The Antarctic Expedition
South West Antarctic Expedition Conference
4 - 15 February 2021
Embark on a life-changing voyage across the Southern Ocean to the driest desert in the world, Antarctica! It is so dry one area of Antarctica called the McMurdo Dry Valleys hasn’t seen a drop of rain in more than two million years! Surprising seeing as though Antarctica is also home to the coldest temperature ever recorded on earth, at the Vostok Station reaching minus 89.2 degrees celsius on 21st July 1983.
The mystery of Antarctica has captured the imagination of many yet very few have experienced the worlds 5th largest continent. Yet those who venture across the dangerous Drake Passage to get there, will only be able to see a tiny glimmer of the white - as only 10% of the iceburgs that create the continent are visable above water. And that’s just the tip of the iceburg.
Thanks to the abundance of the small, shrimp like krill as the basis of the food chain, many species of whales make the water south of the Antarctic Convergence their summer home. Some of the species found in the frigid southern waters include: the Humpback Whale who consumes over a ton of krill each day; the Southern Right Whales easily identified by the whitish callosities on the jaws and forehead; the Sperm Whales made famous in Moby Dick; the Killer Whale which is actually not a whale at all but the largest of the dolphin family; the Sei Whale which can achieve speeds up to 55 km/h over short distances; the playful Minke Whales very common in the peninsula area; and the Fin Whale who can attain a length of 25 to 27 meters making them the second largest whales.
The common name for all flightless, aquatic birds, penguins are only found south of the equator. Penguins have been grouped into 18 species and 6 genera, with most making their homes in Antarctica and the sub Antarctic islands, though others are native to the coasts of Australia, South Africa, South America, and the Galapagos Islands. Penguins are speedy and agile swimmers, but extremely slow on land. The regions we visit aboard MS Expedition are inhabited by 6 different species including the giant King Penguin who can grow up to 1 meter in height (found only on South Georgia Island); the Adelie Penguin named after French explorer Dumont d’Urville’s wife; the Chinstrap Penguin identified by the distinctive black line connecting the black cap to below the chin; the Gentoo Penguin with its orange bill and white flash above and behind its eyes; while the most numerous it is the most difficult to see the Macaroni Penguin (Only on South Georgia Island) who number roughly 12 million and are easily identified by the orange tassels meeting between the eyes; and the Rockhopper Penguin (We will see only in Falkland Islands) who are similar to the Macaroni in appearance but slightly smaller and have yellow tassels.
Some of the bravest and best known explorers have sailed south in search of adventure and recognition. James Cook, the most travelled explorer of his time, was the first to circumnavigate Antarctica and the first to cross the Antarctic Circle. Roald Amundsen, who led the first expedition to reach the South Pole and reached the pole on December 14, 1911. Captain Robert Falcon Scott, famous for being 35 days late, arriving at the South Pole on January 17, 1912 only to find the dark green tent and a note left by Amundsen. All 5 men in the Scott expedition perished on their way back from the pole. The best-known adventurer would have to be Sir Ernest Shackleton. On his attempt at the South Pole his ship, Endurance, was captured by pack ice in the Weddell Sea on January 19, 1915. The ship was destroyed by heavy ice, forcing he and his men to travel over the ice and sea to Elephant Island. However, because the island was uninhabited, Shackleton and 5 others made the 1300 km voyage for help to South Georgia, amazingly arriving at Stromness Harbour whaling station on May 20, 1916.
Day 10-11 Drake Passage (2B,2L,2D)
Today we leave Antarctica and head north across the Drake Passage. In between bird watching and whale watching and enjoying some final lectures by our expedition staff, this is a chance to relax and review the adventures of the past week before returning to Ushuaia. Remember, the best way to experience the wildlife of the Drake Passage is to be on deck keeping a look out for Albatross, Prions, and Whales!
Start your journey setting sail from the the most southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia. Before you embark on this journey of a lifetime, experience the destination where the Andes meets the Southern Ocean in the city created as a home for Argentina’s most dangerous prisoners (Argentina sent its most dangerous criminals there in the late 19th century). It was these prisoners who built not just the prison, but the city itself and the railway - train to the end of the world.
Located on the island of Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia is the perfect place to begin our conference@sea due to its disconnection from Argentina’s mainland. You can already feel the isolation. However to encourage settlement in the region, the Argentine government have declared the area a tax free zone, meaning you can get some fantastic deals on the island.
Ushuaia means ‘the bay facing westward’ in the language of the original Yamna inhabitants
When it comes to eating in Ushuaia, king crab is… well… king! Especially with a glass (or two) of Argentine wine.
Ushuaia has a serious beaver problem. With no natural predators the population quickly exploded, and today an estimated quarter of a million beavers have spread out across the region and are causing all sorts of havoc. Dang beavers.
Ushuaia is a sliver of steep streets and jumbled buildings below the snowcapped Martial Range. Ushuaia’s main feature is its isolation: it is the southernmost city in the World.
Sitting on the shores of the Beagle Channel, Ushuaia actually means ‘the bay facing westward’ in the language of the original Yamna inhabitants. The town of 40,000 is also a major ski resort area for both alpine and cross-country skiers and offers
Sitting on the shores of the Beagle Channel, Ushuaia actually means ‘the bay facing westward’ in the language of the original Yamna inhabitants. Once a penal colony (the presidio was disbanded in the 1940s) for political prisoners as well as hardened criminals, Ushuaia is now a major tourist attraction, particularly for people such as ourselves cruising to Antarctica. The town of 40,000 is also a major ski resort area for both alpine and cross-country skiers and offers magnificent hiking in Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego, the only coastal national park in Argentina.
At 55 degrees latitude south. You can make your way to the tourism office to get your clichéd, but oh-so-necessary, "Southernmost City in the World" passport stamp. Ushuaia feels like a frontier boomtown, at heart still a rugged, weather-beaten fishing village, but exhibiting the frayed edges of a city that quadrupled in size in the '70s and '80s and just keeps growing. The summer months (December through March) draw more than 120,000 visitors, and dozens of cruise ships. The city is trying to extend those visits with events like March's Marathon at the End of the World and by increasing the gamut of winter activities buoyed by the excellent snow conditions. At the same time, the weather-worn pastel colors that dominate the town's landscape remind you that Ushuaia was once just a tiny fishing village, snuggled at the end of the Earth.
Conference Registration Fees
Per conference, per delegate (AUD)
$1,495 Single conference registration
$1,295 Multiple conferences/delegates registration
$1,095 Emeritus registration (delegates retired from all forms of practice)
$1,095 Speaker registration (approved speakers only)
Conference registration is non-refundable but transferable to another conference within 12 months of the original conference dates. Accompanying persons not requiring CPD points or certificate of attendance are welcome to attend all academic and networking events free of the registration charge.
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