akademik shokalskiy east antarctica commonwealth bay mawsons hut antarctica cruise

East Antarctica: In the Wake of Mawson

  • Overview

    VOYAGE CANCELLED: Unfortunately, this departure has been cancelled for December 2018. We are now taking expressions of interest for December 2019 or discover our voyages departing from New Zealand and exploring the Ross Sea - In the Wake of Scott & Shackleton.

     

    The only voyage departing Australia in 2018! Sir Douglas Mawson is arguably the grandfather of Antarctic science. The Australian Antarctic Expedition 1911-1914 is notable for its achievements and sadly its tragedies. Encouraged by the success of Shackleton’s 1908-09 Nimrod expedition, of which he was a member, Douglas Mawson planned his own expedition to explore the Antarctic coastline directly south of Australia. The Australasian Antarctic Expedition sailed from Hobart on 2 December 1911, making a brief stop at Macquarie Island to establish a radio base and then making landfall at Cape Denison in Commonwealth Bay. Unbeknownst to Mawson and his men, they had discovered the windiest place on the planet – renowned as the ‘home of the blizzard’. Tragedy struck the expedition when Ninnis and Mertz, the other two members of Mawson’s three-man Far Eastern Sledging Party, died. Mawson returned to base blinded by snow and having cheated death on more than one occasion. He made it back so late in the season that he had to overwinter in Antarctica as his relief ship had sailed. Mawson’s Hut at Cape Denison still stands; protected against the extreme weather for which the region is renowned. Cape Denison has historically been one of the very few ice free and readily accessible areas along the East Antarctic coastline. However when the Mertz Glacier tongue broke off in 2010 it blocked the annual movement of sea ice preventing any shipping and effectively isolating the area, we have been monitoring conditions in this region since and now see opportunities to return and explore this majestic, remote coastline.

    Duration: 28 days
    Passengers: 48 passengers
    Embarkation Point: Hobart, Australia
    Disembarkation Point: Invercargill, NZ
    Physical rating: Expedition
    Fly/Cruise: Cruise only
    Single Supplement: 1.7x - 2.0x twin rate or share options
  • Itinerary
    • Day 1 - Hobart; Arrival Day

      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 Bluff; Embarkation Day

      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 Furious Fifties in the tumultuous Southern Ocean, we will learn more about the 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 endeavour to spot the Fairy Prion, Fulmar Prion and Antarctic Prion – never an easy task – but we should get some great views. Other species to be on the lookout for include the Soft-plumaged Petrel, Mottled Petrel, White-headed Petrel, Grey-faced Petrel, White-chinned Petrel, Grey-backed Storm-Petrel, Wilson’s Storm-Petrel and the Black-bellied Storm-Petrel.

    • Day 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 en route to Commonwealth Bay

      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 en route to New Zealand sub-Antarctic Islands

      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 to visit the Shy Mollymawk colony at South West Cape or if the 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; Disembarkation

      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.

      Note:
      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.

      Important Notes:
      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.

    Please consider that our voyages are expeditionary in nature. This means, that there are no concrete itineraries, your Captain and Expedition Leader will utilise their vast experience to chart the best course for your expedition depending on the climatic and environmental conditions. Mentioned highlights and wildlife cannot be guaranteed.

  • Highlights & Activities

    Antarctica from Australia! Departing from Hobart.

    The only cruise to Antarctica departing from Australia in 2018. Follow in the footsteps of Sir Douglas Mawson, visit beautiful Macquarie Island with tens of thousands of king penguins; step inside well preserved Mawson’s Hut in Commonwealth Bay

    Adelie Penguins

    Adelie penguins are the most abundant of all penguin species and are there estimated to be some 5 million birds. They have been an incredibly successful species living further south than any other species and have one of the oldest continually used rookeries, which has existed for some 6,000 years.

    ANZ sub-Antarctic Islands

    Australia and New Zealand’s Subantarctic islands are a wonderland of rugged landscapes, birds, penguins and seals. Little known and often forgotten about for the likes of South Georgia, these islands present a very similar experience. Macquarie Island in particular, is home to the Wandering Albatross, King Penguins and Elephant seal colonies of wild proportions. The New Zealand sub-Antarctic islands are made up of Auckland, Snares, Campbell, Bounty, Chatham and the little known Antipodes Island. These islands are home to rare and endemic birds species, rarely visited and in a number of instances our expeditions to these islands are the only ones permitted.

  • Inclusions

    Pre-cruise accommodation & transfers

    One night accommodation is provided before your expedition. Transfers to/from the expedition ship are provided on the day of embarkation and disembarkation.

    Expedition Gear

    A high quality expedition jacket is provided for the Ross Sea and Commonweatlh Bay regions. Please note you will still require a lighter Goretex style jacket for visiting the sub-Antarctic islands and thermal insulating layers.

    Landing Fee

    Our expedition rates incorporate the required USD$880 landing fee

    Inclusions / Exclusions

    Included in your Expedition

    - All expedition shore excursions
    - All on board ship accommodation with meals

    Not included in your Expedition

    - International and internal flights that are not specified
    - Travel insurance (mandatory)
    - Items of a personal nature such as; Beverages / Laundry / Medical expenses / Gratuities / Internet & Wifi
  • Map
    Hobart to bluff
  • Gallery
  • Vessel

    AKADEMIK SHOKALSKIY

    The Shokalskiy is the sister ship to the Spirit of Enderby, they were both built in 1984 for polar and oceanographic research and being fully ice strengthened they are perfect for Expedition Travel. She carries just 48 passengers and has been recently refurbished to provide comfortable accommodation in twin share cabins approximately half of which have private facilities. All cabins have outside windows or portholes and ample storage space. On board there is a combined bar/library lounge area and a dedicated lecture room. The cuisine is excellent and is prepared by top NZ and Australian chefs. The real focus and emphasis of every expedition is getting you ashore as often as possible for as long as possible with maximum safety and comfort. Our Expeditions are accompanied by some of the most experienced naturalists and guides, who have devoted a lifetime to field research in the areas that we visit. The ship is crewed by a very enthusiastic and most experienced Russian Captain and crew.

    Features & Facilities
    • Basic accommodation
    • Small and intimate vessel
    • Bar/Library
    • Lecture room
    • Observation decks
    • Open Bridge
    • Internet
    Key Facts
    Luxury star rating: 3
    Guests #: 48
    Crew #:
    Ice Class: KM
    Speed: 12
    Refurbished:
    Technical Specs
    Year built:
    Length: 71m
    Width: 12
    Draft:
    Tonnage: 1764
    Registry: Russia
    Elec Outlets: 220V / 2 Round Pin
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We understand that the trip of a lifetime takes planning, so we make the financial commitments easy to manage.

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  • Final payment due 120 days prior to departure.

Main Deck Twin

10 Dec 2018 - 06 Jan 2019
Twin public cabins have shared facilities and are the most economic
AUD$ 28,656pp
AUD$ 28,656pp

Superior Twin

10 Dec 2018 - 06 Jan 2019
Twin cabin with private facilities
AUD$ 31,665pp
AUD$ 31,665pp

Superior Plus Twin

10 Dec 2018 - 06 Jan 2019
Twin cabin with lower bunks and private facilities
AUD$ 33,681pp
AUD$ 33,681pp

Mini Suite

10 Dec 2018 - 06 Jan 2019
Suite cabin with double bed, private facilities and proximity to the bridge
AUD$ 35,265pp
AUD$ 35,265pp

Heritage Suite

10 Dec 2018 - 06 Jan 2019
A perfect corner forward facing suite with the closest proximity to the bridge
AUD$ 36,993pp
AUD$ 36,993pp