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HomeTri­plogs & pho­to gal­le­riesAnt­ar­c­tic 2017/18 → Ant­ar­c­tic 2018/01/15-02/08

Antarctica under sail with SY Anne-Margaretha

15 January − 08 February 2018

It had been a long-time dream to see Ant­ar­c­ti­ca under sail, on a small boat. Now, this dream is alre­a­dy histo­ry. For some weeks, it was rea­li­ty! The tri­plog (click here to down­load the pdf-file (15.6 MB), Ger­man only), the blog and the pages with the pho­to gal­le­ries (links below) tell the sto­ry.

I want to thank ever­y­bo­dy who was part of it, making the trip the gre­at expe­ri­ence that it real­ly was. Best of spi­rits wha­te­ver wind we had! First of all, of cour­se, I want to thank our skip­per (and boat owner) Heinz Wut­sch­ke, his good crew and his gre­at boat, SY Anne-Mar­ga­re­tha, for taking us to Ant­ar­c­ti­ca and back in safe­ty and giving us many gre­at, unfor­gettable days full with expe­ri­en­ces and impres­si­ons that will stay in our minds fore­ver. Tre­asu­red memo­ries!

180131a_Melchior-Islands_008a - SY Anne-Margaretha

SY Anne-Mar­ga­re­tha

Gal­lery 1: Ushua­ia and the Dra­ke-Pas­sa­ge

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

It took us two attempts to real­ly get on the way, but then it went smooth­ly. We got a quick and as-smooth-as-can-be ride across the Dra­ke-Pas­sa­ge. Three days! Remem­ber, the Anne-Mar­ga­re­tha is not a speed boat. But strong, safe and as com­for­ta­ble as any sai­ling ship could be in the­se waters.

The crossing brought one of Antarctica’s rarest wild­life sightin­gs: Orcas, but not just any Orcas. Type D Orcas, rare­ly seen. We saw them. We even got some pho­tos.

Gal­lery 2: the South Shet­land Islands

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

Decep­ti­on Island was our first desti­na­ti­on in ant­ar­c­tic waters. The first attrac­tion was actual­ly a safe ancho­ra­ge, after the crossing. And our first ant­ar­c­tic impres­si­ons. Decep­ti­on Island is, of cour­se, not actual­ly repre­sen­ta­ti­ve for Ant­ar­c­ti­ca, but it is a fasci­na­ting place with its rather bleak vol­ca­nic land­scapes. The wea­ther was quite appro­pria­te! And we got our first impres­si­ons of ant­ar­c­tic wild­life and a rela­tively rare visit to Base Decep­ci­on.

We came clo­ser to ant­ar­c­tic rea­li­ty on Living­ston Island, whe­re we saw our first colo­ny of bree­ding Gen­too pen­gu­ins and other ani­mals inclu­ding Ele­phant seals amidst a land­scape that came much clo­ser to our ide­as of Ant­ar­c­ti­ca.

Gal­lery 3: Enter­pri­se Island and Wil­hel­mi­na Bay

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

Here, whe­re most other ships spend a few hours, we stay­ed for two days! And it was worth it! Even though this exten­ded ver­si­on of an excur­si­on to the­se islands and waters actual­ly hap­pen­ed rather than being plan­ned. But who would want to have missed out on the love­ly and calm har­bour next to the old wreck of the wha­ling ship? With exci­ted Ant­ar­c­tic terns coming back and forth with food as neigh­bours? The excur­si­on around Enter­pri­se Island in the small boats? Spen­ding time with Hump­back wha­les? The long stay on the small island? So many peo­p­le say „I could stay here for hours.“ But nobo­dy actual­ly does it! Well, we did. Well – sce­n­ery, wea­ther … it couldn’t have been any bet­ter!

The fol­lo­wing pas­sa­ge of Wil­hel­mi­na Bay with dozens of Hump­back wha­les was the next high­light and defi­ni­te­ly an expe­ri­ence that will stay as a tre­asu­red memo­ry.

Gal­lery 4: Para­di­se Har­bour to Mel­chi­or Islands

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

At Water­boat Point, we got our first chan­ce to step on the ant­ar­c­tic con­ti­nent. At least with a bit of good will and at low tide  unbe­lie­va­ble that two young fel­lows win­tered here in the ear­ly days in a hut that main­ly con­sis­ted of a rowing boat tur­ned upsi­de down! The Chi­le­ans who stay here today in their rela­tively modern sta­ti­on enjoy more com­fort, for sure. With a white Gen­too pen­gu­in in the neigh­bour­hood!

We got a landing on the con­ti­nent wit­hout any doubting and ques­tio­ning at Almi­ran­te Brown in Para­di­se Har­bour. Later, Port Lock­roy brought first of all a lot of wind and hence a day of rest that had not real­ly been in the plan initi­al­ly. But a day later we enjoy­ed a long landing with bree­ding Gen­too pen­gu­ins at Jou­g­la Point and a short visit to the „living muse­um“ of Port Lock­roy.

The pas­sa­ge of Neu­may­er Chan­nel, as beau­tiful as it was with the best of wea­ther you could ima­gi­ne, was nevert­hel­ess alre­a­dy almost a bit sad, becau­se it was … north­bound. Deci­dedly the wrong direc­tion! But we got a final stop and landing in the Mel­chi­or Islands to say good­bye to Ant­ar­c­ti­ca.

Gal­lery 5: Dra­ke-Pas­sa­ge and Tier­ra del Fue­go

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

Just in case anyo­ne was not clear about the true natu­re of the Dra­ke-Pas­sa­ge, now it beca­me unmist­aka­b­ly clear. It star­ted actual­ly quite nice, with sun and a real Dra­ke Lake. But later, we got our share of wind, as we had it straight on the nose for four days. The real thing! Which was, in its very own way, defi­ni­te­ly an expe­ri­ence in its­elf. Some of us dis­co­ver­ed that they were real sea­men and could hard­ly get their hands off the stee­ring wheel. Others pre­fer­red to hold on to a bucket at least for a while. But in the end, we got all used to the sea!

The Chi­le­ans did not real­ly want to wel­co­me us in their small sett­le­ments on Nava­ri­no Island, but we got the best dol­phin show ever in exch­an­ge. No com­plains 🙂 after a last day of strong winds in the Bea­gle Chan­nel, an over­land trip to Har­ber­ton was the right thing to round it off. Green land­scapes, blue sky, white clouds. Stun­ning sce­n­ery and an inte­res­t­ing desti­na­ti­on.


last modification: 2018-03-01 · copyright: Rolf Stange