NEW for next Christmas - Europa Patagonian Fjords & Antarctic Sailing & Wildlife Adventure
|Voyage Number||Vessel||Starting Port||Ending Port|
|ANT1-2012||Europa||Puntas Arena, Chile||Ushuaia Argentina|
|Booking fee||Voyage duration||Start date and time||End date and time|
|EUR €30.00||24 days||03/12/2012 - 17:00 to 26/12/2012 - 09:00||03/12/2012 - 17:00 to 26/12/2012 - 09:00|
|Berth Type||Availability||Price||Special Price|
|4-6 Berth Cabin pp||Available - Book Now||EUR €5900.00||n/a|
|2 Berth Cabin pp||Available - Book Now||EUR €7100.00||n/a|
Up Close with Penguins, Seals & Whales
Bark Europa is not a big ship compared with modern expedition ships with only about 3m freeboard in the middle of the ship, so when a humpback whale pops his head up to look at you they are damn close and you can feel the spray. You could be sipping a cup of coffee when a fur seal does a back flip right next to you and you may spend time trying to rescue a stunned Prion staggering around the deck after flying into the rigging at night. Being able to climb the rigging gives you a view from a different dimension. Look down on Weddle Seals resting on a slab of pack ice with shadows of the ships rigging cutting across the scene, or see whales diving under the ship to check out our barnacles.
Whilst sailing at 3-8 knots you can see penguins in their natural element as they porpoise in and out the water, or killer whales as they glide effortlessly by like sleek submarines and overtake a 300 ton sailing ship at speed.
Beach landings can be very entertaining with crowds of fur seals and penguins entering and leaving the surf around you. Europa’s wildlife guides will always brief you on what to see and how to behave around very curious animals ashore but it is still a pleasant shock when they come right up to you. (Penguins don’t read the rules).
Sailing on Europa to Antarctica 46 Day Blog by Adam on Facebook
Icebergs & Offshore Islands
After a few days crossing the infamously rough Drakes Passage, the excitement increases with the first sightings of icebergs. The first land you will see is the offlying South Shetland Island chain, and a very welcome first anchorage. The atmosphere is very clear so the spires and cliffs of these off lying ring of islands create photogenic silhouettes for very vivid sunsets. With katabatic winds off the mountains, and ice fall prone areas to avoid, Europa sometimes has to work hard to find the best
anchorages and safe landings so no itinerary can be guaranteed. The Aitcho Islands are a favourite beach landing by the ships two zodiac inflatable boats and her ships lifeboat ‘Sloopy’. Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins share the beach with you, Skuas and Giant Petrels swoop from above, and huge elephant seals can sometimes be seen. Other off lying island anchorages are Yankee Harbour, Hannah Point on Livingstone Island. At Trinity Island stranded icebergs are aground on the seabed or wedged between the dark basalt cliffs. The fluted ice shapes and colours range from sugary crystalline surfaces to smooth caves of turquoise and Leopard Seals often lurk. Further South is Deception Island where the ship sails right into a flooded volcanic crater through a narrow gap called ‘Neptune’s Bellows’ to anchor in Whalers Bay. Ashore are the rusting relics of a major whaling station and you can bathe in the steaming waters and black shingle - heated by volcanic activity.
Antarctic Explorers and the Mainland of Antarctica
Polar Explorers - Authentic Experience
If reading the exploits of Shackleton’s or Captain Scott have lured you to the highest, coldest and driest continent in the world, then you can begin to appreciate what they had to endure on similar sailing ships in an extreme environment, the dangers that they faced and why they were so magically drawn to the place.
Europa has a good library of books in many languages about other polar explorers like de Gerlache and the Australian explorer Mawson.
You will meet modern day scientists if you visit any of the bases. The Ukrainian research station Vernadsky is a regular stop and the oldest surviving British Station at Port Lockroy looks forward to the ships visit. It is run by a historic trust to preserve the buildings as they were in 1940’s. Three volunteers maintain the site over the summer with no heating and primitive living conditions. You can post letters home from Antarctica here with special stamps. Having sailed the ship and become used to w
orking out on deck in the elements sets you apart from the duvet jacket cocooned tourists that arrive by cruise ship. There will be talks and slide shows on the wildlife, polar explorers and all range of nautical topics. Europa also records the weather for the Dutch Meteorological Office so the weather faxes you receive back are based on your readings !
Around the mainland peninsula Bark Europa sails in and out bays and deep water channels between awesome mountain scenery. The geology is an extension of the Andes mountain chain and it always surprises first time visitors to see such towering mountains which seem to get higher as you go further south. Near Govuvernoren Harbour or Cuverville Island there is plenty of krill, so prime whale spotting territory. Europa guests have even seen a few sightings of the Blue Whale – the worlds biggest creature. The shipwreck of a 1916 whaler still survives and her bows provide a home for Antarctic Terns. Ashore at Cuverville are 4500 breeding pairs of Gentoo Penguins. If the zodiacs can get through the broken brash ice from five glaciers you can step onto the mainland at Nekko Harbour and look back at the ship appearing to be stuck in the ice. Ice falls thunder into the sea and sometimes a whole ice wall will fall creating a large wave. Being in the middle of this awe inspiring natural wilderness is indescribable and standing a night watch listening to the ice tinkle down the side of the hull is a very strange feeling.
How far South ?
If conditions permit and the channels are not blocked with icebergs, Europa will head for the Lemaire Channel – a narrow crack between 1000m mountains. The ship has a bow thruster so can perform quite delicate manoeuvres to slalom between bergy bits. Destinations may be the Argentine Islands and the Ukrainian base. At around 65 degrees South Europa is reaching the limit she can navigate as the pack ice gets thicker and we need a constant watch on the wind so the ice does not hem the ship into a bay or block an exit passage. On the return route Europa will try to sail a different path perhaps stopping at Petermann Island to see the Adele penguins fighting over nesting material, or Port Lockroy to look around the preserved 1944 British research base. The nearby anchorage of Dorian Bay is a good place for a stroll to admire the stunning mountain range and vast icecap stretching down to the sea. Schollaert Channel is another intense scenic experience and the Melchior Islands will have you reaching for your camera again. The open sea and routine of a watch system sailing back to Argentina may be a welcome break to absorb everything you have seen and done.
Protecting a Pristine Environment
The scale of the place is difficult to describe; Conservation of this pristine environment is taken very seriously by the 12
countries that share responsibility for the Continent under the 1959 Antarctic Treaty. In 1991 an Environmental Protocol was drawn up to introduce new regulations specifically for adventure tourism. You will find it hard to see any signs of other adventurous tourists and Bark Europa crew will work hard to ensure that the ship or the landing parties minimise the impact on the environment – from scrubbing boots before and after every landing, to briefing guest crew on how to walk amongst the penguins and fur seals. Classic Sailing hope that after your adventure you will all become ambassadors for Antarctica and help lobby Governments to ensure that this wildlife wonderland is not carved up for mineral rights, oil, fishing, whaling etc when the Atlantic Treaty runs out.