Bark Europa — An Unexpected 10,000 Mile Voyage Home From the End of the World

The bark Europa arrived in the port of Ushuaia, Argentina in late March. Ushuaia, which describes itself as “the end of the world, the beginning of everything,” would normally be the jumping-off point for the ship’s regular voyage to Antarctica. This year, however, the concurrent arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic changed everyone’s plans. The crew found themselves stuck aboard in port in pandemic limbo. 

As reported by Newsweek, since there was no way on how to know when this world crisis would be finished, Dutch Captain Eric Kesteloo and his international sailing crew of 11 women and 8 men refused to sit and wait, and so they decided to sail back to Bark Europa‘s home harbor in Scheveningen, the Netherlands.

The Europa is currently completing the 10,000 mile non-stop voyage under sail back to her homeport. Marine Traffic reports that she departed Ushuaia on March 27 and is currently sailing east at 4.5 knots, with an estimated arrival in Scheveningen on June 16.

The ship’s crew has been posting to the Europa website. The May 28th “Log” reads in part:

It’s been almost two months since we left Ushuaia. Eight weeks on the sea, seeing only the vast ocean around, no land, no lush green grass or forests, no buildings, no other human beings. And also no Internet, which has become a part of our daily life over the last couple of years. It is almost unthinkable not to be connected to Wi-Fi or mobile data, yet here we are. Eight weeks without the Wi-Fi drug and we are still alive. The only communication with the outside world happens through satellite phone. That is also how we get our blogs and photos to you. It is a limited connection but it is a connection nevertheless.  To read the rest of the log post, click here.

The Europa was built in 1911 as the schooner Senator Brockes.  She served as a lightship on the River Elbe until 1977. In 1994 she was fully restored as a three-masted square-rigged bark and outfitted for sail training.  

The Europa‘s current track:

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2 Responses to Bark Europa — An Unexpected 10,000 Mile Voyage Home From the End of the World

  1. Chris Roche says:

    I have to make a correction as regards the date barque Europa was built. She was built originally as a schooner in 1911 in Hamburg and first named ‘Senator Brockes’.

    I was with her to Cape Horn out of Salvador in 2015.

  2. Rick Spilman says:

    Thanks. I updated the post.