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Daily Archives: 23. February 2017 − News & Stories

Possession Islands & Cape Hallet – February 23rd, 2017

Of course there was a growing urge to set foot on shore, but that had to wait for another while. We had been hoping for a Zodiac cruise at the Possession Islands, but it was definitely too windy to venture out into the small boats. But also from the ship the islands are a view not to be missed. Rugged coastlines with cliffs and arches. On the northern one of the two main islands, the famous James Clark Ross went ashore in 1841 to take the new land into possession for his country – hence the name.

»We found the shores of the mainland completely covered with ice projecting into the sea, and the heavy surf along its edge forbade any attempt to land upon it ; a strong tide carried us rapidly along between this ice-bound coast and the islands amongst heavy masses of ice, so that our situation was for some time most critical; for all the exertions our people could use were insufficient to stem the tide. But taking advantage of a narrow opening that appeared in the ice, the boats were pushed through it, and we got into an eddy under the lee of the largest of the islands, and landed on a beach of large loose stones and stranded masses of ice. The weather by this time had put on a most threatening appearance, the breeze was freshening fast, and the anxious circumstances under which we were placed, together with the recal-flag flying at the ship’s masthead, which I had ordered Lieutenant Bird to hoist if necessary, compelled us to hasten our operations.

The ceremony of taking possession of these newly-discovered grounds, in the name of our Most Gracious Sovereign, Queen Victoria, was immediately proceeded with; and on planting the flag of our country amidst the hearty cheers of our party, we drank to the health, long life, and happiness of Her Majesty and His Royal Highness Prince Albert. The island was named Possession Island.«

You need to have the nerve to go ashore under such circumstances, when getting there and back involves several miles rowing rather than a rapid zodiac ride powered by 60 horses. Ross did have the nerve, we rather enjoy the views from the ship, a warm cup in the hand.

Gallery – Possession Islands & Cape Hallet – 23. Februar 2017

Click on thumbnail to open an enlarged version of the specific photo.

Also Cape Hallet does not want us ashore. The beach is blocked by ice and surf, quite similar to Cape Adare. This turned out not to be a bad thing at all. Not only were the impressions that we got from the drifting ice and the icy shores from Zodiac probably much better than would we would have seen in a deserted penguin colony on a flat gravel peninsula, but we found an Emperor penguin on a bergy bit.

He (or she) did not have anything to do but to entertain us for quite a while with different poses. And as this had not yet been enough, he was then joined by an Adelie penguin, making the size difference more than obvious. An Emperor penguin within a few metres, observed for a good length of time from sea level – how good does it get! 🙂


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