Wednesday 11 December 2013

Elephant and Gibbs Islands

Now; I freely admit this is a bit cheesy and silly - but I could not get it out of my head, as we visited both Elephant and Gibbs Islands today: Do you remember the Gibbs Brothers (aka the Bee Gees) famous song "Staying alive"?
 Well, that's exactly what the 22 men of Shackleton's Endurance did for 135 days on Point Wilde, on the north shore of Elephant Island!

Once the silly thoughts are out, we can be a bit more serious and tell you that it always is rather surprising, and humbling, to visit Elephant Island and see the relatively small outcrop where these Antarctic castaways managed to survive under 2 upturned boats, until they were rescued by the Chilean ship Yelcho, commanded by Piloto Pardo, who definitely deserves to be remembered with the bust now standing where once the boats laid.
The short southwestward journey to Gibbs Island was beautiful, as we not only enjoyed the landscape - glacier-covered islands, occasional icebergs, thick cloud turning this world into a huge panorama screen - but were accompanied by several fin whales.

And Gibbs Island (of course, not related to the Bee Gees in any way) was beautiful, as we were able to cruise close to shore with our boats, and were able to watch macaroni, Adélie and chinstrap penguins going back and forth from the sea to their colony - what a wonderful day in Antarctica!