This unique and fascinating epic voyage will take you to the remote and rarely visited Commonwealth Bay in East Antarctica, the historical site of Sir Douglas Mawson’s fateful expedition over 100 years ago. Sir Douglas Mawson is arguably the grandfather of Antarctic Science, and on this journey accompanied by expert historians you will discover these wild lands and the stories they hold of...
An accomplished and experienced Namibia birding and photographic guide, Toni holds a Namibia Academy for Tourism and Hospitality Level 3 qualification (the highest level attainable in Namibia) and is widely renowned for her extensive knowledge of the cultures, ornithology, flora, astronomy and wildlife of the country.
In 1981 Toni moved to Namibia with her family and from then on her love of the outdoors and all things nature grew and grew. Her father was an exploration geologist who travelled extensively around Southern Africa, living in small mining towns and managing bush camps where Toni would spend her school holidays camping in the bush, or visiting private farms and reserves. Toni’s father passed on to her his unparalleled knowledge of all things Namibia, and she carried this with her as she became a manager and guide at some of the most remote lodges in the extreme North West of Namibia. Toni has travelled expansively across Namibia and its neighbouring countries, making regular visits to all of the National Game Reserves and developing her photographic skills which she takes great pleasure in passing on to visitors to the region.
Her deep love and knowledge of the Namibia, coupled with her infectious passion and enthusiasm to want to share it, make her one of the country’s top guides and ambassadors for this beautiful country. More than just a guide who simply points from a vehicle, Toni becomes fully involved in the experiences of her fellow travellers and places a great emphasis on finding the best adventures, wildlife encounters and photo opportunities for her tour groups. As a Managing Tour Consultant she plans safaris for a wide range of interest groups but her main focus is on birding and photographic small group tours, where she delights in each visitor gaining an up-close and personal experience of all that the country she loves and knows so well has to offer.
Born in Chartres in the West Falklands, Jenny grew up on the family farm where her love for animals was nurtured by the25,000 sheep, horses and cows that lived alongside her. Forever a nature, conservation and wildlife enthusiast Jenny has travelled extensively throughout the Falkland Islands, visiting each and every wildlife island at least once, and even travelling around some by yacht. She spent 11 years on Sea Lion Island as Manager of the Lodge, Warden of the Nature Reserve and as the principal tour provider, meaning her knowledge of Sea Lion Island in particular is second to none. Having spent so much time here, as expected her wildlife speciality is Elephant Seals, but she is also well versed in the ways of the seabirds, penguins, whales, dolphins and sea lions that call the Falklands their home.
After her time on Sea Lion Island Jenny moved to Stanley to work for the Falkland Islands Government and became manager of a local travel firm assisting with travel arrangements for incoming visitors, before taking semi-retirement to spend more time with her family and enjoy more time further exploring the lands she knows so well. Jenny is extremely passionate about sharing the hidden nature secrets of the Falklands with those who come to visit her homeland and will be looking forward to accompanying you and passing on her unsurpassed knowledge of the areas you will be visiting.
Arrive independently in Hobart, Tasmania, an island with strong historical links to Antarctica and make your way to your included hotel for an overnight stay. Meet your fellow travellers and expedition team over dinner and prepare yourself for the adventures ahead.
In the morning you will transfer to the port where you will board the Akademik Shokalskiy. Settle in to your cabin and explore your home for the next 26 nights, and join your captain and expedition team at the welcome meeting.
Read More3 - 5Days
As your adventure begins we will sail through an area known as “the roaring forties” towards Macquarie Island. Throughout these days at sea you can enjoy a series of informative and entertaining lectures on the history and biology of the Subantarctic Islands and the Southern Ocean, as well as attend briefings to prepare for the landings and explorations you will be taking on your voyage. As we cross the seas there are excellent bird watching opportunities so we recommend you spend some time on deck in search of sightings of various Albatross species, Northern and Southern Giant Petrels, Sooty and Little Shearwaters and perhaps even the Fairy Prion, Fulmar Prion and Antarctic Prion.
Read More6 - 7Days
The remote Macquarie Island supports one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in the Southern Hemisphere, with millions of breeding penguins, large groups of Elephant Seals and other wildlife inhabiting the sandy beaches and the tussock grass. This is also the only place in the world where the beautiful Royal Penguin breeds. As well as exploring the island in search of wildlife encounters you can also visit the Australian Antarctic Base and meet with the park rangers to find out more about this remarkable wildlife paradise.
Read More8 - 10Days
As we sail southward through the Southern Ocean the excitement will start to build even further as we sail towards Antarctica and drifting icebergs of extraordinary shapes and sizes begin to appear. As we pass the Antarctic Circle and into the continent’s realm of 24-hour daylight keep your cameras on hand for your first close-up ice photographs, and enjoy some fascinating lectures and presentations on the Antarctic region, including the history of Mawson’s expedition.
Read More11 - 19Days
In true expedition style our exact route across the remote East Antarctica coastline will be dictated by ice and weather conditions, with your captain choosing each day the best areas to visit for exploration and wildlife encounters. Our likely first stop will be Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay, home to Mawson’s Hut and other relics from the fateful 1911-14 expedition. Notoriously known as the ‘home of the blizzard’, these wild lands are also home to Adelie penguins and weather permitting we will explore the area by foot and on Zodiacs. West from Cape Denison is the French Research Base, Dumont D’Urville which, if permission is granted and ice conditions permit, we will visit, and there is also an Emperor Penguin colony nearby we will hope to explore. Other landings here could include Port Martin, an abandoned French Base, and the McKellar Islands.
Moving eastwards from Cape Denison we will follow the ice edge towards the rarely visited Balleny Islands, a productive area for cetaceans where large numbers of humpbacks have been recorded. These rugged islands have very few landing sites, but we will hope to take a Zodiac cruise to 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 visit include the Possession Islands and Cape Hallett where we can get amazing views of the northern transantarctic mountains and have some more close up encounters with Adelie penguins.
Read More20 - 22Days
After an exhilarating time on the white continent, the next few days will be spent at sea as we leave behind the icy waters and extensive daylight hours of the Antarctic and head towards Campbell Island. Your informative lecture programme will continue, with talks now focused on the regions ahead, and some time on deck should reward with sightings of Pelagic birds and cetaceans.
Read More23 - 24Days
Our next two days will be spent on Campbell Island as we make land at Perseverance Harbour and explore the island on foot in search of wildlife encounters and scenic photo opportunities. The rocky islets and sea stacks which make up the island are home to ample birdlife and we can take a short walk to Col Lyall to the nesting site of the Southern Royal Albatross as well as seeking out sightings of Campbell Island Shags and Light-mantled Sooty Albatross. On the beaches we are also likely to spot male sea lions hauled out. An area of great natural beauty, walks here are filled with panoramic vistas, and a light trek across the hills to Northwest Bay will reward in the sight of the strange and beautiful megaherbs growing on the hills. These huge pink and yellow wild flowers have adapted well to the harsh conditions and provide a spectacular contrast to the icy landscapes we will have witnessed on the previous element of the voyage.
Leaving Campbell Island behind we will spend the morning at sea sailing towards the Auckland Islands, arriving in Carnley Harbour in the afternoon. These islands are rich in human history and have witnessed many a shipwreck in days gone by. The historians who will accompany you will introduce you to the tales of castaways, bullion and coastwatchers as well as an insight into the work carried out by the more recent scientific visitors of today. If weather and sea conditions permit we will 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.
One of the most beautiful islands in the group, Enderby Island is a great birding location. Exploring the island on foot and by Zodiac we hope to have the 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 on the island is also one of three breeding grounds on the Auckland Islands for the rare Hooker’s or New Zealand Sea Lion.
As we arrive in the Snares we will visit the group’s largest island, North East Island, which staggeringly is claimed by some as being home to more nesting seabirds than all of the British Isles put together. Exploring by Zodiac around the rugged coastline we will be on the lookout for Cape Petrels and Buller’s Albatross on the imposing cliffs, as well as encountering Snares Crested Penguins and learning about how the islands got their name. During your time here you are also likely to see Antarctic Terns, White-fronted Terns, Red-billed Gulls, Tomtits and Fernbirds.
As your fantastic wildlife, birding and history expedition comes to an end your ship will arrive at the Port of Bluff in the early morning, where after breakfast you will bid a fond farewell and join the included transfer to Invercargill Airport or to a downtown location.See All Itinerary