ARCHIVE - SOUTH GEORGIA NEWS
CREW: JAMES WORDIE'S GRANDSON TELLS OF HIS TRIP TO THE ICY SOUTH
ALAN WORDIE DESCRIBES IT IN HIS OWN WORDS
Alan talks about his visits to The Falkland Isles, South Georgia and Elephant Island, and comments: 'The stormy arrivals at Elephant Island and Peggotty Beach were the two highlights of my trip. There was a wonderful contrast at times when the natural ice sculptures refracted and provide enchanting blue colours. Antarctica itself is a continent to marvel at; and we should not forget the place of the tiny krill in the large mammal food chain. It stopped me in my tracks!
'Now having made this trip I can fully respect Shackleton, his crew and especially my own flesh and blood, Sir James Wordie – a great man.'
James Wordie went on to make further Polar travels for the purpose of research. Capping a distinguished academic career he was latterly elected Master of St. John's College, Cambridge and became President of the Royal Geographical Society.
James Wordie's life and travels in both the Antarctic and Arctic are retold in Michael Smith's book Polar Crusader, which is published by Birlinn Books, www.birlinn.co.uk
ENDURANCE: AN EXCITING NEW PLAN TO COMMEMORATE SHACKLETON IN 2014-15
POLES PLAN 6 MONTH SOUTHWARD SAILING FROM AUGUST 2014 TO JANUARY 2015
The Memorial Commemoration and voyage takes place under the auspices of the ambassadors of Ireland and Great Britain to Poland. The expedition is financed by the participants themselves, and by sponsors; the sailing magazines "Wiatr" and "Żagle", a well as Polish Radio III and Polsat Television, will serve as informational sponsors.
Over a dozen yachts from Poland and other European countries will launch out for the south Atlantic, pausing en route at fixed ports of call, all of which bear a direct relation to Shackleton's Endurance_ expedition
The final meet-up is scheduled to take place on 5th of January 2015 at Sir Ernest Shackleton's grave in Grytviken, on the 93rd anniversary of his death.
Friday 1 August marks the start of the first leg to Plymouth, with a distance of 330 Nautical Miles. Participating yachts should leave Plymouth on Friday 8 August and proceed South.
The third rally point is Port Stanley, Falkland Islands. Yachts should reach it by Friday 12 December 2014, after covering about 7,770 Nautical Miles.
- via the South Shetland Islands, Elephant Island and South Georgia
- via South Georgia
- via The Magellan Strait, Cape Horn and Elephant Island
It is of the utmost importance for all crews to arrive at Sir Ernest Shackleton's grave by noon on Monday 5th of January 2015.
There is no specification as to the route of the return voyage.
The S/Y Polonus will serve as the expedition's flagship. This Bruceo 44 steel ketch with 860 square feet of sail area, and with its home port in Szczecin, on the Baltic, remains at our association's disposal.
The S/Y Polonus proved its merits in several demanding voyages including:
Svalbard (Spitsbergen) in 2008; around Iceland in 2010; and "Following S/Y Śmiały" in 2011/2012 across the Atlantic from Greenland to the Antarctic, and along the Pacific coast of Southern America.
Colours, flags and motto: As the Shackleton Memorial is expected to be an international expedition, each participating yacht will fly its national ensign. The expedition's colours and motto depend on sponsors' requests.
There will be an expedition's burgee, designed by the organiser and approved by honorary patrons, which will be flown from the port spreader by all participating yachts.
Contact: Andrzej Minkiewicz email: email@example.com For more information please visit www.shackleton2014.com.
TIM JARVIS: SHACKLETON EPIC EXPEDITION COMPLETES THE CROSSING FROM ELEPHANT ISLAND TO SOUTH GEORGIA
TRIUMPHANT LANDING AT PEGGOTTY BLUFF, SHACKLETON'S 1916 LANDING PLACE
"There was just no way to keep dry. The waterproofing with wax didn't work. Below deck, the boat was constantly damp and being on watch meant that you were directly exposed to the elements. On a few occasions a big wave washed over the deck and down the hatch soaking everything down below."
"As more moisture worked its way into the boat," puts in bosun Seb Coulthard, "the reindeer skins began to get wet and shed. The reindeer hair went absolutely everywhere – it was in your food, your drink, your clothing, your socks – everywhere!"
"Putting on your traditional outer gear at night in the dark was like putting on a cold, animal carcass."
Not much chance to relax put your feet up, then. Thank God for the food, even when it ws only hoosh shovelled up or slooshed around by the team's masterchef (the Charlie Green of their party) and soon to be their mountain leader, Barry Gray.
It demands a few accolades. "I'm immensely proud of this crew", Jarvis continues. "They all performed incredibly well under such dire circumstances and the fact that we managed to sail 800 nautical miles in such a small vessel really shows what solid performers they are individually, and how incredibly well we worked together as a team."
The six-man crew consisted of skipper Nick Bubb, a veteran round the world sailor who is famous for his few words; Australian navigator Paul Larsen; bosun Seb Coulthard, who oversaw the launch of the boat at Weymouth; mountaineer/cook Barry Gray; and cameraman/mountaineer Ed Wardle, who - a veteran of two successful Everest climbs - concedes "This was genuinely the hardest thing I have ever done. In the first few days it was really hard to get any footage at all: one wwas in basic survival mode. But when that storm hit we were riding really HUGE waves – it was terrifying."
Closer, indeed, to what Shackleton experienced than anyone might have expected (the storm as the James Caird tried to put in to South Georgia nearly did for them all in 1916). Thank heavens there were no 90 foot waves.
You can send messages of goodwill to the expedition as it embarks on and completes it final stages by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. A copy of your message will appear on the expedition website.
WORSLEY: FRANK WORSLEY'S ALMANAC OF THE JAMES CAIRD JOURNEY
PRICELESS ORIGINAL DOCUMENT IS PRESENTED TO THE SOUTH GEORGIA MUSEUM
Thomas Kennedy writes: 'The South Georgia Museum, located at Grytviken, has recently acquired Frank Worsley's almanac which was used between Elephant Island and South Georgia.
'David James, the son of Reginald James, has kindly donated the almanac to the museum on behalf of the James family.'
"Nautical Almanac used by Captain Worsley in navigating the James Caird from Elephant Island to South Georgia, April 24th to May 1916. Given to me by Worsley in Punta Arenas".
"The Almanac specifies for each whole hour of the year the position on the Earth's surface (in declination and Greenwich hour angle) at which the sun, moon, planets and first point of Aries is directly overhead. The positions of 57 selected stars are specified relative to the first point of Aries."
Nothing like consulting it amid cloud, ice, storms and 90 foot waves.
SOUTH GEORGIA: THE SOUTH GEORGIA MUSEUM (INCLUDING A MODEL OF THE JAMES CAIRD)
A MAGNIFICENT UNDERTAKING THAT HAS BORNE RICH DIVIDENDS
The museum is housed in what was formerly the Manager's villa for the busy whaling station in Grytviken, above which Shackleton is buried. Initially conceived as a whaling museum, it scope now embraces many aspects of South Georgia's heritage and also natural history.
Perhaps the most satisfying news for Shackleton enthusiasts is that the Museum has now acquired, thanks to diligent fundraising by the SGHT, a replica of the James Caird.
The (originally, Whaling) Museum was originally conceived by David Wynn-Williams, a British Antarctic scientist, and then taken forward by the biologist, naturalist and conservationist Nigel Bonner, a former Deputy Director of the British Antarctic Survey, whose links with the island likewise date back to 1953. It was set up with funding from the South Georgia Government and the enthusiastic assistance of a small team, in 1991. In 2006 the South Georgia Heritage Trust took over the management of the Museum.
COUTH GEORGIA: CONFERENCE ON SOUTH GEORGIA IN DUNDEE, 7-9 SEPTEMBER
MANAGING INDUSTRIAL HERITAGE: SOUTH GEORGIA IN CONTEXT
The event will be staged at Verdant Works & Discovery Point, Dundee, Scotland.
On Thursday morning Susan Barr, President, International Polar Heritage Committee (ICOMOS) will discuss 'Polar Heritage - Neglected Child Becomes International Talking Point'.
Ulf Gustafsson of the Arctic Centre, University of Groningen will discuss 'Surveys of whaling stations at South Georgia: From NARE to LASHIPA and beyond'.
Knut M Ore, Chairman, Kings Bay Ltd., on 'Ny Ålesund, Svalbard – New uses and cultural heritage' and Dr. Frederik Paulsen, Chairman, Ferring Pharmaceuticals Group, who will deliver the David Nicholls Memorial Lecture.
Workshops follow on 1. Cultural Heritage management priorities on South Georgia 2. The future of South Georgia's former whaling stations and 3. Cultural heritage research priorities on South Georgia
EXHIBITION ART/ ANTARCTIC: 'DEEP SOUTH' EXHIBITION AT DULWICH OCT 25 - NOV 4
BY ARTISTS WITH AN ANTARCTIC OR SOUTH GEORGIA CONNECTION
This Exhibition staged at Dulwich is the work of seven artists who have visited the Antarctic Region and South Georgia.
It can be seen at Dulwich College, London SE21 7LD from Monday October 25th to Thursday November 4th. Admission is free.
As well as the Exhibition, visitors will be able to see the 'James Caird' and the accompanying photographs and artifacts associated with Sir Ernest Shackleton's heroic journey.
WILD: A PLAQUE TO HONOUR FRANK WILD IN GRYTVIKEN; AND A TUNNEL THROUGH ELEPHANT ISLAND
NEWS FROM THE INFORMATIVE ANTARCTIC CIRCLE WEBSITE
First, a plaque in honour of Commander Frank Wild has been erected in the church at Grytviken, South Georgia to honour the veteran of five Antarctic eexpeditions and Shackleton's most trusted lieutenant.
The sculptor Angie Butler, who has done research in South Africa where Wild died and was cremated in 1939, was concerned that apart from a plaque in his local church in St John the Baptist Church, Eversholt, Bedfordshire, there is no lasting memorial to this Yorkshire-born legend of Antarctic exploration and leadership.
Angie and Elsa Davidson, curator of the Museum at Grytviken, are pictured on Antarctic Circle flanking the newly presented bronze plaque, now handsomely displayed on the wall of the Grytviken Whalers' Church. She writes in Antarctic Circle explaining the development of the project and indicates that any assistance towards this worthwhile enterprise, which cost around £1,600, from individuals or donating funds would be welcome.
To read the full article and see Ted Stump's impressive photo, please visit the Antarctic circle website.
SHACKLETON PLAQUE IN GRYTVIKEN MARINERS' CHURCH
Some time ago a plaque was unveiled at the Church in Grytviken, South Georgia, in whose graveyard Sir Ernest Shackleton is buried. The plaque depicts a well known picture of Shackleton, the famous picture o the launching of the James Caird which is also the Society's logo, and includes the following words:
'Greetings from Members of the James Caird Society, the Alleyn Club and Dulwich College, your granddaughter [Alexandra], President of the Society, and Harding Dunnett (Founder).
At the bottom it carries the words 'Sic transit gloria mundi'.
FIRST PUBLIC MEETING OF THE SOUTH GEORGIA ASSOCIATION
IMPORTANT NEW BODY EXPLORES ITS NEW ROLE
The first public meeting of the South Georgia Association (President: Stephen Venables, Chairman: David Tatham, former Governor of South Georgia) too place in Edinburgh on Saturday 19 June 2004.
A light lunch was provided at the Royal Overseas League, 100 Princes St., Edinburgh, and this was followed by a series of brief talks on recent expeditions to South Georgia, with time for questions afterwards.
The Association's meeting was timed to precede a gathering of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) Club in Edinburgh on the evening of Saturday 19th. The choice of a Scottish venue was designed to highlight the close and valuable links over the years between Scotland and South Georgia. Scots and people based in Scotland who have recently had connections with the island of South Georgia spoke about their activities.
SOUTH GEORGIA ASSOCIATION
The formal setting up of the South Georgia Association took place in London during September 2001, followed by an inaugural meeting on 14 December 2001. This valuable new Association, spearheaded by a steering committee led by David Tatham (former Governor of South Georgia), Bob Burton and the Hon.Alexandra Shackleton, James Caird Society President, has as its objectives : the encouragement of interest in, and concern for, South Georgia both in the UK and worldwide; the encouragement of the study of South Georgia, and the conservation of both its natural and its cultural heritage; and the promotion of contacts and encouragement of fellowship between those who have lived and worked in or around South Georgia, have visited, or have an interest in, the island.
In its first six months of existence the Association amassed a healthy membership of well over 200. Planned events include lectures, dinners and other gatherings. Membership costs £15 per annum, or £50 for five years. Details from : Stephen Palmer, Membership Secretary, The Vicarage, 72A Medina Avenue, Newport, Isle of Wight PO30 1HF, UK.
RESTORATION OF THE STROMNESS MANAGER'S VILLA
The Villa at Stromness whaling station was the home of the managers and also the Norwegian whalers' administrative centre. Compared with the rest of the station, it was extremely comfortable : it boasted a bathroom, soft chairs, flowers in pots and other luxuries. The manager Thoralf Sorlle, who welcomed Shackleton to the Villa in 1914 and again following the boat journey in 1916, was sometimes accompanied to South Georgia by his wife and four daughters.
As 'Journey's End' for Shackleton, Worsley and Crean, the Stromness Villa remains one of South Georgia's historic sites: 'Mr Sorlle's hospitality had no bounds. He would scarcely let us wait to remove our freezing boots before he took us into his house and gave us seats in a warm and comfortable room.' - Shackleton in South
Stromness closed as a whaling station in 1931, but the site was converted into a ship repair yard until its final closure in 1961. Since then, the Stromness Villa has suffered from the weather and vandals. Destruction of the windows and doors has allowed snow, rain and seals indoors, and some of the wooden fabric is rotten. The gaping holes have now been boarded up so that deterioration has been greatly reduced and the Villa is safe from imminent collapse.
An increasing number of visitors to South Georgia walk Shackleton's route from Fortuna Bay to Stromness. A hardy few attempt the complete crossing from King Haakon Bay. At the moment they are denied their ultimate destination - the Stromness Villa - as access to the whaling station is forbidden for reasons of safety.
A message from the Commissioner of South Georgia was read out at the London premiere of the Shackleton IMAX film, confirming the planned restoration and preservation of the Manager's Villa. Funds are now being raised for saving the Villa and clearing the area so that all visitors can visit without danger. Members of the army will clean up debris and make a structural survey.
'It is hoped', Bob Burton writes, 'that everyone who has fallen under the spell of South Georgia and the story of Shackleton's Endurance expedition will feel inspired to contribute to the restoration, perhaps by buying this little book' [Shackleton at South Georgia, see above]. 'The generous support of so many individuals and organisations means that the entire price of each copy goes to helping save the Villa.'
MORE ABOUT SOUTH GEORGIA
Shackleton at South Georgia, a valuable and informative 24-page booklet by two South Georgia experts, Robert Burton and Stephen Venables, with a foreword by the Hon. Alexandra Shackleton, has recently been published (2001, 24 pp, ISBN: 0-9541389-0-2). All proceeds will be donated to the restoration of the Manager's House, the 'Villa' at Stromness whaling station where Shackleton and his two companions finished their epic journey. Available price £3 plus 35p for postage and handling (USA : $5 plus $1 postage and handling) from Robert Burton, 63 Common Lane, Hemingford Abbots, Huntingdon PE28 9AW, UK. Tel: +44 (0)1480 352340, E-mail: email@example.com.
Shackleton visited South Georgia with the Endurance, then the James Caird, and lastly aboard the Quest. This booklet, illustrated with little-known historic photographs and modern re-enactments, describes the three visits, his funeral in 1922, and retraces his legendary crossing of the South Georgia mountains with Frank Worsley and Tom Crean.
Enthusiast Paul Carroll has devised an intriguing and informative South Georgia website.
JAMES CAIRD SOCIETY MEMBERS' DINNER AND LECTURE
FRIDAY 9 MAY 2014 AT 6.30 P.M., DULWICH COLLEGE, LONDON SE23
FRIDAY 9 MAY 2014 AT 6.30 P.M., DULWICH COLLEGE, LONDON SE23