This morning we arrived at
The sky was a thin overcast and the wind was negligible, as a result there were
barely ripples on the surface of the ocean. Best of there was almost no sea swells.
It was the first time in the 11 years that Hurtigruten has been operating in
the Antarctic that we could attempt a landing at this fabled site. Decisions
were made and Polarcirkle boats were launched. Elephant Island
Looking backward, in 1916
Island is the first land reached by
Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men after their ship “Endurance” was crushed by
ice in their attempt to reach the southern coast of the Weddell
Sea. Shackleton’s party reached
in 2 small boats. Here the wood from the smaller boat was used to strengthen
and deck over the second boat. The “Boss” then left 22 men under the leadership
of Frank Wild while he and 5 others sailed on to Elephant Island South Georgia,
where he planned to obtain a ship and rescue the men had to leave behind. That plan
was not to be and it was 135 days after he left
that he returned on the rescue ship YELCHO under the command of Chilean Pilot
Luis Pardo Villalon. Elephant Island
On our ride to the island we enjoyed a short coastal cruise viewing the steeply inclined rocks that form the island. The rocks are shales and mudstones that have been compressed, heated, tilted and at the landing site they were riddled with thin veins of white quartz. On the rocks and nearby snow and ice fields were 100’s of Chinstrap Penguins. In additions we saw 3 Gentoo Penguins and 1 Macaroni Penguin plus a Leopard Seal cruised past the landing site.
Our landing at Point Wild went smoothly as the weather and sea conditions never deteriorated. We were able to get people in and out of the Polarcirkle boats with ease.It was a short walk to visit the monument to Piloto Pardo and from that site we could see the remnant stonework that Shackleton’s crew constructed during their isolation.
Our landings were interrupted for short periods of time on 3 occasions by calving from the Furness Glacier. Needless to say everyone had a great time and no doubt we will all try to match the photos we took today with those taken by Frank Hurley the photographer who documented the “Endurance” Expedition.
As we left