Skip Novak’s Pelagic fleet consists of two vessels, the original 54ft steel Pelagic, crewed by two, and her sibling, the 74ft aluminum Pelagic Australis, with a professional crew of three. Together, they ply the waters of Antarctica, Tierra del Fuego, Cape Horn, the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. During the summer months in the Northern Hemisphere, you’ll also find them cruising the South Sandwich Islands, Norway, Spitsber gen, Iceland, Greenland, Labrador and Arctic Canada.
If you like a bit of isolation, cold and stormy weather and ice with your cruising, these just might be the trips for you. “Poorly charted areas are also an attraction, which might seem strange, but it is that uncertainty which is the draw,” says Novak. “And of course,” he adds. “The wildlife in these regions is unique.”
These are truly hands-on experiences requiring full participation in just about everything, yet Novak says they accept both old salts and non-sailors, from kids to folks in their 70s. In addition to the sailing, these intense outings may include mountaineering, skiing, cold water diving, trekking and photography. Two weeks is the shortest trip they offer, but most guests come for three to four weeks or longer. You can even join the 42-day delivery from the Falklands to Cape Town, which includes a 12-day cruise of the Falkland Islands and a 4,000-mile ocean passage. With Pelagic, don’t be surprised to find yourself tied to an ice floe or skiing down a remote slope–no ski lift included. Trips book one to two years in advance, and extra preparation may be added. “For some of the more ambitious projects like mountaineering or doing the famous Shackleton Traverse on South Georgia, my mountain leader partner and I try to take the group to the Alps for a four to five-day trial to check fitness and equipment,” says Novak. “All this contributes to a sense of anticipation for the big voyage and especially in the case of mixed individuals making up a group, it instills a sense of camaraderie from the outset.” Pelagic Expeditions, pelagic.co.uk