When we reach South Georgia we will anchor here for a week in different bays surrounded by mountains, glaciers, beaches and steep cliffs, inhabited by albatrosses and thousands of penguins, including the King Penguin. The helm grass on the coast of South Georgia provides ideal shelter for Fur Seals and Elephant Seals. We’ll find the remains of a former whaling station at Grytviken and see the grave of Shackleton, one of the most heroic pole travellers. It is an old tradition to drink a glass of whisky near his grave. We then sail towards the Weddell Sea. The Weddell Sea is covered with icebergs and is bordered at the south by the large Larsen and Ronne Ice Shelf, where large icebergs break away.
Thousands of Penguins
Only very few people visit the Weddell Sea and we will stay in this area for a couple of days. Steep glaciers, walls of ice with magical shapes and surreal colours will surround the EUROPA with floating growlers on which Leopard Seals rest. We hope the area will be accessible and that sheltered bays can be found for anchoring and going ashore. Visitors on shore will often be welcomed by thousands of penguins. From the Weddell Sea we set sail westward of the Antarctic peninsula. We visit the spectacular Deception Island, an active imploded volcano (caldera). We sail through Neptune’s Bellows into the caldera and walk on the steaming black beaches.
The crossing of the Drake Passage is approximately 450 nautical miles. The seas around Cape Horn have the reputation of being stormy, but in between the lows they are calm. Let us hope that the wind is favourable when we return towards Argentina. Back in the watch system, we have time to absorb everything we have done, to let it all settle in. We will be accompanied on this passage by dolphins and many sea birds. Cape Petrels, White-chinned Petrels and albatrosses are our companions. Albatrosses are the best equipped for a permanent stay at sea. Their territory is the open ocean. They love windy regions, because they are unable to fly with little wind. During the crossing everybody can help the crew to steer, set, shorten, take away and stow sails.