S/Y "Sarah W. Vorwerk"
A SAILING TRIP TO THE END OF THE WORLD
Come explore ANTARCTICA, South Georgia Island, Falkland Islands, Cape Horn, Tierra del Fuego & more! The "Sarah W. Vorwerk" provides adventurers, a view of "the ends of earth", glaciers, fjords, waterfalls & wildlife."
Logbook entry of 20:15. Can you imagine, on our way from the Gamma Islands a Minke whale swam a circle around us at barely 40 yards distance. John and Ann are just returning in the dinghy from their first Antarctic adventure. Thousands of penguin couples, together with their offspring, are all squealing as if their very lives depend on it. The sun is low on the horizon and casts a carpet of colours over this strange and wonderful ice paradise. Outside temperature is 2° degrees C , there's no wind and the silence and loneliness are perfect. We are anchored in a small inlet of Paradise Bay, a thousand miles from civilization, surrounded by a landscape of unending glaciers and icebergs.
On four weeks trips we will get under the spell of Antarctica. After crossing the well known Drake Passage in about four days, we can enjoy for almost three weeks the icy pieces of art of this southern continent. Seals lazing on their iceberg slowly float by, penguins peck inquisitively at our dinghies and young whales again and again try to convince our boat to come and play with them.
Apart from just leisure, the trip to these deserted and inaccessible regions will aim for other goals. For universities and other scientific institutes, amateur ornithologists, advertisement and film teams, individual specialized programmes can be organized.
We offer: the ship, the professional knowledge, experience and enthusiasm. What we expect of our fellow passengers: commitment, respect for the natural environment, the necessary means, cooperation and planning, because we want to explore this remote part of the world together as a team.
ANTARCTICA, ITS THAT PERMISSIBLE ?
Antarctica is the only continent left that is largely untouched by man. This is mainly due to the extreme climatological conditions, in which during millennia of isolation the animal and plant world were allowed to adapt to the adverse conditions. Essential condition for this precarious survivalis however that the biological chain is not broken. Since it is extremely difficult for living beings to survive in such a harsh climate, the biological chain has remained small and each link is closely dependent on the others. Because of this the flora and fauna of Antarctica is in a state of only frail stability. All human activity should for these reasons be regarded critically, as it might disrupt this fragile chain. Fortunately a treaty for the protection of Antarctica was signed in 1991 by almost all countries the world, limiting human interference in this delicate environment. By way of international conventions one hundred locations were designated as protected areas (SPA, SPS, SSSI) in order to protect their biological, scientific or historical values. Because of it, visitors now know how to conduct themselves, thus limiting the negative effects of their interference.
On the basis of scientific data, and of the talks we had with station personnel, we have come to the conclusion that the form of tourism we propose does not have any noticeable detrimental effects on the natural life of Antarctica. Proviso is of course that everyone sticks to the rules. One of those rules is that what you bring in, you will also bring out again. Furthermore, we will take garbage (such as used engine oil) of defunct stations with us on our way back to the South American continent. In this way we can contribute a bit to keep Antarctica clean.
"Penguin colony not disturbed" by Kerry S. Smith, Washington D.C.:
"On the United States' Palmer Station, Anvers Island, an experiment was concluded last summer that aimed to test the negative influence of tourists on a penguin colony. For this experiment, a penguin colony was divided in two with a fence. One halve was left in peace, as before, while the other halve was on a regular basis visited by tourists. Upon the conclusion of the experiment, it was found that the "disturbed" penguins were even less timid than their fellow penguins on the other side of the fence. No other behavioral disorders were found.
ARE WE THE FIRST ?
No, of course not, we aren't such reckless adventurers. Judging from the rising number of tourists in recent years (1992 six thousend visitors, 2002 thirteen thousend visitors) there is an increasing interest in this remote white continent. The numbers are not just a reflection of popular interest, but also indicate the increased number of possibilities to actually visit the continent. Thus, the end of the cold war coincidentally left several vessels for "scientific research" decommissioned, rendering them available for use in the tourism industry. Tierra del Fuego has been enjoying larger numbers of visitors for some time now.
A journey to the eternal ice may still sound unreal and dangerous. Fact is however that on average 25 yachts visit the area every year, and that some of these decide to spend the winter there as well, for the fun of it. Clear indications that it isn't all as dangerous as it might sound. Ever since the first yacht of our generation sailed these waters in 1966, disregarding a few bent masts and bumpy landings, no serious accidents have occurred during summer trips.