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"Day of Wonders"

On August 30, 1916, Shackleton and Worsley and Crean arrived aboard the humble Chilean vessel, Yelcho to rescue the crew on Elephant Island.

It was Shackleton's fourth attempt to rescue his crew. Shackleton wrote in South, "Food was very short, only two days' seal and penguin meat being left, and no prospect of any more arriving. ... From a fortnight after I had left, Wild would roll up his sleeping-bag each day with the remark, 'Get your things ready, boys, the Boss may come today.'"

From Frank Hurley's Expedition Journal

Day of Wonders

During morning collect limpids, along foreshores E. Bay and return to Hut at noon. Whilst the party were in at lunch, Marston and I were without shelling limpids, when I called Marston's attention to a curious piece of ice on the horizon which bore a striking resemblance to a ship. Whilst we were so engaged a ship rounded the Gnomon Island. We immediately called out Ship O' which was instantly followed by a general exodus of cheering - (semi-hysterical) of the inmates. The hoosh was left to burn and the meal forgotten. A beacon was kindled and attention attracted to which the vessel signalled response. She came within safe distance and lowered a boat. On coming along side we recognised the Boss and heartily thanked God for his safety. All gear was hurriedly rowed to the vessel in just under the hour (1 p.m. to 2 p.m.). (The Yelcho under command Captain Pardo.) We subsequently learned that this was the fourth attempt made to effect our rescue. Had a musical evening and heard all the news of the war of the world etc. etc. on board.

Orde-Lees account...

Marston had gone up on Penguin Hill to make some thumb-nail sketches as is his wont and Hurley had joined him, so it was no surprise to us to hear the former pattering and panting along up the path to the "sty". "Wild, there's a ship", he said excitedly, "shall we light a fire." Before there was time for a reply there was a rush of members tumbling over one another all mixed up with mugs of seal hoosh making a simultaneous dive for the door-hole which was immediate torn to shreds so that those members who could not pass through it on account of the crush made their exit through the "wall" or what remained of it.

From the lifeboat, Shackleton shouted to Wild, "Are you all well?" He was really asking if everyone was still alive. To Shackleton's enormous relief, Wild responded, "All safe, all well."

The lifeboat made three roundtrips to pick up all the men and their gear and deliver them to the Yelcho. It took about an hour and they were finally on their way home.

Shackleton wrote in South, "You readers can imagine my feelings as I stood in the little cabin watching my rescued comrades feeding."

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