Elephant and Gibb's...


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Published: January 22nd 2014
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The South Shetland Islands are a remote archipelago off the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. They are glaciated, rugged, windy and exposed. Massive penguin colonies hang out there of course! We got on land at Point Wild on Elephant Island, one of the more easterly in the island group. This is the site where Frank Wild of Ernest Shackleton's 'Endurance' expedition of 1914 - 16 stayed behind and watched over 21 of the expedition members while Shackleton sailed off with five others to get help. It is a cramped area of bare rock, horrific weather and brutally cold and rough seas! These men were stranded here for over 3 months with an upturned boat for a house, makeshift stone walls and canvas from sails for blankets. To make their ordeal worse it was on a very noisy and smelly penguin rookery. All of the men were eventually rescued and I am sure they were offered food that wasn't penguin flavoured. They went through thirst and deprivation that we cannot even imagine...

Most visitors cannot land at Point Wild as the treacherous water is fickle and waves smash up against the rugged, rocky shoreline. However, viewing the site from a Zodiac is a great way to see the scale of this place and to get an appreciation of what these men went through. Even 22 men eating penguins for three months did not make an impact on the number of penguins in the colonies! There are thousands!

The sea was a little calmer when we visited Gibb's Island. We cruised in the bay and saw our first leopard seal on a rocky spit of land. These are the iconic seals of the south - amazing creatures! It goes without mention that there where countless of our feathered friends here too...

We then headed south across the Bransfield Strait to the Antarctic Sound...
To be continued...
D.


Additional photos below
Photos: 23, Displayed: 23


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Mile wide icebergMile wide iceberg
Mile wide iceberg

A giant tabular berg in Antarctic Sound


22nd January 2014
Chinstrap

Amazing !!!
Stunning shot.
22nd January 2014

Cold...
Wow O.o Love the pictures. But it sure is cold there. Looking forward to the next part of your adventurous trip (^_^)

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