SUB-ANTARCTIC ISLANDS of NEW ZEALAND & AUSTRALIA
THE CHATHAM ISLANDS
NOVEMBER 9 - 25, 2014
ROYAL PENGUINS at MACQUARIE ISLAND
Image by Debi Shearwater, copyright.
Listen to the names: Snares, Bounty, Antipodes, Campbell, Macquarie and Chatham Islands. They are music to the ears of 'birders.' Apart from the Chathams, these islands are probably more isolated now than they were when they were discovered in the late 1700's and early 1800's when they were regularly visited by sealers, whalers and government steamers searching for castaway sailors. It is relatively simple to get to the Chatham Islands but opportunities to visit the others are rare. This expedition is the only one to include all of the islands.
The islands occur the tempestuous latitudes of the Roaring Forties and the Furious Fifties, but they are also known as the Albatross Latitudes and with great reason. Ten of the world's albatross species breed in the region; five of them nowhere else in the world! In fact this zone where the air is never still, hosts the most diverse collection of seabirds in the world! More than 40 species green down here— that is at least 11 percent of the entire world's seabird population.
With the exception of the Chathams, the islands are all designated UNESCO World Heritage sites, and are afforded the highest conservation status and protection by the Australian and New Zealand governments. So passage to their shores is not granted lightly. There are also islands that we visit within the Chatham Archipelago with similar status and protection.
This expedition has appeal to pelagic enthusiasts, penguin fanatics and those interested in island endemics. You do not have to be a keen birder to enjoy this voyage. People interested in islands and island ecology, botany, geology and an increasing number of photographers have enjoyed this trip immensely, as have those interested in the history of southern ocean discovery and exploration.
This is Heritage Expedition's signature expedition, one that has operated for over 20 years. You will enjoy the benefit from the knowledge and expertise they have gained over time.
The itinerary, below, will be expanded in future blogs. This is a brief outline.
DAY 1: INVERCARGILL
Passengers should make their way to the Kelvin Hotel in the central city where you will stay overnight, complimentary. This evening there will be an informal get together at the hotel for dinner, an excellent opportunity to meet fellow adventurers on your voyage and some of the expedition team. Dinner included.
DAY 2: PORT OF BLUFF
Take breakfast (included) at your leisure in the hotel restaurant before transferring to the port to embark the Spirit of Enderby. You will have the opportunity to settle into your cabin and familiarize yourself with the ship. We will take the opportunity to conduct a number of safety briefings. You are invited to join the expedition team and captain on the bridge as we set our course to The Snares. Our adventure begins!
DAY 6: AT SEA
As we make our way south through the Furious Fifties also known as Albatross Latitudes, the birding especially south of the Auckland Islands should be quite good. We will have a series of lectures on the biology and history of the Subantarctic Islands. We will also prepare you for our visit to Macquarie Island.
Species that we may encounter include WANDERING ALBATROSS, ROYAL ALBATROSS, LIGHT-MANTLED SOOTY ALBATROSS, SALVIN'S ALBATROSS, GREY-HEADED ALBATROSS; NORTHERN and SOUTHERN GIANT PETRELS; SOOTY and LITTLE SHEARWATERS. There should be plenty of PRIONS, including FAIRY, FULMAR and ANTARCTIC. Identifying prions is not easy— but, we should have some great views.
Other species to be on the lookout for include the SOFT-PLUMAGED PETREL, MOTTLED PETREL, WHITE-HEADED PETREL, WHITE-CHINNED PETREL, GRAY-BACKED STORM-PETREL, WILSON'S STORM-PETREL and BLACK-BELLIED STORM-PETREL.
DAY 9: AT SEA
Today is a similar day to Day 6 except we are northbound and hopefully running with the prevailing weather which should make it a bit more comfortable. There will be lectures, opportunities for birding or just relaxing.
DAY 11: AT SEA
At sea en route to the Antipodes. It is a day for pelagic birding. Species commonly seen in this area include: WANDERING ALBATROSS, SOUTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS, BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS, CAMPBELL ISLAND ALBATROSS, GREY-HEADED ALBATROSS, LIGHT-MANTLED SOOTY ALBATROSS, SALVIN'S ALBATROSS; NORTHERN and SOUTHERN GIANT PETRELS; SOOTY and LITTLE SHEARWATERS. This region of the Southern Ocean is one of the few places where the FAIRY PRION, FULMAR PRION and ANTARCTIC PRION occur together, providing good opportunities for comparison. Other species to be on the lookout for include: SOFT-PLUMAGED PETREL, GREY-FACED PETREL, WHITE-CHINNED PETREL, GREY-BACKED STORM-PETREL, WILSON'S STORM-PETREL, BLACK-BELLIED STORM-PETREL and COMMON DIVING PETREL.
As we continue toward the Chatham Archipelago there are excellent opportunities for pelagic birding. In particular, we will be on the lookout for the CHATHAM ISLAND PETREL which has been seen on this leg of past voyages. On past voyages, the very rare CHATHAM ISLAND TAIKO has been seen here. Endemic to the Chatham Islands, the Chatham Island Taiko also known as the MAGENTA PETREL— is among New Zealand's most endangered species. It is one of the world's rarest seabirds, with a population estimated to number less than 150.
Late into the evening we will arrive at the Chatham Islands. It is our intention to cruise along the south coast into an anchorage near Waitangi. The south coast is where the only known population of the TAIKO breed.s and also where they are attempting to establish a new population of the Chatham Island Petrel in a predator free area. We have seen both Taiko and Chatham Island Petrel in this area on previous expeditions. We are at anchor tonight.
This morning after breakfast you and your luggage will be ferried ashore by Zodiac and taken by coach to the Chatham Island Airport. A special charter flight (scheduled for approximately mid-day) will fly you back to Christchurch. Customs and quarantine formalities will be completed either before departing the Chatham Islands or on arrival in Christchurch.
In case of delays due to weather and/or operations, we ask you not to book any onward travel from Christchurch until the following day. Full details of this charter flight will be provided to you on receipt of booking with Shearwater Journeys, Inc. to allow you to plan from this date forward. On arrival in Christchurch, you will be transferred from the airport to a central city location.
NOTE: During our voyage circumstances may make it necessary to deviate from the proposed itinerary. This can include poor weather and opportunities for unplanned excursions. Your Expedition Leader will keep you fully informed. Landings at the Subantarctic Islands of New Zealand are by permit only, as administered by the Government of New Zealand. No landings are permitted at The Snares, Antipodes or Bounties. Conditions permitting, we will Zodiac cruise these areas, however, in order to view the wildlife more closely.
DATES: NOVEMBER 9 — 25, 2014
RATES/AVAILABILITY AS OF 2 SEPTEMBER 2013:
HERITAGE SUITE: $15000 pp- SOLD OUT
MINI SUITE: $14000 pp- 1 available
SUPERIOR PLUS: $13500 pp- 2 available
SUPERIOR: $12400 pp- 1 available
MAIN DECK: $11000 pp- 1 male sharing available
MAIN DECK TRIPLE: $10000 pp- 2 female berths available (Male cabin is SOLD OUT)
LANDING FEES: $750 pp.
DEPOSIT: 25% of the berth rate that you select is due at the time of booking. Please contact: Debi Shearwater; firstname.lastname@example.org before sending your deposit to confirm that you are sending payment and that the berth(s) is available. A signed Booking Form must accompany the deposit. Send payment to: Shearwater Journeys, Inc., PO Box 190, Hollister, CA 95024.
INCLUDED: Pre/post cruise transfers, one night hotel accommodation in a twin share room (dinner and breakfast included), all on board ship accommodations with all meals and all expedition excursions.
NOT INCLUDED: Landing fees, $750; international/domestic flights; visas and travel insurance; laundry; drinks; customary gratuities; all items of a personal nature. Medical evacuation insurance is mandatory. All expedition companies require this sort of coverage today. We can offer guidance for making this purchase.
SOUTH ISLAND, NEW ZEALAND PRE-TRIP: SOLD OUT.
TASMANIA, AUSTRALIA POST-TRIP: SOLD OUT.
The BIRDING DOWN UNDER VOYAGE has been described as the greatest pelagic birding trip in the world. The 2012 voyage covered 2,718 nautical miles and saw:
9 SPECIES OF PENGUINS
14 SPECIES OF ALBATROSSES
44 SPECIES OF TUBENOSES
110 SPECIES OF BIRDS
5 SPECIES OF CETACEANS
4 SPECIES OF PINNIPEDS
THIS WILL BE MY THIRD TIME DOING THIS VOYAGE!
I HOPE YOU WILL JOIN ME, BIRDING DOWN UNDER,