Photos and commentary from Feldman family vacations.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Antarctica: Elephant Island

From Antarctica
The weather was better than expected so for the first time this season, the ship was able to go to Elephant Island. When we first arrived there we spotted a killer whale which is apparently not seen very often. This island is famous because this where most of Shackelton’s expedition was stranded for four months. His journey started in December 1914 and their ship, the Endurance, sank due to heavy ice. There is a small statue in honor of Shackelton because he was able to save all of his men by taking a life boat to South Georgia under very hazardous conditions and obtain help. There is a lot more to the story but hey, no one wants a history lesson.

At Elephant Island, Mike and I had our first experience riding on a Zodiac – it is a small rubber boat that carries about ten passengers. They have a number of these on the ship. We learned that no more than one hundred people may visit these islands at a time so we went in shifts.

The zodiac boats are launched from a door just above the waterline of the ship and two men assist you in boarding the boat. We were experiencing some sea swells so this is a little tricky as the zodiac bobs along side of the ship. It was a little scary sitting on the zodiac not but twelve inches from the ice blue water. I hung onto the ropes on the side and thought to myself, "This girl will not go overboard without a fight!" We did not go onto land but rather circled the small island where we saw the tall jagged mountains dotted with chin strap penguins and fur seals. Fur seals are actually sea lions.  Stay tuned for more wild tales from this icy wildnerness....

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