Rediscover the meaning of AWESOME
Sailing in Antarctica is like nothing else you’ll ever experience. There is an awful lot of hyperbole around these days, but this is one thing which it is simply not possible to exaggerate. Let 38m ketch Tecla open your eyes to properly awe-inspiring travel.
Human beings have only the most tenuous hold on the great Southern continent, and so it remains one of last real wildernesses on the planet. Whales own the oceans, albatross and giant petrels rule the skies, and the seals and penguins have dominion on the ice. The frozen landscapes are vast and beautiful, the night skies incomparably clear, and the wildlife surprisingly numerous (and nosy!).
There are cruises and modern expedition vessels that can take you there, of course (though the seas are still very quiet), but using the power of the wind to navigate here is not only quieter but also feels more respectful. There will, of course, be times where the engine is a necessity, as icebergs loom and tight fjords form tunnels of wind right on the nose, but there will also be days at a time where the only sounds are the creaking of the rigging, the noise of the ocean and the occasional spray of a curious whale. You are a part of the crew on these voyages; not cocooned in pampered luxury, but out in the air keeping watch, setting sails, hauling lines and helping steer. Being actively involved rather than a passive passenger makes you even more invested in the expedition, and ensures you see and absorb everything while forging friendships that will last a lifetime.
Tecla is a well-proven ocean sailing ship, having completed a circumnavigation of the globe, as well as sailing extensively in both the North and South Atlantic, Indian Ocean, the wild seas of South Australia and the Pacific. She and her crew have become polar experts, with regular voyages in the Antarctic as well as Greenland, Iceland and the Northwest Passage. This is real expedition sailing; bold itineraries taking you in the wake of famous explorers, with a love for the wilds and a deep respect for the natural world.
Explore the Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctica
Port Stanley (Falklands) – Puerto Williams (Chile)
Colourful wildlife, remote outposts and sailing through the ice…
Stepping aboard in Port Stanley with its layers of maritime history, you learn the ropes aboard Tecla in your first few days exploring the Falkland Islands. Enjoy the cheerful rockhoppers and king penguins and get into the swing of life on board, before setting off on your first ocean passage, heading South-East.
South Georgia has very diverse and abundant wildlife due to being on the boundary between the Antarctic Current and the North Atlantic Ocean up-swelling. The island group used to be home to many whaling factories not so long ago. Today South Georgia, like Antarctica is highly protected and it’s only human inhabitants are scientists. This enabled the flora and fauna to start to recover, and the Elephant seals are once again the kings of the beach!
After South Georgia Tecla sails into the Weddell Sea and your first step onto the Mainland of Antarctica. All trips ashore are carefully planned in accordance with Antarctic Visitor Rules and all safety measures are strictly adhered too. During your stay on the peninsula you may find yourself in the company of humpback and fin whales, maybe even the fearsome leopard seal.
If you jump aboard for the upcoming December 2022 trip, you’ll have the pleasure of seeing in the New Year in the company of your shipmates, surrounded by such isolated beauty. We can’t think of anywhere we’d rather be to raise a glass!
If the ice allows, Tecla we will transit the Le Maire channel with it awesome views, before setting sail for Tierra Del Fuego, the land of fire. En route across the Drake Passage, the goal is to make land fall at Cape Horn if the conditions are right- this rock is an icon of the sailing world and a real bucket-list experience for many a brave sailor.
20 Night Expedition on the Antarctic Peninsula
Strike out for adventure from the most Southerly town in the world…
Puerto Williams is a staging post and hub for Southern Ocean expeditions, scientific researchers, fishermen, conservation projects and the Chilean Navy. It’s population of only around 3000 is made up almost entirely of people with definite and specific reasons to be there, and this sense of purpose makes the town a fascinating starting point.
Tecla starts this adventure by striking out into the Beagle Channel, so named after the ship on which Darwin and Fitzroy arrived on the 29th January 1833. On entering the Channel, Darwin had his first sighting of glaciers, and wrote that it was “…scarcely possible to imagine anything more beautiful.”
You’re exploring not just the isolated beauty of the Southern Continent on this voyage, but also the historical extremes of human endurance and resourcefulness. Your first landfall after leaving Chile will likely be Elephant Island. Stepping ashore you are literally walking in Shackleton’s footsteps. From here its onwards to the South Shetlands and infamous Deception Island, and then step onto the Antarctica Mainland to carefully visit the breeding colonies. All precautions are taken to protect and not disturb the wildlife.
Spot penguins, leopard and fur seals, albatross, humpback, fin and killer whales, all while learning the ropes on a ship that is a real Polar Expert.
Antarctica, Tierra del Fuego and the Chilean Fjords
A voyage of contrasts and dramatic landscapes…
This 34 night adventure takes in not only the islands of Antarctica and the mainland peninsula, but also the wild beauty of Tierra del Fuego and the Patagonian fjords. Step aboard Elephant and Deception Islands, stand on the tip of Cape Horn, and view the rugged coastlines of Tierra de Fuego as Ferdinand Magellan did in 1520. Sail along tracks laid not only by Magellan, but Francisco de Hoces, Drake. Fitzroy, Darwin and Shackleton too. Experience incredible wildlife, from whales and seals to albatross and penguins, and form part of the crew for what promises to be a varied and exhilarating expedition.
The stunning landscapes in the latter part of this trip add a whole other dynamic to an already awe-inspiring Antarctic voyage. Passing through the archipelagos of islands in the Magellan Strait and Sound of ‘Ultima Esperanza’, the scenery is a mosaic of fjords, forests and mountain ranges, and the weather can be as changeable as the landscape.
Arriving in Puerto Natales in Chilean Patagonia having sailed up the Beagle Channel feels like a merry onslaught of bustling human society after more than a month of remote isolation. The population is only around 20,000, but after the tiny ‘city’ of Puerto Williams and the solitary outposts of Antarctica it may as well be ten times that. You can step ashore with the rest of the crew and raise a glass to a successful and inspiring expedition, and tell stories of your adventures.
We highly recommend taking some time in Puerto Natales before making your onward journey. For a start it might help with the anticlimax of a hasty return to ‘normal life’, but there are also some fascinating sites to visit. There’s the museum of the Nao Victoria: the Spanish ship on which Magellan discovered the meeting point between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans in 1521, and which continued on to successfully circumnavigate the world under the command of Juan Sebastian de Elcano following Magellan’s death. There are also the beautiful caves of the Cueva del Milodon, used by prehistoric tribes and the extinct Mylodon. In the near distance: the mountainous rocky peaks of ‘Torres del Paine’ National Park, with its world-renowned hiking and hundreds of bird species.
Cape to Cape: an Epic Southern Ocean Adventure
The ultimate 5000 mile Antarctic adventure…
Be an active crew member for this, the ultimate voyage across the Southern Ocean from Cape Horn to the Cape of Good Hope, visiting some of the most pristine and prolific wildlife havens on the planet. This is an experience for keen sailors, modern day explorers and hardcore wildlife enthusiasts. There are big ocean passages of continuous night-and-day sailing, as well as exploration ashore in Tierra del Fuego, the South Shetlands, South Georgia, the Antarctic mainland and hopefully, if conditions allow, the remote island of Tristan da Cuhna.
During your 52 nights on board, you’ll form part of a navigational watch, falling into the rhythm of life on board and savouring every moment. The simple pleasures of sleep, food and good company become paramount in your mind, and you form bonds with your fellow sailors that would take years to forge on land.
Stepping aboard Tecla in the frontier town of Puerto Williams, you’ll be given a familiarisation tour by the crew and a briefing from the Captain. This beautiful ship will be your home for the next 7 weeks, and while it might seem daunting learning where everything is and what everything does, you’ll soon get the hang of it!
This is true expedition sailing: there are lots of miles to make, but plenty of time to make them in, and so opportunities to explore South Georgia and Antarctica abound. The Captain will plan the exact itinerary according to prevailing conditions at the time, and will keep you informed with regular briefings and updates. You are part of the crew for this adventure, with night watches under incredible starry skies, Antarctic sunsets, phenomenal wildlife-spotting opportunities and absolute remoteness.