Voyage to one of the least visited coastlines in the world and discover for yourself why East Antarctica held such a fascination for pioneering Antarctic explorer Sir Douglas Mawson. Enjoy the pleasures of exploration and observation and experience the panoramic and the intimate; the majestic vista of the world’s largest glacier and a young Adelie Penguin taking its fi rst ocean dip. The natural world beckons and rewards with rare whale sightings and abundant birdlife. East Antarctica opens to us further as we examine Mawson’s legacy.
• Journey from New Zealand via the ‘stepping stones’ of the rugged and wild Subantarctic Islands; The Snares, Auckland and Macquarie Islands breaking our long journey and introducing us to nesting seabirds, seals and rare flora – the islands’ rich biodiversity paving the way to our Antarctic experience.
• Wildlife encounters- from nesting albatross and rowdy penguin rookeries to lazing seals and sea lions.
• Crossing the Antarctic Circle, where the sun stays above the horizon, we move closer to Mawson’s Antarctica.
• Pelagic birdlife wheels overhead on our journey south as we navigate astounding ice formations and marvel at Mertz Glacier’s ice tongue.
• (Weather permitting) exploring the location of Mawson’s Hut, where we plan to visit the far eastern sector of the Australian Antarctic Territory. Whilst visiting the hut is high on our wish list we are reminded that landings in this area are determined by the effects of Katabatic wind and ice. Mawson was very much one for science and knowledge, but realised the need to push the boundaries of endurance to achieve this goal, our experienced crew and expedition team will be monitoring conditions closely so we might achieve our goal, and follow in the footsteps of this legendary explorer.
Arrive at Invercargill, New Zealand’s southernmost city. Established by Scottish settlers, the area’s wealth of rich farmland is well suited to the
sheep and dairy farms that dot the landscape.
Passengers should make their way to the Ascot Park Hotel where our group will spend the first night of the expedition. This evening there will be
an informal get-together at the hotel for dinner; an excellent opportunity to meet fellow adventurers on your voyage and some of our expedition team.
Enjoy breakfast in the hotel restaurant and explore some of the local Southland scenery and attractions
before heading to the Port of Bluff to embark the Akademik Shokalskiy. Settle into your cabin and join your
expedition team and the captain for a welcome on board.
It has been claimed that the closest of the Subantarctic Islands to New Zealand, The Snares, are home to more nesting seabirds than all of the
British Isles put together. Uninhabited and protected, the only mammals are marine; New Zealand fur seals and sea lions found at the base of the imposing cliffs. Zodiac cruising the jagged coast we learn how the islands got their name, and in the sheltered bays we should see endemic Snares Crested Penguin,
Snares Island Tomtit and Snares Island Fernbird plus Sooty Shearwater and returning-to-nest Buller’s Albatross. From the water we can view the
unique large tree daisies Olearia lyallii and Brachyglottis stewartiae which dominate much of the island, draping the hills and creating a forest canopy.
As we make our way through the tumultuous Southern Ocean’s ‘Furious Fifties’, we will learn more about Subantarctic flora and fauna as we prepare for our arrival at Macquarie Island. En route there are great birding opportunities which may include the Wandering Albatross, Royal Albatross, Black-browed Albatross,
Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, Salvin’s Albatross, Grey-headed Albatross, Northern and Southern Giant
Petrel, Sooty Shearwater and Little Shearwater. We will also endeavour to spot the Fairy Prion, Fulmar Prion and Antarctic Prion.
We continue our passage through the ‘Furious Fifties’ this morning and prepare for our arrival at Macquarie Island, or ‘Macca’ as it is also affectionately known, later today. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Australia’s jewel in the Southern Ocean, has a history firmly linked to Mawson’s endeavours. In 1911, he established the island’s first scientific station. As well as mapping the island and conducting geomagnetic observations, he studied the island’s botany, zoology, meteorology and geology. This expedition also established a radio relay station on Wireless Hill that could communicate with both Australia and the expedition group at Commonwealth Bay. This enduring windy, rocky outpost supports one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in the Southern Hemisphere. Millions of penguins breed here with four different species: King, Rockhopper, Gentoo and the endemic Royal calling this island home. We plan to spend our time divided between two approved landing sites, Sandy Bay and Buckles Bay, as well as taking a Zodiac cruise at Lusitania Bay if, weather conditions permit. You will never forget your first experience of Sandy Bay’s perpetually active penguin metropolis, where the dapper inhabitants show no fear of visitors. The King Penguin rookery at Lusitania Bay is noisy and spectacular. A welcoming committee will likely porpoise around our Zodiacs as a quarter of a million King Penguins stand to attention on shore. Large groups of Southern Elephant Seals slumber on the beaches and in the tussock. Unlike the penguins, these giant creatures will barely acknowledge our presence, lying in groups of intertwined bodies, undergoing their annual moult. In addition to the penguins and elephant seals, there are three species of fur seals to be foundhere and four species of albatross, Wandering, Black-browed, Greyheaded and Light-mantled Sooty. An amazing island, and our last Subantarctic Island visit on this leg of our journey as we head to open seas.
Soaring albatross and petrels circle the vessel as we steam southward through the Southern Ocean. Lectures concentrate on the Antarctic region, and beyond the bow of the ship, drifting icebergs of extraordinary
shapes and colour begin to appear. Manoeuvring in close for your first ice photographs, we 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 readingin the library. If you have brought your laptop with you, there will be time to download and edit your just-taken photos.
An authentic expedition into the vast icy desert of East Antarctic, our ‘In the Wake of Mawson’ voyage
channels the spirit and tenacity of its heroic namesake exploring the historic and isolated coastline of
Commonwealth Bay where very few have ventured before. Located almost entirely within the Eastern
Hemisphere, East Antarctica (or Greater Antarctica) is renowned for the thickness of its ice, up to almost 5 kilometres in some areas, and some of the coldest and driest conditions on the planet, yet is still home to Emperor and Adelie Penguins, seals, seabirds and cetaceans. A celebration of Australia’s contribution to Antarctic exploration, our own expedition carries the same thrill of the unknown as we traverse the frozen coastline following in the wake of these great adventurers.
When we depart from the spectacular icebound majesty of Antarctica we will have some quieter time at sea to recover from the extensive daylight hours. Travelling along the Antarctic convergence for part of this, we will remain vigilant for all the sea and birdlife we will no doubt encounter along the way. There will be plenty of time to reflect on your amazing experience, download and edit freshly taken photos, pose questions to our knowledgeable expedition team and recap highlights with fellow passengers and staff. Just remember ‘God does not deduct from one’s allotted life span time spent sailing,’ so relax and enjoy. Take part in a series of lectures designed to prepare you for our visit to the Auckland Islands. Pelagic species abound here as they did en route to Macquarie Island earlier in our voyage. Above all, take the time to rest and enjoy shipboard life after the excitement of the Antarctic.
We arrive in Carnley Harbour, once the caldera of the Carnley volcano. The walls of the caldera have been
breached on both the eastern and western sides, separating Adams Island to the south. The eastern entrance is navigable for smaller vessels such as ours. The extensive harbour is rich in history and in
opportunities. Our activities are totally weather dependent as the wind often funnels down the harbour
making anchoring and some landings impossible. We have a number of options including a reasonably difficult scramble to a Shy Albatross colony on South West Cape. For those not able to manage this there will be the option to Zodiac cruise the pristine shores of Adams Island and Western Harbour. If wind and weather prevent us from doing this, other options include a relatively easy walk to an abandoned Coastwatcher’s hut and lookout used during the Second World War. If landing on the shores on the
north arm of Carnley Harbour where the Grafton was wrecked in 1865, the remains of the vessel and their
castaway hut can still be seen. There are two other sites of interest that if we can’t land at the above sites
we might consider. They are Camp Cove, site of the official Government Castaway depots constructed in the late 1800s and the ‘Erlangen’ clearing where the German merchant ship of the same name cut firewood on the eve of the Second World War which allowed it to leave New Zealand undetected.
Enderby Island is a wildlife rich island with no equal in the Southern Ocean, considered one of the most beautiful of the Subantarctic Islands. Enderby Island’s landscape is a mix of regenerating rata forest – playing host to native songbirds, the Tui and Bellbird, and chatterbox Red-fronted Parakeets – and megaherbs with languorous names; Bulbinella rossii and Anisotome latifolia, and vivid pink and white gentians. The island is home to the rarest sea lion in the world, the New Zealand Sea Lion, which breeds on Sandy Bay beach where we plan to land. As we walk around the island, we will enjoy close encounters with the Yellow-eyed Penguin, the rarest penguin in the world, and the Royal Albatross nesting amongst a hummocked sward of Oreobolus pectinatus and tussock. There is a good chance that we will see the endemic snipe, shag and Auckland Island Flightless Teal.
We are at sea en route to the Port of Bluff. We will take the opportunity to recap the many experiences we have had on this expedition. This is also a good opportunity to download and edit any remaining photos while they are fresh in your mind and you have the experience of our expedition team on board for questions. There will also be some good pelagic birding opportunities. Tonight we enjoy a farewell and celebratory dinner with new found friends with time to reflect on a wealth of new experiences.
Early this morning we will arrive in the Port of Bluff. After a final breakfast and completing Custom formalities we bid farewell to our fellow voyagers and take a complimentary coach transfer to either a central city point or to the airport. In case of unexpected delays due to weather and/or port operations we ask you not to book any onward travel until after midday today.
During our voyage, circumstance may make it necessary, or desirable, to deviate from the proposed itinerary. This can include poor weather and making the most of opportunities for unplanned excursions. Your Expedition Leader will keep you fully informed. Landings are subject to government regulated authorisations and appropriate permits being issued. No landings are permitted at The Snares.
This expedition is subject to approval from several Australian Authorities and may have to change depending on these approvals. Permits have been lodged for all the sites mentioned in the itinerary, depending on approvals these may have to be amended or substituted. We will endeavour to keep participants fully informed of any changes in the itinerary as and when they occur.
Two lower berths, writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private washbasin. Nearby shower and toilet facilities are shared with other Main Deck cabins. These cabins have a porthole.
One bunk (one upper and one lower berth), writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows.
Two lower berths, writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows.
Separate bedroom with a double bed and a sofa in the lounge, writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. Mini Suites have windows.
Large lounge area, separate bedroom with double bed and a sofa in the lounge, writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. Large forward and side facing windows allow great views.
Landing fee: 880 USD pp
Vessel Type: Expedition
Passenger Capacity: 50
Built / refurbished: 1984
The identical sister ship to Spirit of Enderby, Akademik Shokalskiy is the complete expedition vessel. Built in 1984 for polar and oceanographic research, Akademik Shokalskiy is fully ice strengthened and famously joined a Russian convoy of the Northeast Passage in the late 1980s, as well as completing the journey unassisted. This class of vessel is world-renowned for Polar expedition cruising because of its strength, manoeuvrability and small passenger numbers.
• 2 Dining Rooms
• 24-hour Tea/Coffee Station
• Bar • Lounge • Sauna
• Lecture Room
• Fully-stocked Library
• Ship to Shore Communications via Satellite