5. Who is captaining the ship?
The ship will be captained by Oleg Kaptenko, who in 2011 successfully maneuvered the 90-passenger M/V Akademik Shokalskiy through the North-East Passage without the assistance of an icebreaker, and Ulf-Peter Magnus Lindström, who worked in the Finnish Navy in the Special Diving Forces. Between them the pair has clocked up nautical miles in the Antarctic, Canadian Arctic, Pacific Ocean, Caribbean, the Red and Black Seas, Greenland, Spitsbergen, the Kamchatka Peninsula, Franz Josef Land, Novaya Zemlya, the Kuril Islands, Sakhalin (nope, us neither…)
6. Passengers are in good hands, then?
Want to know how long a narwhal’s tusk can grow, or how long a polar bear can hold its breath for? You’re in good company. A stellar line up of expedition experts includes historians, geologists, naturalists, scientists, kayak guides, ski tour and snowshoe guides and of course, head photographer and Australian Geographic Nature photographer of the year, Scott Portelli.
7. So activities are a big deal for Aurora Expeditions?
This is not a cruise for knitters. Instead, there is diving and snorkelling (think icebergs and super-sized marine life), ski touring, climbing, snowshoeing on virgin peaks and, for the more adventurous, a chance to retrace Shackleton’s footsteps on an epic alpine crossing from King Haakon Bay to Stromness in South Georgia. One of the most popular activities involves wriggling into a thermal sleeping bag for a night out on the ice – no tent pegs required. At the very least you’ll be heading out on zodiacs to explore some of the planet’s most extraordinary scenery.