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Shackleton in Punta Arenas (1916)
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"The Magellan Times", 27 July 1916

The Shackleton Relief Expedition

The Government patrol-boat Yelcho arrived back early on Tuesday morning [25th]. She brought the following letter from Sir Ernest Shackleton to the President of the British Association of Magallanes:—

Port Juan,
Staten Island.
17th July.

Dear Sir,

Please inform the members of the British Association of Magalllanes that owing to bad weather, damage to the Yelcho, and broken tow-rope, I [am] only leaving this place today. I am ever mindful of you who sent me forth on this chance for the safety of my men.

I feel, but I cannot write.

Yours faithfully,

(sgd) Ernest Shackleton

The following particulars of the Yelcho's trip are taken from the account published on «El Magallanes» last night:

« We left Punta Arenas, as you know, on the night of Wednesday the 12th instant. Our intention was to navigate through the Beagle Channel. We arrived at the port of Barruu, where we had to complete our preparations, and everything was ready to commence the voyage on the following morning. A strong gale was blowing with every sign of increasing in force. Shortly after starting the tow-rope broke and the Yelcho had to do a certain amount of manoeuvring before she could pick up the Emma again.

Owing to the bad weather, Sir Ernest Shackleton thought that it would be better to return to Punta Arenas, so we accordingly made for that port again. On the way it was decided not to call at Punta Arenas but to proceed through the Straits of Magellan and enter the South Atlantic by way of Dungeness.

We navigated all that night without sighting anything, the proof of which is that none of the lighthouses advised Punta Arenas that the Yelcho and Emma had passed.

On entering the Atlantic, we continued the voyage in the worst possible weather, the huge seas causing us to roll tremendously. The crew had to go without food for the whole of the day. In spite of this, we managed to make headway, but not without suffering some damage.

On our arrival off the Argentine port of San Sebastian, the tow-rope broke again, and we had great difficulty in picking up the Emma but eventually succeeded and continued the voyage. We had only gone a further eight miles when she again broke loose, and we had more trouble.

On reaching her, Sir Ernest Shackleton announced his intention of proceeding under his own sail.

On consulting the engineer of the Yelcho as to the possibility of continuing the voyage, he replied that he thought it was impossible owing to the damage to the engines; so it was decided to put into the port of San Sebastian for repairs.

The Emma went ahead with a strong wind prevailing.

We worked all night in making good the damage. When all the repairs were completed the Captain asked the engineer if he was confident that she could proceed with safety, to which the engineer replied that he had done everything that was possible but that he would not guarantee her.

Notwithstanding, we went forward and made a course towards Isla de los Estados, where we thought that we would probably pick up the schooner. Although we kept a strict watch we passed the whole day without catching sight of her.

At 2 o'clock in the morning we saw the lighthouse of Isla de los Estados; at 3 we saw the masts of a schooner; at 4 o'clock we recognised the Emma at about four miles distant.

The Yelcho approached the schooner, and her commander again put himself at the orders of Sir Ernest Shackleton.

In order to take up the tow-rope again, it was necessary to wait until daylight and both vessels made for the harbour of San Juan. On arrival the schooner was furnished with sundry materials and tools. Shortly after, the voyage was continued on a course indicated by Sir Ernest Shackleton.

As there was a favourable wind, towing was discontinued by mutual agreement, and the sails of the Emma being unfurled, she went away at such a speed that the Yelcho was unable to keep up with her. We accordingly left the schooner at a distance of about 300 miles from Elephant Island, which she should reach about the following day. »

The Magellan Times Aeroplane Fund

As we announced in a previous issue [July 13], a large number of subscribers to the above fund asked to have their donations transferred to the Shackleton Relief Fund, and between £700 and £800 was passed over.

It was a matter of urgency that an expedition should be immediately organized in an endeavour to save the lives of the twenty-two men of Sir Ernest Shackleton's party who were left on Elephant Island, and the aeroplane subscriptions have gone along way towards the success of the fund and, we hope, of the expedition.

We should like to ask our camp friends to do what they can to raise subscriptions on their respective farms so that we can carry out our original intention and present the War Office with a «Magellan Aeroplane» as a proof of our loyalty to the «Old Country».

Should sufficient money not be forthcoming to purchase an aeroplane one or more machine-guns will be presented instead. The following is the state of the fund at present:--

  W. Perkins £ 25.--.--
  Norman Naish   10.--.--
  Mrs. Naish   10.--.--
  R. Riddell   10.--.--
  Frank Somersby     5.--.--
  Miss Bridges      1.--.--
  G. L. Ashton   10.--.--
  J. A. Esdale     2.--.--
  C. A. T. Riesco     5. 5.--
  Miss Fraser     1.--.--
  F. H. Evans    10.--.--
  Interest to 30/6/16        6. 4
  Total to date   £ 89.11. 4  

[27 July 1916]

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