Home » Ross Sea » In the Wake of Mawson: Akademik Shokalskiy
Duration: 28 days
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Perhaps there are things that can be understood once we see for ourselves. By re-experiencing the Antarctic expedition of Mawson, there are room to discover the wonderful and beautiful white and blue sceneries. There will be excursions within the expedition which provides different excitement each day. Meeting penguin and seal colonies and explore their natural habitats, and sail along with whales across the ocean; your journey will be strongly embraced by nature
Experience the Antarctic expedition undertaken by Sir Douglas Mawson
Have many opportunities of photo-taking, surrounded by beautiful blue and white scenery
Meeting with the native wildlife and sighting for rare species
Many mini excursions to be undertaken during the expedition
Visiting historic sites and scientific bases
Itinerary in Brief
Day 1: Overnight in Hobart
Day 2: Embark ship
Day 3-5: At sea
Day 6-7: Macquarie Island
Day 8-10: At sea
Day 11-19: Commonwealth Bay and Beyond
Day 20-22: At sea
Day 23-24: Campbell Island - Perseverance Harbour
Day 25: At sea
Day 26: Auckland Islands - Enderby Island
Day 27: The Snares - North East Island
Day 28: Disembark Invercargill
Day 1: Hobart
Arrive in Hobart, Australia’s second-oldest city and southernmost capital with strong connections to the Antarctic continent. Meet your fellow voyagers and expedition staff for an informal get-together over dinner at the hotel, where you will stay overnight.
Day 2: Port of Hobart
We transfer you to the port where staff will welcome you on board the Akademik Shokalskiy and as you settle into your cabin, our adventure begins.
Day 3-5: At sea
As we make our way through an area known as the roaring ‘40s we will have a series of lectures on the biology and history of the Subantarctic Islands and the Southern Ocean and we will prepare for our arrival at Macquaire Island. En route to Macquarie Island, we can observe pelagic species at our ease. Great birding opportunities 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 endeavour to spot the Fairy Prion, Fulmar Prion and Antarctic Prion – never an easy task – but we should get some great views.
Days 6-7: Macquarie Island
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 amongst the hundreds of Southern Elephant Seals lolling on the beaches and dunes. On arrival we meet with scientists and Park Rangers based here who will accompany us on all our landings.
Day 8-10: At sea
Soaring albatross and petrels circle the vessel as we 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. 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. If you have brought your laptop with you there will be time to download and edit photos while they are fresh in your mind.
Day 11-19: Commonwealth Bay and beyond
Our first landing on the remote East Antarctic coastline will be Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay. Notoriously known as the ‘home of the blizzard’. Here we will see (and experience) Mawson’s Hut and its environs which include other relics from the 1911-14 expedition and Adelie Penguins. West from Cape Denison is the French Research Base, Dumont D’Urville which, if permission is granted and ice conditions permit, we will visit. There is also an Emperor Penguin colony nearby. Breeding season will be over but there could be birds around. Other landings could include Port Martin (abandoned French Base) and the McKellar Islands. We will also cruise in the Zodiacs looking for wildlife.
East from Cape Denison we can follow the ice edge towards the Balleny Islands. It is a very productive area for cetaceans; large numbers of Humpbacks have been recorded here. The Balleny Islands were discovered in 1839, by a sealing Captain in the employment of the Enderby Brothers. Because of their location, remote and isolated, they are rarely visited. The islands are rugged and landing sites are rare, but if conditions are right we will be able to Zodiac cruise Sabrina Island where there is a small colony of Chinstrap Penguins. This is also one of the few places where Greater Snow Petrels breed. Further south is Cape Adare, arguably one of the most historic sites in all of Antarctica. It was here in 1895 that one of the first landings on the Antarctic continent was made and in 1899 the first party to winter over in Antarctica built their hut here.
Other potential sites in the Northern Ross Sea that we could land if ice and weather conditions permit include the Possession Islands. These were named by Sir James Clark Ross in 1842 after he had landed on them and claimed the region in the name of Queen Victoria. A little further south is Cape Hallett, it was the site of a joint American New Zealand base from 1958-1973 when it was abandoned. It was demolished in the 1990s and now the Adelie Penguins are reclaiming the site which was rightfully theirs anyway. From Cape Hallett we can get amazing views of the northern transantarctic mountains.
Day 20-22: At sea
Taking time to rest and enjoy shipboard life in the bar or library after the excitement and long daylight hours of the Antarctic, we have time for lectures on our final destination and for some pelagic bird spotting.
Day 23-24: Campbell Island – Perseverance Harbour
We spend two days exploring the island by foot taking in the panorama of rocky islets and sea stacks; once the lonely preserve of settlers and seal hunters and now returned to nature. Enjoy an easy walk to the nesting site of the Southern Royal Albatross at Col Lyall or walk across the hills to Northwest Bay and see the strange and beautiful megaherbs growing on the hills. These huge pink and yellow wild flowers have adapted well to the harsh conditions. We also seek out other wildlife such as Campbell Island Shags, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross and, on the beaches beyond, young male sea lions testing their strength.
Day 25: At sea and Auckland Islands
We spend this morning en route to the Auckland Islands, arriving in Carnley Harbour this afternoon. These islands have witnessed many a shipwreck in days gone by. Loaded in human history, they harbour tales of castaways, bullion and coastwatchers through to today’s scientific visitors. If weather and sea conditions permit visit the Shy Mollymawk colony at South West Cape or if weather is not suitable we will select one of a number of other sites available to us.
Day 26: Auckland Islands – Enderby Island
Named for the same distinguished shipping family as our own vessel and one of the most beautiful islands in the group, this is a great birding location and a chance to see everything from the famous Southern Royal Albatross and Northern Giant Petrel to parakeets, Bellbirds and the endemic shag, teal and snipe. Sandy Bay is one of three breeding grounds on the Auckland Islands for the rare Hooker’s or New Zealand Sea Lion.
Day 27: The Snares – North East Island
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 we learn how the islands got their name and encounter Snares Crested Penguins, Cape Petrel and Buller’s Albatross on the imposing cliffs. We are also likely to encounter Antarctic Terns, White-fronted Terns, Red-billed Gulls, Tomtits and Fernbirds.
Day 28: Invercargill
We arrive at the Port of Bluff early in the morning. After breakfast, customs formalities and a last minute opportunity to bid farewell to your expedition team, you disembark and board our complimentary coach transfer to downtown Invercargill or Invercargill airport.
Departs - Selected dates (listed below)
Ship Cabins: Akademik Shokalskiy
Main Deck Triple
This category has one bunk (one upper and one lower) and one lower berth, wardrobe,
drawers, a desk and wash basin. The nearby showers and toilets are
shared with other
Main deck cabins.
Main Deck cabins
This category have two lower berths, wardrobe, drawers, a desk, washbasin and
porthole. The nearby showers and toilets are shared with other Main
This category have bunks (an upper and lower berth), wardrobe, drawers, a desk, a
private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have
Superior Plus cabins
This category have two lower berths, wardrobe, drawers, desk, a private bathroom with
shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows.
This category have a separate bedroom with a double bed and a single bed or a sofa in
the lounge, wardrobe, drawers, a desk and a private bathroom with
shower, toilet and washbasin. The Mini Suites have windows.
This category has a large lounge area, a separate bedroom with double bed, a single
bed in the lounge, writing desk, wardrobe, drawers. There is a private
bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. There are large forward and
side facing windows to allow great views.
Ship Deck Plan
Classification: Russian register KM ice class
Year built: 1984
Accommodation: 50 berths expedition
Main engines: power 2x1560 bhp (2x 1147 Kw)
Maximum speed: 12 knots (2 engines),
Cruising speed: 10 knots(one engine)
Bunker capacity: 320 tons
One pre-voyage hotel accommodation in Invercagill, New Zealand