WEDNESDAY, MAY 2 UPDATE: For the last six months HMS Montrose has been island hopping between the most remote and spectacular Overseas Territories in the world.
Her 185-strong crew has visited all five Overseas Territories in the South Atlantic to help strengthen relations with local communities.
The action-packed deployment has also seen them involved in community and sports projects in South Africa and New Orleans.
The ship’s arrival in Dockyard at the weekend for fuel marked her sixth Overseas Territory of the trip.
Commanding Officer Jonathan Lett told the Sun: “It has been a great privilege to command this ship on such a unique and amazing journey.
“The reception we have received on our travels have been fantastic and the crew have worked very hard to help and support the communities we have met.
“Our role is to provide reassurance and a British presence as well as fly the flag in some of the most isolated Overseas Territories in the world.
“To have visited all five Overseas Territories in the South Atlantic has been a great experience, and to get six by visiting Bermuda is the icing on the cake.”
HMS Montrose left the UK on October 24 and stopped briefly in Lisbon and the Cape Verde Islands on her way down to her first port of call; the volcanic island of Ascension.
Crewmembers took part in the island’s bi-annual and notorious Dew Pond Run that covers seven miles and climbs more than 2,800 feet.
From Ascension the ship headed further south to St Helena, the island Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled to in 1815 and where he later died, before sailing on to the Falkland Islands.
HMS Montrose then travelled to the even more remote South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands.
Commander Lett said: “Personally, this was one of the real high points of the trip.
“I had never been to the South Sandwich Islands before and to witness the wildlife and the colours was incredible.
“Some of the places we visited had just a handful of residents.
“And to see penguins floating past us on icebergs was an amazing sight.”
HMS Montrose called into Simon’s Town in South Africa in February for routine maintenance work.
The crew hosted British Foreign Secretary William Hague and a series of Olympic and Para-Olympic Games functions while in port as part of the build up to London 2012.
They sailed on to the Tristan da Cunha islands before heading southwest again back towards the Falklands.
The ship then rounded Cape Horn and moved up the west coast of South America.
After sailing through the Panama Canal, the frigate called into New Orleans to help mark the 200-year anniversary of the War of 1812 with other naval ships from around the world.
And while in the city several crew also helped a rebuild a shelter that had been destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
HMS Montrose left Bermuda yesterday bound for her homeport of Devonport in Plymouth, England.
Commander Lett added: “We have seen the full spectrum of Overseas Territories from the oldest in Bermuda to some of the smallest and most remote like the South Sandwich Islands.
“It has been a great experience for all the crew.
“And I feel very honoured to have commanded the ship, represented Britain and flown the flag in these incredible places.”