Palm Trees are Overrated
February and March aren’t exactly known for having exquisite weather, at least not here in the UK. And smuggly showing work-colleagues photos of your all-inclusive trip to Tenerife during the cold, wet months won’t exactly win you any popularity contests! Why not embrace the cold and really give the workplace something to talk about with a truly spectacular voyage, exploring Antarctica and Tierra del Fuego aboard the beautiful 1915 Gaff Ketch, Tecla.
What might this trip look like?*
Embarking from Puerto Williams, Chile, you will be amazed by the ever-changing scenery, fascinating history and the sheer variety of wildlife as you and your fellow shipmates navigate Tecla across Drake’s Passage towards Shackleton’s infamous ‘Elephant Island’. Soak in the history both ashore and on board within Tecla’s cosy, heated saloon and library which is packed with stories and accounts of explorers past and present.
Next you may head SW through the breathtaking South Shetland Islands. Particularly notable is ‘Deception Island’ which gets its name from it’s outward appearance of a substantial landmass, but is in fact the ring-shaped top of a flooded (but still active!) volcano. Its last major activity seriously damaged several scientific research stations in the late 1960s. It’s now an unlikely tourist destination, but research projects are still carried out there in the summer season. Take a look at the latest news and research projects from the British Antarctic Survey. Other possible stops include Half-moon bay, Paradise Harbour and Port Lockroy.
During your visit around the Antarctic frozen peninsula you are likely to be in the company of humpback whales and fin whales, penguins the fearsome looking leopard seal. If the ice allows you may also transit the stunning Lemaire channel! See our article on spotting wildlife at sea.
You’ll head back through Drakes Passage, past Cape Horn to South America, exploring the channels and fjords of Chili before disembarking in Puerto Natales, Chilean Patagonia. If you have time after disembarking, we recommend soaking in the scenery with a hike through Torres del Paine National Park and sampling traditional Chilean cuisine and culture. (*Subject to weather & conditions)
Navigating the icy waters of the Antarctic is not a task to take lightly but Tecla and her crew are ideal for the job. Tecla has always been a very sturdy ship. Originally built as a Dutch herring drifter in 1915 and named “Graaf van Limburg Stirum” she fished the unrelenting North Seas under sail alone. She survived the WW2 bombing that wiped out many of her fellow drifters and in 1935 she was sold to Danish owners to carry cargo under a new name “Marie”.
In 1985 she was brought back to The Netherlands where reconstruction work was carried out, converting her into a charter vessel named “Tecla“. In 2006 the Bouwman/Sluik family bought her with the dream of travelling far and wide. She is still owned and operated by the family today.
After further restoration on the main part of her hull during 2020-22, she is now stronger than ever before and fully equipped to deal safely with the icy conditions she often sails in. Below deck, Tecla is well insulated with an open-plan saloon and galley, making it a very warm and social space. The cabins each have an ensuite with shower and there are radiators throughout the ship. Tecla can make her own electricity with a Dynamo fitted to her propeller and with a ‘watermaker’ and large water tanks she is perfectly equipped for long expeditions to frozen lands and beyond.
A Passion for High Latitudes
Tecla’s crew are well acquainted with colder waters including both poles, regularly researching their sailing destinations and also having a passion for learning about historic expeditions and explorers. Skipper and siblings Gijs & Jet share the command of Tecla. They have both sailed from a young age alongside their parents on a variety of vessels and in a variety of waters.
Jet has sailed professionally since 2005 gaining extensive experience and taking on the roles of cook, first mate and now skipper of Tecla. Professionally, Gijs started sailing in 2001 as deckhand on the Aagtje, Eenhoorn and later Stad Amsterdam as deckhand, quartermaster and third mate over a period of 3 years.
When and Where can I Sail Aboard?
Tecla’s sailing programme is always bold, often in the wake of famous explorers and always with a love for wild nature.Visit Antarctica on Tecla