Swan Hellenic and SETI Institute announce programme of lecturers onboard specific expedition cruises throughout the year for the ‘Explore Space at Sea’ series
Swan Hellenic is the expedition cruise company to travel with to see the Arctic, Antarctic and indeed, the rest of the world – from Brazil to Papua New Guinea, Norway to New Zealand, Australia to Africa, Madagascar to the Mediterranean. It has two state-of-the-art expedition ships, SH Minerva and SH Vega and a brand-new expedition cruise ship SH Diana will be launched on 4 May 2023, bringing Swan Hellenic’s cutting-edge fleet to three.
Incorporated as a Californian non-profit corporation, the SETI Institute is a space and earth science research organisation supporting NASA and NSF programmes and partnering with private industry and academia to answer some of humanity’s most profound scientific questions. SETI stands for 'search for extra-terrestrial intelligence'.
Swan Hellenic teamed up with the SETI Institute to take its cruise explorations further and deeper, including into the far reaches of space. Now Swan Hellenic has announced further details of its partnership with the SETI Institute to provide guests with expert insights into the history and latest discoveries in astronomy, astrophysics, astrobiology and planetary science – and the quest to find other forms of life within and beyond our solar system. This quest takes SETI Institute researchers to the planet’s most remote and inhospitable corners to explore life, including Antarctica, where the Swan Hellenic fleet is present for several months every year.
The new partnership will engage Swan Hellenic's many adventure travellers with never-before-seen presentations on explorations around Earth and beyond, adding an extra dimension to their journey.
Specialist small-ship expedition cruise company Heritage Expeditions offers ‘Siberia’s Forgotten Coast’ tour which explores Kamchatka’s remote coastline and supports the critically endangered spoon-billed sandpiper. The company is delighted with the latest news that 22 healthy chicks have been released into the wild.
Heritage Expeditions Commercial Director & Expedition Leader Aaron Russ says, “Having supported conservation efforts for the spoon-billed sandpiper since 2011, we are thrilled to learn of this latest success, part of international efforts to help save this incredible wader from extinction.”
Of the 30 eggs collected from Arctic breeding grounds, 22 chicks were successfully reared in captivity before being released recently into their natural habitat of Meinypil'gyno, Russia.
The head of BirdsRussia, a Russian NGO committed to the Conservation and Study of Wild Birds, Dr Evgeny Syroechkovskiy, explains, “The birds are healthy. All 'wards' were provided with tags before release so they can be tracked along the migration routes, which began in early August. We followed them every day documenting who stayed, who has flown away and who is doing what. "
The international ‘head-starting’ project which aims to preserve and increase the bird population was launched nine years ago with the participation of the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust, British Royal Society for the Conservation of Birds and the International Spoon-Billed Sandpiper Task Force of the EAAFP and is supported by the Chukotka Government.
These iconic wading birds only breed in Chukotka and northern Kamchatka in the Far East of Russia, a remote, largely inaccessible region, making it difficult for researchers attempting to identify potential new breeding sites for the birds.
However Heritage Expeditions whose purpose-built expedition ships allow them to reach otherwise isolated and inaccessible locations, have been able to support SBS conservation efforts by providing transport for the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Task Force and BirdsRussia. This has enabled researchers to visit parts of the 4,500-kilometre coastline in search of breeding pairs and discover new breeding sites. The company has also delivered a new boat and quad bike to assist research and even transported spoon-billed sandpiper eggs and chicks bound for a conservation breeding facility.
Spoon-billed Sandpiper Task Force Coordinator Dr Christoph Zöckler describes the partnership with Heritage Expeditions as a ground breaking example for future cooperation in modern conservation. "Nature conservation urgently needs more collaboration with tourists to enhance their efforts to save the ailing biodiversity on this planet. Our relationship with Heritage Expeditions is a win-win situation for both and an outstanding example of an effective relationship between a conservation group and the business sector."
Passengers who join the 14-day Siberia’s Forgotten Coast expedition will not only be able to view spoon-billed sandpipers in Meinypil’gyno the main breeding area in Chukotka, they will also have the chance to play an active role in locating breeding areas in locations never before surveyed.
Every day of the expedition reveals the richness and diversity of wildlife species. Highlights include the Commander Islands where sea otters, a variety of whale species and a plethora of sea birds from red-face cormorants to whiskered auklets may be seen, as well as the Govena Peninsula and the largely unknown Chukotka Coast, both of which are home to brown bears.
Here are some animals in Austria to cheer you up!
Huskies in Vorarlberg
In Vorarlberg’s Brandnertal, Anton Kutter raises, trains and cares for 18 huskies. He hosts workshops where visitors can meet the energetic, devoted dogs, learning about their breed and training, then they can take snow-shoe and sledding tours through the alpine countryside. Programmes are available for small groups and children, exclusive excursions designed for two people and ‘Husky Workshops Extreme’ featuring three touring sleds and an overnight stay in a mountain camp.
Llamas & Alpacas in SalzburgerLand and Tirol
Hiking on holiday is fun. For children, however, the appeal isn’t always so obvious. Bringing along an animal is a sure-fire way to get kids on board with nature walks. Alpaca and llama treks invite hikers to lead their animal companions through summer forests and winter wonderlands. In SalzburgerLand, head to Zell am See-Kaprun’s high mountain reservoirs for fortnightly alpaca and llama walks, or the Abenteuer Lama Farm in Saalbach Hinterglemm to meet Loriot, Simon and Ronaldo. Trek with the animals through an autumnal paradise in Kitzbüheler Alpen in Tirol, or below wintry night skies in the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena.
Marmots on the Grossglockner
The Grossglockner High Alpine Road leading to Austria’s tallest mountain, provides some of Austria's most panoramic views. In surrounding meadows, mountains and rocky terrain live some of Austria’s cutest animals, alpine marmots. You might see these fluffy creatures on the ascent to the Kaiser-Franz-Josefs-Höhe, where they have become accustomed to and curious about their human visitors. To see more mountain residents, look through the Swarovski-Beobachtungswarte binoculars, visit the Murmi-Schau at the Haus Alpine, or stop by the Mankei-Wirt, at which the inn keeper raises tame marmots.
image copyrights: Innsbruck Tourismus, Christhof Lackner, Vorarlberg Tourismus, Markus Gmeiner, Tiroler Zugspitz Arena (de). Husky Toni
I'm Gilly, award winning journalist, travel/ cruise writer & author of 13 books. Credits incl: Daily Telegraph, CNN, Daily Mail, BBC magazines, Country & Town House, The Scotsman, Scots Magazine, Love Exploring, Sunday Mirror, The Sun, Cruise Trade News and many more .....