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

The harshness of Point Wild

After leaving Penguin Island at 0230 we had an energetic day sailing close hauled in 3m of swell until eventually the wind headed us completely. It was after dark when we anchored close under the south east side of Elephant Island in preparation for rounding its tip in the morning … 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

Fog at Half Moon Island

Half Moon Island is a caldera in the strait between Greenwich Island and Livingstone to the south. When I went on anchor watch at 0600 the ship was shrouded in mist, icebergs just visible drifting past the bay. Snow was falling, bringing that characteristic hush. We made an early start, ashore … Continue reading

Arrival in Antarctica

I finally recovered from seasickness enough to stand my watch our very last night in the Drake. It was bitterly cold and pitch dark at at 1900 when I went on deck. A big swell was still running, so Europa was pitching and bouncing around. It is hard to take … Continue reading

Embarkation

At last embarkation day arrived. I had waited months for the moment. I flew down to Punta Arenas on 5 March for the embarkation on 6 March, and had  pleasant day wandering around Punta Arenas meeting the knitters and stray dogs. Of course the main event was finally getting to … Continue reading

Birthday time

Any birthday on Europa is celebrated. We’ve had fewer than you might expect this voyage but each one has been marked. At sea, bunting decorates the long corridor and deckhouse, and alongside lights are strung across the main deck. After dinner, the musicians of the crew arrive. Two violinists and … Continue reading

To the masthead

Hooray for climbing – to the masthead. Today we have a gentle breeze but quite a bit of swell left over from the storm. It’s been sunny and warm, and may even be our last full sailing day before we drop anchor in South Africa. My ambition to reach the … Continue reading