You can experience the feeling of true isolation encapsulated within this amazing landscape at the bottom of the world!! It has an amazing bio-diversity where wildlife spotting is just part of daily life whether it be penguins, Whales and seals. The traditional tall ship that you have as your expedition base and means of transport offers an intimate and personal experience by which to experience this fragile and flawless environment. Join an expedition to the Antarctic and be part of the guest crew setting the sails and steering the ship. This active adventure keeps you warm working on deck so you see more wildlife outdoors and the teamwork required to sail a square rigger in the Southern Ocean brings the whole ships company closer together than on a large expedition ship.
What is the sailing like in Antarctica?
The Antarctic is generally windier which allows for spirited sailing and winds can range from 50 knots to zero within an afternoon. The open seas in the Drakes passage on the way from Ushuaia can be utterly wild, open to all that the Southern Ocean has to offer. However, tucked into an anchorage like Nekko Harbour you could be eating lunch on deck in conditions so tranquil you can hear a melting icicle drip. South Shetland itself offers some protection while sailing in Antarctic itself and some great breezy sailing can be had in crystal clear blue skies with mountains and icecaps all around. Larger stretches of water like Bransfield Strait, Gerlache Strait or down the coast of South Georgia allow some fast sailing whilst keeping a ‘weather eye’ out for katabatic winds coming off the mountains.
On many occasions, Europa our Antarctic specialist has been able to set t’gallants and royals and over 22 sails whilst enjoying the spectacular scenery of the Antarctic peninsula. The ships crew are vastly experienced at ocean sailing and working aloft in high wind strengths, have great faith in this incredibly strong steel ship and never take the elements for granted. There is no requirement to join them aloft but they are happy to encourage you when you feel up to it.
Capture Images reminiscent of Frank Hurley on Shackleton’s expedition. The sea temperature is still around freezing so if the air temperature drops below freezing the ship can get icing on the rigging, ropes and decks. Luckily in summer there is a lot of sun and the temperature is usually between 0 and 5 degrees centigrade around mainland Antarctica and a lot warmer in South Georgia so icing is rare. (typical Alps ski holiday temperature).
Looking for big waves? Southern Ocean, Weddell Sea, Scotia Sea, Drakes Passage – You have come to the right place and it looks a whole lot bigger from the main deck of a 56m square rigger with the masts rolling in the swell – If you have read books by Ellen McArthur, Pete Goss, Tracey Edwards or other famous round the world yacht racers, they both fear and love the Southern Ocean and the sheer emptiness of the South Atlantic. Nature is very raw, light conditions are forever changing and everybody out there needs to be alert and self-reliant. The wildlife is amazing – both ocean birds and cetaceans.