Cape to Cape journey highlights to be shared

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What an adventure . . . Dunedin resident and keen sailor Anette Seifert recently joined a two-month journey from South America through Antarctic waters to Cape Town in South Africa. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED

A Dunedin woman’s two-month adventure on a sailing ship from Cape Horn to Cape Town will be the focus of a talk at Quarantine Island next Saturday.

Dunedin nurse Anette Seifert set sail from Ushuaia Argentina, the southernmost point of South America, on Europa in early February.

Her journey on board the 57m sailing ship – as part of a 40 passenger and 17-member crew party – took her south to the South Shetland Islands and through Antarctic waters.

As there were a smaller number of passengers compared with some of the cruise ships that visit the southern waters, the sailors were able to stop at a variety of remote islands along the way, under strict guidelines from the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators, Mrs Seifert said.

The guidelines regulate all visits to Antarctic islands, insisting visitors clean all their gear before getting on and off the islands and prohibiting food from being taken on to the islands.

As a keen sailor and member of the Port Chalmers Yacht Club, Mrs Seifert enjoyed helping crew the “explorer ship” – which constantly sails the world through different routes – including climbing the rigging on the large sails during the latter part of the trip.

The ship took an excursion around Elephant Island, where 22 of Ernest Shackleton’s men were left for four months during their 1916 expedition, while Mr Shackleton sought help after the ship they were on, Endurance, got stuck in ice.

Mrs Seifert said the trip past Elephant Island was a powerful experience, as the island was exposed, desolate and isolated.

“If there’s hell on earth, that’s that place.”

She also enjoyed seeing more than 250,000 king penguins in one place – a loud experience accentuated by the fact each penguin had its own call – as well as numerous seals, birds and other wildlife.

After sailing through Antarctic waters, the ship headed north for Cape Town in South Africa, but not before visiting the most isolated, inhabited active volcano in the world, Tristanda.

Under British rule, the island is home to more than 160 residents, a primary school, a pub and a supermarket.

The journey ended in Cape Town in early April, finishing Mrs Seifert’s time on Europa, a ship she had discovered after it had competed against Spirit of Adventure, which she voluntarily crews on, during a 2013 race between Sydney and Auckland.

Anette Seifert will speak on Quarantine Island on Saturday, May 27, at 1pm.
The last-Saturday-of-the-month island open-day boat will leave Back Beach, near Port Chalmers, at 9.30am.
A second boat run for people solely interested in Mrs Seifert’s talk will leave at 12.30pm.
A boat from the island back to Back Beach will leave at 3.30pm.
For more details, contact Kristen Bracey on 027 779-5481.