30 year old malt and 10 000 year old ice

Published on 27.11.2010 - Yacht Australis 2010

The sloop skippered by the explorer Doug Stoup has just transited the dangerous Drake Passage without let or hindrance. Its tourists are visiting the nooks and crannies of the Antarctic Peninsula. They’re having a whale of a time.

On 15 November, the Yacht Australis started its crossing of the famous Drake Passage (600 miles to the south). The sailing was not too difficult but the participants nevertheless had to endure waves of more than five metres in height, which is still pretty impressive - especially as they were aboard a boat with a sail of only twenty-five metres in length.

This voyage organized by Doug Stoup consists of getting his clients to sail in the marvellous waters of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Visiting the remote islands of the Antarctic Peninsula

Visiting the remote islands of the Antarctic Peninsula

© Doug Stoup's website (IceAxe)

When conditions allow, the tourists can take the expedition’s dinghy and go off to explore the hills that border the 6th Continent’s shores in that part of the world. As this area of the Antarctic is riddled with unexplored little creeks and glacial extravaganza that literally take ones breath away, the discoveries are obviously more than merely interesting.

In the lines of this voyage’s diary, it is not surprising that the descriptions of the itineraries are impregnated with considerable nostalgia, since often, the places visited, the islands approached, the summits reached and the passages navigated recall the finest times of Antarctic exploration.

That was in particular the case of the islands of Anvers and Wienke, discovered at the end of the 19th century by the Belgian Naval Lieutenant, Adrien de Gerlache. That was also the case of the Lemaire Strait (and of the island of the same name) which was named as such by Gerlache to honour the memory of a great explorer, Charles Lemaire, from what was formerly the Congo (now the DRC).

Currently, the yacht is anchored at Port Lockroy. Excerpts from the diary: "Awesome day in the Antarctic Peninsula. Skiied 1,700m and two summits (Mt. Rojas on Lemaire Island). ... We were skiing down through low clouds and could hear minke whales spouting in the Neumeyer Channel. Finished at 10pm with a salmon supper and some 30-year-old single malt with some 10,000 year old glacial ice. The good thing is we are doing it again today! Currently light snow and 30 F with no wind. We are moored at Port Lockroy and are hoping to be able to get on Anvers to ski Mt. Williamson and the Minaret."

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