Elephant Island

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Elephant_Island_Satellite_Photograph.jpg
A NASA satellite photograph of Elephant Island

Elephant Island is an ice-covered, mountainous island off the coast of Antarctica in the outer reaches of the South Shetland Islands in the Southern Ocean. It lies at latitude Template:Coor dm, 1300 kilometers south-west of South Georgia.

The island is approximately 10km by 2km in an east to west orientation, with a maximum elevation of 2795 feet (852 m) above sea level at Pardo Ridge. Significant named features of the island are Cape Valentine and Cape Lookout at its north-eastern and southernmost extremes, and Point Wild, a spit of land on its northern coast.

The island supports no significant flora or native fauna although migratory Gentoo penguins and seals may be found on its shores, and Chinstrap penguins nest there in season. A lack of safe anchorage has prevented any permanent human settlements being formed, despite the island being well placed to support scientific, fishing and whaling activities in the area.

The island is most famous as the refuge of Ernest Shackleton's crew in 1914 following the loss of their ship Endurance in Antarctic ice. Shackleton left his second in command, Frank Wild in charge of 21 men on Elephant Island for more than four months while he sailed across open ocean with five other men to South Georgia and led attempts to return with a rescue ship. Because the island had no natural source of shelter, the stranded men constructed a shack from their remaining two lifeboats and scraps of canvas. They also composed the following verses out of gratitude for Wild's leadership.

My name is Frankie Wild-o.
Me hut's on Elephant Isle.
The wall's without a single brick
And the roof's without a tile.
Nevertheless I must confess,
By many and many a mile,
It's the most palatial dwelling place
You'll find on Elephant Isle.
It's the most palatial dwelling place
You'll find on Elephant Isle.


de:Elephant Island

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