Embark the vessel in Fremantle, Western Australia, complete formalities and set sail.
You are invited to join the officers and crew on the bridge as you 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 encountered. You will be mapping and recording those that are seen. Sail as close as allowed to Iles Amsterdam and Iles St Paul where you can 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.
Cross the Antarctic convergence before reaching Heard Island.
The human history of these islands is short and predictably brutal, but these natural wildlife havens have been around for many centuries. Australia operated a research station in the 1940s but it 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 the Spirit of Enderby's own 2002 expedition which spent two magnificent days exploring an ecosystem like no other. It is a mountainous and wild environment where recent satellite images show glaciers alongside active lava flows. Antarctic Fur Seal, Southern Elephant Seal and King Penguins, all previously heavily exploited, are now found lolling (or scurrying) on the volcanic beaches; Gentoo, Macaroni and Rockhopper Penguins also breed here and you may spot prions, petrels and several species of albatross. With favourable conditions land at Atlas Cove, abandoned site of the ANARE base and at Spit Beach where you may find the ghosts of sealers and the home of the Lesser Sheathbill and endemic Heard Island Cormorant.
* 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.
Continue back to Albany and hopefully with strong westerlies behind anticipate a fast sailing. Traveling along the Antarctic convergence for part of this maintain high vigilance for the all the sea and bird life you 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 you sail the last leg of our journey.
Finding final harbour once more in the deep water Port of Albany, disembark and your 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, make bookings after 1 p.m. to allow time for disembarkation procedures and the vagaries of the weather.