Polar Cruising Prep
One of the great (fun) things about gearing up for an Antarctic season is the palpable sense of excitement that it generates amongst everyone involved; owners, guests, clients, crews……everyone. It’s always a great buzz for us that people have a passion for a new horizon, and a tangible enthusiasm to head for what is perhaps the ultimate expedition cruising ground. Our expedition guides and support staff have each completed dozens of Antarctic voyages and still share the same passion for Antarctica they had when they started. It’s a wonderful vibe.
Perhaps one of the most important services we offer is a visit to the yacht prior to the start of the season.
Initially the primary value of these visits was to link the Captain up with the Expedition Guide and/or Ice-Pilot to discuss polar navigation and operations, but invariably a lot of time was spent with the Ch. Engineer discussing how the vessel could be best prepared for polar waters. Chief Stew’s also have a long list of questions to ensure that they have the vessel well prepared for life amongst the ice, and that guests will want for nothing. On recent visits, often the whole crew turns out for a relaxed and informal Q and A session…..the excitement is palpable!
Our visits provide surety to the Captain and Chief Engineer, act as evidence of ‘due diligence’ to a vessel insurers, and provide us with the information we need to fulfill much of the information a permitting authority will require. In most occasions we can bring experience gained on dozens of ships and boats to apply to a specific vessel in a very pragmatic way. Whilst the key items such as ice class, endurance, and vessel configuration are the first items to spring to mind, it is the more subtle (but important none-the-less) items such as sewerage management, garbage disposal and water making that are most often discussed. The need for small craft (for remote coast landings), mud-room facilities, polar plunge accouterments, polar clothing etc are also on the agenda and some of the discussions can be hours long as owners and crew begin the mental preparation for ‘The Last Continent’