Wednesday 18 April 2012

Heritage Expeditions to voyage to remote Heard and Mcdonald Islands

Spirit of Enderby (aka Professor Khromov)
 A rare opportunity to explore Australia’s most isolated Subantarctic outposts

Adventure cruise company Heritage Expeditions will voyage to Heard and McDonald Islands in the Southern Ocean in November this year. Participants are invited to join the team of world class naturalists and biologists on what is one of the last great 'Journeys in the World', to islands more remote than Antarctica and visited by far less people.

Heard and McDonald Islands, deep in the South Indian Ocean, are closer to Antarctica than any other major landmass, and have traditionally been the preserve of researchers and scientists. Their remoteness and status as a Federal Nature Reserve and World Heritage site have ensured the islands are visited only by the fortunate few. Heritage Expeditions last visited in 2002 and it is unlikely they will be repeating this voyage in the foreseeable future due to the logistics involved.

Heard Island is the location of Big Ben, Australia’s highest mountain and only active volcano. At 2,745 metres, this snow covered monolith is an impressive 517 metres higher than Mt. Kosciuszko. Heard also enjoys the unique human history associated with discovery, sealing and Australia’s first Antarctic Research Station established in 1948 (and closed in 1952). Fortunately the human impact of these few visitors was minimal, and today the island is one of the few in the world that is largely as nature intended. As a result the wildlife is particularly special, with four species of penguin, numerous other seabirds and three species of seal including a large population of Southern Elephant Seals.

The expedition will include staff from the Australian Antarctic Division, as it is a rare opportunity even for them to visit these islands. They will also confirm the expedition adheres to the rigorous quarantine regulations which ensure the islands remain pristine for future generations.

The voyage departs from Fremantle on the 8th of November and ends in Albany on the 2nd of December 2012. Prices for the 25 day expedition start from USD16,000 per person and include transfers, all meals, shore excursions and permits, but exclude landing fees.

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