Tristan da Cunha Cruise Ship News 2008/2999
Reports of visits by cruise ships to Tristan da Cunha during the 2008/2009 season.
Visit of MV Professor Molchanov

5th -7th April 2009
Capacity 49 passengers;
en route from South Georgia via Gough to St Helena and Ascension
Report from Tourism Coordinator Dawn Repetto ~
Professor Molchanov arrived at Tristan on the 5th April quite by surprise at 8.30am, the weather was sunny and the sea calm.  We had had an email from her the previous evening and she wasn't due in until 11am. .  Immigration boarded first and cleared the ship and passengers came ashore at about 9am.  Disembarkation was pretty quick as they used 3 zodiacs.  Passengers were met at the harbour by myself and some of these went immediately on a village tour with our tour guide Judy Green.  A few others went with our Conservation Officer Brad, on a tour of the east fence trying to catch a glimpse of a cattle egret.  The rest of the passengers wandered around the village and patches area at their leisure.  A few passengers were interested in golf and this was underway at 11.30am.  Golf always seems to be  popular as our course is so unique.  The highlight of the day was a sighting of a Tristan Thrush (Starchie) at the Potato Patches, most of the passengers who heard the news rushed out to get a look.  All activities ended with refreshments at the Pub and Cafe.  Passengers boarded  the ship at 5.30pm. 
On Monday 6th April guides were taken aboard the Molchanov early in the morning and they headed off to the outer islands.  However, landing was not possible and so the ship returned to Tristan.  Guides stayed on overnight and in the early morning the ship departed a second time to Nightingale and Inaccessible.  Again to no avail, the weather had by then deteriorated quite badly and when the ship arrived back at Tristan the guides had to be picked up by our Search and Rescue Rib.  The Molchanov is now on her way to St Helena.

Tristan potatoes were exported to St Helena thanks to the generosity of the Molchanov's captain and crew
- see Farming News Page for details
Visit of sailing Barque Europa ~

29/30/31 March 2009
en route from South Georgia to Cape Town with 48 passengers

Day 1 - Arrived on Sunday 29th March early morning.  Weather was absolutely beautiful.  Passengers came ashore at about 9am.  After landing, some passengers went on a cultural tour around the settlement, cultural tour to the 1961 volcano and we had a few passengers interested in a walk to the patches as well as a taxi tour to the patches, all with local guides.  A few passengers were interested in golf and so had a go on our course.  This went down a treat and they were impressed by the uniqueness of it, and enjoyed a new package which offered a golf tie, golf certificate, score card and a play on the course which is now included as a regular option for visitors.
Day 2 - Another nice day but a bit cooler.  Eleven passengers went on a trip to the peak with two local guides.  A fishing trip was organised by boat with two local fisherman and a few of the passengers went off on this excursion.  The fishing trip was a success and they caught a lot of fish from Cape Mackerel to Steambras.  A few more passengers wanted to play golf as the people previously had had such a great time.  I took a few passengers on a tour to Peter Green's house the area of William Glass house, School and Factory.  The rest of the passengers wondered around village and patches area enjoying the lovely sunshine.
Day 3 - Europa left before daybreak and went of to Nightingale.  She was followed by the Police Rib with local guides.  Weather was calm their and passengers were able to land.  After this event the barque Europa left for Cape Town on 31st March.

Visit of MV Minerva on 18th March 2009

This 350 passenger capacity ship was unable to land passengers as planned due to a lack of (their) time, and despite brilliant weather. So the visit was restricted to a team of Islanders going aboard to sell stamps and souvenirs.

Photograph of MV Minerva off the Settlement from David Morley

Dramatic visit of MV Corinthian on 15th March 2009

This 114 passenger capacity ship arrived from South Georgia en route for Cape Town. The weather prevented use of the Tristan harbour, but as the ship had zodiacs 40 plucky passengers were landed at Runaway Beach. New Tourism Coordinator Dawn Repetto started her job on the same day and reports going out to the beach (off the Patches Plain and about 3 miles from the village) to help the passengers land. The pensioner's bus was brought into action to ferry the passengers to the Settlement where Dawn organised tours of the village and 1961 volcanic cone and lava flow. Dawn herself took 4 older passengers on a tour of the villages's main attractions. Passengers embarked from Runaway Beach again at 2.30. Quite a first day for Dawn, who described it as '
a fun day which I so enjoyed.' 

Photograph of MV Corinthian
off the Settlement
(where the harbour was closed)
from David Morley

Visit of MV National Geographic Explorer
on 2nd and 3rd March 2009

On 2nd March, passengers came ashore for tours of the Settlement and walks to the 1961 volcanic cone and lava flow

Photograph from Robin Repetto shows the passengers being ferried ashore on 2nd March

Tasha Reilly reports on the Explorer's Visit to Tristan on 2nd March
National Geographic Explorer fared well and saw the sunny side of Tristan.  All 87 passengers landed safely and took part in the inaugural Tristan Cultural Tours which saw three groups head up the volcano while a larger fourth group were taken around the settlement - all privy to sides of the island only an islander can share. 
In the afternoon after crayfish sarnies and cool beers at the Hall 57 passengers stayed on the island for further exploring - some set off on foot in the general direction of The Patches while others opted for the new cultural bus tour to the patches with unique insights and snippets of the island's oral history... the best bits of course, scandal included.  A few weary walkers hitched a lift back to the Hall in the police vehicle in order to make the boat in time and then they sailed off towards the horizon and, somewhat distant, Cape Town.  All in all a great visit.

Below ~ Photograph from Leo Genin shows MV Explorer at anchor

MV National Geographic Explorer's two day visit allowed passengers
to land on Nightingale and Inaccessible Islands on 3rd March

Photographs from Leo Genin
show :

Left and Right : Landing on
Nightingale Island


Photographs from Leo Genin show :

Above : Left ~ MV Explorer from the Nightingale landing
Centre : Passengers on the 'road' to the Nightingale Ponds with Yellow-Nosed Albatross chick in nest conveniently in the middle of the 'road'!
Right : MV Explorer from the 'road' showing the typical Spartina tussock grass which smothers most of Nightingale Island.


Left : MV Explorer were
treated to a rare landing
on the World Heritage Site
Inaccessible Island

Right: The beach scene
captured by Robin Repetto

Editor's Note ~
Paths are always called 'roads' on Tristan and lakes 'ponds'!

MV Discovery
23rd February 2009

See images and also
a report below
bf rom Tasha Reilly

Photographs from David Morley (Taken by Jacki Morley) above show MV Discovery anchored off The Settlement, left, and departing, right, with a view over the island cemetery.

Left: Passenger Raymond Jeffery sent this photo of Tristan Islanders braving the swell to visit the ship. He reports : 'It was a pleasure to be able to see your Island and to meet Conrad and the other Islanders.' 

Photographs from Tasha Reilly show

Left : passengers viewing
Tristan's volcanic cone

Right: The popular
Tristan Post Office
and handicrafts stalls
set up aboard as weather
conditions prevented a shore visit
MV Discovery's brief Tristan visit by Tasha Reilly
MV Discovery arrived on 23 February as scheduled but, having been plagued by bad weather throughout her passage, her luck was no better on arrival at Tristan.  After weeks of glorious summer here on the island, she arrived the morning after the night before... and the night before saw gales blowing through the flax.  Despite brightening skies throughout the day the swell, a very sizeable one, persisted and prevented any passengers from disembarking.  This was a great frustration to all on board, 375 of whom were British and felt an obvious connection to this remote territory.  However, those hardy islanders who braved the waves to board the ship with handicrafts, souvenirs and postal services could testify to the wisdom of the Captain's difficult decision.  Despite years of rope ladder experience and agility, getting on and off the RIBs was very challenging and several islanders were to be found in quiet corners of the ship a little green around the gills.  With a passenger list of over 500 it really wouldn't have been possible to disembark everyone via rope ladder on such a large swell.  Still, a huge shame for islanders and passengers alike, especially since they had a similar experience at South Georgia.  Nevertheless everyone made the best of the situation and souvenirs and postcards were very enthusiastically snapped up with stalls swamped for hours and Conrad shared his own unique island experience in a well-received presentation. 

A day trip to
Tristan da Cunha

Photographs from Andreas Hilmer
show images of MV Europa's day visit
to Tristan da Cunha in December 2008

See also our
Cruise Visits 2005-8 Page

Above Left ~ wonderfully clear view of Tristan's volcanic island;
Above Right ~ approaching the anchorage

Left ~ Islanders preparing to leave the harbour to board MV Europa
in blissfully calm sea conditions

Above : pastoral scene of the Patches Plain looking towards Inaccessible Island

Above : View of MV Europa from a peaceful village Right: : Ches Lavarello ~
overtaking the 'Patches Flier'?

Above : Tristan's cemetery with MV Europa at anchor.
These pictures were kindly provided by german journalist Andreas Hilmer who was a passenger on MV Europa.
More of Andreas' pictures can be found on
Visit of MS Europa on Saturday 13th December 2008 -
see our Cruise Ship Visits 2006-8 Page for pictures and a report