East Antarctica: Talk about going to the end of the earth. How about a trip to East Antarctica? Said to be the most remote destination on the planet, Chimu Adventures invites travelers wishing to embrace a world of weather, wildlife, scenery, and history on an expedition to rarely visited Commonwealth Bay.
As the only cruise in 2018 departing for this region from Australia, the journey sets its course from Hobart on December 10 aboard the Akademik Shokalskiy concluding 28 days later in Invercargill, New Zealand.
A once in a lifetime adventure
Combined with a capacity for less than 50 passengers and the singular sailing, it is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that only a few travelers, regardless of how experienced, will be able to claim for their bucket list.
During the course of the journey guests will witness a variety of species of penguins, no less than 13 breeds of mammals, brave temperatures over 20-below zero and cross the Antarctic Circle more than six times.
Chimu Adventures is an Australian tour operator that has been offering flexible guaranteed itineraries to Latin America as well as cruises to Antarctica and the Arctic since 2004. The company caters to clients of all ages with memberships in several distinguished tour operating organizations.
East Antartica: The end of the earth
To provide a sense of just how remote East Antarctica is, Commonwealth Bay is located about 1,700 miles south of Hobart and requires 11 days of sailing on the Southern Ocean through a region known as the “Roaring Forties.”
From 1911 to 1913, Sir Douglas Mawson and his team built what is known as Mawson’s Huts during a challenging Australasian Antarctic expedition. Historically the Mawson Huts are among Australia’s most significant accomplishments, surviving for more than a century under the most extreme Antarctic weather conditions imaginable.
As a comparison, more people have climbed Mount Everest than have stepped inside the Mawson Huts. During the past six years, less than 300 tourists have traveled to Commonwealth Bay.
Access to the huts is limited due to the need for specific conditions to be met that allow exploration. Chimu founder Chad Carey emphasizes, however, that it does not detract from the experience if travelers do not reach them.
Carey strongly states,
“You never know until you get there what the forces in Antarctica are going to dish up and this is what makes the travel style so exciting.”
Setting foot in the huts isn’t guaranteed but the December 2018 expedition hopes to maximize its chances by extending the itinerary to 28 days with extra time in Commonwealth Bay.
Past attempts to visit the huts have been hampered by a massive iceberg which has blocked the entrance to Commonwealth Bay for quite some time. Measuring 87 miles in length by 31 miles in width, recent access to the huts has been impossible for visitors.
Last year, Chimu’s expedition came within four-tenths of a nautical mile of the huts, however, they did sight the Memorial Cross and some of the buildings.
East Antartica Expedition of 1912
In 1912, the last members of Robert Falcon Scott’s expedition were found by a search party led by Edward L. Atkinson. The Atkinson party was able to take pictures and locate specimens of the group, but due to heavy accumulations of snow and ice, they were unable to locate the campsite.
In 2001, glaciologist Charles Bentley estimate was that Scott’s team was buried under 75 feet of ice that was located about 30 miles from the original site. After some quick calculations, Bentley determined the bodies would reach the Ross Sea in approximately 275 years and then be carried away inside an iceberg.
The Memorial Cross, a nine-foot wooden structure inscribed with the names of Scott’s party and the final line from “Ulysses” by Alfred Lord Tennyson (“To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”), was erected in 1913 on the summit of Observation Hill. The cross overlooks the Ross ice shelf where the Scott expedition perished.
Chimu Adventures 2018 Itinerary
Depending upon conditions, Chimu’s 2018 itinerary will explore Macquarie Island which is home to millions of penguins including King, Rockhopper, Gentoo and endemic Royal species; the French Antarctic Research Base of Dumont D’urville and its nearby Emperor penguin colony; New Zealand’s Sub Antarctic territory of Campbell Island; the Auckland Islands with its Shy Albatross and sea lion varieties; and the abundant nesting seabirds of The Snares before disembarking in Invercargill, New Zealand.
Carey continues, “The past few years that Chimu has sailed to these remote areas and the sights we have witnessed have always been such an adventure, regardless of the conditions.”
For more information contact Frances Armitage at Chimu Adventures.
Chimu Adventures’ cruise to Commonwealth Bay is like exploring the last frontier on the planet. Proof positive that men really do enjoy taking charge of the “remote.”
About the Author:
Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award-winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people, and cultures around the globe.
He is a founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
His goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime
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