Its own climate

“Elephant Island…is really just a half-submerged mountain massif with an ice sheet on its back. It has its own climate, featuring the worst aspects of the sea, the mountain world, and high latitudes.”

— Roland Huntford, Shackleton

“The ferocity of the land apparently spawned similarly forbidding weather. For some strange meteorological reason, savage, tornado-like downdrafts periodically swooped down from the heights above and fairly exploded when they struck the water, whipping the seas close inshore into a frenzy of spindrift and froth. Hussey thought they were the ‘wiliwaws,’ sudden bursts of wind peculiar to coastal areas in polar regions. It was one of those, apparently, that had caught the Docker the morning before.”

— Alfred Lansing, Endurance

“Such a wild and inhospitable coast I have never beheld. Yet there is a profound grandeur about these savage cliffs with the drifting snow and veiling clouds. We sheltered till the other boats came up in the lee of a vast headland, black and menacing, that rose from a seething surf, 1200 feet about our heads, and so sheer as to have the appearance of overhanging. Down the face streamed rivulets of snow that being caught by the hurricane blasts sweeping down an adjacent gorge, were whirled in blinding eddies mingling with the spindrift of the sea. I thought of those lines of [Robert] Service‘s: A land of savage grandeur / That measures each man at his worth.

— Frank Hurley

About Ernest Shackleton

Polar Explorer. Leader of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-1917.
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