Sir Douglas Mawson gained world acclaim 100 years ago, with his successful, yet ill-fated Australasian Antarctic Expedition. To celebrate his achievements, this voyage combines landings on wildlife-rich sub-Antarctic islands with the rare chance to visit MawsonÂ’s Hut at Commonwealth Bay. You will search for emperor penguins, and hopefully step ashore on the Great White Continent. Visit the worldÂ’s wildest environment, albeit in safety and comfort. From king penguins on Macquarie Island to rare yellow-eyed penguins on Auckland Islands, you will enjoy a 26-day voyage that is the essence of adventure.
Day 1: Embark Hobart
An early afternoon transfer from your Hobart hotel takes you to Akademik Shokalskiy. After a warm welcome you set sail down the DÂ’Entrecasteaux Channel.
Days 2-4: At Sea
As you sail 833-nautical-miles south to Macquarie Island, albatross, terns and petrels wheel about the ship. ThereÂ’s time to relax and prepare for upcoming explorations through lectures, discussions and briefings.
Days 5-6: Macquarie Island
Mawson landed at Macquarie Island in December 1911, establishing a scientific base and a radio link with Australia. The plan is to tour the research station, visit rookeries of gentoos, endemic royals and king penguins over a hundred-thousand birds strong. Elephant seals snooze, fur seals play and skuas watch for untended chicks.
Days 7-9: Cross the Antarctic Convergence
Enjoy entertaining talks that prepare you for Antarctica. Temperatures fall as you cross the Antarctic Convergence, watching for icebergs and seabirds.
Days 10-11: Cape Denison
In January 1912, Mawson and his men landed at Cape Denison in Commonwealth Bay. Located near the South Magnetic Pole, MawsonÂ’s Hut is dwarfed by the dramatic backdrop of sweeping polar plateau. Weather permitting, visit the famed Hut, and you may see WilsonÂ’s storm petrels, Weddell seals, AdÃ©lie penguins and skuas.
Days 12-13: Petrel Island / Dumont DÂ’Urville / Astrolabe Glacier
Sail overnight to Petrel Island, or possibly the French research station, Dumont DÂ’Urville. You may see nesting snow petrels and WilsonÂ’s storm petrels, visit the station, and Zodiac cruise along the Astrolabe Glacier.
Days 14-15: Wilkes and Sabrina Coasts
Follow the route of Captain John King Davis in 1912 as he searched for a winter base for MawsonÂ’s Western Party. The hope is to see the Dibble Ice Tongue and emperor penguins as you push west along the Wilkes and Sabrina coasts.
Day 16: Port Martin
Returning east, the plan is to land at Port Martin, a rocky toehold often sheltered from katabatic winds, home to AdÃ©lie penguins and an abandoned French base.
Day 17: Mertz Ice Tongue
You will visit the magnificent Mertz Ice Tongue, aiming to launch Zodiacs and cruise the wildlife-rich waters.
Days 18-19: Oates Land
Threading through an iceberg maze created by the calving Mertz Glacier, we reach open water along Oates Land.
Days 20-23: Sailing North
Sailing north, you absorb the rich experiences of past weeks and prepare for landings in New ZealandÂ’s subantarctic.
Day 24: Auckland Islands
The Auckland Islands offer rare yellow-eyed penguins, the endemic teal duck and massive Hooker sea lions. Conditions permitting, you will see nesting shy and wandering albatross.
Day 25: Final Day at Sea
You say farewell to the majestic birds on the final day at sea, and relive your recent adventures.
Day 26: Disembark Bluff
After an early morning arrival in Bluff, you clear customs and transfer to Invercargill.