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South Georgia and Antarctic Wildlife Expedition, Southern Ocean Sailing & Albatrosses

Sail downwind with the albatrosses to South Georgia & beyond to the Weddell Sea and Antarctica 2018. The expedition is called the Scotia Arc because the route follows the curving mountain chain from the Andes to the rocky spires of South Georgia and the dramatic scenery of the Antarctic Peninsula. Rich in penguins, whales, seals and seabirds this is a photographers and wildlife enthusiasts dream, and the ultimate in big wave and strong wind tall ship sailing. Satisfy your inner Eric Newby or Alan Villiers

Wed, 14-11-2018 - 17:00
Sat, 22-12-2018 - 09:00
39 Days
Voyage No.

Berths and voyage availability

TYPE: 4-6 Berth Cabin pp. AVAILABILITY: Fully booked. PRICE: 8,190 EUR. BOOK NOW
TYPE: 2 Berth Cabin pp. AVAILABILITY: Fully booked. PRICE: 8,950 EUR. BOOK NOW
*Booking fees may apply

Europa - 39 Day South Georgia & Antarctica Expedition 2018


Adventurers with a sense of history who want to explore Antarctica in an authentic way, as close to their polar heroes as possible. Wildlife enthusiasts and wilderness lovers who want to see penguins, whales and seals in a pristine wilderness and tread lightly on the planet by travelling under sail as much as possible. Experienced sailors who want the ultimate adventure and a chance to test their mettle in some of the wildest seas on the planet and go aloft with a backdrop of mountains, glaciers and icebergs.


  • Extended time in Antarctica
  • Experience the Antarctic with a small crew 
  • Sail amongst Albatrosses & giant petrels
  • A good looking ship that provides great photos
  • Learn to manoeuvre a square rigger in iceberg waters
  • Guest Crew and Professional crew working side by side
  • 2 or 4-6 berth cabins with heating and WC and shower ensuite
  • Wildlife guides running a lecture programme and wildlife trips ashore
  • zodiac safaris around icebergs and ice cliffs
  • snowy walks for great views into the wilderness
  • shorelines packed with penguins and seals
  • Good opportunities to see different whale species


Enjoying the view in Antarctic Sound on Europa
Enjoying the view in Antarctic Sound on Europa


For many the chance to explore both South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula is a trip of a lifetime, but if you really want to connect with this pristine wilderness and understand its allure then you need to spend time outdoors, up close and personal with the wildlife and the elements. We might be biased but Classic Sailing think the best way to do that is to sail there on a tall ship as voyage crew. You are part of the ships community, but don't have to be a sailor - just have a willing heart to take part in the adventure as best you can.

Antarctic Advice by Phone

Bark Europa and crew have been exploring the Southern Ocean with charter guests since 2002 so they are the real specialists, but Classic Sailing has been offering advice to customers on Europa's Antarctic Voyages for many years. Both Adam and Debbie in the Cornwall Office have sailed Europa several times in Antarctica and South Georgia, so you are welcome to ring us for a chat on 0044 (0) 1872 580022

More on Antarctica as a destination, the wildlife, the weather and sailing winds and a bit about polar explorers.

Southern Summer

Some people become interested in the North and South Pole after reading about the voyages of Scott and Shackleton. Others are more fascinated by the rich wildlife or the beauty of the unspoilt natural environment. Antarctica is one of the oldest continents on our planet, but man has always been unable to live here because of its extremely cold climate. It is the last great wilderness on Earth. A few researchers spend the southern summer living in several research stations. During the southern winter, that number dwindles to less than 1,000. When winter grips this great, white desert, tourist activity is no longer possible.

South Georgia snow melt at St Andrews Bay
South Georgia heatwave creating big rivers at St Andrews Bay

Not a Fixed Itinerary

On a sailing voyage we never use the word itinerary, as skippers will always be aiming for the best sailing and shore landings for the forecast and most idyllic or sheltered anchors and ports. They are as keen as you to include some of the highlights described below, but you have to go with Mother Nature, not fight her. The description below is based on what we think might be possible, based on past trips, or experience, but nothing is guaranteed on a sailing voyage.

Uruguay - on the Other Side of the River Plate

The November 2018 voyage starts in Piripopolis near the city of Montevideo, instead of the Falklands, and finishes in Ushuaia, so flights should be much more straightforward.  A Long haul return flight to Buenos Aries and a very short flight across the River Plate to to Montevideo is probably the cheapest option for Europeans. with a single domestic flight back from Ushuaia to Buenos Aries at the end of your trip.

Allow space for flight delays or late arrival of your luggage by booking overnight stay(s) in South America. You could look at options in Montevideo City.  After signing on and taking your luggage to your cabin, you will enjoy your first meal on board. The captain and the expedition leader will inform you about the plans. Usually we will stay in port overnight, but occasionally we already depart during the night.

Approx DAY 2 TILL 9 - At Sea: Sail a square rigger downwind with the albatrosses

Casting off to South Georgia We cast off our mooring lines. Once underway, the crew will show you how to put on the life jackets and introduce you to the many lines on board. The climate will slowly change as you head South and East, so you have time to acclimatise. the ship may even still have skysails rigged until you get into the Roaring 40's properly.

Every day at sea is different. We will learn to see the difference between the Black browed Albatrosses and Light-mantled Albatrosses. Nature decides the daily work on board. It forces us to adjust the self-image of the human being and that can be very refreshing. Then, on the horizon the ice-covered mountains of this Sub Antarctic Island will be visible.

Climbing aloft to the t gallant yard on Europa
Climbing aloft to the t'gallant yard on Europa

DAY 9 Landfall in South Georgia - Probably at Elsehul

From today on we will have a week to explore the rough landscape of the island. South Georgia offers many spectacular places to land. Our first landing place is Elsehul. Among the steep cliffs we hope to spot the entrance of the Inner Bay to anchor. Grey-headed Albatrosses nest on a peninsula between the tussock grass. Here we are able to land with the small boats on a beach where friendly looking Elephant Seals and unfriendly, growling Fur Seals welcome us. We have to keep a  safe distance, the Fur Seals can be aggressive. On land we find an abandoned hut of the British Antarctic Survey, which is now occupied by a rookery of Gentoo Penguins.

Please note there is a landing fee for South Georgia (price set by the UK Government) which is payable in advance, the price will be confirmed to you well before your voyage starts. It was about €205 euros in 2017.


DAY 10 Bay of Isles & Salisbury Plain

Tens of thousands of King Penguins live in the Bay of Isles. Hopefully we can make a landing still today on Prion Island. Together with Albatross Island, this island is an important breeding ground for the Wandering Albatross. Albatrosses lay their eggs in the middle of the summer; their chicks stay from December, until the next spring on their nests. These birds need an open area of 30 square metres around the nest for taking off and landing. While visiting Prion Island we will follow the even more strict rules to protect these delicate birds.

South Georgia - Albatrosses nesting on Prion Island. Photo Debbie Purser
South Georgia - Albatrosses nesting on Prion Island. Photo Debbie Purser

DAY 11 Shackleton walk - World Class Trek

Shortly after sunrise we will heave anchor and leave the Bay of Isles, setting sail for the peaks and glaciers surrounding Fortuna Bay. The crew will shuttle us onto the beach where we will land between King Penguins and fur seals. While the ship sails out, we will begin our heavy walk to Stromness, the last part of Shackleton´s epic hike across South Georgia. At the highest point of the trek we have a marvel lous viewover Crean Lake, the bay, and the Shackleton Glacier. Then we will descend into Stromness Bay along the famous Shackleton waterfall. In the distance we´ll see EUROPA sailing into the bay to meet us. The once busy whaling station is now overtaken by fur seals and reindeer.

DAY 12 Mooring by Grytviken Whaling Museum

The EUROPA will rest a day in the harbour, moored at the jetty in the Cumberland East Bay. Close to where we are moored there is lots to see and do. It’s just a short stroll to the deserted Norwegian Grytviken whaling station. This whaling station is of great historical value. In 1991 parts of the station were cleared and a small whaling museum was opened, where relics and memorabilia from the Antarctic whaling industry are preserved. Its well worth to visit the romantic whaling church dating from 1913, and at the end of the bay we find the grave of the polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, peacefully guarded now by a colony of sea elephants. When we walk around here we meet many seabirds, penguins, fur seals, and elephant seals.

Chapel at Grytviken Whaling Station ruins , South Georgia
Chapel at Grytviken Whaling Station ruins , South Georgia

DAY 13 Ocean Harbour

One of the most beautiful shipwrecks is in Ocean Harbour. She is a fully rigged ship and was one of the first to be built in steel. We will drop our small boats and have a closer look. The ‘Bayard’ was constructed in 1864 in Liverpool and in her we clearly see the conversion from wood to steel built ships. In that time many people didn’t believe in modern steel. Other wrecks in South Georgia include the ‘Brutus’ (1883) in Prince Olav Harbour and the wooden ‘Loise’ in Grytviken. In Grytviken we also find some whalers, but these ships are from a much more recent date. Currently Blue eyed shag gratefully use this industrial monument as a place to built there nest. Ashore between the wallowing elephants seals we find an old locomotive which was used by the whalers to transport tran oil and other cargo back and forth between the station and the dock.

DAY 14 Cooper Bay

In this bay at the south-eastern point of South Georgia we are going to try to get close to rookeries of Macaroni Penguins. They nest at the bottom of steep cliffs and can be watched and photographed quite easily. We will probably also come across various small colonies of Chinstrap Penguins, one of the few colonies of its kind on South Georgia.

If the weather is calm you might get a chance to take the ship through a narrow entrance into nearby Cobblers Cove. This circular natural harbour is very deep but it feels like the yard arms will touch the cliffs all around.

Cobblers Cove for Macaroni Penguins
Cobblers Cove for Macaroni Penguins

DAY 15 TILL DAY 26  Crossing the Weddell Sea

Return to the ocean It is time to leave the sub-Antarctic paradise. Over 1000 NM to Antarctica lie ahead of us. We have scheduled ten days to get there. The watches start again. Different circumstances; the sea, the weather and life on a Tall Ship make you get to know the people

on board very well. The life ashore you normally lead seems far away behind the horizon. Together you will form an “identity” casually called “the crew” but which will be different every voyage and carries its own atmosphere. On the Southern Ocean the winds blow continuously. These seas have the reputation of being stormy, seamen speak about the Roaring Forties and the Furious Fifties.

When the barometer drops, a depression is approaching and we will have to roll up and take in sail. The crew is alert and stand by for steering, reefing, furling, setting and taking in the sails. Tired and maybe even cold after an active watch on deck, you will sleep like a log. Not a single sound of wind, water or sails, ropes or iron can keep you awake. When possible we will make a stop at the South Orkney Islands.  As we sail south, the likelihood of seeing icebergs increases. Large ice plateaus are visible on the radar, but sometimes smaller ones are not; we keep a good lookout so that we avoid them. Fortunately, the nights are short during the southern summer. It is amazing when we see the brilliant white shapes of the floating icebergs on the horizon. They are huge, and very high!

This is the first sign that we are really approaching the great white mass of Antarctica! The rough sea we are crossing is the Scotia Sea, that was crossed in an opposite direction in a spectacular way 90 years ago. In this area Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship the Endurance was crushed by ice and sank. After a rough journey across the ice and water in small sloops Shackleton and his men landed on Elephant Island. As there was no help to be found on this island, Shackleton decided to sail to South Georgia. Shackleton left Elephant Island for South Georgia with a handful of men in the sloop James Caird. After 17 days he landed on the south coast. Once ashore they had to undertake a long walk across the island to the whaling stations on the other side of the island. It was only after several attempts they were able to return from South Georgia to Elephant Island to rescue the crew.

DAY 27 AND 28 Islands of the Weddell Sea

We sail into the rough and less visited part of Antarctica, the Weddell Sea. We operate completely in the style of the old expeditions and it will be easy to let your thoughts go back to these epic times. Especially during these days it is important to let your adventurous side speak. As the natural elements have a large influence on this part of our voyage we will need to be flexible.

Anchored off Paulet Island, Weddell Sea. Go away iceberg
Anchored off Paulet Island, Weddell Sea. Go away iceberg

DAY 29 From the Antarctic Sound to Deception Island

To get west of the Antarctic Peninsula we must pass the Antarctic Sound. In this strait, named after the ship of the Swedish Nordenskjöld expedition in 1902, we will see many icebergs floating from the Weddell Sea. Today might be a good day to stay on deck and watch for fins and tails as the area is very popular with Humpback Whales.

DAY 30 Deception Island for a steam bath

This island is an imploded active volcano, also called a caldera. The EUROPA will sail through a small opening called “Neptune’s Bellows” into the volcanic crater and will drop anchor in Whalers Bay, near the ruins of a whaling station. These buildings were also used as a base for research work, but in 1969/70 several stations were destroyed by a volcanic eruption. You can walk to “Neptune’s Window” and enjoy the magnificent view where the rim of the crater steeply glides back into sea. It’s also an impressive panorama to look back into the crater. A couple of miles further into the crater thermal currents rise. Sometimes, when the tide is right, those who wish may bathe in the geothermically warmed waters. Water temperatures can rise up to 50 degrees Celsius, while land temperatures are below zero.

Deception Island hot springs - bring your bikini and fur hat
Deception Island hot springs - bring your bikini and fur hat

DAY 31 Arrival at the South Shetland Islands

The South Shetland Islands are of volcanic origin and the area is still volcanically active. The islands consist of dark rock with steep cliffs. A beautiful example is Edinburgh Hill, a steep cliff that rises vertically out of the water. Close up, we can see that it is made up of basalt, solidified magma from the centre of a volcano. Pressure from inside the earth has pushed the plug to this height, but so far the volcano has not erupted. Which island we will visit of the South Shetland Islands may vary. It can be either Barrientos Island, Half Moon Island or Yankee Harbor. All these islands have an impressive wildlife with penguins, seals and various species of petrels. The crew will take us ashore with the dinghies. Everywhere around the ship we see penguins  porpoising through the water and the smell of the penguins reaches us even before we land. We share the beaches with the Gentoo- and Chinstrap Penguins and maybe a Weddell Seal or Fur Seal.

DAY 32 TILL 36 Drake Passage

The crossing of the Drake Passage is approximately 450 nautical miles. The seas around Cape Horn have the reputation of being stormy, but in between the lows they are calm. Let us hope that the wind is favourable when we return towards Argentina. Back in the watch system, we have time to absorb everything we have done, to let it all settle in. We will be accompanied on this passage by dolphins and many sea birds. Cape Petrels, White-chinned Petrels and albatrosses are our companions. Albatrosses are the best equipped for a permanent stay at sea. Their territory is the open ocean. They love windy regions, because they are unable to fly with little wind. During the crossing everybody can help the crew to steer, set, shorten, take away and stow sails.

DAY 37 Cape Horn and Tierra del Fuego

Soon we will see Diego Ramirez Island on our port side. Now we are near to the infamous Cape Horn. Cape Horn confirms to us that our crossing of Drake Passage is almost finished. Today we have reached quieter waters, sheltered by the rocks and islands of Tierra del Fuego. We set a course through the chaotic rocks and islands towards the Beagle Channel. The islands and fjords are remarkably green after our Antarctic visit. They are the habitat of more than 150 kinds of birds. Wild geese, beavers, rats and condors also inhabit this beautiful wilderness. On the Beagle Channel  we wait for the obligatory pilot.

Cape Horn from the decks of Bark Europa
Cape Horn from the decks of Bark Europa

DAY 38 Arriving in Ushuaia

We are close to Ushuaia, but there is still something to see on the way. A few miles before the port of Ushuaia we pass near two rocky islets covered with sea lions, the Islas de Lobos. So keep your binoculars at hand. Sea lions don’t go to Antarctica. Huge males lie around, keeping a watchful eye on their harem, protecting them from invaders. A little further on a Fur seal proudly grasps its prey, and blue-eyed shags take up every free metre of space. It’s packed. When we see the red and white lighthouse ‘Les Eclaireurs’ , Ushuaia comes within sight and we enter the harbour. The citizens in Ushuaia look out over the Beagle Channel. From 1884 to 1947 Ushuaia was a safe haven for political exiles and criminals. The old prison is now open to the public. You are free to do as you please. A quiet walk or perhaps buy a few souvenirs in this welcoming town. In this small town, also known as “El Fin del Mundo – The End of the World”, you can make beautiful hikes in the mountains and National Park and you will meet travellers who have just returned from an expedition or from any other part of South America to come to the most southern city of the world.

DAY 39 Signing off in Ushuaia.

After breakfast you say goodbye to each other. Some will be able to stay for a few days In Argentina. For others the journey home has started. Antarctica and South Georgia have probably been an unforgettable experience for everybody. Some of you will have caught the Polar fever, which will never leave you.


We know several aspects will be there for sure: the ship, the penguins and the beautiful ice sculptures. A fourth aspect is the weather. The weather in Antarctica sometimes has the character of 'four seasons in one day'. It’s not blue skies every day and the challenge on a grey day is to set your camera right and still make the best photo's! 


Whether you are an experienced sailor or a complete beginner, the professional crew will train you to be guest crew from the moment you arrive, with the intention that everybody works together to sail the ship. The common thread to all Classic Sailing holidays is ‘Hands on’ participation on ships that use ropes, blocks and tackles and ‘people power’ to set sail.


We cater for a wide range of ages and physical abilities and how much you are expected to do varies a bit between vessels. See the vessel tab above which explains all about the ‘sailing style’ and what to expect in terms of hands on participation. There is a lot of information about day to day life, the ships facilities and accommodation on the vessel pages.


Every customer sailing with us will need to fill in basic medical questions on their booking application. If you are not sure if your current level of fitness and agility are up to a voyage, then please ring the Classic Sailing Office on 01872 58 00 22 and we can chat through your concerns and possibly find options that might suit you better.


  • Skipper & professional crew
  • Personal Safety Equipment
  • Sailing Instruction
  • All meals, snacks and refreshments
  • Port and landing fees
  • Linen and duvets
  • Third Party liability insurance


  • Travel to Joining Port
  • Travel from end port
  • Alcoholic Drinks
  • Towels
  • Waterproofs



Montevideo, Uruguay

Latest port updates

The exact location where Europa is berthed will only be known for certain a few hours before arrival of the vessel in port. It is likely that Europa will either be berthed at the commercial port of Puerto de Montevideo or the port of Piriapolis, located between Montevideo and Punta del Este.

How to get here

Air & transfers

There are only flights to Ushuaia from Buenos Aries in Argentina but Montevideo and Buenos aires sit on either side of the River Plate estuary so there are regular ferry services between the 2 cities.

River Plate - Ferry Details

See for ferry and bus timetables and booking. There is a choice of a direct port to port ferry service from Montevideo to Buenos Aires which takes about 3 hours, or a bus from Montevideo to Colonia (2hrs) and a connecting ferry from Colonia to Buenos Aries (3hrs)

Remember if you take a taxi to the airport there are two airports in Buenos Aires City. You need Ezeiza International for trans Atlantic Flights and Jorge Newbery Aero Park for domestic flights within Argentina.

Places to stay, Things to do, Travel companions

The Capital of Uruguay and a key South American port for centuries, located on the mouth of the River Plate -  famous for the sinking of the German battleship Graf Spey in WW2.

Described as a "vibrant, eclectic place with a rich cultural life", Montevideo is the hub of commerce and higher education in Uruguay: its first university, the "Universidad de la República", was founded in 1849. The architecture of Montevideo, considered unrivalled in South America, reflects its history, ranging from colonial to Art Deco, and influenced by Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French and British immigrants.

Classic Sailing invites to a private facebook group where you can connect with other sailors who have booked with us. If you want to find a travel companion or share ideas on accommodation options before your trip, then posting a request on this is this is a safer option than our public facebook page. (due to data protection laws we cannot pass on contact details for other sailors on your trip directly)

Your travel responsibilities

Passports and Visas***

*** “Classic Sailing cannot cover every possible visa scenario as customers may have dual nationality, or be working or living in a country different from their passport nationality.

To avoid any last-minute stress, we advise you to contact the local embassies of the countries you will be visiting in your country to find out which travel documents you need. Please start early, obtaining a visa can take some time. It is your responsibility to have the right travel documents for all countries you visit during your stay on board.

If you plan to travel onto other destinations please check you have a right to stay in the country too as you may be classed as arriving in a country as ‘yacht sailors in transit’ and not have same rights as a tourist.

Even if you don’t need a visa, please check your passport expiry date is sufficient for country entry requirements.”***

Travel, Health, Vaccinations and Safety

Security for tourists in certain countries, regions or cities can change rapidly. Please check with your own Government Foreign Office for their latest advice for travellers.

UK travellers check under specific destination at

Likewise we suggest you check if there are any recommended or required vaccinations well before departure as some take more than one jab. For UK travellers check out ‘Fit for Travel’

Travel Insurance

It is compulsory that you have travel insurance to sail on any of our voyages, but you do not have to buy the insurance from us. If you purchase your own please make sure it covers sailing as an activity, and racing if you are racing crew. Most our voyages sail further than 3 miles from the shore so check that you will be covered sailing outside territorial waters.

Classic Sailing recommend Topsail Insurance They have policies designed for sailing crew on yachts or tall ships, whether you want an annual policy or a single trip. These are suitable for UK based sailors but the page also has links to alternative companies and recommended insurance companies for non UK citizens.

Ushuaia, Argentina

Latest port updates

For joining your vessel in Ushuaia, it is likely that you will be meeting your ship at the Puerto de Ushuaia. 

The ships exact location in port is often controlled by the port authorities and they will only allocate a docking position a few days before. You will be informed as soon as possible of their exact joining location.

Any changes will be communicated to you before your voyage start date. Make sure you make a note of the ship's number found in your confirmation email in case of any problems on the day.

How to get here

Air & transfers

The normal route from Europe is an international flight to Buenos Aries. This arrives at Ezeiza (EZE) International Airport (also known as Ministro Pistarini Airport). You will need to transfer to Jorge Newbery domestic airport / areoparque on the other side of the city and take a 3.5 hr internal flight from Buenos Airies to Ushuaia – with the main Argentinian airline Aerolineas Argentinas. See more details below.

Flight Information from Classic Sailing


Phone: 0800 188 4533

Flights from Europe To Buenos Aires

Direct flight time from the UK is typically 13 hours. Going via a European city takes about 16hrs.
There is more choice of flights for Europe – Buenos Aries to choose from, compared with the availability on internal flight to Ushuaia so check Aerolineas Argentinas times with seats first.

Flights from North America

Direct flights to Buenos Aries and a few west coast routes via Santiago in Chile but I think you then need to fly across Andes to Buenos Aries and then down, so sounds more expensive ?

Flights from Australia, New Zealand & South Africa
Aerolineas Argentinas and Quantas fly from Sydney via Auckland to Buenos Aries.
South African Airways flys from Johannesburg to both Buenos Aries.

Internal Flights from Buenos Aries to Ushuaia

The normal route from Europe is an international flight to Buenos Aries. This arrives at Ezeiza (EZE) International Airport (also known as Ministro Pistarini Airport). You will need to transfer to Jorge Newbery domestic airport / areoparque on the other side of the city and take a 3.5 hr internal flight from Buenos Airies to Ushuaia – with the main Argentinian airline Aerolineas Argentinas. There is no train route and the distance down the length of Argentina is vast. If you plan to do a Che Gevara motorbike epic please leave plenty of time!

Transfers between Airports

It is not difficult to transfer between airports in Buenos Aries. You have two options – bus or taxi.
Bus: buy your ticket from Manuel Tienda Leon Transport Company. They have a desk inside the Ezeiza International Airport. The bus trip takes 1.5 hrs with a stop at the Manuel Tienda Leon company office downtown before proceeding to Jorge Newbery Domestic Airport.

We recommend you book a taxi inside the airport and beware of private car owners / unauthorised taxis offering lifts outside the airport.

Ushuaia Airport into town

Ushuaia is a busy travel hub but a relatively safe place, even if you arrive at night. People you meet are all nationalities and generally very helpful and practical, as you would expect from a frontier town and discerning eco tourist destination. The taxi from Ushiaia airport to town / waterfront is only 10 mins and about 15 pesos. Bark Europa will be docked alongside the pier in the Puerto Commercial. It’s a very small place - not really a city and the main pier is easy to spot as all the cruise ships and expedition ships dock along it. To join the ship you must pass through security who will want to see your papers. Tell them you are ‘passagero’ on Barque Europa. Spanish for sailing vessel is ‘el velero’ and ship is el barco.

Places to stay, Things to do, Travel companions

Ushuaia is the southernmost city in Argentina. Located in a stunning mountain setting on the shores of the Beagle Channel, it has become starting point for most expedition ships visiting the Antarctic Peninsula. It has plenty of accommodation of all types (see below), restaurants and places to explore nearby if you arrive a few days early. We recommend to plan to arrive in Ushuaia at least the day before the voyage starts as internal flights down to Ushuaia can sometimes be delayed due to Andes weather.

Accommodation in Buenos Aires

There is a wide range of accommodation types in Ushuaia and surrounding countryside. Busiest time is peak Antarctic summer / Andes mountain trekking season in January so do book before you arrive.

Here is a link to a Google Map that shows a selection of hotels in Ushuaia. I suggest you choose one near the quay, but everywhere is very close. It takes 25 minutes to walk from one end of town to the other.

Classic Sailing invites to a private facebook group where you can connect with other sailors who have booked with us. If you want to find a travel companion or share ideas on accommodation options before your trip, then posting a request on this is this is a safer option than our public facebook page. (due to data protection laws we cannot pass on contact details for other sailors on your trip directly)

Your travel responsibilities

Passports and Visas***

*** “Classic Sailing cannot cover every possible visa scenario as customers may have dual nationality, or be working or living in a country different from their passport nationality.

To avoid any last-minute stress, we advise you to contact the local embassies of the countries you will be visiting in your country to find out which travel documents you need. Please start early, obtaining a visa can take some time. It is your responsibility to have the right travel documents for all countries you visit during your stay on board.

If you plan to travel onto other destinations please check you have a right to stay in the country too as you may be classed as arriving in a country as ‘yacht sailors in transit’ and not have same rights as a tourist.

Even if you don’t need a visa, please check your passport expiry date is sufficient for country entry requirements.”***

Travel, Health, Vaccinations and Safety

Security for tourists in certain countries, regions or cities can change rapidly. Please check with your own Government Foreign Office for their latest advice for travellers.

UK travellers check under specific destination at

Likewise we suggest you check if there are any recommended or required vaccinations well before departure as some take more than one jab. For UK travellers check out ‘Fit for Travel’

Travel Insurance

It is compulsory that you have travel insurance to sail on any of our voyages, but you do not have to buy the insurance from us. If you purchase your own please make sure it covers sailing as an activity, and racing if you are racing crew. Most our voyages sail further than 3 miles from the shore so check that you will be covered sailing outside territorial waters.

Classic Sailing recommend Topsail Insurance They have policies designed for sailing crew on yachts or tall ships, whether you want an annual policy or a single trip. These are suitable for UK based sailors but the page also has links to alternative companies and recommended insurance companies for non UK citizens.

Bark Europa

Bark Europa has a reputation as an ocean wanderer and follows the great trade wind routes around the world. She offers a sea faring adventure and a unique way to explore and learn about nature and the elements. She is equally at home in the roller-coasters of the ‘roaring forties’ or in lighter tropical conditions where she can set an awesome suite of 30 sails.  

In 2001 Europa pioneered the first opportunity for ordinary people to experience an Antarctic Expedition as crew on a square rigger. Since then she has returned to the Antarctica every year. Images of Europa under full sail or anchored amongst the ice and penguins have graced many magazines and lured non sailors and experienced seafarers off on epic ocean adventures. 

See More Below



  • Length overall:  184 ft  (56 m)
  • Length on deck:  160 ft 


  • Year built:  1911
  • Vessel type/rig: Barque


  • Guest berths: 45
  • Crew berths:  14


Ocean Wanderer with a Multi National Crew

Bark Europa has earned her reputation for piling on the canvas and really sailing at every opportunity.  A popular ship amongst traditional sailors worldwide, Europa has the pick of the world’s deckhands, and the enthusiasm of the professional crew is contagious: It is never too much trouble at night to add more sail, or motivate a bunch of wildlife photographers to put down their cameras and set a decent spread of canvas to hop a few miles down the coast....  Europa is notorious at tall ships races and in ports for putting on a show  - often sailing in under sail – almost to the quay.


Maintenence tasks aloft on Bark Europa. Swiss deckhand Jules.
Swiss deckhand Jules with a rigging job aloft on Bark Europa.

Antarctic Specialists

The lure of the Antarctic is hard to resist, and every Southern Hemisphere summer since 2001 this tough 330 ton sailing ship has made the long passage down to the southernmost tip of South America. Once in Patagonia, Bark Europa runs to run a series of sailing expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula, Weddell Sea and South Georgia. If you want to experience the polar wilderness as Shackleton and Scott did - then help Tall Ship Europa sail amongst the icebergs. These voyages make deep and lasting Impressions on those who sign up before the mast.  The sense of wilderness and togetherness you feel as part of the ships company; the teeming wildlife and the extreme weather from sun and lunch on deck to sudden katabatic winds, will stay with you for a lifetime.


Tall Ship Bark Europa nestled amongst the ice cliffs and snow domes of Antarctica
Photo by Renne Koster

Warm Ocean Sailing & Square Rig Masterclass

If you are an adventurous spirit sailing for the first time then Europa keeps the romance of sailing alive with a great library, lectures, and enthusiastic crew who can teach a range of topics. Europa captains have a sense of maritime history. This Dutch ship was originally built in 1911, and was converted into a barque rigged tall ship in 1986,  with many authentic sailing ships fittings from a byegone era. Her ocean voyages maximise the prevailing winds and generally follow the routes of the mighty windjammers and cargo sailing ships of the  18th and 19th Century.

If you are an experienced sailor and want to immerse yourself in square rig seamanship or maybe learn some Astro Navigation, then Europa is a good choice. Approaching equatorial crossings the extra sky-sail masts and yards are sent aloft and the whole crew can easily be kept busy setting the studding sails that few training ships dare rig. The 14 professional crew and guest crew soon become indistinguishable as you learn the ropes, gain a healthy tan and perhaps help out with the ships maintenance.

Ocean voyages on tall ships. Serving the steel rigging on Bark Europa
Serving the steel rigging. Always something to help with on long ocean passages

Stealing the Show at Tall Ships Races

Tall Ships Races are also great opportunities to really push a square rigger.  Europa can set 30 sails but this takes a lot of crew action, and everybody needs to keep on their toes as manoeuvring the ship gets quite complicated.

Europa crew rarely shout to get things done, so it appears quite casual - but they are very proud of the ship and like to help you sail it to her full potential. Europa is one of the smaller Class A tall ships but they are always determined to steal the scene and win tall ships race legs (and often do). Over 50% of the crew must be under 25 for tall ships races, so if you think you can show up the energetic young crew, then now is the time to apply for the limited adult berths on these race voyages.

Bark Europa under full sail with stun'sails and skysails. Photo by Brett Yates
Bark Europa under full sail with stun'sails and skysails. Photo by Brett Yates

Style of Sailing

Europa is a sail training ship so everyone is expected to take part in sailing the ship. Everyone receives training in how to sail a square rigger and be part of the ships crew. The guest crew are generally split into three watch groups. Whilst on watch you might be on lookout, helming the ship or helping the professional crew set or reduce sail. In cold locations like Antarctica the lookout duties or steering the ship are only for short bursts on deck, and you can escape to the cosy deck-house in between the sailing action.

Lookout duty with the albatrosses on Europa
Lookout duty with the albatrosses on Europa

On adventure charter voyages, like ocean crossings or Antarctic Expeditions, Europa carries a large professional crew to maximise your holiday experience and keep the ship sailing, whatever the conditions. This means you don't have to clean the ship or work in the galley and you can put as much into the sailing side of the voyage as you want. If you are an adrenalin seeking sailor who wants to help furl sails aloft at night (not at all compulsory) then there is plenty of action. If you are someone who will pull a rope occasionally and contribute to the team effort, but doesn't feel up to doing heroic stuff all the time, then that is fine as there are usually plenty of volunteers to set sails, or go out on the bowsprit. 

On tall ships races the crews are generally younger and the pace can be quite energetic. On these sail training orientated voyages you are more likely to be involved in domestic or maintenance tasks. 

See more about Europa's stun'sails and skysails and how to sail a square rigger

Relaxing on a long ocean passage on Bark Europa. Hobbies like playing a musical instrument

Life on Board

Europa is ideal for ocean crossings and longer voyages with various places for relaxing. The wood panelled library at the stern of the ship has ships models, charts, an inspiring book collection and plenty of seating for all kinds of hobbies. The deck-house is the more social relaxation space. It has good heating for colder destinations, windows all around so you won't miss any action and easy access outdoors to the main deck. There is also a small lecture room below decks.

See more about the accommodation and life onboard by clicking the tab above. 

Ocean Classroom

We think Europa runs the most comprehensive lecture programme of any of the vessels in the Classic Sailing fleet.  If you want to learn about oceanography, the oceans role in climate change, marine wildlife, nautical history and advanced square rig sailing then a long voyage on Europa is like university of the ocean.  You don't have to go to lectures .....but its great to have the option. Without the internet you learn a lot from each other.

Learn more about Europa's lectures and skills you can learn

Astro navigation class on Bark Europa. Photo by Roland Gockel
Astro navigation class on Bark Europa. Photo by Roland Gockel

Protecting the World's Oceans

As you would expect from an IAATO approved Antarctic Operator, Europa takes care not to pollute the marine environment. Europa charter crews are encouraged to be pro-active and have saved entangled turtles, removed floating rubbish and conducted scientific research as they sail. Captain Klaas Gaastra has won awards from the Dutch Meteorological Office for services to modern meteorology and the watch on deck is involved in  weather reporting. 

See more about Europa - and the ships environmental ethos


The deck house on Europa is a social place to write journals or play cards
The deck house on Europa is a social place to write journals or play cards

Below Decks Accommodation

Relaxation spaces include the library, deck-house, lower lounge, poker corner, and many seats around the decks when anchored. The deck-house has a bar selling wines and beers for consumption when you are off watch.

Bark Europa interior - deck house lecture with Elliot
Deck house lecture with Elliot

Cabins with En-suite WC and Shower

Europa has 12 cabins on board for voyage crew. Cabins have heating or air conditioning that you can control (depending on where you are sailing) and all have a WC/ shower/washbasin en-suite. The air conditioning works best with the cabin door shut, but you can also latch it part open for more natural ventilation.

There are four large cabins for 4 persons and four for 6-persons cabins. All cabins are comfortable and have their own shower and toilet. During the Antarctica voyages or the long ocean crossings a maximum of 5 persons will be placed in a 6-persons cabin. If you are travelling as a couple you can decide to book a 2-persons cabin, but there are only four of these and they are more expensive.

A cheaper option for couples that are happy to co-habit, you can also be placed together with another couple in a 4-person cabin at the lower berth fee. Single travellers will usually be placed in a male or female 4- or 6-persons cabin at the lower berth fee. There is a porthole in either the cabin or the en-suite bathroom, and each bunk has its own reading light and privacy curtain. There are drawers each under the bunks and wardrobe space to store your things and hooks for waterproofs.

Duvets and sheets are provided and laundered regularly during the voyage. The cabins have 2 pin European electricity sockets to charge phones and cameras. The power comes from one of 3 ships generators.

We cannot guarantee any specific cabin or bunk to you, we can make a note of your preference, however the final cabin overview will be made on board by the captain.

Bark Europa. Each cabin has a small shower, wash basin and toilet en suite
Bark Europa. Each cabin has a small shower, wash basin and toilet en suite
Bark Europa Accommodation below decks - layout drawing

Plenty of Deck Space

The highest part of the deck is the poop deck where there is a ships wheel outdoors and a chartroom with a good view of the whole ship.

Photo by Roland Gockel

At the same level in the middle of the ship is the boat deck which sits above the deckhouse.

Right at the bow is the fore deck. At a lower level is the main deck, sometimes called the 'waist' of the ship. In good weather the galley teams likes to serve meals 'al fresco' from a big table on the main deck. There are plenty of bench seats and the deck-house if you would rather eat at a table, out of the sun. The main deck on Europa is only a couple of metres from the waterline, which means you sometimes get up close and personal with visiting whales, penguins and dolphins, but it also means in rough weather waves can sweep across it. Nets and safety lines are rigged and there are other drier routes you can take to the poop deck where you steer the big ships wheel, or the boat deck and focastle which are all high above the sea.

main deck on Europa. 'Two o clockie' meeting
main deck on Europa. 'Two o clockie' meeting

What is included

Duvets, linen, pillows, hand towels

Sailing instruction

All meals on board

Wildlife Guide on some voyages

What is not included

Waterproof Trousers & Jacket

Travel to joining port

Alcoholic or canned drinks from bar. (pay in euros at end of trip -cannot accept cards)

Cost of any e mails home by satellite.

There is a landing fee for South Georgia


Satellite phone (emergencies) 2 Inmarsat C terminals SSB and 2 VHF radio plus mobile VHFs

Medical Care

For Antarctic Voyages and long ocean passages in remote locations the ship will usually carry a doctor as volunteer crew. The Captain and several of the crew have medical training. You must have travel insurance and healthcare insurance for your own country. Please make sure you take enough medication for anything you are prone to. It is vital you tell us of any medical issues on your booking form.

Agility and Fitness

Climbing the mast is fun but not compulsory. You do need to be agile enough to climb a 6ft vertical ladder e.g. to get from the ship into a ships dinghy to go ashore. There are quite steep companionway steps and all the cabins have bunk beds.

Europa in Cape Town after 2006 annual refit
Europa in Cape Town after 2006 annual refit

Bark Europa - Ship Specification & History

Europa History

Europa was built in 1911 as a lightship for the mighty Elbe Estuary. In 1986 her potential as a sailing ship was realised and she was brought to Holland for an 8 year transformation into a three masted barque. The restoration was supervised by the Dutch Shipping Inspection Bureau Veritas and she holds certification for worldwide charter. She is an incredibly strongly built ship with six watertight bulkheads and a strengthened hull around waterline for ice.

Ship Specification

Built (converted into a barque) 1911 1986-94
Rig Bark Barque
Length overall inc bowsprit 56m 184ft
Beam 7.4m 24ft
Draft 3.9m 13ft
Air Draft (height of mast above sea level) 33m 108ft
Max sail area - 30 sails 1250 sq m 13 445 sq ft
2 engines and bow thruster 2 x 365hp  
Max guest crew (less on Antarctic Expeditions) 45  
Professional crew 10-18  










Dutch Commercial Safety Certificates for Worldwide Operations - covers lifesaving equipment, staff certificates, operations.

There are also very strict rules for ships visiting Antarctica, which the ship conforms to.

Bark Europa Captain Profiles

Captain of Bark Europa Klaas Gaastra
Captain of Bark Europa Klaas Gaastra. Photo by Jordi Plana

Europa has three regular Captains:- Klaas Gaastra, Eric Kesterloo and Harko Lamberts who generally live on the ship for 3 month blocks. All have sailed Europa for many years, are excellent linguists and have a real love and deep knowledge about square riggers, the marine environment  and the ocean wildlife.

Europa Captain Klaas Gaastra

For someone who spends large chunks of his life living on a tall ship as Europa wanders the world's oceans, Captain Klaas is very well known and respected  in the tall ship sailing world. If you sail with him you soon realise why he is unforgettable !  Hard to imagine Klaas as a submariner in the Dutch Navy, now with a wild mane of hair and blue earring.  Klaas has been with the ship as Captain since she was first re-built from lightship to sailing barque, and loves to sail the ship as close to the dock as he can under sail.  If you follow Klaas on facebook you realise how much he cares about maritime history, wildlife and the worlds oceans.  You don't really need a wildlife guide if you sail with him as he has eagle eyes for identifying whales and dolphins in the distance.  Klaas has recently been awarded a medal from the Royal Dutch Meteorology Institute for his exceptional work out at sea and for services to Maritime Meteorology, so if you sail with him you can learn a lot about ocean weather from experience and years of recording actual conditions. His partner Marianne sails as Cook and they make a great team. Dutch but fluent in English, we suspect Klaas can speak quite a few languages....

Captain Eric Kesterloo

Captain Eric is also an iceberg dodger with many years as Captain sailing Europa in Antarctica and around the Oceans. We would love someone, or maybe Eric to write something about himself.

Bark Europa Captain - Eric  Kesterloo
Bark Europa Captain - Eric Kesterloo


Ships Cook- Marianne Van de Staay (NL)

Ships Cook Renske (NL)

Bosun - Luci (Brittany)

Bosun Finn (Nova Scotia)

Bosun Matthew Morris (Australia)

Current sailing grounds

Kit List for Europa

Wet landing in South Georgia

Kit List for Europa


  • Hand towels
  • Bed linen
  • All meals on board and non alcoholic beverages 

What is not included

  • Waterproof clothing 
  • Water proof boots
  • Alcoholic beverages


What to Bring 

Please pack your belongings in a soft holdall or backpack as storage space is limited on Europa (no room for suitacases!)

• Passport
• Flight tickets
• Voyage Information
• Any Medication

• Light weight wet weather gear - heavy weight waterproof jacket and trousers for Antarctica
• Sun tan lotion
• Washing kit and toiletries
• Clothing for a warm climate or extra for Antarctica - plenty of layers
• Shoes and sandals that protect your toes - warm water proof boots for Antarctica
• Swimwear - warm wind proof hats for Antarctica
• Beach Towel only

• You can charge electrical appliances if you have an adapter for European two pin sockets.
• A book for the flight - there is a good library of books ,CD's and videos on board.
• Camera and batteries – film, spare batteries and storage cards
• Sketching materials if you are an artist
• Small musical instrument are always welcome


Antarctic Voyages - Comprehensive Kit List

One extreme to the other - Blizzards and heatwaves in Antarctica - Think Ski resort and you won't be far wrong.

Antarctica – Recommended packing
check list
Suitcases take up a lot of space in your cabin and cannot be stowed, so we ask your only to sue sturdy but soft luggage bags. 

Baggage Allowance and Recommendations

To avoid excess baggage charges on international and domsestic flights, check with your ticketing agent about luggage restrictions. In general, you are allowed two normal sized pieces of luggage per person and one carry-on bag. 

 Luggage labels

 Please make sure that you luggage is clearly labelled with your name and destination on the outside of your luggage and also put a second label or big piece of papers inside your luggage with detailed information. Also, mention the ship's Argentine phone number and name. This will be given to you by Classic Sailing on confirmation of your booking. 

A small rucksack (daypack) or shoulder bag is handy for walks ashore to store your gear. Waterproof if possible or put your kit in an inner bag that is waterproof and sealed. 

Bring vital documents in your carry on luggage but keep photocopies in your luggage. 

Passport  For a number of nationalities your passport has to be valid for at least 6 months at the moment you enter Argentina. Please check the requirements for your own nationality. 
Visa It is important that you check with your own embassy for visa requirements pertaining to each country. For a number of nationalities no visa is required for a stay of a maximum 90 days. Please check the requirements for your own nationality.
Certificates of medical and travel insurance.
Phone number of the Europa in case of delay on the day of embarkation (Dutch) Ships’ cellphone nr.: +31-6-51 180 679 or our Argentine Nr.: from within Ushuaia: 15 602030; from within Argentina: 02901-15 602030.

ATM card, cash money, credit card. Ushuaia has several ATM’s for Argentine Pesos. There is also an exchange office on the main street of San Martin. On board, you can pay your bills and souvenirs at the end of the trip with Argentine Pesos. We do not accept credit cards. Souvenirs/postcards at one of the bases we visit can be bourght with Euros or USD. 
Pesos. There’s also an exchange office on the main street San Martin.
On board you can pay (your bar bill & souvenirs at the end of the trip) with
Argentine Pesos. We do not accept credit cards. Souvenirs/ postcards at one of the
bases we visit can be bought with Euros or USD


On board and ashore it is common to wear casual clothing. Although it is summer and it is probably not as cold as you might think (on average about 1 degree C, it si the wind chill, hail and snow you are dealing with. Staying warm and dry will allow you to maximize your enjoyment!

Layering for warmth is the best approach. Loose layers will trap a film of insulating air. If you plan to be outside in windy or rainy conditions, we recommend thermal, long sleeve shirt, sweater/fleece and waterproof (not water-resistant) windbreaker and rain pants. 

 Wind and watertight gear. Sailing jackets with high collar are great, but it is even more important that it is waterproof.
It is not necessary to buy the most expensive gear. 

Rubber boots are necessary on virtually all landings: for getting ashore out of the zodiac trough ankle deep icy out of the zodiac trough ankle deep icy water, walking through snow and sometimes on deck during the crossing.You will be wearing these daily so they should be comfortable for longer wear and walking. If they are too tight they will give you cold feet, space shaft of at least 28 cm high with soft (for better grip on deck) non-slippery heavily for 2 socks is great. We recommend simple rubber boots with a ridged/waffled soles. Yachting/sailing boots don’t offer enough grip ashore on snow, ice and mud, better opt for Wellingtons/farmers boots. You can find these at farm/fishing co-op stores, work clothing stores and garden shops between 20 to 60 Euros. 

Thermal underwear. Preferably synthetic (polypropylene) or wool /wool blend (outdoor store)
Cotton is not the best fabric as it keeps the moisture next to your skin
 Fleece or wool sweaters.
 Waterproof gloves/mittens 2 pairs (For example Gill Helmsman gloves).
 Scarf, 2 hats, warm socks(wool or synthetic blend)
 Enough clothes for 22 days.
Swimwear for a polar plunge or possibly a thermal bath at Deception Island.

Warm pyjamas (the cabins are less warm than the rest of the ship).
Hiking boots.
Extra pair of prescription glasses or contact lenses
Sunglasses (uv filter) and sunscreen. The sun is very strong as the area has little
ozon and light is reflected by snow, ice and water.
Clothes for gateway cities. It is summer in Buenos Aires and one can expect
temperatures of 30°C.


Please not that your rain gear, daypack, camera bag, tri-pod and boots, etc are clean when you join the ship. We advise that you vacuum and clean these items to avoid taking any small seeds or bacteria to Antarctica. 

Cameras and other gear

Please ensure that you test your equipment before you leave. 

Digital photographers spare (rechargeable) batteries, memory cards Bring twice as much storage as you think you might need! In case you bring your own laptop along: empty CD’s or a spare memory stick to store your photographs onto.  

Analog photographers: sufficient rolls of film (100/200 ASA for sunny days, 400 ASA for cloudy days) If you have one: a tele zoom lens (~300mm) allows you to take good pictures of wildlife without disturbing it. A polarization filter is not a must, but it can be useful to bring if you have one. Binoculars for watching wildlife (birds, cetaceans) 7x or 8x is fine  Electricity on board is 220Volt/50Hertz, standard European plugs with two circular metal pins.  Wall socket adapter

Please note that drones with cameras are not allowed in Antarctica or South Georgia. If you bring one on the ship you will not be allowed to use it.

Eating and drinking: It is not allowed to bring your own drinks or large amounts of food on board. 


Your bunk has a duvet with cover, one piollow with pillowcase andd a sheet, so you do not need to bring a sleeping bag. Towels will be provided too. If you sleep light you might like to think about taking ear plugs. 

Medical care: If you have or have had a disorder or sickness for which you use medication we ask you to inform us in advance and we ask you to bring enough medication for the entire voyage. Because on board the ship we live close to each other, colds or influenza are easily passed on to others. We advise you to take an anti-influenza injection before departure. In the Netherlands you can visit to make an appointment for the vaccination. If you have questions about a specific health problem, we advise you to get in touch with the office. We can put you in contact with one of the ship’s doctors.

Seasickness A sailing ship under sail is steadier in the water in strong winds than a motor vessel. Once in Antarctic waters, we will be sheltered and the wind will be calm, so no one should suffer from seasickness. In the Drake Passage, the winds can be very strong and some people on board will get seasick. Most will get used to the motion of the ship after one day. Healthy eating and sleep are the best ways to prevent seasickness. If you fear that you might be susceptible to seasickness, you can take anti-seasickness pills. Please buy these before you leave home. We advice Primatour or Cinerazine. We don’t recommend strong (Belgian) pills or plasters to stick behind your ear. If you have any more questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Keeping in touch with home while you are away In case of an emergency, the ship can be contacted 24/7 via the office of the Europa. They keep contact with the ship on a daily basis via ship's radio or Satellite communication. Please contact Classic Sailing for the contact details. 

There are two ways to send small messages directly to the ship: Messages for somebody on board can be sent to The ship will download these messages directly via satellite communication. Make your message in plain text (so no HTML). Mention the name of the receiver in the subject field. And do not save this address in your contact persons or use this for bulk mail. The receiver on board will pay for the message. The costs are about 1.50 euro per kilobyte. Half a page of plain text is about 2KB (kilobyte). A larger message for example in HTML text, with colours, fonts etc can easily cost about 15,- euro

The second option is to send emails to our Inmarsat C terminal. To be able to do so, the sender has to subscribe to the provider of the satellite connection to be able to send emails directly to the ship. Please contact our office at for further information. Trainees and crew aboard the Europa can send text messages to any onshore address, and have to pay cash at the end of the voyage. The messages you want to send must not contain attachments or pictures or any other graphical items. Sending plain text without layout will keep your messages small and therefore cheaper. The satellite telephone number of the ship is: Iridium +88 163 182 9696. Costs may vary with your own telecom company. But they are extremely high in any case! Please remember that there might be a time difference. You can also send a letter or a card to our office in Rotterdam. When new crew or trainees fly from Amsterdam to the ship they can take the mail to the trainees and crew members on board. Please check with the office in the Netherlands if crew is flying and if it is possible for them to take mail. There is no internet connection on board.  Note that: cell phones will stop operating once we get out of the Beagle Channel.  Note that some email accounts, like hotmail, will be blocked after not being used for 1 month. 

Remember to write down the correct email addresses and phone numbers of the people you would like to contact from the ship (otherwise your emails will be automatically returned at your cost)

All guest will be asked to provide a next of kin address in case of an emergency. 

Furthermore, you can check the location of the ship under 'follow the ship'. We have frequent contact with the ship so in case you contact us we can tell you about the whereabouts of your relatives/friends. 

Bark Europa
Bark Europa



Europa - Reviews & Blogs

Snowballs in Antarctica

Customer Comments - Cape to Cape 2018

What did you enjoy most?

On the southern Ocean with the bark rolling out to 40 degrees, water flooding the main deck as we hauled on the clews and buntlines to take in sail

Cape to Cape sailor 2018

Bark Europa, view through the port hole in Antarctica
Bark Europa, view through the port hole in Antarctica

What was the best bit?

All of it!! Maybe seeing over 100 Fin whales feeding on route to Elephant Island - that was pretty cool.

What was the worst bit?

Being stung by a Portuguese Man of War whilst swimming off Tristan da Cuhna....but that in itself was amazing so not really the worst bit!

Why do you sail? It really helps us to know your specific reasons.

Freedom and curiosity

Any other comments

It truly was a life changing experience and one I will treasure for the rest of my life!" - Lucy M - Cape to Cape 2018

Trying to sum up what this journey has meant to me

LOGBOOK 10-01-2012 10:00

We have passed Cape Horn. In a short time the Bark Europa, which has been our home for the last couple of months, will re-join the wider world.

Having spent 47 days in this little island of metal and wood in a very large ocean, and this having been my first time on a sailing ship, I've been trying to sum up what this journey has meant to me in a few lines.

Its not been easy, I keep wanting to use words like "magical", "fantastic" or "otherworldly" to describe the journey into the Antarctic, but it simply can't do justice to the trip as a whole in a few words.The best I can do is draw out some of the most precious moments for me from the trip.

- having the chance to honour Sir Ernest Shackleton - my personal hero - at a short ceremony at his grave,
- to see two humpback whales swimming 25 feet from the ship on Christmas day,
- to see two elephant seals - both the size of family cars fighting.

(also as an ultra-marathon runner being able to run in the Arctic as in the Antarctic was another goal I can tick off after this trip).

This has been an amazing journey, in an amazing ship, with amazing people! Thanks!"


Simon the Ultra Runner on Europa
Simon the Ultra Runner on Europa

Not Going Home - I am Home

LOGBOOK 13-01-2012 10:00

It's difficult to talk about intense experiences. I'm English, and we are notorious for our stiff upper lips, so please excuse the lack of hyperbole. As a group, we now know how to differentiate between 5 different types of penguin by smell alone, how to fend off a 'harem-less' male fur seal with a raised hand and a hard stare.

And what it feels like to be helmed through fields of ice-bergs by a captain who nobody would want to be in front of in heavy traffic ('Come on, you could get a three-masted square-rigger through that gap!'). Who will we talk to about these last weeks? Each other? I don't know; we've seen the best and the worst of each other, and that's not always a comfortable place to be, socially. Can we talk to anyone else about it? Yeesh. Antarctica bores alert!

Maybe we'll take some time to process these sensations before we share them; the sound like thunder as a glacier creaks its way towards calving, the feeling of helplessness as the katabatic winds sweep off the ice-fields and make the ship heel even though there are no sails up (yes, yes, and they're all beautifully furled already...), the sight of a quarter of a million penguins choosing to nest in one particular spot. Maybe we'll tuck these memories away, hoarded like a miser's gold.

It's as damned sure as mustard, though, that something in our futures will trigger a memory of this. It might be a mention of some previously-unheard-of-but-now-familiar sub-antarctic island, it might be the smell of a basin full of disinfectant (don't pack a pest and whatever you do, don't tread on the moss!),or even just the sight of a teabag in a bar glass, but we now have within us the capacity to call up at will our own, personalised picture of the serenity that we have experienced, and this empowers us- we will be somehow better: serene, content, sorted.

Maybe that's the whole point. I mean, who'd choose to go on a trip like this anyway? Returnees and retirees is an easy but inaccurate answer. Of the 40 voyage crew on this leg, about half fulfill those criteria, but that's just who, not why. We are the mid-life crises, the career breaks, the bereaved and the mad-as-a-monkey-on-a-trampoline types. We're Red, White and Blue watch, helming and looking-out in all kinds of weather, (and Green watch, lying down and groaning in all kinds of weather). We are ruffty-tuffty... oh who am I kidding? A boat full of middle-aged accountants? Nope. Not that either. I've been on this trip since Rotterdam in September and the only thing that's been predictable is the quality of the soup, Yes!

So come on, Europees, and Europites and Europophiles everywhere. Learn the difference between a clew and a buntline, and one day... no, I can't pretend that will make any difference...That's the point. When you need a change, or a challenge, come aboard. Don't cruise the world's oceans in a floating block of flats with its own casino and cinema. Do it the hard way.

We've dodged cross-channel ferries and Brazilian fishermen, We've swum in the horse latitudes and in Antarctica, We've watched Orion cross the night sky closer and closer to the northern horizon until the southern midnight sun hid him from view. Feel every mile...

That's why the hardest time is the morning of our departure. The monstrous bags (I never packed that much stuff, surely) , the hearty handshakes, (English- stiff upper lip, remember), the swapped addresses (if you're ever in Outer Mongolia...), the surreality of wandering around Ushuaia, over 10,000 miles away from where you live, and bumping into people you know all day, (from the ship, obviously, unless you have a fabulous social network,) and that thing that we all say., "Safe trip home".

And you step out of our tiny, dangerous, intense, unbelievably exciting world, back into anonymity, and the spell is broken. And you go home. And some are ready to go home, and some aren't, and the luckiest buggers of all realise that we're already there.


Kate the Theatre Stage Builder sailing from NL to Antarctica on Europa
Kate the Theatre Stage Builder sailing from NL to Antarctica on Europa

A Personal Pilgrimage on Europa

 LOGBOOK 19-12-2011 10:00

Grytviken on South Georgia contains the ruins of an old whaling station. "Old" in this case, is a matter of perspective. These particular stations were actively processing whales during the lifetimes of some of the Europa's voyage crew.

To many people, seeing these ruins is perhaps like seeing the ruins of an old concentration camp. To them. it is a place of unimaginable horror. Without doubt, these are very sad and mournful places.

Part of my sadness is nostalgia, because unlike many people these days, I have the rare distinction of having been a child in an active whaling town. When I was very young, my town had the last active whaling station in my country - and this was as late as the 1970's. The two primary industries in my town were whaling and salmon - and when the whaling station closed and the salmon cannery shut down, my town was devastated.

My town hunted Southern Right Whales and Humpback Whales, but especially we hunted Sperm Whales for their superior quality oil, their ambergris and the spermaceti organ they used for echo navigation. I have dim memories of watching the whale-catchers steaming out of the harbour through my father's binoculars. I also recall watching those same boats return, towing whales behind them, and the orca's and sharks attacking the carcass as it was towed to the station. They say the water at the end of the flensing ramps used to boil with the frenzy of feeding sharks and orcas.

My father taught me how to mix whale oil with bran & pollard to attract fish. I can still remember the unique silky smoothness of the oil and it's peculiar smell. One day he found two enormous teeth in a friend's garden - they were Sperm Whale teeth, six inches long and wickedly curved. To me, a boy of seven years, they felt as heavy as lead ingots.

My father polished them and used them for scrimshaw - a classical scene of a square-rigged whaler at a quay-side. One still sits above the fireplace in his lounge room and even now, as a man of forty years, it feels as heavy as a lead ingot to me.
Perhaps some of that weight is the guilt of what was done to the Southern Whale Fisheries for greed and profit.

Mikkie from Austraila.

Mikki learning his knots on Europa
Mikki learning his knots on Europa

At Sea when Steve Jobs died

It made me think that it would be nice to share a couple of words from Apple Founder Steve Jobs, an innovator, technology adventurer and creator of at least one great gadget stowed away in every cabin on Europa during this Atlantic crossing, who sadly died earlier this week.

In a speech to the graduates of Stanford University, Steve Jobs advised them: "live each day as if it were your last, as someday you'll most certainly be right. Every day I look in the mirror and ask myself, if today were my last day on earth, would I want to do what I am about to do today?".

And at 3.45am as the lamp by my bed switched on for the 4am watch, were it not for the fear of waking two thirds of our motley training crew who'd been up on watch all night, I would have shouted at the top of my lungs "_YES! This is what I would want to do_!" because another glorious day on the beatuiful Europa was waiting for me on deck.

YES! To more sizzling sunshine, good wind and deep blue sea
YES! To outrageously delicious food - steak and wine, biscuits, tea and cakes. Pina Coladas!
YES! To dolphins, whales and Penelope the pigeon, our voyage stowaway
YES! To thinking up new excuses for why I'm more likely to get us to St Lucia than Salvador when left alone at the helm
YES! To thinking up more excuses for why I've spent the past few days genuinely thinking the schools of flying fish were flocks of birds
YES! To beating the fear of heights and conquering the 'yellow monster' platform
YES! To handstands and gymnastic classes on the deck while Europa rocks and rolls
YES! To the waves that gurgle and lap at the porthole of our en-suite showers where we wash the salt from our hair
YES! To absorbing as much information as possible from Europa's fantastically talented, dedicated and charming professional crew
YES! To new friends, birthdays, and 'thanks giving' all in our first week
YES! To the experience of a life time
YES to all this and more. Many, many, more happy sailing days aboard Europa.

Riss, CREW LOGBOOK October 2011



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