Aurora Expeditions launch their 2011/12 voyages with 15 facts about Antarctica

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Aurora Expeditions voyages to the Antarctic Peninsula for next season are filling fast. The launch of their brand-new Fly/Sail options to the Antarctic Peninsula and South Georgia have been extremely popular. Departing South America, they have been designed to reduce sea time and increase time at the destination. Also popular are their voyages with exciting adventure activities including sea kayaking, camping, photography, climbing and scuba diving

Next season the Australian adventure cruise company will also celebrate the centenary of renowned Australian Antarctic explorer, Sir Douglas Mawson’s, and his first Australasian Antarctic Expedition.  A milestone in Australian Antarctic history, this special occasion is being marked with three Mawson Centenary Celebration¹ voyages to Mawson Huts and Commonwealth Bay, departing both Australia and New Zealand.

Aurora Expeditions, the pioneers of ship-based adventures, are committed to small, low-impact groups keen to experience the Antarctic in many ways whether by walking, scuba diving, sea kayaking or sitting quietly and absorbing the surrounding magnificence.

The 2011/12 itineraries reflect this commitment. Voyages to the Antarctic Peninsula for next season start from US$5,900. Voyages to East Antarctica for next season start from US$6,500.

Here are 15 reasons why a visit to Antarctica may fascinate your sense of adventure:

east-antarctica.jpg1. It’s the best place in the world to find meteorites. Why? Because dark meteorites show up against the white expanse of ice and snow and don’t get covered by vegetation.

2. One of the biggest icebergs ever broke free from the Ross ice shelf in Antarctica in 2000. It was 295km long and 37km wide, with a surface area of 11,000 sq km above water – and 10 times bigger below.

3. During the feeding season, a full grown blue whale eats about 4 million krill per day, that’s 3600 kg every day for 6 months. Having laid down a layer of fat from this feeding activity in Antarctica, they then starve for several months. This daily intake would feed a human for about four years.

4. Antarctic fish have lived at between +2°C and -2°C for 5 million years (-2°C is the freezing point of sea water, below zero because of the salt). They are therefore the best cold adapted animals that there are on the planet.

5. The largest land animal in Antarctica is an insect, a wingless midge, Belgica antarctica, less than 1.3cm (0.5in) long. There are no flying insects (they’d get blown away), just shiny black springtails that hop like fleas and tend to live among penguin colonies.

6. In 1981 a swarm of krill was tracked by US scientists that was estimated at being up to 10 million tonnes. This is the equivalent of about 143 million people (at an average of 70kg each).

7. Antarctica is the only continent with no indigenous species of ants.

8. Antarctica is the coldest continent on earth, as the lowest temperature recorded here was -89o C.

9. The ‘Dry valley’ region on the continent has been bereft of rainfall for 2 million years.

10. If Antarctica’s ice sheets melt, the level of the world’s oceans would rise by 60 to 65 meters

11. At the deepest point, the ice in Antarctica is around 3 – 4 km thick.

12. Antarctica is the windiest continent on earth. It experiences frequent wind storms, which at times speed over 300 knots at the sea coast.

13. The water of the Antarctica is so cold that nothing can rot here.

14. Owing to the chilly water in Antarctica, codfish have antifreeze in their blood to save them from freezing.

15. The ice cap at Antarctic contains 29 million cubic kilometers of ice. This constitutes nearly 90% of all the ice on the planet and between 60 – 70% of all of the fresh water in the world.

Aurora Expeditions can also book your full travel arrangements: flights, hotel accommodation, tours and transfers, making them a one stop shop for your trip of lifetime.

Voyages include: ship’s accommodation. All public areas are open to all passengers.

◗ all meals on board ship.

◗ all shore excursions from the ship including Zodiacs.

◗ lectures, videos, slide and film shows and guide services.

◗ medical services. There is a resident medical officer and well equipped clinic on board.

◗ port taxes and port charges imposed by government authorities.

◗ pre-departure information. 

Not included:

◗ air transport to and from the ship.

◗ visa, passport and vaccination charges and airport departure taxes.

◗ hotels and meals not included in ship cruise itinerary.

◗ optional excursions not included in ship cruise itinerary.

◗ laundry, postage, personal clothing, medical expenses, personal travel insurance and items of a personal nature such as bar charges and phone calls and optional end of voyage tips.

◗ credit card surcharge, if making your final payment by credit card.

◗ emergency evacuation charges.

Travel insurance is highly recommended.
Surcharge for sea kayaking (including dry suit): US$825.
Surcharge for climbing: US$250.
Camping & photography are complimentary, but camping is subject to weather and itinerary. 

Further information Aurora Expeditions
T +61 2 9252 1033 I F +61 2 9252 1373 I e I W

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