This section launched: 12 March 2006. Last updated: 21 April 2007

This section is still being developed

BOATS & SHIPS (19 Sites)
002 - HMS Discovery, Robert F. Scott's ship (Discovery expedition).
010 - The James Caird, Ernest H. Shackleton's boat (Endurance expedition).
017 - The Fram, Nansen's and Amundsen's ship (Fram expedition).
050 - The Yelcho, Chilean tugboat (Endurance expedition).
262 - The HMAS Wyatt Earp, Lincoln Ellsworth's ship.
274 - Site of the construction of the Resolution and Adventure, James Cook's ships (Cook's Second Voyage).
331 - Antarctica II, barge on the Meuse River.
396 - The HMS Scott.
401 - The HMS Endurance.
402 - The Nathaniel Brown Palmer, US polar research vessel.
403 - The Hero, retired US ship.
436 - The James Clark Ross, British Antarctic Survey ship.
543 - The Uruguay, Argentinian ship.
547 - The RRS Ernest Shackleton, British Antarctic Survey ship.
549 - The Roald Amundsen, German sailing brig.
608 - Models of the Terra Nova, and the Aurora.
667 - The Southern Actor, restored Norwegian whalecatcher.
697 - Model of the Terra Nova.
776 - Glacier, US icebreaker.

Site No 002

HMS Discovery Robert F. Scott's ship (Discovery expedition).

Discovery Point, Dundee, Scotland, UK.

Site No 010

The James Caird, Ernest H. Shackleton's boat (Endurance expedition).

North Cloisters, Dulwich College, London SE21 7LD, UK..

The James Caird--A remarkable voyage 80 years ago. The James Caird is one of the more storied vessels in the history of Antarctic exploration. A whaleboat named for Sir James Caird, a Dundee jute manufacturer and the principal backer of Shackleton's British Imperial Transantarctic Expedition (1914-17), it made that remarkable sixteen-day voyage from Elephant Island to South Georgia, 800 miles across some of the most daunting ocean anywhere. Rescued from the Endurance as it was crushed in the Weddell Sea, hauled over the ice, altered by the ship's carpenter for added seaworthiness, the 23-foot long James Caird was sailed by Shackleton, Worsley, Crean, Vincent, McCarty and McNeish.

Today the James Caird sits restored and on display at Dulwich College in the southern outskirts of London. Shackleton attended Dulwich while growing up nearby (his house still stands and will be the subject of a future episode). From 1968 to 1986 the boat was at the National Maritime Museum, where I first saw it (previous to that it was at the College). Not long ago I ventured to Dulwich to where it has been permanently repatriated. It is nicely exhibited in the North Cloisters, sails raised, sitting on a bed of rocks imported from South Georgia. There is an informative display of photographs, clippings and such. The public may view it without charge, although it might be best to call the College first.

Episode 29 focused on the James Caird, the ship's boat that made that remarkable voyage from Elephant Island to South Georgia during Shackleton's Endurance expedition. Since that Episode I've come upon Harding McGregor Dunnett's book Shackleton's Boat; The Story of the James Caird (Cranbrook, Kent, UK: Neville & Harding Ltd., c1996). This very informative book (with many illustrations previously unpublished) traces the history of the Caird from its construction in 1914 at W & J Leslie's Thameside boat yard to its present home at Dulwich College. Sir Vivian Fuchs in the Foreword writes: "Originally she was saved by the Norwegian whalers at South Georgia in 1916. The boat then arrived in Birkenhead in 1919. Thereafter the history of her travels is quite remarkable--Middlesex Hospital, then the Albert Hall, the roof of Selfridges, Ely Place in Frant, Kent, Dulwich College as a gift, the British Polar Exhibition, the National Maritime Museum; and so to her final resting place back at Dulwich College in 1989."

Site No 017

The Fram, Nansen's and Amundsen's ship (Fram expedition).

Bygdøynesveien 36 0286 Oslo, Norway.

For many years after the Fram's return to Norway in 1914, the fate of the ship hung in the balance. The outbreak of the First World War diverted public attention elsewhere, but in 1916 the first Fram Committee was formed at the instigation of the Christiania Mariners Association, with Chr. Christensen, a prominent Norwegian shipowner, as president. There was general agreement that the Fram ought to be properly restored and preserved for posterity.
A succession of committees worked untiringly to this end, but their plans met with considerable opposition and they found themselves constantly thwarted by petty considerations; nor were matters helped by an initial shortage of funds. Otto Sverdrup was one of the scheme's most enthusiastic protagonists. For many years he battled alone, but in 1929 Consul Lars Christensen of Sandefjord came to his assistance, and the Fram was towed to the Framnaes Shipyard there for repair. Sverdrup kept a keen eye on the work, to ensure that every detail of the restoration was correct.
When Otto Sverdrup died in 1930, new champions stepped into the breach, men like Lars Christensen, Knud Ringnes, and Captain Oscar Wisting and continued Sverdrup's efforts to have the Fram hauled ashore and suitably housed.
In the course of the next few years various schemes were launched to raise money to save the Fram, and many prospective sites were considered for her last resting place.
A competition was held to find the best design for the museum, and the work was entrusted to the winning architect, Bjarne Tøien.
In May 1935 the Fram was towed to Oslo and carefully hauled ashore where she now lies. Work then commenced on erecting a building about her, and on 20 May 1936 the Fram Museum was ceremoniously opened in the presence of His Majesty King Haakon VII and Crown Prince Olav.

Source: Booklet: Fram Museum, 1971.

Site No 050

The Yelcho Chilean tugboat (Endurance expedition).

DISPLACEMENT: 467 tonnes.

Once Shackleton had arrived back at South Georgia he immediately set about trying to organize the rescue of the 22 men left stranded behind on Elephant Island.
Between 23rd May 1916 and 31st August 1916 he made four attempts to return to Elephant Island and secure their rescue:
Southern Sky (Loaned by English Whaling Co.) 23rd-31st May 1916
Instituto de Pesco No 1 (loaned by the Government of Equador) 10th-16th June 1916
Emma (Sealer, funded by the British Club. Punta Arenas) 12th July-8th August 1916
Yelcho (loaned by the Government of Chile) 25th August-3rd September 1916

Shackleton's first three attempts had failed due to bad weather and adverse ice conditions. By early August 1916 he was desperate to reach his men and was offered a small steam tug by the Chilean Government, the S.S Yelcho. Captained by one Luis Alberto Pardo Villalon.
The Yelcho was totally unsuited for the job in hand, having no Radio, no proper heating system, no electric lighting and no double hull.
This time luck was with Shackleton, as the Yelcho some how managed to find a safe passage through the ice and arrived at a mist covered Elephant Island at around 1:10pm. on August 30th 1916.

Shackleton would not risk landing on the island himself and instead stayed on one of the landing boats close enough to the shore to be able to throw packets of cigarettes to the men massed on the shoreline. He insisted that all were evacuated immediately before the ice started to close in again. By 2:10pm all 22 men were safely on board the Yelcho. Once on board food was arranged and many of the men happily chain-smoked having been without any real tobacco for some considerable time.

The 23 crew of the Yelcho that fateful day was:
Captain: Luis Alberto Pardo Villalon.
2nd in Command: Leon Aguirre Romero.
Chief Engineer: Jorge L. Valenzuela Mesa.
2nd Engineer: Jose Beltran Gamarra.
Engineers: Nicolas Munoz Molina and Manuel Blackwood.
Firemen: Herbito Cariz Caramo. Juan Vera Jara. Pedro Chaura. Pedro Soto Nunez. Luis Contreras Castro.
Guard: Manuel Ojeda. Ladislao Gallego Trujillo. Hopolito Aries. Jose Leiva Chacon. Antonio Colin Parada.
Foreman: Jose Munoz Tellez.
Blacksmith: Froilan Cabana Rodriguez,
Seamen: Pedro Pairo. Jose del C. Galindo. Florentino Gonzalez Estay. Clodomiro Aguero Soto.
Cabin Boy: Bautista Ibarra Carvajal.

So it was that the Yelcho with her crew of 23 and cargo of 25 men from Shackleton's expedition ( McNish, Vincent and McCarthy were already on their way home to England) , headed back to Chile and on 3rd September 1916 stood off Rio Seco whilst Shackleton , always the one to seek publicity, telephoned the Governor of Punta Arenas to forewarn him of their imminent arrival. Shackleton made sure that none of the men shaved or cut their hair ,and that they wore their tattered soot covered clothing. Presumably he wanted the outside world to appreciate just what these men had been through.

The welcome they received on arriving at Punta Arenas was unbelievable. Almost the entire population had turned out to welcome them. This was to be nothing compared to the reception they received when the Yelcho arrived at Valparaiso on 27th September. At least 30,000 people thronged around the harbour and nearby streets. Shackleton wrote "Everything that could swim in the way of a boat was out to meet us". The Captain of the Yelcho, Luis Pardo had played a great part in the rescue and was quite rightly honoured in his home country of Chile and also by the British Government.

Luis, it seems was a modest man and it is believed that he declined a reward of 25,000 (an absolute fortune at the time) from the British Government. He said that he had "simply done his duty". He became a friend of Shackleton, and between 1930-1934 was the Chilean Consul to Liverpool. Quite an honour as at that time Liverpool was the greatest sea-port in Europe if not the world. The Yelcho was retired from active Navy duty in 1945, but was still used as a ship's tender at the Chilean School for Cabin Boys until 1958. In 1962 she was sold off, presumably for scrap.

All that remains of the Yelcho today. Her bow rests as a monument at Puerto William, the most Southerly town in Chile. (photo courtesy of Grace Garrett. victory-cruises.com)

The plaque below the Yelcho's bow translated from Spanish reads: "Bow of Chilean Navy tugboat "Yelcho" that commanded by 2nd Pilot Don Luis Pardo Villalon, rescued the members of Sir Ernest Shackleton from the H.M.S. Endurance in Elephant Island, Chilean Antarctica. The 30th of August 1916. Donated by the Navy to the city of Punta Arenas 21st May, 1970."
With Thanks to Roy Cockram, Nephew of Charles Green. Captain Ben Garrett and Grace Garrett.

Source: http://www.visitandlearn.co.uk/factfiles/obit30.asp

Site No 262

The HMAS Wyatt Earp, Lincoln Ellsworth's ship.

Sank off of Queensland, Australia, in 1959. "The Wyatt Earp was to have an interesting future. In February 1939 she arrived at Hobart from the Antarctic to land the chief officer who had injured his leg. Ellsworth, who was on board, offered the ship to the Australian Government for 4,400 to service the Australian Antarctic base. This was accepted on 8 February, but no expeditions could be mounted before World War II broke out. The ship was converted to a munitions carrier at Garden Is. and later, as HMAS Wongala, she served as an examination vessel until paid off on 19 April 1944. She was then retained in reserve until handed over to the South Australian Boy Scouts on 3 March 1945. In 1947 she was selected for re-conversion to a polar expedition vessel and became HMAS Wyatt Earp. After a lengthy six-month conversion, bedevilled by strikes, at Birkenhead, Adelaide, she sailed for Mawson base on 19 December and was away three months. Unstable, leaking continuously and generally quite unsuitable, she made only the one trip.

Sold again in November 1951, she reverted to the name Wongala and was used as a tramp ship between Tasmania and the Australian mainland. When her name was taken for a new vessel in 1956 she became the Natone and as such on 23/24 January 1959 she ran aground near Mudlow Rocks between Cairns and Brisbane. The crew got ashore on hatch boards while the old ship soon broke up."

Source: Church, Ian. Last Port to Antartica: Dunedin and Port Chalmers: 100 Years of Polar Service. Dunedin: Otago Heritage Books, 1997.

Source: Wyatt Earp at the ice edge on her first ANARE voyage in February 1948. AAD photograph (1420-B3)

Site No 274

Site of the construction of the Resolution and Adventure, James Cook's ships (Cook's Second Voyage).

Fishburn yard, Whitby, Yorkshire, UK.

Source: Pp3-4, The Antarctican Society Newsletter Vol 99-00, No 3 December 1999.

Site No 331

Antarctica II barge on the Meuse River.

Seen on the Meuse River in Belgium.

Site No 396

The HMS Scott.

HMS Scott has been designed to commercial standards and will provide the Royal Navy with a deep bathymetric capability off the continental shelf.

The ship is fitted with a modern multi-beam sonar suite which will permit mapping of the ocean floor worldwide. The ship is fully lean-manned with a complement of only 63, made possible by moving toward commercial manning practices like the use of fixed fire fighting equipment and extensive machinery and safety surveillance technology. The ship has a three watch crew rotation system with 42 personnel embarked at any one time, enabling the ship to operate abroad for extended periods.

HMS Scott was constructed by Appledore Shipbuilders Ltd. in North Devon and launched by Mrs. Portillo on 13 October 1996.

Source: http://www.royal-navy.mod.uk/static/pages/466.html

Site No 401

The HMS Endurance.

A Class 1 Icebreaker she was originally built in Norway in 1990 as MV Polar Circle. The RN chartered her in 1991 before she commissioned as HMS Polar Circle on 21 Nov 91. She was subsequently renamed HMS Endurance.

Her Mission is "To patrol and survey the Antarctic and South Atlantic, maintaining Sovereign Presence with Defence Diplomacy and supporting the global community of Antarctica". This involves close links with the Foreign Office, United Kingdom Hydrographic Office and the British Antarctic Survey. She deploys annually to the Antarctic, her operating area for 7 months of the year. Her base port is Portsmouth, which is also the ship's affiliated town.

The Ship's motto is "Fortitudine Vincimus" -- 'By Endurance We Conquer' The motto originates from that of the great Antarctic explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton who made history in his ship, Endurance in his expedition south in 1914-15.

Source: http://www.royal-navy.mod.uk/static/pages/467.html

Site No 402

The R/V Nathaniel Brown Palmer, US polar research vessel.

In 1992, Edison Chouest Offshore Inc., Galliano, Louisiana, built and delivered a 94-meter research ship with icebreaking capability for use by the U.S. Antarctic Program for 10 years or more. The ship, Nathaniel B. Palmer, is a first-rate platform for global change studies, including biological, oceanographic, geological, and geophysical components. It can operate safely year-round in Antarctic waters that often are stormy or covered with sea ice. It accommodates 37 scientists, has a crew of 22, and is capable of 75-day missions. For ship deck layouts, lab photographs, schedules, equipment, ship user committee issues and a variety of other information regarding USAP research ships, go to the Raytheon Polar Services Company (RSPC) marine sciences web site. For specific information about cruises schedules, scientific equipment and other related science support information, see RSPC's the Nathaniel B. Palmer web page at http://www.polar.org/marine/nbp/nbpindex.html.

The ship is named the Nathaniel B. Palmer to commemorate the American credited with first seeing Antarctica. Nathaniel Brown Palmer, then 21 years old, commanded the 14-meter sloop Hero, which on 16 and 17 November 1820 entered Orleans Strait and came very close to the Antarctic Peninsula at about 63° 45' S. Later in his life, Palmer also won wealth and fame as a pioneer clipper ship master and designer.

Source: http://www.nsf.gov/od/opp/support/nathpalm.jsp

Site No 403

The Hero, retired US ship.

"The Hero. Small, wooden-hulled American motor research vessel belonging to the NSF, which served Palmer Station between 1968 and 1984, before being retired due to dry rot in the timbers. 300 tons, it was named for Palmer's old sloop, and was framed with large oak timbers. Ketch-rigged, it had 2 decks and a superstructure. The mast was made of Oregon fir. It had 2 engines, and carried a crew of 12, as well as 8 scientists, and first pulled into its assigned home port of Palmer Station on Dec. 25, 1968, under the command of Capt. Sidney G. Hartshorne. 125 feet long, this floating lab operated in Antarctic waters between November and April every year, and wintered in South America. The best remembered captain was Pieter Lenie, who became skipper in 1972. On April 15, 1984, the Hero left Arthur Harbor for the last time, and was retired in October of that year, in favor of the Polar Duke."
Source: Stewart, Antarctica An Encyclopedia, p. 450.

The Hero ended up in Reedsport, Oregon, where it was to become a museum ship. The scheme never materialized and it was sold. Whereabouts unknown.

Site No 436

The James Clark Ross, British Antarctic Survey ship.

RRS James Clark Ross was built by Swan Hunter Shipbuilders, Wallsend, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK and launched by H.M. The Queen on the 1st December 1990.

The vessel was named after Admiral Sir James Clark Ross, R.N. (1800-1862) who discovered the North Magnetic Pole in 1831. During 1840-43 he made three voyages to Antarctica in an attempt to reach the South Magnetic Pole, and to undertake a range of scientific studies of the region.

The vessel can be driven at a steady two knots through level sea ice one metre thick. To assist passage through heavy pack ice a compressed air system rolls the ship and prevents the ice from squeezing the hull. RRS James Clark Ross is equipped for geophysical studies, with a compressor bank to power a large seismic air gun array, a large aft" deck for deploying a wide range of equipment and a midships gantry. For biological studies, the vessel can deploy a wide range of sampling gear and benefits from modern underway instrumentation. The ship is designed with an extremely low noise signature to allow sensitive underwater acoustic equipment to operate effectively.

Source: http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/Living_and_Working/Transport/Ships/RRS_James_Clark_Ross.html

This photo was taken in the Falkland Islands in 1998.

Site No 543

The Uruguay, Argentinian ship.

Dock One, Darsana Central, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Built in British shipyard, it was acquired in 1872 by President Sarmiento. Between 1898 and 1961, it ran as ship school of the Argentine Navy. This ship took 37 instruction trips around the world. It is 85 meters long and 13.3 meters its beam. Its deployed canvas covers an area of 3,358 square meters. Its iron hull was modified so that it could sail Antarctic seas. In 1901, she was commended for the rescue of the Swedish expedition on board the Antartic, ice-trapped shipwrecked.

It also served as Floating Navy School. Visits to the deck and interiors are held Monday through Sundays from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm. Admission is 1 Peso. Children under 5, free.

Source: http://www.bue.gov.ar/recorridos/index.php?info=auto_contenido&menu_id=58#2


Type: Corvette
Length: 46.36 m
Breadth: 7.63 m
Depth: 5.4 m
Mean Draught: 3.5 m
Dead Weight: 550 tons

Lines of Hull: Iron hull sheathed with teakwood, 31 mm. thick, covered with zinc plate in the underwater parts. Three watertight bulkheads.

Engine: High and low-pressure steam engine, 475 HP, with two coal fired boilers, 97 tons.

Bebis system bronze twin-blade propeller.
11 knots (as a maximum). Cruise speed: 6 knots.

Range: 1,500 miles

Ordnance: 4 Vavaseur guns, 7 inches, on iron gun carriages. One gun amidship in front of funnel, another gun behind the funnel and one at both bow sides. This changed as time passed.

Crew: 14 officers and 100 crew members.


The corvette Uruguay arrived in Argentine in 1874 as a member of the famous Sarmiento Fleet, the first fleet, compound of metallic vessels in the Argentine Navy.

The corvette was the first seat of the Naval Academy and it contributed to guarantee our sovereignty over Patagonia taking part in the 1878 South Atlantic Cruise of Commodore Luis Py.

In 1903 the destiny of the Swedish scientist Otto Nordenskjold's Antarctic expedition in which Sub-Lieutenant Jose Maria Sobral took part was unknown. Therefore, the Argentine Navy decided to appoint the corvette "Uruguay" to search the missing scientists.

After reinforcing her structure and changing her rigging to navigate along frozen seas and bear heavy, storms, the vessel left on October 8, 1903 the order of departure being given by Presidente General Julio A. Roca himself.

After sailing about 1 month, the vessel arrived at the Antartic coasts and some days later they found the lost expedition in Snow Hill island. The crew was isolated due to loss of Nordenskjold's Antarticship.

The surprise was great when Sub-Lieutenant Sobral saw the silhouette of his training ship that was arriving to rescue them. After rescuing the survivors of ship Antartic, the corvette started back northwards.

Finally, on December 2, 1903, both the crowd bunched together in the piers in Buenos Aires and more than thirty vassels with a concert of whistles and sirens received the corvette Uruguay escorting her entrance into history.

From then on, she will go on rendering relevant services as the first Antartic vessel replenishing the Orkneys Observatory, carrying out hydrographic tasks and coastal surveys and especially reasserting national sovereignty over the area.

She was de-commissioned in 1926 after a 52 year-service. In 1954 she was reconditioned as a museum ship of the Naval Academy with a honour crew. In 1967 she was declared a National Ancient Monument. In 1974, a hundred years after the creation of the Sarmiento Fleet, she entered again the port of Buenos Aires with the same integrity as in 1903 and was accompanied by a similar enthusiasm.

Source: P. E. Arguindeguy "Notes on the Vessels of the ARGENTINE NAVY", 1972

Photo: Jonathan Shackleton.

Site No 547

The RRS Ernest Shackleton, British Antarctic Survey ship.

The RRS Ernest Shackleton was built by Kverner Klevin Leirvik A/S, Norway as the MV Polar Queen for the Norwegian company Rieber Shipping of Bergen in 1995. The British Antarctic Survey acquired the ship in August 1999. The vessel was renamed RRS Ernest Shackleton and re-registered in the Falkland Islands. Sir Ernest Shackleton, the famed Polar Explorer, brought all his men to safety when his ship Endurance was crushed in the ice. The epic journey from the Weddell Sea to South Georgia remains one of the legendary tales of survival. The vessel is ice strengthened and capable of a wide range of logistic tasks as well as having a scientific capability.

Source: http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/Living_and_Working/Transport/Ships/RRS_Ernest_Shackleton.php

Site No 549

The Roald Amundsen, German sailing brig.

A German tall ship built in 1952. This photo was taken in Boston in July 2000 during a "Tall Ships" visit.

Site No 608

Models of the Terra Nova and the Aurora.

5th floor, Marsh & McLennan European headquarters, near the Tower of London, London, UK.

Marsh & McLennan bought out Bowring Brothers which had owned both the Terra Nova and the Aurora.

Site No 667

The Southern Actor, restored Norwegian whalecatcher.

Shipyard, Sandefjord, Norway.

This restored whale catcher is an operating ship which has as its homeport this shipyard.

Photo: Sally Larsen.

Site No 697

Model of the Terra Nova.

Model room, Master Mariners, HQS Wellington, Embankment, nr Temple tube station, London, UK.

"The Mariners have a large number of ships' models. This is the smallest of them, ca 8" long by 6" tall, in a glass case. The label says: Scale Model of the Terra Nova | (Scott's Antarctic Expedition: 1911-12) | Made and Presented by Captain R. E. Gardiner, 1950 | All the wood used in the construction | was carved from a small piece of oak | originally part of the Terra Nova's stem | Presented by | Mr. P. W. Elkington, Victoria, B.C."

Site No 776

Glacier, US icebreaker in process of restoration..

Suisan Bay on the Sacramento River approximately one hour northeast of San Francisco, California.