Posted by: Andy | April 15, 2014

Southern Ocean “Cruising”

After over 8000nm of sailing, we  finally made it to Chile having visited Antarctica. Despite having already done numerous ocean crossings and spending multiple winters in the French Alps, this trip has been my biggest challenge yet. With a solid yacht, solid crew and not forgetting a solid Captain we have all made it in one piece with memories of a lifetime etched into us. Trying to portray the adventure in mere words is a challenge in itself. I will start with an overview and follow up with another couple of more specific blogs in the coming weeks.

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Infinity at anchor in Cape Adare

 

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Team INFINITY on departure day in Auckland

On the 2nd of April, we had 490NM remaining before we made landfall in Chile. We were gradually making North but were still very far South by usual standards. At 58 degrees South, we were the farthest North that we had been in six weeks. However, to put this into perspective we were still 120NM South of Cape Horn!

At 72 degrees South, we believe we have been the most Southerly sailing yacht in the World for 2014. At this extreme latitude we survived hurricane force winds in ice berg infested waters with waves towering above us and severe windchill. The aftermath of the storm was an ice covered yacht with an exhausted crew facing a 5000NM Southern Ocean passage. In Antarctica, we made it ashore where we were greeted by thousands of penguins and visited the oldest building on the continent, the Borgevick hut from 1899. When we arrived in Antarctica, we had a welcome escort by a pod of over twenty Orca. I have seen whales many times before but never have I come across such curious whales that hung around for so long. The following day we joined forces with Sea Shepherd to hinder the Japanese whaling fleet on their murderous campaign. Following our magical encounter with whales the previous day it felt great to be able to fight on their behalf.

 

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Part of our welcome party in Antarctica

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Ice Berg ahoy!

 

 

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Hanging out with the penguins

 

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Infinity’s bow completely iced up with Antarctica in the background

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Ayack at the helm of Infinity during a Southern Ocean storm

 

After our epic ocean crossing, we had almost 200NM of inland navigation through the fjords before we arrived in Puerto Natales. Our first sunrise in South America was probably the best I have ever seen and following almost four weeks of no sun it was greatly appreciated! Going ashore in a new continent after so long at sea was a fantastic experience. We were fortunate enough to have great sunny weather for our first week which i spent trekking in the nearby Torres del Paine national park.

As much as I love being aboard with Infinity Expedition, it was great to get off!

The trip was a real test of all our character and strength and was completely different to the previous time I sailed with them in the tropics. You can read my Infinity Expedition Review about my time sailing from Borneo to the Marshall Islands.

I will do another update soon, but in the meantime I have a volcano to climb!

 

 

 

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Our first sunrise in South America


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