Tuesday 12 July 2016

Voyage report: Tristan De Cunha


by Aaron Russ

A few years ago I had the opportunity to join an expedition sailing from Cape to Cape across the waters of the South Atlantic. Aside from the destinations visited which I will get to shortly it really is quite a journey to be connecting two of the Southern Ocean's great capes in a single voyage. Departing from Ushuaia in Argentina we first visited the Falkland Islands before continuing to South Georgia, South Georgia is one of those places on the planet that continues to enthrall no matter how many times you visit and the opportunity to visit in the autumn was something that I was looking forward to and not disappointed by. We enjoyed settled weather and the King Penguin colonies were still a hive of activity.

From South Georgia we set course to the NE headed for Tristan da Cunha, this is the most remote inhabited island on earth and as such its not the easiest place to reach, so it was a real highlight to have the opportunity to visit. Sailing northwards it was fascinating to watch the seabird species change with Sooty and Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross becoming more prevalent as well as some great views of Spectacled Petrels following the ship. The weather had become noticeably warmer by the time we arrived in Tristan and the hospitality from the locals was even warmer, it was a significant occasion in the annual calendar of the island to have a ship visit and most of the population turned out to welcome us as we landed by zodiac in the small protected Calshot Harbour in front of Edinburgh of the Seven Seas.

Our voyage continued from Tristan da Cunha to Cape Town without the opportunity to explore the rest of the wildlife rich islands in the Tristan archipelago but there are some truly spectacular islands which are vital habitat for numerous seabirds including albatross, penguins and petrels which I look forward to exploring on a future visit.

The final highlight of my voyage was arrival by sea to Cape Town, sailing past the Cape of Good Hope and into Table Bay was an experience not to be forgotten and an accompaniment of Southern Right Whales added to the experience.

Journey from Antarctica to Africa next March, see this impressive itinerary here. Current promotional fares from A$11,480pp in a Deluxe Stateroom, please enquire for the best available fares.

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