Priory Probus Club

JOHN Elder from Wellington gave his long awaited talk ‘ In the footsteps of Shackleton’ – postponed from September 7, last year.

Priory Probus Club was given two lectures in one as he recounted details of an expedition he himself joined as surveyor to Elephant Island in 1970, as well as a review of Shackleton’s own expeditions.

A fine selection of slides showing the wild life on Elephant Island from his own expedition, and some of the inhospitable terrain and weather conditions prepared the way for the main substance of the talk on Shackleton.

The remarkable achievements of Shackleton as a very charismatic leader of men particularly in rescuing his divided party of explorers, some left on Elephant Island while he set off in an open boat with a small crew to travel 800 miles on treacherous seas to reach South Georgia and a whaling station rescue.

Astounding navigation in this saga meant that they were successful not only in reaching South Georgia but also later in securing the rescue of his separated party after a long interval of waiting on their part. What a relief! All this made necessary as the loss of his sailing ship, crushed in the ice and marooning the entire party on the ice-pack.

Formerly Shackleton’s operating base, the ship was abandoned prior to its destruction and lost beneath the ice, and the stores from the ship were placed on the ice and camping tents were erected.

Any rescue of the explorers had to be at their own initiative as communications with the outside world were non-existent.

John Elder gave a fine inspiring talk with transparency slides from a non-digital projector as his memory stick of the same material on Apple, did not communicate with the digital projector supplied.

It is to the speakers credit that plan B was so successful. Questions were followed by a vote of thanks from president Brian Savory.