Historical milestone for Mooloolaba cruise company
FOR the first time in seven years a Mooloolaba-based cruise company has taken tourists to see an historic landmark in Antarctica.
Pictures can't do the landscape justice, with 46 people braving a stormy journey across the Southern Ocean to Cape Denison, which is home to huts from Sir Douglas Mawson's scientific expedition to Commonwealth Bay.
The guests from Australia, Switzerland, Taiwan and Singapore sailed aboard the Russian expedition ship, Akademik Shokalskiy, chartered by Chimu Adventures, leaving Hobart on December 15.
Fewer people have visited the huts - which have survived more than 100 years - than climbed to the top of Mount Everest with Iceberg B90B, which measures 140km long and 50m wide, limiting earlier trips.
Although the ship wasn't able gain full bay access to allow travellers to see inside the huts, Chimu Adventures and Mawson's Huts representative, Greg Holland said it was "incredibly exciting to finally see this historical site".
"It's been a huge achievement after the challenges that B90B has posed over the past seven years."
The trip takes a total of 26 days and visits Macquarie Island, Campbell Island, the Auckland Islands and the East Antarctic Coast with passengers disembarking in Bluff, New Zealand on January 8.
Chimu Adventures co-founder, Chad Carey said despite the trip not going entirely to plan the company was still "very proud to have operated the only tourist voyage to sight Mawson's Huts for the past seven years".
"We have been tracking the movement of B90B for many years, hoping that the currents would move it out of Commonwealth Bay," he said.
"Conditions this year looked the best they have been for some time so we were very hopeful of a successful visit, however, you never really know until you get there what Antarctica is going to dish up."
Chimu has launched two new charter cruises to Mawson's Huts for the 2018/2019 season: In the Wake of Mawson and Spirit of Mawson departing in December 2018 and January 2019 respectively.
Capacity is strictly limited to less than 50 passengers so early booking is essential.