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Armstrong Global Special

Sailing in Antarctica

info@armstronglobal.com

+44 20 3300 0792‬

info@armstronglobal.com

+44 20 3300 0792‬

Antarctica

A sailboat voyage to Antarctica is quintessential exploration, a must for every true adventurer, the meaning of a decade of life. Vessels leave from Ushuaia, sail by Cape Horn when condition allow, cross the famous Drake Passage to the ‘calmer’ water of the Antarctic peninsula, where you will remain for a couple of weeks discovering icebergs, laying with penguins, admiring killer whales and humpbacks, perceiving the sound of a frozen desert and joying for the sensation of being on the only continent where a passport is not required.A cruise to Antarctica requires motivation and attitude, and a certai level of discomfort must be expected. But great are the rewards for the courageous.

Season: cruises generally start in the first days of January. The latest leave late February.

Weather: extremely cold and windy, temperatures down to minus 20 and less. It is the only continent left that is largely untouched by man. This is mainly due to the extreme climatological conditions, in which during millennia of isolation the animal and plant world were allowed to adapt to the adverse conditions. Essential condition for this precarious survivalis however that the biological chain is not broken. Since it is extremely difficult for living beings to survive in such a harsh climate, the biological chain has remained small and each link is closely dependent on the others. Because of this the flora and fauna of Antarctica is in a state of only frail stability. All human activity should for these reasons be regarded critically, as it might disrupt this fragile chain. Fortunately a treaty for the protection of Antarctica was signed in 1991 by almost all countries the world, limiting human interference in this delicate environment. By way of international conventions one hundred locations were designated as protected areas (SPA, SPS, SSSI) in order to protect their biological, scientific or historical values. Because of it, visitors now know how to conduct themselves, thus limiting the negative effects of their interference.

On the basis of scientific data, and of the talks we had with station personnel, we have come to the conclusion that the form of tourism we propose does not have any noticeable detrimental effects on the natural life of Antarctica. Proviso is of course that everyone sticks to the rules. One of those rules is that what you bring in, you will also bring out again. Furthermore, we will take garbage (such as used engine oil) of defunct stations with us on our way back to the South American continent. In this way we can contribute a bit to keep Antarctica clean. “On the United States’ Palmer Station, Anvers Island, an experiment was concluded last summer that aimed to test the negative influence of tourists on a penguin colony. For this experiment, a penguin colony was divided in two with a fence. One halve was left in peace, as before, while the other halve was on a regular basis visited by tourists. Upon the conclusion of the experiment, it was found that the “disturbed” penguins were even less timid than their fellow penguins on the other side of the fence. No other behavioral disorders were found.

Cape Horn and Patagonia

Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego, Cape Horn, Magellan Strait, Staten Island, Beagle Channel…. these names made the history of exploration, discovery and sailing. Rounding Cape Horn is by far the most rewarding achievement for a sailor. Sailing the Magellan or the Le Maire Strait possibly the toughest test to any boat and hand. Exploring the glaciers appearing one after the other along the Beagle channel like Jewelrys along Bond Street is something to look forward for a whole year. Sailing silently among ice floes is exceedingly funny…

Season: Cruises around Cape Horn and Patagonian Channels can be arranged between Christmas and Easter.

Weather

1 to 7 Celsius, extremely windy at times, often wet, seldom calm. Long daylight with sunset at 2100. Although at the Cape Horn the average wind speed is not higher than at for instance Plymouth, it is still clear to everyone what made this cape so infamous. The winds and weather systems reaching the areas from the west can do so unhindered. None of the other continents extends farther south than 40 degrees South, while Cape Horn is located at 56_degrees South. thus, unobstructed by landmasses, lows can chase each other around the world. When they hurl themselves on the Andes mountain range, and find they can’t pass this 2.5 mile high obstacle, they will press south and squeeze through the Drake Passage.

 Because of this geological situation, a curious weather exists: 3 days of gales are often followed by 45 days of windless weather. Likewise it is possible that it is a bit windy with 60 knots at Cape Horn, while at Puerto Toro at 25 miles distance there is no wind at all (or vice versa).

Around the Beagle Channel a mild maritime climate prevails. In summer average temperature during the day is 11 degrees C. Yearly precipitation is on average 75 mm. The channel never freezes in winter, and there are no icebergs (except in the immediate vicinity of glaciers).

The Antarctic Peninsula is situated south of where the depressions rage through the Drake Passage and remains largely unaffected by their high winds. The winds are therefore gentle, often from the east. During summer one can expect to enjoy long periods of calm with lots of sunshine. The annual average precipitation is around 50 mm, whilst temperatures vary around 5 degrees C.

South Georgia

This island has been described like ‘the Himalayas seen from Simla’ as the mountains are a magnificent sight – especially in moonlight. It is the highest , most mountainous and second largest of the small number of islands, which encircle the Antarctic Continent. Two principal mountain chains effectively form the islands spine. The highest peak is Mount Paget (2.934 m), whilst twelve other peaks exceed 2000 m. The highest peaks are concentrated around the middle section of the crescent shaped island mainly, where they provide a substantial barrier against the severe weather which reaches the south-west side of the island with the prevailing winds. The area in the lee has a comparatively less severe climate. South Georgia is 106 miles long and one to nineteen miles wide and reached from the Falkland Islands, within five to six sailing days. The coast consists mainly of high sea cliffs which are interrupted by many fjords and glaciers. The fjords provide a variety of harbours and anchorages, some deep and clear, others with sunken rocks and reefs, many of them have glaciers at their heads. Glacier snouts, which reach the ocean or waters of the bays and fjords, can be very spectacular – especially when enormous pieces break off and crash into the water (a process, termed calving). Bergy bits, growlers and brash ice infest many bays, mainly during early summer. Permanent snow begins at 200 m on the exposed south-west side and 400 m on the protected north-east side. The mountains are dissected by large numbers of deep fjords, most of which contain glaciers. Fifty percent of South Georgia is covered by glaciers. Some floating glacier fronts may be up to 50 m high, 250 m deep and over one km wide. There are over two dozen lakes on the island. Several of them have been formed, where glaciers have dammed valleys. Gulbrandsen Lake, near Husvik, is the largest and most spectacular of these with icebergs floating in it and a series of over twelve major terraces on its shores (representing previous lake levels). Ponds, pools and tarns are common throughout the island. Another distinctive ground feature is found near many flatter areas on the coast behind beaches .- Elephant seal wallows. Caused by the seals lying closely packed, in mud during their moulting periods (February, March). The wallows are often one m deep and become exceedingly foetid with skin, fur, faeces, combined with thin mud and the occasional dead seal.

There are millions of breeding seals and penguins: 3 million Macaroni Penguins, 1 million Fur Seals, 360.00 Elephant seals, 400.000 Gentoo Penguins, 300.000 King Penguins (of which 100.000 at St. Andrews Bay). Also a vast number of breeding Albatross (Wandering) is to be seen.

Until the middle of this century, South Georgia was a centre for the whaling industries. During the last century a couple of whaling stations had been established. The last one was abandoned in 1965. Grytviken was the main settlement with church and cinema. The ruins have been reoccupied by the seals. The church has been saved and restored, the cinema fell into shambles in 1996.

South Georgia is English territory and was declared a nature reserve. It is administered by the Falkland Dependency Administration and counts two research and one administrative settlement (clearance and post office).

Alaska

Although not as extreme as the Southern end of America, and for this reason also less dreaded by sailors (and consequently less famous), Alaska and the Inside Passage is, for any traveller, possibly the most beautiful cruising ground in the world. No other places in the world cater so many cruise ships: over 30 of them spend the whole summer in the Inside passage. Luckily, the place is wide enough for every one. Whales are one of the main reason: try to sail close around a group of steamtrain-fishing humpbacks, frequently singing, shouting and jumping, and have a test at your heart in that moment if you want to reach your extremest levels. Then remain at anchor close to a glacier during the short summer night and marvel at the pure sound of crackling glaciers, exploding inside then crashing into the water. Or stroll along lonely beaches to discover a peaceful bear roasting in the sunlight. Or just sail past glaciers, forests and peaks, stopping in one of the many hot springs to simmer for hours in the warm waters while cold drizzle is falling outside the hut…Or, simply, discover the perfection of fresh salmon and halibut, washed down by Alaskan Amber beer, one of the best around… Glacier Bay national park, simply the most spectacular bay in every sea, is strictly regulated for vessel access. Book as soon as possible. Season: Alaska’s long days and moderate temperatures are at best between June and August. September means the first northern lights also. ClimateTemperatures between 5 and 18 celsius, rare, if unknown, gales between June and August 15. Swimsuit is essential, but for the hot springs.

 

Antarctica

A sailboat voyage to Antarctica is quintessential exploration, a must for every true adventurer, the meaning of a decade of life. Vessels leave from Ushuaia, sail by Cape Horn when condition allow, cross the famous Drake Passage to the ‘calmer’ water of the Antarctic peninsula, where you will remain for a couple of weeks discovering icebergs, laying with penguins, admiring killer whales and humpbacks, perceiving the sound of a frozen desert and joying for the sensation of being on the only continent where a passport is not required.A cruise to Antarctica requires motivation and attitude, and a certai level of discomfort must be expected. But great are the rewards for the courageous.

Season: cruises generally start in the first days of January. The latest leave late February.

Weather: extremely cold and windy, temperatures down to minus 20 and less. It is the only continent left that is largely untouched by man. This is mainly due to the extreme climatological conditions, in which during millennia of isolation the animal and plant world were allowed to adapt to the adverse conditions. Essential condition for this precarious survivalis however that the biological chain is not broken. Since it is extremely difficult for living beings to survive in such a harsh climate, the biological chain has remained small and each link is closely dependent on the others. Because of this the flora and fauna of Antarctica is in a state of only frail stability. All human activity should for these reasons be regarded critically, as it might disrupt this fragile chain. Fortunately a treaty for the protection of Antarctica was signed in 1991 by almost all countries the world, limiting human interference in this delicate environment. By way of international conventions one hundred locations were designated as protected areas (SPA, SPS, SSSI) in order to protect their biological, scientific or historical values. Because of it, visitors now know how to conduct themselves, thus limiting the negative effects of their interference.

On the basis of scientific data, and of the talks we had with station personnel, we have come to the conclusion that the form of tourism we propose does not have any noticeable detrimental effects on the natural life of Antarctica. Proviso is of course that everyone sticks to the rules. One of those rules is that what you bring in, you will also bring out again. Furthermore, we will take garbage (such as used engine oil) of defunct stations with us on our way back to the South American continent. In this way we can contribute a bit to keep Antarctica clean. “On the United States’ Palmer Station, Anvers Island, an experiment was concluded last summer that aimed to test the negative influence of tourists on a penguin colony. For this experiment, a penguin colony was divided in two with a fence. One halve was left in peace, as before, while the other halve was on a regular basis visited by tourists. Upon the conclusion of the experiment, it was found that the “disturbed” penguins were even less timid than their fellow penguins on the other side of the fence. No other behavioral disorders were found.

Cape Horn and Patagonia

Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego, Cape Horn, Magellan Strait, Staten Island, Beagle Channel…. these names made the history of exploration, discovery and sailing. Rounding Cape Horn is by far the most rewarding achievement for a sailor. Sailing the Magellan or the Le Maire Strait possibly the toughest test to any boat and hand. Exploring the glaciers appearing one after the other along the Beagle channel like Jewelrys along Bond Street is something to look forward for a whole year. Sailing silently among ice floes is exceedingly funny…

Season: Cruises around Cape Horn and Patagonian Channels can be arranged between Christmas and Easter.

Weather

1 to 7 Celsius, extremely windy at times, often wet, seldom calm. Long daylight with sunset at 2100. Although at the Cape Horn the average wind speed is not higher than at for instance Plymouth, it is still clear to everyone what made this cape so infamous. The winds and weather systems reaching the areas from the west can do so unhindered. None of the other continents extends farther south than 40 degrees South, while Cape Horn is located at 56_degrees South. thus, unobstructed by landmasses, lows can chase each other around the world. When they hurl themselves on the Andes mountain range, and find they can’t pass this 2.5 mile high obstacle, they will press south and squeeze through the Drake Passage.

 Because of this geological situation, a curious weather exists: 3 days of gales are often followed by 45 days of windless weather. Likewise it is possible that it is a bit windy with 60 knots at Cape Horn, while at Puerto Toro at 25 miles distance there is no wind at all (or vice versa).

Around the Beagle Channel a mild maritime climate prevails. In summer average temperature during the day is 11 degrees C. Yearly precipitation is on average 75 mm. The channel never freezes in winter, and there are no icebergs (except in the immediate vicinity of glaciers).

The Antarctic Peninsula is situated south of where the depressions rage through the Drake Passage and remains largely unaffected by their high winds. The winds are therefore gentle, often from the east. During summer one can expect to enjoy long periods of calm with lots of sunshine. The annual average precipitation is around 50 mm, whilst temperatures vary around 5 degrees C.

South Georgia

This island has been described like ‘the Himalayas seen from Simla’ as the mountains are a magnificent sight – especially in moonlight. It is the highest , most mountainous and second largest of the small number of islands, which encircle the Antarctic Continent. Two principal mountain chains effectively form the islands spine. The highest peak is Mount Paget (2.934 m), whilst twelve other peaks exceed 2000 m. The highest peaks are concentrated around the middle section of the crescent shaped island mainly, where they provide a substantial barrier against the severe weather which reaches the south-west side of the island with the prevailing winds. The area in the lee has a comparatively less severe climate. South Georgia is 106 miles long and one to nineteen miles wide and reached from the Falkland Islands, within five to six sailing days. The coast consists mainly of high sea cliffs which are interrupted by many fjords and glaciers. The fjords provide a variety of harbours and anchorages, some deep and clear, others with sunken rocks and reefs, many of them have glaciers at their heads. Glacier snouts, which reach the ocean or waters of the bays and fjords, can be very spectacular – especially when enormous pieces break off and crash into the water (a process, termed calving). Bergy bits, growlers and brash ice infest many bays, mainly during early summer. Permanent snow begins at 200 m on the exposed south-west side and 400 m on the protected north-east side. The mountains are dissected by large numbers of deep fjords, most of which contain glaciers. Fifty percent of South Georgia is covered by glaciers. Some floating glacier fronts may be up to 50 m high, 250 m deep and over one km wide. There are over two dozen lakes on the island. Several of them have been formed, where glaciers have dammed valleys. Gulbrandsen Lake, near Husvik, is the largest and most spectacular of these with icebergs floating in it and a series of over twelve major terraces on its shores (representing previous lake levels). Ponds, pools and tarns are common throughout the island. Another distinctive ground feature is found near many flatter areas on the coast behind beaches .- Elephant seal wallows. Caused by the seals lying closely packed, in mud during their moulting periods (February, March). The wallows are often one m deep and become exceedingly foetid with skin, fur, faeces, combined with thin mud and the occasional dead seal.

There are millions of breeding seals and penguins: 3 million Macaroni Penguins, 1 million Fur Seals, 360.00 Elephant seals, 400.000 Gentoo Penguins, 300.000 King Penguins (of which 100.000 at St. Andrews Bay). Also a vast number of breeding Albatross (Wandering) is to be seen.

Until the middle of this century, South Georgia was a centre for the whaling industries. During the last century a couple of whaling stations had been established. The last one was abandoned in 1965. Grytviken was the main settlement with church and cinema. The ruins have been reoccupied by the seals. The church has been saved and restored, the cinema fell into shambles in 1996.

South Georgia is English territory and was declared a nature reserve. It is administered by the Falkland Dependency Administration and counts two research and one administrative settlement (clearance and post office).

Alaska

Although not as extreme as the Southern end of America, and for this reason also less dreaded by sailors (and consequently less famous), Alaska and the Inside Passage is, for any traveller, possibly the most beautiful cruising ground in the world. No other places in the world cater so many cruise ships: over 30 of them spend the whole summer in the Inside passage. Luckily, the place is wide enough for every one. Whales are one of the main reason: try to sail close around a group of steamtrain-fishing humpbacks, frequently singing, shouting and jumping, and have a test at your heart in that moment if you want to reach your extremest levels. Then remain at anchor close to a glacier during the short summer night and marvel at the pure sound of crackling glaciers, exploding inside then crashing into the water. Or stroll along lonely beaches to discover a peaceful bear roasting in the sunlight. Or just sail past glaciers, forests and peaks, stopping in one of the many hot springs to simmer for hours in the warm waters while cold drizzle is falling outside the hut…Or, simply, discover the perfection of fresh salmon and halibut, washed down by Alaskan Amber beer, one of the best around… Glacier Bay national park, simply the most spectacular bay in every sea, is strictly regulated for vessel access. Book as soon as possible. Season: Alaska’s long days and moderate temperatures are at best between June and August. September means the first northern lights also. ClimateTemperatures between 5 and 18 celsius, rare, if unknown, gales between June and August 15. Swimsuit is essential, but for the hot springs.

 

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