The SH Diana visited Tristan on 27th November 2023. It was too rough to land passengers at the settlement, but Zodiac tours were possible in the lea of the island.

SH Diana: First Cruise Ship of the 2023/24 Season

Report and photos from Kelly Green

The SH Diana arrived at Tristan da Cunha’s archipelago early morning on Monday 27th November 2023. As the weather at Tristan was not looking promising that morning, they started by cruising around Inaccessible Island to take in the beautiful views. She then proceeded to head over to the settlement, Edinburgh of the Seven Seas.

SH Diana passing Edinburgh of the Seven Seas

The cruise ship SH Diana passing the settlement

Unfortunately the harbour was just not workable and unsafe for even one of our island RIBS to head out. Even though the swell was dropping all the time it remained very rough in the harbour. A reassessment in the afternoon was no better, so the Post Office & Tourism team was not even able to board to sell souvenirs, post cards and stamps.

However, it was a beautiful day on land, meaning that the island was clearly visible, and the passengers would have been able to experience some beautiful views as they cruised around the island. They may even have made out the Welcome to Tristan sign that had been set up especially in the village.

The crew did manage to organise some zodiac tours at the east of the island where the sea was calmer. The captain confirmed that the passengers were very happy as they got to see Rock Hopper Penguins and Fur Seals

Passengers on a Zodiac tour off Big Gulch where the boulders were covered in Rockhopper penguins.

Passengers on a Zodiac tour off Big Gulch where the beach boulders were covered in Rockhopper penguins.

A giant petrel viewed close up from a zodiac.

A gulch on Tristan's east coast.

Left: The Zodiacs enabled close up views of Tristan's wildlife, in this case a Southern Giant Petrel or 'Stinker'. This bird has been banded by ornithologists. They breed on Gough Island and on coasts and islands further south.

Bottom left: Another gulch on the eastern coast.

SH Diana Zodiacs preparing to take passengers on tours along the coast.

The SH Diana's Zodiacs preparing to take passengers on tours along the eastern coast.

Due to her already being a day late from bad weather leaving Cape Town, the Diana could not hang around until Tuesday which was forecast to be a better day.

Also on-board were two passengers who had taken the very brave leap of travelling to the island on the cruise vessel, as there was not enough space on the Lance or Edinburgh. We just need to get them off!

As it was not possible to land them at the settlement, Plan B was brought into play. The Diana returned to Inaccessible Island and transferred them to the MFV Edinburgh which was fishing there. They will stay on the Edinburgh until there is a suitable day for them to be picked up.

Photographers Nick Schonfeld and Julia Gunther will be staying on the island for six months. Without the transfer, they would have had to continue with the Diana until she reached South America and try again in the new year.

Nick Schonfield and Julia Gunther
Right: Nick Schonfeld & Julia Gunther within sight of their destination, but wondering if they would be able to get ashore.

If you were on the SH Diana, we'd appreciate your feedback using our Visitors' Feedback Form.