During the past several months, we have made considerable progress and some signficant changes in the plan for the Heard Island Expedition. The most important change is the switch to the vessel Akademik Shokalskiy, operated by Heritage Expeditions. This switch brings numerous advantages, including:
* Departure from Fremantle, Australia, significantly more convenient to the numerous Australia team members.
* The vessel will stay with us for the duration at Heard Island, nominally 21 days. We are discussing the possiblity that the vessel will make a side-trip to Kerguelen during the stay on Heard Island, perhaps enabling additional activities form that location.
* Due to the higher vessel speed (14 kt, 16kt max) and the lower distance (2209 nm) of the Skokalskiy, the total trip duration is reduced to 35 days, rather than 45 days previously planned.
* Calculations by N6BV, K6TU and KY6R indicate that radio propagation is optimum in November, significantly better than the previously plan for January.
* Carrying out the expedition in 2015 enables us to apply for a major grant (up to $100k) from the Explorers Club, available only for 2015.
During this period we have also increased the team roster, which currently has 28 members, more than the minimum of 25 needed for the vessel charter. The roster will be updated on this website in the relatively near future.
The budget for the entire expedition is $800k. Considering expected support, especially from the amateur radio community, we expect to be able to cap the participant expense at $18k. In addition, the team will be working on corporate in-kind donations that can reduce this to $15k.
In summary, we believe we now have all the core elements in place for the expedition, and have moved from the planning phase into the preparation phase. We will welcome your contributions of any kind, and still have spaces for a few more participants.
We sincerely thank the sponsors and donors to this point, and future support in advance.
For information, please contact the Expedition Leader.