Aurora Expeditions celebrates Mawson’s historic landing at Commonwealth Bay

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Expedition cruise company, Aurora Expeditions, continues to celebrate the centenary of Heroic Antarctica explorer, Sir Douglas Mawson, and the 1911-14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition, with their second commemorative expedition on board the Akademik Shokalskiy attempting to reach Commonwealth Bay to celebrate Mawson’s arrival at ‘the home of the blizzard’ 100 years ago.

Mawson landed in Antarctica at Cape Denison in Commonwealth Bay on 8 January 1912, assisting to gain Australia’s 42 per cent claim to the continent, and establishing the Australasian Antarctic Expedition base camp, now famously know as Mawson’s Huts.

The season so far has seen heavy sea-ice conditions in Commonwealth Bay, similar to the conditions Sir Douglas encountered a century ago. Entry to Commonwealth Bay has been affected by the presence of B9B, an iceberg the size of the ACT aground at the entrance to Cape Denison.

Aurora Expeditions’ first commemorative voyage departed Hobart on 2 December, 100 years to the day of Mawson’s departure. Passengers experienced the amazing beauty of the deep south whilst walking on ice, zodiac cruising amazing icebergs and glaciers, and spotting emperor penguins and whales. They unfortunately were unable to make it all the way to Commonwealth Bay due to the B9B iceberg.

Aurora Expeditions CEO, Lisa Bolton, assures that her experienced expedition staff and skilled Russian crew will do their very best to get their modern-day expeditioners safely into Commonwealth Bay to pay tribute to the our Heroic explorers.

“From recent reports and images we can see the ice starting to break-up and we are hoping that we can negotiate the pack ice enough for us to enter Commonwealth Bay. We are at the mercy of Antarctica’s winds and waves; whatever the outcome, our expedition staff will be making sure our passengers are having the time of their lives!”

Aurora Expeditions has been operating expeditions to Antarctica for two decades. This season they will run three commemorative voyages to East Antarctica to celebrate the Mawson Centenary, as well as 10 voyages exploring the Antarctic Peninsula from Argentina. Their 2012/13 Antarctic brochure is now available online at or call +61 2 9252 1033 to order a copy.

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