Cruise passengers headed for St Helena on the MV Plancius have fared better than those who set off on the same voyage in 2012.
They were stranded for several days in the icy waters of South Georgia, before being rescued and taken to South America – missing out on their planned visit to Tristan da Cunha, St Helena and Ascension.
The ship’s main propulsion system had failed, leaving it without the power it needed to face the demanding voyage to Tristan.
This year’s passengers have had a better voyage. Conrad Glass, Tristan’s well-known “rockhopper copper”, reports on Facebook that he helped land 54 people from the Plancius on Nightingale Island.
The converted icebreaker, which carries up to 117 passengers and 43 crew, is due to reach James Bay on 23 April 2013 for a two-day visit, before heading on to Ascension.
The online brochure for its Atlantic Odyssey cruise, costing 6,000 euros, says it offers “a unique possibility to visit several of the remotest islands in the world.
“Beautiful and often rare species live on these islands, many of them not found anywhere else in the world. Isolated local communities can also be visited.”
It emphasises St Helena’s natural attractions: “Beautiful flowers such as the nearly extinct St. Helena Ebony, the rich marine bird-life such as noddies, terns, petrels and tropic-birds and the endemic and rare Wire-bird,” it says, “give nature photographers a unique possibility to see and photograph these true wonders of nature.
Hundreds of tourists who enjoyed a visit to St Helena aboard the MS Amsterdam were less fortunate when they reached Ascension on 17 April 2013.
Passenger Bradley Elliott wrote in his World Traveller blog: “We almost made it.
“We were in the tender about 100 yards from the dock and the captain announced that it was not safe to disembark the tenders, so back to the ship we went. However, I did take some nice photos.”
It was a second blow for one passenger aboard the Amsterdam. Having travelled hundreds of miles to reach St Helena, he tripped only a few yards after stepping ashore on the wharf, which was being resurfaced. He and his wife spent most of their day at the island’s hospital.
Cruise passengers stranded amid ice