1 - Leave Cape Town and begin experiencing the seabird
spectacle of the Southern Oceans!
Days 2 to 4 - Steam west,
through the sometimes tempestuous, sometimes placid South
Day 5 - Arrive off Tristan
da Cunha. Proximity to the islands betrayed first by a marked
increase in bird numbers, and then, if the day is clear, the
2000 m peak of Tristan will appear on the horizon.
Day 6 - Day ashore on
Tristan (weather permitting). Walk to the potato patches or,
for the more adventurous, a stiff 800 m climb to the Base
to see the introduced population of Gough Moorhens. Overnight
at anchor in the lee of the island.
Day 7 - Nightingale Island.
Weather permitting, we'll land on this, the oldest of the
Tristan islands, to see most of the diurnal seabirds and landbirds.
Highlights are the large colony of Northern Rockhoppers that
share their landing beach with us and mercifully small numbers
of Subantarctic Fur Seals, Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross
on the nest as well as large numbers of Tristan Buntings and
Tristan Thrushes. This will also be the best chance of seeing
the localised Wilkins' or Grosbeak Bunting, which we should
be able to locate among the copses of Island Trees. Most people
should be able to walk to the Ponds (about 1.5 km each way
but with a steep climb towards the end) where there are large
numbers of Yellow-nosed Albatrosses and the best stands of
Island Trees. Depending on the time available and weather
forecast, we may also head over to Inaccessible Island for
a brief landing on the island's sheltered east coast at either
the Waterfall or Salt Beach to lure out the enigmatic Inaccessible
Island Rail, famous for being the smallest flightless bird
in the world.
Day 8 - Visit Inaccessible
Island, weather permitting, or return to Tristan. If the weather
is bad, or we've cleaned up, may head southwest to Gough Island.
Day 9 - Arrive Gough Island,
the jewel of the South Atlantic. Weather permitting, we'll
launch small boats for a close cruise along the sheltered
east coast where, with luck, we should see Gough Buntings
foraging along the shoreline and in the tussock along the
coastal cliffs. We may also see Gough Moorhens skulking among
the vegetation at the edge of the boulder beaches. Night anchored
off the island will be a spectacle to remember, as more than
10 million burrowing petrels visit the island.
Day 10 - Circumnavigate
Gough Island to see its many spectacular stacks and waterfalls;
small boat cruise if postponed from previous day. Then we'll
start the long trip back to Cape Town.
Days 11 to15 - At sea,
steaming east with the wind and waves hopefully from the stern.
An extra day has been added in here to allow for weather delays.
Day 16 - Arrive Cape Town.