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Yearly Archives: 2018 − News & Stories

Dra­ke-Pas­sa­ge – 31 Janu­a­ry – 03 Febru­ar 2018

31 Janu­a­ry – 03 Febru­ar 2018 – We have seen a lot of water and many, many waves sin­ce we left Ant­arc­ti­ca 3 days ago. On the first day at sea, we could enjoy the rather rare phe­no­me­non of a „Dra­ke Lake“. No wind at all!

It was pret­ty clear that this would not last fore­ver.

Accord­ing to the fore­cast, we could hope for one more day with litt­le wind, but that’s not what we got. Sin­ce the day befo­re yes­ter­day, we have most­ly had around 30 knots of wind (for­ce 7), some­ti­mes more (up to 40 knots, a solid for­ce 8, occa­sio­nal­ly gus­ting up to for­ce 9). The bad thing is: the wind comes almost con­stant­ly from the wrong direc­tion, from north­nor­thwest. No sai­ling wind that makes us fly across the Dra­ke, but nas­ty head­winds that slow us down to a frus­tra­ting 3-4 knots, making the boat move a lot at the same time. Well, it is not one of the­se real­ly hea­vy storms that the Dra­ke-Pas­sa­ge is so noto­rious for, but still it is a phe­no­me­non how the wind keeps com­ing per­sist­ent­ly from the „wron“ direc­tion in this area which is known for quick wea­ther chan­ges!? Well, is is as it is, we have to live with it, alt­hough enthu­si­asm about the pre­sent wea­ther and sea con­di­ti­ons is not unli­mi­ted. Some of us actual­ly dis­co­ver that they are born sea­men, while others keep hol­ding on to a bucket. Just for safe­ty rea­sons, of cour­se.

Gal­le­ry – Dra­ke-Pas­sa­ge – 31 Janu­a­ry – 03 Febru­ar 2018

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

It is still about 170 nau­ti­cal miles to Cape Hoorn. That makes for 34 hours sai­ling time assuming that we can main­tain a speed of 5 knots. In this case, we will be near land in the night from Sunday to Mon­day. But often, we are slower. We are kree­ping towards Cape Hoorn met­re by met­re, and we will all be hap­py when we hear someo­ne shou­ting „land“!

Mel­chi­or Islands – 31 Janu­a­ry 2018

The expe­di­ti­on roos­ter wakes us up a bit ear­ler than nor­mal­ly. The wea­ther fore­cast for the Dra­ke-Pas­sa­ge sug­gests an ear­ly depar­tu­re, but we do not want to miss the oppor­tu­ni­ty to step on ant­arc­tic ground one more time and to say good­bye in a pro­per way.

After a litt­le stroll up a snow field, we sett­le down on some rocky hills, enjoy­ing fan­tastic views of the Mel­chi­or Islands: small, ice-cove­r­ed islands with nar­row sounds, sur­roun­ded by the wide-open Dall­mann Bay. Ice­bergs are drif­ting here and the­re, and a wha­le is blowing in the distance. A moment of ant­arc­tic para­di­se.

Gal­le­ry – Mel­chi­or Islands – 31 Janu­a­ry 2018

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

Then the moment has come. The din­gies are sto­wed away and the ship is made rea­dy for the open sea. The anker is going up, and skip­per Heinz is stee­ring the ship out bet­ween the islands and into Dall­mann Bay, the open sea just ahead of us. The sun is shi­ning, the­re is almost no wind, just a mode­ra­te swell that reminds us that this is not a lake. Wide ice caps are shim­me­ring in the sun behind us, and some Hump­back wha­les come clo­se to wave us good­bye with their flu­kes.

We have got a good 500 nau­ti­cal miles bet­ween us and Cape Hoorn.

Port Lock­roy – 29/30 Janu­a­ry 2018

29/30 Janu­a­ry 2018 – Not­hing at all hap­pens on Mon­day. Wind, wind, wind. No chan­ce to get to the real pen­gu­ins which are just a few hund­red metres away, so at least we talk about them in theo­ry. But this we do exten­si­ve­ly. A rela­xed day on board. Not what we had plan­ned, but things could defi­ni­te­ly be worse. Life in the Ant­arc­tic.

Tues­day, howe­ver, is stun­ning. The wind had died down almost com­ple­te­ly. We enjoy­ed a lovely, long morning with the Gen­too pen­gu­ins at Jou­g­la point, fol­lo­wed by a visit to the „living muse­um“ at Port Lock­roy, the for­mer Bri­tish Base A, built in 1944. A litt­le time cap­su­le that takes you back to the ant­arc­tic 1950s. And the most popu­lar sou­ve­nir shop in Ant­arc­tic Trea­ty ter­ri­to­ry 😉

A 360° pan­ora­ma tour of Port Lock­roy from a pre­vious Ant­arc­tic trip.

Gal­le­ry – Port Lock­roy – 29/30 Janu­a­ry 2018

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

This is fol­lo­wed by the pas­sa­ge of the Neu­may­er Chan­nel, a dream of wild ant­arc­tic sce­ne­ry with mir­ror images on the water. Later, the evening sun adds even more favour to the who­le sce­ne as we turn from Ger­la­che Strait into Dall­mann Bay. Some­thing that we, nevertheless, do with some sad­ness. It means that we will lea­ve Ant­arc­ti­ca tomor­row. But we have still got the Mel­chi­or Islands ahead of us, to anchor the­re tonight and to say fare­well to Ant­arc­ti­ca tomor­row.

Para­di­se Har­bour – Port Lock­roy – 28 Janu­a­ry 2018

Sai­ling into Para­di­se Har­bour is a slight­ly mono­chro­me dream of land and sea, moun­tains and gla­ciers, ice­bergs and islands. Ever­y­whe­re seals on the ice. Some wha­les here and the­re. The wha­lers gave Para­di­se Har­bour its name for a good rea­son.

The Argen­ti­ne sta­ti­on Almi­ran­te Brown was built in 1951 but only spo­ra­di­cal­ly used after a fire in 1984. The­re is now a team the­re and the plan is to reno­va­te it com­ple­te­ly for poten­ti­al year-round use in the future. Well, we’ll see. What is more important to us now is that we get an invi­ta­ti­on for an spon­ta­ne­ous visit, some­thing that is going hard over my very rudi­men­ta­ry know­ledge of Spa­nish lan­guage. But we make it work and it is fun. The high­light is, of cour­se, the pan­or­amic view from the hill behind the sta­ti­on and the famous sli­de down after­wards.

Gal­le­ry – Para­di­se Har­bour – Port Lock­roy – 28 Janu­a­ry 2018

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

Click here for the pan­or­amic views of Para­dies Bay from a pre­vious Ant­arc­tic Tour.

Our pro­spec­ted ancho­ra­ge just around the cor­ner is alrea­dy occu­p­ied, and the­re is real­ly just space for one boat the­re. So we set cour­se for Port Lock­roy, which takes a good cou­p­le of hours. It beco­mes qui­te win­dy as we start cros­sing the Ger­la­che Strait. We turn into Pel­tier Chan­nel, which is avoided by lar­ger ships as it has some shal­lows. A spec­ta­cu­lar pas­sa­ge! And icy cold in the wind. Some bra­ve souls spend the who­le pas­sa­ge of Pel­tier Chan­nel out­side on deck.

The­re is a strong bree­ze at Port Lock­roy and lots of bits and pie­ces of gla­cier ice are drif­ting around, but it is shel­te­red from waves and the­re is good hol­ding ground for the anchor, and that’s all we need for tonight.

Wil­hel­mi­na Bay – Water­boat Point – 27 Janu­a­ry 2018

We lea­ve the lovely bay with the wha­ling ship Guverno­ren after two nights and con­ti­nue to the south. The water in Wil­hel­mi­na Bay is lying like a mir­ror, the sun is war­ming us through a thin cover of clouds and ice­bergs are drif­ting silent­ly. The only thing that is moving is us – and Hump­back wha­les. Ple­nty of them! Soon we dis­co­ver the first litt­le group, and many more are to fol­low during the next cou­p­le of hours. The­re are groups form 2-3 to 6-7 ani­mals, most of them pret­ty acti­ve. Whe­re­ver we look, the­re are backs and flu­kes brea­king through the sur­face of the water. One is even jum­ping some­whe­re. Later, we have wha­les direct­ly next to the boat. A very impres­si­ve expe­ri­ence, for all sen­ses – inclu­ding the smell 😉

Later in Ger­la­che Strait, it is qui­te win­dy, and Erre­ra Chan­nel is not the world’s best place today eit­her. The­re are many Cra­bea­ter seals res­ting on ice floes, and once, a rare Snow petrels flies past the ship. More flu­kes of more Hump­back wha­les.

Gal­le­ry – Wil­hel­mi­na Bay – Water­boat Point – 27 Janu­a­ry 2018

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

We drop anchor at Water­boat Point at the nort­hern ent­ran­ce to Para­di­se Har­bour („Bay“), with addi­tio­nal shore lines so we should have a sta­ble posi­ti­on for a good and calm night here. And we have a chan­ce to visit Water­boat Point with its Chi­lean sta­ti­on and the Gen­too pen­gu­in colo­ny whe­re we see one of the famous leu­cistic pen­gu­ins (they are most­ly white, but they do have some pig­ment so they are no albi­nos). The chicks are still much smal­ler than in the South Shet­land Islands fur­ther north. Here, they are most­ly still tog­e­ther with one parent on the nest.

The­re was a remar­kab­le adven­ture at Water­boat Point when two young Bri­tish men win­te­red here in 1922. They were not marooned after a ship wre­cka­ge or so, it was they decisi­on to stay here alt­hough con­di­ti­ons for their expe­di­ti­on were anything but ide­al. Ever­y­bo­dy knows Shack­le­ton and Scott, but hands up – who knows Bags­ha­we and Les­ter? Well, may­be not qui­te the same league of explo­rers, but still, a gre­at sto­ry of bra­very worth remem­be­ring.

Enter­pri­se Island – 26 Janu­a­ry 2018

The idea was to spend a full day at Enter­pri­se Island. Making a nice excur­si­on and fin­ding some ant­arc­tic quiet­ness and soli­tu­de. Initi­al­ly, it appeared to be qui­te grey out­side, so we made a rela­xed start in the morning, but then we went out with the din­gies. Wil­hel­mi­nay Bay was flat as at table cloth, the clouds beca­me thin­ner and thin­ner and the sun was war­ming us noti­ce­ab­ly. So we spent qui­te a while drif­ting near a big ice­berg and enjoy­ing life in the Ant­arc­tic.

After a while, we spot­ted three Hump­back wha­les a bit fur­ther north. Actual­ly, it was a good bit, but we gave it a try any­way. After a while, we got clo­se to them and as it tur­ned out they were now in deep sleep mode, just han­ging under the sur­face, occa­sio­nal­ly sur­fa­cing to take a good, noi­sy breath. Again, we spent a long time drif­ting quiet­ly, enjoy­ing the pre­sence of the­se three gre­at crea­tures, until we said good­bye to them. A litt­le pie­ce of polar hea­ven.

Gal­le­ry – Enter­pri­se Island – 26 Janu­a­ry 2018

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

Short­ly befo­re we reached our good home again, the Anne-Mar­ga­re­tha, we pas­sed by a litt­le island and we just deci­ded to go for litt­le lan­ding. It was always nice to touch solid, ant­arc­tic ground, and now, given the nice, warm wea­ther and the stun­ning sur­roun­dings, we just couldn’t resist. The migh­ty snow cliffs and ice walls of Enter­pri­se Island were pret­ty clo­se and pro­vi­ded a stun­ning bit of sce­ne­ry for an exten­ded rest.

Up on the rocky hill, a cou­p­le of Kelp gulls and their chicks kept screa­ming at us, so we stay­ed near the shore and enjoy­ed the ant­arc­tic silence for a long time.

As it tur­ned out, our litt­le excur­si­on of two hours had beco­me qui­te a trip of a solid 4 hours dura­ti­on, so we enjoy­ed rela­xing the later after­noon on board. Mar­vel­ling at the views around us, pho­to­gra­phing the Ant­arc­tic terns on the wreck of the old wha­ling ship next to us, sor­ting all the pho­tos we had taken.

In the evening, Rolf, Franz, Marei­ke and Samu­el went out again with the din­gy to see if the­re were any wha­les near­by. This was not the case, so we could hap­pi­ly finish the day on board.

Enter­pri­se Island – 25 Janu­a­ry 2018

It had been qui­te a ride down south in Brans­field and Ger­la­che Straits yes­ter­day. Star­ting with calm waters and wha­les, we got wind and waves later in the day.

It was beau­ti­ful to wake up in peace and silence. Litt­le splas­hes of water out­side rather than big, hard waves. Ice­bergs and the end­less, wild coast­li­ne of Ant­arc­ti­ca!

Gal­le­ry – Enter­pri­se Island – 25 Janu­a­ry 2018

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

We went along­side the wreck of an old wha­ling ship at Enter­pri­se Island. A lovely litt­le bay, sur­roun­ded by ice walls. Soon we were on our way with the ding­hys, making a lan­ding on a tiny litt­le island with old wha­ling boats, see­ing seals, Blue-eyed shags and all sorts of of ice in various shapes and sizes. The­re was also a bit of wind and waves, not too much but enough to make it a rather cold expe­ri­ence con­si­de­ring we were out for a good three hours. We enjoy­ed a very cosy evening on board, loo­king for­ward to a calm night without anchor wat­ches.

Yan­kee Har­bour – 23 Janu­a­ry 2018

A litt­le bit tired from the anchor watch, but very hap­py with our Decep­ti­on Island expe­ri­ence, we lifted the anchor and set cour­se for Green­wich Island, fur­ther nor­the­ast in the South Shet­lands. It was a beau­ti­ful pas­sa­ge, most­ly under sails, a Hump­back wha­le every now and then, and stun­ning views of the wild coast of Living­ston Island.

Gal­le­ry – Yan­kee Har­bour – 23 Janu­a­ry 2018

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

Yan­kee Har­bour pro­vi­des a sple­ndid natu­ral har­bour for small boats. And ple­nty of space to move around on shore; more than we will have fur­ther south. So we were hap­py to get a chan­ce to stretch our legs a bit. And as we had been hoping for, the­re was a litt­le group of Ele­phant seals hau­led out on the beach. And indi­vi­du­al Wed­dell and Fur seals res­ting on the beach. Pen­gu­ins – most­ly Gen­toos, with the occa­sio­nal Chin­strap pen­gu­in – were wal­king around, stray­ing from their bree­ding colo­ny which was at the base of the long gra­vel pen­in­su­la whe­re we had gone ashore. Our first Gen­too pen­gu­ins! Of cour­se we spent a lot of time obser­ving and enjoy­ing all the acti­vi­tiy that was going on in their colo­nies. Several hours went by quick­ly, and final­ly a litt­le bit of rain remin­ded us that it was time to return to our floa­ting home.

Decep­ti­on Island – 22 Janu­a­ry 2018

We have been more tho­rough with Decep­ti­on Island than ever befo­re. Star­ting with a rather spon­ta­ne­ous oppor­tu­ni­ty to visit the Argen­ti­ne Base Decep­ci­on. Sta­ti­on visits are such a thing, some­ti­mes you feel that they are not real­ly moti­va­ted to have visi­tors. The Argen­ti­ni­ans were moti­va­ted. Very friend­ly peop­le.

Gal­le­ry – Decep­ti­on Island – 22 Janu­a­ry 2018 – Base Decep­ci­on

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

Of cour­se, we had to have a look around the old wha­ling sta­ti­on in Wha­lers Bay. So we did – slight­ly com­pres­sed, as a big­ger ship was ent­e­ring the bay right behind us, threa­tening to crowd the place soon with a lar­ger num­ber of peop­le. So we had a look around and stea­med off (in the tru­est sen­se) to find peace and soli­tu­de else­whe­re.

Gal­le­ry – Decep­ti­on Island – 22 Janu­a­ry 2018 – Wha­lers Bay

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

We found peace and soli­tu­de in Pen­du­lum Cove. Nobo­dy was real­ly keen on the clas­si­cal Decep­ti­on Island swim­ming action. We rather wal­ked around and enjoy­ed the sce­ne­ry, the wildl­fe and the fact that time did not mat­ter for us. Two Wed­dell seals were hau­led out on the beach, with a Skua patrouil­ling near­by. The remains of the Chi­lean stra­ti­on that was des­troy­ed in the 1969-70 erup­ti­on was not far away. An inte­res­ting meltwa­ter stream was emer­ging from an ice field in a litt­le val­ley, and a bit fur­ther on, the­re were some huge blocks of lava rocks. More than enough stuff for a lovely late after­noon stroll.

Gal­le­ry – Decep­ti­on Island – 22 Janu­a­ry 2018 – Pen­du­lum Cove

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

Now we are ancho­red again in Stancomb Cove, as yes­ter­day, enjoy­ing a calm night’s sleep around the anchor wat­ches.

PS: Click here for the 360°-panoramas of Decep­ti­on Island from past years.

Decep­ti­on Island – 21 Janu­a­ry 2018

Yip­pie – the Dra­ke-Pas­sa­ge is behind us! Last night, we sai­led bet­ween Smith and Snow Islands into Brans­field Strait. Not that life was much bet­ter the­re. Wind for­ce 6-7 direct­ly on the nose – of cour­se. So we went for Decep­ti­on Island, the nea­rest shel­ter avail­ab­le. Win­dy, but pro­tec­ted from the big waves of the open sea. Yes, win­dy! Up to a good 40 knots (that is whe­re for­ce 9 starts).

Gal­le­ry – Decep­ti­on Island – 21 Janu­a­ry 2018

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

So it was real­ly gre­at to be an a small sai­ling boat that can enter a small bay such as Stancomb Cove and drop anchor the­re in per­fect shel­ter. We could enjoy a good meal tog­e­ther and a lovely hike in the moon-like vol­ca­nic land­s­cape. It was pret­ty wild, with hori­zon­tal snow­fall and low clouds abo­ve the dark, com­ple­te­ly bar­ren land. Stun­ning.

And now, in the evening, good spi­rits on board. A good meal, a nice glass with it. The ship well shel­te­red at anchor. See what tomor­row brings!

Dra­ke-Pas­sa­ge – 20 Janu­a­ry 2018

Wind and wea­ther are always big news here. Some­ti­mes the wind is stron­ger, some­ti­mes it takes a rest. Never ful­ly gone, never blowing up to a real storm. Ear­lier today, it was a bit stron­ger again, 25-30 knots (for­ce 6-7), later it cal­med down again. When we have more wind, the sails yield a good bene­fit and then we steer manu­al­ly, which makes being on watch much more inte­res­ting. Cur­r­ent­ly, being on watch means just watching out for poten­ti­al pie­ces of drif­ting gla­cier ice (grow­lers and ber­gy bits), but we haven’t seen any of their likes yet.

But it can’t be far. We have cros­sed the Ant­arc­tic Con­ver­gence (the ocea­no­gra­phic-bio­lo­gi­cal bounda­ry to Ant­arc­ti­ca) and the 60th par­al­lel (the poli­ti­cal bounda­ry to Ant­arc­ti­ca) yes­ter­day. The South Shet­land Islands are wit­hin 40 nau­ti­cal miles now. We should be able to see them if the clouds were a bit hig­her, but it is not clear enough for that distance.

The main attrac­tion today were clear­ly the Orcas! The­re was a small pod around mid-day, clear­ly curious about us, as they came all clo­se to the ship, one by one. An ama­zing view how they sur­fa­ced from the big waves to disap­pe­ar again a few moments later! Gre­at fun unless you are a pen­gu­in or some­thing else on their menue.

Drake-Passage - 20 January 2018 - Orca

Bird­life was a bit limi­ted until recent­ly, but now, we have got Cape petrels and Sou­thern ful­mars, indi­ca­ting the pre­sence of land not too far way. Tomor­row we should have our first oppor­tu­ni­ty to step on ant­arc­tic ground, and it is safe to say that we are all loo­king for­ward to that!

Gal­le­ry – Dra­ke-Pas­sa­ge – 20 Janu­a­ry 2018

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

Dra­ke-Pas­sa­ge – 18-19 Janu­a­ry 2018

18-19 Janu­a­ry 2018 – So now we are real­ly on the way! On Wed­nes­day, we crui­sed through the Bea­gle Chan­nel again, and we reached the open sea on Thurs­day during the ear­ly morning hours. Sin­ce then, we have had ever­ything bet­ween for­ce 4 and 8 on the Beau­fort sca­le, resul­ting in a dai­ly life on board that you have to con­si­der almost com­for­ta­ble, at least in rela­ti­on to the expec­ta­ti­ons one should rea­listi­cal­ly have in the Dra­ke-Pas­sa­ge on a 22-met­re boat. Which does not mean that ever­y­bo­dy is con­stant­ly smi­ling, the­re has been some fish fee­ding, but all wit­hin rea­son.

Gal­le­ry – Dra­ke-Pas­sa­ge – 18-19 Janu­a­ry 2018

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

The watch sche­me gives us some ori­en­ta­ti­on in time which is other­wi­se rather indif­fe­rent, so we are living pret­ty much from watch to watch. Four hours on and eight hours off, that’s the deal, fol­lowing good mari­ti­me tra­di­ti­on. The­re are several of us in each watch group, so we can take it in turns on the wheel, usual­ly spen­ding half an hour so we can swap befo­re we get cold. That’s altog­e­ther not too bad at all. Nobo­dy is for­ced to do anything in case of sea­sick­ness or wha­te­ver, but for most, being out­side and stee­ring the ship is actual­ly a pret­ty wel­co­me chan­ge from the rou­ti­ne other­wi­se. Being on your own on deck for a litt­le while, sharing time with wind, waves and the occa­sio­nal Giant petrel or Black-bro­wed alba­tross that is pas­sing by, is a good thing. Time is get­ting slower, and this con­stant urge to get some­thing done is alrea­dy left behind some­whe­re bey­ond the nort­hern hori­zon. Dai­ly life on the ship next to the wat­ches is most­ly sleep, half-sleep, rea­ding, meals and con­ver­sa­ti­on. Life at sea, which will last for 3-4 days altog­e­ther. We expect to reach the South Shet­land Islands on Sunday.

Ushua­ia, Bea­gle Chan­nel – 17 Janu­a­ry 2018

While I am wri­ting this (17 Janu­a­ry during the morning), pre­pa­ra­ti­ons for our second and final depar­tu­re (and for lunch) are well on their way, so we should be moving out soon 🙂

Bea­gle Chan­nel – Shut up, take two.

Bea­gle Chan­nel – 16 Janu­a­ry 2018

Ever­ything is much more per­so­nal on such a small ship – inclu­ding the offi­cal part, so we went altog­e­ther after bre­ak­fast to the immi­gra­ti­on aut­ho­ri­ties to say offi­cial­ly good­bye to Argen­ti­na. That did not take much time, and soon we could lea­ve the litt­le pier and turn into the Bea­gle Chan­nel – an exci­ting moment!

The wea­ther kept chan­ging by the minu­te from sun to rain and hail and back, but the wind kept com­ing from the east, so we could put sails up and use them addi­tio­nal­ly to the engi­ne while we enjoy­ed the sce­ne­ry slow­ly moving past.

We had almost left the Bea­gle Chan­nel when Heinz stop­ped the ship to get some main­tai­nan­ce done befo­re we would be in open water – a litt­le rou­ti­ne exchan­ge of a part in the engi­ne room. But it tur­ned out to be a bit bey­ond ever­y­day rou­ti­ne, becau­se the spa­re part as it had been deli­ve­r­ed to the ship in Ushua­ia tur­ned out be not the right one. A dif­fe­rence of just one mil­li­met­re could be more than enough to screw things up, and so it was here. The­re was not­hing else to do but to make a 180 degree turn and set cour­se for Ushua­ia – it was just not an opti­on to sail to Ant­arc­ti­ca without having the essen­ti­al infra­st­ruc­tu­re of the ship 100% in good working order. Actual­ly, we all agreed quick­ly that the risk of having our pas­ta uncoo­ked for several weeks was not real­ly an opti­on.

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

For tho­se of us who were on evening watch, we got a lovely view in exchan­ge when some dol­phins came clo­se to the boat and two of them jum­ped out of the water and tur­ned in the air, per­fect­ly syn­chro­ni­zed!

Ushua­ia – 15 Janu­a­ry 2018

It is a long trip from cen­tral Euro­pe to the sou­thern­most tip of South Ame­ri­ca, from Frank­furt via Bue­nos Aires to Ushua­ia. It is qui­te nice to get the body in a hori­zon­tal posi­ti­on after 38 hours in pla­nes and air­ports.

But this is just the unavo­ida­ble begin­ning of such a trip. Now that’s alrea­dy histo­ry, and I am sit­ting in the cosy salong of SY Anne-Mar­ga­re­tha, a 22 m long Dut­ch two-mast sai­ling boat with a solid steel hull. On this boat, skipper/boat owner Heinz Wutsch­ke and his crew of 4 will take us down south to Ant­arc­ti­ca in the next cou­p­le of days, over a total dura­ti­on of 25 days from Ushua­ia to Ushua­ia. Serious stuff! Most of the big­ger ships are back in port after 10-11 days.

SY Anne-Margaretha, Ushuaia

SY Anne-Mar­ga­re­tha (left) in the yacht har­bour of Ushua­ia.

Heinz and is crew are still busy get­ting ever­ything rea­dy. Our pas­sen­gers are around, yes­ter­day we alrea­dy had the oppor­tu­ni­ty alrea­dy to share a glass of whi­ne and to bring out a toast to the voya­ge. May the winds be with us!

Rolf on board Anne-Margaretha, Ushuaia

Rolf sett­ling down on SY Anne-Mar­ga­re­tha in Ushua­ia.

They won’t if we lea­ve today, we know that from the wea­ther fore­cast. So we will take it with time and lea­ve tomor­row, pro­bab­ly stay­ing some­whe­re in the Bea­gle Chan­nel and sail out into the Dra­ke-Pas­sa­ge the day after tomor­row. That way, we should have fine sai­ling winds all the way to the South Shet­land Islands ☺ and that would help a lot. We all know that the Dra­ke-Pas­sa­ge is a place to be trea­ted respect­ful­ly, espe­cial­ly from the per­spec­ti­ve of a 22 m boat. Fair winds will make our life during the cros­sing much bet­ter, that’s for sure.

Ushuaia - 15.01.2018

The Bea­gle Kanal: the first step of our trip to Ant­arc­ti­ca!

So, ever­y­bo­dy is out, enjoy­ing a warm and sun­ny day some­whe­re in the sur­roun­dings of Ushua­ia, in the Natio­nal Park or else­whe­re, befo­re we meet altog­e­ther for din­ner on board.

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

P.S. as usu­al, I will update this tra­vel blog more or less regu­lar­ly over the next cou­p­le of weeks. That depends on time and the pos­si­bi­li­ty to sit down on deck and estab­lish a satel­li­te con­nec­tion, so it will cer­tain­ly not hap­pen in the Dra­ke Pas­sa­ge and during peri­ods of bad wea­ther. Nevertheless, I’ll find oppor­tu­nities every now and then, so plea­se keep com­ing back!

And when back in civi­li­sa­ti­on around mid Febru­a­ry, I will replace the few and small pics that I am able to send through the satel­li­te by much nicer pho­to gal­le­ries. So, again, it’ll be worth com­ing back to this site then!


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