Antarctica is one of the last wild places on earth. And this past week, it’s really lived up to its name.
The ice-strengthened, Russian-flagged MV Akademik Shokalskiy set sail in early December on a expedition to Antarctica. Carrying tourists and research scientists on their way to study the effects of global warming, the ship became stuck in the ice flow on Christmas morning. The passengers are in no danger, and in fact are seemingly enjoying the unique event. Passengers said it wasn’t a bad place to be stuck; the scenery is beautiful and penguins have been walking up to the ship and sniffing around, checking out their new neighbors. Continue reading “Antarctica – Not Exactly as Planned”
Passengers aboard the Orion where sailing on Day 11 of a 18-day Antarctica expedition cruise when they were drafted to assist in the rescue of a solo sailor who was adrift after his sailboat had sank more than three days earlier.
Experienced yachtsman, Frenchman Alain Delord was attempting to sail solo around the world, without assistance. He had been at sea since October last year. On Friday, his yacht, Tchouk Tchouk Nougat, was damaged and sank in rough weather off southern Australia’s Tasmania island.
The Orion diverted from its scheduled Antarctic itinerary to assist with the rescue, battling deteriorating weather conditions to reach him before sunset. It was the only ship within 100 nautical miles to respond to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)’s distress call. The AMSA had dropped Delord food, water, communications equipment and a safety suit on Saturday and had stayed in regular contact with him leading up to the rescue.
Many people settle down with family during the holidays to catch up, and reconnect with loved ones. For a small group, the holidays are a perfect time to explore and experience the world.
Small ship cruises have been busy this holiday season, exploring diverse areas of our world, from the southern reaches of Antarctica and the South Pacific, up to the unique Galapagos Islands and Central America, and further to Europe and America’s southern Atlantic coast.
Quark Expeditions recently announced an addition to its fleet. Currently the 189-passenger Le Diamant, the ship will undergo an extensive refurbishment and be renamed Ocean Diamond. The ship will begin service in November 2012 for the Antarctic 2012-2013 season.
Back in the 90’s and into most of the 2000’s, Cruise West was a major player in the small ship cruising niche industry. Many of our clients fell in love with their Alaska experience and the ships. With the one-year anniversary of the Cruise West’s demise approaching, we like to check in on the former Cruise West ships to see where they are now.
Spirit of Oceanus
The one time 120-passenger flagship of the line was the most luxurious ship in the fleet, and sailed grand Alaska and Asia itineraries. The Spirit of Oceanus was in the midst of sailing a world cruise when Cruise West halted operations. The ship terminated its sailing in Newfoundland, Canada and was immediately sold to TN Cruise K/S, who now charters the ship to other cruise lines.
Today, the ship, renamed Sea Spirit, is now chartered to several expedition lines, including Quark Expeditions and Zegrahm Expeditions, sailing the Antarctic.