Expedition Sailing Charters – What We Do
Australia’s Antarctic expedition yacht and international adventure sailing charters.
Based in Melbourne the sail yacht Blizzard is available for short-term hire or long-term sailing charters. Whether its an adventure of a life time, a relaxing local boat holiday or even a company corporate event. Melbourne’s adventure sailing charter company, ALINTHIA ADVENTURES can cater for your requirements.
We understand that, like ourselves, you may be planning your own project. The Expedition yacht Blizzard is available to support your own adventure expeditions whether they be:
- Expedition yacht support
- Sailing Charters – Melbourne
- Resupply & Transfer to remote access locations
- Documentary Film making
- Marine animal observation & photography
- Remote access Mountaineering & Ski support
- Conservation activity
- Local and international adventure sailing tours
- Marine research support
- Student Educational & sail training
- Team building & special events
- Remote access Climbing
- Surfing / Kite boarding adventures
- Remote Access Hiking / Mountain biking
- Sea Kayak support
- Diving support
So, if you’re an explorer, a photographer, a scientist, a conservationist, a climber, or simply an enthusiastic traveller looking for a grand adventure or a holiday with a difference, then contact our experienced crew at ALINTHIA ADVENTURES.
What its like
Sailing on Blizzard in the Southern Ocean and Sub Antarctic islands.
Sailing on Blizzard in Patagonia
article by Digby Fox
Reaching the West Chilean settlement of Puerto Montt and arriving onboard the Blizzard at 11pm was perfect – time to open a bottle of red and yak about the trip ahead with the crew and other guests. The diesel heater kicked out the warmth and I felt immediately at home on Blizzard, a custom Radford expedition schooner built-in Australia.
Ahead of us are the incredibly beautiful fjords, forest and glaciers that makes up the legendary wilderness frontiers of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. Three weeks and a 1000 miles of sailing south towards Puerto Williams; with a further week to explore the southern archipelagos and round Cape Horn. Our route would meander through various islands, sea channels and fjords.
In the morning, the light was fantastic. Behind us, three snow-capped volcanoes sparkled above a luminous watery vista and in front we admired the 20m ice-breaking Blizzard. Her aluminium hull and the stainless steel hardware gave her a resolute presence, as if saying: “I’m built for adventure, step aboard for some exploration.”
OUT OF REACH
We were headed for some really remote territory. Our first anchorage was off Pumalin Park, an extraordinary project set up in 1991 by US millionaire Doug Tompkins, founder of the North Face clothing range. He bought huge tracts of virgin temperate rainforest here. Tompkins did this in secret to stop deforestation by loggers and by 2001 he’d snapped up 320,000 hectares of land, making Parque Pumalin the world’s largest privately owned conservation area. In the face of political pressure, he has since given the whole lot to the Chilean people.
Our second night was spent in a stunning anchorage called Puerto Juan Yates. Turkey vultures circle the islets, which was packed with evergreen beech trees, wildflowers and a few Magellanic penguins. Three dolphins, either Peale’s or Chilean, completed the picture as we settled in for a relaxing evening meal & chat.
The first hint we were in glacier territory was seeing the water change from blue-grey to pale green. We were making a 12-mile detour up one of the many fjords spiking off the north-south Messier Canal. A few curious dolphins entertained themselves with our progress. Not long after the rest of the pod arrived to escort us up the fjord, dancing through our milky bow wave and frolicking in the pure green waters below.
A stunning wall of opal ice cascaded down to the water’s edge. Beneath the white surface, the blues sparkled a deep luminescent aquamarine. When the sun popped out, the crystal wall lit up. We were all dazzled. I thought at the time that this one sight, was worth the price of admission on its own.
Halfway down the 1000-mile stretch, and after four days and nights, we stopped off at the tiny hamlet of Puerto Eden. Here, Miguel Concha has set up a small restaurant. What better way to let the afternoon slide away than in front of the fire with beautiful views of ice capped mountains, local music and memorable food.
Taking a diversion off our southerly route, we branched off to motor up the north-easterly Peel Inlet. This spectacular fjord spikes deep into the Patagonian icecap, almost to the border with Argentina, and has dozens of glaciers descending to water level.
Again a group of dusky dolphins joined us for the afternoon, dodging small icebergs and obviously relishing the cold tranquility of the place. You could probably count the annual visitors to this imposing place on one hand.
Although an inlet fed by the sea, so much fresh water pours into this fjord that it could be mistaken for a mountain lake – clear, clean and bright. I was beginning to see why people are attracted to sailing in icy waters.
After another week of visual overdose, it was time for a break. The Micalvi is the southern-most yacht club in the world, and proudly so. Club burgess from all corners of the world decorate the floating clubhouse which lists to port, a delightful quality for any drinking den. The visitors book is a fascinating insight into the cruising history of this far-flung spot, with names such as Isabelle Autissier and Sir Peter Blake standing out.
This warm oasis for cruising sailors, had heard it all before. I’m told it was 5am by the time we got out. You get the drift
ROUNDING THE HORN
Finally, the big day. Cape Horn. Conditions were mildish for what this legendary location can cook up. A solid 30-40 knots with a decent sea. With Two reefs in the main, the Blizzard and crew looked very comfortable. It was now that you could see the yacht in her element. Pulling at her reins, wanting to stretch her legs. A true expedition thoroughbred.
On the Horn itself waves exploded as they crashed into the vicious-looking reef. Above, the lighthouse stood defiantly with a huge Chilean flag rippling in the wind, it felt suitably awe-inspiring.
Once around the Horn we made a dash for the cove where, protected from the biting westerly wind, steps lead up to the lighthouse. Timing the surges, we jumped from the RIB while the selfless crew returned to tend to the Blizzard.
The view from the lighthouse was breathtaking. This battered landmark, a turning point for sailors struggling against some of the harshest elements on Earth, looked the part. Bleak, ragged, isolated and wind blasted; black rock against white spray.
The lighthouse is manned by the Chilean Armada and we were lucky to come across Second Lieutenant Carlos Roberto and his wife Veronica, who were three days into they’re one-year stint here. Whether this was an honour or not we weren’t sure, but we appreciated the warmth of their welcome.
After the obligatory photos and passport stamp, I took a minute to reflect on this unique adventure. This is a remote wilderness, harsh and beautiful, barely touched by humans. Voyaging on yachts such as Blizzard is the only way any traveller will experience these stunningly beautiful and isolated archipelagos and Fjords with a unique and real sence of adventure.