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Saturday, 22 September 2018

From on board: Gros Morne Rock Stars

#expeditioncruising .

From on board Silversea Silver Cloud

Location: Woody Point, Newfoundland
Date: Thursday, 20 September 2018

Rock Stars: Journey to the Centre of the Earth

It's not every day you get to see the centre of the Earth, but that's what's going on at UNESCO-listed Gros Morne National Park near the delightful hamlet of Woody Point, Newfoundland. Huh? Well, stick with me on this.

The Main (and only) street in Woody Point (RE)

Just outside the town is the Parks Canada Discovery Centre devoted to the neighbouring 1800 sqkm Gros Morne National Park which, by the way, was inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage list in 1987.

UNESCO state: “The property presents the complete portrayal of the geological events that took place when the ancient continental margin of North America was modified by plate movement by emplacement of a large, relocated portion of oceanic crust and ocean floor sediments.”

Here in the park, we go on a leisurely hike with our guide who fills us with knowledge of this most unusual landscape.

Silversea guests explore the landscape of Gros Morne NP (RE)

In the days when the theory of plate tectonics was still hotly debated, Newfoundland-born geologist Harold Williams (among others) advanced the theory of colliding super-continents much to the dismay of the established theorists, but the landscape of the Tablelands within Gros Morne held all the evidence he needed.

Great hiking and views in the Gros Morne NP (Parks Canada)

Here we see a distinct change in the landscape with barren, toxic Martian-like rocks on one side and lush green hills on the other. The minerals disgorged in the violent 'obduction' of the continental plates contain both the ancient ocean floor and minerals rocks like peridotite and chromite which can only come from the Earth's semi-liquid mantle. Got it? Enough geology then.

Silversea Silver Cloud at anchor in scenic Bonne Bay, Newfoundland. (RE)

Before we reboard Silver Cloud there's time for a bit of a stroll through the tiny township and its delightful retro buildings, bars and shops.

Expedition Cruising editor, Roderick Eime, is travelling as a guest of Silversea with assistance from  Tourism Canada.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

From on board: Meet the Vikings

#expeditioncruising .

From on board Silversea Silver Cloud

Location: St. Anthony, Newfoundland
Date: Wednesday 19 September 2018

MAP: click to enlarge

Meet the Vikings

We've all heard tales of the rampaging Vikings or seen the graphic TV series of the same name, but who knew these ambitious Scandinavians were the first Europeans to settle in North America?

'Vikings' greet Silversea guests at the Port of St Anthony

True story. The great sagas have long told of great feats of exploration and conquest, but these sometimes fanciful tales have lacked hard evidence. But in 1960, two Norwegians conducted a thorough survey of the area, finding archaeological evidence and locating the settlement now known as L'Anse aux Meadows. The site was later inscribed by UNESCO on the World Heritage list.

Authentically recreated Norse structures at Norstead Viking Village (RE)

Despite many years of excavation, there's not a lot to see of the original settlement. The digs have been re-interred by Canada's Parks Authority and replica structures built adjacent the site. Here we meet enthusiastic reenactors 'living' in the sod-covered timber-framed buildings carrying on life much as how these first settlers world have done 1000 years ago. (pics below)

What is particularly significant about the meeting of the Norse people and the local indigenous tribes is that event marks the first time (probably) that the journeying human race completed an encirclement of the Earth that took some 100,000 years from the time the first wanderers left Africa. How about that?

Even though Silver Cloud is close to 100 per cent capacity, just 250 guests ensure that when ashore, we do not overwhelm our destination. We're split into small manageable groups, so there are no queues for the museums or bathrooms and everyone gets small group attention when guided through the sites.

Rebuilt Silver Cloud (with new blue hull) at anchor at St Anthony NL (RE)

You'll recall Silver Cloud was converted to a Polar Class vessel after an intensive three-month rebuild in 2017, so I'm curious just how this process was conducted. Regardless, the result is nothing short of staggering. The 156m vessel was originally built in 1994 as Silverseas' first ever cruise ship, so to have her 'reborn' in this fashion and ready for a whole new life of adventure is quite something.

I'll detail more of Silver Cloud over the next week as we explore the historically rich waters around Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada's eastern territory.

Expedition Cruising editor, Roderick Eime, is travelling as a guest of Silversea with assistance from  Tourism Canada.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

PONANT Kimberley 2020 voyages released

#expeditioncruising .

The PONANT Kimberley May - August 2020 series of 10 to 13 night voyages has been released. An exceptional opportunity to explore one of the remotest regions on earth, simply stunning in size, breathtaking in colour, home to saltwater crocodiles and extraordinary in its wealth of indigenous rock art.

Deal: Save $1300 on World Expeditions most luxurious Galapagos cruise

Book your World Expeditions' Galapagos adventure and save $1300!

Cruise the wildlife wonderland that is the Galapagos Islands on board the luxurious MV Origin motor yacht and you'll stay in one of only 10 fully air-conditioned deluxe staterooms with private bathroom, enjoying superb cuisine, fully stocked bar and generous observation areas and open sun decks.

Two on-board naturalist guides will help you discover the wildlife havens and learn about the natural environments of this exciting destination.

You'll save $1300 per person twin share – and pay $9,750 - on this unforgettable eight day luxury cruise, normally priced at $11,050.  Book before 31 December this year (while cabins last), and depart between 1 September 2019 and 9 December 2019.   Offer includes a bonus night's accommodation at the luxury boutique Hotel Del Parque in Guayaquil.

More information at  or call 1300 720 000.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

National Geographic Venture Launched

Earlier this week, Lindblad Expeditions successfully launched the National Geographic Venture from Nichols Brothers in Freeland, WA as she took to the water for the first time. Below you will find a great video of this event captured by our VC team. More updates to come as we continue to prepare the vessel to welcome her first guests in San Francisco in late November.

Following her launch celebrations in San Francisco, she will depart on two new and unique inaugural itineraries that explore the Pacific coast, before she begins her seasons in Baja, the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.  Sister ship of National Geographic Quest launched in 2017, the 50-cabin coastal vessel is the second new build for the line, and has been designed with decades of expedition experience.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

World class submarine on board Scenic Eclipse

#expeditioncruising .

Scenic Eclipse, is providing guests with their very own underwater experience on board the U Boat Worx Cruise Submarine 7.

Capable of diving to a depth of 300 metres with seating for up to six guests, the submarine has been custom-built for optimal sightseeing of marine wonders, offering guests an unforgettable excursion into the wide blue depths.

The U-Boat Worx submarine is designed to meet international noise standards and to provide unmatched comfort, space and style, with maximum legroom and headroom while keeping overall weight and size to a minimum. This combination delivers the ultimate diving experience. Internal climate control and a surround sound music system form part of the fine detailing, together with the optimum ergo dynamics to facilitate ease of boarding and disembarking.

Scenic Founder and Chairman, Glen Moroney said the submarine will offer guests a unique opportunity to go below and beyond.

“Scenic has always sought to venture beyond the horizon and with our submarine, we provide guests with the opportunity to enjoy unparalleled access to some of nature’s most beautiful marine environments. From inside the U-Boat Worx submersibles, each guest will enjoy an uninterrupted view thanks to the strategic placement of all components and the use of an ultra-clear acrylic hull, expertly engineered to make you feel “at one” with the ocean”, Mr Moroney said.

The submarine design consists of a three-person pod on the front and at the back of the sub for a total of six guests plus the pilot, who is located behind the guests. The seats are mounted on a platform that can swivel 180 degrees, so the guests are able to see both sides of the submarine. Strong exterior lights will allow guests to take in the colors and details of wrecks and other underwater sights.

“The sub is able to perform from 8 up to 12 dives per day, depending on the length of dive, giving as many guests as possible access to this unique opportunity,” said Mr Moroney. “Because the cabin is pressurized, there is also no need for a slow ascent or descent. One of the thrills for guests is a fast, upward journey where they pop out from below the ocean with a splash”.

Based in the Netherlands, U-Boat Worx is the world’s largest manned submersible manufacturer. For more than 12 years, they have delivered private submersibles to a variety of clients.

Monday, 10 September 2018

New shipwreck discovered in the Canadian Arctic

Discovery of Long Lost Vessel Marks Third Significant Underwater Archaeological Find in the Arctic

For the second time in Canadian history, One Ocean Expeditions (OOE) has contributed to the discovery expedition to find a long-lost vessel in collaboration with The Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS). The most recent discovery of evidence of Nova Zembla, a Scottish whaling ship that was wrecked near Buchan Gulf off the coast of Baffin Island in 1902, will help shed light on the historical and political complexity of the whaling industry in the Arctic.

Image source

The successful find of the HMS Erebus in 2014 marked a momentous breakthrough in the exploration of the Canadian Arctic. Subsequently, the HMS Terror was found two years later. The newest discovery of Nova Zembla occurred on 31 August 2018 by fellows of The RCGS Dr. Matthew Ayre and Dr. Michael Moloney, from the Arctic Institute of North America, University of Calgary. Evidence of the wreck was discovered near Buchan Gulf while traveling onboard OOE's Classic Northwest Passage and Greenland voyage on Akademik Sergey Vavilov.

This discovery marks the first British whaling wreck in the eastern Canadian Arctic to be found and investigated. The finding of the ship will present an opportunity to ground-truth historical documents and understand more completely the operation of Arctic whaling ships. Information gained from the discovery will complement past investigations of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, continuing to tell the story of maritime nautical history in the Canadian Arctic.

"We are thrilled for the expedition team and their discovery of Nova Zembla. The significance of such a find is of great importance, and we'll continue to be a proud supporter and contributor in educational and scientific programs as well as historical outreach," said One Ocean Expeditions' Managing Director, Andrew Prossin. "This is exciting news as it is sure to reveal unknown details about the history of whaling in the Arctic. We hope it will allow us to continue finding answers to many longstanding questions in that field."

With the contribution of onboard facilities such as science labs and berths, along with a zodiac and crew to assist in the search, the integration of exploratory work such as this diversifies the expedition experience. Passengers on board were invited to be a part of the expedition with presentations taking place onboard by Dr. Ayre and Dr. Moloney, and a commemorative patch shared to celebrate the success of the find and share in the excitement.

OOE's extensive commitment to responsible education and development of nationally/internationally accredited scientific programs, university field studies, and the continued interest and support of discovering the undiscovered.

For more information about One Ocean Expeditions:

For more information on OOE's Arctic Voyages: