We made our way northeast from the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, with our sights set on Elephant Island. Stories about penguins, Antarctic heroes, and life in extreme environments were shared throughout the day by our naturalist staff. Favorable seas made for a very comfortable journey as we enjoyed the company of seabirds, clouds, and distant mountain peaks.
Later in the afternoon, we arrived at Elephant Island where Shackleton and his party first stepped onto land after the Endurance had been in the sea ice. We spotted the very point where Frank Wild and 22 men camped on the shore beneath lifeboats, and waited 137 days for Shackleton and five men to navigate a tiny lifeboat 700 nautical miles to South Georgia for rescue. History has practically leapt from its pages and come alive right in front of us.
In addition to the historical significance of the island, we were also welcomed by a grand display of wildlife abundance and diversity. It was almost as if the entire food web had been laid out in a single scene with seabirds, penguins, and whales all feasting together on bountiful krill. We observed in awe as the ship was surrounded by chinstrap and gentoo penguins, humpback whales displaying their flukes, and fin whales racing through the waves. Such a wonderful sight to behold here at Elephant Island.