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A Virtual Voyage to the Cold Southern Ocean Regions of our planet; Cape Horn, Patagonia, Tierra Del Fuego, Antarctica and South Georgia with over 1600 graphics. Over Six hundred pages of Information on culture, history, fauna, flora, anthropology, geography, arqueology, Chile facts, kayaking, whale watching, trekking and introducing:
Ultimate Adventures You Will Never Forget           


Air - Cruise message from a Travel Manager of a large agency in Spain:

Thanks for your e mail and happy New Year to you too.

The trip to Antartida was excellent and we favoured from an excellent weather.

I am already recommending the package trip like it is framed and the fact that flying first saves some travelling days and overall avoid any seasickness risks from crossing the Drake passage.

If I had to give any suggestion, I would trade some of the days you save by flying versus cruising the Drake , to stay longer in the Antartida in itself 1-2 days more than now.  

Thanks for squeezing me in at the last moment.

Best regards

Jose Zoreda
www.exceltur.org


Subject: ANTARCTICA AIR CRUISE EXPEDITION
Date: Fri, 11 Dec 2009 16:36:29 -0600

Dear Ben,

I am back from the Antarctica trip and I must say it is the most exciting trip I have been on. It was beautiful scenery, beautiful people to be with, both the passengers and the Antarctica Twenty One people as well as the boat crew.

This is indeed a trip of a lifetime but should be done by younger people to get the best return of all the rewards. I found that I could not walk in the snow to the top of the hills at all the places, but I did enjoy going ashore and doing the Zodiac cruises.


I had wanted to go to Antarctica before and almost got it scheduled when one of the ships sank when it hit an iceberg and my wife talked me out of it. A few years went by and time helps cure things and she said I could go so I got it scheduled.


This was a wonderful experience. I left Monroe, La on Nov. 22, 2009 and arrived in Punta Arenas on Nov. 23 some 29 hours later. I returned from Punta Arenas on Dec. 3 arriving in Monroe on Dec 4 some 30 hours later.  I list it as an Expedition rather than a cruise since it was hard and I could not make it all the way to the top of some of the climbs to penguin rookeries because I just gave out. There were plenty of penguins all around that I did not have to go to the top.


The ship was the Professor Multanovskiy built in 1982 for Russian oceanographic and polar studies. It was converted to a tourism ship and it is not a luxury cruiser but is comfortable.  It is 249 ft long, 42 ft wide and draft of 15ft.  It has two side by side engines with over 3076 total hp and a single screw, a bow thruster and can run on one or two engines. Its cruising speed is 10 knots. It has passive stabilizers only. It is not classified as an Ice Breaker, but has an Ice re-enforced hull.


The night before departure in Punta Arenas we were fitted for boots and given instructions on how to get in and out of the Zodiacs. We were suppose to have breakfast at 8 AM, but got a wake up call at 6:30 AM and told to hustle since we had a weather window to take off from Punta Arenas to land at King George Island before weather moved in.
The ships passenger capacity was 49 and had 32 crew, but we only had 25 passengers on this trip so the BAE 146 plane from Punta Arenas to King George Island had plenty of room and the ship was not crowded. We used only one of the two dining rooms for meals.

Of the 25 passengers there were only three of us from the US and we wished each other Happy Thanksgiving. Other countries represented were Holland, England, Australia, Israel, Spain, Russia, Germany, Chile and Argentina.
We did two landings daily, weather permitting and we had beautiful weather except for the gale across the Bransfield Strait and fog at Deception Island which would have been beautiful if the weather would have been nice. We had one day when at Neko Island the chop was too bad to launch Zodiacs so we just moved to another bay.  Saw thousands of penguins, skuas, giant petrols, many minke whales and orca whales. One orca got just under the bow and I have a picture of it under the water swimming. Saw several Weddell seals and a Leopard Seal. The little Snow Petrols were very curious and would actually come up and bite on your gloves. Penguins kept their distance and we kept distance. If we saw any seals on land with us we definitely kept our distance, since seals can be aggressive.


We visited King George Island, Ardley Island, Mikkelson Harbour, Herrera Channel to Port Lockroy, Lemaire Channel to  Peterman Island (the southern most extension of our trip), Paradise Bay, Danko Island, Brown Landing (Antarctica Peninsula proper), Deception Bay back to King George Island.

On the way back we got into a full gale across the Bransfield Strait that gave a rough ride. The crew used the term “the ship will move tonight”.  The roll threw one man out of a chair when the ship rolled to 30 deg crossing the Bransfield Strait. My bunk was cross ways or I would have probably been thrown out. I just slid from head to foot as she rolled. Scopace tablets worked to prevent seasickness.

We got back to Maxwell Bay at the Fildes Peninsula of King George Island on time (Dec. 1, 2009) but we could not get out because the runway was covered with 15cm of ice. We spent an extra night on the ship and got out the next day. Antarctica XXI was superb in changing all flight connections. BTW the satellite phone worked very well from the ship, but cost was about $5/min. To fill the morning while we waited on the plane the Antarctica XXI people arranged a visit to the King Sejong Korean scientific station and they seemed very happy to have us visit. I have video from the ship of their snow plow cleaning a place for us to walk from the dock to a building. (TO BE POSTED)


On two occasions we did a Zodiac cruise only where the three Zodiacs went out and by radio communication one would report wild life sightings and we would creep up on them. The scenery was magnificent. I have never seen so many beautiful icebergs. One day at breakfast while we were anchored we heard and felt a thump. Either we had drifted into an iceberg while at anchor or the iceberg drifted into us. No big deal, we just use the single screw and bow thruster to work away from it.
As I said it was a hard trip taking 29 hours to get to Punta Arenas, Chile the departure point and 30 hours to get back from Punta Arenas. The flight across the Drake Passage of 600 miles was better than crossing it by ship.


I found that having automatic dimming prescription glasses was not an asset. They got so dark I couldn’t see where I was going and I would suggest one use regular prescription glasses with snow goggles over them for light protection. The brighter it got, the darker my glasses got until I was almost blind.
I was never really cold because I followed directions and dressed properly. I had a waterproof bag for my cameras and it saved me once when we hit a wave in the Zodiac and everyone got sprayed, but it happened only once. Skin protection for the face is a must because it can take only a few hours and your face is burned.


I found my best dress was two pairs of socks, silk longs, blue jeans and rain suit pants which gave excellent wind protection and maintained dryness on the wet pontoons that we sat on in the Zodiacs. The last layer of waterproof goes outside the boots.  Insulated hunting type pants (waterproof) also worked well over the silks or thermals.  A down jacket with hood and baseball cap took care of the top with under garments and warm shirt. The baseball cap kept the hood from falling over my eyes and helped keep sprinkles off of the glasses.  Glove liners were best and I used outside gloves attached to the coat with the little clippie things. One had to take off the outer gloves to manipulate the cameras with the glove liners and the clip things kept you from loosing the outer glove.

On a recommendation from another article I used inserts in the boots and I think it helped a great deal. The baseball cap should have a safety tie to catch it if the wind blows it off. There is a lot of wind in Antarctica.
The ship was maintained at 70 deg F and we could open the porthole if we got too hot.
The temperature was only about 0 C but when the wind blew it would drop to chill factor of -15C. Water temperature was around 0.5 Deg. C. so we tried very hard not to fall in and no one did. I was the oldest passenger on this trip and probably the slowest when we went ashore, but was just too happy to let the youngsters pass me up. I had a wonderful time.

http://cid-f6fe23a6e5a9ec3f.skydrive.live.com/browse.aspx/ANTARCTICA?ct=photos&sa=92458172

http://www.cruisemates.com/gallery/search.php?search=JOE+REYNOLDS&match=3

Thank you for booking this trip for me. It is highly recommended. I will send you a copy of the DVD.

Regards,

Joe Reynolds MD

 

 

Antarctic Dream message from a Hilton Hotel manager who sailed on the 12 day expedition to Antarctica:

Thank you, for your note about the Antarctic Dream, Capt Ben!

Wish you and your family a Happy New year. Yes, indeed, the voyage was wonderful.... we also had some great weather and fun pictures. The Icebergs, wildlife and the very pure air were our highlights. Having a multi cultural group on the ship was very interesting too.

The crew on Antarctic Dream was very friendly - only we did not speak much to them because we do not speak Spanish.... My husband was a bit sea sick the second day, but I was fine.

On the return journey we were 12 hours early to Ushuaia because of good weather! So we spent the 8th night on the ship docked in Ushuaia - is that usual? Sad to come back, no doubt.

How's the season going so far for you? Do update once a while and if you are visiting the US, do visit us. We are not likely to move from the DC region, if we continue to live in the US.

Thank you once again and keep in touch.

Warm regards,

Lipika
www.Hilton.com

North Pole

A testimony of an Australian writer who we helped
get to the North Pole in order to write an aventure travel book:

Hello Captn Ben

We got back to Sydney at the weekend, and by now I've almost caught up with my mail.

The North Pole trip was wonderful. My wife, who was a trifle fearful about the ship rocking and pitching, announced she had not been afraid, and she had a wonderful time too. In all, it was a great experience. The only negative was the charter flights too and from Murmansk - but I am sure Alexey has got the message and will do what is possible to fix the problems. The Yamal experience is first class. (see writeup)

My thanks to you for all your help in making the arrangements. I must come to Chile to meet you one day! I am planning to do more and more adventure travel writing so if you have any unusual destinations you want to publicise, let me know.

Best wishes

Mark Day

A travel agent from Africa

HI Captain Ben

My experience on the Professor Multanovskiy was amazing. The attention to detail, the professionalism, the food everything was wonderful. In addition the weather was very kind to us and we were able to make all of our scheduled landings plus 3 extra ones. Shane Envoy, our expedition leader and his team reflect their love of the area in their every gesture.

I felt as though I was the first person to step onto the peninsula so fantastic was the environment and respect for the animal and bird life.

The cherry on the top was to receive just the other day, a personalised log bringing back all my wonderful memories. It was an experience of a lifetime and one that should not be missed, thank you all, the crew, the Captain and his staff, the doctor, and of course Shane and his support team, who made my experience so incredible

Yours sincerely
Jane Glasser

PS; As you know I am a travel agent and we tend to be more critical than most guests.......I could find no fault any where......congratulations


Another Antarctica/Multanovskiy passenger from Russia:

Capt. Ben Garrett
http://www.victory-cruises.com/
+5661-621010

Dear Ben

Well, I've described it in 10 thousands words,15 videos and 100 photos.

My english is not good enough, I'm afraid too say more. it was just great!

Thanks a lot! just got back to moscow.

All the details (video and photos) are here: http://el_mariachi.livejournal.com

Arsen Revazov-

An Antarctic Flight in January 2008

Hi Ben-

I have climbed the great pyramid of Cheops at Giza in Egypt...twice! I have cooled my feet in the reflecting pool of the Taj Mahal in India. I have stood at the Cape of Good Hope of South Africa and looked south towards Antartica.

But nothing compares to actually standing on the ice of Antartica. Its not the cute little baby penguins just hatching, nor the giant elephant seals piled together for warmth.

It is the stark beauty of this gigantic continent of ice -- not all of it has melted yet. The deep blue color of ancient ice. Watching a giant iceberg roll over. Feeling a hard blast of Antartic wind almost knock you down. And watching an Antarctic summer sunset at midnight.

It is a trip we will never forget. Thanks Captain Ben for the great trip and the excellent Victory Adventure service.

Ron Pahl
Riverside, California


We received this from an official from Russia's most Northern town, who made this same trip in January 2008:

Dear Capt. Ben Garrett, hello

With kind regards Alexey from Salekhard, Russia is writing to you. I've started my letter to you right upon our return, but was unable to finish earlier - sorry for this. So please do not be irritated with the dates.

By today, January 17, 2008 I and my companions have safely reached our home city after 26 hours of the net flight time (from King George Island to Salekhard via Punta Arenas, Santiago, Madrid and Moscow). It has been a very nice trip – we feel ourselves very well with no single sign of fatigue, and all this is thanks to your useful advices while designing our long-range travel program and your perfect organization of our Punta Arenas – King George Island – Punta Arenas trip.

Finally, it was you, who had contributed to and made our dream becoming true – we have achieved to visit the Northern Arctic Pole and the Antarctica, i.e. the King George Island, within a period of 12 months. We’ve thought at the beginning, that, out of those two destinations going to the Northern Pole by being Russian, would be easier then going to the South. Now, being able to compare, we can say, that making our Antarctica travel with arrangement of Victory Expeditions was the easiest and shortest way.

Thank you for everything.

Yours sincerely,

Alexey

P.S. Please be informed, that, as promised, I am today sending to you, using Victory Expeditions' postal address in Puerto Williams, a CD with some pictures, which I and my companions have made during our King George Island’s visit.


This message is about an Antarctic flight in late March, 2008 with a nice lady from Japan:

Dear Captain Ben Garrett,

A belated "Thank you" for a most memorable adventure! If it wasn't for Victory Adventures, I would still be dreaming about Antarctica. The smooth flight on the Hercules and the excursion on the Zodiac was a most exciting surprise.
As is written on your website, the wait was definitely worthwhile and even added to the excitement. I cannot thank you enough for arranging such a wonderful adventure. Wish I had time to visit Puerto Williams to thank you and your crew personally.

I must plan another trip with my husband and next time consider sailing.:-)

Thank you very much again and again.

Sincerely,

Naomi Yajima


A CBS Television executive writes about his flight to Antarctica

December 8, 2003


Captain Ben Garrett
Victory Adventure Travel
Box 70  Puerto Williams
Tierra Del Fuego, Chile

Dear Captain Ben:

Thank you for all your help in pulling together the trip of a lifetime!  The attention to detail was certainly noticed.  When one goes on such a trip, the guide can make all the difference and Alejo, our guide, was absolutely the best!  His first concern was our safety, as well as the preservation of the wildlife.  However, his knowledge and desire to satisfy our curiosity about Antarctica was superb.

This is a trip I will definitely recommend to others.

Thank you, again for all your help!


All My Best,

Greg Kostura.


ANOTHER FLIGHT TO ANTARCTICA

( Of 14 February 2006)

Dear Ben

Our trip to Antarctica was incredible. We all loved it and it whetted our appetites for more adventures to that end of the world. Our kids were the only young travelers and they were thrilled by the whole experience.  

Inclement weather had postponed 5 days of flights to King George Island, but luck was with us and we were able to fly out on our planned departure date. Upon arrival we were struck by the stark and inhospitable landscape, but how perfect it was for Antarctica. Throughout our visit it was raining, sleeting or snowing and the wind was blowing – and again it just added to the ambience of being in such a remote place. 

The absolute highlight of the trip was Ardley Island. We clambered into zodiacs for a short but wonderful ride to this nearby island that was teeming with penguins. En route we saw an iceberg which was a first for us -- it wasn’t big but we were happy!   Gentoo penguins were everywhere and they were as delightful as they appear to be in the movies or photos. Having no fear of humans, they came as close as a foot away from us. Our children were captivated as were we! It all ended too soon, alas. However, on our return flight, much of the cloud cover had lifted so we had spectacular views of glaciers, mountains and Cape Horn. 

Thank you many times for answering my multiple questions about the trip to Antarctica. We felt very lucky, in every sense of the word, to be able to make the trip.


And the rest of our vacation in Chile was fabulous too. The penguin place at Seno Otway was gorgeous and wonderful – we were all of 10 people at the place; Torres del Paine was indescribable; Puerto Varas, Osorno, Chiloe, Valparaiso, our visit with our friends in Renaca, etc. It was a 5-star vacation for our family. 

So, of course, you must see some of the photos!!

Sara Jenez


Air Antarctica

Here is what a Dentist from the U.S. said about his Expedition to Antarctica by air with 3 fellow dentists on February 17, 2001 :

Hey Capt Ben:

It was the greatest!
The folks at the air line could not have been
nicer (especially Catalina) and the trip was terrific.

Our guide was Alejo Staeding and everything was perfect.
Great accommodations, good weather and food.
I can't say enough about this trip of a lifetime!

Also, we rented a truck and had thought about driving down to the Puerto Williams area to visit you but, we had to stop in Rio Grande because of time.

The Chilean people and the area around Punta Arenas were the best.

Many thanks!!

Rocklin Alling
and the Trashmen
(name of our travel club!)

ANOTHER HAPPY FLIGHT TO THE SEVENTH CONTINENT:

Captain Ben--

Antarctica was insane!!! My knees were shaking as I stepped off the plane because I was so excited!!! Alejo Contreras was an amazing guide and I can't stop speaking of my experiences there and in Chile. Although I traveled alone, I lucked out and got to go with the best group of people possible!!! It was great. Everyone was normal and nice and not competitive or annoying. We thoroughly enjoyed our experiences together and even dined as a group upon our return to Punta Arenas. Since we got to take our flight as scheduled on Thursday, 2/22/07, we all had extra days to play around with. Would you believe that I saw everyone from my flight in different parts of Chile?

I bumped into one couple (from Michigan) in a hotel for breakfast in Punta Arenas. The driver of a bus I was on in Punta Arenas decided to take a break and disappeared for 10 minutes. While looking out the window, I saw Paul (the guy from New York) walking up the street. He hopped on and we chatted until the driver returned and the bus departed. I saw the O'Dwyers (the couple from Ireland) and had lunch with them in Puerto Natales on my way to Torres del Paine (BREATHTAKING!!!) And, who did I see when I walked into the lobby of Hotel Rio Serrano to see Glacier Grey? Ronnie and Kathy (the other couple from New York)! Can you believe that?

Anyhow, I had a blast! Hotel Nogueira was perfect, by the way.

Captain Ben, THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! for providing the opportunity for a flawless, once-in-a-lifetime Adventure!!

Thanks again for everything,
Carole McClain

P.S. Two things I thought you might like to know:


1. I've become great friends with Ronnie and Kathy (from NY) since our Antarctic adventure with your company. I've met with them twice while visiting my sister in NY and in November, my mom and I are going to visit them in Tokyo (they're living there temporarily while Ronnie is on a short-term business assignment)! Neat, huh?


2. Kathy wrote a fabulous article for the Four Seasons Hotel Chain's fall magazine on her experience in Antarctica entitled "Ice Capades." Your company's website is referenced so hopefully you'll be getting business as a result of that as well!


A world traveler writes about her flight to Antarctica:

Re: Antarctica Flight

CAPT. BEN GARRETT
VICTORY ADVENTURE EXPEDITIONS
Box 70, Teniente Muñoz 118
Puerto Williams, Tierra Del Fuego, Chile
Phone:56-61-621010, Phone/Fax:5661-621092

JAN 17 , 2005

Got to tell you about my trip to Antarctica! What a trip and a half that was! Definately a highlight of my years travels.

Had a couple of false starts when the trip was posphoned for a couple of days. Obviously the weather is an important fact when flying 3 and a half hours over Cape Horn and to Antarctica in a Beechcraft aeroplane for 10 people plus 2 pilots, but then it was all systems go!

As there are no hotels or anything over there, we stayed on the Chile research base (very basic accommodation) Most people visiting Antarctica do so by cruise, and sleep on the boat, very few people get to spend the night on Antarctica!  Spent 2 days seeing wildlife, (mainly penguins, (see pics) and elephant seals) It doesn`t really get dark over there in summer, virtually 24 hours sunlight! It wasn`t that cold either, between 0 degrees and -5. Would be a completely different experience in winter though! There wasn`t at much snow as I expected either, plenty for snowball fights though!

We got to see the neighbouring research bases, those belonging to China and Russia! It was just like entering those countries! Learnt about all the research that is conducted there. Got an ´Antarctic´ stamp in my passport, (although no countries actually own it) and bought a few sovenirs in the ´shop´ on the Chile base. No internet cafes or anything like that though! Wouldn`t like to live there for more than a week or so!

Anyway, totally amazing place to visit (I`ve now visited every continent!) and I would love to go back someday. I would highly recommend it if you get the chance! Theres more pictures at http://community.webshots.com/user/taliaaroundtheworld if you want to see them.

Back on South American continent, making my way through Chile and Argentina now on route to Brazil in time for the Carnvial.


Antarctica explorer: Talia

 


An Amazing Antarctic flight

April 22 2004

Hi Ben~

Yes, made it home just a few days ago.....
Antarctica was amazing waters and beautiful landscape, we saw penguins and sea lions.
Alejo was fabulous, full of information and knowledge.
The science stations were interesting and accommodating. The commander of the Russian science station was so surprised to see children.
We all were freezing with the clothes we brought so we were all very thankful when Alejo set us all up with clothing.
The weather was -5, and -20 with wind chill.
We had a wonderful time.
I asked Alejo were you were and he said you were out on a cruise, sorry we missed you and your daughter.
 
Sonja Gregurek



Another client writes about Antarctica aboard TallShip Europa:

Captain Ben Garrett
Box 70 Puerto Williams,
Tierra Del Fuego, Chile

Dear Capt. Ben

Here are some of my impressions from my
Antarctica Expedition on the EUROPA in Janary 2001:

These impressions were written in my diary whilst crossing the Drakes Passage on return from Antarctica.

* * *

I close my eyes and think of all the images
made on my memory over the last few weeks.
Etched in my mind are peaks and land shapes
which exist in places such as the Himalayas,
but here we are at sea level. Jagged black
sharp rock thrusting upward from the sea
contrast with white ice and snow. There is
nothing to give proportion, no relativity
until one of our zodiacs leaves the ship to
become a speck beneath a glacier which itself
is dwarfed by the mountains behind.

The power of this place is occasionally
revealed when a slice of glacier drops from
its ice cliff. A loud "crack", as sharp as an
assault rifle shot at close range, causes
heads to turn to see a chunk the size of a
building already falling to the sea. The
impact creates a ripple afar which eventually
reaches the shore. Blocks of ice, the size of
small cars, are washed against the rocky
shore. Penguins scurrying, then again, all is
quite.

Antarctica's most visible wildlife success is
the penguin. I watched these little creatures
for hours. On land they are earnest, caring,
careful, curious and industrious. They walk
awkwardly with their arm-like wings out
behind for balance. If you sit perfectly
still, they pause to examine, tilt their
heads and peck at clothing. They are gentle
and violent. They are noisy. In the water
they are small torpedoes. I think they are
gorgeous.

In summer it has been light all the time. On
deck, while on anchor watch at 4 am, snow 3
cm thick lay on the deck and decorated ropes,
latches and door handles. Not a ripple raised
itself from the sea's surface. So still, so
quiet, so peaceful.

Antarctica is a hard and unforgiving place.
It is desolate. It is stark. There appears to
be little variety. It is beautiful. It is
powerful. It is so cold. I cannot imagine
winter.

I have been privileged to see Antarctica,
walk on it, hear it and feel its cold breath.
I stand on a freezing deck until land
disappears from sight. I leave in awe and
with a sense of respect. The planet deserves
a place like Antarctica where humans are humbled.

Rob Burdock
Sydney, Australia


From a couple in their 50s who sailed to Antarctica aboard the Europa in 2008

 

Dear Ben

At last we have made it home, a little late since LAN airlines are not very good at keeping schedules and flight connections.

I recall you asked us to let you know what we thought of the voyage on Europa.
It was wonderful, though not for the faint-hearted!


Europa asked us to fill in a survey at the end of the trip. I only had one negative comment, and that was we had no real contact or information from Europa themselves until we got the embarkation letter just prior to leaving home.

You certainly sent us everything you had and were very good in answering our questions, etc. Thankyou.

But one important aspect of the voyage which we did not fully appreciate needs to be emphasized to intending clients, and that is the nature of the Watch System on board Europa.
The information we had did say Europa was a training vessel and that we could help in sailing her.

It also said IF we intended being out on deck in wet weather we needed certain clothing. But it didn't make clear to me that we actually WOULD be required to be out there and helping. In answer to a question I put to you, you very correctly advised me that assisting in the sailing was not mandatory and that we could choose not to help.  In practice,

Europa crew themselves tell us that "Everything you MAY, nothing you MUST". However, because the boat is too old to be licensed to carry passengers, they are obliged to train their trainee crew and only have a limited number of full-time crew.

Participation is NOT MANDATORY.

Europa crew always ask for help but would not coerce you to help. However to operate the ship efficiently, it is anticipated that nearly everyone WILL be willing to help. Our voyage had 40 trainee crew ("passengers"). Of these, only one man and one woman declined to help at all. (And the crew put no pressure on them at all.. it was fine). Another 3 or 4 people were unable to participate for some or all of the time due to severe seasickness. The rest of us were needed to keep watch, take a turn at the helm, and assist when necessary with ropes. I think the ropes are the area where they really need assistance. (The lookout and helm are not such a problem).

We were divided into three watch groups (.. the watch system operates only for the two crossings of Drake Passage). So there are around 10 or so people in your watch, depending on who is sick. Four hours on, eight hours off 24 hours a day. When rope handling is necessary, the crew would need 4 or 5 extra hands. So it is likely, especially for the men, to be involved in rope handling. The women too, were of course very welcome to assist.

I am not making a criticism here, simply saying that although Europa would not DEMAND your participation, intending passengers should be aware that the participation of most passengers IS needed to sail the ship.

So it is better to sign on being willing to help, at least in those areas where you can... e.g. keeping watch if you are not strong enough to pull on the ropes. We had a 76 year old woman who didn't miss a single watch duty out on deck.

(I chose not to help very much with the ropes which were too heavy for me, but fortunately other men on the watch were willing to do this job. And the fulltime crew definitely need strenuous rope handling assistance in order to sail the boat).

As it turned out, Lyn and I were happy to keep watch. I actually revelled in being out in a snowstorm on watch, thinking of what Shackleton must have endured.

The Euopa voyage was a marvellous way of visiting Antarctica "the hard way"... but so much more satisfying than the quick visit by large cruise ship. We saw one at Port Lockroy. Passengers were herded onto a small section of ice 100 at a time to view a few penguins for about an hour, and that was it. Three landings only the entire voyage.

Europa by contrast gave us shore and/or zodiac excursions lasting between 2 and 4 hours each nearly every day. Sometimes 2 or even 3 different excursions on the one day. Usually we could wander within specified areas and usually there were also extended guided walks over a much wider area. It is definitely the better way to experience Antarctica.

I hope this is of help to you. Thank you for your kind assistance and advice during the months prior to our voyage.

With our best wishes
Greg & Lyn

 


More on the Tall ship EUROPA to Antarctica

3 March 2005

Dear Ben,

Yes - the trip (aboard Europa) went very well, and was most enjoyable.
The weather was far from perfect - with Force 9 on the passage down across Drake passage, and wind and snow for a lot of the time in Antarctic waters, but this could not detract from the interest and excitement of the experience.
Thank you for your help in setting up the logistics - all went smoothly.
In particular, the bed & breakfast - Martin Fierro at 9 de Julio nº 175 in Ushuaia was excellent.

Hope we might deal with you again some day -

Rod Thompson


Bark Europa to Cape Town, South Africa for 8 weeks including Antarctica and South Georgia

Mon, 17 Jul 2006 18:54:38 +0200

Dear Captain Ben,

My trip with the Bark Europa to Cape Town was the most outstanding voyage I ever made. The landings were well chosen, the days at sea always interesting, (the night watches even more). The captain and crew all did a great job. I loved every minute of it, and I hope to do it again.

Sincerely Yours,

Raymond Claes


From a Sherrif from Washington State:


Ronald J. Bishop
Washington
United States
mailto:Bisceop@Aol.com


May 19, 2003

RE: 'Round the Horn'


Captain Ben Garrett
Victory Yacht Cruises
Teniente Munoz 118, Puerto Williams
Cape Horn Commune, Tierra Del Fuego, Chile

Dear Skipper:

I wanted to take a moment of your time to thank you for fulfilling a dream of mine, rounding Cape Horn.  Over the past several years I have been planning on accomplishing this dream.  You, your wonderful wife Monica and your staff made this adventure safe and enjoyable.  Please allow me to elaborate:

I first developed interest in Cape Horn after reading several books on the Tierra del Fuego and the voyages of Captain Cook, Captain Fitzroy and Mr. Charles Darwin.  I took advantage of the Internet and instantly located your company.  I found your website to be friendly, informative and easy to navigate.  I was impressed at the amount of information that the site provided.  Not to jump ahead in my thoughts, but after visiting your website over the past year, I had good knowledge of Port Williams including what I would see and where I should go and what I could expect.  The information was accurate.

The travel to Chile for the most part went without incident.  I arrived in Punta Arenas and had some minor trouble with DAP, but at no fault or error by your staff.  To the contrary, I was able to speak Monica about the trouble and she aided me in every step of the way.  I arrived at Port Williams and was greeted by Monica and your wonderful family.

 Monica took me on a tour of Port Williams and secured lodging for me at a local hostel.  This was most helpful since I was traveling alone.  The information that you provided on lodging in the area once again was accurate and I found the spot to be safe, clean and very friendly.  The food too was fantastic.

After a brief stay in Port Williams, a few other Americans and myself were taken to the Victory.  I first saw the Victory at Puerto Navarino around 2200 hours in a moonless night but with a breeze and slight mist.  I was impressed at her presence and knew instantly that this was the ship to help me complete my dream.  After a brief period my fellow passengers and I were ferried out to the Victory.  I found the vessel in good repair and sound.  I have been with the Sheriff Service in the United States for the past 20 years and I don’t take safety lightly. 

After introductions I felt comfortable with the crew and very at ease with you and your ship.  It goes without me saying that the area around the Horn is not a place for those who are not skilled or a vessel that is not sound.

The next seven days passed with ease and comfort.  I found the ship and conditions comfortable yet as you stated in your website; this type of trip is for adventurers only.  Upon returning to my home and work, I was asked question after question.  I summed it up like this; it was cold, wet (from the rain), rough, windy beyond belief and I loved it. 

I would do it again in a moment’s notice.  I really appreciated the list that you provided on what to bring and past passengers also told me what not to bring (due to DAP weight restrictions not Victory limitations).  I did not regret the items that I packed for the trip.


From Ron's Home Newspaper


While on the Victory I was impressed at the way that she handled in such weather conditions.  I found that the trip was exactly what I had hoped for and truly anticipated.  I was the passenger, before booking, that asked numerous questions of past passengers and asked for references. 

I was pleased to see that you have used those questions on your website.  If you recall I asked if passengers felt safe and the response was always yes.  I asked if this was a way to escape from a busy world?  The response was defiantly!  

This is the only way to experience the Horn.  Anyone can board a cruise ship with tablecloths, mints on the pillows and sail to the Horn on a plastic ship, but to see it on an open deck with the wind, rain, and crack of the sail, that’s living.  I recommend this trip aboard the Victory to anyone who wants an adventure.

In closing, I know that you are considering selling your business and retiring with your wonderful family.  Please use this letter as a reference and please encourage prospective buyers or future passengers to contact me.  I have included with this letter my e-mail address and home address in the US.  This opportunity is a once in a life time chance.  As my wife told me, live your dream.

Thank you again for all your assistance and superb help while I was at the end of the earth.  I wish you and you family well in your future endeavors.


Sincerely,


Ronald J. Bishop
Victory Passenger
Cape Horn Mariner, March 12, 2003 


A Yacht Surveyor from New York aptly writes about his Cape Horn Adventure:


Chapter II

A Most Harmonious Chord

It is said, “Never put all your faith in first impressions.” So I say, “Look at the total picture before making a final conclusion”. See preceding description (Sept 02)
There are many factors that help to make a voyage or any adventure a memorable success or a disaster. The
memories are either pleasant and stimulate a desire to return and recapture the exhilaration of the past or are horrific and rekindle fear and foreboding feelings that we wish to forget. Some ventures elicit both sides of the coin, as do most of life’s experiences. As was mentioned in the first chapter of the “Modern Cape Horner”, I was not facing the lighter side of life on a voyage on “Victory” around the Horn. Then what was it that contributed to the closing statement, “Would I go again? In a heartbeat.”

On any trip, at any affair, the people that we shared the experience with make any incident in our past more significant in its affect on our emotional recollections. Every day of our lives we reach highs and lows caused by the vibes we receive and perceive from those around us. So it was, that those who transited the Horn with me contributed to the voyage becoming an adventure worth remembering again and again.

I follow with thumbnail sketches of the true characters that made my Cape Horn adventure become a voyage of a lifetime.

Capt. Ben Garret
At first meeting with Capt Ben Garret, one is aware of a grizzly, weathered appearance that bears witness to the past of a person who has fought adversity and after staring it in the eye, emerged with dignity and a little to the better side of even. The twinkle in his eye is the single most distinguishing characteristic of his appearance; it lets you know immediately that he believes in himself. This trait is most essential for someone who must assume the responsibility of command.

He meets you on deck seated in his favorite chair, a white plastic lawn chair that is set to starboard alongside the ship’s helm. You are not yet aware that Capt Ben suffers from the “bends”. He was left with almost no flexibility of his legs after a hard hat dive that should not have taken place. Returning to the bottom to retrieve a sack of lobsters after having exceeded his bottom time resulted in his developing the malady. For some (15) plus years he has continued to follow his stars in spite of his discomfort. Coming on deck at any time one would see him bundled in a heavy hat, ear flaps down; foul weather gear, boots and ski gloves and a dark ski visor covering his eyes. A scarf around his lower face tops off his attire. For (4) hours at a time Capt Ben sat like a Guru uttering a word or two occasionally to suggest some minor action be performed in operating the ship. Always exceedingly courteous and affable the Capt made one feel comfortable in his company.

And Family
The cruise on the Victory is informal and you are introduced to Capt Ben’s family, his wife Monica and their children. The family shares some meals with you at port and Monica extends the warmth of her home to all passengers. She even does your wash (and we didn’t even ask).

The Crew
The crew consisted of (3) local fishermen that were available, as the season was wrong for King Crab fishing, the main stay of the fleet in this area.

Jose Minsella-(Big Jose)-Cook
Jose the cook was able and willing to expand his limited English vocabulary and tried diligently to awaken the Spanish I had taken in high school (51) years earlier.
He could make a meal out of bread and things I had never heard of or simple dishes out of vegetables and fish that would rival a (5) star restaurant in taste and goodness. It is true that the cold weather caused me to consume close to (4000) calories a day but I would have pigged out on the food just to enjoy the meals. Friendly, he would discuss his adventures at the drop of a hat.

Mauricio Zaraga -Mate
Maurius was Mate and the most involved with the workings of the ship on deck. He was totally familiar with the navigational waters. A fisherman here most of his life, he could read the weather better than Doppler (4). His mother is considered by some to be the last surviving Yagan Indian. These were the original settlers of the area and were most probably the “Aborigines” that Slocum encountered. Maurius was a friendly but a somewhat shy type person. Not that he was truly shy, but a stand in the back type as though he felt not up to the task. He would however; show seamanship skills handed down by generations of local fishermen that did not require modern technology to accomplish the task. He is a true follower of the “kiss” program (keep it simple stupid”. A competent mechanic in the “Jury Rig” fashion he kept the vessel together with spit, tape wire and a prayer. More than half the time conversation with him was without verbal language. He spoke English “Muy Poco”. He would stand by the Captain and watch for any sign of the Capt.’s discomfort. The kind of a person that was almost not there, but was a reassuring presence always.

Jose Guentlican (Little Jose)-Deckhand
“Little Joe” was the “gofer” and general deck hand. Strong as an elephant, he was named by us “Little Jose” because he was younger than the cook. His ability to withstand the cold water temperature without gloves or waterproof pants was amazing. When launching the dinghy in surf he would get drenched and not exhibit the slightest shiver. He is on the edge of being a loner but shows signs of a most congenial personality when provoked pleasantly. He was most accommodating when any request was made of him. A trip ashore with him was a class in local flora and fauna. When we were introduced to his dog, we could see the evenhanded temperament of “Little Joe” reflected in the animal’s affection for his master and the friendly personality exhibited by the animal to all comers. “Little Jose” is an example that one can find true contentment within and without “modernity”, as we know it today.

I have made voyages where there was not only derision but also even actual danger wrought by certain individuals on board. This cruise contained a harmonious crew. Like a song that lingers pleasantly in the mind, they struck a “Harmonious Chord” creating a most pleasant memory. The other half of the equation, the passengers, were an array of characters as different and interesting as those in a Dickens’ novel, will be described in another chapter.

A ship is it’s own tiny world. Be aware that short passages can go well but, an extended trip with the same people is a different “kettle of fish” and the stew can be intolerable. Know yourself and try to know the other people as quickly as possible, for like a foxhole or prison, life aboard ship demands that personalities have to learn to live together; or it is Hell.

Regards,


Capt Stan


A Yale professor writes:


CAPT. BEN GARRETT
VICTORY ADVENTURE TRAVEL
Box 70, Teniente Muñoz 118
Puerto Williams, Tierra Del Fuego, Chile
Phone:56-61-621010, Phone/Fax:5661-621092
sailing@victory-cruises.com
http://www.victory-cruises.com

Feb 5, 2002

Dear Capt. Ben,


Thank you for helping me live my dream by landing on Cape Horn.

You and your crew were really wonderful to me and I really enjoyed the Voyage in the "Victory".
Your continued attention for the safety of the passengers and the ship was noted and appreciated.
I recommend your voyage to anyone who wants to be up close and land on glaciers and the Horn and also explore the South Beagle channel where no one ever really goes.

I wish you and your lovely family the very best.
I know we will stay in touch.
Warmest Regards,
Henry Bolanos
Prof. Yale University
New Haven , Ct


A Lady from Texas writes:

Beverly Beth Morse
2502 Broken Oak Drive
Austin, Texas 78745

Oh Captain, My Captain!

What an adventure! Not only did we 'round the Horn, we doubled it, didn't we! Although we were bucking through some hefty waves with thewind moaning and the rain blowing sideways, wild horses could not have dragged any of us off the deck.

You are truly a remarkable man, Captain Ben. We could not have been in more capable hands, and the Victory did you proud, sailing through flying sea foam like the splendid Cape Horner she is.

It is no wonder that people are drawn to this spot. Enshrouded in mist with the seas running high, Cape Horn is one of the most dramatic places in the world.

I heartily recommend this voyage to anyone who is compelled to go on a pilgrimage to the ends of the earth, for it restores the soul. And, of course, there are glacier-capped mountains rising out of the deep
in Tierra del Fuego, sometimes enhanced by the moon shining a golden path across the water and, sometimes, rainbows arching across the sky to reflect a giant semi-circle in the water, not to mention the sight of the Southern Cross.

I am sending pictures of glaciers with backlit chunks of ice-diamonds floating on turquoise water in the Beagle Channel. I could not get a close-up of the Orcas, sea lions or albatross. The black and white tuninas (porpoises) were such fast little critters that all I got were
fins and tails, but I am sending a comical photo of three sea birds (cormorants?) riding past us in style on a piece of ice.

For your little girls (who like dogs), I am enclosing two pictures of the working dogs of Horn Island-Puvo, herding us down the hill, looking back at us wondering if we were coming or not, and Puva, the Border Collie, running as fast as greased lightning down to the beach
(apparently not caring if we were coming or not; her master was on the beach and she had a job to do).

Also enclosed are pictures of the lighthouse and the famous sculpture of the albatross memorializing the spirits of lost mariners. The genius who designed this sculpture gave the world a true work of art.

There is a photo of the tiny sliver of land separating the Atlantic from the Pacific that you might recognize.

When we signed the guest book on Horn Island, the wife of the officer in charge of the outpost graciously served juice and made us feel welcome. I asked her how she liked living at Cape Horn. She smiled and said she liked it, then added in a quieter voice, "But when the wind blows, our house shakes." (I'll just bet it does.)

Please give my regards to Monica and to your three Miss Chile's.
Monica not only is a true helpmate but a lovely lady who is kind and thoughtful as well, and I appreciate all the extra things she did to make my trip and that of my 'mates' more enjoyable.

I can still smell the aroma of Jose M.'s freshly baked bread. I thank him again for baking a cake on my birthday and for the barbeque on the
beach at Caleta Olla. I thank the courageous Jose H. for finding the condor feather. Hello to the Great Mauricio who introduced me to his stars, the Tres Marias and the red Lucera Estrella that changes colors.

 All my expert sailing mates said that Mauricio and Jose H.
were two of the finest crewmembers they had ever seen anywhere in the world. And you . . . you are the best. It has been my pleasure to have known you and to have sailed with you.


My warmest personal regards to you all.


Beverly Beth Morse


A schoolteacher from Australia writes:

22 February 2002



Dear Ben, Monica and crew,

I'd like to thank you for the fantastic sixteen days that I've had on board the "Victory".
You made me very welcome, certainly by the end of the trip, particularly after the last ten days with your children, I felt like one of the family.

I was well looked after; comfortably housed and fed and entertained.
To have had the opportunity to go to Cape Horn, to get up close to the glaciers, to explore the many lovely little ports and harbors that you took me to and to enjoy this shipboard life has been sensational.

The memories of this trip will stay with me forever.

Again, many thanks.


Annie Tsernjavski


Melbourne, Australia


From New Orleans:

Capt. Ben and Monica...

I'm back in the New Orleans area after a really wonderful experience in your part of the world. 

Thank you for your part in making the trip possible.  Cape Horn is one of those places you read about, but never truly expect to visit.

Now, to borrow an expression from earlier English travelers, I have seen the elephant. 
Thank you again.

With all my best wishes,
Hjalmar "HB" Branting


  

A passenger from Mojave, California

Captain Ben & Monica:
I have missed your monthly news letters for over a year now. I thought that you had already sold the VICTORY and had moved back to California.
Not a day goes by that I don't share with someone our great adventure to CAPE HORN. In church and family get togethers I show my videos and pictures. Every detail still fresh in my mind.
My wife and I will be going to Chile again in January 2005 and if time permits it I would like to go to Puerto Williams and visit for a few days.
Please keep in touch
May God richly bless you and family
 
Norm Turner



Capt. Stan, a boat deliver and nautical proffesor of New York wrote:


Chapter I

 On any trip, at any affair, the people that we shared the experience with make any incident in our past more significant in its affect on our emotional recollections. Every day of our lives we reach highs and lows caused by the vibes we receive and perceive from those around us. So it was, that those who transited the Horn with me contributed to the voyage becoming an adventure worth remembering again and again.

I follow with thumbnail sketches of the true characters that made my Cape Horn adventure become a voyage of a lifetime. 

Capt. Ben Garrett
At first meeting with Capt Ben Garret, one is aware of a grizzly, weathered appearance that bears witness to the past of a person who has fought adversity and after staring it in the eye, emerged with dignity and a little to the better side of even. The twinkle in his eye is the single most distinguishing characteristic of his appearance; it lets you know immediately that he believes in himself. This trait is most essential for someone who must assume the responsibility of command.

He meets you on deck seated in his favorite chair, a white plastic lawn chair that is set to starboard alongside the ship’s helm. You are not yet aware that Capt Ben suffers from the “bends”. He was left with almost no flexibility of his legs after a hard hat dive that should not have taken place. Returning to the bottom to retrieve a sack of lobsters after having exceeded his bottom time resulted in his developing the malady. For some (35) plus years he has continued to follow his stars in spite of his discomfort. Coming on deck at any time one would see him bundled in a heavy hat, ear flaps down; foul weather gear, boots and ski gloves and a dark ski visor covering his eyes. A scarf around his lower face tops off his attire. For (4) hours at a time Capt Ben sat like a Guru uttering a word or two occasionally to suggest some minor action be performed in operating the ship. Always exceedingly courteous and affable the Capt made one feel comfortable in his company.  

And Family
The cruise on the Victory is informal and you are introduced to Capt Ben’s family, his wife Monica and their children. The family shares some meals with you at port and Monica extends the warmth of her home to all passengers. She even does your wash (and we didn’t even ask).

Fair Winds!

Capt. Stan


A message sent to us by a Lawyer from New York:


VICTORY ADVENTURE TRAVEL
Puerto Williams, Tierra Del Fuego, Chile


April 3, 2002, New York

Dear Ben,

I wanted to drop you a line to let you know how thoroughly I enjoyed the trip to Cape Horn. I consider myself something of an experienced traveler having now been on five of the seven continents and I can say without hesitation that my trip to the Horn is perhaps my most unique, exciting and memorable trip so far.

I look back on you, the crew and my fellow passengers very fondly but most of all I think of the "Victory" with the warmest feelings. Its a truly wonderful and comfortable boat and I consider myself lucky to have lived on it for that week and even more lucky to have crewed it to the extent to which I was able.

I occasionally find myself sitting here in my office in downtown Manhattan thinking of all the great times on the ship whether it was the weather we faced on the way to and from the Horn, the incredibly beautiful day we had sailing back to Puerto Williams or just all those amusing moments we had while anchored in the coves.

I hope all is well with you, the family and the Victory.

Mahindra

Cape Horn aboard the Tari II

 

Dear Ben, Monica  and Pamela,

Just a short note now I am back in Hong Kong - its a long way from Buenos Aires and Cape Horn.

The trip was great, Micki could not do enough to keep us happy and let us sail the boat well. His preparations and courtesy together with his number two, Gustavo was excellent as was the food and wines - we had more than a modest consumption and Micki supplied these at no extra cost.

As you can see we had a successful rounding of Cape Horn in very good conditions, we were lucky as we only had to wait one day in Pt. Maxwell.

I would not hesitate to recommend both your organization ( your Hotel, bookings, hotel recommendations, ferry booking, etc) to any one that wanted such an adventure at the 'uttermost parts of the earth' together with Micki and his sturdy yacht.

Cheers and I hope we may be there again - trip of a lifetime


Mike Mudd
P O Box 28922
Gloucester Road Post Office
Hong Kong
China


More on Tari II

Subject: The boys from China write up

Hi Ben,

I hope you, Monica and the kids are doing well.

I'd like to thank you, your family as well as Miki and Gustavo for a great trip this past Feb.

Mike, Gene, the two Kevin's and myself all had a fantastic time and couldn't be more impressed with the service we received. Not to mention fantastic weather in a truly beautiful part of the world.

I hope to be back in Puerto Williams again some time.

Attached is a link to the write up I did for my sailing club's news letter. I hope you enjoy the read. http://www.hhyc.org.hk/Photo%20Gallery/HebeJebes/Hebe_Jebes_2008_1.pdf

It is at the bottom of the file, so please scroll down to find it.

I don't have Capt. Miki's e-mail but I would like to pass this article on to him as well.

Thanks again for a great trip, all the best to you and your family.


Sincerely,


Dan Connolly


TARI II

Greetings, Capt. Ben,

I apologize for the delayed response, but having been away for one month, I’ve been very busy at work.  

The trip around The Horn was wonderful. Capt. Mikki was an excellent skipper and both he and Pablo went the extra mile to make our trip a great adventure. We saw fantastic scenery and wildlife, enjoyed delicious meals and spent evenings laughing and talking. And we sailed around the Horn in all four seasons with the blessing of a rainbow.  It was a great experience and I would certainly recommend Capt. Mikki to my friends.

Best,
Iryna


Cape Horn


Dear Capt. Ben.


Further to your question for a write up of our cruise around Cabo de Hornos please find below the required information.

First of all, we like to thank you for your organisation and appreciate very much your efforts inarranging the cruise with Capitano Mono around Cabo de Hornos.

When we started on Dec. 7th. 04 from Ushuaia with the Sailing-Boat MAGO DEL SUR, shortly before we have met Capt. Mono and his Crew (his wife Diana and anothe Sailor Spike).
Our first impression of both, Boat and Crew was very trustworthy, friendly and competent.
After having done the customs paperwork - for which we fellt a bit strange, because in Europe we have many differend Countries and can cross the boarders without any custom-regulation-we started our cruise at about 14:00 hrs. towards Port Williams.
It was a sunny day with light wind and very good visebility. So we reached Port Williams at approxemately 16:30 hrs..
We landed on the Club boat and had a walk on the Island. In spite of the closed Museum, the friendly owner opened it for us in order to have a look into the culture of the Indiens and thier way of life. This was quite an experiance for us.
Thanks again to the Museum's-owner.
On Dec. 9th. we started at 05:00 hrs. and sailed also with good weather conditons towards the Island Herschel to the natural harbor Cal. Martial which we reached at appr.19:00 hrs.. On the way to Cal. Martial in the Beagle Canal we past some Lighthouses, an Island with Sea-Lions and with a large number of Cormorants and a bit later a Bay with many Magallan-Pinguins and Thousends of Sea-Birds.
Also we saw Albatros Birds on both take offand landing which was very nice to look at.
We had a short stop at Pto. Toro before we entered into the Paso Goree and afte the crossing of the Bahia Nassau we reached Caleta Martial.
We ankered at the harbor and visited th Island Herschel by walking up to the Hilltop which we did not reach because of the coming darkness. It was however a very enjoyable and instructive 3 hr. walk due to Diana's exellent knowledge of all the Plants and Flowers growing on this Island.
On the next day -also with good wether condition- we sailed to the Island of Cabo de Hornos.
We ankered about 200 m away from the stairway to the Station, which we visited.
The Family living on the Station has given us a warm welcome and also here, we would like to express our thanks to this Family.
After having left the Station, we sailed around the Island Cabo de Hornos. At approx. 15 Miles south of the Island, the weather had changed rapidly, fog and strong Wind came up with appr. 50 knots and Capt. Mono decided to continue the sail around the
Island but go straight to Cal. Martial and wait until better weather. We reached Cal. Martial safely at appr. 19:00hrs.
On Dec. 12th., we started from Cal. Martial with relative good weather towards Port Williams
Which we reached at appr.17:00 hrs. even date.
We have taken this direct way, because I caught the a flu and had therefore asked Capt. Mono to bring us back to Ushuaia a.s.a.p..
On Dec.13th at 07:30hrs we started From Port Williams and anchored at the Clubhouse in Ushuaia at appr.11:00hrs.

Resume:
1. We have experienced a very interesting and enjoyable cruise with MAGO del SUR.
2. We have met People which were very friendly, open, competent and responsible.
3. We leaned many thinks about
a. your Country, both Argentine and Chile
b. Flora and Fauna , which differs a lot from our European nature.
c. the Culture of the Indian nature.
4. Only one negative point I must make.
I am my self was not a big help to Capt. Mono.
First I had practicably no idea how to sail in spite of I having spent some hours at home studiing sailing, however, only from books.
Finaly I caught the flu, which made the last 1 1/2 days not very comfortable to me and therefore shortened the cruise.
5. We would do this trip again, however , with a different route.

Again we would like to thank you, and also Capt. Mono and his crew for their friendliness and hospitality.

Sorry for the late answer but I have been on a trip in Europe and Africa in the meantime.

Best regards

Hedda and Richard.

Germany


 

John Duggar was just out of the Katrina Hurricane in New Orleans when he sailed to Cape Horn:

Capt. Ben,

As you have probably heard by now, Gerard, Coco, and I had a wonderful cruise on the Hiva Oa from December 17-24. We departed Puerto Williams on Saturday afternoon, December 17 and began the trip with a few good hours of sailing into a good strong wind from the SW--a great start! Then we had a wonderful trip all around Isla Gordon stopping to see the senos and glaciers. The weather was favorable--there was wind and rain of course, but usually the clouds lifted to a 2,500 foot ceiling by mid-morning and a good part of every day was without rain. There was snow on the mountaintops for most of the trip, and an endless number of waterfalls. I took several hundred digital photos, and I have around sixty that are really special to me--evocative and memorable.

On our last day running back to Puerto Williams we were lucky again with the weather. We had a good, strong west wind pushing us along at 7 knots, with 4-6 foot seas in the Channel. 

Gerard and Coco were wonderful hosts.

We had some great conversations and meals to go along with the fabulous scenery. I've travelled quite a bit around the world, but the landscapes we travelled through are as beautiful as any I have seen, and Seno Pio is the most beautiful place I have ever seen.

I've come to understand that most visitors to Tierra del Fuego want to go on trips to Cape Horn, while few people choose to tour the glaciers and fjiords as I did. I'm so glad I made the right choice, and the best choice, and shared it with two people who so clearly love it. I was expecting two or three other guests on the Hiva Oa but there was only me--amazing luxury for a reasonable price.

Gerard has told me that you may correspond with up to 100 inquiries to end up with a single charter. That is a surprise--it was so easy for me to decide to go. If there is any way I can help to promote the Hiva Oa--to discuss the nature and costs of sailing on Hiva Oa, to reassure potential guests about Gerard's extensive experience and safe piloting, to describe Coco's delicious fresh meals, to write about the scenery or what the sailing conditions are like, or to add my personal advice on travel or arrangements in southern Chile--please let me know. If you have a potential guest who wants a reference or needs an outside recommendation please give them my name and email address.

John Duggar

 


From England


Hi Capt. Ben.

I hope you and your lovely family are all well.
Did you have a good holiday ?
It was nice to meet you all in Jan.
I had a good two weeks motoring and some sailing on the  UNICORNIO.
CAPT JULIO LIKES TO USE THE MOTOR.
The first week to Cape Horn was a bit crowded with 7 of us.
Going down and around  the Cape did not live up to its reputation this time. Very tame.
Coming back next day was  wow  wow  wow. 9 hours of being tossed about. Great, loved every minute of it.
The 2nd week with only 4 of us onboard.
 WELL WHAT CAN I SAY !!   
The  sites of the BEAGLE CHANNEL must be one of the best kept secrets in the world !!
I would recommend to anyone  to visit the area of the Beagle channel and the glaciers.
Thank you for giving me the chance to sail around the famous Cape
Horn.
                                       Yours.
                              John B Whitehead.
                                 Westhallam.
                                     Derbyshire.
                                         UK.
           



A passenger writes from South Africa writes about the glaciers and fjords of Tierra Del Fuego:


Re: Cape Horn, Tierra Del Fuego
March 22, 2002

Dear Ben

I'm just fine and happy and hope the same goes for you and Monica and the children.

You may or may not by now have received four photo's that I left with my local internet shop to scan/send. The pics were chosen on the basis of what might best serve to market your cruises.

The one of Ventisqueira Holanda: a highlight of the trip, a great hike which George and I found rewarding despite being unable to get right up to the glacier... as glaciers go, it's kinda special, being "inland".

The one showing the mooring rope being taken to the beach relates (I think) to Holanda; the point being that what we saw of the anchoring/mooring business was always both interesting and admirable.

Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed the trip, and you may certainly use me as a reference -- so long as you accept that my advice to any correspondents will be a mixture of positive and negative notes. For example:

--- To get the best out of the experience (in terms of history, geography, natural history, etc.), read up beforehand... e.g. as much as you can of E
Lucas Bridges' "Uttermost Part of the Earth" (a long book that I myself never quite got through), and whatever you can find about Darwin's voyage aboard the Beagle in these parts. e.g "Three Men of the Beagle" by Richard Lee Marks (pub. Alfred A Knopf, New York 1991) is an easy read and excellent.

--- The ship is an almost exact (and very handsome) replica of a schooner built in 1870, so be prepared for the fact that quarters below decks are correspondingly cramped... e.g. your cabin has a fair bit of stowing space
but not a lot for hanging clobber, and ventilation and natural lighting could be a problem if you are claustrophobic.

--- Know sufficient Spanish to be able to converse with the crew -- e.g. when bad weather means sharing the (small) saloon with them in waking hours.

... roughing it a bit, with some tensions along the line, but in a way that no voyage aboard any of those conventional plastic cruise liners can possibly match.

OK? Thanks a lot, Ben, and regards to the family.

Hélène, South Africa

( Hélène was in the only cabin without a port hole, but she had a big sky light.)



Here is a message from one of Hélène's shipmates, Beverly:


To: Captain Ben Garrett

I am attaching my letter of recommendation to anyone wanting to go on an expedition with you.

Please feel free to edit this letter as it, of course, has turned into an epic saga.

I think I will mail the photographs because I already have them scanned into photographs that you can keep and use at your discretion.
Hello to Monica!

Regards,

Beth



From one of VICTORY's first Tierra Del Fuego passengers,
Peter Murray - Lawyer and Harvard professor:



PETER MURRAY

PORTLAND, MAINE

April 10, 1992


        Captain Ben Garrett
        Schooner VICTORY
        Box 70 Puerto Williams,
        Tierra Del Fuego, Chile

        Dear Ben,

        This is to let you, Monica and your crew know how much we enjoyed our trip on the VICTORY in the Beagle Channel last January.

        It was an experience that we will never forget.

        It is hard to imagine a part of the world more spectacularly beautiful and more unspoiled than the Beagle Channel.

        It is truly the "uttermost part of the earth"!

        In over 25 years of cruising in unusual places, your area tops my list of cruising grounds for scenery, flat water, and all sorts of interesting cultural, geological,

        meteorological, and botanical features to be investigated and enjoyed.

        Your own warmth and enthusiasm, and the helpfulness of Monica, Efrain and your crew contributed greatly to the pleasure of our experience.

        The VICTORY is full of character and seems right in place as she plies the very waters where Darwin sailed.

        Probably the high points of our experience were visits to the glaciers in Garibaldi and Pia Bays.

        That is truly unique. But also we have warm memories of looking at indian arrowheads, munching on barbecued sheep in Harborton, and sailing down the Beagle channel with even the raffee up and drawing.

        I would enthusiastically recommend you and your vessel to adventurers who are seeking a unique experience in a remote part of the sailing world.


        With best wishes always,

        Sincerely, Peter L. Murray


A testimonial of an Engineer from California:

Captain Ben Garrett
P.O. Box 70
Puerto Williams
Tierra Del Fuego, Chile

13 June 1998

Dear Ben,

Subject: Voyage Planning

I want to thank you for your personalized and professional assistance in making my voyage around Cape Horn a success. I was very impressed with your prompt and thorough responses to my many questions. Your extensive knowledge of Tierra del Fuego and the boats available for charter allowed me to arrange the trip effortlessly and quickly.

There were other members of the crew who had made their arrangements through highly regarded travel companies in the U.S. and Europe and their experiences were not as positive as those I had working with you. They were amazed that we were able to arrange my charter flawlessly via Email between Puerto Williams and Manhattan Beach,California.

Your knowledge of the weather, terrain and local history was impressive and extremely useful. Your personal familiarity with the boats and skippers gave me unique insights that the other members of the crew did not have.

The level of detailed support you provided, including making arrangements to have me met and cared for upon my arrival in Ushuaia, made it clear that you were committed to making my visit as pleasant as possible. You even offered me the hospitality of your boat and home. What travel company would do that?!!

I appreciated your making me feel that my trip was as important to you as it was to me, and I would recommend you highly to anyone contemplating a visit to Tierra del Fuego.

It was a great trip and fulfilled a promise I made to myself when I was a youngster and I'm awfully glad I did it.

Ben, a special note of thanks for your assistance and attention to details.

I was happy to meet you in person, and maybe we'll do it again sometime.

All the best to you and your family.

Regards,
Bob Gates


Bob's answer to a recommendation request on March 21 2002, some three years after his expedition:

I had a GREAT TIME. My schedule did not coincide with Ben's so I sailed with another local skipper. Although I didn't sail with Ben he, nevertheless, made all of the detailed arrangements for me. All I had to do was get to Ushuaia.

I went in April on the last cruise of the season. Ben will give you valuable advice on packing and I can't think of anything that I wished I had brought. Remember, space will be extremely limited. Limit yourself to one sea bag and perhaps a SMALL second bag like a backpack. I took my own foul weather gear although it was provided for those who did not. I would say that the important items are a small camera and lots of film or a digital camera and plenty of batteries for all your electrical stuff.

I was lucky enough to find someone to let me recharge some batteries but don't count on wall current. Although you can find supplies in Ushuaia and Puerto Williams, pack as though there were no pharmacies, sundries, etc. and you'll be fine. Actually, I was surprised at how well developed Ushuaia was as a city. I don't know when you plan to go but I found that warm, layered clothing worked well.

Layers are important because you may have some periods of really nice weather and others of really nasty weather so you'll be stripping off or adding layers. I wore silk long johns (lightweight and thermally efficient), a thermal fleece layer, and foulies. When it was really severe I added a wool sweater over the fleece layer. In all cases I would advise tops and bottoms instead of a one piece garmet. Warm, dry socks are better than..........you fill in the blank :-)

If anything, I would have packed more warm socks and a spare pair of mittens or gloves. Items soaked in salt water do not dry easily. Finally, sturdy shoes or hiking boots are a must have.

Now for the trip itself. There were ten of us including the skipper and his mate on a 60 foot steel hulled vessel. We all shared one head which also doubled as the hanging locker for wet foul weather gear. We had small upper and lower bunks with just enough room to squeeze in our sea bags.  You will be a working member of the crew but with as much or little deck work as you desire.

We had two female and eight male crew members representing all parts of the world. There were three Germans, one Turk,  four Americans, one Belgian and one Frenchperson. Backgrounds ranged from investment broker to ballet dancer. We were almost always in our anchorage well before night. A typical day starts with a hearty hot breakfast in the spacious galley/lounge, a day of sailing including a break for a hot lunch, exploring local flora and fauna, changing into comfortable clothes and joining your crewmates in the warm lounge to have some cocktails, read, relax and socialize before, during and after a great evening meal.

I did not go kayaking and I don't think my group did before I joined them. We did go for a hike and enjoyed the wonderful barren yet beautiful countryside at one of our stops. We bartered with local fishermen for king crab and fish one day and had a seafood feast that evening. The sailing was serene at times and tough at times. 

I spent a good amount of time wet and cold in miserable conditions...it was great! I also spent time gliding through glassy seas admiring the awesome beauty of the area. When we rounded the Horn it was too rough to get the dinghy ashore but we came back the next day and were able to land the dinghy and visit the island. We all got our passports stamped and felt pretty smug and cocky :-)

Don't be concerned about rough weather. The boats are well built, well equipped and safe. All the skippers in the area are very competent and familiar with the waters and weather patterns.

Rely on Capt. Ben. He is an excellent resource for local history, reliable advice and friendly support.Good luck.

Bob


From another of VICTORY's passenegers:


Ben,


How are you?

Hopefully this e-mail finds you, the "Victory" and the weather on the Beagle well.

I am sure you needed some time to recover and get settled after the trip.

I want to thank you on behalf of myself and everybody else for the wonderful trip you provided.

It certainly developed and finished as one of the great experiences of our lives.

The Victory is a fun boat to travel on, and the places you go to are enormously stunning.

Plus I personnally learned a lot about a ship like the Victory.

Thanks for making it all possible.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes for the remainder of the season.

Take care,

Jonathan Grimm



Dear Hywel-


I hope all is well.
How was your Cape Horn trip?


Regards,
Capt. Ben

Dear Captain Ben
 It was a very happy and successful visit with a bonus trip to Ushuaia.


 Regards
 Hywel Guilford

Some other passenger's comments about Tierra Del Fuego and Cape Horn:

~ Climbed a 1200 meter summit of an unnamed peak,
Andean Condors gliding overhead.
What was it I need to go back home for?


~ Incredible country - 4000 meter mountains rising straight out of the fjords.
The area looks much like New Zealand. Chile is generally more beautiful.


~ We're eating the local fare - King crab and roast lamb.
Wonderful seabirds - albatross, Cape petrel, Skuas, Penguins.
It's all very new, even the stars.
This is the life - puts it all in perspective.


~ The Horn was great, But I really like the Beagle Channel:
Snow covered mountains and glaciers.
A few bergs were clear ice - just like glass - that is very old ice.
Then some had a beautiful blue color.


Message to a former passenger:

Greetings: I am planning a trip with Captain Garrett aboard the Victory next March (2003). If I may, I have a few questions.

Q. Did you enjoy your adventure?

A. YES, I HAD A WONDERFUL TIME. I REALIZED MY DREAM TO LAND ON CAPE HORN.

Q. What did you take?

A. CAPT BEN HAS A LIST.

Q. Why did you not take that you wish you did?

A. NOTHING

Q. Any problems with air travel?

A. NO LAN CHILE

Q. Did you stay a few extra days before and after? If so where and how was it?

A. ONE DAY IN PA AND ONE DAY IN PW, IN AND OUT. SO I DIDN'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT PLANE DELAYS.

Q. Did you have any trouble?

A. NO

Q. Would you recommend it to a person seeking a break from a busy world?

A. ABSOLUTELY

Q. Did you feel safe?

A. YES


The above passenger's recommendations are available by email upon request.


More expedition reports & testimonials


Ready to do something unique, different, daring, adventurous?. A trip that will make the adrenaline move through your body like never before? Something only a true adventurer would do? Are you one of those Adventurers? If you are...

What you need to do to join us on a unique adventure.


It's simple, just contact us with a rough outline of your requirements and let me, Captain Ben, and my Crew to do the rest for you.

Finally there isn't much we cannot cope with. Individuals or larger parties. Just let us know. "Navigating the Beagle Channel since 1990."

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