Home » Akademik Shokalskiy: In the Wake of Mawson
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 first 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.
Duration: 25 Days
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.
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.
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. 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. Large groups of Southern Elephant Seals slumber on the beaches and in 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 found here and four species of albatross, Wandering, Black-browed, Greyheaded and Light-mantled Sooty.
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 reading in the library.
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.
Our program emphasises wildlife viewing, key scientific bases and historic sites, as well as the spectacular scenery of the coastal terrain, the glaciers and icebergs of East Antarctica. Whilst specific landings cannot be guaranteed, we hope to visit a number of unique and interesting places. Our first explorations on the remote East Antarctic coastline will be at
Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay, it is notoriously known as the ‘home of the blizzard’ due to the strong Katabatic winds that frequently blow here. If a lull in the weather allows we hope to see, and experience, Mawson’s Hut – established for the 1911-1914 Australasian Antarctic Expedition. West from Cape Denison is the French Research Base, Dumont d’Urville, which we will visit if permission is granted and ice conditions permit. The base’s main area of study is
wildlife, notably the Emperor Penguin. In summer, the rocks near the base are also home to an Adelie Penguin rookery, as well as skua. The McKellar Islands are a group of approximately 30 small islands and rocks, and lie 3 kilometres
north of Cape Denison. They were discovered by the Australasian Antarctic Expedition under Mawson. We will not land at these islets but there may be good opportunities for wildlife sightings close by.
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.
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. 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. I
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.
|15 Dec 2019 - 08 Jan 2020||$26154 AUD pp|
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1 Bunk Bed, 1 Single Bed, Writing Desk, Wardrobe, Shared Bathroom, Porthole
2 Single Beds, Writing Desk, Wardrobe, Shared Bathroom, Porthole
1 Bunk Bed, Writing Desk, Wardrobe, Private Bathroom, Windows.
2 Single Beds, Writing Desk, Wardrobe, Private Bathroom, Windows.
1 Double Bed in Seperate Bedroom, Sofa, Writing Desk, Wardrobe, Private Bathroom, Windows
1 Double Bed in Seperate Bedroom, Large Lounge Area, Sofa, Writing Desk, Wardrobe, Private Bathroom, Large Windows