9 Oct 2020

Kiwis-only cruise planned for Southern Ocean season

1:02 pm on 9 October 2020

Christchurch-based expedition company Heritage Expeditions is to resume operations this summer.

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Photo: H.Dohn, Heritage Expeditions

The company said the government had allowed its 50-guest flagship vessel Spirit of Enderby/Professor Khromov to operate a Kiwis-only Southern Ocean programme this season.

Directors Aaron and Nathan Russ said it was a huge win for them, for tourism in general and for ongoing scientific research.

Nathan Russ said the decision allowed them to continue doing what they had been for more than 35 years

"Sharing the furthest reaches of New Zealand's spectacular backyard with inquisitive Kiwis," he said.

The company was involved in with GNS Science and the World Meteorological Organisation, and has had a long association with the Department of Conservation providing vital links to some of the country's most remote locations.

The family-owned company was founded in 1985, with the aim also of contributing to conservation through experiential learning and provision of funds for research and management.

A photo from Heritage Expeditions.

Some of the wildlife that can be seen on the cruise. Photo: H.Dohn, Heritage Expeditions

Each expedition was led by a team of experts in their field, including botanists, ornithologists and naturalists.

Aaron Russ said the decision to allow the season to go ahead would help protect jobs and support local businesses.

Nathan Russ said securing the permission had been a lengthy process, which they understood was necessary from a health and wellbeing perspective, due to Covid-19.

The Southern Ocean season included expeditions to Fiordland and Stewart Island and voyages to New Zealand's Subantarctic Islands.

The company also planned to return to the the Ross Dependency in Antarctica, in January and February.

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