Promising thrilling adventure, legendary tales and immaculate Antarctic beauty, Elephant Island is perhaps Antarctica’s best-known location. The exploits of its early explorers have immortalised this harsh, monochrome island in the tomes of human history. Believed to take its name from the elephant seals that early explorers spotted lolling on its rocks, the volcanic island was not properly explored until 1916 - when Ernest Shackleton and his men were stricken by the weather and sought salvation on its shores. Their story of survival, stranded in this barren land, is one of humanity’s most evocative and inspiring accounts.
Elephant Island is written deep into the legend of Antarctic exploration, and you’ll discover Shackleton’s tale for yourself as you arrive in the island’s icy realm. The remarkable, slowly flowing Endurance Glacier - which you’ll see on arrival here - takes its name from their ship, The Endurance. Visit the monument that stands to Shackleton, often surrounded by a migrating crowd of tiny gentoo penguins, at Point Wild - the spot where he and his 28 crew members camped for four and a half months of Antarctic winter. Eventually, Shackleton and a handful of courageous others sailed for South Georgia Island, before returning to secure the rescue of the remaining crew members.
Aside from sailing amid breathtaking winter vistas, witnessing incredible fauna and feeling the sheer rush of an adventure to the unknown - one of the true joys of any Antarctic cruise is to follow in the footsteps of the brave explorers who first sought out the alluring nectar of these dangerous, evocative landscapes. If this will be your first-time visiting Antarctica, read our blog
explaining how you can prepare for the exploits ahead.