Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Off to Antarctica

While checking on the construction of our new boat at the Seahorse Marine boatyard this last fall, we spent a considerable time with Margie & Don McIntyre who are also having a boat built there. The McIntyre's are Antarctic guides for a cruise line based out of Australia. We mentioned our long held interest in visiting Antarctica and they responded that last minute opportunities occasionally come up.

In early December, we got a call from Don saying that if we were interested, there were some vacancies on a sailing in the middle of January. After mulling it over for a half hour or so, we called him back and said we're in.

The cruise embarks from Hobart, Australia on January 17 and disembarks at Bluff (Invercargill), New Zealand on February 4. Since it is both expensive in money and time to get to Australia, we decided to take time on both the beginning and end of the trip for a little touristing. We leave Seattle on Wednesday, January 9 and return five weeks later on Wednesday, February 13.

Below is our trip schedule with links for maps (Google Earth) or weather (Weather Underground) if available. A large scale map of Antarctica and the various territorial claims can be found here. Where we will be traveling is the small section in the lower right of the map between Australia, Antarctica and New Zealand.

Date Location Links
1/9-1/11 Many flights: Seattle to LA, LA to Melbourne (via Auckland), Melbourne to Hobart  
1/11-1/17 Touristing in Hobart Tasmania. We'll be staying at the Hostel International facility in Hobart (lodging) Map
1/17 Embark from Hobart on the MV Orion MV Orion
1/18-1/22 Cruising to Antarctica. It will take 5+ days to make the 1400+ nautical mile crossing to Antarctica.  
1/23-1/26 We'll be cruising along the Antarctic coast in the Commonwealth Bay region. This is near both the French and Australian Antarctic research bases. It is also very near the magnetic South Pole. We hope to visit the hut left by Douglas Mawson, the earliest Australian Antarctic explorer (Mawson's Hut). Map
1/27-1/29 Start heading back north  
1/30-1/31 Visit the sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island. We hope to see four kinds of penguins here, King, Royal, Gentoo and Rockhopper (penguins). Map
2/1 Cruising north  
2/2 We visit Auckland and Enderby Islands. These are New Zealand conservation areas. We may see Yellow Eye penguins, an albatross colony and a Hooker Sea Lion colony. Weather
2/3 Our last visit will be to Snares Island. Lots of bird life here including the Snares Crested penguin. Map
2/4 Disembark in at Bluff, New Zealand, the port for Invercargill. We'll probably spend the night here. Map
2/5-2/9 We'll work our way back to Adelaide, Australia (description). Here will spend several days visiting local sites (Kangaroo Island, Barossa Valley). Map
2/10-2/12 Our last stop before heading home will be Brisbane (description). Map
2/13 Retrace our steps home. Brisbane to LAX, LAX to Seattle.  

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