Putting to Sea

falkland islands bernie harberts Windora Phil Lynda Christiesen

The Falklands are sparsely populated. These king penguins saw us off on our voyage in to the Southern Ocean. We will be sailing aboard Windora the wood ketch anchored off the beach.

The day has come to put to sea. Tomorrow I sail from Stanley, in the Falklands Islands, to South Georgia island, off Antarctica. I’ll be traveling aboard Windora. She belongs to my friends Phil and Lynda Christiesen. We met years ago in New Zealand. It may be a while until you hear from me.

I know, in this era of easy communications, it’s just assumed one person can talk to another where ever they are in the world.

Not so. Over the next months, I’ll maintain little touch with the outside world. In these times of instant communication to and from any part of the world, that seems like a queer decision.

falkland islands bernie harberts Windora Phil Lynda Christiesen

If this was your view and your phone rang, would you answer the phone or watch the albatross?

The reason I’m visiting South Georgia is to experience massive isolation. Sure, every year, a dozen or so cruising sailboat venture there. Even more chartered yachts and cruise ships visit on their way to Antarctica. They visit a few days – maybe a week – then head on. In most cases, they’re bound to the outside world by satellite.

I don’t want that. I want to absorb the Southern Ocean. Spend days or weeks sitting with penguins. Row to a glacier face and listen to it calving. Smell the belching elephant seas. And then…write it up in my journal. Or doodle out a letter and send it home. Yes, there is a letter box in Grytviken, South Georgia. Ernest Shackleton is buried half a mile way.

I want my attention span to grow back somewhere closer to where it was a few years ago – before Facebook, Twitter and selfies. And for that, you can’t be constantly be checking email, tweeting or, if you’re in remote areas, punching your way out via sat phone.

How will I do it?


We (Windora, Phil, Lynda and I) sail to South Georgia. We hope to spend two months there then head east toward Namibia or South Africa. Or wherever the wind or circumstance blows us. Maybe we finish in April. Or it could be May.

The final details are up to the southern ocean waves and winds to decide.

Hear from you when we get off the sea!

Pete and Sheree
2016-01-17 10:20:19

Hi Bernie,
Hope all is well and smooth sailing. Pete and I recently returned from China. Snow today on the mtn 1-17. Smooth sailing here in NC. Pete and Sheree

Bob Skelding
2016-01-18 14:26:12

Bon Voyage my friend. I hope you get to read this before getting caught in a Kalahari sand storm!

Lynda Campbell
2016-02-02 14:10:10

Hope all is well! Joe and I will think of you often during the next months. Hope to see you when you return to the mountains. Look forward to your program in the future.

Lynda and Joe Campbell

Karla moore
2016-02-04 18:14:56

Hi, Bernie! Been awhile since I checked up on you and your adventures! Thongs are good here in Oklahoma. Getting ready to retire! Safe sailing, friend! Looking forward to the updates!

Debbie McPherson
2016-03-06 13:58:46

Checking up on you Bernie. Good for you. Hope your smooth sailing.


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