SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, CALIFORNIA---
Scientists from the COA will join Crystal Endeavor, the line’s new expedition yacht, aboard a series of five remote expedition cruises to collect data on whale behavior utilizing submergible acoustic recorders, drones, suction cup tags, and remote biopsy sampling, and engage Crystal Endeavor guests to assist with their research efforts while traversing the waters of the Antarctic. Ranging in length from 11 to 19 nights, these select voyages depart roundtrip from Ushuaia, Argentina, December 2021 through February 2022.
According to the organization's website, its mission "is to conduct world-class marine research which leads directly to sound policy decisions that safeguard the oceans and allow marine mammals to thrive into the next century. Our vision is for COA scientists to be directly integrated with those we strive to affect, including students, community leaders, educators, and decision-makers."
As part of its educational mission, the organization also offers an online marine mammal online experience, for would-be citizen scientists.
What the cruise line says
According to Walter Barinaga, Director, Crystal Destination Experiences and the You Care, We Care Crystal Voluntourism Adventures program:
“It is a privilege to join with the California Ocean Alliance in its critical research to inform and promote conservation and management of our oceans and the health and survival of marine mammals. Crystal guests have a thirst for exploration and a passion for the oceans and the destinations and wildlife they experience on our voyages. They will, no doubt, be enriched by the chance to engage with and learn from the distinguished researchers from the alliance for a deeper understanding and appreciation of the diverse ecosystems we explore.”
The cruises are available for booking on the following dates
December 10-21, 2021 (11 nights) Departing roundtrip from Ushuaia, Argentina. Guest will explore the Antarctic Peninsula to discover the ice landscape and wildlife while enjoying the opportunity to assist the scientists. Fares begin at $14,649.
December 21, 2021 - January 5, 2022 (15 nights) Departing from Ushuaia, with stops on Elephant Island, South Shetland Islands, Falkland Islands, and the Antarctic Peninsula. Fares begin at $22,049.
January 5-16, 2022 or February 4-15 (11 nights) Departing roundtrip from Ushuaia. Includes, the Antarctic Pennisula and the South Shetland Islands. Fares start at $15,999.
January 16 - February 4, 2022 (19 nights) On the longest cruise offered, you'll get the full experience of icebergs, glaciers, and the largest penguin colony on the planet. Departing roundtrip from Ushuaia. Fares start at $28,899.
What COA says
According to Dr. Ari Friedlaender, Associate Researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and part of the senior leadership team for COA:
“We are excited to partner with Crystal as not only do we know the company’s steadfast commitment to operating responsibly but we have the opportunity to conduct important conservation research in this remote area of the world. We also look forward to sharing our knowledge and engaging with Crystal’s guests to help foster a deeper understanding of marine animals and ecosystems and the direct connection between the health of world oceans and marine mammals to the well-being of ecology and all living organisms across the globe.”
About the ship
Crystal Endeavor, built at MV Werften in Stralsund, Germany, is a 20,200 GRT vessel, designed with German engineering featuring sonar FarSounder 1000 technology that allows the captain and bridge officers to detect sea life far in advance and navigate appropriately. It also features dynamic positioning capabilities that enable the ship to remain in one place utilizing GPS and thrusters to avoid dropping anchors that can damage delicate sea life and structures. It has a Polar Class 6 classification that enables it to sail in the Arctic and Antarctic waters.
The ship carries only 200 guests with a one-to-one crew-to-guest ratio. The ship's marina features a fleet of zodiacs and kayaks for exploration away from the ship.