PELAGIC AUSTRALIS IN SOUTH GEORGIA - NOVEMBER THROUGH
For our cruise to the Island of South Georgia the aim is to visit several
places of interest, but spending enough time at each one to fully appreciate
what the sites have to offer in a relaxed manner. Because of the vagaries of
the weather in this rugged environment, the schedule outlined below is what
may be possible, but will almost certainly not be adhered to! This is an
expedition in the true sense of the word whereby we take things as they come
and adapt to the circumstances. We are planning expedition from November
to December. The first has an emphasis on ski randonee (ski mountaineering)and
an attempt on the Shackleton traverse and the second will concentrate on the
whaling heritage and wildlife of the island. See below for our 28 day
itinerary covering the wildlife trip (also fully applicable to the earlier ski
trip) which gives an idea of what can be done. To find out more about the
destination generally see charter options link above.
Note: Because this is a true mountain wilderness, we are only accepting expert
skiers and climbers for ski mountaineering and/or the Shackleton Traverse who
are fully capable of safe operations (with respect to crevasse and avalanche
risk) including the ability to self rescue. In the event of a group of
competent amateurs applying as a team, we would be happy to organize a guiding
service, the cost of which would be borne by the client group. Also be aware
that for any camping ashore, the South Georgia Government requires the group
to apply for an Expedition Permit, the cost of which is currently 1000 GBP.
This cost must also be borne by the expedition group.
28 days on board.
Trip 2 Wildlife/Historical - 14 Nov - 12 Dec 2009
This cruise will begin and end in Stanley in the Falklands Islands. The
Falkland Islands (direct your travel agent to Mount Pleasant Airport) is
reached via Santiago and Punta Arenas on a once per week basis every Saturday
with Lan Chile. Therefore these cruises can only be in multiples of seven
There is also a flight more or less once weekly from Brize Norton in the UK on
the RAF flight now operated by a sub contracting airlines. This is an
expensive, but time saving alternative. However, the flights can be cancelled
or delayed without notice due to military priority.
Guests would board the vessel immediately on arrival and (weather permitting)
the next day we would sail for South Georgia. Considering the traverse time
there and back, 18 days are envisaged on the island for shore landings. It is
the intention to be back in Stanley no later than the night before the
Saturday flight out on Day 28 of the schedule.
12000 EUROS per person which is all inclusive of food and drink once on board.
A maximum of eight guests is envisaged.
This cost includes the use of Musto HPX sailing four weather gear, all
personal safety equipment for sailing (lifejacket, harness) and the use of the
Inmarsat communications equipment and the 100 GBP passenger landing fee. Full
details, obligations on both sides and payment terms are included in the
Pelagic Australis at anchor rides out a 70 knot gust in Ocean Harbour S.
Photo: Northanger Collection 2005-Keri Pashuk
NOTE: Due to the fragile nature of the fauna and flora on the island and
the fact that tourist impact for some areas is under study and analysis, we
cannot guarantee that all wildlife sites can be visited, as government
reserves the right to close off any area deemed to be under threat at short
The charter guests arrive at Mount Pleasant Airport and take a 40 minute bus
ride to Stanley to meet Pelagic Australis. They move on board immediately. The
afternoon is spent stowing personal gear, familiarizing the team with the
vessel and having ‘live a board’ and safety briefings.
DAY 2 - 4
Weather permitting, the vessel would leave Stanley bound for the northwest
corner of the island 750 miles away. In most cases this would be a fast
downwind passage in the prevailing westerly winds. Passage time would be
roughly three to three and a half days.
Landfall South Georgia
DAY 5 -7
Landfall will be on the Willis Islands and we would continue with a passage
through Bird Sound between Bird Island and mainland and anchor at Elsehul Bay.
Here we would have a thorough briefing of the guidelines to follow with
respect to the wildlife and take our first walk ashore. Weather permitting we
would devote 2 days of possible waiting time at Elsehul in order to back track
around the northwest corner of the island and enter King Haakon Bay where
Shackleton and his men ran ashore. If conditions were calm, a night would be
spent near Peggoty Bluff where his trek across the island began.
Start point for Shackleton traverse Peggoty Bluff
DAY 8 - 9
Leaving King Haakon we would sail back to the northeast coast through Bird
Sound and make for Rosita Harbour in the Bay of Isles. Weather permitting, we
would land on Prion Island in the Bay of Isles to concentrate a half day (this
is the maximum allowance per visit according to the government’s management
plan for this sensitive area) with Great Wandering Albatross.
Young Albatross Prion Island
This island has one of the highest concentrations of nesting Great Wanderers
in the world. We would then sail overnight to King Edward Point which is the
administrative base for the island.
DAY 10 - 11
Two days would be spent in King Edward Point which is a short walk from
Grytviken, the premier shore based whaling facility on South Georgia which was
abandoned in the 60’s. Visiting the whaling station which has now been
incorporated into the South Georgia Museum is a full day. Long walks behind
the station including a possible overland trek to Maiviken Bay are
DAY 12 - 13
Sailing to the snout of the Nordenskjold Glacier in Cumberland Bay East is a
must. Continually discharging ice into the bay, this is the largest of the
glaciers on South Georgia. Later, an afternoon run down the coast brings us to
Cobblers Cove, a natural harbour with a dramatic entrance. Gentoo Penguins are
nesting on the slopes above the cove, while Macaroni Penguins can be found up
over a pass back to the north (an hour walk). We would spend the night at
Cobblers Cove. This is a good storm anchorage, so it would be used as a fall
back in case of heavy weather while further down the coast.
Weather and surf conditions permitting, we would attempt the beach landing at
Prince Andrew Bay a few hours steaming from Cobblers Cove. Behind the beach is
the largest colony of King Penguins on the Island. In order reach the main
part of the colony we would have to trek to the snout of a glacier in order to
cross the river flowing from it down to the sea. It is a spectacular wildlife
venue on a fine day.
Further south along the coast lies Gold Harbour which is one of the most
scenic anchorages on the island. Again the landing is on an open shoreline and
weather dependent and if successful we would spend the day on the beaches.
DAYS 16 – 17
Near the southern tip of the island Cooper Bay affords a rich variety of
wildlife, including Fur Seals (in less concentrations and thereby the colonies
more easily accessed) and many harems of Elephant Seals with the competing
bulls (October cruise only). Two days in the area are required to fully
explore the bay. If need be, the nights would be spent nearby in a safer
anchorage at Larsen Harbour, a dramatic fjord with a glacier at its head.
DAYS 18 – 19 - 20
Most likely lost due to adverse weather, so we would in effect be spending
more time in either Cobblers Cove, Larsen Harbour, Rosita Harbour or King
Edward Point, all with access to the shore in bad weather.
DAYS 21 - 22
About this time we would need to be on standby for the return to Stanley. By
Day 22, if there was a favorable weather window (considering the return is
against the prevailing wind) we would be obliged to take the opportunity, in
order to make sure that we arrive on time for the guests to make the plane on
the Saturday, with at least a day to spare.
DAYS 23 – 28
Passage back to Stanley, arriving no later than the night of DAY 28.
Flight from Mount Pleasant Airport back to Punta Arenas with a direct
connection to Santiago.
The following slide shows open in pop ups and you will need flash player
installed to view them.
Click image to view a
slide show of the Shackleton traverse in Nov 2006 showing ski randonne across
S. georgia terrain
Click image to view a slide show of the wildlife expedition in Oct 2007
List 3 - For
expedition cruises to Antarctica, South Georgia, Spitzbergen, Greenland,
Iceland and Labrador.