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Expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula,
South Georgia, Cape Horn, Falklands & Tierra Del Fuego

On this virtual tour you may see: Majestic mountains dipped in snow... Crystalline waterways... Whales, seals, Soaring Andes condors... Ice-blue Glaciers that shimmer like jewels...


Sails to: ..Antarctica ..South Georgia ..
South Sandwich Islands ..Cape Horn ..
Tierra del Fuego ..Falkland Islands ..
Other Sub-Antarctic Locations:

Golden Fleece Expedition Cruises

Destinations ..Antarctica ..South Georgia ..South Sandwich Islands ..Tierra del Fuego ..Falkland Islands ..Other Sub-Antarctic
30 Years of Experience

If you don't know Jérôme Poncet...

Jerome Poncet at the wheel


Having been sailing around the Antarctic area for the last 30 years, Jérôme Poncet is certainly the person who best knows the Atlantic part of the Antarctic.

A Pioneer in the Southern Latitudes:

Known first for a 5 year round-the-world trip he accomplished in his early 20s along with his friend Gérard Janichon (from 1969 to 73) on board "Damien", a 10,10m cold moulded wooden sloop they had built.

First small yacht to reach Spitzbergen (1969), to reach the Antarctic Peninsula all sound and to sail below the Antarctic Circle (1973) - Received the "Médaille de l'Ordre du Mérite" in 1973 (the French equivalent of a Knighthood) on their return to France.

In 1974-75 Jérôme built "Damien II", a 15,20m-steel yacht suited to the type of navigation he had most enjoyed: Antarctica and the high southern latitudes. He has lived on "Damien II" with his wife and increasing family (his first son was born aboard) for the 12 following years, from Europe to Brazil, Polynesia, Tasmania, New Zealand, and to Antarctica and the Sub-Antarctic islands.

In the meantime, he participated in several Races such as the Whitbread in 1973-74 (Security), Saint Malo-Cape Town in 1975 (Skipper), Rio-Southampton in 1975-76 (Skipper), Whitbread in 1981 (Security)

First yacht to winter in Antarctica in 1978-79 and still the only yacht to have wintered so far South (67°45'S). Since then, about 30 "Damien II" have been built around the world.

In 1987 he settled down with his family on a little sheep farm on an isolated island in the Falklands, a place close to his favourite areas of sailing, to nature and to a lifestyle he and his wife wished to have with their children.
30 years of experience in the Antarctic area:
Jérôme observing Elephant Seals

With his wife, Sally, an Australian biologist, he sailed to many places unveiling the extraordinary richness of wildlife and developed his passion and knowledge of seabirds. They started conducting private botanical and seabird surveys, slowly becoming experts. They were soon asked to conduct scientific surveys, which in turn lead to filming and photographic expeditions. Little by little, with growing and interesting demands for new kinds of voyages in the area, Jérôme extended his activity to other sorts of expeditions (films, reports, adventure, etc.). He is the first to start offering the possibility of exploring and enjoying this extraordinary and remote part of the earth by yacht.

Previous Expeditions:

Scientific expeditions:

Jérôme Poncet has conducted several independent or commissioned surveys, or as a logistical support and/or research consultant. Among them:

* Private seabird and botanical surveys: in 1978, '83, '84, '85 at the Antarctic Peninsula, South Orkneys, South Shetlands and South Georgia (see Scientific Publications).
* BAS (British Antarctic Survey) in 1985, '86, '88, '90 and '95: Seabird, Seal and Geological surveys at the Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetlands and South Georgia (see Scientific Publications).
* Government of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands in 1997: Seabird and Seal survey (see Scientific Publications).
* Falklands Conservation (1988, 2000): Seabird surveys at Keppel and New Islands, and offshore.

Film expeditions:
Nesting Gentoo Penguins

* BBC Natural World (1989): for the TV program "Marathon Birds in Falkland Islands" at the Falkland Islands (Jason Island).
* BBC Natural History TV Unit (1992, '93, '96, '97, '98, '99): for the TV programs "Life in the Freezer", "An Island All Alone", "Blue Planet" at South Georgia, Antarctic Peninsula, South Sandwich, South Shetlands.
* Anglia Survival TV (1986): for "Antarctica: The Last Frontier" at South Georgia.
* Les Cinéates Animaliers (1989): for "L'Arche et le Déluge" (French) at the Antarctic Peninsula.
* National Geographic Explorer TV (1990): for "Antarctic Wildlife Adventure" at the Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetlands.
* BBC (1992): for the production of "The Really Wild Show" at the Falkland Islands (Beaver Island area).
* NHK Japanese TV production (1994): at the Falkland Islands (Carcass and New Islands).
* Charon Films (1994): for "Atlanten" (Swedish) at Staten Island, Falklands, and South Georgia.
* IMAX Natural History Unit IMAX Production (1994, '95): for ""Survival Island" at South Georgia.
* TF1 French TV (2000): for "Ushuaia Nature" a Nicolas Hulot program.

Other notable expeditions:

* First small yacht to enter the Weddell Sea in 1999.
* First Surfing in Antarctica in 2000: with a group of high level American Surfers (see www.quokka.com "Surfing Antarctica").


* "Damien, du Spitzberg au Cap Horn" by Gérard Janichon (1973 - Arthaud, France)
* "Damien, icebergs et mers australes" by Gérard Janichon (1974 - Arthaud, France)
* "Damien, l'Antarctique à la voile" by Gérard Janichon (1975 - Arthaud, France)
* "Damien autour du Monde, 55 000 milles de défis aux océans", by Gérard Janichon (1998 -Transboréal, France)

These "Damien" books have been translated into several languages.

* "Le Grand Hiver - Damien II, base antarctique " by Sally Poncet (1982 - Arthaud, France) (2nd edition 2000 - Transboréal, France)
* "Life in the Freezer, a Natural History of the Antarctic" by Alastair Fothergill (1993 - BBC Books), named after the famous TV series.
* "Southern Ocean Cruising" by Sally and Jérôme Poncet (1991 - Self publication with funds from Voiles & Voiliers and Australian Geographic)
* "Antarctic Encounter - Destination South Georgia" by Sally Poncet and Ben Osborne (1995 - Simon & Schuster, USA)

Further Books:

* Jean Baptiste Charcot
o "Le Français au Pole Sud" (1906 - Flammarion, France)
o "Le Pourquoi-Pas? dans l'Antarctique" - by J.B. Charcot (1910 - Flammarion, France)
o "The Voyage of the «Pourquoi-Pas?»" - based on the J-B Charcot's journal (1978 - Australia)
o "Charcot, le Gentleman des Pôles" by G. Janichon and B. Heimermann (1991 - Pen Duick, France)
* Raymond Rallier du Baty:
o "15 000 in a Ketch" by R.Rallier du Baty (1910 - Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd., England)
o "Le Voyage de la Curieuse" by R. Rallier du Baty (1911 - Vol. 37 of La Géographie, France) Now translated into French: "Aventures aux Kerguelen" - Ed. Maritimes & d'Outres-Mer
* PENOLA: "Southern Lights" by John Rymill (1939 - Travel Book Club, England)

Press articles:

Many articles have been published by or about Jérôme or Sally Poncet. Among them: National Geographic (USA), Australian Geographic (Australia), Voiles & Voiliers (France), Neptune (France), Géo (France), Cruising World (USA), Experimental (Greece), Die Yacht and Geo Deutschland (Germany), Zeilen (Netherlands).
Scientific Publications:

* Boyd I.L., Walker T.R. and Poncet J. (1996): Status of Southern Elephant Seals at South Georgia. Antarctic Science 8(3):237-244.
* Convey P., Morton A. and Poncet J. (1999): Survey of Marine Birds and Mammals of the South Sandwich Islands. Polar Record
* Komarkorva V, Poncet S. and J. (1990): Additional and Revisited localities of Vascular Plants in the Antarctic Peninsula Area. Arctic and Alpine Research Vol 22
* McCann T.S., and Rothery P. (1988): Population Size and Status of the Southern Elephant Island Seal (Mirounga leonina) at South Georgia, 1951-1985. Polar Biology 8:305-309
* Poncet J. (1997): Distribution and Abundance Survey of Seabirds and Seals at South Sandwich Islands in the Scotia Sea. Government of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands Publication
* Poncet S. and J. (1985): A Survey of Penguin Populations at the South Orkney Islands. British Antarctic Survey Bulletin 77:109-129
* Poncet S. and J. (1987): Censuses of Penguin Populations of the Antarctic Peninsula, 1983-87. British Antarctic Survey Bulletin 68:71-81
* Poncet S. (1994): A Preliminary Investigation of South Georgia's Sealing Beaches. Unpublished Report
* Smith R.I.L. and Poncet S. (1985): New Southernmost Record for Antarctic Flowering Plants. Polar Record 139:426-427
* Smith R.I.L. and Poncet S. (1987): Deschampsia antarctica and Colobanthus quitensis in the Terra Firma Islands. British Antarctic Survey Bulletin 74:31-35
* Traythan P. et al. (1996): An Ecological Atlas of South Georgia. British Antarctic Survey.
* Woehler E.J. (1993): The Distribution and Abundance of Antarctic and Subantarctic Penguins. SCAR


Expeditions & Destinations

Chart of Scotia Sea and the Sub-Antarctic Islands With 30 years experience in the Southern Ocean, Jérôme is of course specialised in Antarctic areas (Scotia Sea). However, he will always be interested in projects leading to places that have never or rarely been sailed to. In the wake of Jean-Baptiste Charcot, Raymond Rallier du Baty or "Penola", his passion is Exploration. Chartering his yacht allows him to share his passion and knowledge with you. As a pioneer of his kind he has opened up the ice routes to small yachting (1973) and made feasible what was until then considered impossible...

NB: The owner cannot guarantee total success in any venture. However with a greater commitment in time, the greater the chances to achieve the goal.


Antarctica, known as the ice continent, provides an extraordinary destination for people willing to experience or see the ice in all of its splendour. The peninsula is a common and easy destination that you will reach after crossing the famous Drake Passage. You can combine a trip to any of the following places mentioned below. However they are only easily accessible for the 4-5 months of the Austral Summer, with the option of combining a voyage to the ice with a cruise through the Chilean canals and around Cape Horn on the return leg.

4 main areas:

* Arriving at Elephant Island, South Shetland Islands: Beautiful rugged scenery with extraordinary emerging Basaltic rocks. Very rich wildlife (the largest Chinstrap penguin concentration in the world with 1 700 000 pairs, Cape Pigeons, Fur and Elephant Seals, etc.). Quite exposed to wind and waves. Crossing: 3-4 days.
* Elephant Island and surrounding islands (Northern part of the South Shetlands): where Shackleton landed with his crew in 1916 and departed on the "James Caird" to seek help from South Georgia.
No good sheltered areas. Crossing: 3-4 days. 1 to the peninsula or South Shetlands.
* South Orkney Islands: are a relatively forgotten archipelago that should however draw your attention. Polar scenery. Very rich wildlife (the most accessible place to see the graceful Snow Petrels; Silver-grey Fulmar, penguins, etc.). Crossing: 4 days from Stanley. 2 to the peninsula, 1½ to Elephant Island. Penguin on ice floes
* The Antarctic Peninsula: extending over more than 500 Antarctica nautical miles from North to South, and almost all accessible by Golden Fleece, from the Weddell Sea - James Ross Isl. (64°N/58°W) to Marguerite Bay and George VI Sound (70°S/69°W). Quite sheltered sailing and mooring. Lots of glaciers and ice in all its aspects (icebergs, fast-ice, floes, pack...), rich wildlife. Crossing: 4 days to reach the Northern part of the Peninsula, 6 days to reach Marguerite Bay directly.


Location: >60°S. Highest summit: Mt Français (2822 m). Points of interest and attractions: The ice and unique icy landscape (icebergs, packice, icecaps, floes, glaciers, etc), Wildlife (lots of whales, all sorts of seals and seabirds incl. penguins, petrels, terns, Fulmars, etc.), Mountaineering (Rock and Ice), Hiking, Skiing, Diving, Kayaking, Visiting Whaling Stations or Antarctic scientific bases, etc. General weather conditions: very windy to flat calm and sunny, period of 24h light from November to end of January, period with least ice from December to March, Permit required: Golden Fleece renews its UK Foreign Office Permit under Antarctic Act every year. Crossing: see above. Voyage duration: 3 weeks to 1 month should be a minimum, or more according to the specifications of the expedition.

South Georgia

Wandering Albatross chick A combination of high mountains and the sea, of the Alps or the Appalachians and Antarctica. It is the destination par excellence for any wilderness enthusiast, with exceptional scenery and amazing wildlife, to experience your favourite sport or activity. South Georgia is extraordinarily rich in wildlife with the worlds largest colonies of Wandering Albatross (2500 pairs), Elephant Seals (350,000), Southern Fur seals (2,800,000), Gentoo Penguins (80,000 pairs) and astonishing concentrations of Macaroni Penguins, Sooty Albatross, King penguins, etc. Wildlife numbers peak during the breeding season from October to February, while skiing and mountaineering are recommended in the late winter and early spring months, from August to October. Breeding time for Elephant Seals is September and is really worth seeing.

Location: 55°S/36°W. British territory with its own government based in the Falklands. Capital: Grytviken. Highest summit: Mt Paget (2934 m). Points of interest and attractions: Wildlife (see above), Mountaineering, Kayaking, Skiing, Diving, Visiting abandoned Whaling Stations and the Museum and Administrative Centre in Grytviken, etc. General weather conditions: March and April should be avoided for bad weather and poor presence of wildlife. Permit required. Crossing: 4 days. Voyage duration: 3 weeks to 1 month should be a minimum, or more according to the specifications of the expedition.

South Sandwich Islands

Chinstrap Penguin Breeding Grounds With 10 main islands, this very isolated and volcanic archipelago offers incredible scenery for those fond of the wilderness and Nature in its raw elements. It is amazing to see the very rich wildlife emerging from this inhospitable piece of earth (largest single colony of Chinstrap penguins in the world with 750 000 pairs - total of 1 300 000 pairs in the South Sandwich). The South Sandwich Islands are rarely visited and certainly belong to the last few unspoiled places that are accessible.

Location: 57°S/27°W. British territory under the government of South Georgia. Uninhabited. Highest summit: Mt Belinda (1 372m). Points of interest and attractions: many active Volcanoes, Mountaineering with lots of first ascents to be attempted, very rich Wildlife, etc. General weather conditions: Very windy area, few sheltered areas. Permit required. Crossing: 6 days. Voyage duration: 1 month should be a minimum, or more according to the specifications of the expedition.

Falkland Islands

Breeding Black-Browed Albatross The Falklands are an archipelago inhabited since the 19th century but discovered as early as the 18th by whalers and sealers. Since the War of 1982, interest and tourism have developed. Although there are daily flights to most tourist locations, cruising around the islands remains a cost-effective solution to both your accommodation and local transport logistics. It certainly is also the best and only way to reach and see the extraordinary wildlife and scenery.

Location: 52°S/60°W. British territory with its own government. Population: 2300 Capital: Stanley. Points of interest and attractions: Wildlife (largest colony of black-browed Albatross in the world (250 000 pairs) and Striated Caracaras so-called "Johnny Rooks" (approx. 2 000 pairs), Rockhopper penguin colonies, Fur Seal and Sea Lion rookeries, etc.), Kayaking, Surfing, Windsurfing, Fishing (sea trout), etc. General weather conditions: Fairly windy area, normally rather dry. How to get there: 2 military planes a week from/to England (RAF Brize Norton - see with Falkland House London tel. +44 (0) 171 222 2542) + Weekly flight (LanChile) every Saturday from/to Chile, passing via Rio Gallegos (Argentina) once a month. Daily local flights to/from most places in the Falklands.

Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn

Mooring in Tierra del Fuego
The Alps and the Norwegian Fjords by the sea...
Sailing in the Fuegian and Patagonian canals makes up a very nice journey and approach to the Southern Latitudes. It allows those who have little vacation time to experience a typical Southern scenery. However some other yachts might be more specialised in this area.

5 main areas:

* Cape Horn: the passage of the famous Cape... which will allow you to wear the gold earring and spit to windward! Chilean territory. Crossing: 2 days from Stanley, 1 from Ushuaia. Voyage duration: One week from and back to Ushuaia. A trip to Antarctica could easily be combined with a passage of the Cape on the way back to Stanley.
* Isla de los Estados (Staten Island): Argentine territory. Special permit required since Dec. 98. Large Rockhopper Penguin colony, Fishing, Kayaking, visit of the " Lighthouse of the End of the World" (rebuilt recently). Crossing: 2 days from Stanley, 1 from Ushuaia. Voyage duration: from one short stop to more according to the needs, project and permit granted. Can easily be combined with a trip back from Antarctica.
* Tierra del Fuego (Fireland): the Beagle Channel, running East West through Tierra del Fuego, offers an incredibly large number of fjords and glaciers. Argentine / Chilean territories. Crossing: 3 days to reach Ushuaia from Stanley, but you could join straight there. From Ushuaia, you have easy access to Cape Horn and to the glaciers. Voyage duration: One week minimum. Two weeks allow a nice combination of Cape Horn and the Glaciers.
* Southern Patagonia: Sailing up or down the famous Beagle Channel and Magellan Strait, inside the spectacular fjords, and enjoy the exceptional sight of glaciers falling straight into the sea. Wildlife (Sea Lions, Commerson's and Peale's Dolphins, Steamer Ducks, Rock and Blue-eyed Shags, etc.). Crossing: 3 days from Stanley. Can join in Punta Arenas or Ushuaia. Voyage duration: A minimum of 2 weeks when starting from Stanley.
* Islas Diego Ramirez: Chilean territory. Special permit required. Very rich wildlife (very large colonies of Grey-headed and Black-browed Albatross, Rockhopper penguins, Prions, Blue and Giant Petrels, etc. ), beautiful untouched tussock landscape. Crossing: 2 to Ushuaia, 3-4 from Stanley. Voyage duration: from one short stop to more, according to the needs and projects. Can be combined with a trip back from Antarctica.


Location: 52-56°S/64-73°W. Main cities: Ushuaia (Argentina), Punta Arenas (Chile) Lots of very high summits (Mt Sarmiento 2467m, Mt Darwin, etc.). Points of interest and attractions: lots of Fjords and Waterfalls and Glaciers falling to the sea, Mountaineering, Hiking, Sailing, Diving, Kayaking, Wildlife (Sea Lions, Commerson's and Peale's Dolphins, Steamer Ducks, Rock and Blue-eyed Shags, Rockhopper and Magellanic Penguins, etc.). General weather conditions: Often rainy and gusty. Some warm and sunny days in summer and autumn. Crossing: 3 days to Ushuaia.

Other Sub-Antarctic Places

There are some other places around Antarctica rarely visited but still of great interest. Jérôme would be happy to be part of a project to these destinations. He knows most of them already, having sailed there before on "Damien" and "Damien II".

* Crozet Islands: French territory. Interests: Extremely rich Wildlife (extraordinarily large concentration of Killer Whales, with unique feeding behaviour; highest number of seabird species in the Sub-Antarctic area with largest colony of King Penguins (500 000 pairs), largest single colony of Macaroni penguins with 1 000 000 pairs (totalling 2 400 000 pairs), Diving, Trekking, etc. Permit required.
* Kerguelen Islands: French territory. Summit: Mt Ross (1850m). Often windy and gusty, but with lots of sheltered areas. Interests: rich Wildlife (Rockhopper and Macaroni penguins, Seals, Albatross, Petrels, etc.), Mountaineering, Trekking, Kayaking, etc. Permit required.
* Heard Island: Australian territory. Summit: Mt Big Ben (2745m). Interests: Polar scenery with rich Wildlife on the few ice-free areas (Macaroni Penguins, Fur and Elephant seals, Petrels, etc.), Mountaineering, Trekking, etc. Permit required.
* Macquarie Island: Australian territory. Interests: Very rich Wildlife (The only colony of Royal penguins in the world with 1 000 000 pairs, Albatross, Petrels, etc.), Trekking, etc. Permit required.
* And much more...