akademik shokalskiy east antarctica commonwealth bay mawsons hut antarctica cruise

East Antarctica: In the Wake of Mawson

  • Overview
    Please note that this voyage has recently been extended. It will now travel from 08 Jan 2018 Invercargil, New Zealand to 06 Feb 2018 Christchurch, New Zealand making it a 30 Day itinerary. 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: 26 days
    Passengers: 48 passengers
    Embarkation Point: Invercargill, NZ
    Disembarkation Point: Christchurch, NZ
    Physical rating: Expedition
    Fly/Cruise: Cruise only
    Single Supplement: 1.7x - 2.0x twin rate or share options
  • Itinerary
    • Day 1 - Invercargill, New Zealand

      Please note that this voyage has recently been extended. It will now travel from 08 Jan 2018 Invercargill, New Zealand to 06 Feb 2018 Christchurch, New Zealand making it a 30 Day itinerary. The complete itinerary is not shown below, if you would like to receive the complete itinerary please contact us on 1800 960 577 or info@iexpedition.com

      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 - 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 4/5 - Auckland Islands

      Characterised by towering cliffs and rugged sea stacks, these islands have borne witness to many a shipwreck in days gone by. We spend the day ashore on Enderby Island which is perhaps the most beautiful of all the Subantarctic Islands. Here we 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. We land in Carnley Harbour and if conditions are suitable climb to a Shy Albatross colony, otherwise we explore sites within the harbour.

    • Day 6 - At Sea

      Take the chance to learn more about the biology and history of these islands and the tempestuous Southern Ocean through informal lectures with our experts. This particular stretch of ocean is very productive and we can expect many seabirds, including five or six kinds of albatross and numerous species of petrel.

    • Day 7/8 - Macquarie Island

      This remote, rocky outpost which endures roaring westerly winds, supports one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in the Southern Hemisphere. Four species of penguin, King, Royal, Rockhopper and Gentoo breed here. You will never forget your first experience in a ceaselessly active ‘penguin city’, where the dapper inhabitants show no fear of their strange visitors. We will also meet with the Park Rangers, visit the Australian Antarctic Base and observe the hundreds of Southern Elephant Seals along the beaches.

    • Day 9/11 - 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 12/18 - Commonwealth Bay

      *** Important: Revised itinerary will now spend days 12 - 21 in 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 19/22 - 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 drop anchor in Perseverance Harbour, an occasional refuge for Southern Right Whales who come here to calve. Walk to the nesting site of the Southern Royal Albatross and see the strange and beautiful megaherbs growing on the hills. These huge wild flowers that have adapted to the harsh conditions have unusual colourings and weirdly-shaped leaves. We also seek out other wildlife such as Campbell Island Shags, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross and sea lions.

    • Day 25 - At Sea

      At sea en route to the Port of Bluff, take the opportunity to relax and enjoy our last few days of shipboard life and to reflect on an amazing experience. On your last evening we will review and celebrate our discoveries over a farewell dinner.

    • Day 26 - Christchurch; Disembarkation

      *** Important Revised Itinerary: This voyage will disembark on Day 30 on the 06 FEB 2018 in Christchurch New Zealand. ***

      We arrive at the Port of Lyttelton 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 a central city drop off or Christchurch Airport.

    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

    - Travel insurance (mandatory)
    - Visas
    - Gratuities. International / domestic flights
    - Drinks
    - Laundry
    - All items of a personal nature
  • Map
    Map coming soon
  • 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
Check Voyage Dates, Pricing and Availability
All available dates

Main Deck Twin

08 Jan 2018 - 02 Feb 2018
Twin public cabins have shared facilities and are the most economic
USD 19,900pp
USD 15,900pp
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Superior Twin

08 Jan 2018 - 02 Feb 2018
Twin cabin with private facilities
USD 21,990pp
USD 18,490pp
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Superior Plus Twin

08 Jan 2018 - 02 Feb 2018
Twin cabin with lower bunks and private facilities
USD 23,390pp
USD 18,190pp
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Mini Suite

08 Jan 2018 - 02 Feb 2018
Suite cabin with double bed, private facilities and proximity to the bridge
USD 24,490pp
USD 19,240pp
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Heritage Suite

08 Jan 2018 - 02 Feb 2018
A perfect corner forward facing suite with the closest proximity to the bridge
USD 25,690pp
USD 25,690pp