First glimps of land, Shackleton and Elephant Island
Elephant Island Travel Blog› entry 6 of 16 › view all entries
December 10th, 2000 – by: portia
Our first glimps of land today, it was Elephant Island in the distance. We also saw our first icebergs. The icebergs in the southern ocean can be really impressive, and lots of them are flat on top, because that's how they fell off the Antarctic continent.
Elephant Island is quite famous as far as Antarctica is concerned, because this was where Ernest Shackleton and his men were forced to winter back in 1916, and where he started his incredible 850 mile sailing in the little open lifeboat James Caird to South Georgia to get help (he did return to save all his men).
We launched the inflatable zodiacs into the water (very calm as you can see in the photos) to take a closer look at the island. We did not land. It was not a place where you could land easily anyway, and one can really appreciate what difficult times those people had back then.
If you are interested in Shackleton's adventures, here are some books I have read before and after the trip which are good in my opinion.
- The Endurance (by Caroline Alexander, Endurance was the name of his ship. This book has many great photographs taken on the trip. This in itself is incredible to me because the photographer Frank Hurley did not have modern compact cameras, he had to carry glass plates and bulky camera equipment, It's sad to see photos of the dogs because they had to be killed at the end.)
- South (by Sir Ernest Shackleton himself)
- The Race to the White Continent, voyages to the Antarctic (by Alan Gurney, great book on the history of exploration of Antarctica)
- Below the Convergence (also by Alan Gurney, a book covering earlier periods 1699-1839)
- Mrs. Chippy's Last Expedition (by Caroline Alexander, subtitled The remarkable jounral of Shackelton's polar-bound cat, yes there was a cat on Endurance in addition to the dogs. It's kind of fun to read, but not as good as The Endurance).
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!