Easter on passage

Life on board It was a great passage to South Georgia. We stood our watches, slept, talked, wrote, took photos. On Saturday we painted Easter eggs in true European style. Sitting here now, in Wales, watching the appallingly low level of debate about the referendum it is a calming reflection. … Continue reading

Paulet Island: death on the beach

    Paulet sits at 63.3° south on the eastern edge of the Joinville Island archipelago scattered off the northern tip if the Peninsula, shadowed from the setting sun by the bulk of Dundee Island. Europa crackled with ice, the feathers beautiful against a sheer blue sky in the early … Continue reading

Hope and fossils

Hope Bay is a deep indentation on the northern end of the Peninsula’s finger. By the standards of the region, it is sheltered, a strip of land between the mountains and the sea. The area has a long history in the annals of Antarctic science and exploration.  Here three men from … Continue reading

Icebergs, rope and whales

We left Deception Island after an uneasy night at anchor and enjoyed a glorious sail across the Bransfield Strait to be met by whales at the iceberg cluster at the western end of the Antarctic Sound. We arrived there not long before sunset and were greeted by this  humpback hunting. I … Continue reading

Sailing to Deception Island (reprise)

We left Barnard’s Point headed for Deception Island. The wind was rising when I finally got my hands on the wheel under sail. I wrote rapturously about it at the time: I’ve helmed a lot more since then, and it never stopped being a blast. We came towards the hills … Continue reading

Hills, glaciers and rain

During the dark hours of 7 March we rounded the corner from the Pacific into the Beagle Channel, and had our first 15 minutes of ocean swell. My notes from the day record all the voyage crew were nervous of seasickness at this early stage: it wasn’t only me. Very … Continue reading

Was I scared? #fearisnotareason

I started this voyage with three big fears: climbing, seasickness and writing, and wrote about them just before we left on 6 March. I still think that fear is no reason not to do something, but it slows you down. Climbing proved the hardest challenge. Not because I am frightened … Continue reading

Tearing up the Scotia Sea (March 25th)

Making between seven and eleven knots over the ground, Europa is charging up the Scotia Sea, that bit of water ringed by the Cape, the Falklands, South Georgia and the archipelagos of the Peninsula and South Shetlands. We have covered some 200 miles, almost all under sail, in the 26 … Continue reading