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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Aurora Expeditions Antarctic Adventures 2009/10


Aurora Expeditions 2009/2010 Antarctic season features thirteen expeditions on two ice-strengthened vessels that offer camping, kayaking, climbing and helicopter excursions, as well as unequalled wildlife viewing opportunities on the great white continent.

In its ongoing quest to provide the most extraordinary adventures in Antarctica, Aurora Expeditions is offering thirteen itineraries for the 2009/2010 Antarctic season between November 2009 and March 2010, showcasing the beauty, remoteness, history and wildlife of the frozen south and offering the most comprehensive program of adventure activities of any Antarctic tour operator.

Whether travellers want to see the tallest penguins in the world; paddle a kayak in clear waters dotted with icebergs; scuba dive in the remotest place on earth, or follow in the footsteps of the great explorers, Aurora has an expedition that will match their wildest dreams.

Aurora’s 54 passenger ice-strengthened ship Polar Pioneer will undertake ten voyages to the Antarctic Peninsula during the season; while the 100 passenger ice-strengthened and helicopter equipped Marina Svetaeva will make three voyages to ‘Deep Antarctica’ including Commonwealth Bay and the Ross Sea.

While not luxury vessels, both ships provide simple, comfortable accommodation with meals prepared by Western chefs. All voyages include all meals on board, shore excursions, and an in-depth education program with expert commentary and talks by Aurora’s team of naturalists, historians, geologists, expedition staff and special guest lecturers.

The small group size makes it possible for all passengers to go ashore at every landing, allows the wildlife to be observed without disturbance and makes for more relaxed visits to historic sites and scientific stations. The maneuverability of these smaller vessels, along with a fleet of inflatable Zodiacs, allows travellers to visit places conventional ships cannot reach.

Unlike some other operators, Aurora is not concerned with hairdryers, bathrobes, spa treatments, dress codes or room service – the emphasis of its expeditions are on true exploration and discovery in some of the most extreme wildernesses on the planet.

The Antarctic Peninsula is the warmest and most accessible region of the frozen continent, reached by two days sailing from Ushuaia at the southernmost tip of Argentina. In addition to witnessing the most amazing wildlife spectacle on earth, for intrepid travellers, Aurora offers adventure options in the Antarctic Peninsula such as sea-kayaking, camping overnight on the ice, climbing and scuba diving.

The 12-day ‘Antarctic Peninsula for Climbers and Kayakers’ (7 -18 December 2009) voyage offers the chance to climb icebergs and unclimbed peaks or paddle in pristine waters led by some of the world’s most experienced mountain climbers and guides.

The 12-day ‘Across the Circle’ (16 – 27 February 2010) voyage includes the opportunity to scuba dive amongst glaciers and gigantic icebergs and meet seals and penguins in their element in a once-in-a-lifetime underwater adventure.

The 20-day ‘Shackleton Odyssey’, (27 February – 18 March 2010) voyage retraces the epic journey of the great explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton and offers the option for experienced climbers to repeat his alpine crossing on foot from King Haakon Bay to the now deserted whaling station at Stromness.

Voyages will also visit scientific bases and historic sites. Prices for Antarctic Peninsula voyages start at US$5990 (ex-Ushuaia) per person triple share.

‘Deep Antarctica’, the most southerly region accessible by ship, stretches from the Ross Ice Shelf to Commonwealth Bay in East Antarctica. It’s a wild place guarded by pack ice and is reached four days sailing across the Southern Ocean from Australia or New Zealand. This area is the stuff of polar legend, with century-old huts and base camps that are literally frozen in time. Voyages also plan to call in at two or three sub-Antarctic islands – home to millions of royal, king and other penguin species, several species of albatross, snorting elephant seals and frisky fur seals.

The 27-day ‘Mawson’s Antarctica’ (11 December 2009 – 6 January 2010) voyage to Commonwealth Bay departs from Hobart, visiting the wildlife-rich sub-Antarctic islands on route to Cape Denison, site of Mawson’s historic hut, and the French Antarctic base, Dumont D’Urville.

The two 26-day ‘Ross Sea Explorer’ expeditions will depart from Hobart (7 January – 1 February 2010, returning to Bluff New Zealand) and Bluff, New Zealand (2 February – 27 February 2010, returning to Hobart). These expeditions aim to sail to the Ross Ice Shelf, dry valleys, and historic huts of explorers Scott and Shackleton. Helicopter excursions are included on all voyages to Deep Antarctica.

Prices for all three voyages start at US$12,590 per person quad share.

Although suitable for people of all ages and physical abilities, these are not ordinary cruises. Weather and ice, not clocks and calendars, set the schedule for a journey here. In the spirit of exploration, landings and activities will depend on ice, sea and weather conditions and the daily schedule may change in line with the dynamic environment.

Aurora Expeditions is a licensed travel agent who can arrange competitive airfares and pre and post touring options in conjunction with these voyages.

For further information contact Aurora Expeditions on 1800 637 688 or visit www.auroraexpeditions.com.au
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