PELAGIC EX­PE­DI­TIONS

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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

Wilder­ness ex­pe­ri­ences don’t come much more au­then­tic than this

The wild beauty of Antarc­tica is un­for­get­table

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