The Situation is Dire on Elephant Island

August 29, 1916, Orde-Lees' Journal



A fine sunrise, clear and cold, gave promise of a fine day hopes of which were later on fulfilled.

In spite of the thermometer remains at 32 degrees all day there was a cold wind. In spite of the wind the sea was unusually calm and the water so clear that from the top of Penguin Hill we could see submerged rock reefs all around us the existence of which we were previously unaware of so that when, if ever, relief comes we shall have to con the ship to a safe anchorage from the top of Penguin Hill; but the idea of a ship ever coming now is getting more and more remote as preparations are being pushed along for sending one of our two boats.

Wild has it all nicely cut and dried and has revealed his plans to the favoured few.

He and four other members are to go in the Dudley Docker, and will make their way carefully along under the lee of the land from island to island of the South Shetlands keeping always in Bransfield Straits along their southern coasts until they reach Deception Island about 250 miles away to our S.W.

It is a big undertaking and not so easy as it sounds as there are many disabilities to deal with, the most difficult of which are the prevailing S.W. headwind, the fact that we have only a jib-sail and nothing but old tent cloths from which to make a mainsail, a total of only five oars, and no mast for the boat, the latter having been used to stiffen the keel of the Caird.

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© 2019 Margot Morrell

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