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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 1000 graphics. Over one Hundred forty pages of Information on culture, history, fauna, flora, anthropology, geography, arqueology, Chile facts, kayaking, whale watching, trekking and introducing:
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Southern Oceans.

Ice Diving.

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CURRENT WEATHER
IN TIERRA DEL FUEGO


People: People in Chile are really genuinely friendly and helpful. They alone make a trip to Chile worthwhile.

Santiago: Just a few words to answer some common questions we get about the capital city. It is about 15 miles from the airport, about a 20 to 30 minute drive. It has a number of districts but in most cases they are all part of the city. Providencia and Las Condes and Vitacura districts are very fashionable with good hotels, shops, restaurants, bars. They are only minutes by cab from the "downtown" area. Most major businesses are located in these districts.

Safety: Chile is actually a pretty safe place for the tourist. But in Santiago, like any big city in the world, reasonable prudence is always a good idea. Don't wear a solid gold Rolex, a Timex will do, don't carry a large amount of cash, don't leave cameras and valuables exposed in an unoccupied car...just be smart.

 

 


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..




SOUTH GEORGIA AND THE SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS

Captain Cook was looking for the southern continent but instead discovered an ice covered island, which he named South Georgia.
James Cook was born in the Yorkshire village of Marton on October 27, 1728.
He went to sea at the age of 18. He became an accomplished mathematician in his spare time and was offered a command of his own ship but refused and joined the Royal Navy.

His talents became known and the Admiralty placed later in command of the Endeavour which was to take a number of scientists to the Pacific Ocean for observance of Venus. The Endeavour departed England in 1768 and after visiting Tahiti, he discovered New Zealand and claimed it for Great Britain.
Sailing west he sighted the east coast of Australia and then claimed the whole of eastern Australia as a British possession.

The Admiralty promoted Cook to Commander and he was instructed to travel south to find Bouvet's Cape Circumcision. The Admiralty outfitted the newly purchased Resolution and Adventure with the Resolution being Cook's flagship. It was only 110 feet long and 35 feet across the beam and the Adventure even smaller.
Cook sailed toward the uncharted waters of the south and they found themselves at the edge of an endless pack of ice.
For two months Cook sailed alongside the pack, looking for an entrance to travel further south then with the onset of winter he went north to the Southern Island of New Zealand after sailing some 10,000 miles.

He returned to the Antarctica and continued his search for a way through to the south. He said " It extended east and west far beyond the reach of our sight, while the southern half of the horizon was illuminated by rays of light which were reflected from the ice to a considerable height. It was indeed my opinion that this ice extends quite to the Pole, or perhaps joins to some land to which it has been fixed since creation".
He again wintered in New Zealand, and then sailed to Tierra del Fuego continuing in a northeasterly direction. They sighted land and thought they had found the southern continent but instead it was an island which he named South Georgia.

Map of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands



SOUTH GEORGIA Island has about140 glaciers on it, so it's not an average island. The mountainous rugged interior is a geologic continuation of the Andes Chain. It is considered being inside Antarctica and is unsurpassed as a wilderness & wildlife experience with many birds, fur and elephant seals.

Wildlife numbers peak during the breeding season from October till February. It is perhaps the greatest seabird island in the world having King, Adelie, Gentoo, Chinstrap, Magellanic, Macaroni, and Rockhopper penguins; Antarctic Giant-Petrel, Cape Petrel, the elegant Snow Petrel, Antarctic and Slender-billed prions, Wilson's Storm-Petrel, Snowy Sheathbill, and more.

To be in the midst of so an abundance of breeding penguins feeding their ravenous offspring, is a spectacular natural experience. The King Penguin Rookeries on South Georgia are unique in that these Penguins are on a staggered 18 month breeding cycle. As can be seen in this panorama there are chicks loosing their down and almost ready to fledge in their adult feathers. There are also many birds with newly lain eggs, brooding on their feet.
With their staggered breeding cycle the South Georgia King Rookeries are in existence year round.

These are the only penguin rookeries in Antarctica that are in operation all year. South Georgia is almost pure wildlife from one end to the other.

More than half its sharp, glacier-strewn terrain lies under a year-round blanket of snow and ice, with only the coastal fringes sporting any vegetation - mainly patches of tussock grass, moss and lichen.

It is a barren harsh place with an Antarctic climate. This harsh climate is a result of the Antarctic Convergence.

The Antarctic Convergence Zone is caused by cold water from Antarctica that flows outward from the continent to a point where it dives down to the abysmal deeps of the ocean. The place where this cold water ends and the warm water begins forms a ring around the continent and is called the Antarctic Convergence.

The island's inhabitants consist of a small British military detachment at King Edward Point and a British Antarctic Survey research team stationed at the northwestern tip.

Captain Cook's descriptions of the island and of its massive fur seal population set off a rush of sealers. By the 1830s, the fur seals had been almost exterminated.

Grytviken was the first whaling station in South Georgia employing about 300 men during the peak. Some 175,000 whales were processed here, including the largest animal ever recorded , a 110 ft blue whale. Many of its abandoned buildings are now open to visitors.

The Grytviken whaling station from a photo of the 1920s
By the British Magistrate, Edward Binnie

The station's cemetery is the resting place of Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, who stars in one of the greatest tales of survival & greatest boat journeys in expedition history:


Sir Ernest Shackleton

Just one day's sail from the continent of Antarctica, the ship Endurance became trapped in sea ice.

Frozen fast for ten months, their ship, the "Endurance", was crushed and destroyed by ice pressure in the Weddell Sea and the crew was forced to abandon ship.
After camping on the ice for five months, Shackleton made two open boat journeys:
First Shackleton and his men then set off in small boats and landed at Elephant Island with hardly any landing room below the steep cliffs that line this shore.

The second journey was a treacherous 800-mile ocean crossing to South Georgia Island
.
Landing on South Georgia Island, Shackleton crossed the rugged backbone of the island from the west to arrive at the Whaling Station on the east side seeking help for his men stranded on Elephant Island.

The "Endurance" crew, hand picked by Sir Ernest Shackleton in England for his expedition in 1916, survived on the nutritious meat of penguins and seals while waiting for rescue on Elephant Island.

As the months passed, Shackleton made increasingly frantic rescue attempts, each time thwarted by ice or weather. At last, on August 30, they succeeded in bringing through the Yelcho, a tug manned by Chilean Navy personal. It was their fourth attempt and months had passed since their departure; Shackleton feared the worst.
They had finally made it back to Elephant Island after 105 days and saved all of the men they had left behind.

The bow of the "Yelcho" is now found in Puerto Williams, Chile as a monument to the daring rescue.
The full story can be found at http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/shackleton/

"In memories we were rich. We had pierced the veneer of outside things.... We had seen God in His splendors, heard the text that Nature renders. We had reached the naked soul of man."
Sir Ernest Shackleton


South Georgia's wildlife is once again abundant with fur seals back in large numbers.

There are over 5 million macaroni penguins and two large king penguin colonies.

RECORD SOUTH GEORGIA VISITS AND TOURIST NUMBERS ANTICIPATED

[ANAN-75/03] June 2002

Tourist ship visits to sub-Antarctic South Georgia, and the number of people who are expected to land there from them, could reach an all-time high during the 2002-03 austral summer.  Like the Antarctic Peninsula, there are several periods when up to five tour ships will be at the island together, however, the island's managers are confident that processes are in place to manage any significant increase in activity that may occur.

Information currently available suggests that there could be up to 44 tour-ship visits to South Georgia in 2002-03, up one third on the actual figure for 2001-02.  The first tourists are scheduled to arrive at the island on 1 November and the last on 12 March.  There will be at least one tour vessel visiting the island for three-quarters of the days in that period. 

The current record for tourist landings was in the Millennium season of 1999-2000 when 34 ship-visits were made and 2,718 passengers, plus a large number of staff and ship's crew, went ashore.  The combined total passenger capacity of currently advertised 2002-03 voyages to the island is just under 4,800, a number that suggests a new visitor record for the island would be set if all voyages proceed, and if an average passenger loading across the season as low as 60 per cent is achieved.

Of the 20 ships that are to visit the Antarctic Peninsula region in 2002-03, fifteen of them that have passenger capacities between 49 and around 550, are listed for trips to South Georgia Those Peninsula ships not scheduled to go to the island are the three large cruise vessels 'Amsterdam', 'Crystal Symphony' and 'Ryndam', first time Antarctic visitor 'Nordnorge', and the 'Kapitan Khlebnikov' which is making only a brief visit to the South Atlantic sector

About a third of the 126 voyages to the Antarctic Peninsula have visits to South Georgia on their itinerary, a proportion that is similar to the actuals of the last few seasons.  In addition, operator publicity indicates that four others are to conduct 'South Georgia only' journeys, while a further three visits are also scheduled for ships on the way south at the beginning of the season, and two on the way north at season's end. 

The ships 'Bremen', Professor Multanovskiy', 'Polar Pioneer', and the three-masted barque 'Europa' are conducting the 'South Georgia-only' voyages, while the 'Endeavour', 'Hanseatic' and 'Explorer', are listed for either pre- or post-season visits or both. Shackleton crossing attempts of the island are planned from 'Multanovskiy' in November and 'Polar Pioneer' in early March
.

Most ships conduct their landing programs in the embayments and off-shore islands along South Georgia's 170km-long northern coast. During the four-and-a-half month season ahead though, five ships are expected to be in coastal waters simultaneously over four separate periods. 

The first of these periods is in late November/early December, the second in mid-January, the third about a week after that, and the last as the season is drawing to an end in early March. Between 350 and 420 tourists could be on the ships involved at those times, except for the late January event when the 'Marco Polo' is one of the vessels .  On that occasion the number could exceed 900 over several days. 

In 2000-01 there were three periods when either five or six ship visits overlapped and the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI)and tour operators, who are aware of the implications for visitor management, worked to manage the issues involved in the lead up to, and during, summer operations.

Generally, at Grytviken and most other sites on the island, no more than two shore visits are allowed there on any one day, however, at Albatross and Prion Islands only one vessel landing a day is permitted. In addition, only tour ships whose operators are members of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators are permitted to make landings at sites outside Grytviken; 'Marco Polo' is expected to be the only ship not in this category during 2002-03 as its operator, is not a member of the tour body.

According to researcher Sally Poncet, who has conducted tourism research on the island for the GSGSSI over the past three years as part of the Environmental Baseline Survey project (ANAN-35/09, 22 November 2000), the levels of visitation up to and including the 2000-2001 season have not posed any significant management problems.  She says that should visitor numbers increase substantially in 2002-03, the pre-season management process that is conducted in September-October each year should be capable of identifying any potential problem areas well before the first ship is scheduled to arrive on 1 November.

Following its third visit of the season to South Georgia in late January, the German-operated tour ship 'Bremen' is scheduled to make a two-day visit to the South Sandwich Islands, to the south-east of South Georgia, on 24-25 January. Information currently available suggests that that is the only tour ship visit planned to that island group during the 2002-03 austral summer.

South Georgia Natuaral History and books

South Georgia map showing distance from Falklands

South Georgia History

More on South Georgia including maps and links

Another South Georgia Map


The South Sandwich Islands

Capt. Cook's temptation to sail even farther south brought him to a group of islands more desolate than South Georgia. which he named the South Sandwich Islands. After a week of exploration there, he sailed north reaching England in 1775.

The 11 islands of the South Sandwich group lie about 400 mi beyond South Georgia. Composed of mostly active volcanoes, the islands are 80% glaciered due to a cold ocean current. Although rich in wildlife, the islands have no human inhabitants.
There are about five million pairs of chinstrap penguins that breed there.

Location:

Southern South America, islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, east of the tip of South America Geographic coordinates: 54 30 S, 37 00 W Map references: Antarctic Region Area: total area: 4,066 sq. km land area: 4,066 sq. km comparative area: slightly larger than Rhode Island note: includes Shag Rocks, Clerke Rocks, Bird Island, administered by the UK, claimed by Argentina Climate: variable, with mostly westerly winds throughout the year, interspersed with periods of calm; nearly all precipitation falls as snow

Most of the islands, rising steeply from the sea, are rugged and mountainous
South Sandwich Islands are of volcanic origin with some active volcanoes, highest point: Mount Paget 2,915 m, Natural resources: fish Land use: arable land: 0% permanent crops: 0% meadows and pastures: 0% forest and woodland: 0% (largely covered by permanent ice and snow with some sparse vegetation consisting of grass, moss, and lichen) Irrigated land: 0 sq. km, natural hazards: the South Sandwich Islands have prevailing weather conditions that generally make them difficult to approach by ship; they are also subject to active volcanism.
Some good South Georgia Photos

For those planning on sailing to South Georgia, the info below was taken from the Official South Georgia web pages:

South Georgia

Groups visiting South Georgia should be aware of the following:

· Cruise ships, smaller charter vessels and cruising yachts must be accompanied by a person with sub-Antarctic or equivalent experience of operating in remote areas.

· All tourist operations must be ship-based with no overnight stays ashore unless specified on the application form and approved by the Commissioner.

· All cruise ship and charter vessel shore parties should stay in radio contact with the ship and have with them appropriate first aid and emergency equipment. Deteriorating weather or sea conditions may, for example, make return to the ship hazardous and necessitate a longer stay ashore than planned.

· Shore parties must be supported by their expedition vessel at all times, which must remain in South Georgia for the duration of their stay.

· No on-shore accommodation is provided for visitors to the Island, nor are there public telephone or fax facilities.

· There are no hospital facilities or rescue services. Self-sufficiency is increased and risks reduced by sound planning, quality equipment and experienced personnel.

· Firearms may not be brought into South Georgia except with the express prior permission of the Commissioner, to whom application must be made in writing.

· No pet animals are permitted on the Island.

· The use of helicopters is not permitted except in cases of emergencies.

· The Conservation Guidelines are to be respected at all times by all visitors, including passengers, staff and crews of all vessels visiting South Georgia

· Cooper Island, Bird Island and Annenkov Island have been given special protection because of their particular ecological value. Entry into these areas is strictly prohibited, except where a visit is requested for scientific research, in which case a permit from the Commissioner is required.

· Visitors are prohibited from entering or approaching within two hundred metres of the former whaling stations at Prince Olav Harbour, Leith Harbour, Stromness and Husvik. They are in a dangerous state of disrepair, and wind-blown debris including asbestos dust is a hazard.

· Unexploded ordnance from the 1982 conflict and subsequent presence may be found on South Georgia. If you think you have found an item of unexploded ordnance you should carry out the following procedure:
Do not touch (items are in a dangerous condition).
Note its position and grid reference and place a marker nearby.
Make a note of its size, shape, colour, markings, condition and quantity.
Inform the Marine Officer immediately.

CUSTOMS, IMMIGRATION and PORT CLEARANCE PROCEDURES

All vessels intending to visit South Georgia should make contact with the Marine Officer at King Edward Point in Cumberland East Bay, South Georgia, as soon as practicable upon entering the 200 nautical mile Maritime Zone around South Georgia.

CONTACT BY RADIO

· VHF channel 16

· HF frequency 4049 kHz USB 11.30hrs - 12.00hrs GMT (UTC)

· Note that 2182 kHz is not monitored locally

CONTACT BY INMARSAT

· Telephone +870 382 359 031 and +870 382 359 933

· Facsimile +870 382 359 032 and +870 382 359 034

· E-mail mo@south-georgia.demon.co.uk

The following details will be requested by the Marine Officer.

· Vessel's name

· Radio call sign

· Type of vessel - fishing vessel, cargo vessel, military vessel, cruise ship, research vessel, yacht etc.

· Date and time of intended arrival at King Edward Point in Cumberland East Bay

· Purpose of visit

The first place of landing at South Georgia must be King Edward Point or Grytviken where the Marine Officer carries out immigration and other formalities. Permission may be granted for landings prior to clearance, but only under certain circumstances and after a formal request has been presented to the GSGSSI.

The Marine Officer will board the vessel on arrival to arrange customs, port clearance and immigration formalities and to receive payment for any related services. A copy of the crew and passenger lists should be available for his/her use.

Charges are levied for harbour dues, customs, fees, trans?shipping fees, yachts, buoys and water (see Appendix). Payment may be made to the Marine Officer in pounds sterling in the form of cash, cheque or travellers' cheques; or in United States dollars as cash or travellers' cheques. Payment may also be made via a shipping agent in Stanley, Falkland Islands.

A landing fee is charged for each person named on the passenger list of cruise ships and yachts (see Appendix). This fee is payable by the tour operator to the Marine Officer or by the vessel's agent to the Office of the Commissioner. No charge is made for members of the crew of a vessel. Revenue collected in this way contributes to the costs of conservation and heritage projects including the South Georgia Museum, and to the administration of the Island.

The Postmaster's representative will stamp passports upon request, although this is not a required procedure.

CONDUCT WHILE ASHORE

As a visitor, you are kindly requested to observe the following guidelines:

· Know your capabilities and also the dangers posed by South Georgia's environment, and act accordingly. Plan activities with safety in mind at all times.

· Take note of and act on, the advice and instructions from your leaders. Do not stray from the group.
· Be prepared for severe and changeable weather. Ensure that your equipment and clothing are of sufficient strength and quality to withstand Antarctic conditions. Remember that South Georgia's weather is unpredictable, so when ashore be prepared for the worst, however pleasant it may seem when setting out.

· Be aware of the location of the designated Specially Protected Areas and Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Entry into these areas is prohibited except by special permit.

· Do not walk on to glaciers or snowfields without proper equipment and experience. Surface conditions are constantly changing, particularly in the present period of glacial retreat.

· Avoid walking on fragile vegetation. A footprint on a moss bank may remain there a long time; trampling of vegetation, especially in wet and peaty soils, can cause significant erosion over time. Moss beds and the margins of streams and lakes are particularly fragile.

· Do not collect native plants.

· Always give animals the right-of-way.

· Be careful of the way in which you film or take photographs. Do not disturb plants or animals to get better pictures.

· Do not injure or kill reindeer, birds or other wildlife; or collect skulls, bones or eggs.

· Do not bring plants or animals ashore.

· Take back ALL rubbish, eg film wrappers, orange peel, tissues, paper, foil, to the ship. Rubbish takes a long time to break down, spoiling the natural appearance of the site and encouraging the presence of rats.

· Do not pollute lakes or streams.

· Do not remove, disturb or destroy any artefacts found at sealers' sites or in the whaling stations.

· Do not paint or engrave names or graffiti on rocks or buildings; or deface or vandalise any field huts or the buildings and other structures at the whaling stations.

· Do not enter emergency refuges (except in emergencies).

· Avoid marked sites where scientific experiments are going on and do not disturb any scientific equipment.

· Do not smoke where there might be a risk of starting a fire in buildings or in vegetation.

EXPEDITION GUIDELINES

If permission is given for overnight stays ashore, then the following guidelines should be observed:

· All shore parties must have immediate support from their expedition vessel: there are no search and rescue facilities in South Georgia.

· If you can carry it in, you can carry it out. Return all rubbish to your support vessel. This also applies to any camping, climbing and mountaineering equipment.

· Use portable stoves and ensure that there is no danger of igniting the surrounding vegetation or peat.

· Do not use soap or detergents in fresh water streams or ponds. Carry washing water to the campsite and drain it into absorbent soil.

· Dispose of toilet wastes either directly into the sea or by burying in a shallow hole well away from fresh water.

WILDLIFE PROTECTION GUIDELINES

ALL visitors, tourists, scientists, journalists, military personnel, ships' crews must aim to minimise their personal impact on the environment by observing the following guidelines.

· Do not disturb mammals and birds.

· Do not use vessels, small boats, aircraft or other means of transport in ways that disturb wildlife, whether at sea or on land.

· Do not offer food to any animal.

· Do not bring any pets ashore. No animals of any kind may be imported to South Georgia (see section on Prohibition of Introduced Species).

· Be alert while ashore and particularly in the tussac grass. Watch your step in order not to stumble inadvertently upon an aggressive fur seal or a nesting bird, or to cause damage to seabird burrows, both in tussac and on scree.

· Stay on the edge of animal groups, approaching slowly and quietly. Avoid surrounding the groups during viewing. Back off if mammals or birds show any sign of being disturbed.

· Do not touch or attempt to touch any animals. Such action may cause substantial stress and disturbance.



Our fleet of specially built yachts and Cruisers can take you on expedituons to South Georgia

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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 it is...

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

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.

Ring us direct by Telephone at 5661-621010


Or, for further information on expeditions or flights  Patagonia, Antarctica, South Georgia, Cape Horn, and Tierra Del Fuego, please Email me at CaptainBen@victory-cruises.com



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