Wednesday 11 August 2010

Heritage Expeditions Announce New Voyages

One of Heritage Expeditions highlighted new 2011 Russia voyages we will release this month at the UK’s premier Birdfair is our 'Bering's Wake: In search of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper' in partnership with BirdLife International.

This expedition is as unique as the First Kamchatka Expedition of 1725 – 1730, which was led by Danish explorer Commander Vitus Bering. Like his, our expedition will depart from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, sailing ‘north by north east’ to discover wildlife and a wilderness that few people have seen or experienced. It is a land of extremes and myriad environments including snow-capped active volcanoes, geothermal regions, vast forests, extensive tundra, uninhabited islands and rich oceans. Every day we will search for the best wildlife experiences, and there will be many, but we want to find one bird in particular - the extremely rare Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Eurynorhynchus pygmeus). This bird is classified as ‘critically endangered’ and its only known breeding ground is in northern Kamchatka and Chukotka – the area that we will be visiting. Recent field studies suggest that the global population is much lower than previously thought, possibly fewer than 320 breeding pairs and declining. Joining us on this expedition will be members of BirdLife International’s Spoon-billed Sandpiper Recovery Team.

Many of our past guests have asked "When will Rodney Russ and crew sail an expedition to the South Indian Ocean again?", well its been 10 years in the waiting but the answer is Mid-November 2012.

The 'Remote Islands of the South Indian Ocean' expedition is possibly one of the last true expedition cruises left on the globe. Very, very few expeditions ever venture into these latitudes. It is a vast expanse of ocean broken by only five relatively small islands, Crozet, Heard, Kerguelen, St Paul and Amsterdam. All of the islands except Heard are French territories, their claim dating to the expeditions of Yves Joseph de Kerguelen-Tremarec. Heard Island is Australian territory, it is Australia’s only active volcano and Big Ben the mountain that dominates the island is Australia’s highest peak. The legacy of whaling and sealing enterprises can be seen in the form of introduced plants and animals, with some islands more modified than others. Probably due to its geographical position, south of the Antarctic convergence, Heard Island escaped the ravages of these introductions and is the most pristine. The French maintain scientific bases on Crozet, Kergulen and Amsterdam Islands. All of these islands are home to thousands of seabirds and marine mammals. The highlights include the rare Amsterdam (Wandering) Albatross, the huge colonies of Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross, and Mosley’s Rockhopper Penguin. Our previous expedition to the South Indian Ocean was in November 2002 and it was a huge success with landings at all of the Islands, we look forward to a similar voyage of exploration ten years on.

  • Heritage Expeditions New Zealand Ltd
  • Antarctic House, 53B Montreal Street, PO Box 7218 , Christchurch , New Zealand
  • Free Phone: 0800 262 8873 (within NZ) Phone: +64 3 365 3500
  • Fax: +64 3 365 1300 Email:


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