Aurora Expeditions Launch Maiden Season Programme Aboard the New Ship Sylvia Earle
With a focus on Mission Blue Hope Spots as championed by Dr. Sylvia Earle
- Early bird savings of up to 25% off*
- Aurora Expeditions first voyages to Raja Ampat, Russian Far East, Aleutian Islands and Baja California
- 12 incredible new itineraries aboard the Sylvia Earle launching in November 2021
LONDON, 24th November 2020: Aurora Expeditions, Australia’s leading expedition company has today launched a diverse and intrepid collection of global voyages for the maiden season of the new expedition ship the Sylvia Earle. Itineraries will include visits to remote Mission Blue Hope Spots as championed by Dr. Sylvia Earle herself.
The exciting 2022 global programme, 12 new itineraries taking place between April and October, continue to push the boundaries of expedition voyaging by taking our expeditioners to breath-taking and remote destinations including Alaska and Haida Gwaii, The North West Passage, Baja California, Raja Ampat, West Papua and The Russian Far East.
Launching alongside the new itineraries will be exclusive early bird deals of up to 25% off.*
Aurora Expeditions plans to raise awareness of fragile ecosystems by visiting Mission Blue Hope Spots, as supported by the Sylvia Earle Alliance. By visiting these locations, such as the Gulf of California or the Misool Marine Reserve, Aurora Expeditions aims to highlight the importance of conserving these incredibly biodiverse marine areas which are critical to the health of the ocean and to the balance of the ‘Earth’s blue heart’.
Monique Ponfoort, Chief Executive Officer of Aurora Expeditions commented: “Our purpose built expeditions ships are designed to connect our expeditioners with the world’s most intrepid and unique environments, and we are proud to be partnering with Dr. Sylvia Earle to continue our goal of creating lifelong ambassadors for the wild and remote places we visit. In keeping with Sylvia’s own vision and achievements, the Sylvia Earle will have a large focus on marine education and conservation, offering the opportunity for our expeditioners to learn about these incredible, biodiverse marine habitats in situ.”
“With the upcoming delivery of our second purpose-built expedition ship the Sylvia Earle, it continues to be an exciting period of growth for the business. We hope these new itineraries evoke some wanderlust for those of us who are patiently ready and waiting to get out and explore the world again.”
The Sylvia Earle’s Arctic and Global 2022 programme includes:
NEW: Baja California and Sea of Cortez
- Baja California Odyssey: 23 April – 5 May 2022
- Baja California & Sea of Cortez: 4 May – 12 May 2022
The rugged islands and coastal desert of The Gulf of California, also known as the Sea of Cortez, are a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site and the very first of Dr Sylvia Earle’s designated Hope Spots. Famously dubbed the ‘aquarium of the world’ these waters are home to over 900 species of fish, including sharks – 90 of them endemic – more than 2,000 invertebrate species and a variety of whales, dolphins, rays, sea turtles and sea lions.
NEW: Alaska Expeditions
- Alaska Adventure: 19 May – 31 May 2022
- Alaska Adventure & Haida Gwaii: 30 May – 11 June 2022
- Alaska Odyssey: 10 June – 23 June 2022
The ever-changing landscape of Alaska’s Inside Passage is teeming with wildlife, including nine varieties of whale, Brown and Black bears and bird colonies up to half a million strong. Kayak through waters which are home to an abundance of fin-slapping whales or zodiac-cruise through inlets in search of bald eagles and peregrine falcons. Inuit guides will lead hikes along the tidal flats and estuaries looking out for grizzly bears feasting on salmon, before joining members of the Haida Gwaii indigenous community who will share stories of their extraordinary history and heritage.
NEW: Aleutian Islands
- Aleutian Islands: 22 June – 8 July 2022
Alaska’s rugged peninsular with glaciers tumbling from icefields is the start of a journey through the Aleutian Islands which form the Pacific Rim of Fire; a northern arc of islands separating the Pacific Ocean from the Bearing Sea. From end to end starting in the remote Alaskan fishing port of Seward and ending at Russia’s spectacular Kamchatka Peninsula, this voyage offers a unique opportunity to explore a wilderness rich in biodiversity, history and heritage. Brown bears, dolphins and seals call the Alaskan coastline home and as the volcanic islands fragment along this 1900 km chain they give way to caribou, sea otters, Stellar sea lions, and a variety of whales. Breeding colonies of black-legged kittiwakes, tufted puffins, crested auklets and peregrine falcons occupy the skies and historic relics ranging from Aleut villages, Russian fur trade depots and remnants of World War II battles are explored on shore landings.
NEW: The Russian Far East: Kamchatka & Chukotka and Wrangel Island
- Kamchatka & Chukotka 6 July – 21 July 2022
- Wrangel Island 19 July – 3 August 2022
- Wrangel Island 1 August – 16 August 2022
- Kamchatka & Chukotka 14 August – 31 August 2022
Tundra dotted with wild-flowers, treasured wildlife sanctuaries and indigenous communities come together in the wild, remote and extreme Russian Far East. Wrangel Island, a bonsai garden of over 400 plant species, is home to the world’s highest concentration of polar bear dens and the largest population of Pacific walrus. On land there are nesting grounds for over 100 migratory bird species, reindeer and musk oxen, and in the icy waters along the Chukotka coast beluga, grey and humpback whales feed. Further south in Kamchatka and Chukotka brown bears and cubs forage along the riverbanks feasting on salmon whilst sea eagles swoop down to take their share. Further east lies the Commander Islands a group of treeless sparsely populated islands in the Bering Sea. They are the ‘South Georgia of the North Pacific’, and a breath-taking maze of sea stacks and arches are home to red-legged kittiwakes, red-faced cormorants, parakeet, whiskered auklets and even laysan albatross.
NEW: Kuril Islands
- Kuril Islands: 29 August – 12 September 2022
Teeming with marine life and migratory birds, the Kuril Islands are the stepping stones between Hokkaido in northern Japan and Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. The 22 islands and 30 islets form a necklace of active volcanoes and sea-sculpted coastlines with soaring bird cliffs. A kaleidoscope of landscapes awaits, from mega herb and coniferous forests to grasslands and lava fields, and the nutrient-rich waters are home to sea otters and harbour seals, Steller sea lions, Dall’s porpoise and sperm whales. Watch out for exquisite little murrelets who nest on the ground at altitudes where trees don’t grow, and brown bears fishing for salmon in the shallower waters. History comes in many forms including the abandoned Soviet secret submarine base in the flooded caldera of Broutana Bay, the remains of Ainu (indigenous Japanese) settlements, and the World War II capture of the Kuril Islands from Japan.
NEW: Ra Ampat & West Papua Islands
- Raja Ampat & West Papua Islands: 21 September – 4 October 2022
Northwest of West Papua lies Raja Ampat, 9.8 million acres of sparsely populated land and sea. Over 1500 tiny forested islands surrounded by clear blue waters are scattered throughout this Indonesian archipelago, the most biodiverse marine habitat on the planet. The Misool Marine Reserve, a designated Mission Blue Hope Spot, protects one of the richest coral reefs within the highly biodiverse Coral Triangle, whilst on land over 500 species of bird have been recorded. It’s a paradise for divers and snorkelers, a twitchers haven, and a melting pot of cultures influenced by the people of Melanesia, Islam, Portuguese explorers, and Dutch traders who came in search of highly prized spices and nutmeg.
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About Aurora Expeditions
Aurora Expeditions is an Australian-owned adventure company founded by renowned mountaineer and explorer, Greg Mortimer, and his wife Margaret. Over the past 28 years it has become the leader in small-group, expedition-style travel to polar regions and other wild, remote places including Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falklands, the Arctic (European and Canadian), Alaska, the Russian Far East, Costa Rica, Baja California and West Papua.
Aurora Expeditions offers its passengers intimate experiences in remote destinations through a range of flexible, innovative itineraries. Some voyages offer a range of experiences including mountain climbing, sea kayaking, camping, photography, polar snorkelling and scuba diving. Aurora Expeditions’ expert naturalists, geologists, historians, guides and crew help unlock the wonders of these special places through a range of lectures, discussions and land or zodiac excursions.
Committed to the preservation of the environment, Aurora Expeditions was one of the founders of the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO), which created the environmental protocols for all commercial visitors to Antarctica. It is also a member of the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO). In doing so, Aurora Expeditions encourages its passengers to respectfully visit the planet’s wilderness areas and return as ambassadors charged with protecting these important regions.
Aurora Expeditions has recently updated its health and safety protocol, as well as implementing a new deposit protection scheme. Further information can be found here: https://www.auroraexpeditions.co.uk/why-travel-with-us/health-safety/
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Greg Mortimer, The Ship and The Founder
The recently launched expedition vessel Greg Mortimer is an intimate ship built with activity and exploration in mind. Mortimer, the man, was the first Australian to climb Everest and the first person to climb Mt Minto in Antarctica and, along with wife Margaret, co-founded Aurora Expeditions in the early 1990s.
The small expedition ship is the world’s first to sail with the patented ULSTEIN X-BOW®, this unique bow design in combination with Rolls Royce dynamic stabilisers offers unrivalled stability and comfort* on ocean crossings. The X-BOW® cuts through the swell, minimising vibrations and disturbances, and makes quicker transits through waves. This helps reduce fuel consumption by up to 60%.
Founder of Aurora Expeditions Greg Mortimer said: “Our ships are designed primarily to connect people with the environment. With the revolutionary ULSTEIN X-BOW® technology to cross oceans more comfortably, expansive observation decks to bring you closer to the environment, a first-class team of naturalists and unsurpassed environmental credentials, our ships offer the perfect base camp for in-depth explorations and culturally led itineraries.”
Sylvia Earle, The Ship and The Explorer
Due to sail on her maiden voyage in November 2021, this new ship honours the highly accomplished marine biologist, oceanographer and explorer, Dr. Sylvia Earle. As the first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and named by Time Magazine as its first Hero for the Planet in 1998, this vessel pays tribute to Sylvia’s long-standing conservation efforts for marine protected areas and ocean wildlife. Sylvia Earle is involved in the development of her namesake.
The Sylvia Earle is the second small expedition ship to join the Aurora Expeditions fleet and is complete with the patented ULSTEIN X-BOW®, this unique bow design in combination with Rolls Royce dynamic stabilisers offers unrivalled stability and comfort* on ocean crossings. The X-BOW® cuts through the swell, minimising vibrations and disturbances, and makes quicker transits through waves. This helps reduce fuel consumption by up to 60%*.
For more information visit http://www.auroraexpeditions.co.uk/