Shackleton: leadership fit for purpose

  Sir Ernest Shackleton died in 1922 at Grytviken. He was back in the south to re-attempt the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Crossing but his heart finally failed as he stayed here preparing the expedition. He is buried in the tiny graveyard overlooking the bay, the biggest marker among the simple white … Continue reading

Fortuna Bay: my rucksack goes hiking

Three coastal indentations east of the Bay of Islands lies Fortuna Bay, a deep cove in the cliffs surrounded by ice-covered peaks capped with perfect lenticular clouds. Here we spent the night after the excitements of Salisbury Plain. Alone on anchor watch, I saw the sky lighten in the slow, … 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

Puerto Williams: southernmost city in the world

Puerto Williams sits at the eastern end of the Beagle Channel on the northern coast Isla Navarino, a large island with a toothed mountain range at its heart. It’s very proud of its ‘southernmost city’ tag, despite having less than 3000 residents, and marks Chile’s ownership of the south side … Continue reading

South Georgia on my mind

This is our third full day in South Georgia and we are having an astonishing cruise. I have over 30 pages of notes about the behaviour and appearance of penguins, seals, petrels, gulls, skuas of different kind and colouration. It is hard to know where to begin. We anchored last … 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

Penguins and elephants

Yesterday, Tuesday, we visited Penguin Island – the one just south of King George Island back in the South Shetlands. There are several others, dating from the times when penguins were a handy food source for sailors, marked as a place to refill your hold with salted meat. This one … Continue reading

A is for: an #antarcticalphabet

Antarctica lies hidden behind the cold-current fringes of the Southern Ocean, ancient lands shrouded in white and blue. Sleeping Beauty, bramble-fenced, breathing in rhythm with the tick of the clock, awaits the destined prince. Cold, storied emblems of passivity and pride. Amundsen and Shackleton have come and gone though Scott remained, … Continue reading

The Enduring Eye: Hurley’s record of the Endurance

Ernest Shackleton decided that he wanted a professional photographer with him on the grandly named Imperial Trans-Antarctic Exhibition which left England in 1914, receiving the message that war had broken out shortly after steaming out of port. He chose Frank Hurley, a young Australian. Hurley had a great commitment to … Continue reading