South Indian Ocean Voyage (Heard Island) Dates & Rates
dates & prices
There are no trips scheduled for this expedition.
Day 1 Embark the vessel in Fremantle, Western Australia, complete formalities and set sail.
Days 2 to 10 At Sea.
You are invited to join the officers and crew on the bridge as we sail west then south. Indulge in some birding and wildlife spotting or experience first-hand the work that goes into running our expedition vessel. Learn about the Southern Ocean, the Subantarctic Islands and their flora and fauna in lectures from our experts, or just relax in the ship’s bar and library.
While at sea there will be many opportunities to watch for seabirds and cetaceans. This is a seldom visited region so it is not certain just what species we may encounter. We will be mapping and recording those that we do see. We will sail as close as allowed to Iles Amsterdam and Iles St Paul where we hope to get sightings of the Amsterdam (Wandering) Albatross along with the Yellow-nosed Albatross, Sooty Albatross, Flesh-footed Shearwater, Little Shearwater, Broad-billed Prion, White-bellied Storm Petrel, Antarctic Tern, Soft-plumaged Petrel and many other pelagic bird species.
We will cross the Antarctic convergence before reaching Heard Island.
Days 11 to 13 Heard Island.
We plan at least three days of landings on this remote, uninhabited Subantarctic Island. The human history of these islands immediately after discovery was predictably brutal with sealers hunting these animals almost to extinction. Australia operated a research station in the late 1940s but the island is now uninhabited and visited very infrequently. It remains one of the few places on earth believed to contain no species directly introduced by humans. The number of tourist landings can be counted on one hand: the last expedition of any significance was our own 2002 expedition when we spent two magnificent days exploring on a number of landings.
Antarctic Fur Seal and Southern Elephant Seal both previously heavily exploited are now found in good numbers on the volcanic sand beaches. King Gentoo, Macaroni and Rockhopper Penguins also breed here. Other breeding seabirds include Black-browed and Light-mantled Sooty Albatross (Southern Royal, Sooty, Indian Yellow-nosed and Grey-headed Albatrosses have been recorded offshore), Cape and Southern Giant Petrels, Antarctic and Fulmar Prions, Wilson's Storm Petrel (Black-bellied, White-bellied plus Grey-backed Storm Petrels have all been recorded offshore), Common and South Georgia Diving Petrels, Black-faced Sheathbill and the endemic Heard Island Shag. Recorded offshore tubenoses include Southern Fulmar, Blue Petrel, Northern Giant Petrel, Slender-billed Prion, Broad-billed Prion, Snow, White-chinned, Grey, Barau’s, Kerguelen, Mottled, White-headed, Great-winged, Soft-plumaged and Antarctic Petrels! Subantarctic (Brown) Skua breeds, along with Kelp Gulls and Antarctic Terns.
When sea and weather conditions are suitable we plan landings at Atlas Cove, abandoned site of the ANARE base at Spit Beach and Long Beach. All these sites have artefacts and evidence from the sealing period; they also have good concentrations of wildlife.
* Please note the planned landings at Heard Island will require all ship’s staff and passengers who go ashore to be wearing completely sterile clothing and boots, the vessel will provide these for all and the cost of this is reflected in the landing fees for the voyage.
Weather dependent we hope to spend some time around McDonald Islands (no landings permitted). The McDonald Islands are 44 kilometres west of Heard Island and are small and rocky. The volcano on McDonald Island, after being dormant for 75,000 years, became active in 1992 and has erupted several times since dramatically changing the shape and size of the island.
Days 14 to 24 At Sea
We continue back to Albany and hopefully with strong westerlies behind us we anticipate a fast sailing. Travelling along the Antarctic convergence for part of this we will maintain high vigilance for the all the sea and bird life we will encounter along the way.
With favourable weather you might find yourself out on deck enjoying the sun and you have time to relax and reflect on an amazing journey into a wilderness on the edge of the earth. Recap the highlights with the crew and enjoy a farewell dinner as we sail the last leg of our journey.
Day 25 Port of Albany, Australia
Finding final harbour once more in the deep water Port of Albany, we disembark and our adventure ends with fond farewells and memories that will be long-treasured. After clearing Australian Customs, a coach will transfer you to the airport or to the nearby bustling town.
For travel arrangements post expedition, we ask that you make bookings after 1 p.m. to allow time for disembarkation procedures and the vagaries of the weather. Please provide us with a copy of your flight details detailing the time and date of your arrival prior to the start of the voyage and also your departure arrangements at the end of the voyage.
During our voyage, circumstances may make it necessary or desirable to deviate from the proposed itinerary. This can include poor weather and opportunities for making unplanned excursions. Your Expedition Leader will keep you fully informed.
How to Prepare
How to Book
If you are interested in an Aurora Expeditions voyage, please contact our sales team to check availability.
Either email an expert here or call our experienced consultants direct on + 61 2 9252 1033 or 1800 637 688 (Freecall within Australia).
Complete a booking form
Once availability is confirmed, please download, print and complete the booking form. Please return it to us, along with your deposit to secure your berth. Please ensure you read the Terms and Conditions of contract before sending us your signed booking form.
Terms & Conditions
Click here to view the terms and conditions.
Preparation for your voyage
On receipt of the booking form, we will contact you to confirm your booking and our reservations staff will send you a comprehensive pre-departure kit. This kit will contain all necessary pre-departure information including visa information, insurance information, a medical and personal details form, comprehensive gear list and information tailored to your voyage.
Aurora Expeditions - Your Personal Travel Agent
Aurora Expeditions is a licensed travel agent. Our experienced reservations consultants all have specialised expertise on the destinations we travel to. Each voyage has a dedicated travel expert solely working on developing dynamic itineraries for our passengers. Contact our reservations team and allow us to create a personal itinerary to compliment your voyage, including airfares, accommodation, travel insurance and pre and post voyage travel options.
We look forward to assisting you with your journey of a lifetime.