Island is a very rugged and isolated island that is mostly covered
with ice. It is located far off the eastern end of the South Shetland
Islands chain. It is often windswept and pounded by waves which
is exactly how we found it. We were on our way to South Georgia
on January 31st, but we all wanted to see Elephant Island, made
famous in the ill-fated Shackleton expedition of 1914-1916. Shackleton's
ship, the Endurance was beset by pack ice in the Weddell
Sea in January 1915. The 28 men aboard were trapped for more than
9 months until late October, at which time the ship was crushed
and destroyed. The men then lived on sea ice for nearly 6 months
until they were able to launch their three salvaged life boats and
sail up to Elephant Island. They ended up along the northern shore
at a place they named Point Wild. There they over-wintered in 1916
and it was from here that Shackleton and five of his men set off
in the 22 foot life boat James Caird to sail nearly 800 miles
in very rough seas for 16 days to reach South Georgia and eventually
effect a rescue 4 months later of the men left behind at Point Wild.
of the rough seas around the island, we were unable to take the
planned Zodiac cruise around. However, the captain got the ship
as close as possible to Point Wild so we could see the area where
the 22 men lived. The original rocky beach has been nearly eroded
away but it was exciting to see this important historic site. From
Elephant Island, we spent the next 2 days at sea cruising to South
Georgia, following in the wake of Shackleton's epic 16 day voyage
on the James Caird.
To read about the next location visited, go to St.
Andrew's Bay, South Georgia.
Locations Visited Photos