South Georgia on our minds

South Georgia, an icy paradise

There are many places on this earth, that are worth sailing to. Some more remote then others. But as remote as South Georgia, there are few.

Only a few voyages per year are made to South Georgia by various ships, some are yachts, some are cruise ships, others are traditional sailing vessels like the Tecla.

But why is it so special to visit South Georgia? And why join the Tecla?

Few places beat South Georgia when making landfall. If the weather is clear the white alpine tops of Mount Paget (2900m) can be seen from miles away. South Georgia lies just with in the Antarctic conversion zone. This means the surrounding waters are filled with ice bergs. Some of huge proportions! The wild live is simply breath taking! It is the worlds most important penguin and sea bird breeding area. Over 7 million pinguins of varying species call the Islands home. Over 25 million sea birds including the Wandering Albatros nest on the cliffs and in the barrows. On top of that there are 2 million fur seals and 360 000 Elephant seals! The many different nesting birds enjoy a rodent free environment. They are the main attraction of our visit.

Our complete voyage takes 40 days, starting on the Falkland Islands and sailing onward to Antarctica after a week around South Georgia. Our 7 day cruise around South Georgia starts at Grytviken. This is where we clear in and do our bio security check. The weather dictates our itinerary, for not all the sites are all weather proof. It is a truly wild place.

Grytviken is the only place where we can visit one of the many whaling factories. It is also the last resting place for Sir Ernest Shackelton. You will find the grave yard amongst the elephant seals and king pinguins! The old church is more than worth the visit as is the post office with the suiting souvenirs!

 

Cobbler’s cove is our next stop. The Cove gets its name from the white chinned petrels that nest here. They make a chimming noise at night at the entrance of their burrows! A short but intense hike brings us to the Macaroni Pinguin rookery. These colorful clowns put a smile on all faces! From Cobbler’s Cove we set of for Fortuna Bay, the start of the Shackelton walk to Stromness. This 6 km walk is the last leg of the trip Shackelton made when coming from Elephant Island after wrecking the Endurance in the Weddel Sea. 

From Stromness we set of for Prion Island. The boarded walk ashore gives a spectacular view towards the coast as you stroll along the nesting Wandering Albatrosses. If sea conditions allow, we will land on Salisbury Plain. This is the largest breeding area for the King pinguin and Elephant seal! After a night at Rossita harbour we are of for Prince Olaf Harbour, the site of an old whaling factory. Our last stop will be Ocean harbour. Here we will share our anchorage with the wreck of the Bayard who was blown ashore in 1911. The beach is full of fur seals and King pinguins. A magical setting for our last meal on South Georgia! Next stop, Antarctica!

But then, why join the Tecla? Sailing the Tecla is a beautiful experience in itself. She is a steady sailor, with a well-organized, simple deck layout. Steering is done outside in the elements, feel the wind and its direction, see the waves and follow the changes in the weather.

 

The Tecla sails with 4 permanent crew (1 captain, 1 mate, 2 deckhands or 1 deckhand and a guide) and 12 expedition crew (that could be you). There are 6 en-suite guest rooms, with bunkbeds and each rooms has its own foldable side table, for you to keep a voyage log or diary, or write your post cart to post on South Georgia.

Being part of our small team is part of the voyage. Setting sail from the Falkland islands 4 to 5 days will be spend on the first leg. Then when leaving South Georgia, around 6 days will be spend out on the ocean, depending on the weather. And when leaving Antarctica, the Drake Passage, will take another 4 days, giving you plenty of sea time to enjoy!

This 40 day voyage is a true once in a lifetime experience.

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