Adventurers plot to emulate Shackleton
Despite the protection of skyscrapers and a lock subduing the tidal Thames, the TS Pelican swayed in a swell caused by high winds in South Quay.
Fresh from its role in the Avenue of Sail at the Thames Pageant, her berth in Canary Wharf was a brief stopover before she sailed back to her home port of Weymouth.
Below deck, the granddaughter of one of Britain's greatest heroes was talking about an attempt to recreate an epic voyage that Ernest Shackleton was forced to take to survive but others, 100 years later, would undertake voluntarily.
Alexandra Shackleton introduced two of the six-strong team that would navigate the treacherous seas from Elephant Island in the Antartic, where her grandfather's forlorn crew had pitched up, to South Georgia before scaling an unknown mountain range to find rescue and salvation.
She said: "I am a very proud patron of this expedition which will achieve, I have no doubt, what my grandfather did in 1916 - the boat journey, 800 miles across the stormiest seas in the world and then climbing South Georgia."
TS Pelican is not dissimilar to the Endurance that Shackleton and his crew had abandoned to the ice on their ill-fated polar expedition. With a crew of young people to be recruited for the experience, she will provide the back-up should lives become imperiled.
Bosun PO Seb Coulthard gave an outline of the challenge for the team aboard the replica James Caird - named the Alexandra Shackleton.
He said the purpose of the expedition was to "bear tribute to leadership" and, under the leadership of environmentalist Tim Jarvis, pelicapress home a message of conservation.
He said: "We plan to cover 800 nautical miles, 17 days at sea, 48 miles a day at two knots but it depends on wind and current - we could end up going backwards at some point.
"Upon reaching South Georgia, we will cross the mountains, 40 miles. Shackleton covered that distance in 33 hours and no-one's come close to beating that.
"They had virtually nothing apart what they were wearing - they removed screws from the timbers in the boat and put them through their boots to gain traction. We're planning to do something similar."
The Shackleton Epic will take place from January 2013.