HDS34-23, trip log, Atlantic Odyssey

by Oceanwide Expeditions


Day 1: Embarkation – Ushuaia, Argentina

Embarkation – Ushuaia, Argentina
Date: 27.03.2023
Position: 54°55.3’S 067°56.2’W
Wind: Var 1
Weather: Rain
Air Temperature: +6

Finally, we’re here, we’ve arrived on board after all those plans and bookings! The South Atlantic awaits us with all its weather systems, wildlife, and intriguing islands. This really will be an odyssey in the ancient sense of the word! Some of us have been waiting for years, and a life’s dream coming true. We have embarked in the port of Ushuaia, the southernmost city of the world, or as the locals would have it, ‘fin del mundo’. To some extent this is true, but we are taking it much further, visiting islands that are renowned for their beauty and remoteness. A world that is unlike anything we have seen so far.

M/V Hondius, our beautiful 107-meter vessel will be our home and base for the coming two weeks. The team on board welcomes us with open smiles and many of us can’t hide the excitement anymore. We get set up in our cabins and are then invited to the lounge for coffee, tea, home-made cakes and a mandatory safety briefing and drill. Chief Officer Matei Mocanu explains the most essential safety features on board and how we should behave in case of emergency. For the abandon ship drill, we all put on our funny looking orange life vests and gather at our muster stations.

Whilst the atmosphere on board is full of happy excitement, the weather outside is not ideal. Ushuaia is shrouded in low cloud, and perpetual drizzle, whilst occasional breaks show the nearby mountains shouldering the first snows of the austral autumn. Later in the day it even tries to snow at lower levels, but the harbour birdlife of southern giant petrels, imperial shags, dolphin and kelp gulls continues to circle around the ship.

In the evening we assemble for a briefing by Martin Berg, our expedition leader, helped by advice from Moniek our ship’s doctor, and Will the hotel manager. Then we enjoyed a reception, and our captain, Artur Iakovlev, welcomes us with a toast, but there is a sting in the tale… a deep area of low pressure with very strong winds will move between Patagonia and South Georgia tomorrow. We must be prudent, even though Hondius with her stabilizers and strong engines can handle tough conditions. So, we’ll hang around the eastern end of the Beagle Channel towards dawn, and hopefully the bad weather will then run ahead of us.

Finally, amidst the drizzle and sleet, we cast off from Ushuaia’s quay, and head into the Channel. The Odyssey has begun!

Day 2: At sea, course set for South Georgia

At sea, course set for South Georgia
Date: 28.03.2023
Position: 55º 05.43’S, 54º 22.5’W
Wind: SW 7
Weather: Overcast & dry
Air Temperature: +9

Our night was spent in the settled conditions of the eastern Beagle Channel, allowing us a relatively restful night sleep, and as dawn broke were nosing out into the more open seas and the characteristic role of the south Atlantic made itself felt. However, the strategy of ‘wait and see’ had paid off – the storm was well ahead of us by several hours, and we were able to set a course to the east, running to the south of Staten Island, which showed through the turbulent skies like a series of jagged peaks.

Our day was well occupied. Shortly after breakfast we had a meeting with updates from Martin about the weather and the state of our passage, followed by the whole team introducing themselves, and giving just a flavour of their background and interests. They were a diverse lot, holding hope of many different discussions and experiences throughout the trip.

Following this, our intrepid birders resumed their observations from both ends of the ship, those at the bow ‘enjoying’ the lively rise and fall of the swell becoming first acquainted with species that we’ll enjoy in the coming days – wandering and southern royal albatrosses, southern giant petrels, pintados, as well as brown skua, and diving petrel. We had visits from snowy sheathbill too: a party of seven spent their time circling the ship. Many of us wondered why they didn’t land and hitch a ride, instead of wasting precious energy!

After an excellent buffet lunch, Bob gave us a talk on the relationship between ‘Patagonia and Antarctic: land of fire and ice’, describing how, since Charles Darwin’s day, we have begun to understand how the landscape was formed, the movements of the earth’s crust, and the consequences of the separation of Antarctica from South America some 20-30 million years ago.

This was followed by a lively talk by Georgine on photography, one of a series she will give during our passage. With remarkable clarity, she was able to explain the different settings options with modern cameras to get the best out of our efforts, especially in relation to wildlife photography. Irrespective of our various levels of skill, there were hints and ideas that we all could benefit from.

At six, with the swell increasing somewhat, and the sky darkening, we all returned to the lounge for a briefing from Martin about the expected weather and planned activities for the next day. This was followed by a short talk from Sara illustrating how the eye can deceive us when looking at seabirds in the open ocean and demonstrating this with a highly technical piece of string with labels, showing how enormous our much-loved albatrosses and other species really are. Hans then continued the ornithological theme, setting up arrangements with our birders for reporting sessions after dinners, so that a proper list is compiled for our records at the end of the expedition.

Finally, with brains buzzing, and tummies rumbling, we resorted to the dining saloon for a delicious dinner, as Hondius ploughed her way through the swells towards South Georgia.

Day 3: Passage to South Georgia

Passage to South Georgia
Date: 29.03.2023
Position: 54° 33.6’S 054° 38.5’W
Wind: W 5
Weather: Sunny
Air Temperature: +16

We awoke to a beautifully calm following sea helping us through the Scotia Sea. Expedition Leader Martin, had us arise at 0745 before indulging in another delicious breakfast. At 0930 all guests attended the mandatory briefing for IAATO, the International Association for Antarctica Tour Operators, as well as information from the South Georgia government and Oceanwide’s Zodiac operations. Martin briefed us on appropriate behaviour on land to ensure our landings do not negatively affect these remote islands. We are very lucky to have the opportunity to go to these destinations and it is important that we do not leave anything behind, taking only memories and photos with us. South Georgia has strict biosecurity measures, something that will become a common theme within our voyage. We also received information about how operations onboard MS Hondius are conducted and how to stay safe.

After a morning of information regarding the places we would be traveling to, all guests onboard were so excited for the days to come we even moved our clocks forward an hour to speed up time! Another delicious meal was followed by our first lecture of the day, given by Expedition Team member, Ross. The lecture was titled “An Introduction to the Birds of the Southern Ocean “, introducing species such as the Black-browed albatross in which 90% of the population is from the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. As well as the Grey-headed Albatross, a stunning bird, but unfortunately experiencing a 20% population decline on South Georgia. Another aspect was the difficulty of telling Prions apart from one another and broke down the impressive migration of the Arctic Tern; traveling a total distance of 70,900km northbound and southbound.

Perhaps the only way to get the birders and wildlife focused guests inside was to tempt them with ice cream! In the afternoon our Expedition Team set up an ice cream bar in the Observation Lounge and it was a big hit!

Georgine, our ship’s photographer, was next up on the lecture list with her presentation, “Composition and Depth of Field- The Secrets of Beautiful Images”. She explained her thought process and showed us examples of the photos we could take along our journey. She has fantastic experience in this part of the world and a plethora of information to share with guests about how to achieve their dream photograph.

In the evening, we had our daily recap and after dinner our species’ list debrief. Many people gathered in the Lecture Room to discuss the various bird and marine mammal species seen that day, and Marijke summarized the key features of hourglass dolphins. A wonderful way to end the day by sharing knowledge and photographs while reminiscing about the day.

Day 4: Passage to South Georgia

Passage to South Georgia
Date: 30.03.2023
Position: 54°00.5’S 045°20.5’W
Wind: W 5/6
Weather: Partly cloudy
Air Temperature: +14

A nice easy, long low swell pushed us comfortably closer to our first destination, South Georgia throughout the day. As the sun was rising, it was clear that there were fewer seabirds to be seen, however, all early risers were rewarded with beautiful views of a Light-mantled sooty albatross circling Hondius several times before disappearing out of sight.

Shortly after breakfast, Martin provided a fascinating lecture entitled ‘Seabirds – Masters of sea and sky’. This was soon followed by the mandatory biosecurity cleaning of our boots, outer clothing, and bags in preparation for our arrival on South Georgia. These important measures were undertaken to ensure that no invasive plants had the opportunity to hitch a free ride to South Georgia through our clothing or other personal items; this is an essential requirement for visitors to undertake prior to their arrival onto the island to protect its isolated and unique flora and fauna.

Towards the end of the morning Assistant Expedition Leader Sara introduced us to the ‘Penguins of the Southern Ocean’. This comprehensive lecture included all the penguins of Antarctica, as well as the species that we were hoping to see during our time on South Georgia and Tristan Da Cunha.

After lunch, we once again concentrated on our biosecurity cleaning and undertook a final check on all the vacuuming and scrubbing undertaken throughout the morning. As we were finishing this final check, shouts across the open deck were made as a pod of long-finned pilot whales were identified at the 11 o’clock position to the ship. After an announcement across all decks, many of us were rewarded with fantastic views of the pilot whales as they travelled down our port side. As the pilot whales came closer, it was also possible to see that they were mixed with several hourglass dolphins amongst them.

Following this incredible encounter, Marijke gave an insightful presentation about ‘How to identify Antarctic & sub-Antarctic Whales’. On the open decks our birders and photographers were also kept entertained with constant streams of prions and blue petrels as well as the occasional Kerguelen petrel and wandering albatross.

As usual, we all gathered in the early evening to undertake our daily ‘recap’. This included a briefing from our Expedition Leader Martyn on what to expect from our first day on South Georgia. This was also accompanied by several recap presentations from the expedition team.

To end the day, we were provided with the daily summary of bird species seen throughout the day in the lecture theatre. This was followed by a screening of the movie about Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition.

Day 5: South Georgia

South Georgia
Date: 31.03.2023
Position: 54°10.75’S 036°25.9’W
Wind: NW 3
Weather: Partly cloudy
Air Temperature: +6

This morning we awoke to our first view of the rugged peaks of South Georgia off our starboard side. As we ate breakfast the mountains and fjords slid by as we made our way southeast towards Cumberland Bay and Grytviken, our destination for the day. In early morning we had around 50 knots of wind and the white caps were whipped off the tops of the waves like smoke. Fur seals leapt alongside the ship and there were various groups of king penguins to be seen in and amongst the waves. Gradually the weather and visibility improved, showing us the dramatic mountainous coastline. What a wonderful way to start the day!

Around lunchtime our trusty ship Hondius slid quietly into King Edward Cove and dropped anchor just off the abandoned Grytviken whaling station. Two zodiacs went ashore to pick up the British Biosecurity officers from the British King Edward Point Station, and then it was time for our huge biosecurity check. Would all yesterday’s hard work pay off?

One by one we lined up and after being checked once more by the expedition staff it was time to face the dreaded biosecurity officers. It was with a huge sigh of relief that the ship of Hondius received a 100% mark for our efforts. What great teamwork everyone, you should all be proud!

Then it was straight in the zodiacs and off to shore we went. After 3 days at sea it was good to step foot back onto firm ground again. And we were of course welcomed by a group of friendly South Georgian locals…the fur seals. These pups, just a few months old, were fascinated to see us and celebrated by trying to chase us up and down the beach. However, these youngsters are not all that scary and provided one stood their ground the baby seal most likely back away from about 1m distance.

Then it was time to explore the historic whaling site of Grytviken. At first, it’s hard to know where to look with the seemingly endless mass of rusty blubber tanks, blubber digesters, and old buildings. Everyone spread out around the area to explore. On our must-see list were of course the Museum, the church where Earnest Shackleton’s funeral was held, the post office to send some post cards, and the graveyard where we toasted Shackleton’s grave whilst expedition staff Bob and Conrad, dispensing tots of whisky, told us some stories from days far gone.

For mammal lovers we could see, from a distance, some huge male elephant seals, and for the birders, we saw the South Georgia Pipit, the South Georgia Pintail carnivorous duck along with various species of sea birds throughout the day. Finally, around 6pm, the last zodiac headed back to the ship and after a quick recap and plans for tomorrow we enjoyed a BBQ buffet in the dining room followed by music and dancing in the bar afterwards. Then it was off to bed in anticipation for what tomorrow will have in store for us.

Day 6: South Georgia

South Georgia
Date: 01.04.2023
Position: 54°04.2’S 036°44.6’W
Wind: WNW 7
Weather: Clear sky
Air Temperature: +5

The night was spent with the ship rocking in the swell, with objects moving around in our cabins, seemingly at random. The weather was overcast and windy of over 40 knots before we reached Fortuna Bay and we had to assess the conditions before we could give the go-ahead for operations.

Soon after breakfast Martin announced that we would only carry out the landing, but no Zodiac cruise, as the wind was still quite strong. As we dropped the Zodiacs it was still windy but the conditions at the shell door were good as Hondius’ large hull offered some shelter. Landings were greeted by young, playful fur seals and king penguins and it was lovely to spend time observing the latter coming out of the water and those fur seals playing in the breakers. After a short briefing by Sara we made our way to the penguin colony, and we were delighted to find some of them with very small chicks. The sun makes a couple of appearances which offers fantastic photographic opportunities. All good things come to an end eventually, and after a good time ashore we were shuttled back to the ship, stopping along with way to observe rafts of king penguins swimming around our zodiacs and playing in the kelp, cleaning their plumage. The ship then left beautiful Fortuna Bay to reposition itself over lunch.

After a delightful lunch thanks to our chef Ralf and his team, we prepared for our afternoon activities in Jason Harbour, where conditions there were a little better than in the morning, although there were still some catabatic winds puffing down from the mountains. Here Martin decided to have a split landing and zodiac cruise. Our first passengers were shuttled to shore to roam freely on the beach and walk over to a little bay where fur seals, elephant seals lay stretched out.

We found numerous king penguins but also some gentoos. We were delighted to be able to observe the juvenile elephant seals closely. Meanwhile, during the zodiac cruise we had good sightings of Wilson’s storm petrels feeding on the surface of the water in groups of 5 to 10, quite close to the shoreline, offering amazing photo opportunities. Other species of note were Antarctic shags flying over us very close, lots of giant petrels resting on land and afloat, and several pintail ducks were scattered along the coastline. In the little bay behind the landing site, we found many of the juvenile fur seals, playing in the water. We could also approach elephant seals resting in the tussock grass. After about 45 minutes our groups swapped, between zodiac driving and shore exploration. In the end we were very lucky with the weather, the wind not too strong, with only some occasional catabatic gusts. The scenery around Jason Harbour was beautiful, with some nice mountain peaks covered in snow, and interesting clouds coming into the bay and as the evening approached the sunset colored the clouds a wonderfully delicate pink, and with the moon coming out the whole scene feels surreal.

Back on aboard we gathered in the lounge for the daily recap where Martin set out our plans for tomorrow in St Andrew’s Bay, and Ross showed us some footage of his underwater GoPro shots of king penguins he took in the morning in Fortuna Bay. It was amazing to see these large penguins literally flying under water. As was their habit, our birdwatchers gathered in the lecture room for their daily bird list check (and a nice drink). This was a truly amazing day in South Georgia, and tomorrow St Andrew’s Bay awaits us!

Day 7: South Georgia, passage to Gough Island

South Georgia, passage to Gough Island
Date: 02.04.2023
Position: 54°29.5’S 036°09.9’W
Wind: E 1
Weather: Sunny
Air Temperature: +6

An hour before sunrise, 5.45 am, we woke up with Martin’s cheerful ‘Good Morning’, and outside the distinctive contours of St. Andrews Bay in the gloom. By early breakfast in the dining room the first sunbeams were turning the snowy mountain range to purple. A promising start to our last day in South Georgia!

On the shoreline, king penguins, fur seals and elephant seals were ready for their photos in the morning light. We split into two groups, and round 7.00 am the first zodiacs shuttled folk to the landing site, while others cruised along the shoreline to admire the king penguin from the water; this is the largest colony of South Georgia. We were extremely lucky with the weather conditions, no wind, blue skies, and low water in the river. The red pole-marked path led us from the beach through a breathtaking landscape dotted with fur seals, king penguins, elephant seals, skuas and pipits.

Across the river we were able to make our way to the top of hill with a panoramic view of the estimated 250.000 pairs of king Penguins. A moment to hold your breath and take in the overwhelming sound of this colony. Adults and chicks communicating with each other, each with their own unique voice for locating partners and offspring.

We had to leave South Georgia and set sail for more adventures and beautiful islands ahead of us. Chef Ralf and his galley crew had prepared a lush lunch with a choice of homemade hamburgers, fries, and ice cream for dessert.

However, after lunch, South Georgia had just one more treat in store: while sailing away the first fin whales were seen. Captain Artur turned the Hondius to have a good look at these impressive creatures, the second largest whale species, passing by. More whales showed up and this afternoon we ended up with a total of 69 whales and a few hourglass dolphins. After seeing these whales, we made our way to the lounge to listen to Ross and Meike’s joined lecture on the history of whaling in the Southern Ocean and conservation of the whales. A topic they are both passionate about. An engaging afternoon among the passengers with lots of questions and conversations.

The evening was filled with a recap and another delicious dinner. Afterwards the birders gathered in the lecture room with special guest Hadoram. The world most famous birder shared his tips on how to identify the most fascinating Seabird: The Prion. While Lothar our astronomist was stargazing on deck 7 aft, in the first evening’s good visibility. What better way to end these 3 days in South Georgia?

Day 8: Passage to Gough Island

Passage to Gough Island
Date: 03.04.2023
Position: 51°30.7’S 030°14.3’W
Wind: SE 4
Weather: Partly cloudy
Air Temperature: +5

The weather has certainly been kind to us! For a sea that has a stormy reputation, it was wonderful to wake up to a gently rolling ocean, patches of early sunlight and light clouds – ideal conditions for whale and seabird spotting.

After the usual delicious breakfast our brains were fed too: Elizabeth started, with a talk on right whales – ‘the whale left behind’, explaining their lives, why they are called ‘right’ and the differences that we can see between them and the other species we encounter. Bob followed shortly after with a talk comparing the Antarctic with the Arctic, not just their origins and ecology, but also the human and political aspects, notably the pioneering Antarctic Treaty, the first of its type in the world.

In the meantime, Hondius continued to make good progress, clocking about 11knots, traveling on a roughly northeasterly course towards Gough Island. The sky became a little more overcast later, the sea assuming a deep grey, but conditions remained settled.

The settled conditions offer good views of wildlife, and whilst some of it was familiar from the South Georgia scene, it was interesting to see it in a new context. Fur seals, now far from land, could be seen porpoising around the ship as they hunted small fish and krill. We also had good sightings of dusky dolphin, a range of bird life: king and macaroni penguins, sooty and other albatross species, and even a red phalarope that some eagle-eyed birder picked up.

At 16.00 Sara gave a talk on ‘Women in Antarctica’, intriguing tales of women imbued with just as much pioneering and exploration spirit as that often described for men. Of course, they had to overcome the usual prejudices, but the roles they played over the last century or more have contributed significantly to our knowledge and understanding of this challenging region.

Towards evening, a very different turn of events took place. Happy Hour! Free drinks all round to celebrate our 100% success rate in passing the rigorous South Georgia biosecurity checks, followed by half price through the rest of the evening. A real incentive (if one were needed) for future visits to be just as careful! And then, by now in a spirit of enhanced cheerfulness, we had recaps, where Martin updated us about the coming weather (not too bad, hopefully).

Dinner was followed by the usual session reviewing the species list, comparing notes and the various identification features of the different species.

Day 9: Passage to Gough Island

Passage to Gough Island
Date: 04.04.2023
Position: 48°55.0’S 25°57.9’W
Wind: S 4
Weather: Overcast
Air Temperature: +7

Another day at sea means another brilliant day onboard MV Hondius! Many eyes were glued to the sea all day searching and searching for new bird and marine mammal species. Today had a nice mixture of time to relax, time to be out on deck, and time to learn from our knowledgeable Expedition Team. We had four lectures and Conrad started us off with his lecture titled “Atlantic Guardians- Pristine seas, managing our Marine Protected Areas”.

He discussed the Tristan da Cunha Archipelago marine protections and efforts for wildlife conservation. The island and the territorial waters have been protected since 1976 through the Tristan de Cunha Conservation Ordinance. Conrad shared facts such as that Gough Island has one of the largest populations of subantarctic fur seals hosting about 63% of the Sub-Antarctica fur seals (Arctocephalus tropicalis) and the world’s northernmost breeding population of southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina). Due to these two species, Gough Island is a designated important marine mammal area.

Chris gave a fascinating lecture titled “Weather Patterns and Forecasting in the Southern Ocean”. He discussed basic weather patterns, high pressure vs low pressure systems and the vertical movement of the systems creating what we know as, simply, weather. His lecture concluded with an explanation about how weather forecasts are made and showed a series of videos depicting examples of extreme weather that he experienced in Antarctica.

Next up was our Executive Chef, Ralf, who discussed the logistics of provisioning for our long voyage. He provided information on how we plan, purchase, and store enough food to feed over 200 people for one month. During our trip, the galley will prepare around 19,000 meals from Ushuaia to Praia, all of the food having been loaded in Ushuaia. Ralf also mentioned, that although not obligatory, he enjoys serving a wide range of traditional foods from countries where the guests are from and with other 30 nationalities onboard, this sure keeps him busy! One shocking fact Ralf provided was that when we left Ushuaia we had over 20,000 eggs onboard. He also explained that unfortunately, when we are out of something, it simply means, we are out. For example, we no longer have bananas, however, it is an old sailing superstition to not have bananas onboard so perhaps that is a good thing. Guests were also happy to know that we do a bit of trading at our various port calls and prepare gifts for the locals. As we are going to some of the most remote places in the world, Ralf and his team have prepared gift packages for the school children of Tristan and the hospital in St. Helena.

Georgina gave a lecture titled “Wings on the wind- Counting Albatross in the Southern Ocean”. She shared with the audience details of her experiences living with albatross in the Southern Ocean. She explained how she conducted aerial and boat-based surveys in the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. Her surveys aimed to gain information about the pelagic life of three albatross species: black browed, grey headed and wandering.

Another evening for daily recap with Martin explaining our plans for tomorrow, Meike sharing the sound of the day, and the post dinner presentation of the wildlife seen. Another fantastic sea day bringing us one step closer to Gough Island.

Day 10: Passage to Gough Island

Passage to Gough Island
Date: 05.04.2023
Position: 45°59.7’S 19°38.0’W
Wind: S 4
Weather: Overcast
Air Temperature: +6

Another fine day at sea as we continued to head in a North Easterly direction towards our destination, Gough Island. The wind was light, clouds were overcast, and the swell was low to medium in height (2 meters), this provided fantastic bird watching conditions and whale watching opportunities throughout the whole day.

Familiar species today included small numbers of light-mantled sooty albatross, plentiful soft plumaged petrels as well as increased appearances of the beautiful Sub-Antarctic little shearwater. The star bird of the day was, however, the white-headed petrel which was seen on at least two occasions in the afternoon.

To start our day of talks and presentations, Pierre provided an insightful lecture into the lives of humpback whales. All aspects of the ecology and life of these magnificent whales was discussed with accompanying photos and sound recordings. This talk was shortly followed by Meike and Ross’ combined talk which introduced the Gough Island mouse eradication project. This conservation project was completed in 2021 with the aim of saving the birds of Gough Island from the invasive mice took over the island since their arrival in the 1800s. Despite the breeding success of many species benefiting from the conservation efforts on the island, mice continue to be found and so we all await further news on the next stage of this vital project.

In the afternoon, Bob invited us all to the lecture room where he provided the detailed answer to the question – Why don’t penguins fly?

During the afternoon, we also had our only cetacean sighting of the day! This was an elusive beaked whale which surfaced only a couple of times on the starboard side of the ship before returning to the depths of the Southern Ocean. After much interest and discussion, photographs of the whale suggested that this could have been a rarely seen Hectors beaked whale, a new species for many onboard.

To round off our afternoon and to get us all even more excited for our visit to Gough Island, Conrad introduced the Island with an insight to the behind the scenes work on the island as well as provided a dedicated video about the wildlife that can be seen on this world heritage site.

Following dinner, we had our daily species list discussion in the lecture room with Hans and Ross. This included a very confusing presentation on how to tell the difference between white-bellied, black bellied storm petrels and the black-bellied white bellied storm petrels. One to leave even the most experienced birders scratching their heads.

Day 11: Passage to Gough Island

Passage to Gough Island
Date: 06.04.2023
Position: 43°13.8’S 14°37.3’W
Wind: SSE 3
Weather: Overcast
Air Temperature: +9

Today was our last day at sea before the exciting arrival at Gough Island that we have been waiting for during the last 5 days of the passage across from South Georgia. Excitement levels were beginning to grow as we looked at the ETA on the chart plotter in the bridge to see it click below 24 hours. Less than one day to go!

After a lovely breakfast we were entertained by Bob who told us about Life in the depths – the benthic communities of animals deep under the ocean below us during our voyage. He described the variety of marine life and the ways scientists have discovered this over the last two centuries. Bobs lecture was interrupted momentarily by the brief appearance of an elusive bottle nosed beaked whale. However the whale disappeared as fast as it appeared, and we sat back down for the rest of Bobs informative lecture.

Then it was over to Lothar for presentation on Orientation on the Southern Sky that we can see so clearly down here in the Southern Ocean on clear nights.

Later in the day and after some more bio security for Tristian da Cuna, Marijke gave us a lecture about identifying seals and then it was Conrad’s turn to take the stage. For one hour we were clutching our seats as he passionately shared with us the story of his home, the island we have travelled so far to see, Tristin De Cuna. From volcanic eruptions, to crayfish, from potato fields to thatched roofed houses. For sure now there is not one of us who isn’t itching to finally step foot on Tristan, the worlds most isolated inhabited island.

But that will have to wait for another day or two and in the evening, we sat down for the plans for tomorrow with Martin. And that will include a unique zodiac cruise around the uninhabited Gough Island. Will we see the flightless moorhen? And the finch? Only time will tell.

As the sun slid below the horizon beneath a sky full of red, the saying, “red at night, sailors delight” ran through our minds. Surely, we are in for a true adventure tomorrow!

Day 12: Gough Island

Gough Island
Date: 07.04.2023
Position: 40°22.8’S 09°53.8’W
Wind: SE 2/3
Weather: Overcast
Air Temperature: +10

Martin woke us up this morning to the amazing view in the distance of Gough Island. Ever since we left South Georgia, we were anticipating this moment! Reaching the archipelago of Tristan da Cunha. Gough island is very special as it is a major seabird nesting site. Even though we are not allowed to land there, it remains a bird haven to be enjoyed from a distance. During the morning we saw the island grow in front of us and it looked like somewhere from Jurassic Park, with its very steep cliffs and rugged contours.

Many birds were flying around the ship and our photographers and birders on board were enjoying the many petrels, Tristan albatrosses, sooty albatrosses and storm petrels flying about us.

After lunch, we started our operations and after first lowering two zodiacs to assess the conditions, and the go ahead from Martin, we lowered 14 zodiacs in total. Our chef Ralf, our hotel manager William, and our ship’s doctor Moniek joined as drivers. The wind conditions were good, and the swell minimal. The zodiac cruise started a little overcast but in the middle of the cruise the sky opened up, and we had beautiful weather, the sun lighting up the lush green of the island.

During our zodiac cruise we approached the island to look for the Gough finch/bunting and we were lucky enough to see several of them in different places. There were also a lot of subantarctic fur seals playing in the water swimming through the kelp forests, but also large colonies on land, with a lot of pups grouped together. On the first colony there were also medium sized colonies of northern rockhopper penguins with their characteristic very long yellow feathers on their head, moving every time these penguins hopped from one rock to the other. We spent a long time observing these amazing penguins from a distance. Some of us were lucky enough to see some penguins in the water. Driving along the coastline we saw some more finches and at eventually Hans announced that a Gough moorhen had been spotted, but unfortunately most of us manage to see it.

All in all we were fortunate enough to spend over 3 hours zodiac cruising in wonderful conditions, and Gough Island offered us the spectacular views we were hoping for. We all made our way back to the ship, and we were all very happy to have had this wonderful opportunity to visit this remote island, especially after 5 days at sea.

Once we all came back on board we gathered in the lounge for our daily recap where Martin told us about our plans for tomorrow in Tristan da Cunha, where we intended to land in the settlement.

After dinner our birdwatchers gathered in the lecture room for their daily bird list check and after a nice drink at the bar, we all headed to bed. This was a truly amazing day on Gough Island, and we eagerly looked forward to tomorrow for our landing in Tristan da Cunha.

Day 13: Tristan da Cunha

Tristan da Cunha
Date: 08.04.2023
Position: 37°09.1’S 12°09.0’W
Wind: NE 6
Weather: Overcast
Air Temperature: +17

We woke up with the sound of the waves and a great number of spectacled petrels behind the Hondius. The weather was getting warmer as we were heading North to Tristan da Cunha this morning, and it was clearer too, with both Tristan and Inaccessible Island visible on the horizon. Soon Tristan itself appeared out of this morning’s clouds, raising the hopes of many of our explorers hoping to land today. We still had some time to sail so Conrad, our guide and resident of Tristan da Cunha, screened the black and white film “Step out of Time” about the evacuation of the community when the volcano on the island erupted.

Around the waters of Tristan, we were treated with an abundance of birds, like the Tristan Albatross, and Cory’s Shearwater among the big number of Great Shearwaters. After a lovely lunch prepared by Ralf and his galley crew, it was time to access the conditions for landing at Tristan da Cunha. However, the weather was not on our side. Two zodiacs were lowered to take Conrad and Sara ashore and talk with the Harbormaster, and they concluded that with 25 knots of wind straight into the harbor and a big swell, the conditions were not ideal.

Most guests were outside on the decks to enjoy looking at the island’s settlement Edinburgh of the Seven Seas.

The first zodiac that drove Conrad to his island, came back with a big load of fresh caught lobster. While this was hauled on to the Hondius it was happily cheered at by an enthusiastic crowd. Also arriving by zodiac was the island official who stamped all our passports and the checked the official documents of the ship. Now we were ready to go ashore but to do so the Harbor master had to give the green light for a safe journey. That was not the case, he decided that the conditions were too dangerous to land at present.

With conditions unlikely to improve immediately, Captain Artur lifted the anchor to treat us to a ships cruise along the shore of the remote Island, with its wild cliffs, green pastures full of cows, and elephant seals along the shore. Soon the sun was setting, and the great shearwaters gathered on the water to go to their nesting grounds. Dramatic cloud with gusts of wind and more than 1000 great shearwaters gathered on the water just before sunset. A wonder of nature that a small group of guests witnessed at the bow.

As we blinded the windows of the ship, to prevent these birds being disoriented by the light of the ship, Martin welcomed everyone for the daily recap. Of course, the plans for tomorrow were presented. Receptionist Chatty’s beautiful voice was the sound of the day and her song about friendship touched our hearts. With these thoughts about what friendship, you might develop during this Odyssey, we made our way to the dinner buffet of these evening.

Day 14: Nightingale Island

Nightingale Island
Date: 09.04.2023
Position: 37°26.4’S 12°20.6’W
Wind: NNE 7
Weather: Overcast/rain
Air Temperature: +17

The outlook for the 14th day of our expedition did not look promising. Overnight we had moved to Nightingale Island, and by morning were anchored off its eastern end. Fresh winds, low cloud and rain drifted across, at times almost completely obscuring the slopes of the island. We decided to wait and see how conditions developed.

In the meantime, Marijke gave us a lecture on ‘Elusive Beaked Whales’, detailing the many aspects of their identification and biology. This group of species are particularly intriguing in that they are notoriously difficult to identify, definitely elusive, and with their very deep diving, something of a mystery.

Whilst the weather cleared ever so slightly, the conditions for zodiac operations were still hazardous, so we moved to a new location further round the island, in hope of a little shelter. Even after waiting a while, hoping for the wind and swell to settle, it still proved unsuitable. However, there was good birding – in particular numerous great shearwaters circling the ship, obviously enjoying the breezy conditions.

Finally, we decided to try our luck at Inaccessible Island, a passage of about one and a half hours, so up with the anchor, and for us, another fine lunch. About this time, the outlook started to improve, the rain ceased, and as the clouds broke up, they dramatically revealed the towering pinnacle of Inaccessible’s South Hill, a gigantic volcanic plug. Then it cleared further, and we could see the line of precipitous cliffs with their mantle of tussock grass clumps. In other places, waterfalls, doubtless enhanced by the previous rain, cascaded from great heights onto the boulder beaches, tumbling down slopes rich in bright green mosses.

As conditions improved further, it was clear that a zodiac excursion was feasible, although landing was out of the question because of the swell, allowing the island to live up to its name. But what a cruise it was! Close into the shores it was sheltered, and we were able to take time to marvel at the awesome scenery high above us. For the birders it was a special opportunity and soon they had spotted the endemic Inaccessible finch – small greenish birds flitting along the tussock grasses above the shore. Soon after, the Inaccessible thrush ‘starchy’ was spotted, showing a conspicuous yellowish-brown against the dark rocks. For those who looked upwards there was the drama of hundreds of sooty albatross and spectacled petrels circling about the peaks and their nesting colony.

We returned to the ship with our brains buzzing over what we had seen, and reviewed it all, together with hopes for the next day at our recap. After dinner the birders had their regular meeting to review the days species list, and the unique sightings they’d been able to achieve.

Day 15: Tristan da Cunha

Tristan da Cunha
Date: 10.04.2023
Position: 37°03.2’S 12°14.2’W
Wind: W 3
Weather: Partly cloudy/clear
Air Temperature: +20

Our day onboard the Hondius today was in true spirit of adventure and expedition. Our goal was to make it ashore to Tristan da Cunha and explore the beautiful settlement. This island has the world’s most remote inhabited population with around 260 people calling the island their home. Our ship was anchored just slightly offshore and first thing in the morning we sent out two scout zodiacs to shore to assess the conditions. Our expedition team member, Conrad, who is from Tristan, went to shore to discuss options with the harbourmaster if the swell and wind conditions allowed for a landing. Unfortunately, the conditions in the morning were not safe enough to bring guests ashore. The swell outside the harbour was periodically reaching 4 metres with waves crashing over the breakwater and the wind gusts reached upwards to 40 knots. The combination of the wind and swell created a situation unsafe for operations. The decision was made to standby and hope the conditions improved for the afternoon.

In the meantime, onboard we enjoyed watching the plethora of seabirds soaring and diving around the ship with chances to take beautiful photographs. The species included Yellow-nose Albatross, Antarctic Tern, Sooty Albatross, Great Shearwaters, White-bellied and black bellied storm petrels, Prions, Northern Rockhoppers, Cory Shearwaters, Barn Swallows, and a Great White Egret. The wildlife spectacle was not just in the air but in the water as guests were amazed to see a hammerhead shark and swordfish around the vessel as well. Being at anchor also allowed for telescopes to be brought out on deck and scan for the Tristan Moorhen. Other activities onboard included Conrad’s documentary “The Forgotten Island” about his life on Tristan, Marijke talked about her cetacean survey work with the Australian Antarctic Division and Lothar held star gazing in the evening.

Unfortunately, the weather conditions never allowed for operations throughout the day. Appreciating how keen guests are to land on Tristan da Cunha, our Expedition Leader, Martin, made the decision we would stay at anchor through the night and try again in the morning!

Day 16: Tristan da Cunha

Tristan da Cunha
Date: 11.04.2023
Position: 37°06.2’S 12°12.4’W
Wind: Var 2
Weather: Sunny
Air Temperature: +20

On our final day at Tristan Da Cunha, we awoke to westerly winds and an ever-persisting swell. These were not the conditions that we had hoped for, however, our staff and crew were determined to make a landing if the conditions were safe to do so. After several attempts of approaching the lowered gangway, it was clear that the conditions (which had deteriorated to 40knot gusts of wind) were not suited and our staff drivers were to stand down. As the wind was gusting from a westerly direction, the decision was made to try a landing at a more sheltered section of the island. The anchor was therefore heaved and Hondius set sail around the eastern edge of the island. Whilst two zodiacs were sent to scout the eastern shoreline, eager bird watchers use the calmer conditions as an opportunity to search for the elusive Gough Moorhen which had been seen in a similar location the previous day. Whilst searching between the high cliffs and dotted Atlantic Yellow-Nosed Albatross, it did not take long before the first shouts were made across deck as a moorhen was finally sighted. Within no time, the bow of Hondius was full of scopes and binoculars eagerly scanning with most passengers now hoping for a glimpse of the bird. With the increased numbers of staff and passengers scanning all sections of the cliffs, more and more sightings were made with a total of 6-7 individuals being seen. Whilst excitement had risen onboard due to the moorhen sightings, it was unfortunately reported that the waves at the shoreline were too dangerous for landing.

Not giving up hope on the desired landing, our crew and staff worked tirelessly to make it work and Hondius finally found a suited landing location at Sandy Point beach, located on the South-eastern side of the island. Zodiacs were dropped in the water and after a safe landing of staff on the beach, it was confirmed that this was finally to be our time to step foot on the island. After a bumpy ride to the beach, everyone was greeted with a beautifully sheltered section of the island with plentiful Antarctic Terns and Sub-Antarctic Fur Seals scattered along the coastline.

On returning to Hondius later that afternoon, there was a joyous atmosphere onboard, especially amongst our ‘island twitchers’. This was continued into the evening with the announcement of a ‘happy hour’ at the bar before joining Assistant Expedition Leader Sara for a quiz in the lounge. The 50-question quiz was based around information from our landings, staff lectures and the favourite staff and crew picture round.

After a long day with a surprising landing, Hondius once again heaved anchor and we said goodbye to Tristan Da Cunha for the last time as we set off in a North Easterly direction towards our next destination, St Helena.

Day 17: Passage to St Helena

Passage to St Helena
Date: 12.04.2023
Position: 33°49.0’S 11°07.5’W
Wind: SSW 2
Weather: Partly cloudy
Air Temperature: +22

After the early starts of the last few days, it was relieving to have a normal 8am breakfast and a relaxing morning. The ocean was lovely and calm and our trusty ship Hondius slid smoothly towards the north at a consistent speed. Breakfast was served and just after 9am Elizabeth gave a presentation titled ‘What does it mean to be Endangered? An Explanation of the Red List’. This was followed by Conrad giving us an account of the shipwrecks of Tristan da Cunha.

Since we were still within the waters around Tristin we saw a few sea birds and there were beaked whales spotted three times during the morning. In the distance some of us saw a breaching sperm whale and there were Tuna jumping around the boat and those of us on the bow at exactly the right moment saw flying squid launching themselves out of the water away from whatever prey was chasing them in the dark blue depths below the surface.

Interestingly we also started to see a few scattered pieces of trash in floating in the water. This is a good reminder how even though we are far out at sea, we are now entering back in to populated areas of the world. As we continue towards the north it will be fascinating to see how these changes.

Lunch was served on the back deck today and it was so nice to enjoy the delicious foods surrounded by the ocean, with the warm sea air blowing through our hair. It is also very funny to see our ship mates appearing from below deck in their summers clothing after the last two weeks in the cold Southern Ocean. Shorts and t-shirts it will be for the rest of our voyage!

As today was the 62 anniversary of the flight of the first human into space, we decided to also have a “Space Day” on board, like at many astronomical observatories around the world. This started with a “Space Cake” from our Head Chef Ralf.

In the afternoon Ross, Chris and some guest speakers from the passengers discussed the logistics, challenges, and some case studies about invasive species in different locations around the globe. From possums invading New Zealand forests, to foxes in Australia and goats in the Caribbean. There are so many examples of invasive species causing terrible problems all around the globe.

The sun set in the western sky and the clouds above the horizon were etched in orange. Recap commenced, followed by dinner in the dining room.

After dinner the birders met in the observation lounge to discuss the exciting sightings of a potentially new species on Tristin. Then Lothar showed a picture and music show with images of the Earth at Night, photographed by the Astronaut Andre Kuipers from the International Space Station. This was followed by a long discussion about light pollution. Afterwards, he showed birders images of auroras, also with music from his project “TerraVisaMusica”. The day ended with clear and dark sky, perfect for Stargazing at 21:30 on Deck 7 aft. The focus was on the southern constellations and objects including the Southern Cross, Coalsack, Eta Carina Nebula, several globular clusters of stars and the Magellanic Clouds.

Day 18: Passage to St Helena

Passage to St Helena
Date: 13.04.2023
Position: 29°17.5’S, 09°42.7’W
Wind: SE 4
Weather: Partly cloudy
Air Temperature: +23

Martin woke us up this morning at 7:45 which allowed us to sleep in a little. We had a nice warm breeze, and sunshine, so most of us were wearing t-shirts and shorts, and that was a nice change to the colder temperatures we came from.

At 9:15 Pierre gave a lecture about the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Life Resources (CCAMLR). It was interesting to hear about the present day situation on the management of whaling and the other issues the IWC deals with, and also about the huge efforts by CCAMLR to protect and manage marine wildlife in and around Antarctica.

Later on during the morning Chris gave his presentation about “From isolation to the world beyond, growing up as part of New Zealand’s remotest family” which is the account of his life since he was born in Milford Sound, New Zealand. It was a very touching and interesting story, and he also presented his book explaining so much more.

Early afternoon we were surprised to be invited by the hotel crew to join a towel folding workshop in the observation lounge. We were introduced to the amazing world of folding towels into amazing little animals such as swans, bears and penguins. During this workshop the rest of the crew and staff performed a safety drill during which they practice a fire alarm and an abandon ship procedure. It all went very smoothly, didn’t upset the towels at all, and it was impressive to see how every single crew member knows his duty in case of an emergency. During the same time Conrad offered a hand-out and signing session of his book on Tristan da Cunha titled “Rockhopper Copper” for all those that had ordered one in advance. We were interrupted by a PA announcement saying that a whale was surfacing quite close to the ship. We were only able to observe it for a couple of breaths, and Marijke managed to determine that it was a blue whale.

A little later in the afternoon Mardik Leopold, a work colleague of Hans, gave a short lecture about “Cute? Grey seals eat harbour porpoises!” where he explained how an international group of scientists solved the mystery behind harbour porpoises washing ashore with very strange lesions. It turned out that grey seals had elaborated a technique to catch and kill them to feed on their blubber.

We then gathered in the lounge for the daily recap where Martin told us about the plans for tomorrow. After dinner our birdwatchers gathered in the lecture room for their daily bird list check and afterwards debating the sightings over a nice drink at the bar. This was a truly amazing day at sea.

Day 19: Passage to St Helena

Passage to St Helena
Date: 14.04.2023
Position: 24°54.7’S 08°23.9’W
Wind: E 4
Weather: Overcast
Air Temperature: +24

The weather today was overcast with an easy wind behind the ship. Big waves rolled in front of the bow almost made it look like we were about to go planning with Hondius. A flying fish and the first Bulwer’s Petrel were seen this morning. The wildlife encounters were scarce this morning so we all attended Bob’s lecture. His presentation was on the Atlantic Islands we had seen and were going to see next. Starting with the geology of our planet and how the different tectonic plates split apart, creating the Atlantic. Bob talked how the Islands of Tristan, Nightingale and Inaccessible developed along the mid-Atlantic Ridge. Nightingale more than 18 million years old, and Tristan only 200,000. All the other islands told similar stories, from those we are going to visit, all the way through to those in the Arctic.

The zodiac pool on deck 8 was ready for us to enjoy but as the wind picked up it was not the right moment to get our feet wet. Later that morning Sara gave her presentation of the life of Krill and the important role of this Krill. A small shrimp-like crustacean that forms the bedrock of the entire Antarctic ecosystem, it is the primary food source for baleen whales and penguins with most marine life, either directly dependent on krill as food source, or as predators on the krill-feeders.

After lunch we assembled in the lounge where Hans gave us good news. On Sunday afternoon we would all be going on a free Napoleon bus tour on the island of St. Helena. This good news and arriving soon in St. Helena and choosing what activities to sign up for gave an exciting buzz around the ship. At the bar a small group of us gathered to attend Rolando’s cocktail workshop. A unique opportunity to learn from our excellent cocktail expert himself. Getting in the mood with tropical drinks for the tropics waters we would enter this evening by 8:10 pm. Others played a card game, read a book, edited their photos or took a snooze.

Meanwhile the wind picked up outside another Bulwer’s petrel showed up between the waves. In the lecture room the movie on St. Helena was shown. It gave a very good impression of life on this remote island.

Re-cap was a short briefing on the final activities for St Helena followed about a talk by Elizabeth on the citizen science platform Happy Whale. Mardik Leopold was our guest on the recap with a very interesting story on an Albatross beak was found in the capital city of the Netherlands, Amsterdam back in 1970, during construction work for a new metro line. His story telling took us on a journey of research and directed us to the final answer that the Albatross that was found was a Tristan Albatross.

The day was rounded up with a special guest lecture in the lounge after dinner by world famous bird researcher and author Hadoram Shirihi. This evening Hadoram shared his thrilling and unique stories on what it takes to find petrels and prove they are not extinct. He described breath-taking expeditions he undertook to find the Beck’s Petrel, Vanuatu Petrel, Magnificent Petrel, Zino’s Petrel, Fiji Petrel and the Mascare Petrel in the Southern Oceans.

Day 20: Passage to St Helena

Passage to St Helena
Date: 15.04.2023
Position: 20°40.6’S 07°09.7’W
Wind: SE 5
Weather: Partly cloudy
Air Temperature: +23

Another day of fairly settled seas, although a little spray tickled our deck watchers from time to time! We started early with a lecture from Marijke on flying fish and squid. These, despite their names, cover a range of species, and she took us through their various adaptations, and in particular the dynamics of squid propulsion.

Shortly after, in preparation for St Helena, Bob gave us a talk on Napoleon and his exile on the island, dwelling on the contrast between his mega-political and military career and his isolation in Longwood House in (what was then) a remote part of the island. We are all hoping that tomorrow when eventually we anchor and go ashore, we can visit some of the places where he stayed and get some feeling for the life of a man who is, arguably, St Helena’s most famous resident.

The afternoon started with a lecture from Lothar about Astro Photography. He showed us that astronomical imaging does not always require a telescope and a guided mount. Just using a regular camera with a tripod can already offer many opportunities. He also compared the options of photos taken with regular DSL cameras and lenses with those made with amateur telescopes. And finally, imaging with amateur telescopes was compared with the results, large professional telescopes can offer. We are now aiming to use this knowledge during the nights in St. Helena on land.

Meanwhile, the seas, for the last few days relatively empty compared with the variety of sightings previously, started to liven up. We spotted a breaching beaked whale in the distance, and then for a while we encountered a number of sperm whales, not only showing their blows distinctly in the clear air, but also closer views as they took some time on the surface, their long grey backs, with diminutive dorsal fins showing well against the waves.

Later, Meike gave us a talk on the indigenous plants of St Helana. This was very topical in the context of global efforts to save some of the world’s most endangered ecosystems. She described the loss of most of the island’s natural habitats, together with its flora, but then the good news: discovery of isolated specimens of indigenous species previously considered extinct, and their subsequent propagation.

To be added in as appropriate for whichever day at St H: Finally, after a memorable expedition, it was time for us to leave the ship, and the many friends we have made during the voyage. We carry with us, rich memories of encounters with many seabirds, penguins, fur seals, whales, and the intriguing cultures and communities of the islands we have visited. Sad to be going, but what a time it’s been!

Day 21: St Helena

St Helena
Date: 16.04.2023
Position: 15°54.6’S 05°43.2’W
Wind: ESE 3
Weather: Sunny
Air Temperature: +26

Excitement, positive energy, and smiles were all over the ship this morning. After a few sea days, everyone onboard could not wait to arrive in St. Helena. We could see the island appear from the horizon in early morning and as the nautical miles between us and the island decreased, the happiness increased! It was perfect landing conditions: light wind, low swell, and blue sky. As we approached the island, a pod of about a hundred Pantropical Spotted dolphins was seen off the starboard side and played in the ship’s wake.

Our bridge team dropped the anchor in James Bay and once customs and border control was complete, guests headed straight to shore to enjoy the local bus tour. The tour took guests through Jamestown and wove in and out of the lush green countryside taking time to note the historic points around every corner. Some of the stops along the way included Napoleons Tomb, although Napoleon himself was removed from the site in 1840 and returned to France; Longwood House, one of the most iconic Napoleonic museums in the world, and the Plantation Grounds, which surrounds the Governor’s residence. However, the more famous resident at the Plantation Grounds is Jonathan, the tortoise, the world’s oldest living land animal.

After the bus tour, guests were able to walk and explore everything this wonderful island had to offer. Many birders set off in search of the endemic St. Helena Wire bird, some guests headed to Anne’s place for a cheeky pint and a delicious burger, and some sat in the Castle Gardens just to soak up the sun, take in the fresh tropical air, and have a rest. Needless to say, everyone enjoyed their first day on St. Helena.

But the day was not over yet! Once back onboard, it was time for the amazing Hondius BBQ night. Our hotel department worked hard to turn deck 5 aft into a picnic area scattered with tables and chairs, only to be turned into a dance party later in the evening. A big thank you to our head chef and galley crew for preparing a tasty BBQ evening onboard and for hotel department provided the free drinks and music for our evening dance party! After a good boogie and cha cha slide, the evening came to an end, and it was time to rest and recover for another beautiful day in St. Helena.

Day 22: St Helena

St Helena
Date: 17.04.2023
Position: 15°54.7’S 5°43.0’W
Wind: WSW 2
Weather: Sunny
Air Temperature: +26

Our first full day at St Helena and it was certainly one to remember. We awoke to light winds, a clear sky and balmy temperatures climbing to approximately 23oC by mid-morning. Today was an action filled day with many island excursions as well as snorkelling, diving, and wildlife tour opportunities. For those who wanted to experience the beauty of Jamestown and St Helena by themselves there was also a shuttle service running throughout the day from Hondius.

Our first morning excursion was the birdwatching and dolphin tour which showcased some of the fantastic wildlife that can be found around the shores of St Helena. This tour overwhelmed all expectations as guests were provided with fantastic views of mating green turtles, pantropical spotted dolphins and even a whale shark. For those interested in the historic aspects of the island, our second morning tour was to Plantation House, which since 1792 has been the official residence of the governor of St Helena. The grounds of Plantation House are also the official residence of Jonathan, who is claimed to be the world’s oldest living tortoise.

A trip to St Helena could not be complete without a dedicated tour to see the endemic St Helena plover or ‘wirebird’. This small wader species is the national bird of St Helena and a priority species for many birders on the trip. Despite its small size, the wirebird is relatively used to human presence and so many birders and photographers were awarded with close up views of the birds and some even managed to see both adults and chicks too.

Shortly after the departure of the wirebird tour, our next offered excursion was to the world’s most remote distillery, simply named ‘The St Helena distillery’. This excursion offered a fascinating insight into the creation of the local gin, spiced rum and infamous coffee liquor produced on the island, with a few sampling opportunities as well.

Later in the afternoon, we had our second birdwatching and dolphin boat tour which again provided brilliant sightings of the pantropical dolphins around the shoreline and many of the islands breeding bird species. For those wanting to jump into the warm waters around the island and see all the spectacular life below water, there were also snorkelling, and diving opportunities planned throughout the afternoon.

After a long day of activities and exploring, a shuttle service remained in place throughout the evening for anyone wanting to visit the local bars and restaurants that Jamestown has to offer. This certainly was an action-packed day and one that many will remember for a long time.

Day 23: St Helena

St Helena
Date: 18.04.2023
Position: 15°54.7’S 05°43.0’W
Wind: Variable
Weather: Partly cloudy
Air Temperature: +26

Sadly not all our ship mates had the opportunity to continue so it was with heavy hearts that we bade farewell to those guests who were departing at Saint Helena. Their luggage was loaded into zodiacs and onshore they left to continue their lives on the safe solid ground of terra firma.

As it was our last morning at Saint Helena Island everyone was up nice and early and ready for the day’s activities. After breakfast Pierre, Ross and Hans drove us ashore and everyone dispersed for their respective tours. Some went for the distillery tour, Plantation house, town walking tour, and of course the birders headed off to hunt for the endemic wire bird.

Back on the ship we had the local boat pull up at the shell doors for the morning’s boat tour which managed to reach Speery Island in the favourable conditions, and Martin and Pierre took two zodiac loads of excited snorkelers out to the shipwreck for some under water time.

Mid-morning saw the arrival of our six new guests who would be joining us for the Saint Helena to Cape Verde section to the voyage. Their luggage was loaded in the Zodiac, and they were welcomed onboard by the hotel manager William.

Around lunch everyone returned to the ship with stories of Pantropical dolphins, whale sharks, black and brown noddies, red footed boobies, white terns, local gin, slow Wi-Fi, historic houses, elderly tortoises, beautiful houses, wire bird chicks, fish of all colours, refreshing swimming, and many other exciting adventures! Most importantly by 2:15pm everyone was back on board and our ship was complete with existing passengers, new passengers, and crew once more.

It was with heavy hearts that we pulled anchor at 2:30pm and headed back to the open sea. Saint Helena had treated us so well and of course it is always sad to say goodbye to such a lovely, relaxed island and such friendly people.

However, we must not forget what the open sea has to offer, and we were reminded of this multiple times throughout the afternoon and evening. First, we had a couple of leaping beaked whales only a few hundred meters off to the starboard side of the ship. They leaped completely out of the water multiple times giving us all the chance to capture some spectacular photographs of this spectacle. Shortly after this there was excitement on the bow again as a group of splashes was spotted several miles ahead by Marijke. After a long suspenseful 20 minutes it turned out to be a huge pod of a couple of hundred Pantropical Dolphins headed in the opposite direction to our ship. How lovely it was to watch them leaping through the waves in unison, occasionally sporadically leaping in the opposite direction or directly up in the air.

And then to finish the day the sun slid into the ocean as a beautiful round golden disk moments before recap.

Day 24: At sea - Heading towards Ascension Island

At sea - Heading towards Ascension Island
Date: 19.04.2023
Position: 13°06.1’S 08°56.2’W
Wind: ESE 5
Weather: Overcast
Air Temperature: +27

Martin woke us up at 7:45 on our first day enroute from St Helena to Ascension Island. It was a beautiful sunny morning, and we could feel the tropical temperature increasing.

Soon after, those who were not constantly searching the horizon for birds and other marine life joined Conrad in the lecture room for his presentation on Ascension Volcanology where he explained to us the origins of the island and its current status.

After a short break that enabled us all to step outside in the beautiful sun and the calm seas to take some fresh air, Sara invited us to the lecture room for her lecture about Marine Threats where she explained to us the many different threats marine birds and cetaceans face nowadays all around the world, as well as the steps we can all take to reduce their impact. In addition, she emphasised the problem of the cumulative effects of all these threats on marine life.

In the afternoon Bob started the lecture session with yet another highly entertaining lecture on “Plankton - smallest creatures, biggest impact.” Bob surely has a gift for bringing interesting facts in the most funny and entertaining way for us all to understand.

The last lecture of the day was presented by Chris in the lecture room about “Calling Antarctica Home”, where he told us about his experience spending two summers in a research station in Antarctica. This was a fascinating lecture, and we could not stop asking him questions at the end of his account.

After such a busy day filled with lectures and scanning the ocean for marine wildlife, we joined the expedition staff in the observation lounge for the daily recap where we had a cocktail with the new passengers who have joined us in St Helena and a warm welcome from our staff captain Miia.

A delicious dinner was served at 7pm, after which the birders met to review the day’s sightings, whilst others joined Lothar on Deck 7 for a fabulous stargazing experience with incredible clear skies. We were able to see the whole milky way and Lothar explained to us how to find and recognise the main objects of the Southern sky. What an amazing way to end a great day at sea!

Day 25: At sea - Heading towards Ascension Island

At sea - Heading towards Ascension Island
Date: 20.04.2023
Position: 10°26.6’S 12°43.0’W
Wind: SE 5
Weather: Partly cloudy
Air Temperature: +28

After the excitement of the St Helena it was almost quite nice to be on Hondius and have a another day at sea. We began the day onboard with breakfast, outside with clear skies and warmer weather.

For those of not wanting to stand on the sunny warm decks this morning, there was a wide selection of lectures, that started with Lothar, when he invited us to learn about Observing the Southern Sky. He showed images from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) at Cerro Paranal in Chile, explained the reason for their location and showed in detail how the telescopes of the VLT work. After some images from the night sky a Cerro Paranal, he showed the progress of the construction of the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), located 30km East of Cerro Paranal, also in the Atacama Desert. Once established, the telescope will have over 740 segmented mirrors with a diameter of 38m. This will produce even better images than the James Webb Telescope in space.

This was followed with remarkable personal story of Bill Bryden (US) who lived on Ascension Island for two years from 1981-1983. Bill was stationed as US base commander on the base. The US agreed to help supply the British with the logistics needed for the RAF when the Falkland War started.

Bill stories told us how the ratio from two planes come in per week changed to suddenly two or three per day. With a total of 5000 during those 2 years on that small landing strip on the island. These planes came with provisions for the ships that the UK send south to the Falklands. The US base commander overseeing the runway and operations. They used to have 2 or 3 visitors per month now hundreds and suddenly 1000 people needed a place to stay. No sufficient housing was available to the base put up little tents with air-conditioning. There were many questions and laughs during this lecture from the audience from the anecdotes Bill shared. Like the early morning that Bill had to sign a delivery for the British RAF because the English were still asleep. So, it happened that he owned 140 missiles, $20m worth, for six hours until Bill could hand it over to the British later that morning.

Out on deck the keen birders braved the heat while searching for wildlife.

After lunch there was another guest lecture that gave us the opportunity to a first-row seat to history. Gordon Owen (UK) worked as an engineer on Ascension satellite communication centre from 1969-1970. Ascension Island was part of NASA’s largely invisible tracking network. NASA was not only operating in Houston and Cape Canaveral. But used it a ‘charm bracelet’ of 16 giant antennas dotting the globe, some on repurposed warships parked in the high seas, without this the Apollo 11 path would have been out of communication reach. The Earth’s rotation and curvature meant that launching, controlling, and landing via radio communications needed to be relayed from multiple places around the world and Ascension Island was one of them.

Gordon Owen described Ascension as a very remote isolated not great place to live but would not have missed it. Those who joined the lectures of these two former residents could sense the excitement of getting closer to the island that they once lived on. For Bill it has been 16 years and for Gordon 50 years when he set last foot on the island, they called their home for those years.

Getting closer to Ascension was not only sensed in the excitement of their stories, but we could also feel it too as meanwhile outside the temperatures rose to 29 degrees. The pool on deck 8 was the place to be especially when the staff served cold chocolate with cream as the afternoon snack.

Later, Meike and Marijke welcomed us to the cool lecture room for their joint presentation of two species that can be seen around Ascension Island. Meike passionately told us about the life of the Ascension Frigate bird, endemic to the Island, its features, life circle, threats, and amazing and unique appearance. Something to look out for at the break of down the next day. As Captain Artur will be sailing the Hondius towards Bird Island where an estimated total of 18600 individuals live together with Booby’s, Sooty Terns, Noddies and Tropic Birds.

Marijke shared her knowledge about the different types of turtles that live in the Southern Ocean and most important how to identify them. She ended her lecture with a little quiz, so we could test our just acquired turtle identification skills.

Our Re-cap was about Ascension and our plans during our stay there. A few questions for the question box were answered and the sound of the day. This time it was a birthday song. Sang in 5 different languages by passengers and crew for the birthday of staff member Georgina and passenger Angelika.

Day 26: Ascension Island

Ascension Island
Date: 21.04.2023
Position: 07°54.8’S 14°25.1’W
Wind: SE 4
Weather: Partly cloudy
Air Temperature: +27

What a spectacular start to any day! We were up and about shortly after six, as Hondius approached Boatswainbird Island, an immense volcanic outcrop hundreds of metres high, sitting a short distance from the main island of Ascension. As dawn gradually developed, we were surrounded by thousands of Ascension frigate birds, red footed boobies, black and brown noddies and fairy terns, whilst it soon became dramatically clear what a dense colony the island was – hardly a metre was left unoccupied. And to cap it all, several bottlenose dolphins decided to accompany the ship as we manoeuvred back and forth along the coast with its multicoloured cliffs.

Shortly after breakfast we were in zodiacs going ashore, into the tiny quay, and then round to the turtle ponds, before embarking on our tour. There, our island guide explained the reasons for the artificial ponds, and more importantly, much about today’s widespread turtle nesting around the island. Then we were off, firstly to the American Air Base, where the station commander took time off from his duties to explain to us the role of the base, its context within the island, and the operations of the airfield.

Then we were off again, across the island, and up onto the Green Mountain. As we approached, it was clear it was going to be enveloped in cloud, something of a relief to those who found the intense sun and heat a bit of a trial. So up we went, climbing the twisting little road until we reached the small botanic garden where, under cover of polytunnels, propagation of endemic plants is taking place. Great excitement ensued when one of the island’s land crabs emerged nearby, to have its photo taken by almost everyone! Perhaps most of all, we loved the lush green vegetation, the palms, mosses and bromeliads, all dripping in the cloudy moisture. Such a contrast with the lowlands of the island.

We had a fine lunch and liquid refreshments in the very hospitable Two Boats Club, named after the adjacent village, itself named after two boats that we propped up as a shelter for a local bus stop. Some took the opportunity for a dip in the pool, whilst a certain competitive spirit emerged on the club’s skittle run!

Our return to Georgetown had two further stops, one at the appropriately named and poignant Comfortless Bay, where the small Bonetta cemetery holds victims of yellow fever from the 19th century. A happier bonus was the sighting of a white-tailed tropicbird on its nest with a chick. Then on to Jubilee View where two restored Victorian cannons were ominously pointed at Hondius lying sweetly at anchor in the deep blue sea. From there we returned to Georgetown where some of us visited the little museum, whilst those of a less intellectual persuasion enjoyed the delights of the ‘Saint’s Bar’, sitting out in the gently cooling air, with a glass of something.

Finally, we were all aboard, with regrets perhaps, that this was the last zodiac run off a new island. The rattle of a hauling anchor chain signalled our departure, as Hondius once more turned her bow to the north.

Day 27: Heading towards the Cape Verde Islands

Heading towards the Cape Verde Islands
Date: 22.04.2023
Position: 04°42.4’S 15°41.5’W
Wind: SE 3
Weather: Rainy
Air Temperature: +25

Another fine day at sea as we left Ascension Island behind in our wake and continued to head in a North Westerly direction towards the Cape Verde Islands. Early in the morning we were greeted with light winds and rain showers, offering a welcome relief from the ever-increasing temperatures on deck. Our first lecture of the morning was given by Elizabeth, who with a selection of guests, introduced the celebration of earth day onboard. Elizabeth introduced the history of Earth Day from April 22nd 1970, and was shortly followed by Meike who provided a talk on beach cleans in the Netherlands and the impacts of plastics on Northern Fulmar populations. Several guests also contributed with inspiring talks about bats and zoonotic diseases from Jess, Kentucky coffee trees from Todd, the port of London clean up by Sally and finally a very informative talk by guest Claire about how climate change is marginalizing people around the world.

Part way through the presentation there were several shouts across deck as an unknown petrel species was sighting passing down the port side of Hondius. With great excitement a large gathering formed on the back deck with all binoculars and scopes scanning the horizon for glimpses of this mystery bird. Fortunately, a small number of passengers and our AEL Hans managed to photograph the petrel during the brief encounter and after careful consideration and examination of the petrel’s plumage, it was confirmed to be a Barau's petrel (Pterodroma baraui). This gadfly petrel species is a far more familiar sight around its main breeding site of Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean and is considered an extremely rare vagrant to the South Atlantic. This record, taken at 5°8'39.186" S 15°31'8.844" W was also considered to be the northern-most record of this species in the Atlantic Ocean. This confirmation of course created great excitement and was without doubt the highlight species for many of our birders onboard.

Shortly after the excitement of the Barau's petrel sighting, Marijke provided a very informative and alarming lecture about the bycatch of dolphins in fisheries across West Africa’. This presentation followed Marijke’s work throughout this region of the world and her observations of cetacean interactions with fishing vessels.

After a relaxing afternoon, Elizabeth welcomed all to the lecture room for a viewing of her documentary titled ‘Right Over the Edge: In Search of the North Pacific right whale’. This documentary followed Elizabeth’s quest to find the worlds most endangered large whale – the North Pacific right whale, during her time in the Bering Sea and Vancouver Island in 2017 and 2019. This beautiful documentary educated us all on how rare this species is and how very few people on earth have ever seen one alive.

Our day ended with a familiar routine of a daily recap in the lounge, this was shortly followed by dinner and a dedicated species recap in the lecture room with Hans, Ross, and Marijke. Owing to the fantastically clear skies, Lothar also provided his guidance to the stars we were able to view on deck 7 aft.

After an eventful day, we looked forward to what our next day at sea had in store for us as we edged ever nearer to the equator for our customary crossing the line celebrations.

Day 28: Crossing the Equator

Crossing the Equator
Date: 23.04.2023
Position: 00°38.7’S 17°16.1’W
Wind: ESE 2
Weather: Partly cloudy
Air Temperature: +28

What a fantastic day we had onboard MV Hondius. Today was the long awaited, equator crossing! Although it means we are coming closer to Praia and the end of our journey, it is nonetheless a great moment. The day started with a lecture from Ross titled Environmental Impacts. When he is not onboard as a guide with Oceanwide, Ross works on ships to monitor and understand how ships interact with the environment. He discussed various environment aspects and the impact of our expedition from Ushuaia to Cape Verde. This topic is very important as along our journey we are visiting some of the most remote and pristine places on this planet and the environmental impact of our journey should be discussed. He also explained more mechanical aspects of our ship, for example the types of fuel we use and standard waste management plans. This talk was also scheduled in connection to Earth Day which was celebrated the day before.

Next came one of the most exciting parts of the day, a surprise equator plunge! The Expedition team had planned a surprised outing for guests onboard who wanted to go swimming just a few miles south of the magic line! The team dropped zodiacs in the middle of the ocean and took guests out for a dip in the water to enjoy the wonderful warm, clear blue water, and the lazy oceanic swell. Some guests decided to not partake in the swimming and watched the fun from the ship, mentioning how the laughter and cheers of jubilee could be heard even back onboard. What a scene it was!

Once swimming was done, our lecture program was back on. Assistant Expedition Leader Sara gave a lecture titled: South Georgia Fishing Patrol, She shared her experience working onboard the ship Pharos during COVID and the various …….

Next up, was our second most exciting part of the day: the equator crossing ceremony! For those land lubbers onboard, who wished to join the famous equator crossing ritual, Neptune and his beautiful wife were kind enough to appear onboard Hondius to host the ceremony. Crew and guests had received the official royal invitation a few days prior and had time to prepare to go in front of Neptune himself and ask permission to cross the equator line. Oceanwide crew that had passed the equator before had planned a fantastic ceremony which included beautiful costumes, a massive fish head, a chocolate yoghurt concoction, and disgusting salty cookies. About 60 people attended the baptism which was a spectacle for all! Dolphins even showed up during the ceremony to join in on the fun! Thank you to Neptune, his wife, the astronomer, the professor, and the master of ceremonies for blessing our ship across the equator line. The fun times didn’t stop there, for the evening our galley and hotel departments planned an outside BBQ! And afterwards we danced the night away in the warm breezes on the aft deck.

Day 29: North of the Equator

North of the Equator
Date: 24.04.2023
Position: 03°49.3’N 19°03.9’W
Wind: NE 2
Weather: Partly cloudy
Air Temperature: +28

This morning we woke to another beautiful day. The sky was blue, the ocean was glassy calm and the sky reflected off the long slow deep-water swells that ever so gently rocked the Hondius from side to side. The sun rose in the east and breakfast was soon called.

Out on deck wildlife spotting was easy, however patience was certainly the key to seeing our favourite species. The calm water was particularly good for photographing the flying fish and their jagged zig zagged tail strokes could clearly be seen breaking the water’s surface, propelling their little bodies back into the air above the waves. We marvelled at how these fish can leave the water behind them and fly, sometimes hundreds of metres, as a way of escaping their prey who are following close behind them.

At exactly 1:50pm the call came through on the radio of an approaching pod of dolphins ahead of the bow in the 11 and 12 o’clock position. With great excitement and enthusiasm, we rushed forwards to the bow where we could see in the distance some splashing, and every now and then a summersaulting dolphin. Slowly they approached closer and the officers on watch slowed the ship to about 7 knots to entice the dolphins in for a bow ride. Suddenly there were about 20-30 dolphins charging towards our bow, just before colliding they turned to join us direction of travel.

For the next 5 minutes the Hondius and the dolphins travelled in unison, cutting through the waves, rising, and falling with the swells. The dolphins weaved and danced together turning from side to side, and up and down. Three baby dolphins could be seen riding along also, clinging to their mother’s side in the same way the pod of dolphins was clinging to the side of our trusty ship Hondius. For five minutes this continued and those of us on the bow gazed down in absolute awe at this incredible relationship between, human and ship, ship and dolphin, and mother and baby. Slowly one by one the dolphins peeled off until there was just one last dolphin leaping along with our bow wave. Then, with one last splash, it also turned 90 degrees and headed west, following the rest of its pod, maybe towards the far of land of Brazil.

Back on deck, almost in disbelief, we all compared photos and videos and reminisced this incredible moment in time that we shared together with the most elegant creatures of the sea.

In the afternoon, Martin entertained us with a lecture about wildlife conservation. This was followed by recap where Marijke confirmed our dolphin friends as being Clymene Dolphins, backed up with a description of the species. Bob then gave us a short lecture about the seaweed Sargassum, that we have been seeing floating in the ocean around us for the last several days.

After dinner the birders gathered in the observation lounge for their daily wildlife list. At the same time Lothar invited the rest of us to join him in the lecture room for his audio-visual presentation, stunning photos of Iceland and Greenland, accompanied by evocative music.

Day 30: Heading towards Cape Verde Islands

Heading towards Cape Verde Islands
Date: 25.04.2023
Position: 08°10.1’N 20°47.4’W
Wind: NNW 2
Weather: Partly cloudy
Air Temperature: +27

Martin woke us up at 7:45 to a beautiful sunny day, the sea calm with only a slight swell. After breakfast everybody was on the outer decks scanning for wildlife.

The program started early with Elizabeth giving a lecture on ‘Cetacean Migration: Whales on the Move’, where she explained the different strategies of large whales which carry out large migrations, but also of dolphin species like killer whales which roam the oceans for foraging purposes.

After a short break to grab a coffee and get out on the decks for fresh air and some warm sun, the program continued with one of our guests, Mardik Leopold, giving a lecture on Sandwich Terns and Avian Influenza. He is a colleague of Hans in the Netherlands, and his specialty is avian influenza. It gave us a good account about how influenza is affecting birds in the Netherlands and how scientists around the world are trying to fight it.

At the end of the morning, we encountered a pod of short-finned pilot whales and she ship slowed down and turned to have a better view of these cetaceans. It turned out that they were being followed by a pod a bottlenose dolphin, which is often the case. Bottlenose dolphins often follow pilot whales because the latter have better echolocation abilities and hence the former can benefit from it as they feed on the same prey.

In the afternoon we enjoyed a documentary from our German guest TV crew on board about their visit in Tristan da Cunha in 2010. It allowed us to have an idea of the life in this remote settlement, especially since we were not able to experience it first hand in the beginning of this trip.

A second pod of pilot whales and dolphins was sighted later in the afternoon and again, the bridge made everything possible to manoeuvre the ship in a way that we could have a decent sighting.

The last lecture of the day was given by Marijke on ‘Expect the unexpected - strange records made at sea, always keep an open mind!’. It was truly fascinating to hear about the encounters she has had during her vast experience observing marine wildlife in all the corners of all the oceans.

At 18:15 we all gathered in the observation lounge for our daily recap where our hotel manager William gave us all the information about our disembarkation in Praia. Sara followed on with more practical aspects for that last day as some of us are still going to take part in some excursions. Georgina then proceeded to show us the finalists of the photo contest and the winners were awarded a free drink at the bar.

At dinner our chef Ralf spoilt us again with lobster tails from Tristan da Cunha. Our birdwatching enthusiast then joined Hans in the lecture room for a final recap on the species we have seen on this voyage. At 21:30 Lothar gathered a large group of passengers on deck 7 for stargazing. The night sky was very clear, and he showed us the North star and the Southern Cross which can only be seen simultaneously in these latitudes.

Another amazing day on our long voyage comes to an end, and before going to bed we all had to turn our clocks back one hour, winning an extra hour of sleep.

Day 31: Heading towards Cape Verde Islands

Heading towards Cape Verde Islands
Date: 26.04.2023
Position: 12°23.0’N 22°28.6’W
Wind: NNE 4
Weather: Clear sky
Air Temperature: +24

Another fine day at sea, although the breeze freshened somewhat creating livelier conditions on the foredeck. We had two fine talks during the morning: Sara started with a presentation on other fascinating places that Oceanwide visits and the wildlife and scenery to be found there. Then, Ruslan Margolin gave us a presentation titled ‘Top 10 places you may not have heard of but must visit before you die’, again, gloriously illustrated with photos of his experiences in these places.

Then, after lunch the realities of our reluctant end to this wonderful voyage came in with the settlement of all bills and accounts, presented to us by our charming (and tactful!) hotel staff.

Whilst this was under way, Pierre welcomed everyone to the Lecture Room for a presentation titled ‘Cetacean anatomy and physiology’, in which he explained the complex structure and adaptation in these fascinating animals, enabling them to exploit great depths for food, in navigating, and reproduction.

At six we had ‘Captains Cocktails’, in which Captain Artur reflected on the whole voyage, and how unique it was. This was followed by a viewing of the voyage slideshow in the Observation Lounge, presented by the expedition photographer, Georgina. Following this we had an opportunity to obtain copies to show our envious friends and relatives!

Day 32: Praia, Cape Verde Islands

Praia, Cape Verde Islands
Date: 27.04.2023
Position: 14°53.6’N 23°29.9’W
Wind: Var 3
Weather: Clear
Air Temperature: +28

The final day had come! Early in the morning, in clear morning light we saw the profile of Santiago Island and Praia, and shortly after Hondius eased her way into the harbour, cast lines ashore, and we were berthed.

Fond farewells were exchanged between folk who just a month or so ago were strangers, but now good friends having experienced the voyage of a lifetime.

For some, it was departure straight to the airport; for others either a sight-seeing trip around Praia and adjacent country, whilst a group of birders, energetic to the end, embarked on a trip to see the island’s endemic species.

Thank you all for travelling with us on this voyage, for your enthusiasm, support, and good company. We very much hope to see you again in the future, wherever that might be!


Tripcode: HDS34-23
Dates: 27 Mar - 18 Apr, 2023
Duration: 22 nights
Ship: m/v Hondius
Embark: Ushuaia
Disembark: St Helena

Have you been on this voyage?

Aboard m/v Hondius

Hondius is the world’s first-registered Polar Class 6 vessel and was built from the ground up for expedition cruising.

More about the m/v Hondius »