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21st of January 2015 Point Wild, Elephant Island / South Shetland Islands 61°06,0’S; 054°52,1’W
This time the weather-forecast for our crossing south was not really good, so our Captain decided to take a more easterly course. By doing so the Drake Passage was a lot more pleasant than expected. Best of all, however, is that we were now heading for Elephant Island – the most easterly of the South Shetland Islands! Our plan was to visit Point Wild. We arrived during the afternoon hours. Weather conditions were good, so our Zodiacs were lowered and I went on a cruise with our Historian Andrew and Sue.
Point Wild was named after Frank Wild, who was the First Mate of Sir Ernest Shackleton on board the “HMS Endurance”. I am not sure if you all know the story – and I do not want to go into too much detail… . In 1916 Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men lost their ship, the “HMS Endurance”, in the ice of the Weddell Sea. The men had managed to row all the way to Elephant Island, where they eventually found a small, protected landing site. After only a few days of rest Shackleton and five of his men started making their way to South Georgia, using the open lifeboat “James Caird”, in search for help. It took altogether four and half months until the Chilean tug boat “Yelcho”, commanded by Captain Luis Alberto Pardo, and with Sir Ernest Shackleton on board arrived to rescue the men from Elephant Island, all of whom had miraculously survived. Today a bust of “Piloto Pardo” is reminding of the endeavor the men had encountered – a hundred years ago… .