Earlier this week, Aurora Expeditions (fleet) christened its newest purpose-built small ship, Sylvia Earle alongside namesake/godmother, Dr. Sylvia Earle, who did the honours in Antarctica in recognition of the vessel’s pioneering nature.
Dr. Earle is a renowned explorer, marine biologist, and oceanographer. She has been the first female Chief Scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration and a NatGeo explorer-in-residence since 1998. Her own conservation initiative, Mission Blue, is creating a network of marine protected areas popular as ‘Hope Spots.’
Aurora Expeditions CEO Michael Heath said that having Dr. Earle as the ship’s ambassador was an honour.
“We are privileged to have Dr. Earle as the namesake of our stunning second purpose-built expedition ship,” said Heath. I thank Sylvia for joining us on board to officially christen the ship and be on board for the inaugural Antarctic Climate Expedition.”
Currently, Dr. Earle, in partnership with Ocean Geographic and Aurora Expeditions, is leading a world-first ‘Antarctic Climate Expedition’ on the vessel to raise public/government awareness of the environmental importance of the Antarctic. The unique voyage "aims to deliver resolutions to inspire transformative changes for global net-zero emissions by 2035."
In another world first, each of Sylvia Earle’s decks is named after 6 other pioneering female conservationists - Jo Ruxton (MBE), Sharon Kwok, Bernadette Demientieff, Dr. Carden Wallace (AM), Dr. Asha de Vos and Hanli Prinsloo – with a deck also dedicated to Dr. Earle herself.
With its focus on education/conservation, the newbuild Sylvia Earle is designed to accommodate 132 passengers per trip in an atmosphere of informality, equality, and fun. An experienced Expedition Team guides guests in small groups on excursions by water and land, with activities ranging from Zodiac cruises to walks/hikes, sea kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, paddling, skiing, birdwatching, and photography among others.
A Science Centre is the hub for participative/educational Citizen Science programs.