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General » Polar Regions » Antarctica » Ross Sea » Ross Sea - New Zealand - Argentina

Ross Sea - New Zealand - Argentina

Ross Sea East

Join us for an exploratory voyage to the Antarctic Peninsula, to the rarely visited volcanic Peter I Island, to the huts of the British explorers Ernest Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott on Ross Island, to McMurdo Station and the Dry Valleys and to Campbell Island, home to the Southern Royal Albatrosses.

During this voyage we will transfer our passengers ashore by zodiac. But, we will also operate our two helicopters in certain sites where Zodiacs cannot be used. Potential candidates for helicopter transfers are Cape Evans (hut of Scott), Cape Royds (hut of Shackleton), Ross Ice Shelf at Bay of Whales, Peter I Island, and the Dry Valleys.

In theory, we plan on five helicopter based landings, but a specific amount of helicopter time cannot be predicted. The use of helicopters is a great advantage and can support us in our goal to reach certain landing sites that otherwise are almost inaccessible. However, this is a true expedition and we operate our itinerary in the world’s most remote area, ruled by the forces of nature, weather and ice conditions. Conditions may change rapidly; having its impact on the helicopter operation and passengers should understand and accept this. Safety is our greatest concern and no compromises can be made.

Special note: Crossing the Date Line

This voyage has a total length of 32 days. However, looking at the starting and ending dates of the voyage, it “seems” it has a duration of 31 days. This is explained by the fact that we cross the “date line” at 180 degree longitude.

Dates

Feb 15 - Mar 17, 2017 (31 days)

Itinerary:

Day 1 — Embark in Bluff, New Zealand

Our passengers embark on Ortelius.

Day 2 — At Sea

At sea toward the sub-Antarctic islands.

Day 3 — Campbell Island

We plan to visit the sub-Antarctic New Zealand Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site of Campbell Island, with a luxuriant and blooming vegetation. The fauna on Campbell Island is fantastic with a large and easily accessible colony of Southern Royal Albatrosses on the main island and breeding Wandering, Campbell, Grey-headed, Black-browed, and Light-mantled Albatrosses on the satellite islands. Also three penguin species, Eastern Rockhopper, Erect-Crested and Yellow-Eyed Penguins breed here. In the 18th century seals were hunted to extinction, but Elephant Seals, Fur Seals and Sea Lions have recovered.

Days 4 to 8 — At Sea

Sailing south to the entrance of the Ross Sea we may opt to set a course sailing by Scott Island depending on the weather forecast.

Day 9 — Cape Adare

Cape Adare is the place where people for the very first time wintered on the Antarctic Continent. The hut where the Norwegian Borchgrevink stayed in 1899 is surrounded by a large colony of Adélie Penguins, which are now in autumn moult.

Days 10 & 11 — Ross Sea Southward

Sailing southward along the west coast of the Ross Sea, we may attempt a landing at the specially protected area of Cape Hallet with a large Adélie Penguin rookery. Further south we find Terra Nova Bay where we aim to stop at the Drygalski Ice Tongue and the Italian Mario Zucchelli Station if the ice conditions allow.

Days 12 to 16 — Ross Sea

In the Ross Sea we intend to visit Ross Island, guarded by Mount Erebus, Mount Terror and Mount Byrd with all the famous spots which played such an important role in the dramatic British expeditions of the last century such as Cape Royds with the cabin of Ernest Shackleton. We also intend to visit Cape Evans with the cabin of Robert Falcon Scott; from Hut Point, Scott and his men set out for the South Pole. We will further make attempts to visit the US-station McMurdo and Scott Base - the New Zealand equivalent. If ice blocks the entrance and weather conditions are otherwise favorable, we have the option to use the helicopters to offer landings in one or more places. From McMurdo Station we may offer a substantial 6mi (10km) hike to Castle Rock were we will have a great view across the Ross Ice Shelf toward the South Pole. We will land in by Helicopter in Taylor Valley, one of the Dry Valleys. The conditions here are the closest you get to the conditions on Mars anywhere on Planet Earth.

Day 17 — Ross Ice Shelf

Along the Ross Ice Shelf we sail to the east.

Day 18 — At Sea

We still sail along the Ross Ice Shelf, a floating mass of land-ice, with a front 100ft (30m) high. In the Bay of Whales at the eastern side of the shelf, close to Roosevelt Island (named by the American aviator Richard E. Byrd in 1934 for President Franklin D. Roosevelt), Roald Amundsen gained access to the Shelf and ventured to the South Pole, where he finally arrived on 14 December 1911. Also the Japanese explorer Nobu Shirase had his camp in this area at Kainan Bay in 1912. We intend to attempt a helicopter landing on the Ross Ice Shelf if conditions allow for it.

Days 19 to 24 — The Amundsen Sea

These days we sail through the Amundsen Sea along and through the outer fringes of the pack-ice, while we take advantage of the west-going Antarctic coastal current. The sailing along and through the ice is very lively, with sightings of single straggling Emperor Penguins, groups of seals on ice-floes, and also Orca's and Minke Whales along the ice-edge, often accompanied by different species of fulmarine petrels.

Day 25 — Peter I Island

Peter I Island, or in Norwegian Peter I Øy, is an uninhabited volcanic island (12 mi / 19km long) in the Bellingshausen Sea. It was discovered by Fabian von Bellingshausen in 1821 and was named after the Russian Tsar Peter I. It is claimed by Norway and considered a territory on its own. It is very rarely visited by passenger vessels due to the exposed nature of the place. If the weather conditions allow, we are likely to attempt a helicopter landing on the glaciated northern part of the island.

Days 26 – 27 — Bellingshausen Sea

Approaching the Antarctic Peninsula.

Days 28 & 29 — The Antarctic Peninsula

In the Antarctic Peninsula we plan to visit Detaille Island. Detaille Island was discovered by the French expedition of Charcot (1903-05) and named for a shareholder in the Magellan Whaling Company.

From 1956 till 1959, The British Antarctic Survey had their “Station W” located on Detaille Island. Alternatively, we may visit the Fish Islands just north of the Antarctic Circle. The small islands lying east of Flouder Island are called the Minnows, first charted by the British Graham Land Expedition (1934-37) of John Rymill. Adélie Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags breed on the islands among myriads of large icebergs. We may set foot on the Continent for the first time in the stunning setting of Prospect Point.

We will land on Pléneau Island, where fur seals may haul-out on the beaches. Gentoo Penguins, Kelp Gulls and South Polar Skuas are confirmed breeders. Pléneau Island was first charted by the French Antarctic Expedition of 1903-05 of Jean-Baptiste Charcot and was named after his expedition’s photographer Paul Pléneau. We will also visit Petermann Island with colonies of Adélie and Gentoo Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags. Petermann Island was named after the German geographer August Petermann who was a member of a German Expedition in 1873-74. Later that day we will head through the famous Lemaire Channel and set a course for the Drake Passage.

Days 30 & 31 — At Sea

Crossing the Drake Passage.

Day 32 — Disembark in Ushuaia, Argentina

In the morning, we disembark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located at the Beagle Channel.

Prices:

Quadruple porthole cabin: €19 950 €13 950

Triple Porthole Cabin: 21 650 €12 990

Twin Porthole: €25 350 €17 450

Twin Window: €26 200 

Twin Deluxe: €27 450 

Superior: €28 850