Anyone can join this pioneering two-year conservation voyage

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conservation voyage

Join the Pioneering Conservation Voyage for Two Years

This article has been created in collaboration with National Geographic Traveller (UK).

Following in the footsteps of Charles Darwin’s remarkable exploration and documentation of the natural world aboard HMS Beagle nearly two centuries ago, a groundbreaking expedition is set to embark on a similar journey. Departing from Plymouth, the same port from which the Beagle set sail, the Dutch tall ship Oosterschelde will commence its voyage on 14th August.

Spanning over two years, this extraordinary journey will cover 40,000 nautical miles across four continents, with captivating destinations including Rio de Janeiro, Tahiti, Sydney, and Cape Town. Adventure-seekers and nature enthusiasts alike can secure a spot on any of the 32 legs of the voyage, with prices ranging from £350 to £6,250 per person, depending on the duration of the trip. No prior sailing experience is required for most legs.

Led by a team of seasoned sailors, passengers will have the opportunity to take the helm, navigate, and handle the ropes of the magnificent three-masted topsail schooner. Sharing the ship with environmental researchers, they will participate in the assessment of coral health, microplastics, seabirds, and marine life throughout the journey.

At each port of call, as new guests come aboard, the environmentalists will disembark to collaborate with local NGOs and conservation experts in studying endemic species such as armadillos, howler monkeys, and ancient dragon trees—many of which Darwin himself documented during his historic voyage. The progress of the expedition and the researchers’ findings can be followed online through blogs and videos. Additionally, the crew will conduct virtual lectures, organize activities, and host a weekly online “nature hour” to inspire global interest in conservation.

A decade in the making, Darwin200 is the brainchild of British naturalist, geographer, and conservationist Stewart McPherson, with support from esteemed conservation leaders, including botanist Dr. Sarah Darwin, the great-great-granddaughter of Charles Darwin.

Key Ports for Darwin200:

Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

This wildlife-rich archipelago is where Darwin made pivotal discoveries that shaped his groundbreaking work on evolution. Guests aboard the Oosterschelde will have the rare opportunity to sail through these remarkable islands, powered solely by the wind without the use of motorized engines.

Stanley, Falkland Islands (Las Malvinas)

After an exhilarating 48-day journey at sea—by far the longest leg and one that requires previous sailing experience—sailors will disembark in Stanley. The voyage begins in Christchurch, New Zealand, and sails around the infamous Cape Horn.

Tristan da Cunha, St Helena

Located halfway between southern Africa and South America, this remote inhabited island stands as one of the most unique stops along the voyage. With a population of only 234 citizens, Tristan da Cunha boasts no hotels, airport, holiday representatives, nightclubs, or restaurants, as proudly declared on its tourism website.

Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

Following the transatlantic crossing from Europe, sailors will arrive at this captivating Brazilian archipelago renowned for its picturesque beaches. The 21 islands, situated over 300 miles away from the mainland, are a protected marine reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Published in the Jul/Aug 2023 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK).

To subscribe to National Geographic Traveller (UK) magazine, click here (available in select countries only).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about conservation voyage

Q: How long is the conservation voyage?

A: The conservation voyage spans over two years, covering a distance of 40,000 nautical miles across four continents.

Q: Can anyone join the voyage?

A: Yes, anyone can join the conservation voyage. Members of the public can book a berth on any of the 32 legs of the journey.

Q: Do I need sailing experience to participate?

A: Most legs of the voyage do not require prior sailing experience. However, there are a few legs, such as the one to Stanley, Falkland Islands, where previous sailing experience is necessary.

Q: What will passengers do during the voyage?

A: Passengers will have the opportunity to participate in steering, navigation, and handling the ropes of the three-masted topsail schooner. They will also share the ship with environmental researchers, assisting in surveys of coral health, microplastics, seabirds, and marine life.

Q: What happens at each port of call?

A: At each port, as guests switch over, environmentalists will disembark to work with local NGOs and conservation experts. They will study endemic species and collaborate on conservation initiatives. Passengers can also engage in virtual lectures, activities, and a weekly online ‘nature hour’ hosted by the crew.

Q: Who organized this conservation voyage?

A: The conservation voyage, known as Darwin200, is the brainchild of British naturalist, geographer, and conservationist Stewart McPherson. It has received support from notable conservation leaders, including botanist Dr. Sarah Darwin, the great-great-granddaughter of Charles Darwin.

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2 comments

wanderlust_explorer July 6, 2023 - 10:26 pm

this is the perfect blend of adventure and conservation. discovering remote islands like tristan da cunha and exploring the falklands, i’m ready to set sail and make unforgettable memories!

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sailor_at_heart July 7, 2023 - 6:28 am

sailing without a motor? sign me up! ⛵️⚓️ being able to navigate the galapagos islands like darwin did sounds like a dream come true. count me in!

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