Friday morning we arrived at our first scenic stop in Antarctica, Elephant Island. This is my second visit to Antarctica. On New Years Eve 2006 I took a 12-hour scenic flight out of Sydney, Australia. We spent four hours circling the frozen continent aboard a Qantas 747. The plane never landed though, so this is my first time here at ground or sea level.
Elephant Island is an ice-covered, mountainous island off the coast of Antarctica in the outer reaches of the South Shetland Islands in the Southern Ocean. Its name was given by early explorers sighting elephant seals on its shores. It lies 581 miles south of the Falkland Islands. The island has a maximum elevation of 2795 feet above sea level at Pardo Ridge. The island supports no significant flora or native fauna although migratory Gentoo penguins and seals may be found on its shores, and Chinstrap penguins nest there in season. The island is most famous as the desolate refuge of Ernest Shackleton and his crew in 1916. Following the loss of their ship Endurance in Weddell Sea ice, the 28 exhausted men reached Elephant Island after a harrowing ordeal on drifting ice floes. They established a
camp at a place they called Point Wild where they were able to regain some strength.
After a couple of hours we circled around to the other side of the island to Endurance Glacier. By the time we got over there the clouds broke and we had beautiful sunshine and bright blue skies. Endurance Glacier is a broad glacier north of Mount Elder, draining southeast to the south coast of Elephant Island. We sat in front of the glacier for over an hour hoping to see some whales and calving of the glacier. We didn't see much of either but the spectacular sunshine made up for that.
About 20 miles from Elephant Island is beautiful Gibbs Island. The glaciers flowing down the mountains and joining the sea were really beautiful. Gibbs Island is only about ten miles long, two miles wide at the widest, and 1500 feet high.
Late Friday afternoon we left the area and sailed southwest down the Bransfield Strait toward our next Antarctic adventure.
I am 50 years old and live in Mooresville, Indiana. I am big fan of the Indianpolis Colts, but my main passion in life is travleing. I usually take two month long trips each year.
I just joined TravelBlog, I will be uploading blogs, videos and photos from past trips when time permits. I will attempt to upload as I travel starting with my next trip, which will be Asia in October. All the travel stuff can be found now on my web site at http://timvp.com/travel.html.... full info
Speculation over the existence of a "southern land" was not confirmed until the early 1820s when British and American commercial operators and British and Russian national expeditions began exploring the Antarctic Peninsula region and other areas sou...more info