Goodbye Falklands


After almost ten days here at the Falkland Islands, it is now time to head home. Our Sailing SOUTH 2024 expedition comes to an end here. And we as a crew are going our separate ways again for the time being. We all have to get used to this after this long, intensive time together, just like life afterwards. Saying goodbye is incredibly difficult.

The Falklands were a surprising and very special chapter of this expedition. And they are definitely worth a longer trip of their own! There are still so many coasts and islands to discover here. We still have an unfinished business with South Georgia anyway. Perhaps we could combine the two? In any case, the ideas in my head are slowly taking shape …

After the adventure is before the adventure 🙂

Falkland Islands’ Mountains

Hiking and History

We had a wonderful place to stay with David in the former boathouse right on the harbour with a view of the water, even though we first had to get used to the amount of space and the distribution across two huge flats after our long time on board the Selma. Cooking together in the evening or going out and being out and about during the day was therefore the order of the day. Not least because of the large number of cruise ship tourists who still flocked to the small town about every other day at the end of the season.

On those days, we turned our backs on Stanley and went hiking when we weren’t on the coast or off-road to see the penguins.

To the west of Stanley stretches a barren, wide, hilly, golden-yellow landscape. Often interspersed with so-called “stone runs” or “stone rivers” – extensive, mostly linear fields of huge grey quartzite blocks stacked next to and on top of each other, which line the slopes and seem to flow down like waterfalls made of stone – a geological phenomenon and remnant of the last ice age, which Charles Darwin already described enthusiastically.

Despite their relatively low altitude, the rocky ridges and peaks offer beautiful views, magnificent panoramas and plenty of history – traces, relics and memorials from the time of the Falklands War. Almost all of these surrounding mountains were the scene of the military conflict between Argentina and Great Britain – far too often with fatal results, as the countless crosses and memorial plaques on the peaks show.

We hiked Mount Harriet, Mount Tumbledown, the Two Sisters and Mount Longdon – sometimes in the rain, often in the sun, always in strong winds. And on some evenings when we came back, Alan, who had been fly fishing with Adrian on the Murrell River in the meantime, was waiting for us with fresh salmon trout or mullet.

There is no better way to end the evening than with freshly caught fish with home-fried kelp chips, collected tea berries and a glass of Falklands gin or a round of pisco sour. But as beautiful as it is here, it’s time to say goodbye.

Falkland Islands’ penguins

A paradise for penguin fans

Five different species of penguins live in the Falklands: Magellanic penguins, gentoo penguins, rockhopper penguins, macaroni penguins and king penguins. We were lucky enough to encounter and observe four of them.

Not far from Stanley, after a picturesque walk along the beach, you reach a colony of gentoo penguins near Yorke Bay Pond.
And we had an extra dose of luck: individual king penguins rarely stray onto this beach.

Magellanic penguins nest in their burrows at Gypsy Cove, but also on numerous other stretches of coastline around Stanley.

The route to two other representatives is somewhat further and more arduous.

On Murrell Farm to the punks among the penguins

Two colonies of rockhopper penguins can be found on the coast of Berkeley Sound on the grounds of Murrell Farm.

Adrian and his son, who run the farm together with around 3,000 sheep, took us on a wild off-road drive through the vast countryside to show us the penguins, who love to climb and jump. We were lucky enough to see them. High up on the rocky cliffs, almost without exception all the animals were in the middle of their moult and looked pretty battered and dishevelled. All punks on a bad hair day …
The lush greenery above the coast and between the rocks was speckled white with feather fluff. A good week later, in their new plumage, the entire colony will leave and only return here after the winter.

The English name rockhopper is a pretty apt name. The rather small penguins with the red eyes and yellow eyebrows move almost exclusively by hopping from rock to rock through the wildly rugged cliffs, which sometimes looks more, sometimes less elegant, but always very funny.

After the trip to the penguins, Adrian and his son showed us around the farm and the wool production, told us about the history of the farm, their life on the Falklands, life as a farmer, sheep farmer, self-supporter and guide in equal measure, and back in Stanley we had coffee and cake as a thank you.

The kings of Volunteer Point

However, the king penguins were a very special highlight.
Not only because we had previously missed them due to our change of plan at the beginning of our trip – not to head for South Georgia. But also because this was our last adventure together as the Selma crew. Unfortunately, only Piotr wasn’t there, but stayed on board to get the Selma ready for the upcoming departure.

And the three-hour journey to the colony at Volunteer Point is certainly an adventure. Three hours one way, mind you. Two of those hours are spent off-road and cross-country through the – at this time of year – extremely damp, soft peat landscape. Fortunately, we had two experienced drivers at the wheel, Artur and Susan. Nevertheless, we got stuck several times and had to pull each other out of the mud each time. It was exciting, thrilling, quite bumpy, but also a lot of fun.

And the long journey was worth it in every respect.

Volunteer Point is a nature reserve privately owned by Johnson’s Harbour Farm. In addition to gentoo and Magellanic penguins, cormorants, dolphins and sea lions, it is home to the largest colony of king penguins in the Falklands. Around 1,500 breeding pairs live here and raise between 600 and 700 chicks each year. They move back and forth between the two miles of white sandy beach and the green grassland of the breeding colony. Just like us, who spent two hours here marvelling and watching in awe.

We observe king penguins individually or in groups, along with their very own dynamic. On the beach, in the water, on the way to the colony. Swimming, lying on their bellies, upright. They look so serious when they walk past at a leisurely pace. Often in small flocks. The adults are beautiful and colourful. The chicks in their thick, brown fluff are the complete opposite: so clumsy and somewhat awkward. Always under observation and protected by the colony. Waiting for the parent to bring food.

And what a background noise! A polyphonic call from thousands of throats. Everyone has their own voice, they recognise and find each other among thousands. You can watch the hustle and bustle for hours. We also discover some very small chicks that hatched a few days ago. Occasionally, an egg is even carefully balanced on its feet. Much too late. In both cases, the chicks will probably not survive the approaching winter.

It is an impressive natural spectacle in a very special place, and we are happy to have met the king penguins at the end of our trip after all.

Thank you Artur and Susan!

Addendum June 2024:
Discover the treasures of the Falklands with Artur & Lazy Wind

Incidentally, Artur will be offering individual tours to the most beautiful and interesting destinations around Stanley as a local guide under the name Lazy Wind from summer 2024. Guided personally and with lots of insider knowledge, he enthusiastically shares his passion for the breathtaking nature, fascinating wildlife and exciting history of these beautiful islands. An adventure that I can recommend without reservation – penguins and unforgettable experiences guaranteed!

Falkland Islands’ Coastline

Paradise Island with dream beaches

We have discovered wild and beautiful beaches.

Sometimes rocky and rugged around the lighthouse at Cape Pembroke, sometimes paradisiacal with a white sandy beach, turquoise blue or emerald green water and a magnificent dune landscape.

We watched dolphins playing in the waves at Gypsy Cove and Surf Bay, watched a sea lion hunting penguins in Rookery Bay and went swimming in the refreshing, 7-degree South Atlantic there and in Yorke Bay itself.

The wind here is always strong, causing the white spray to splash metres high. The waves crash against the offshore rocks or the wide beach. Huge kelp floats between the rocks in the crystal-clear water, waist-high clumps of tussock grass billow in the wind, albatrosses and giant petrels sail through the clear air. Every now and then you can see the blow of a whale off the coast.

Falkland Islands

What a surprise!

Don’t have any expectations and you won’t be disappointed. There’s a saying that goes something like this. Put a little more optimistically, it could also mean: Have no expectations and you will be surprised …

That’s exactly what happened to me or us on the Falkland Islands, the Islas Malvinas.

First of all, they were just the end point of our trip. That’s why I didn’t give it a second thought beforehand. It was clear that we were planning a few days here – as a buffer, to arrive on land, as a kind of transition from the time at sea, on board the Selma, our expedition … to the aftermath, the end of the journey, the return home. A time between worlds, so to speak, to get used to it and get used to it again. To the solid ground under our feet, to civilisation and everything that goes with it.

But the last few days have been so much more! Like a particularly delicious dessert after an already perfect meal.
Not that it needed any more icing on the cake …

The Falkland Islands are a real gem!

Magnificent, vast landscapes. Rough and barren. Empty. A mixture of Scottish Highlands and prairie, Midwestern grasslands. Grey rock, brightly coloured lichens, lush mossy green, white-yellow grass waving in the wind on black, peaty soils. Wild, rugged coastlines, paradisiacal sandy beaches, turquoise blue sea. Stormy winds, roaring waves, magnificent skies full of chasing clouds and magical light. A natural paradise with fantastic wildlife, Antarctica light you could say. Penguins, whales, dolphins, seals, petrels, albatrosses …

And on top of that, wonderful, open and helpful people.

The majority (90%) of the already small population of 3,000 is concentrated in Stanley (the only town in the Falkland Islands and also its capital and seat of government). The rest are spread out on individual farms, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, often miles apart. There are hardly any tarmac roads; you have to travel on gravel roads or off-road. Nothing works without a suitable car. And between the islands (there are around 200 in total, in addition to the two large main islands of East and West Falkland), one of the small aeroplanes operating here is often the first choice.

However, we opted not to fly and limited our explorations to the area around Stanley on East Falkland. On foot and – thanks to Artur and Marianna, who spontaneously lent us a car – on four wheels. Whereby limited is the wrong term in view of the many experiences.


The day after

This morning is different. And anything but good.

I’m sitting here in the old Boathouse, our accommodation, with todays first coffee in my hand, looking out of the window at the harbour. It’s actually a dream view, directly onto the water, directly eastwards into the sunrise. Already familiar after two days.

But today something is missing and the picture doesn’t fit for me at all: the jetty is deserted and empty. The masts of the Selma have disappeared, as have Piotr, Voy and Ewa.

This empty space hurts badly.

I was never really good at saying goodbye. Especially not when it means staying behind on the pier, on land, while “my” ship sets sail again and slowly disappears towards the horizon. Or – like yesterday – into the darkness of the night.

Ship ahoy

Late yesterday evening, the time had finally come. It came as it was bound to come at some point. It was time to say goodbye. At least from the Selma and from Piotr, Voy and Ewa. Farewell after seven weeks together with a long history, after a wonderful adventure, a fantastic journey with a perfect team and a very special spirit and cohesion on board.

We said goodbye to each other in stages. We disembarked two days ago and moved into our quarters here in Stanley in the former boathouse. We spent a wonderful farewell evening, ate, drank, celebrated, sang, talked and laughed. And went on one last excursion together, to the king penguins at Volunteer Point. But while we still have a few days here in the Falklands, Piotr, Voy, Ewa and Selma have to return to Ushuaia.

It is often difficult to leave. Especially after such an intense time full of shared experiences.

So much goes through your mind at times like this, so much you want to say – but you search in vain for the right words. Fortunately, sometimes you don’t even need them. A silent, firm hug does the trick.

And so last night, under the light of the full moon, we stood together on deck once again, in a circle, arm in arm, our heads together – a close-knit team. For a long time, in silence. Each of us completely alone and yet carried by being together. It was a heartfelt farewell full of warmth and filled with the spirit of the whole trip.

I will treasure this moment forever, as well as every single moment of these last few weeks. I will miss them, these ten people, Selma, the life on board. The ice, the light of the south, the vastness of the Southern Ocean, the wind and waves, the horizon and being out on the ocean together, in the here and now.

We stand like this for a long time, then we first untie each other and a little later the lines. The last words and wishes fly back and forth, a final greeting from the horn, then the Selma slowly disappears into the darkness shortly before midnight. At some point, only the white top light is visible, like a star in the night sky.

We stand silently on the pier, our eyes moist, full of melancholy and gratitude.

And our hearts full of hope and the certainty that this is only a temporary farewell. It’s not for nothing that we say “Hasta luego”. So see you soon, dear Selma. We’ll see each other again, I’m sure of it.

Port Stanley – Anchorage SH4

Sailing at last!

What a marvellous last day of sailing!

We couldn’t have had it any better. Especially after the last few days, when the wind kept letting us down and the Drake was mostly as tame as a lapdog, we hardly dared to hope for this.

We flew the last one hundred miles to Port Stanley.

My watch, from 2.00 am to 6.00 am, was not very promising apart from the initially starry sky. Something between no wind and hardly any wind and this from all directions. Nothing we could have done anything with.

So we left the Selma to her own devices and I watched over her drift. I let my thoughts drift too.

Every now and then I turned the rudder a degree more to starboard or port to keep us on course. I tried to hypnotise the anemometer. To drive up the number of knots, to stabilise the direction indicator. Sometimes this worked for a short period of time, whenever a large dark cloud passed over us. But never constantly enough to set sail. And so I waited impatiently for an approaching dark front, hoping that it would finally bring us the wind we were longing for. Meanwhile, Piotr enjoyed an extra portion of sleep.

And then, around seven, we were suddenly and finally out of the blue hole of the doldrums. From one moment to the next. From blue to red. From zero to almost 40 knots of wind. And a high swell mixed with steep waves.

We were so happy to finally being able to sail properly again. We took turns at the helm, swapped watches so that everyone could enjoy it once again. We savoured every minute at the helm with shining eyes. We surfed with up to 12 knots over foam-crowned 6 metre waves and got a good saltwater shower again and again. No matter – we had a lot of fun. Just like the albatrosses and petrels that sailed around us at high speed through the air and through the wave troughs.

Land ahead

The number of birds increased with every hour. Kelp kept drifting past on the surface – a sign that we were slowly but surely approaching land. Later in the afternoon, we passed two fishing trawlers. Then the Falkland Islands came into view, and with them a landmark that made it much easier to steer amidst the crests of the waves.

A group of dolphins (hourglass dolphins, so called because of their white markings shaped like an hourglass) suddenly appeared and accompanied us for a while. Played with Selma’s bow wave. The rather small representatives of their species dived and jumped around in the foaming water at lightning speed. Swam from left to right, sometimes next to us, sometimes under us. They seemed to be having fun, just like us. One of them actually jumped over Selma’s bow in a high arc. Standing at the helm, I could hardly believe my eyes, speechless and amazed at this very special farewell.


The Cape Pembroke lighthouse came into view, and all along the flat coastline and on many of the offshore rocks, the sea threw itself against the land, spraying spray metres high. We only left the jib standing. The evening sun came out, gilding the last few miles, bathing the coast and us in magical light, the landscape in wonderfully warm colours. The islands were flat and yellow-green, partly overgrown with tall tussock grass.

Still travelling at eight knots, we tacked into the bay of Port William and through the narrows between Navy and Engineer Point into Stanley Harbour. We had our hands full as a team on deck. Four tacks later, we had Stanley in sight and it was time to hoist the last sail. To head for the anchorage assigned to us. With the wind, we would have been reluctant to moor at the pier. And I was more than happy to keep the land, the many lights and noises of the city at a distance for a little while longer.

We let out the anchor one last time. And suddenly we were at our destination.

After a good 3,000 nautical miles, we arrived in Port Stanley on the Falkland Islands.

A strange feeling spread through me. Disbelief. Wistfulness. The day before it had been so tough, the destination so far away… and now: Somehow, the miles had flown by far too quickly in the last few hours. From one hundred back to zero in a flash, so to speak. This time definitive.

With every hug, we shared the joy and gratitude of having made it together. But at the same time, there was also the painful realisation that this shared adventure was now over. We also have to let go again.

And so I wasn’t the only one standing alone for a moment somewhere on deck, lost in thought, sometimes looking towards Stanley, but more often back towards the sea in the distance. Trying to hold on to the moment. To capture everything. Many moments of the last few weeks went through my mind. All that I had experienced, lived through and achieved. Our time together on board the Selma.

It was time to raise a glass. I had saved the bottle of whisky I had opened on Shackleton’s 150th birthday on 15 February for this moment. We clinked glasses on deck, in the dark, in front of the city lights. It was difficult to find the right words.

It all started with Shackleton and an idea. We sealed our joint plans with a glass of Shackleton more than a year ago, in December 2022, during a Zoom conference, each of us in front of a screen in a different part of the world. Apart from emails and a few digital meetings, we were complete strangers, did not know each other. Yesterday, here in Stanley, we finished this adventure as friends with a glass together. We shared a large sip with Neptune, grateful for the happy course and conclusion of our endeavour.

It takes a while to be able to accept this passing, at least for me. At first there is mostly sentimentality, sadness, a certain emptiness.

But this last marvellous day of sailing provides some consolation in that we have now arrived. And that our journey – at least the one on the Selma – will come to an end in a few days. However, we still have time to arrive in this world that is so very different from the one of the last few weeks. In civilisation, hearing other noises (cars), meeting other people, seeing other things.

Three days that we can all spend together on board the trusty Selma. To slowly get used to it, so to speak.

And then another week here in the Falklands.

Night thoughts

Only 100 miles to go

It’s two o’clock in the morning. I’m sitting outside on deck, having just taken over the night watch from Unda for the next four hours. I have the first two hours to myself, then Peter joins me. I enjoy these lonely hours alone with the night and the sea every time.

The clear night has spread over me, the moon has already set again. A sparkling starry sky stretches out above me, the now familiar Southern Cross tickles the top of Selma’s mast as always. Only in the southwest do clouds color the already dark sky a little blacker.

Something is moving in. Whether it’s a full-blown storm or just strong winds will become clear in an hour or two. The weather models were divided on this. The wind is whistling from the south-west at just under 20 knots and is on the increase. The mizzen sail is still set and we’ll wait and see. With the rudder turned 11 degrees to starboard, we drift north towards our destination at a speed of 1 to 1.5 knots.

There are still around one hundred miles to go to the Falklands. Only!

If it’s a rough ride, that’s eleven or twelve hours; if it’s a good one, we’ll be there in twenty hours. This would be my last watch, at night on the deck of the Selma. Not a nice idea, because to be honest, I don’t want to arrive yet. Because Port Stanley means the end of our journey, or at least our sailing adventure.

Sure, we still have a week to explore the Falklands. But we have to say goodbye to the Selma – to Piotr, Voy, Ewa. The thought alone is incredibly difficult for me. I don’t even want to think about leaving this fine boat that has become a home and these dear people. It’s usually hard to say goodbye, and it’s even harder to leave, especially after such a long, intense time. I’ve never liked that. And not only once have I toyed with the idea of simply staying on board, letting the Falklands disappear without me in their wake and sailing the Selma back to Ushuaia. An extension, so to speak…

On the other hand, after such a long time you naturally look forward to coming home again, to family and friends. To some of the comforts, some of the luxuries that have become commonplace and taken for granted that a trip like this doesn’t offer. A warm bath, a fresh bed, something special to eat, the smell of the awakening spring, sprouting greenery… but actually, we haven’t lacked anything during the last seven weeks, I haven’t missed any of these things. On the contrary: I had everything I needed, everything that was important for the moment. More than that. My days and nights were lively and fulfilling and that’s exactly how I felt: alive and fulfilled.

I was able to explore a world that had fascinated me since my childhood, a world that I had never seen before or had only seen in stories, reports, books and films. I discovered breathtaking landscapes and a rich animal world that impressed, thrilled, enchanted, overwhelmed, surprised and delighted me every single day. I was in places that I had dreamed of seeing and sailing to for years – I was fascinated and deeply touched by them.

I shared all these experiences with ten wonderful people who I was able to get to know a little during this time. We enjoyed this adventure and had fun together for all those weeks, were able to rely on each other, looked after each other and still look forward to the next day together every morning, to the next watch together.

That’s why I would love to turn the rudder around, turn the course back to the south and sail on with the Selma and this very crew. South, east or west. It doesn’t matter. Wherever, the main thing is to keep going. The main thing is the sea.

The Drake has shown itself to be as ambivalent and torn as I feel at the moment over the last few days. This actually wild ocean passage in the Southern Ocean, notorious for the violent storm lows that blow through at short intervals, especially now in the fall, has surprised us. And also a little disappointed.

As was the case during our first crossing on the way from Ushuaia to Antarctica, it lacked precisely the wildness attributed to it. It denied us huge wave crests covered in white spray and a full-blown storm – or spared us, whichever way you look at it.

Why is that? We don’t know. Everything changes, especially here. El Niño could be one of the reasons, because overall it was warmer, more changeable and wetter here in the far south. There were fewer and less pronounced low-pressure areas moving from west to east, so there was also much less strong wind, or wind at all, which we noticed throughout the trip. Unfortunately, we had far fewer sailing days than usual.

The past six days at sea

Six days ago we set off from Elephant Island. These six days were an unsteady mix of either strong winds or calm. Alternately, we could sail really well for a few hours, a day, a night in 20-25, sometimes 30 knots of wind, only to wake up the next morning to oily, sluggish, glassy seas and glide into an almost windless day, bobbing around in 4-6 knots of wind and hardly any speed.

Sometimes the Selma was rushing through the choppy sea under full sail at 11 knots and you really had to work at the helm, sometimes the sails flapped when the wind suddenly died again. And instead of us, Mr. Perkins had to take over.

The ocean around us was anything but rough and wild. It was more like a large, calm lake, sometimes blue, sometimes gray, depending on the sun. Only the constantly high and powerful swells, their crests and troughs, which caused Selma to rock and roll wildly, or the albatrosses that accompanied us from time to time, reminded us that we were at sea.

The albatrosses, which sail so incredibly elegantly and with such ease, are able to gain a little lift for their weightless flight from every wave crest and trough, even when there is virtually no wind. Watching them is wonderful.

But that’s also being on the move and sailing. We couldn’t do more than take it as it comes anyway, so we were happy about every knot of wind, every hour of sailing, every wild ride over the impressively high waves. And we also embraced the calm: we enjoyed the peace and quiet, the sun, the warmth, the idleness. We sat or danced on deck in the sun, aired our clothes, celebrated Karen’s birthday, cleared the ship… one morning we even dared to jump into the 4.5 degree cold Southern Ocean. A refreshing pleasure – long-lasting tingling and a big grin included. 3,500 meters of ocean beneath us. And who can claim to have bathed in the wild Drake Passage?

Now it’s four o’clock, the sky is completely overcast, the dark clouds and the weather have reached us. The wind – which had picked up to almost 30 knots in the meantime – has turned to the south and dropped back to 15 knots.

Time to make a coffee and wake Piotr. To look, to decide. Maybe set more sails, maybe just drift on for a while … We’ll see.

For my part, I have time and am in no hurry to arrive. On the contrary.

Sunrise at Lake Drake

Neptune and Aiolos, the gods of the sea and the winds, seem to be asleep, as is our crew. It’s 6 o’clock in the morning and I’m sitting on the deck of the Selma, which is rocking in the swell. Mostly gently, but sometimes it rumbles and rattles loudly in the cupboards with the cups and glasses. We have been bobbing in the Drake Passage for 36 hours, drifting a little through the blue. In the weather images, we are stuck in a blue hole, a zone without wind. That’s unusual, usually one low after another passes through here, the Drake is notorious for its storms.

Now it is a large gray-blue lake, with a few white cloud mountains on the horizon in the west, while in the east the sky turns yellow and orange for the sunrise. Albatrosses and petrels pass by and suddenly a single penguin splashes next to the boat.

Saying goodbye and letting go

It is so beautiful and so peaceful that I feel melancholy. These are the last days of our long, wonderful, eventful journey. I would like to stay in this magnificent landscape, with these magical people, on this faithful ship. Just keep sailing, stay in the moment.

That’s why I agree to this break that the weather is giving us and enjoy the sunrise, the inactivity, the brief pause in the middle of the ocean.

Around 8 a.m., things get livelier on board, coffee and tea in the morning sun, later an extensive breakfast. We’ve rarely taken this much time so far; we’ve usually been busy with the watch schedule or with shore leave and excursions.

Waiting for wind is idleness and so it doesn’t take long for the restlessness of liveliness to present an idea: “Let’s go for a swim in the Drake!”

This plan is crazy enough to find instant supporters. The captain also gives the green light and just wants to know when we want to get into the water so that he can prepare the small bathing platform and a safety line.

Swimsuits are pulled out of the furthest corners of the cupboards and the skeptics get their cameras ready to document the event.

And then a courageous jump into the 4.5 degree cold water. The “Drake dip” is a rather short, but very refreshing experience with a long, tingling aftertaste and a good dose of happiness hormones.

To celebrate the day, everyone has the opportunity to take a shower and Paula creates toast Hawaii in the pantry to match the bathing weather.

At 2 p.m. a light wind comes up and at 6 p.m. we set the mainsail. We rush through the waves on the port bow, enjoying the finest sailing.

As darkness falls, we can see it glistening in the water. Bioluminescent organisms sparkle next to the boat, inspired by our encounter. It is always magical for me to watch this.

This day is like a mirror of our long journey: crazy and lively, adventurous and funny, moving and exhilarating.

Being flexible and accepting what is at hand, absolutely supported by the common ‘we’ of our small community.

We continue our journey towards the Falkland Islands. Less than 400 miles separate us from the final destination of our journey.

We will have to let go and say goodbye – to the Selma and to each other. Our hearts and heads are full of countless wonderful memories of our fantastic journey.

But it’s not time yet. We still have a few days, a few miles, a birthday to celebrate, wind, calm, sun, waves…

Elephant Island

As I write these lines, Elephant Island is already moving away in the wake of the Selma.

Today, at around five o’clock in the morning, our destination emerged dimly from the darkness of the night. At first all we could see was the bright glow of a glacier, but a little later we could also make out the first land masses in the blackness. Shortly afterwards – a magical moment – the rising sun emerged from the ocean as a glowing orange ball right next to the tip of Cape Yelcho.

What a welcome! Here in this place, the destination of our journey. Or the starting point – however you look at it. This is the place why we are here, the place where it all began. The place that has been haunting my dreams for many years, that was the reason for looking for a suitable boat two years ago, a skipper and people who were also enthusiastic about the idea of sailing here. And now we have actually arrived here on Elephant Island.

This and much more goes through my mind as we sail along the north coast after passing Cape Yelcho and the Seal Islands, which protrude from the sea like the pointed teeth of a monster. I stand on deck, lost in thought. The cloud base is high enough, the island passes us by. Nothing but rock and glaciers, barrenness and exposure.

It is still 15 miles to Point Wild, the place where Ernest Shackleton and the crew of the ice-crushed and sunken Endurance sought refuge. They had rowed for five days through the stormy, icy Weddell Sea in their three lifeboats after having to abandon their camp on the melting, cracking ice in April 1916. Exhausted, the 28 men had solid ground under their feet again for the first time after 497 days at sea and sea ice at Cape Valentine in East Elephant Island. Solid ground that nevertheless meant neither protection nor any prospect of rescue from outside, just like Point Wild, which Shackleton chose as the location for setting up camp a little later. A few days later, on April 24, he left the camp with five other men and the James Caird, the least desolate of the three lifeboats, to seek help in South Georgia, 800 nautical miles away.

The remaining 22 men stayed behind under the care and leadership of Frank Wild, built a makeshift dwelling from the remaining two boats and waited there, fighting for their survival, for another four hard winter months for a rescue that seemed almost impossible.

When we reach Point Wild, our eyes scan the coastline in search of this place. From a distance, from close up, with the aid of binoculars and the zoom lens of the camera. In vain: there seems to be no place there. Even up close, there is only a narrow strip of black, stony beach before a high rock face rises up steeply behind it. There is no way forward to the left or right either – glaciers limit the length here. In the meantime, the glacier, whose huge front was still directly in front of the rock face at that time, has retreated several hundred meters.

It is high tide, but even at low tide, this stretch remains just a tiny, towel-sized beach a few meters wide. Barren, rocky, merciless and at the mercy of the elements. And yet this is the right place for us.

As hard as we try, even with the knowledge of this story, the reports of Shackleton and other expedition members … it seems unbelievable. Even the thought of having to spend just one night here on the few meters of rock between the wild ocean and glaciated rock is one that you’d rather quickly push aside. It is impossible to even begin to imagine what it must have meant to spend four cold, dark months here. 22 exhausted and exhausted men in a makeshift dwelling made of two small upturned open boats. After the sinking of the Endurance, they had already endured a 15-month, exhausting and desperate odyssey in and on the ice. Who – to be honest – could hardly have hoped that Shackleton, Worsley and Co. would succeed in their daring coup to reach South Georgia and bring possible help. It is probably thanks to an almost inhuman will to survive, and not least to Frank Wild, that all 22 men survived and came through this time physically and mentally.

Wind and high swell crash directly onto the coast, the Southern Ocean hits the coast, which is dangerously dotted with numerous offshore rocks, unchecked. White spray breaks high and wildly foaming on the dark rocks. The conditions today are the same as they almost always are here: landing is not possible. Not even for us. Unfortunately.

We would have loved not only to have looked out from the deck of the Selma, but also to have set foot on this piece of coastline, to have walked on this historic ground, compared the individual rocks with those in Frank Hurley’s photos, searched for the exact location of the camp… stood there ourselves, felt it … the towering rock face behind us, looking out to sea. Just as the men around Frank Wild had scanned the horizon with their eyes every day for weeks, more than a hundred years ago, until at the end of August, after four long, anxious months of waiting, a ship – the Yelcho, a Chilean navy guard ship – finally and indeed appeared on the horizon. Shackleton was on board and single-handedly took all his remaining expedition members into his care.

The men around Ernest Shackleton always believed in their boss. And he believed that he would succeed in bringing every single one of them home unharmed.

I have long dreamed of and believed in sailing to this place at some point. To find a crew that believes in this idea and that we can make it happen together.

To be here in this place today, to have sailed here with these ten people on the Selma, to have spent the last few weeks on the way here together, to have lived and experienced this moment, to share it now … all of this is an incredible gift and makes me happy and grateful.

It’s obviously not just me. We toast together: to the power of dreaming and believing in something, to Shackleton, to us, to the Selma, to our journey. We share with Neptune and bow our heads in respect to the men of the Endurance.

And then we set off, take a last look back at Point Wild and set our course north.

Course Elephant Island

Two days ago, on Sunday, we weighed anchor at four in the morning, left Deception Island and set course 060 for Elephant Island. There are a good 200 nautical miles between these two islands, both of which belong to the South Shetland Islands. We kept to the coast on the west side of the Bransfield Strait and gradually passed the island chain.

At the south-east corner of Robert Island, we crossed Selma’s old track, the one from our arrival in Antarctica at the beginning of February, after crossing the Drake Passage. It feels like an eternity has passed since then and we have experienced a lot.

We made another stop overnight after around 70 miles and anchored in Potter Cove, King George Island off the Argentinian station of Carlini. We will be underway enough over the next few days and nights, so a last break and a quiet night without ice navigation will do us good. As dawn breaks later, you can already tell that we are slowly leaving the south behind us.

On the way along the South Shetlands we were again accompanied by many whales, blowing all around us, sometimes 10 to 12 at a time. This time it was larger groups of sei whales migrating along the coast. Many penguins – Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins – were on the move, also in large flocks, which, when the bow of the Selma came too close to them, took to their heels and shot out of the water like torpedoes. We were also escorted several times by fur seals, in small groups of three or four, leaping, swimming and diving through the water in elegant arcs.

The icebergs are becoming increasingly rare. We look forward to each one, knowing full well that one of them could be the last one we leave in our wake on our journey north. Unfortunately, we won’t encounter the colossus A23A – at 4000 km2, this is the largest iceberg in the world to date and is currently underway between Elephant Island and the South Orkney Islands.

The wind picks up in the evening and we are finally out of the lee of King George Island. The open Southern Ocean welcomes us with a fairly high swell and perfect sailing winds of around 20 knots. The jib glows warmly in the evening sun, wind from 150-160 degrees from astern and the six meter wave pushes us forward. We are only making nine knots with the foresail, the Selma is rushing through the night, a huge wave, topped with white foam, occasionally roaring under us. Then it lifts us far up onto the crest of the wave and we surf down into the white spray. The sea foams and bubbles as if it were boiling. It’s great fun to be at the helm, sailing through the night, with nothing around but ocean, dancing wave crests and later even a few stars in the night sky.

Later, some ice appears on the radar. We are traveling too fast – for the ice conditions and for an arrival in daylight – and switch from the large headsail to the smaller jib.

Later, even this is recovered for two hours, we run without sails in front of the top and rigging, still making three to four knots. Now it’s just wind, waves and current pushing us along. The Selma rolls unbearably from left to right, but at least it does so in line with the course. Even when we set sail again later, we remain the plaything of the high waves. We in our bunks are rolling in the same way, so a restful sleep is out of the question.

However, there are no real complaints about this: after all, after a lot of effort by Mr. Perkins, we are on our way to Elephant Island under sail.

Deception Island

The next morning we weigh anchor at five o’clock in the morning and set course for the South Shetlands. It’s about 100 miles to Deception Island. We have zero wind, it’s gray and the water is as smooth as glass.

As on the way south, we encounter many whales again in the Gerlache Strait. Who knows, maybe the four from the previous evening are among them?

During Peter’s and my watch in the evening it clears up, we finally have enough wind and can set sail in the evening sun. Mr. Perkins has a break, we have a big grin on our faces. The night is clear, the starry sky is gigantic, the Milky Way stretches out in a wide arc above us, even the two Magellanic Clouds are visible.

In the darkness, we pass the narrow entrance – known as Neptune’s Bellows – to Deception Island at around midnight. On the left, a beacon marks the passage, which is only a few hundred meters wide; on the right, the shadow of a steep rock face looms out of the darkness. At one o’clock we drop anchor in Telephone Bay.

Deception Island is a volcanic island, the summit of a collapsed volcanic crater that rises above the surface of the sea. An almost circular caldera, flooded by the sea, with a diameter of approx. 6 miles. The volcano is still active, but the last eruption (1970) was a good 50 years ago. During an eruption in 1967, an English and two Chilean research stations were severely damaged and subsequently abandoned.

Between 1912 and 1931, the world’s southernmost potion factory was operated in Whalers Bay. The remains of this Norwegian whaling station, as well as the remains of the abandoned British research station B, can still be seen today.

On Saturday morning, fog and sun bathe everything in a mystical light. We don’t see much of the island – just a black strip of beach in the bay where we are anchored, calm and protected. The silvery-grey veil seems to lift a little, so we decide to take a short walk up the hills around Telephone Bay in the morning. On the beach, we are greeted by two lone Weddell seals in the fine black volcanic sand. The landscape looks bleak and inhospitable, consisting – at least in this part of the island – of mostly black volcanic rock and rubble. We climb a chain of hills and enjoy an hour and a half of exercise in this seemingly lifeless lunar landscape. Unfortunately, the rest of the island remains mysteriously engulfed in fog.

A cruise ship had registered for the morning in Whalers Bay. We don’t get to see it, but we hear on the radio that it is on its way again, through Neptune’s bellows – which can only be passed by one ship at a time. In the afternoon, we have the hot spot of Whalers Bay to ourselves.

Back on the Selma, we move to Whalers Bay, just 6 miles away, anchor and take our time for an extensive shore excursion. Everyone swarms out, some on their own, others in groups. Fortunately, the sun eventually makes it through the fog and the white clouds clear, revealing the countless remnants of the whaling era and the remains of the abandoned British research station.

Numerous fur seals populate the black beach. Many are lounging around lazily, others are involved in small scuffles with each other. Apparently it’s mostly about who gets to lie on which piece of sand. A few penguins are also out and about at the water’s edge. I meet a funny pair of a Gentoo and a Chinstrap penguin (Gentoo and Chinstrap penguin) walking together on the beach.

I myself first climb a small hill up to a gap between steep cliffs – at the top, the view through Neptune’s Window opens out onto the vast ocean. Deep below, a powerful swell rolls in, smashes against the cliffs, and there are plenty of seals lying in small bays.

Scattered in the sand of Whalers Bay, partly covered by volcanic ash, you discover wooden debris and the remains of former buildings, barracks, waterboats … a few whale bones, a former floating dock …

Water vapor mixes with the clearing fog along the edge of the beach. Hot water from the volcanic soil mixes with the cold water of the crater lake, smelling of sulphur. If you dip your hand in, it is almost boiling hot in places.

The surroundings have a mystical, morbid quality, as if from another planet. In the background of this scenery, which looks like a witch’s kitchen, there are lots of huge tanks (whale oil, fuel), ovens, stoves and other metal objects, some of which look very futuristic, rusting away. I feel like I’m in a Jules Verne movie.

Old buildings battered by wind, weather and the harsh climate are falling into disrepair, silvery weathered wood everywhere, here and there lichens colonize and conquer this new habitat. Far behind are two individual wooden crosses, remnants of the small cemetery covered in ashes.

Unfortunately (or fortunately for the landscape and flora), the surrounding hills and mountains are a protected area. We would have loved to have climbed them to get a view of the bay and the crater lake from above. The landscape here is barren, but for my taste very colorful: the black and white of volcanic rock and glaciers is mixed with lush green (lichens, mosses) and a velvety dark red-black in some places – stone or ash, it’s impossible to tell from a distance.

It is exciting and fun to wander through the past in this extraordinary place, this very special landscape, and time flies by.

Back on board the Selma, we return to our tried and tested anchorage in Telephone Bay. After another quiet and starry night, we set off the next morning in the direction of Elephant Island.

Enterprise Island Governoren

It is already afternoon when we reach Enterprise Island. It is gray and cloudy. A light drizzle falls from the low-hanging clouds.

We drop anchor near a bay surrounded by a glacier. Here in Foyn Harbor lies the rusty wreck of the Governøren. At the beginning of the 20th century, the ship functioned as a kind of floating whale factory. From whaling to processing the blubber into oil, everything was done on board. It was one of the largest and most technically advanced whale factory ships of its time.

In 1915, the Governøren caught fire. The captain ran it aground here to save the crew and some of the cargo. The 85 crew members remained unharmed. The wreck became a reminder of the history of whaling in the Antarctic. Half sunken, rusty, rising defiantly out of the water, still imposing, it has now become home to Antarctic terns. Other remnants of these historic times can also be seen in the surrounding area: numerous mooring lines on the rocky coasts of the islands, rusty chains and wooden waterboats that were used to supply fresh water.

The cloudy, gray and wet weather somehow fits in with the decay of the rotting relics and this thoroughly gloomy chapter of Antarctica.

Fortunately, times have changed and the whale population has recovered somewhat. They are here again. Although not quite as numerous as at the end of the 19th century, we have seen and – in the fog – heard many of them again.

Even now we can hear them blowing and breathing nearby… there must be some around here somewhere. And we set off in the dinghy to try our luck at finding them.

We feel our way through the fog for almost two hours, stopping again and again to listen. Silence, nobody dares to breathe. Then we hear a blast! We try to make out the direction and rough distance, which is difficult in these conditions. The silence and the fog carry the sounds for miles. We drive a little in the suspected direction and start the game all over again. Again and again. The whales are making fools of us, the blowing can now be heard from several directions. We decide on one and are lucky. Our patience is rewarded: at some point the fog clears and we can see them at a distance. There are three humpback whales. A fourth approaches from a different direction. We sail towards them a little further in the dinghy. Then we switch off the outboard motor, let ourselves drift and watch them silently and reverently. They slowly come closer, all four of them, and are eventually with us, next to us. Shiny black. Diving up, down, up again, under us. We hold our breath. The whales blow, breathe, puff in their very own, calm rhythm. This archaic sound, these giants of the oceans so close to us – it is incredibly impressive and always gives us goose bumps. An encounter, an experience that gets under your skin.

Port Lockroy

Hot Spots

On the way north from Vernadsky Station, we pass the north-west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, the part most frequently visited by Antarctic tourists. Easily accessible, mostly ice-free in summer, only the Drake Passage has to be passed on the way here from Ushuaia. The number of expedition cruise ships has increased dramatically in recent years, as has the number of tourists, and the number of landings at particularly popular, easily accessible locations has increased accordingly. There are strict schedules, tight time slots and every single landing has to be registered and booked in advance.

Fortunately, we’ve mostly spent the last few weeks in remote areas, in the Weddell Sea or far to the south. Only here on the west coast, around the Lemaire Channel, have we occasionally spotted a cruiser. But now the season is coming to an end, the Antarctic summer is already giving way to fall, many ships are already back in the north, even the much-visited places are lonely and deserted again.

So we took the opportunity to call at some of the tourist hotspots on our way and spent the last few days doing a bit of sightseeing on the north-west coast.

Port Lockroy

On Wednesday we left Vernadsky and passed the Lemaire Channel a second time, this time heading north. It was autumn and the entrance was icy. Whales accompanied us, on the north side we were greeted by cold winds of 25 knots from the north and a strong wave on the nose.

Port Lockroy is located on the west coast of Wiencke Island in the Palmer Archipelago. The natural harbor was discovered by the fourth French Antarctic expedition (1904-1905) led by polar explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot and was later used for whaling. The British research station A was operated on the neighboring Goudier Island until 1962. Renovated in the 1990s, it is now used as a museum and souvenir store. It is also home to the southernmost post office in the world. This makes Port Lockroy one of the most popular destinations for Antarctic cruise ships. But the season is almost over and we are alone in Port Lockroy.

Almost: A large colony of Gentoo penguins lives on the island. The station/museum is also still occupied, although it has been closed for some time due to bird flu and is not open to visitors. We contact the station and are told that we are welcome to post mail if we wish. However, this would only be processed and sent via Falklands at the beginning of the coming season, as the departure of the staff is imminent.

We like the idea of surprising our loved ones at home with a postcard from Antarctica in a good year’s time or receiving one ourselves (should it arrive). Although we can’t buy one in the local souvenir store, we can still find a few on the Selma. We write diligently to families, friends, each other … , collect British pounds for postage and later hand over our mail to the station by dinghy.

The penguin colony cavorts in the immediate vicinity of Jougla Point, a rocky peninsula. In the middle of the colony lie vast quantities of whale bones, which Jacques-Yves Cousteau collected here many years ago to form an almost complete skeleton. Remnants of the whaling times in this bay. As always, the colony is a hive of activity. Chicks, changing from fluffy child fluff to adult plumage, chase after their parents, insistently demanding one meal after another. Again and again, a large portion of previously caught krill is transferred from the parents’ beaks to those of their chicks.

Penguins stand motionless on the rocks, some disheveled and patiently enduring their moult. Others wander from here to there, following a plan or destination that is not always clear to the observer. They don’t seem to be particularly impressed by our presence – they are probably used to completely different crowds here.

The wind picks up and we make our way back to Selma. It takes several attempts to cast off with the dinghy between the many rocks in the onshore wind.

We continue the next morning, it is gray and cold. A light drizzle is followed by a few patches of sunshine that make the icebergs floating in the distance glitter or glow on the dark gray water. A rising wind gives us hope of being able to set sail, but it falls asleep again. Fog rolls in, and unfortunately we see little of the spectacular scenery of the Neumayer Channel in the glassy sea. Later, in the Gerlache Strait, we encounter whales again. Everywhere you look. Sleeping, migrating, hunting, feeding whales. Far away, close, very close, right next to the Selma. These encounters, the sounds are always deeply impressive.


My new home

I have moved!

The move from my 3-room apartment to a 7-room shared flat with six double cabins, a bathroom, separate toilet, kitchen and lounge, as well as a cozy green house, has been a success.
I have now been living with my 10 flatmates for five weeks in my temporary home: the floating and rocking Selma, a 20-meter-long steel ketch.

And I feel very much at home here.

I’m sure you’re curious to see what my new home looks like?
Well then – I’ll be happy to take you on a little tour of the ship and show you around.

The forepeak

We start in the forepeak, our walk-in refrigerator (who has this at home?) and at the same time our storage and equipment room.

You can access the forepeak through a large hatch on the foredeck.

At the start of our expedition in Ushuaia, we stowed all our supplies in the forepeak through this hatch.

We store all our fresh food in the forepeak, such as potatoes, vegetables, fruit, cheese, butter, meat, sausages, etc. Some of it is stored in open boxes on shelves, but some is also stored under the floorboards in the water-cooled bilge.

Everything we need for our expedition at sea and on land is also stowed here: two Zodiacs, the outboard motor for the Zodiac, inflatable kayaks, pulka sledges, snowshoes and much more.

Our waste is also stored here in two barrels during the entire trip until we can dispose of it on the mainland at the end of our expedition. These two gray barrels will actually be enough for all our garbage – 11 people, 7 weeks! Incidentally, absolutely nothing goes overboard south of the 60th parallel.

Everything is well stowed and secured for the journey and sailing in rough seas.

The anchor chain in the anchor locker also has its place in the forepeak.

We have enough supplies on board for the 7 weeks of our expedition. But that’s not all – they would probably last us twice as long.

Piotr has bought, among many other things: 500 eggs, 12 kilos of coffee, 40 fresh loaves of bread and 6 loaves of toast, 30 liters of milk, 60 liters of milk powder, 45 kg of potatoes, 15 kg of sweet potatoes, lots of boxes of vegetables and apples, as well as flour, porridge … and lots of sweets.

Plus 1 1/2 rolls of toilet paper per day. Well then, do the math.

The eggs are rotated every two weeks. We regularly checked all the vegetables (peppers, tomatoes, avocado, iceberg lettuce, broccoli, cucumbers, beet, red and white cabbage, pumpkin, onions, parsley, chives, garlic, rosemary) and sorted out what needed to be used immediately or in the next few days.

From the forepeak, the open refrigerator, we go into the through starboard cabin no. 1, my and Karen’s home. I have taken the lower berth. From my bunk I also have a view of the forepeak.

We continue past port cabin no. 2, where Paula (above) and Unda (below) live…

… in the salon.

The salon – our living room

There is enough space for us all to eat here in the lounge. This is also the meeting place for conversations, for discussing, celebrating and enjoying the cozy get-together, as well as an ideal place for reading, making music, singing or even for yoga lessons.

There is a checkroom for sailing clothing in the saloon next to the stairs. The watch schedule also hangs here, and next door is the library and our busy power station.

Red light district

At night, the salon – like the entire ship – becomes a red light district. Why? You can find out here in Paula’s logbook entry.

The only exception: a power failure. Then the headlamps have to come on and shine with white light.

The wellness area

The light-flooded, naturally ventilated, spacious bathroom, where we sometimes queue up to brush our teeth (we use the comfortable bench in the saloon for this), is directly adjacent to the saloon and is located in front of the quietest cabin, No. 3.

We enjoyed our first and pleasantly warm shower after two weeks in the Weddell Sea on Beak Island, otherwise washing with refreshing Antarctic water was the order of the day – it woke us up quickly.

Cabin no. 3 – Quiet?
Since the rough seas are not so noticeable here – amidships – it is said.

This is where Alan and Peter have their kingdom.

And it’s obviously true that cabin no. 3 is quiet.

The galley

We can show off our cooking skills on the starboard side. Our kitchenette is equipped with everything we need, including an oven, where we bake our own bread now that all the fresh bread has been eaten. But it’s not just bread that comes out of the oven: plaited bread, onion bread, grain bread, rolls, brownies, cakes… The various chefs have already conjured up all of these.
By the way, cooking is always done in teams of two, taking turns for the whole day. And: whoever is in the galley has no other watch duties on deck at that day.

Depending on the sea state and temperature, cooking on board is a real challenge. Unfortunately, we are not gimballed like the stove. Sometimes the wife wears a hat and braces herself against the waves at full tilt.

Before start cooking: Shopping in the forepeak – and then off we go …

Delicacies from the galley

Porridge with fresh fruit salad is our daily breakfast classic.

The menu is otherwise quite tasty, varied and often plentiful. Lunch and dinner are always cooked hot, only rarely is there a cold buffet. In heavy seas, stews are preferred, which are easy to eat from a bowl. And very often – whatever the weather – delicious desserts are served, usually conjured up by Ewa and Voy.

By the way, before the dishes go into the kitchen to be washed, they are pre-rinsed – a tradition on board. This makes it easier for the kitchen team and also saves water and washing-up liquid.

Mr. Perkins and the rear cabins

In the center of the Selma is the engine compartment, between the galley and cabins 3 and 5.

Piotr is not only the skipper, but also the machinist and spends some time there every now and then to see if Mr. Perkins is doing well or to make sure that he has everything he needs and that everything is running smoothly.

The two aft cabins No. 5 and No. 6 are occupied by Gerhard and Jan, as well as the co-skipper couple Ewa and Wojtek.

Cabin no. 7 serves as a pantry and can also be used as a guest bunk.

Ivan, a scientist and biologist from the Ukrainian research station Vernadsky, accompanied us south to Adelaide Island for a week and moved into his bunk here in No. 7.

The Greenhouse

The heart of the Selma and, together with the saloon, the most used area is the wheelhouse / pilothouse – affectionately christened the Greenhouse by us, as it is the warmest place here on board.

Our skipper Piotr has his bunk here. A perfect place, as he always has all the navigation systems, wind, weather, sails and steering position close at hand and can react immediately if necessary.

The pilothouse is also used as a workplace. This is where the chart table is located, weather models are discussed, routes are planned, logbooks are written and sometimes even spliced …

And right next to the door is the checkroom for wet, soaking and dripping sailing jackets.

Our feel-good corner in the Greenhouse (directly on top of the lockers with the life jackets) is used in many ways and is very popular. It offers a wonderful all-round view to the outside, it is cozy, warm and dry.

By the way: the temperature shown online next to our ship’s position is not the outside temperature – in case anyone was wondering about the high temperatures – but the temperature in the pilothouse.

The terrace and outside area

The helmsman’s station is of course located on deck.
This is where the sails are set and maneuvers are made. The dinghy is usually fixed in front of the main mast, and the kayaks also had their place here on the starboard side at times. In front of the bow is the ice guard, equipped with the ice stick: a long pole to push aside drifting growlers and floes, prevent collisions and clear the way through the ice for the Selma. And high up in the mizzen mast is also the place for the lookout to spy a path through fields of drifting ice.

But the deck is not just for working. Here we also enjoy the fantastic view of the sea, horizon, waves, whales, albatrosses and other seabirds, penguins, seals, icebergs and all the fantastic landscapes of Antarctica, as well as the occasional blue sky and sunshine. We warm ourselves in the sun, rest, talk, take photos, keep fit with a few push-ups or listen to Alan play the guitar.
And sometimes – such as after crossing the Drake Passage or at Point Wild on Elephant Island – we even have a toast here.

Incidentally, very special precautions are taken before every trip ashore.

Before we made our first excursion on Antarctic soil, we had to thoroughly clean all our clothes, rucksacks, bags etc. (including all the inside pockets and all Velcro), carefully vacuum them out and remove all the stones from the soles of our shoes. This is a protective measure to ensure that no contaminants, germs, seeds or similar are brought into the Antarctic.

In addition, the boots and shoes are disinfected before and after each trip ashore and their soles are completely brushed and cleaned.

I enjoy every day of my time in a shared flat.
The cheerful, friendly and fun-loving flatmates make this easy. We are a great community. The pictures speak for themselves, I’m fine, we’re fine.

I have really arrived!

For me, having arrived also means saying to my new friend Unda, let’s go out and get some fresh air. We were already outside all day while we were sailing …

At home, this might be a short walk. Here in Antarctica, for example, it means going for a little kayak ride before dinner, along the coast where we are currently anchored …

Unfortunately, my stay here on the Selma is limited. We will soon be moving again – to our apartments on the Falkland Islands.

Living together on board the Selma is simply wonderful. I could imagine a retirement flat share like this!

My dear friends Ewa, Karen, Paula, Unda, Alan, Gerhard, Jan, Peter, Piotr, Voj – I miss you so much.
(This logbook entry was completed at home on the computer after a long delay) 🙂