OF THE LEAST VISITED REGIONS OF ANTARCTICA
1, 2007 - January 7, 2008
early booking discount of US$ 500 per person is available for reservations made
with deposit by March 30, 2007
2007 marks the beginning of the 24-month International Polar Year. Researchers
from around the world will cooperate to further our understanding of the polar
regions. To celebrate the occasion we are mounting the 38-day Far Side
Semi-circumnavigation, a momentous voyage to the least visited regions of
Antarctica. The expedition starts from Stanley, Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
and travels via the Weddell Sea to Antarctica's Far Side, ending in Fremantle,
Australia. On this exciting itinerary visits are planned to Cape Norvegia and
Neumeyer Station, the Atka Bay Emperor Penguin rookery, Proclamation Island, the Mawson Coast,
and several other remote areas.
is a continent of superlatives. It is the coldest, windiest, driest, iciest and
highest of all the major landmasses in the world. It is the continent with the
longest nights and the longest days and it is home to the world’s greatest
concentration of wildlife. It is also one of the last true wilderness areas left
on earth – largely unchanged since the early explorers and whalers first
landed on its inhospitable shores less than two centuries ago.
larger than either the United States or Europe, and twice the size of Australia,
the continent is surrounded by a frozen sea that varies from one million square
miles in summer to 7.3 million square miles in winter. Beyond the ice are the
waters of the vast Southern Ocean that encircles Antarctica in a continuous ring
several hundred miles wide. The Southern Ocean isolates the continent from the
warmer waters of the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans to the north and this
meeting point, called the Antarctic Convergence, is the ecologically defined
northern boundary of the region.
journeys occur at the peak of the summer wildlife season. Bathed in long hours
of daylight, the area will be erupting with wildlife activity. Millions of
penguins gather to tend their fast-growing chicks; whales are seen in great
numbers, seals haul out onto ice floes and beaches, and numerous albatrosses and
other seabirds trail in our wake. We explore historic sites from the Heroic Age
of early Antarctic exploration and visit scientists working in modern research
bases. And there is plenty of time to enjoy the sheer beauty and the
breathtaking scenery of ice-choked waterways, blue and white icebergs,
impressive glaciers and rugged snow-capped mountains.
is a sample itinerary only. Our exact route and program varies according to ice
and weather conditions – and the wildlife we encounter. Flexibility is the key
to the success of this expedition.
Make your way
to Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas).
simplify your arrival, we suggest you reserve our optional package that includes
overnight hotel accommodation in Santiago, Chile, airport transfers in Chile and
the Falkland Islands, and a one-way flight from Santiago to the Falkland Islands
(Islas Malvinas). Call or e-mail us for details.
per person based on twin occupancy: US$940
Kapitan Khlebnikov, the only polar-class icebreaker equipped for passenger
travel in Antarctic waters, will begin at 4 pm. The ship has 4 decks of living
space above the main deck, where the Zodiacs and helicopters are battened down
in anticipation of departure.
and eager for a new day, rise with the sun to watch for seabirds from the
open-air observation deck high above the Bridge. One of the Expedition Team
members will join you to answer questions and assist with the identification of
Wandering Albatross, or Wilson’s Storm-petrels as they swoop to feed.
presentations begin in the auditorium to prepare you for the adventures to come.
Learn how to board a Zodiac and a helicopter. The mysteries of the Antarctic
Convergence are explained, stirring up anticipation as the ship ploughs east
southeast toward the Southern Ocean.
Day 3 &
Shag Rocks and South Georgia
En route to
South Georgia, Captain will chart a course past Shag Rocks, where the only
inhabitants are seabirds and seals. Marked on seafaring charts since 1792, the
first record of humankind setting foot on one of the six small islands did not
occur for nearly 200 years, when an Argentine geologist was lowered from a
helicopter to collect rock samples in 1956.
sighting South Georgia, sometime out from Stanley. The tides of the Southern
Atlantic Ocean wash the north shore, and the Scotia Sea the southern shore. As
you have crossed the Antarctic Convergence, you are now in Antarctica.
was a lucrative industry, 2,000 people inhabited this tiny piece of the British
Empire, there are no longer any permanent residents. During the southern summer
the British Antarctic Survey conducts research at two stations, while a Marine
officer keeps the peace and a museum curator makes expedition members welcome.
Shackleton’s name is synonymous with South Georgia. He and his companions
climbed the snow covered mountain range that runs the length of the island after
an 800 mile sail in a small boat from Elephant Island, where the members of his Endurance
expedition were stranded. Shackleton returned to South Georgia, years later,
where he died and was buried at the request of his widow. You will visit the
gravesite during your exploration of Grytviken, the former whaling town.
is a birder’s paradise. Landings on the island should include visits to
several King Penguin rookeries and you will sight many albatross. Three other
species of penguin breed on the island: Chinstrap, Macaroni and Gentoo. Since
the collapse of the sealing industry, fur seals and elephant seals have
re-established breeding colonies. Elephant seals, the largest in the world, love
to haul out on the coast of South Georgia. Pack your camera!
Day 6 & 7.
South Sandwich Islands
Our visits to
the South Sandwich Islands are rare indeed. For the next two days, we will
attempt a number of landings, but as we anticipate there will be ice in the
vicinity – the first you will see on this journey – we cannot predict
exactly where the landings will occur. Our Expedition Team always takes
advantage of local conditions when planning landings.
From the deck,
watch for Mount Curry, an active volcano and the highest peak on Zavadovski
Island, where one of the world’s largest Chinstrap Penguin rookeries is
located. The first person to record sighting the island was the man credited
with the first sighting of the Antarctic continent, von Bellingshausen, in 1819.
Forty-four years earlier Captain James Cook had discovered the southernmost
islands of the archipelago, naming them after the Earl of Sandwich. We will make
our best effort to go ashore here, and if not Zavadoski, which sometimes can be
difficult, we hope to land on Thule.
Thule is an
old Scandinavian word used to denote a place in the far north. To medieval
cartographers Ultima Thule designated
a place beyond the known world. Cook and his men must have felt as if they were
at the end of the world when they encountered the South Sandwich Islands. You,
however, know better, there are many more nautical miles to sail before this
expedition is complete.
Day 8 - 10.
Sea has confounded explorers for more than two centuries. When James Weddell,
after whom the sea is named, first sailed there in 1824, he was able to navigate
as far south as 74°. He had arrived in a relatively ice free year. However,
more often than not, much of the sea is covered in permanent ice, making
exploration extremely challenging for most sea-going vessels. We plan to launch
our helicopters to allow you to watch Kapitan
Khlebnikov maneuver through ice as only this icebreaker can.
Team will conduct wildlife watches. You may wish to volunteer to assist them, as
they search for Weddell seals, the southernmost living mammal in the world, as
well as the rarely seen Ross seals that live within the ice-covered ocean.
Sea should provide many opportunities for iceberg sightings. To assist you in
capturing them for posterity, the Expedition Team will include a media
specialist and a visual artist. During onboard workshops the media specialist
will introduce you to traditional and digital photography techniques for
shooting ice and snow. During the visual art workshops you will learn to see
that ice and snow in an entirely new light. Antarctic explorer Apsley Cherry-Garrard
wrote “…snow seldom looks white, and if carefully looked at will be found to
be shaded with many colours but chiefly with cobalt blue or rose madder, and all
the gradations of lilac and mauve which the mixture of these colours will
Day 11 & 12.
Cape Norvegia and Neumayer Station
permission is granted, and conditions allow, we will visit Georg von Neumayer
Station, where scientists study geophysical, meteorological, and air chemistry.
The station is located below the ice and accessed by a series of stairs and
ramps, on a 200 meter thick ice shelf, 10 kilometers from the sea.
is operated to meet standards designed to protect the biological and physical
environment. Nearby at Atka Bay there is a large and well established Emperor
Penguin rookery. If weather conditions permit, we plan to visit these
Riiser-Larsen Ice Shelf
this remote region of Antarctica were made in 1904, 1915, and in 1930 by
Norwegian Hjalmar Riiser-Larsen, after whom the 402 km (250 mile) long ice shelf
is named. Ice shelves are extremely large glaciers, which have flowed to a
seacoast where they float in the water. When large chunks of the ice shelf break
off at the water’s edge they are said to calve. Calving ice shelves create
permit Zodiacs and helicopters will be deployed to observe icebergs, wildlife
and the shelf itself.
14 - 18.
some time during the next few days at sea, the ship will transit 0° degrees of
latitude, the Greenwich Meridian, an imaginary line which runs from the
geographic North Pole to the geographic South Pole. Also known as Zero
Longitude, it is the line from which all other lines of longitude are measured.
activities are planned for days at sea – wildlife watches; ice-chart reading
lessons; media and visual art workshops; presentations on the life cycle of
Antarctic wildlife, the workings of an icebreaker and glaciology. The ship’s
library will be open for quiet moments of contemplation.
scientists have been launching rockets into the atmosphere from Syowa Base since
1970. It is very difficult to reach the base due to heavy ice in this region.
However, if permission is granted and conditions permit, we will try to visit
the Base, providing helicopter flights are within safety limits.
Day 20. At sea
summer solstice will be cause for a celebration. The sun should be in the sky for nearly 18 hours, because you
will be close to the Antarctic Circle on December 21, 2007.
Day 22 & 23.
As we explore
pack ice, we will visit an Emperor Penguin rookery known to exist in the region.
We will attempt a landing if conditions permit.
Just as the
Expedition Team takes advantage of local conditions, the Hospitality Team takes
advantage of holidays and memorable dates to inspire menus. While at sea,
Christmas Eve, the ship will be transformed with decorations as the scent of
Christmas pudding and roasting turkey drifts across the deck.
By the time
you reach Mawson Station, our polar historian will have related the exploits of
Sir Douglas Mawson, Australia’s most beloved Antarctic explorer. His first
expedition to the Antarctic was in 1907, during which he became one of the
earliest to climb Mount Erebus. In 1911 with an expedition team, he returned to
Antarctica for further scientific investigation, and undoubtedly earned his
reputation as a brave and tenacious explorer. He traveled with two companions
about 500km (312 miles) from Commonwealth Bay, One companion, known by his
initials, B E S (Belgrave Edward Sutton) Ninnis, with a sledge carrying most of
their supplies and its dog team, broke through a crevasse and disappeared. The
loss compelled Mawson and his remaining companion Xavier Mertz to turn back.
Mertz never reached safety, dying 25 days into their arduous return journey. Now
alone, Mawson discarded nonessentials, except geological specimens and records
of the journey. With a pocket saw, he cut his sledge in half and, for 30 days,
dragged it 160 kilometers (66 miles) back to his base camp, where a small party
had waited to search for him. They remained in the Antarctic for another year.
While recuperating, Mawson wrote, The Home of the Blizzard, his account of the ordeal.
is located near one of the 40 known Emperor Penguin rookeries. If conditions
permit you may march with the penguins.
We plan to
explore the locale near the Scullin and Murray Monoliths as well as the Amery
Ice Shelf over the next two days. We will not visit the monoliths themselves as
they have been designated a Specially Protected Area, because “the Scullin and
Murray Monoliths (67° 47'S 66° 42'E and 67° 47'S 66° 53'E) hold the greatest
concentration of breeding seabird colonies in East Antarctica, including the
second largest colony of Antarctic petrels Thalassoica antarctica. The
Scullin and Murray Monoliths ASPA is a breeding locality for at least 160,000
pairs of Antarctic petrels from a minimum estimated global total of
approximately half a million pairs (van Franeker et al. 1999).”
report continues “Adélie penguin colonies occupy the lower slopes of both
monoliths, extending almost to the foreshore. Approximately 50,000 pairs nest on
Scullin Monolith and a further 20,000 pairs on Murray Monolith. This represents
approximately 10% of the Adélie penguin breeding population for East Antarctica
and approximately 3% of the global population. Many of the ocean-facing slopes
of both monoliths are used for breeding by petrels.”
concentration of grounded icebergs on Earth can be found in the area. We will
attempt to navigate through them, an unforgettable experience.
Fram Bank, Amery Shelf
we are granted permission, a visit to the Chinese research station Zong Shan,
located in the Larsemann Hills, may occur today.
& 30. Davis Station
and Prydz Bay
are researching the biology, geology and glaciology of the Lambert-Amery region,
at Davis Station, the home of a new atmospheric physics program using laser
technology to investigate the Antarctic stratosphere. If permission is granted,
we may tour the station.
New Year’s Eve
farewell to Antarctica as you welcome in the New Year, while sailing north
toward the Australian continent.
32 - 37.
last days at sea will be full as you exchange digital photographs with newly
made friends; complete the masterpiece on which you have been working since the
first art workshop; attend our continuing education program presentations – or
do absolutely nothing other than bask in the sun on deck as seabirds circle the
port of Fremantle is located on the west coast of Australia near Perth. After
breakfast aboard, all passengers will be transferred as a group to the Perth
airport for your homeward flights.
Airfares are not included in the progra
Voyage aboard the
‘Kapitan Khlebnikov’ as indicated in the itinerary;
All meals throughout
the voyage aboard the ship;
A glass of house wine
with every dinner on board;
All shore excursions
and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac and helicopter (as included in
group excursions with no specific amount of helicopter time guaranteed);
Program of lectures
by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff;
service taxes and port charges throughout the program;
pre-departure materials and Antarctic handbook;
Rubber boots service;
cabins are smoke-free. Smoking is only permitted in designated areas only