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Ross Ice Shelf
Heard Island and the McDonald Islands are Australian territories and World Heritage sites. They were unknown until the mid 19th century, but within 30 years of their discovery by sealers and whalers, nearly the entire fur seal and elephant seal populations were decimated. These colonies are only now  re-establishing themselves. Heard Island and McDonald Islands are located in the Southern Ocean, approximately 1,700 km from the Antarctic continent and 4,100 km south-west of Perth, Australia. Captain John Heard, an American sealer on the ship Oriental discovered Heard island in November 1853 and had it named after himself. Coincidentally, Captain William McDonald aboard the Samarang discovered the McDonald Islands shortly afterwards on January 4th 1854.


February 6, anchored in Whiskey Bay, Heards Island
Heards Island lies 20 miles further south (than the McDonald Islands) and is in the same Latitude as the Falkland Isles, it is about as long as Marion Island & Whisky bay is the only anchorage. The island looks like an immense iceberg, being covered with snow & ice glaciers, which are formed all down the mountain slopes. There are several men on it belonging to the "Imogen", who are here for the summer to kill sea elephants for the sake of their oil. The Captain landed & got what information he could from the men, & we leave for the south to-morrow, as any exploring party is impossible, for the snow lies several feet thick on the island. There is a large iceberg aground on the other side of the island, which the whalers say has been there for years.

From Heard Island Challenger journeys in extreme conditions among the ice of the Antarctic circle:

February 16th, within the Antarctic Circle, Latitude 66°39' S., off the great Ice barrier, & surrounded by icebergs
We left Heard's island on the 7th for the south, with a good breeze, which increased to a regular gale during the night; the ship was knocked about any how by the tremendous seas, 2 of the main deck ports were stove in & men knocked out of their hammocks by the sea, the Carpenters were up all the night repairing the damage. It was considered the worst gale we have yet had, tho' not so dangerous as the one in the Channel....We ran 214 miles during the gale, with storm staysails only, the best part of the time, the gale moderated on the8th Sunday, & we were in the Latitude of Cape Horn.

On the 9th we were out of the track of navigation being in Lat 58°S & on the 10th we were in Lat. 60°15' S. & no icebergs in sight. The Thermometer stood at 33 1/2 in the shade, & the temperature of the surface water was exactly the same. On the 11th at 4AM the first iceberg hove in sight, & we lay to, close to it, & hove the Trawl. This iceberg was about a mile in length, & 400 ft high, it was quite square & the summit was covered in snow...We found the depth 1,275 faths.; the surface water was 33 1/2, only half a degree above freezing point for fresh water, & from this depth we brought up living specimens, the best being a large Prawn, & a curious sharp snouted fish about a foot long & of a sort  hitherto unknown.