Elephant Island

Elephant Island is most famous (to us at least) as the landing place of Shackleton's men after 497 days of not touching land. Shackleton left 22 crewmen on Point Wild. He and five other men took a 23-foot whaler 920 cold, wet, miserable miles to South Georgia and a Norwegian whaling station for get help. The men were on Elephant Island for over three months, never being sure that Shackleton reached South Georgia or that they would be rescued.
      Map from Google Images.


 

Cape Lookout

We first landed at Cape Lookout, the island's southern point. Here are some images of that place. Gentoo and chin-strap penguins and fur seal pups far out-number us "Red Coats". The species of penguins intermingle, but even when in the same frame, they are looking in opposite directions.

  

   

Point Wild

Later in the day, we rounded Cape Valentine. On the northern coast, we came to what is now Point Wild, named after Frank Wild, whom Shackleton left in charge of the men. It was here that men camped under two upturned boats for 137 days, surviving first on penguins and seal blubber, finally eking out existence on seaweed and limpets. A glacier gave a modicum of protection, but because of the glacier's retreat, it is difficult to determine exactly where camp was. The Argentines have erected on the site a bust of Captain Pardo of the Yelcho, the boat which took Shackleton back to Elephant Island to rescue his men. The sepia photos were taken by Hurley during the stay on Elephant Island. Top row (L): a photo of Shackleton heading out on the James Caird; top row (R): the two up-turned boats in which 22 men lived for 137 days; second row: the rescue of the 22 men on Elephant Island by Shackleton on the Yelcho. I took the other two from the Explorer, which shows Point Wild today.