Press Releases

DARWIN200 Sails Strait of Magellan to Punta Arenas, Chile

DARWIN200, a two-year planetary conservation mission aboard the magnificent tall ship Oosterschelde, is in Punta Arenas, Chile between 20th January – 10th February 2024 for a conservation research and youth leadership programmes.

Punta Arenas is the ninth of 30 ports to be visited during DARWIN200, a 40,000+ nautical mile voyage and conservation mission. The DARWIN200 Global Voyage is retracing young Charles Darwin’s famous journey on HMS Beagle and aims to change the world for the better by empowering 200 next-gen leaders of conservation.

The Oosterschelde crew set sail from the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic and sailed to Punta Arenas by route of the Strait of Magellan, a navigable sea route in southern Chile, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It was named after the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who led the first expedition to circumnavigate the Earth in the early 16th century.

Charles Darwin celebrated his 25th birthday in 1832 when he was visiting the islands of Tierra de Fuego, some 600 km from Punta Arenas. The crew on board The Beagle decided to mark the occasion by naming the highest peak in Tierra del Fuego after him – Mount Darwin. Darwin said of the landscape “a single glance at the landscape was sufficient to show me how widely different it was from anything I had ever beheld”. Interestingly, it was in this land where Darwin theorised that all humans were interrelated with a shared origin.

Darwin Leaders: Young conservation leadership programme in Punta Arenas, Chile

In each port of the DARWIN200 global voyage, small groups of ‘Darwin Leaders’, selected from around the world for their outstanding achievements in conservation, join the tall ship for a week-long immersive conservation leadership training programme. Two hundred in total will take part over the two-year expedition. Working alongside local conservation experts, each Darwin Leader uses the ship as their base camp and goes into the field to study a species of animal, plant or an ecosystem, assesses its population status and how it has changed over the past two centuries, learns about conservation initiatives currently in place to protect it and develops their own ideas on how to better conserve the chosen species in the future.

The intention is that each Darwin Leader will be empowered with new ideas, skills, and experience that will have a positive impact on the work they are already doing in their home countries and inspire their future careers in conservation.

Eight Darwin Leaders from Uruguay, South Korea, Brazil, USA and UK will join the tall ship in Punta Arenas, Chile. They will be embedded with local conservation organisations and experts to study:

Darwin Leaders and their projects in the Punta Arenas, Chile are

1. Darwin Leader: Maria Eugenia Olivera Paredes, Uruguay
Project: Blue carbon: Discovering the role of kelp forests as a carbon sequestration agent in the Magellan region.
Guiding expert: Johanna Marambio, University of Magallanes (UMAG) and Cape Horn International Center (CHIC)

2. Darwin Leader: Saehui Hwang, South Korea
Project: The Huemul, endangered and emblematic species for Chile – conservation actions and threats in Austral Patagonia.
Guiding expert: Fiorella Repetto, Torres del Paine Legacy Fund

3. Darwin Leader: Flavia Bouch Zagury, Brazil
Project: Bahía Lomas: Understanding the conservation challenges of the southernmost Ramsar site in South America.
Guiding expert: Heraldo Norambuena, Centro Bahía Lomas, Universidad Santo Tomás

4. Darwin Leader: Laila Satim Mureb, Brazil
Project: How to protect Whale and Dolphin feeding areas in the Magellan Strait?
Guiding expert: Daniela Haro, Centro Bahía Lomas, Universidad Santo Tomás

5. Darwin Leader: Kelsey Freeman, USA
Project: Conservation Object: Selk’nam culture/people – Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego.
Guiding expert: Fernanda Olivares, Fundación Hach Saye

6. Darwin Leader: Laís da Silva Chaves, Brazil
Project: Peale dolphin conservation in the Strait of Magellan.
Guiding expert: Jorge Gibbons, University of Magallanes (UMAG)

7. Darwin Leader: Heather Needham, UK
Project: The effect of invasive species on breeding birds and their offspring survival: Are quetrus, carancas, and caiquenes affected for minks?
Guiding expert: Juan Rivero, Cape Horn International Center (CHIC)

8. Darwin Leader: Karinne Tennenbaum, USA
Project: Identifying threats to shorebirds inhabiting the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve, Chile.
Guiding expert: Rocio Jara, Cape Horn International Center (CHIC)

Adventure seekers can sail the ship

The general public can sign up to sail the magnificent tall ship Oosterschelde between ports alongside adventure travellers and environmental researchers, who are tasked with steering, navigating and manning the ropes of the three-masted topsail schooner under the guidance of a professional crew. People ranging from 11 to 86 years old and of more than 25 nationalities have signed up to take part as guest crew on the voyage. The voyage legs range in duration, from a single day, to the longest being an epic 5,300 nautical miles and taking 48 days to Cape Horn. Previous sailing experience is not always required for those wanting to join.

See more information on dates, costs and availability at

The World’s Most Exciting Classroom

In continuation of Charles Darwin’s work aboard HMS Beagle, the DARWIN200 ship offers a unique platform to support research into many of the world’s most critical environmental problems. This includes eight engaging research projects, featuring real-time data feeds, informative results presentations, interactive online lectures, and insightful interviews with the talented teams of researchers driving each initiative. Four research projects will be undertaken aboard the tall ship Oosterschelde while it is sailing, the other four will be undertaken in the ports that we visit. Through these research projects, DARWIN200 aims to captivate global audiences, particularly students, enabling the public to delve into and gain deeper insights into some of the world’s most critical environmental challenges.

DARWIN200 Founder and Mission Director Stewart McPherson says: 

Charles Darwin was only 22 when he set sail on his life-changing voyage in 1831, famously saying that it was by far the most important event in his life, determining his whole career. We wanted to create a similarly transformative experience for members of the public and 200 of the world’s brightest young environmentalists, who have the potential to be the STEM and conservation leaders of tomorrow and the catalysts to change the future of planet Earth for the better

With a focus on practical solutions, each project will delve into actionable measures and ways in which we can all play a role in addressing these issues, working together to build a more promising and sustainable future.


About the ship Oosterschelde

Oosterschelde is a three mast tall ship, and one of the world’s finest, fully restored historic tall ships and the largest sailing vessel ever to be restored in the Netherlands.

She is registered by the Dutch Government as a monument of great cultural and historical value. The ship is one of the oldest and most authentic ships in the international fleet of Tall Ships. Oosterschelde relaunched after a major refurbishment in 1996 and was recommissioned by Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of The Netherlands. She is a bastion of Dutch ship building and is described by the ship’s Director and Captain Gerben Nab as having had at least five lives, starting in 1917 as a cargo vessel. Over the past 30 years Oosterschelde has welcomed thousands of sailors and adventure seekers on board including royalty, politicians, presidents and pop stars, even once hosting a birthday party for Sir Tom Jones!

Oosterschelde was the first Dutch commercial tall ship to sail to both the north and south poles and successfully tackle the infamous Cape Horn, a rocky headland on Hornos Island, in southern Chile known for its hazardous waters. During the pandemic when the world was locked down, a team of Dutch ship builders worked tirelessly to elevate Oosterschelde to the next level in preparation for DARWIN200. As part of the DARWIN200 voyage Oosterschelde will once again navigate Cape Horn, considered the Mount Everest of sailing.

Oosterschelde’s Director and Captain Gerben Nab says,:

The history of the ship and the passion of our crew tell a story that gets under the skin of all who sail aboard her. Not only in Europe, but also in South America, in Africa, in Asia and Australasia. Oosterschelde’s restoration for many was deemed an impossible dream. But not for Dick van Andel who was a young man of just 27 years in age whose vision and enthusiasm saw the dream realised with the efforts and support of many others. We have proven that it is possible to do something outside the box and make it into a success. Connecting to the Darwin200 project, we hope to empower that project in the same way, and show ‘the world’ that with a clear vision and spirit of adventure it is possible to achieve the impossible


Follow on Social Media

DARWIN200 on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube
Social media: Oosterschelde on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube

#DARWIN200 #Oosterschelde

The DARWIN200 mission is an official contributor to the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030. The Global Voyage carriers The Explorers Club flag #101.

DARWIN200 patrons and supporters include Dame Jane Goodall, Dr Sylvia Earle and Charles Darwin’s great-great-grand-daughter, Dr Sarah Darwin

Join the DARWIN200 Community and follow our Journey of Discovery

Sign up to our newsletter and follow the DARWIN200 global voyage as we sail around the world.