Monday 27 January 2020

Expedition Cruising: Emperor Penguin Gatecrashes Heritage Expeditions’ Antarctica Discovery Party

#expeditioncruising .

A well-dressed Emperor Penguin charmed its way onto Heritage Expeditions' exclusive guest list during the pioneering small-ship expedition cruise company’s Antarctic celebrations on the 200th anniversary of what is widely regarded as the first sighting of the frozen continent.

While most ships are known for passing in the night, Heritage Expeditions brought its sister vessels Spirit of Enderby (Professor Khromov) and Akademik Shokalskiy together in the Ross Sea for a special celebration with champagne and dessert on the Antarctic ice.

The auspicious milestone from Fabian Bellingshausen’s 1820 Russian Circumnavigation called for an extraordinary celebration, with expedition leaders Nathan Russ (Khromov) and Samuel Blanc (Shokalskiy) surprising Heritage Expeditions’ 100 intrepid explorers on each of its Ross Sea ‘In the Wake of Scott & Shackleton’ voyages with the Antarctic rendezvous 77˚ south of the equator, a first in the New Zealand company’s 35-year history.

The celebrations also caught the attention of the local wildlife, including a curious Emperor Penguin and two Orca/Killer Whales briefly observed spyhopping from the ice edge. The party-crashing penguin was the first to arrive, torpedoing out of the water and belly sliding over the ice to join Heritage’s expedition team as they set up, as guests watched in disbelief from the two ships parked at the ice edge between Mount Erebus and Mount Discovery.

While expeditioners kept a respectful distance, giving the animal space during the festivities, the suave surprise celebrity guest mingled freely and posed for photos.

During a short toast, Expedition Leader Russ, also a co-owner and Operations Manager of the stalwart, family-owned expedition cruise company, said the anniversary was an important one for Heritage Expeditions as Antarctica and its explorers were the inspiration behind the company.

“As a family company inspired by the great legends of the heroic age of exploration such as Shackleton, Scott and Amundsen, we had to bring both ships together on the ice to celebrate as one big happy family, because that’s what Heritage Expeditions is all about.”

Typical of all party animals, the penguin was the last to leave – continuing to mingle with guests as they boarded Zodiacs to return to their respective expedition vessels.

In the Wake of Scott & Shackleton is a 30-day exploration to the Ross Sea including New Zealand and Australia’s Subantarctic Islands. Travel is aboard a purpose-built, ice-strengthened oceanographic with a maximum of 50 guests.


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