages ever. For more detail, click on over to our sister site,, and read Alex Smith’s story Sailing survivors: five extraordinary ocean voyages.

Which of our five adventurers is this? Find out by reading Sailing Survivors: 5 Extraordinary Ocean Voyages

Which of our five adventurers is this? Find out by reading Sailing Survivors: 5 Extraordinary Ocean Voyages

1. Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, was the first man to circumnavigate the globe back in 1519. Three years later he returned home with only 1 of his 5 ships and 18 of his original 260 men.

2. In 1577, Sir Francis Drake was chosen by Queen Elizabeth I to lead an expedition around South America and beyond, ” a pirate with royal patronage.” The loot he returned with paid off the entire national debt, and won him a knighthood.

3. Captain James Cook departed in 1768 to chart the South Pacific, and eventually discovered  and mapped Australia. As well as giving Britain a new continent to control (to replace the American colonies), this voyage also was memorable due to its low loss of life among the crew.

4. After a mutiny on the HMS Bounty, Captain Bligh was set adrift in the Pacific with 18 of his men in a 23 foot longboat that had only 8 inches of freeboard. After 47 days of bailing and meagre rations, the group (minus one) reached land safely.

5. In 1915, Sir Ernest Shackleton had to abandon his ship after it was crushed by Antarctic pack ice. After surviving for more than five months on the ice, they made a dash for Elephant Island… but with no hope of rescue there, Shackleton set out again on a 17 day voyage to South Georgia Island. All 28 men survived.

Is there a voyage we left out that you think should be included here? Tell us about it in the comments below.


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