Summary : East Antarctica is one of the most isolated places on the planet. Here, the massive polar ice cap rolls down to a sea rich in wildlife. It is also where explorers both heroic and modern day have landed and lived in the face of nature. Mawson, David, and Mackay were the first to reach the South Magnetic Pole (January 15th, 1909) after trekking some 1,000 miles. Celebrate the achievement with a visit to the remains of Mawson’s Hut in Commonwealth Bay and several islands that were also visited during Mawson’s expedition. This voyage is an opportunity to experience a seldom-visited part of Antarctica, rich in history and wildlife.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Triple/Quad Cabins
$999,999,999 to $0
Meet your fellow voyagers and expedition staff for an informal get-together over dinner at the hotel, where you will stay overnight.
Transfer to the port where staff will welcome you on board the Akademik Shokalskiy and as you settle into your cabin, your adventure begins.
North East Island is the largest of The Snares and staggeringly, this one island is claimed by some to be home to more nesting seabirds than all of the British Isles together. Zodiac cruising the rugged coastline, learn how the islands got their name and encounter Snares Crested Penguins, Cape Petrel and Buller’s Albatross on the imposing cliffs. You are also likely to encounter Antarctic Terns, White-fronted Terns, Red-billed Gulls, Tomtits and Fernbirds.
Characterized by towering cliffs and rugged sea stacks, these islands have borne witness to many a shipwreck in days gone by. Spend the day ashore on Enderby Island which is perhaps the most beautiful of all the Subantarctic Islands. Find parakeets flitting above carpets of red, white and yellow wild flowers and on the beaches beyond, the rare Hooker's or New Zealand Sea Lion. Land in Carnley Harbor and if conditions are suitable, climb to a Shy Albatross colony, otherwise explore sites within the harbor.
Drop anchor in Perseverance Harbor. Once on shore walk to the nesting site of the Southern Royal Albatross or to Northwest Bay, pass beautiful megaherbs growing on the hills. During the day ashore you should see the Campbell Island Shag, Southern Skua, Antarctic Tern, Dunnock, New Zealand Pipit, Campbell Island Teal and hopefully the elusive Campbell Island Snipe.
Soaring albatross and petrels circle the vessel as you steam ever southward through the Southern Ocean. Lectures now concentrate on the Antarctic region and beyond the bow of the ship drifting icebergs of extraordinary shapes begin to appear. Maneuvering in close for your first ice photographs, pass the Antarctic Circle and into the continent's realm of 24-hour daylight. Relax in the ship's bar and catch up with some reading in the library. If you have brought your laptop with you, there will be time to download and edit photos while they are fresh in your mind.
Your first landing on the remote East Antarctic coastline will be Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay. Notoriously known as the "home of the blizzard." See (and experience) Mawson’s Hut and its environs which include other relics from the 1911-14 expedition, as well as Adelie penguins. West from Cape Denison is the French Research Base, Dumont D’Urville which, if permission is granted and ice conditions permit, you will visit. There is also an Emperor Penguin colony nearby. Breeding season will be over but there could be birds in the vicinity. Other landings might include Port Martin (an abandoned French Base) and the McKellar Islands. Enjoy cruising by Zodiac in search of astounding Antarctic wildlife.
Depart from the spectacular icebound majesty of Antarctica, enjoying some quieter time at sea to recover from the extensive daylight hours of the Antarctic. There will be the opportunity to relax and download and edit any photos. En route to Macquarie Island there will be a series of lectures designed to prepare you for your visit.
Described by one Australian explorer as "One of the wonder spots of the world" this is the only place in the world where the beautiful Royal Penguin breeds. Three other species of penguins—the King, Gentoo and Rockhopper—also breed here. You will never forget your first experience of a noisy "penguin city", where the dapper inhabitants show no fear of their strange visitors and where you will be immersed in a tumult of chattering, feeding chicks; territorial disputes; petty pilfering and courtship displays. This all happens among hundreds of Southern Elephant Seals lolling on the beaches and dunes. On arrival, meet with scientists and Park Rangers based here who will accompany you on all your landings.
At sea en route to the Port of Hobart, take the opportunity to relax and enjoy your last few days of shipboard life and to reflect on an amazing experience. On your last evening, review and celebrate your discoveries over a farewell dinner.
Early this morning arrive in the Port of Bluff. After a final breakfast and completing Custom formalities bid farewell to your fellow voyagers and take a complimentary coach transfer to either a central city point or to the airport.
The above itinerary is a guide only, as the exact program depends on weather and ice conditions and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. Landings at the Sub Antarctic Islands are by permit only as administered by the governments of New Zealand and Australia. No landings are permitted at Snares Island. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation in this program, all passengers must purchase full medical and emergency evacuation insurance for the specific areas they will be visiting. The minimum coverage requirement is $100,000 for program. The policy provider, policy number and contact phone number must be provided prior to departure date. We also strongly recommend that all passengers purchase comprehensive travel insurance which would include coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist you with this.
Cabin accommodations; one night hotel accommodation including dinner and continental breakfast; all onboard lectures and access to public areas; all meals on board the ship; shore excursions as described; group transfers to embark the ship and transfer from the ship to city hotels and/or airport on disembarkation.
International / domestic airfare; passport, visa and vaccination fees; travel insurance; excess baggage charges; items of a personal nature such as laundry, beverages, communications, medical supplies, etc.; landing fees; gratuities; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Ewen Bell