Granted, we found ourselves in
some rough weather racing ahead of a storm to leave the Falklands,
leaving some of us a bit under the weather (to say the least!) Following
our arrival to the Strait of Magellan, the very unusual and incredibly
story of the magical anchor becoming tangled in knots, then miraculously
fixing itself completely overnight in very rough seas made for a
suitable farewell to a trip full of luck, almost all of it great luck,
which of course we will always happily accept!
Luck. Of course we were lucky to have weather and water conditions that
allowed for frequent and awesome landings, which cannot be taken for
granted. Friendly dolphins (including huge pods at times) accompanied
us for much of the trip, making watches something to look forward to, in
addition to all the seabird life flying around the ship. Rare landings
like Steeple Jason made the trip particularly special to see the
hundreds of thousands of albatrosses nesting. We had a few patches of
what might seemed as "bad luck" but in reality, those times were
more-or-less what would be defined as expected weather in the Falklands
and surrounding seas, and we should not take for granted our long
stretches of clear, pleasant weather, and great sailing winds when they
In the end, in my opinion, the most luck we had on the trip was just
being on the trip to begin with. At sea, we had sailing, calm seas,
rough seas, starry nights, and rain. On land, however, we found
friendly locals who proudly showed us their islands. They introduced us
to how they live and share the land with all of the exceptional wildlife
which also calls these islands home. Many are actively involved in
conservation efforts and some residents even accompanied us on our
hikes. Due to the small size of the ship and our group, we could make
landings in areas often not possible on other ships, and spend more time
exploring and immersing ourselves in this world.
When the Falklands are mentioned to many people, it can result in a
puzzled look on some faces, before they think of the war. The islands
are so much more. The topography is not as "spectacular" as more well
known places like Antarctica or even South Georgia, but the Falklands
are so underrated and full of life. With so rolling hills, pleasant
hikes, and plentiful unique wildlife, (with so few visitors!) this
wonderful place deserves to be so much higher on peoples' bucket lists
of exceptional places to visit. If people take the time to explore and
take their time, like with the Europa on this trip, they can discover so
much about a unique corner of the world.
Thank you to the Bark Europa and the exceptional crew, officers, and
guides for making a dream of mine come true and delivering a special
experience that will be with me for the rest of my life. They worked so
hard on delivering an unforgettable experience and keeping this
traditional travel method alive and sharing their extensive expertise.
In my opinion the special places take on even more meaning if one makes
an effort to get there. I couldn't think of a finer way to travel and
bring adventurous voyagers to the most special corners of the world.
As our 29 day voyage comes to a close, making our way through the famed Strait of Magellan with Punta Arenas ahead, it's impossible not to reflect on what we have done and seen.
Granted, we found ourselves in