South Georgia

Intro

South Georgia Island, the grail for one of most famed explorers of the previous century, Sir Ernest Shackleton. South Georgia is steeped in the history of Antarctic exploration. A window into a world that vanished nearly a century ago and a vestige of wilderness. Not only a mountain range of snowcovered peaks, breathtaking glaciers and frayed coastline, but an „oasis” in the middle of the stormy southern oceans. Home to the greatest density of wildlife on earth: not just penguins, but seals, albatrosses, petrels, prions and much, much more. Once stepped into one of the cruelest but most gorgeous wilderness on planet, South Georgia is not easily forgotten.

What makes these Expeditions so special?

They are a chance to experience first-hand the adventure and camaraderie of sea navigation.

Why is it a good idea?

Because individual berths are sold on each trip, giving enough flexibility for different group sizes to join in. Also these Expeditions are a good opportunity to fully explore the area the way not even airplanes or big cruise ships can. Full access to coves and islets are what make “our way”, the unique way in which to carefully unveil the secrets of the area.


Expedition Style

CREW; The unique way to experience first-hand navigation. Team-work, duties, chores, and the traditional sailing spirit are emphasized, encouraged, and expected. Participants join the expedition as crew, getting access to the special opportunity to be part of a revival of the ancient art of sailing-based exploration.


Highlights

We leave Port Stanley and immerse into the vast, breathtaking Southern Ocean. 4 to 5 days ocean sailing accompanied only by water, wind and sea birds.

South Georgia, stunningly beautiful and rugged, this island wildlife sanctuary, once visited, is not easily forgotten. Its snow covered peaks, blue glacier ice and emerald green bays are breathtaking sights.
It is a real “oasis” in the stormy southern oceans and is home to amazing wildlife like penguins, albatrosses, seals, whales and petrels.

The beaches are crowded with animals. We just hang out, empathize with wildlife and enjoy life.
We visit abandoned whaling factories.
If the weather conditions permit we follow the last part of the famous Shackleton Traverse, walking from Fortuna to Stromness Bay.

Places to visit:
Elsehul Bay, Salisbury Plains, Prion Island (breeding albatrosses), Prince Olav Harbour, Fortuna Bay, Stromness Bay, Husvik, Grytviken, Ocean Harbour, St. Andrews Bay (home to the largest King Penguin colony in the world), Gold Harbour, Larsen Harbour among others.


Who can join and participate?

Everyone with an adventurous spirit, and a taste for wilderness.

It must be kept in mind, that this is a sailing expedition, and as such, a good physical condition as well as team work aptitude and a positive attitude in order to be able to spend time with other individuals in enclosed spaces for periods of time are not only desirable, but required in order to participate. All those who join participate in all aspects of the expedition, such as kitchen chores, navigation watch, navigation maneuvers, sailing maneuvers, and other.

It must also be kept in mind that an expedition to South Georgia is no small feat, and even though SIM Expeditions counts with a high latitude-prepared vessel, and with prepared skippers and sailors, it should be understood that this expedition is to one of the most remote and harshest of places on the planet. Previsions must be taken by participants regarding insurance for emergencies, accidents, evacuations, and other, as well as suitable gear, and correct expectations on the physical demands of an expedition to such a destination.


What can be expected?

Of the destination

South Georgia, is one of the most remote places in the world, with the only access being by sea. It has some of the greatest concentrations of wildlife on earth, an animal haven. Frequently described as being "The Alps in the mid-ocean". It´s rugged northerly coastline offeres well protected anchorages.

Of the climate

The island is exposed to the intense and incessant flow of the westerly winds.
South Georgia climate is classified as subpolar, and the weather is highly variable and harsh.
Given the temperatures, snowfall is more likely from mid-April to October, but sometimes it can occur even in summer, even at
sea level. Gale force winds may blow throughout the year, the humidity is consistently high, and the amount of sunshine scarce.
At sea level, the temperature can drop a few degrees below freezing even in summer. Strong UV protection and adequate foul weather gear are a must. It must be taken in consideration, that the navigation between the Falkland Islands and South Georgia is commonly what would be considered rough and tiring.

Of the Expedition

SIM Expeditions founder Wolf Kloss puts it quite well when he says that “our expeditions are not just about sailing, but mainly about discovery.” Even though the main activity in our expeditions we recognize as sailing, the whole concept of exploration is what we want people to take with them. To achieve this, efforts are made in order to land in places where treks, wild flora and fauna, and even visits to some of the local people are a possibility. In order to keep a schedule that will provide the opportunities to witness the breath-taking landscapes the area has to offer, wind conditions are key, and whenever sailing does not allow for efficient mobility, the vessel will turn to engine power in order to not only make the best of the track, but also to avoid unfavorable weather conditions.

Life on board is to be expected in an atmosphere of expedition. Chores and sailing maneuvers reinforce the camaraderie unique to this type of expeditions. Early mornings are the rule, in order to take maximum advantage of the area's attractions. The temperature inside the boats can vary depending on the situation, and the climatic and sailing context, typical of a sailing vessel, but inside temperature averages around 16-18 degrees Celsius. Both Vessels have pump-powered toilets and “sailboat showers” available. Please note that even though available, showers cannot be expected everyday given the importance of conserving and efficiently use water. A good recommendation is that each person brings his/hers own sponge in order to better enjoy a “sailboat shower”.


Of SIM Expedition’s Crew

You can expect a team of friendly and hospitable individuals who will help you out experience the Expedition at its fullest. Also, we have a very “down to-earth” approach towards everyone, making the atmosphere in the boats, the field, or the office, accessible, warm, and welcoming.

At SIM Expeditions we have worked hard to have our taste for sailing meet our call for exploration and let it become the core of our objective: to provide world-class opportunities to immerse oneself into wilderness, and explore the world in order to discover oneself.

 


Itinerary

Day 1– You reach Port Stanley, Falkland Island (Puerto Argentino, Islas Malvinas), the starting point of your sailing expedition, via Santiago and Punta Arenas. A member of our SIM Expeditions team will be waiting at Mount Pleasant Airport, ready to pick you up. The skipper welcomes you aboard. As soon as we get everyone on board and if there is a weather window, we will set sail for South Georgia. Otherwise, we will prepare the boat to leave the next day. In the evening, a glass of “pisco sour” will round-off our first day in the south.

Notice that from Punta Arenas you will be boarding the LAN-Chile flight. If you choose to flight via the RAF TriStar from the UK, you will need an accommodation in Port Stanley to spend the intervening nights.

Day 2,3,4,5,6– Prior set sail to South Georgia, we organize our daily routine, watches and chores, to start an exciting sail heading east. As with all of our other expeditions, this is a "hands-on" experience sailing. Guests are expected to participate fully in all aspects of the expedition, such as kitchen chores, navigation watch, navigation manoeuvres, sailing manoeuvres, and other, to the extent of their abilities.
We have to sail across the Antarctic convergence zone, over 750 miles in one of the most fearsome seas in the world. As a team, we will live an active, adventurous journey.

At the time, sailing the great South Atlantic waters. Here the petrels and albatrosses feel at home and the wave systems keep rolling around Antarctica. From now on, we should watch for icebergs. The drifting blocks of ice detached from the Antarctic glaciers are both, a security risk as a spectacular treat for the eyes. The technology on the vessel is evolving to make our life offshore easier and safer.

Day 7– We reach South Georgia! We will sail along the rugged northeast coast - the leeward coast of the island - heading to our overnight anchorage. As we approach, Prince Olaf Harbour and Fortuna Bay grow subtly in front of us. Fortuna Bay is the start point of the legendary Shackleton Traverse. Depending on weather conditions, we can considerate to hike this trail to Stromness Bay.

Day 8– Grytviken, a settlement founded over a hundred years ago as a base of the whaling industry in the South Atlantic Ocean and today the administrative capitol of the British-owned Island, South Georgia. Remains of early settlements like, the "Whalers Church" or the tomb of Sir Ernest Shackleton can still be seen today. A fairly- easy stroll up hill behind the Whaling Station offer good views to Grytviken, the Whaling Station and King Edward Point. Sturdy shoes required.

Following days: For the first half of our journey we will navigate the South East part of the island. At St. Andrew's Bay, a huge concentration of King Penguins and Elephant Seal harems are scattering around the beach. Along our journey, breathtaking glaciers tumble down from the high mountains into the water. A particularly stunning landscape with a variety and quantity of staggering wildlife opens before our eyes.

During the second leg of the journey, we will explore the Northwest corner of South Georgia. When is the Last time a cute girl checked you out? Here, overwhelming concentrations of male Fur Seals will represent a challenge for our landings. We will see large numbers of them besides Elephant Seals. An absolute unique phenomenon are this jumbled mixture of females, pups and battling males.

During our walks, besides enjoying we will have the opportunity to appreciate the famous landscapes of South Georgia, the courtship behaviour of the Wandering Albatross. Here, different albatross species are nesting. A promising spectacle are the cute “last year” Wandering Albatross-chicks, the babies are as big as adults and can’t fly well. A "last year chick" must remain a few months more on the nest and learn to fly, this besides its shyness of leave the nest.

The Northwest corner of South Georgia offer a large amount of anchorages along its coast. There, a smattering of uninhabited harbours offer anchorages for every wind. Under the experienced guidance of the Captain, we will choose the best one at hand based on the weather and schedule in order to have the best experience possible.

We want to bring to your attention that the South Georgia Government takes an active role in protecting the environment and wildlife. We will try to visit as many places as possible, but certain areas may be closed to visitors, because of the interests of protecting threatened species and colonies. Undertake our expedition under the environmental guidelines of South Georgia Government, is crucial for the success of our journey and for the future of SIM future expeditions. We would like your collaboration and acceptance and hope you reconnect yourself with the nature on this incredible journey!

Day 20 to 27– At Sea again. During the voyage in South Georgia, we should keep an eye on the weather and look for good climate conditions. For the moment we will set sail to Port Stanley (Puerto Argentino) Westerly Winds are the prevailing winds in this region. It is always expect to take a few extra days on the return passage.

Day 28– The Lan Chile flight returns to Chile; those taking the TriStar back to the UK will need to book accommodation in Stanley.

Please Note This trip is an extraordinary journey with an expeditions character. This itinerary is tentative only. The weather has always the last word. The itinerary is designed in order to leave enough time at the end of the Expedition in case of any delays. If necessary, the itinerary will be modified by the Captain according to his criteria. Always keeping in mind the best interests of all participants and the safety of the vessel.

Right to technical amendments, typing errors, omissions and general errors reserved.


Participation Fee - What's included - What's not included?

A Standard CREW-Expeditions-Participation Fee includes:

• Participation on board of a sailing vessel.

• Own berth on board.

• Expenses of the permanent crew.

• Life jacket (PFD) with harness.

• Linen which includes a cozy “Duvet”.

• Towel.

• Limited Access to IRIDIUM satellite communication device. Transmissions costs are not included.

• Access to interpretative material such as nautical charts and a petite on-board thematic library.

A Standard CREW-Expeditions-Participation Fee does not include:

• Necessary visa, immigration obtained procedures.Please be aware if you must obtain visa and/or the necessary paperwork in order to enter Chile and other countries we visit during the navigation.

• Travel costs to port of boarding such as airfare, hotels, taxi, restaurants and other.

• Personal clothing and gear unless otherwise stated.

• Personal medications. A general medical kit is available on board, despite this we recommend you consult your doctor and bring your personal medical kit.

• Transmission costs from the use of the IRIDIUM Satellite Communication Device.

• Access to laptop or personal computers. The vessels do have this equipment on board, but they are for exclusively for the skipper's use for weather forecast reports,emergency communication, and others. No foreign USB drives or such can be plugged to this equipment either. We recommend you to bring your own storage device.

• Personal Accident and Evacuation Costs.

Right to technical amendments, typing errors, omissions and general errors reserved.


Operation and Provision Costs Flat Rate

Please do not forget to take along 30 € per day cash for Operation & Provision Costs expenses.
We often sail in remote areas; therefore, it is difficult or very expensive to get cash money.
The Flat Rate disputes the cost of consumed food on board and running boat costs.
It will be collected on board prior to departure.

Operation and Provision Costs Flat Rate What's included?

A Standard CREW-Expedition Operation and Provision Costs Flat Rate includes:

• Governmental travel permissions for the vessel.

•Harbour and marina fees.

• Food and and non-alcoholic beverages.A standard of three meals are to be expected by the Captain.(Only a Joke -:)).

• Vessel running costs. Fuel, oil, gas, water, electricity. Maintenance and repair.Final cleaning.Laundry.

Operation and Provision Costs Flat Rate What's not included?

A Standard CREW-Expedition Operation and Provision Costs Flat Rate does include:

• Personal visa fees.

• Personal immigration & visitor fees.

•Permissions for special activities.(mountaineering, diving, paragliding, etc.)

•Expenses once ashore.

• Beer, wine, spirits and other alcoholic drinks.

•Special and personal dietary supplements.(i.e. power bars, energy drinks, freeze dried meals, etc.)

• Personal body care products.

• Third-party services.

Right to technical amendments, typing errors, omissions and general errors reserved.


Notes of Importance .

Due to the geographical, meteorological, and cultural context of the area in which we operate, participants must be mindful of the importance of booking flights with enough time before and after the Expedition's start and end dates.

We demand from every participant, to book flights, hotels, and other services for the dates before and after the Expedition, and not for the very same days the Expedition starts and/or ends. Please also note that it is highly recommended to purchase flexible air tickets given the possibility of late arrival due to unfavourable weather conditions, or other.

SIM Expeditions (Turismo SIM Ltda.) will not be held responsible for flight failure.

Please note that even though access to Global Communication Devices (in this case, Iridium and Inmarsat satellite Phone) is available, this access is limited and restricted to use according to the captain's criteria. The use of such device, available on board, is primarily for safety reasons. If you need unrestricted, continuous use of such a device, we highly recommend you bring your own.


Suggestions.

Further information and reading about the area, the geology, geography, history, and other important topics, as well as more practical one such as immigration documents for entering Chile or Argentina, currency, and other, can be widely found on the internet, and some of this info can be also be found in our website.

Please consider the importance of bringing the following items listed just below.

We strongly recommend the following items in order to better experience an Expedition to Cape Horn, Tierra del Fuego, and/or Antarctica . Please note that these items are not just suggested, but most of them required.

    1. Thermal Underwear.
    2. Warm Socks (Fleece, Wool, or other).
    3. Polar/Pile Fleece Jacket.
    4. Trouser or Overall.
    5. Outer Wind Proof Shell.
    6. Water resistant and water proof protection (look for sailing and foul weather clothing gear, which is not the same as ordinary outdoor gear).
    7. Waterproof Gloves.
    8. Hat, Cap, Balaclava , preferably windproof.
    9. Sea Boots, preferably full height, non-slip sole.
    10. Boat Shoes or Slippers, with rubber sole.
    11. Hiking Boots if desired for ashore hikes.
    12. Towel.
    13. Sleeping Bag (if sailing with SM).
    14. Sunscreen of high PDF and after-sun Cream, as well as lip balm.
    15. Sunglasses.
    16. Small backpack.
    17. “Soft Luggage” (no hard suitcases on board, unless it's special photographic equipment, for example). Duffel bags are a good example of what's a proper luggage format. If you happen to bring hard suitcases or similar, SIM Expeditions will provide storage space in Puerto Williams.
    18. Personal medications. A general medical kit is available on board, despite this we recommend you consult your doctor and bring your personal medical kit.
    19. Special Dietary supplements not included in SIM Expeditions meals.
    20. A personal sponge for "sailboat showers".
    21. Cash, in order to be able to purchase souvenirs. US dollars or Euros will work fine.
    22. Laptops, USB drives and other electronic equipment useful for downloading and storing personal pictures, videos, and other data. The vessels do have this equipment on board, but they are exclusively for the Skipper's use for weather forecast reports, emergency communication, and others. No foreign USB drives or such can be plugged to this equipment either, so we recommend you bring your own in order to freely manipulate your personal information.
    23. Plugs and adaptors. The electric current on the boats is of 12v and of 220v. The sockets on board are for plugs/outlets “Type C” (“European Two-plug”). Please be aware that access to the electric current on board is available, but limited to the Skipper's criteria.
    24. CASH! Yes, in Port Stanley, for example, there's a small and cozy gift shop. The Gift Shop takes American dollars, British Pounds, and Euros.