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Heard Island
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, nnearly 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 sighted the island on 25th November 1853 en route from Boston to Melbourne, officially reported the discovery on December 24th December and had the island named after him. Captain William McDonald aboard the Samarang discovered the McDonald Islands close to Heard Island shortly afterwards on January 4th 1854.


Challenger would not be spared a dangerous encouter in this unforgiving place.

Challenger after collision with an iceberg
We had a magnificent sunset on the 23rd, and 45 icebergs were sighted at once, besides any amount of Penguins & Whales jumping about all round us. On the 24th we sounded at 1300 faths. & hove the dredge, when some good specimens were obtained. As soon as the dredge came up, it came on to blow, & all hands were called to make sail for Melbourne. The ship was steamed close under the lee of a large iceberg to allow the topsails to be reefed, and some undercurrent drifted her right on to the berg, the engines were turned full speed astern, but to no purpose & she drifted right on to it; but fortunately struck it very gently, though with sufficient force to carry away the Jib boom, dolphin striker, and other head gear. As soon as the ship got free, the wreck was cleared away, & the Carpenters set to work to make fresh spars, which took them 2  days, & delayed us about 300 miles. The wind increased to a gale, & it was  the coldest day we have had, snowing & freezing all the time; the Thermometer stood at 24°, & the wind was fearfully cutting. The Lat. was 64°15' S & Long. 95°E. The wind kept increasing, & the ship lay to under bare poles, the fog came on so thickly that nothng could be seen 50 yards ahead, & the snow was blinding.

At 3PM, a large iceberg was discvered drifting right on to us; the hands were called to make sail, but by the time they got on deck, the berg was only about 20 yards from us, & rose right above the ship's masts. The confusion was something fearful, nearly everyone was on deck, it was snowing & blowing hard all the time; one officer was yelling out one order, & another something else. The engines were steaming full speed astern, & by hoisting the topsail, the ship shot past it in safety. A seaman fell from the trysail while they were hoisting it, & was much hurt. The gale still increased, & the fog was still thick, 3 men were kept on the lookout all day & night. During that night the ship was put about 9 times to keep her clear of the icebergs. On the 25th there was 1/2 an inch of ice all over the outside of the ship,& while she was forcing her way through a large field of floating ice, the Artist sketched her from a Boat. It came on to blow again that night, & most of the sails had to be furled as there were such numbers of icebergs about. While furling a boy fell from the lower rigging overboard; the Life Boat was manned, but was not required as he had caught a stray rope & was hauled on board unhurt, but half frozen.