On down the Beagle Channel early the next Day. The weather worse than it was the day before.. Very little vis, snow squalls and winds in the 30’ and 40’s oh joy…However as we approached the very narrow navigable entrance..(it is wide looking, However we only float in 100m of it) With Radar ranging We could see how we needed to approach. and in right before the weather shut down again transiting in on the old reliable radar index line. Once inside the weather cleared and we headed 6nm up the West Arm of the Pia Glacier.. It was stunning and we got quite close. Camera time. great Colours..
We dropped our Crab pot over the side and waited all night with Baited (ha) breath for the results.. Next morning brought a fine Haul of Centolon or Ice Crabs. Whatever they were they were Delicious.. Steamed for exactly 6 minutes..Not 7 nor 5 but 6...4 was right out...
So 45nm further West down the Patagonian Canals than Pt Williams is a Fjord Called Yendigaia. It was Quite windy as we headed West down the Beagle Channel. In fact Quite Raw.. But after we proceeded up the Fjord a few miles we found a nice flatwater, if not a completely quiet wind anchorage. All Guests piled ashore for one of the famous 2 hour walks that turned into a 3 hour marathon.! .but it was enjoyed by all and it did Whet the appetite for Dinner..
Ashore was an Abandoned Estancia or farm. Subsistence here must have been tough. In the old days.
So this is the 2nd or 3rd of the lighthouses. built over the Years.. They moved this one closer to the landing point and to give it more protection. It used to be out on the point where it could be seen from all directions. The Authorities felt it was to high to be seen through the bad weather prevailing. The staff felt it was too far from the Station to maintain properly.. However in the new location it can not be seen when approaching from the West!!
We all have heard of the Cape Horn..It is the stuff of legend, at least in my family..We arrived in a stiff wind and strong Swell but right, and I mean right under the lighthouse We found a nice lee and water flat enough to anchor. We got our little Tender ashore with some guests and crew. The walk was steep up the stairs to the Lighthouse, the Monument and the Chilean Naval station. There is a Chilean family of 5 that live out here all the time. Nice place to go to school but very remote…
Cape Horn did not disappoint. And an hour later the wind filled again and we had to move on up to Puerto Williams.
Photo by Mark Colville
So the trip across..What to say. It was certainly as rough as our trip down, more wind and bigger seas but on the beam. So 2 reefs in the Main and the Staysail and we averaged 11kts. Winds to the mid 40’s made it seem all too real.. The 7.0m and 25’ seas were fairly daunting but the Albatross flying around kept our attention. The trip over took about 60 hours as we were trying to time our arrival at the Horn between two lows. Somehow We made the target.
A gift from Catherine’s Father..(one of our Stewardess’s) for a special occasion. and this was it. 3 Birthdays all on the 20th January and a crossing of the Antarctic Circle. Happy Birthday, Catherine, Richard and Dr Paul..
The cake was a Panetone with Passion Fruit Icecream inside and a Dark Chocolate Glaze…Awsome..
Photos by Raya
Before Departure ..The crew went mad and all decided to jump in the water before we left Antarctica. It was midnight, the water temp was -5c or 32.5f.. but they went in, Twice!! Not me though. I just watched.
South 200nm to the Antarctic Circle 66.30.666 s and 68.00.00w
We departed at Midnight and into a fair sea state. A bit rolly and swoopy due to no wind to offset the sea state but we cruised south through the night and the next day and arrived finally at the Antarctic Circle timed at 1900. Just in time for a celebration with some Shackleton Whisky (google it) Champagne and a toast for a great achievement.. Dinner South of the Antarctic circle followed.. before we High tailed it Northward towards Cape Horn 680nm away.
We left Paradise Bay for the Melchoirs where we wanted to prep the boat for the trip 200nm South to the Antarctic Circle. The trip over to the Melchoirs was not bad for ice but as we approached the entrance we found this most beautiful Ice berg stuck in the channel. We had to creep around it in the shallows to get in. The spire was much taller than out 60m , 200’ masts.. and without the masts Rosehearty would have fit through the hole..
We moved Rosehearty from Port Lockroy to cruise over in Paradise Bay. Only 20nm away but with ice all around and heavy snow the going was tough. Eventually the sky cleared and we entered the Bay and what a wonderland. Ice floes, big and small. Dramatic scenery as a back drop, and just us ohh yes.. and some other inhabitants
We found a group of seals and Penguins hanging out on a floe and nudged Rosehearty up to it and they, the inhabitants could not have cared less..
Even the Cruise ships come down here and there are many of them..
Small and Medium.. this is one of the bigger ones and they do not like navigating here in the ice any more than we do!! We are all fragile when faced with big ice.
Yes that is what these rock Mountains on the NE end of Lemaire channel are called
Port Lockroy to the Kodak Gap or Lemaire Channel
Well we knew the weather was not going to be terrific and we also already knew we could not transit the Straits. However we had to go and at least look. So we went South East and joined the queue behind a Russian Ice class ship and had the Zandaam a cruise ship fall in behind us. We got to the entrance of the straits our Russian friend pushed on through the Zaandam and we turned around. However what we saw in the weather breaks was magnificent.
Actually it looks worse from the bridge than it does up here. But this is about max for us.
Palmer Station is the only Northern peninsula Base that is US operated. It is the real deal. All year round and real science. We all loved the experience, and the trip there and back to Lockroy was a real challenge through ice but we did get it done. After the visit to the Station we had a great trip ashore and saw Sooo…many Penguins..
From the Melchoirs We headed back down Neuymayer Channel to Port Lockroy. We had a visit here to the old British Base. However 1st we went on a tender tour to another bay and a good walk ashore with Penguins, and Seals and lots of Snow
There are a few of these old bases around.. mostly decaying. However here We got a nice walking tour, and better yet into the gift shop. Where yes they do take credit cards..
Going back to the Family..
In Wilhelmena Bay we had a terrific experience with a Humpback family. While Mom and baby Napped on the Surface, Dad we think, came over and gave us a show..Literally right under and around the boat for 15 minutes. Then just at the end he Spy Hopped to check us out face to face...and then satisfied he had done a good job with his Audience he dove away..
We decided to make sure We were familiar with the Tent set up of which We have 4 and fit everyone to there sleeping bags etc. Better to do now than in the wind and with Mittens on. These new Tents from Northface take 10 minutes to get together including the waterproof fly sheet. The plan to camp ashore for a night..