Cruisers can have a front-row seat while scientists in Antarctica tag whales, observe marine mammals underwater and collect real scientific data during two upcoming voyages with the Canadian company One Ocean Expeditions.
The polar cruise specialist has unveiled the Marine Mammal Viewing Cruise, designed for intrepid travelers, photographers and wildlife enthusiasts. Departures are March 18, 2016 and March 17, 2017.
Traveling in the Southern Ocean in March provides a perfect opportunity to experience close encounters with a profusion of wildlife that can be seen in this remote corner of the world, says the line. From a seat on a zodiac, passengers can see pods of humpback, minke and orca whales and impressive numbers of seals congregating to feed on massive blooms of Antarctic krill, the keystone species of the Antarctic ecosystem.
Guests can also witness the cruise company’s team of expert marine biologists and scientists immersed in an innovative whale-tagging operation for data collection, studying feeding behavior, dive profiles and migration patterns.
The Antarctic Peninsula region is explored during the voyage and the region is the focus of a long-term whale tagging research project that was initiated by Dr. Ari Friedlaender, researcher and professor at Oregon State University. His specialty is foraging ecology and effects of climate change on marine mammals and their behavior relating to environmental variables.
Joining the scientific research team in March 2016 is Brian Keating, author, CBC’s radio host and a seasoned naturalist and environmentalist with decades of experience leading nature and wildlife-based expeditions in remote parts of the world.
Also onboard is Chad Nordstrom, research and environmental biologist from the Vancouver Aquarium with more than 15 years studying marine mammals with a special interest in their distribution in polar ecosystems and feeding behaviour.
“One Ocean Expeditions’ commitment towards scientific research is significant, so is our ability to provide in-depth educational opportunities to our guests. We just don’t cruise in the Antarctic for the sake of cruising, we like to support and contribute towards research work and educate our guests in the importance of nurturing our oceans and their habitats. Our expertise and the collective knowledge of OOE’s staff sets us apart from other operators”, says Andrew Prossin, Managing Director at One Ocean Expeditions.
The 10-night Marine Mammals in Antarctica voyage, onboard the Akademik Sergey Vavilov, visits the Antarctic Peninsula, the Gerlache Strait and South Shetland Islands. Prices start from $7,495 per person based on triple share accommodation. Price includes accommodation, transfers, meals on board plus guides, daily excursions and educational activities.