St Helena Online

Tag: cruising

Better luck this time for ship that was stranded in ice

Tour ship Plancius with an ice cliff behind
Plancius was stranded in South Georgia (picture: Inezia Tours / Pieter van den Luit)

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

MV Plancius – Atlantic Odyssey
Bradley Elliott: World Traveler blog – Jamestown pictures

Cruise ship Sinfonia lands passengers at second attempt

Passengers from the cruise ship MSC Sinfonia have been allowed ashore at Jamestown after the ship’s captain negotiated to be able to stay off the island overnight. It had been ruled that the sea was too rough for hundreds of sightseers to go ashore as planned on Sunday, 20 January 2013.

Hazel Wilmot sent this message from the Consulate Hotel at 06.51hrs:

Ship is disembarking passengers soon and all have to be back on board by 1.00pm – thank goodness for small mercies. Let the fun begin!

A source on the island said there were many friends and relatives of islanders who had booked on the cruise just to spend a single day ashore.

He said a few passengers who had booked to travel to Cape Town on the Sinfonia were summoned by the shipping agents to get their luggage to the wharf as quickly as possible before the ship was expected to depart early after the decision not to allow landings.

Passengers were said to be “irate” at the decision, which was then reversed.

Cruise ship delays sailing in hope of landing passengers
Another ship, another mad day at the Consulate. And another…

Yacht race organisers seek a home for St Helena crew

An appeal has gone out in South Africa for acommodation for St Helena’s crew in the Governor’s Cup Yacht Race in December.

Hedge Shuter and three other islanders will make up the crew for the only all-island entry in the race from Simonstown to St Helena.

Organiser Billy Leisegang, of the False Bay Yacht Club in Simonstown, says: “They are not flush with funds, so are appealing to anyone with vacant living space available close to FBYC to please come forward. They would be able to accommodate a small fee if required.

“Dianne and I have had Saints stay with us prior to three Governor’s Cups and I assure you that they are an absolute pleasure to have as guests. They settle in easily, are excellent company and WOW can they cook!

“Please contact me soonest if you have any ideas at”

In fact, the island yacht is expected to have a combined Saint and expat crew – that’s not to say the cooking will be any less good.

Twenty five yachts are lined up to form the biggest-ever fleet in the race, which has taken place every two years since 1997. Two have pulled out but another two look set to replace them.

Secure moorings for the entire fleet are expected to be in place in time for the race.

The yacht race newsletter says: “Excellent breaking news is that the island has commissioned a professional engineering design and specification for their moorings and it is anticipated that 25 moorings, more than adequate to securely berth our fleet, will be installed and commissioned well in time for our arrival.”

Record fleet enlists for island yacht race

Governor’s Cup Yacht Race 2012

St Helena cruise passengers stranded in the cold

Tour ship Plancius with an ice cliff behind
Plancius was meant to be headed for the tropics (picture: Inezia Tours / Pieter van den Luit)

A tourist ship that was meant to be headed for St Helena and her sister islands is stranded instead at South Georgia, waiting for rescue.

Another vessel has left Ushuaia in Argentina to take off the 73 passengers and some of the expedition staff and crew of the MV Plancius. “There is no threat to life or environment,” said a statement from the owners.

The ship’s main propulsion system malfuntioned, leaving it with reduced power.

The web promotion for the 39-day Atlantic Odyssey said it offered “a unique possibility to visit several of the remotest islands in the world.

“Besides the Antarctic Peninsula, the South Shetland Islands, South Georgia and the South Orkney Islands, the Atlantic Odyssey visits Tristan da Cunha, St Helena, Ascension Island and Cape Verde. Isolated local communities can be visited.”

A statement from Oceanwide Expeditions said: “The spirit on board is – given the circumstances – good  and passengers indulge in local walks and an excursion programme organized by expedition staff.

“The ship has only very limited sailing capabilities (maximum 4-5 knots in calm conditions), which means the vessel will not be able maintain course in rough seas of the open ocean.”

A tug is due to reach the Plancius at Grytviken on 17 April 2012 and tow it to South America if it cannot be repaired in-situ. The ship is sheltered in safe position resting alongside the jetty of King Edward Point Research Station in the British overseas territory.

Passengers were meant to finish their cruise at the Cape Verde islands in early May. Instead, they will be taken to Montevideo in Uruguay, ending their holiday more than a week early.


Look on the bright side – they’re not short of ice for the drinks!

– Amy DuPrez, via Facebook

Oceanwide Expeditions: updates