In 2017 The African and Oriental Travel Company started an association with the great polar diver, rebreather specialist and marine scientist, Dr. Jeffrey Bozanic. We approached Oceanwide Expeditions to ask them to operate a one off mid-summer dive expedition. It took some months to convince them, but we received approval. We then contacted Mike’s dive store and asked them if they would be able to provide all the equipment to the people who needed it. Mikes’ gave us a special discount rate for the expedition, and dry suits, cold water regulators and some very thick hoods and gloves were posted out all over the world. All in all, we spent two years preparing for the African and Oriental Antarctic expedition. The result was a spectacularly successful voyage to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, Elephant Island and the Antarctic Peninsula. So successful was this expedition, that as soon as we got back we started planning the next one.
We have just received the all-important approval from Oceanwide, and we have made contact with our favourite dive team leader, Henrik Enkell. He has agreed to run our diving, and we are all set. So on the 9th of December 2021 we hope to be landing in sunny Buenos Aires for our next journey south. We invite you to join us.
TOURIST OR EXPLORER?
While Oceanwide operate a “tourist expedition service”, we as divers have to make a bit more effort to undertake our sport. As a diver, you have the choice of diving or land based excursions. On many occasions, after a dive, most of us get to go ashore.
Some of the expedition will be compiling reports or collecting samples: Raf and Francisca collate information for the Royal Geographical Society, and Jeff collects for the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. On our last expedition, some of the divers (and non-divers) asked to be a part of this scientific information gathering process. We welcomed their input. This is your chance to do a bit more with your holiday if you wish to do so. For when we dive on a wall or reef. The chances are that the last person to do so, was a decade before you, and the chances that they had dived the same section of the reef is very slight. You will be a true explorer.
THE ANTARCTIC PENINSULA & SOUTH SHETLANDS
No expedition to the Antarctic is complete without setting foot on the seventh continent. But there is so much more to Antarctica than this. The whales, birds, seals, penguins and iconic icebergs are all reasons to go to Antarctica. You can expect to see many species of penguins, Leopard seals, Weddell seals, Antarctic Fur seals, dusky dolphins, albatrosses, skuas, snow petrels, and various types of whales (orcas, minkes, and southern right whales are common). In addition to this, there is a palpable sense of history in the British Antarctic Survey/Heritage Trust huts that can be found on the Peninsula. Britain’s post WW2 presence at the South Shetland Islands is impressive in its far farsightedness. Diving on icebergs and the wrecks of whalers is an experience that must be had. The views of the endless snow capped peaks and the pack ice are literally like no other.
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