Sunday, 29 December 2002

Explore the Arctic by Icebreaker

NorthwestPassageRichardSidey

To travel by powerful icebreaker into the forbidden reaches of the far north is a journey like no other. To stand on the bridge of this mighty machine as it plunges deep into the polar icecap is a truly awe-inspiring experience that leaves the voyager with memories to last several lifetimes.

Even the most vivid and lucid descriptions cannot do full justice to powerful imagery of a first-hand experience. We’ve all read accounts of the early explorers and even seen breathtakingly realistic recreations on the big screen, but until you’ve been there, it is all a merely a dream.

In our thirty years of designing adventure expeditions for the modern traveller, our Arctic explorations continue to draw unprecedented interest, and for good reason. Try to imagine 24,000 horsepower thrusting the 12,000 tonne vessel against the otherwise unyielding polar ice cap. The hardened steel hull, nearly thick, literally crushes the dense ice pack beneath its irresistible weight. The noise of this conflict is incredible as ice, sometimes up to [??] metres thick, splits apart amid sharp, artillery-like cracks, grudgingly giving way to the progress of the determined Kapitan Khlebnikov.

The Kapitan Khlebnikov has become the flagship of polar cruises. Capable of carrying 112 passengers, it has racked up an impressive list of feats at both ends of the world, including the first vessel to carry passengers on a circumnavigation of Antarctica and the farthest south by any vessel.

During the brief frenzy of the northern summer, the Kapitan Khlebnikov will run four superb journeys for Adventure Associates encompassing Russia’s seldom visited and remote Far East, vast Greenland, Amundsen’s Route through the unforgiving Northwest Passage and Canada’s high Arctic. The most difficult decision you will have to make is which journey to embark on.

Each journey has its own unique benefits and features.


Wrangel Island

Explore the archaeology, culture and natural history of Russia's Far East - a remote world on the edge of the Arctic pack ice. Only a fully classed icebreaker is powerful enough to tackle these ice-choked waters. Thrill at historic sites of early exploration, visit some of the world's most northerly peoples, and be among the few to ever have visited Wrangel Island, a world famous nature reserve surrounded by the formidable ice of the East Siberian Sea. Our program is scheduled at the height of summer, the best time to appreciate the wildlife and wander across the tundra.

Northwest Passage

The quest for a Northwest Passage that would connect the great Atlantic and Pacific Oceans began in the 16th century. This remarkable voyage of exploration will bring alive the endeavors of those who charted the Arctic: Sir John Franklin, Leopold McClintock, Roald Amundsen and many more who faced the challenging climate and ice pack on their quests of discovery. The Kapitan Khlebnikov navigates ice-choked channels, narrow straits and little-explored waterways on this exciting cruise of exploration.

The High Arctic

Explore the High Arctic of Canada and Greenland, a region of towering mountains, glaciers and protected fjords surrounded by dense pack ice. On this unique voyage, made possible only by our polar-class icebreaker, you call at some of the world's northernmost communities and explore 4,000-year-old archaeological sites. This is the land of the Inuit explored by Sir John Franklin, Robert Peary, Otto Sverdrup and Adolphus Greely. We also keep watch for polar bears, musk ox, Arctic hare and the elusive walrus that inhabit this icy paradise.

TANQUERAY FJORD, ELLESMERE ISLAND
& GREENLAND

This unique voyage will take you to the stunning glaciers and valleys of Tanquary Fjord, explore the coasts of Ellesmere Island, and call on some of the most remote communities in the world. During the brief summer months, the vegetation here is transformed as saxifrage, Arctic cotton and Arctic willow flourish. We venture to within some 500 miles of the geographic North Pole, and look forward to first-hand sightings of polar bears, musk ox herds, Arctic hares, seals, and the elusive walrus that inhabit this icy paradise.

North Pole

The crowning jewel in any northern polar journey is a voyage to the North Pole itself. In order to achieve this feat, we employ the absolute pinnacle of icebreaker technology, the immensely powerful and sophisticated, Yamal.

With a displacement of 23,000 tons and a mind-boggling 75,000 total horsepower, the Yamal is one of a very few elite vessels capable of undertaking such a journey.

Assisted by constantly updated satellite ice maps and visual inspections by helicopter, the Yamal often attains speeds of 12 knots amongst the treacherous polar ice flows, reaching the North Pole in about three days.

Not simply an ice-crushing exercise, you will experience shore excursions by either or both helicopter and zodiac in Franz Joseph Land as well as time ashore in Spitsbergen.




Monday, 11 November 2002

Explore the Kimberley

Kimberley Quest

Like so many of the world’s most beautiful locations, the rugged, still partially unexplored Kimberley Coast is also one of the most inhospitable. And it is precisely this challenge allure that makes it one of the most rewarding.

Anyone who has flown out of Australia to SE Asia has probably seen the complex and colourful tapestry of inlets, wetlands, rivers and gorges that make up this remote region. Others may recall the accounts of early 17th century Dutch and English explorers who dismissed this region of “New Holland” as unfavourable.

This 11 day/10 night comprehensive exploration of the regions encompassing the Mitchell, King George and Prince Regent Rivers between the historic ports of Broome and Darwin. You’ll travel aboard the superbly appointed “Coral Princess” and, depending on dates, may choose to complete the forward or reverse journeys. Or you may even decide to stay aboard and traverse the entire Top End through to Cairns (see Across the Top End)

The 35m “Coral Princess” is perfectly suited to exclusive expeditionary cruising. Limited to just 48 passengers, the advanced catamaran design enables exploration of some of the most intricate waterways as well as open water cruising in speed and comfort.

Apart from the vessel’s own considerable agility, expeditioners will enjoy added flexibility and convenience with the use of two smaller craft, the 50 passenger “Explorer” and inflatable zodiac. This enables unparalleled opportunities to navigate the minute tributaries and backwaters frequented by such animals as the feared saltwater crocodile as well as abundant birdlife in the form of ibis, herons and cormorants.

The Kimberley Coast exploration is a true frontier experience, rich in natural beauty, wildlife and even prehistoric cave art. The drama and majesty of this wild region creates a lasting impression with anyone who visits. During August and October, voyagers are also likely to spot migrating humpback whales making their perennial journey north.

Top End

The perfect companion voyage to “The Kimberley” is “Across the Top End”.

This 11 night/12 day expedition cruise explores the seldom visited shores of Cape York Peninsula. Isolated because of the almost total absence of road access, we visit remote Lizard, Stanley and Forbes Islands before rounding Cape York. These islands offer some of the most superb snorkelling experiences anywhere on the Great Barrier Reef and you’ll also see the almost unheard of Endaen Aboriginal rock art gallery.

Through Torres Strait and into the Arafura Sea the discovery continues as we land at Nhulunbuy and beach BBQ on the Wessel Islands. The voyage culminates with a detailed exploration of islands in the Timor Sea as well as Bathurst and Melville Islands and the mysterious Coburg Peninsula, site of the failed settlement of Victoria before arriving in Darwin.

Of course, the entire journey can be completed in reverse of you prefer. Just add it to the end of your Kimberley adventure.

Still a relatively new experience amongst adventure travellers, the popularity of these cruises ensures they fill quickly.